Colorado Culture: How would you describe your style of music and how has it progressed since the first time you played at Fox a mere year ago?
Brendan Bell: I would describe it as down tempo chill stuff, while incorporating heavier melodic stuff for people to get down with.
It progressed alot actually in the last year. I used to be into heavier dubstep and neuro. I found it to be more technical than musical and I wanted to be able to infuse more emotion into my style
CC: Where is the inspiration from the emotion behind your sound bred from?
BB: A lot of things. Walking down the street, I will hear a natural rhythm and head back to the studio and recreate it. I also get inspiration from looking at art and other artists killing it right now.
Colorado Culture: How would you describe your style of music and how has it progressed since the first time you played at Fox a mere year ago?
So a few weeks ago in our roundup of Decadence 2015, one of the things that we chose to highlight about the experience was their inclusion of a silent disco floor. It’s such a unique feature to have in a festival setting in the way that it gives participants the opportunity to choose their own soundtrack, and the silent disco at Decadence this past year was no exception in that regard. On both successive nights, the setup featured three producers laying down sets on their own respective channels; and the provided headphones lit up in a different color depending on which station each partier selected. On the 31st however, we noticed that the majority of the floor had the same color on all of their headphones, pretty much for the duration of one specific set time. And as people would leave the silent disco and new party goers filtered in, their headphones would inevitably light up with the same color as the people that they just replaced. For those in attendance, the reason for this was obvious, but for those who missed it, we’ll lay it out for you: the reason for this phenomenon is because Denver-based producer Aviva was bringing the HEAT on that particular station. Check out these rage faces directly below for confirmation.
March 17th is going to be a special day, Cultureheads. Not only is it Saint Patrick’s Day, one of the best partying days of the entire calendar year, but it is also the day that the good homie Turner Jackson and his Souls in Action Entertainment crew will be hosting a party of their own at the Bluebird Theater to celebrate the long awaited release of his album Red Plastic Cup. And if you don’t already know Turner, who’s been a staple in the Denver music scene for quite some time now….well you’re about to get to know him real well. I had my first experience seeing Turner perform on the Meadowlark Patio during the annual Larimer Block Party last September, and then again the following month on the stage of the 1UP Colfax (RIP), and personally can’t wait to see what he has in store for the Bluebird here this month.
Born in Denver as Warner Isaac Jackson - his Mom calls him Isaac, his friends call him Turner or Teej, and if you call him Warner he probably doesn’t know you - his family moved from Denver to Brooklyn, NY when he was around 3 months old. After bouncing around the Five Boroughs (also making a stop in Delaware) until he was 14, they made the move back to Colorado (as so many do) coinciding with Turner’s high school career/formative years. Now here is where his story differs from the normal “I grew up around music,” “my parents were musicians,” sentiment: while spending time on the East Coast in the '90s allowed him to be immersed in that “Golden Age” of hip hop, that exposure isn’t really where Turner draws inspiration from, or what fuels his drive. His inspiration is the performance itself, rather than the music, mainly due to the culture that existed within his household as he grew up.
As we approach the new year, the tendency is for people to reflect. Not only on the previous year that has passed, but on their life up to this point. It’s a natural thing to do for all of us that are constantly searching for a little perspective. But we’d like you to consider something for a minute the next time that you find yourself awash in such a reverie: where were you at 20 years old? For the younger people that’s probably easy: you’re either there now or you aren’t quite yet. That’s fine, more power to you. You’re the future, so embrace it. But for us old heads, it becomes a bit more complicated, and requires a bit more hard of a look.
Seriously...where were you and what were you doing when you were 20? Were you creating an innovative blend of rock and roll/bass music? Had you gained a sizeable local following that enabled you to perform your art for the masses, causing that local following to increase exponentially in size and scope, far surpassing just local? Were you taking that music out on tour with internationally known artists, or displaying it at arguably the most famous music venue in the world? Odds are, you weren’t. Which isn’t intended as a slight. Everybody has their own qualities that make them special. We thought we were pretty damn cool at age 20, and although we have yet to collectively accomplish any of the aforementioned feats, we still like to think that we've retained at least SOME of those aforementioned qualities… just without the same level of accomplishment and notoriety. Odds are that you’re in the same boat as me. People like you, it’s just that your name doesn’t resonate that much. Well, we’d like you to meet someone who’s name does: Donnie “Decadon” Miller, aka the most uncommon common 20-year old you’ll most likely ever meet.
