Tag Archives: London

Graffiti6 Live at House of Blues in San Diego, CA [PHOTOS]

Graffiti6 Live at House of Blues in San Diego, CA

Graffiti6– “Annie You Save Me (Dr. Rosen Rosen Remix)” Available for free download through graffiti6.com

Click the pic for more Graffiti6 concert shots!

Check Graffiti6 out!!!

Photography By: Shane Suski |Ambassador of Photography | San Diego, CA| @shanewithmwl | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC

Simon Raymonde – Cocteau Twins / Bella Union Label Owner [Interview]

Q01 Who are you, What do you do & where are you based?
You know who I am, silly! I run a record label in London called Bella Union. I was in a band before I started the label, called Cocteau Twins and we made some records on 4AD and then,foolishly, some records for Fontana (Mercury)!
Q02 What album,track,gig or producer inspired you to end up behind a mixing board
I havent been inspired solely in that way, and as I do a few different things in music, I am not perpetually behind the mixing desk. As a young boy, my father who produced many artists and wrote string arrangements for people like The Walker Brothers, would take me to the studios in London sometimes and hearing him talk about Joe Meek, I was always fascinated by his approach and think in many ways, the fundamentals of what Joe practised still apply today in all scenarios. My dad was one of Joe’s favourite arrangers and when I found myself in later life running studios of my own, rediscovering Joe Meek was highly inspirational to me. His use of reverb, delays and compression, tape loops and distortion, echoes and other strange sounds saw him as way ahead of his peers and for the kind of music we were making, there seemed to be parallels.
With a household full of music from a very early age, it might seem like I was destined for a life in music but to be honest, the music I heard as a young teen, from my brother’s room, mostly heavy rock stuff and proggie stuff wasn’t remotely exciting to me, and I was happiest playing football and hanging out with friends, until 1976 arrived and I heard the Sex Pistols and from that moment everything changed. I think the records that blew my mind just AFTER punk were Metal Box by Public Image Limited and The Associates’s Sulk, both wildly different but with an astonishing IDENTITY that was partly production and mostly coming from within the band’s themselves. On ‘Sulk’ Mike Hedges who had earlier produced the first 2 Cure albums, had the gift of not diluting the wonderful spirit and exuberance of the band’s music and Billy’s voice, and yet also making a terrificly modern ‘pop’ record, one that still stands up today. As for PiL, their ability to put two fingers up to the industry was never in dispute, let’s face it, Lydon was THE iconic figure in music for the last half of the 70s, and yet instead of playing up to the cartoon he was in danger of becoming -he was too smart for that- the arrival of Metal Box, blew everything else that was stale and tired about the end of punk out of the water. It was a wake-up call, and one that affected many of us at that time. The D-I-Y nature of the recordings was inspirational and as well as being a brilliantly produced record, the sense of FUN and excitement during the recordings is evident in the finished record.
Q03 Where did you study your trade?’
Never studied but in Cocteau Twins we always had our own studio set up from the early days. Every advance we got we’d buy a little bit more gear and eventually we had a studio’s worth, probably two.  We started our own studio in North Acton in the mid 80s, by renting an empty shell in a light industrial estate and with our friends in Dif Juz, who had labouring skills and bigger muscles, we built the skin of our own 24 track studio. Doing something from scratch like that was actually pretty thrilling. I did have one rather tricky moment. We had a false ceiling and above it we had to fill it with rockwool, that horrid orangey roof insuation stuff that works also as a sound absorber. I was up in the ceiling, carefully walking across the joists, stuffing this rockwool around the ‘roof’, when my foot slipped off the joist and disappeared through the ceiling, made of plasterboard! Luckily we hadnt decorated or put the lights in but it made a helluva mess of my leg and the ceiling. When we’d finished building it all, we had a live room and an office and a tuck cupboard (there was a cash n carry in the same premises so we could buy shop-sized boxes of Minstrels and Galaxy bars!), and it was the first time we were able to make a record in our own studio on our own ‘clock’ where we recorded from start to finish. Blue Bell Knoll was that record. We didn’t rent the studio out during this period but we lent it to friends and Robin did some productions there of course. Pump Up The Volume by M.A.R.R.S was recorded and mixed there. That was, until Fleet Foxes success, the only gold disc I ever had !
In 1991 we moved into Pete Townsend’s Eel Pie Studios building and stayed there for 13 years, eventually running 2 commercial recording studios. And then… the studio went bust, and we had nothin again!  I learnt a lot by watching Cenzo Townsend, Phill Brown, and Robin Guthrie of course who was way more experienced than me, but to be honest, having your own studio and living 5 minutes away, I really had no excuse not to learn and I mostly learnt by trial and error and making my own records, a solo lp, the first release on Bella Union, and producing the Nanaco album that I co-wrote. The last record I worked on at these beautiful riverside studios was the Lift To Experience album ‘The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads’, which I feel was the catalyst for me believing in my own ability finally, as a ‘pair of ears’, both as a label dude and as a ‘producer’. The studio was about to go out of business, we were losing a load of money each month, our band had long-since broken up, the rent was very high and the studio business in general was utterly depressed. Bands werent using studios to make albums any more, they were using them to do string overdubs or drums only and we had this amazing place and not enough clients. We probably werent ‘selling’ it well, cos well we were not business folks, we were musicians and it had suddenly become this massive burden. I was mixing the record all day and all night, by day the receivers would be coming in and taking away the gear around me, and by night I was jumping around the control room in delight at this incredible music I was working on so intimately. Very weird time. So yeah, all these recordings gave me a grounding for the future, but I still would never describe myself as a “record producer”. I occasionally produce records but it doesn’t define me.
Q04 What advice do you have for any budding label owners/engineers out there?
I am not so good at dole-ing out advice as I don’t feel I have the knowledge to advise but given the over-population of most sectors of the music community, I feel that knowing what you want your music, your recordings to sound like before you start, is a key first step. Knowing what you want then it should be slightly easier to find out how to get there. Having realistic targets and expectations is important but then like everything, if you approach your work with love and passion, then these two things should override any other initial inadequacies. When I listen to old recordings of ours, like say the Echoes In A Shallow Bay and Tiny Dynamine which was predominantly recorded in a room we rented in William Orbit’s flat in St Johns Wood on a 16 track recorder, it’s clear that no amount of ‘gear’ makes a great sounding record, it is what you do with the gear that ya got!
Q05 What people in the biz inspire you to do what you do. past heroes and modern upstarts?
From the label side, Geoff Travis is for me the man. I don’t remotely want to emulate him, or copy him or for that matter BE him, but  having seen Geoff come through a myriad of trials and tribulations during the long and dramatic history of Rough Trade, I can comfort myself knowing that simply if you love what you do, then you will come through the wringers and out the other side, and straighten yourself out, and move forward again.  On the audio/studio side of things Dave Wrench, an engineer/producer/musician is an example to us all. He works at Bryn Derwen Studios in North Wales and is an incredible person to work with, with exquisite taste, and immaculate pro tools skills. He also knows how to mic things up superbly and has worked for years in the analog domain so he has multi-skills and he is an amazing guy to sit next to for 6 weeks on a production! That inspires me. Even if I am producing up there, Dave is part of the reason I am there. The studio is close to a quarry, and incredible waterfalls within a few minutes walk from the studio. Its like an old country manor house that’s wonderfully unkempt and bands feel so at home there. The prices of studios in London are beyond many of the bands I work with, and Bryn Derwen is a residential studio with plenty of room for 6-8 , a wonderful mix board a DDA AMR24, a lovely old grand piano, great outboard, and a brilliant engineer, Dave Wrench on tap. I produced the Lucas Renney record here, and the Duke Spirit lp ‘Cuts Across The Land’, and my own Snowbird record ( a new band with Stephanie Dosen)
Q06 Analog or Digital? Tape or DAW? Outboard or Plugin?
Whatever and wherever, but out of choice I love the sound of analog recordings. Our own studio was mostly during the pre-computer  period and I learnt what little I know using 2″ tape, on an Otari 24 track with Dolby SR, and Otari half-inch mastering. We did  buy a lot of lovely old vintage gear, but it all went with the receivers and it’s best not to think about it!!
Q07 What 3 pieces of gear could you not live without?
Roland Space Echo, Roland CR78 drum machine and AKAI MPC-60 (its limitations are its strength) and I am using them ALL on the Snowbird LP!
Q08 What do you think is the best mixed record of all time?
Either Innervisions by Stevie Wonder or Remain in Light by Talking Heads
Q09 What do you do on your downtime from Label/Studio?
Downtime??????????
Q10 If you werent an producer/musician , what would you be doing instead?
Dogwalker.