One thing that we've noticed as we continue to further immerse ourselves in the local Colorado music scene is the seemingly unceasing amount of talent that exists around here. So much so that to outsiders it might seem like Denver is a much bigger city than it actually is (we're growing, but unless you're on the road during a time of peak traffic activity, you can still get across town in twenty minutes). And what's interesting about this phenomenon is that it isn't necessarily due to an overwhelming number of new and up and coming music artists, rather it's due to the fact that everyone you meet is supremely talented. Everyone. No matter the type of music that any artists we have had the privilege of meeting with make, they all bring their own style and innovative sound to the table.
With a diverse amount of talent all across Colorado on so many different levels, we’ve been fortunate enough to meet some amazing souls over time. Each and every one of them is special and gifted in their own right, and as our journey has continued... so has theirs. It almost seems as if sometimes, in a way, things start to blend together. Especially when it comes to music. The nature of the music industry is such that people and things have a way of becoming numbers rather than individuals. This is because everything involved seems to be numbers related. Songs are often listed by track number, we see artists on stages, watch YouTube videos, listen to Soundcloud links, and begin to view things and people through a specific lens without meaning to. This light almost unknowingly gets cast upon them as they rise from their garages, bedrooms, backyards, basements, open mics, bands, etc. With so much lost in translation these days it’s easy to forget that every number has a name and every name has a story. As a company, one of our biggest honors and privileges is to share and tell these stories, because at the end of the day you can’t do life alone, and we learn that more and more every day on this journey.
A couple of weeks ago, we had the honor of sitting down with Colorado based singer/songwriter Povi and Lulu Clair(owner of Souls in Action Entertainment). In the weeks since that meeting, we’ve wrote and re-wrote this piece at least 10 times, and each time we wrote it the end result just didn’t say the right thing. How could it? We talked about so much with two of the most intelligent and cultured individuals that we’ve ever had the privilege of sitting down with. We covered almost every topic imaginable from the state of the current music scene in CO, where it’s come from to where it’s going, the music we all grew up on, our hopes, dreams, and plans for the future, and just swapping stories about life in general. But the one thing we kept coming back to in our conversation, intentional or not, was the story of our past, and stories about theirs. There was a consistency between the two narratives whose presence really ended up driving the discussion. This consistency was the age old concept that life isn’t meant to be lived alone. Life is all about building relationships. It is that human interaction and those relationships which both drive us to be better people, and also allow us to be. And it was in that moment that we realized, we just met someone who will forever impact the future of our business. The future of our lives, and the future of many others. It’s a feeling that is almost tangible, and it’s one that left us feeling more inspired, optimistic, and driven than we’ve ever been before. We left with a feeling of unity, understanding, and mutual respect. And the singular mission that was born from this unity was this, something that we could feel in the air: we’ve all got soul to spare.
Last time we sat down with Boulder, CO based Ehren River Wright better known as SoDown the futurefunk master, he had a big show on the horizon with Late Night Radio at the Fox Theatre. In the 2 months since, he’s played a handful of epic shows with some of the best artists out there including Chali 2na, The Funkhunters, Mikey Thunder, Krooked Drivers, Exmag, and The Floozies. That’s a busy couple of months for a guy who has also been working countless hours to release his brand new EP Bounce Town.
Although we didn’t go into details at the time, he had briefly hinted at the upcoming release of a new EP, so when we got the offer to review Bounce Town we jumped at the chance. We knew he had been grinding hard with Westwood Recordings to get this EP perfected, mastered, and released and needless to say he delivered as it left us addicted and wanting more. Feel free to read our full review below but we highly suggest you go listen for yourself right now. We firmly believe SoDown is on the verge of even bigger things with his unique blend of smooth and sexy saxophone over synth filled bassdrops of joy.
New music alert, Cultureheads! In keeping with our budding tradition of being your own personal musical head-stash, this week's dosage of flavor for your ears is brought to you by Colorado's own SoDown: . Peep the Soundcloud link below and get familiar, he opened for Late Night Radio last Saturday at the Fox Theater in Boulder, and he brought both his normal set up, and also his saxophone with him - you can also check the video at the bottom of the page to see exactly what we mean.