Q11 What was your 1st professional album, mix/master job?
First job outside of my own solo and band stuff was Billy Mackenzie’s posthumous release on Nude Records called Beyond The Sun. A privilege to be involved as co-producer. As I had loved The Associates, to get a phonecall out of the blue, asking if I’d like co-produce the record blew my mind, and then to sit with the music of this sadly-missed beautiful man who I had met as a naïve 18 year old and be able to put something of my self into it was emotional and super special.
 
Q12 What is some of the recent/future works you been part of?
I am co-producing an album I have co-written for a band called Snowbird, with Stephanie Dosen (Chemical Brothers, etc), this will be  released in 2012 on Bella Union and I recently produced the debut lp on Brille Records by Lucas Renney, ex-Golden Virgins. I brought Paul and Mckenzie from Midlake over from Texas to record with Lucas and that was a great fun experience in Bryn Derwen wirth Dave Wrench.  At that point, I realised that Mckenzie was probably the best drummer around. Hearing him on record and seeing him at gigs is one thing, but seeing him in action was something else. Literally. Two things I wont EVER forget. On one take I was watching through the control room window, he was texting with one hand and playing the drums with the other..that was THE take we used and it was genius! Then on a new song that he and Paul had never heard before, they played it through for the first time and as is usual, Dave and I were recording everything anyway, just in case, and at one point in the song, a very straightforward 4-4 verse chorus arrangement, BOTH Paul and Mckenzie at EXACTLY the same moment did this weird off-beat fill thing that was so unexpected Dave and I just looked at each other and were like “WOAH! Did you hear that?!!” How could they have known to do that at the same time on a song they had only just heard!! When I spoke to them on the headphones after the take, I asked them how the fuck that could have happened, and Paul just laughed and said ‘we’ve been playing together every day for like 7 years, we have an instinctive thing going on ….” Yeah, too right they do. Moments like this are priceless and why I am so grateful for the life I have.
By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland | @shaynewithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Bright Light Bright Light – “Disco Moment” [VIDEO]

In the latter months of 2010, rising singer, songwriter, producer and DJ Rod Thomas released his debut album, Make Me Believe in Hope under the moniker Bright Light Bright Light. The Welsh-born Thomas harps on late-80’s and 90’s influences, such as Depeche Mode, Bjork, and Ace of Base to deliver an exciting electro-pop sound. To borrow German-magazine Finger’s description of Bright Light Bright Light, it’s “pop music you’d like to dance naked in the streets to.” Earlier this month, Thomas released the video to “Disco Moment,” his latest single, which encompasses the very essence of Bright Light Bright Light, from the passionate lyrics to the balladic refrains.

Bonus: Rod Thomas’ debut single from Make Me Believe in Hope, “Love Part II” was released last fall to warm reception. It’s an “interesting” video that clearly won’t be winning any awards, but it certainly does nothing to hinder the music.

Make sure you head over to Thomas’ website to check out more tracks and stay in touch with this talented artist’s next moves.

Kyle C. Stilley | Marketing Strategist | @stillz | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Amplify Dot – “Semantics” feat. Kano [VIDEO]

More than ten years ago Amplify Dot, aka A.Dot, made her debut performance at Brixton Academy in her native South London. At the ripe age of 14, the blooming female rapper dazzled the packed house who had turned out to see another notable female rapper. Missy Elliot, of A.Dot’s performance, later told her “One day, you’re going to be big.” With plans to consummate said presage, A.dot continues her quest for greatness. Amplify Dot released her latest mixtape entitled Born Ready this spring on AmpedUP Records, which she is the proprietor. Recently, A.Dot released a music video to “Semantics.” Featuring Kano, an English national with Jamaican roots, “Semantics” showcases this rising star’s visible talents.