Over the last few years we've been fortunate enough to sit down with some of the best artists in and around Colorado. But this one was personal for us as Lily Fangz represents some of the best that Colorado has to offer and she's one of our favorite artists and top picks for next to blow. She has an unprecedented talent and passion for her music and culture. She recently gave her first Tedx talk and if you watch it's clear the future looks bright for this young star in the making. Check out our quick little Q & A and find out more.
The biggest reason that we all love music is because we want something out of it. This fact is undisputable. It provides solace, escape, insight, reference, pretty much every feeling from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other. And the same can be said for the artists who make these tunes: the music is not only their personal expression of all the aforementioned emotions, but they also hope to inspire them in their listeners as well. In this regard, Trevor Christensen, aka Said The Sky, is no different from any of us. He just makes the music that we all draw those vibes from.
Ever since I had my first experience with Illenium’s brand of melodic dubstep a little less than a year ago: when I decided to get my ass off of my couch on a random Wednesday and meet up with some fellow Colorado Culture crew members to catch his set at Beta, his music has had a profound effect on the way that I view bass music overall. He managed - and continues - to captivate me in a way that not many other producers had been able to do up to that point, or since. And with the release of his first full length album Ashes, Illenium (aka Nick Miller) has only furthered his influence on my view.
Characterized by rolling melodies, as well as harmonious vocals and hooks which ride on a bass line that remains consistent on a track by track basis, Ashes also manages to establish a connection with the listener that is much more palpable than comparable releases within the melodic bass music genre. Maybe it’s the presence of a vocalist on every track (minus the two bonus tracks which are available via the iTunes download), maybe it’s the content of the lyrics themselves, or maybe it’s the soaring nature of Nick’s melodies that bring about such a viscerally emotional reaction….I can’t quite seem put my finger on which facet of the music inspires it. But it’s there. And what I DO know is that what Nick has created with Ashes is something that has established a benchmark for any other producers looking to cultivate a similar sound.
It’s no secret that Denver loves dance music. Over the past half a decade or so we have become renowned for supporting all genres of it, although we are most known as lovers of bass...so much so that fans and artists alike have taken to calling Denver the “Bass Capital” of the U.S. With that in mind, it’s refreshing to see that there are people within the local scene (shout out to TheHundred Presents) working hard to bring in artists that will help broaden these bassheads’ musical horizons, and San Francisco-based Viceroy is one of those artists who is capable of doing just that.
The self-styled “Dance game Jimmy Buffett” and “Sultan of Summer” was kind enough to sit down with us this past weekend before his scheduled DJ set at Club Vinyl to chat about his music, his future plans, the music scene where he calls home, and of course, culture.
Colorado Culture representative Nic Vasquez rolled down to Denver Cruisers this week to snap a few photos of the action. They meet up at Ginn Mill every Wednesday throughout the summer between 7-9pm then 400-1000 hooligans bike through the streets of Denver to a party destination littered with tasty jams, food on wheels, and drinks galore. Check it out if you're free on a Wednesday evening during the next 20 weeks.
All photos copy written to Terrestrial Media 2016 all rights reserved
Everybody loves remixes. Ever since the rise of electronic music, remixes of existing tracks have been on the crest of seemingly every new wave of music. Some of them serve to augment the original track a bit, while others look to change the vibe completely. Matoma is one of those producers who manages to do both when he gets his hands on a track. He pays homage to the original by preserving the lyricism and overall message, but manages to make the track his own by injecting his unique blend of tropical house beneath the lyrical flows, making his sound truly one of a kind. And now that he is set to take the stage at the Gothic Theater this evening, we'd like to bring you some insight on the man behind the music. Meet Matoma, Cultureheads.
Music has come a long way since it’s origin, and as each generation has come and gone so have so many genres and styles. As people have progressed. so has the music. As technology has taken form and shaped our futures it has also changed the way we not only make music, but also the way we listen to it. Growing up, our parents wondered just what it was that we were listening to. Most didn’t understand the noise coming from our speakers or headphones, and to some of them that’s all it was. If you are at the high-end of the millennial spectrum then chances are your parents were old enough to go to Woodstock, to live through the age of rock, motown, and the birth of soul. Their parents most likely saw the birth of the blues, and jazz, and were able to track the influence made on all other music genres by this cultural revolution emanating from the American South.
They bore witness to the introduction of a technology that only 30-40 years earlier hadn't even been possible...because electricity didn’t even exist yet. Music has been around since the first ear heard the first sound, but in the last 120 years music has transformed cultures in a way that was unimaginable for thousands of years before. With each passing generation, a new genre is born all sounding different than the last, but all also incorporating a piece of the sounds that had come before. To some it was noise, but to others it was musical bliss: serving as a bridge to a happy place in life and time. This is what music is, and we’ve talked about it many times before. It’s different for all of us...but intrinsically the same.
Now, imagine a world where every sound that’s ever existed now has a soundbite, a tiny sample that can be repeated over and over again with ease. This is the day and age that we live in. With the development of technology, artists and musicians are pushing the limits of what they can create using every sound resource readily available. Sound experimentation has been around for thousands of years, but the ease with which artists can access different sounds has not. Although sound sampling has gained popularity in the last 40 years, it’s never been as streamlined as it is now.
The 1st annual Larimer Block Party was held last weekend, and looked by all accounts to be a resounding success. With an eclectic lineup of both local talent and imported acts playing across four different stages, the festival itself was an undertaking the likes of which this part of Larimer hasn't seen in a while. But thanks to the efforts of our friends at AEG, as well as those of the owners of Cold Crush, Meadowlark, and Larimer Lounge, the event went off without a hitch, and drew a sizeable crowd to boot. But more on that in a minute. What we'd like to talk about first is the fact that this event allowed us an opportunity to talk with one of the headliners, a hip-hop legend. Some just call him Del. Others call him Del the Funky Homosapien, Deltron Zero, Sir Dizi, and Del the Ghost Rapper. We were lucky enough to gain some insight on his current tour, what motivates him to keep making new music, some of his homies and collaborators, and even a bit on his famous cousin Ice Cube. Check it.
A few weeks back we at Colorado Culture were fortunate enough to have a chance to sit down in the green room at the Fox Theatre in Boulder and have a chat with MitiS. And now thanks to the homie Elliott Trout, we have a video to show you guys of what exactly we talked about. (Excuse the bass that thumps throughout the video, as mentioned we were backstage before MitiS' set, so that noise is probably just Dirt Monkey out there getting lit). Needless to say though, we were stoked to get this opportunity, and can't wait for the next time MitiS swings through town. Enjoy Cultureheads!
We weren't quite sure what to expect when Bear Grillz brought his brand of bass through Boulder on December 8th. This bear's reputation precedes him, and needless to say, with support from the likes of Adara, Crywolf, Bad Royale, and Kicks n Licks, the night itself ended up being one for the books. Don't let that sly grin and curious demeanor in the above photo fool you, this particular bear has only two things in mind: blowing roofs off of venues....and where he is getting his next meal. We had a chance to bounce some questions off of his pelt, and his answers were not what we expected. See the interview and more photos from the show below.
Markus Schulz has been at the top of the game with his insightful blend of progressive, trance, and house. We had the chance to get a few words out of the man behind the music before his busy weekend including Sold Out Ultra Music Festival in Miami, but more importantly... The Church Nightclub in Denver this Friday Night!
Colorado Culture: Who were your non electronic influences growing up? Electronic influences?
Markus Schulz: When I was growing up, I would listen to the radio at night and get lost in the music. A lot of people will be surprised when I say this, but most of my influence comes from classic rock. Bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, ELO and Manfred Mann. The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd for me is the best album that has ever been made, and continues to inspire me today.
On the electronic side, the likes of Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode were really pushing boundaries, and that captivated my imagination too. When it was cloudy at night, I was able to pick up college stations playing dance music on the radio, and that’s where I discovered DJs such as Mr. Magic, Red Alert, Tony Humphries and the Latin Rascals.
When I moved to the US, the breakdance scene was massive, so I started collecting vinyl, with the very first purchase being Zapp and Roger - More Bounce to the Ounce. The likes of Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel and Scorpio were really important influences for me too - that’s why it was a bit of a boyhood dream coming true when I got to work with them on the vocal version of the Dakota track Sleepwalkers back in 2011.
When we first introduced you all to Denver-based livetronica act Greener Grounds last summer, they were fresh off of the release of their first EP Photosynthesis, and were set to kick off a tour of mountain towns that also included a stop at ARISE Music Festival. Since then, they have been hard at work recording their newest effort Momentous while also gearing up for a national tour (sponsored by The Untz). But this release comes with a twist: they started a Kickstarter campaign to allow their fans to be a part of the album's release, with an additional summer tour planned in support of the album. We had a chance to chat with drummer AJ Gillman and keys/synth player Roland Hansen to get the full scoop.