Bonus: A.Dot has also recorded a video for the title track “Born Ready” which you can check out below. Make sure you head over to A.Dot’s website to check out what’s new and stay on the up and up with A.Dot’s next moves.

Kyle C. Stilley | Marketing Strategist | @stillz | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC | kyle@musicwithoutlabels.com

Dave Ferguson – “Like Me” [VIDEO]

Dave Ferguson

 

One-man band Dave Ferguson draws on an eclectic musical background to create unique loops.  By layering beat boxing, harmonica and his voice Ferguson creates layers of moving melodies that carry you away.  According to Ferguson, “What I’m doing now is quite different not only due to its uniqueness because of the whole one-man looping thing, but also because I’m doing mostly original songs that aren’t necessarily genre specific. Although there are strong undercurrents of Blues & Americana you’ll find elements of everything from Trance, Dub, Dance, Hip- Hop, Country, Bluegrass etc thrown in there…” He grew up in Cape Town, but has also lived in Nashville and London.  Check out the video of Like Me at the Melting Pot in Muizenburg, South Africa.

 

 

By: Elizabeth Stene | Beat-Play Ambassador South Africa | @LizMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

 

MaXXXimum – “Destroy the Dancefloor” [VIDEO]

Meet Max Kline, a London-based electro producer who goes by the stage name MaXXXimum. Recently, he released a new track entitled “Destroy the Dancefloor” which I have taken a serious liking to. It has even supplanted The Shrugs‘ nearly two week hold of my cell phone’s ringtone. I once read, of MaXXXimum’s basslines, that the “XXX” in his name was appropriate because his basslines were so dirty.

Klein has been garnering local attention and has been featured on BBC’s “Introducing…,” which strives to support unsigned, undiscovered, and under the radar artists. You can hear a portion of that segment here. For you viewing pleasure, Klein has also created a video, a video mashup of sorts, for “Destroy the Dancefloor.” Set to the backdrop of the vampiric thriller The Lost Boys, Kline creates an audial thriller of his own, which you can download here free of charge.

Kyle C. Stilley | Marketing Strategist | @stillz | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC | kyle@musicwithoutlabels.com

 

Lazy Habits – “Starting Fires” [VIDEO]

I thought I’d mix it up a little today. Combining jazz and hip-hop, Lazy Habits brings a unique sound to the mix. “Starting Fires” is their latest video and will be released for sale at the end of July (check out their website for details of the release). Back to the music, piano keys usher “Starting Fires” in as the brass section brings a classic big band sound to the refrain until the hip-hop flow drops, vacillating between vocalists MC Lazy and Skin Horse in the verses. Lazy Habits describes their music as “beats, rhymes and brass of the highest caliber.”

The Sun, a British tabloid newspaper, said of a performance, it’s “the best house party your parents never wanted you to have.”

Lazy Habits, composed of eight band members and currently based in London, England, was born in the London borough of Hackney in 2005. Rocking stages at festivals throughout the United Kingdom, the band is set to preform outside the UK in various European countries this year, including Latvia, Croatia, and Taiwan. Previously, the band has toured with the likes of Mos Def, Bonobo, and Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 fame.

This morning the guys over at Radar Music Videos put me on to another of Lazy Habits’ videos called “Even Out,” which was directed by Phil Good. The video is so simplistic, yet clever. This song also puts the group’s big band, jazzy style of full display while adding catchy vocals, rewriting the story of Jack and Jill. When you’re finished replaying these videos over and over, make sure you skip over to their facebook fan page to show the group some love and to check out their tour schedule. For starters they’ll be performing at the Glastonbury Festival, which begins today in the UK.

Kyle C. Stilley | Marketing Strategist | @stillz | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC | kyle@musicwithoutlabels.com

Molella & Supafly Inc. – “X-Rated” [VIDEO]

It’s almost summer time and that means it’s time for summer jams. You know? Songs about gorgeous beaches, grilling out, or just simply trying to find that summer love. Molella & Supafly Inc. come together to create “X-Rated,” a summer song with a house, electronic, and reggae feel to it.

Molella is an Italian DJ and producer from Milan, who has been prolific in the business since he was 14-years-old. Supafly Inc., comprised of the power-duo of Mister P and One, is a London-based dance act that has amassed quite the following in Europe. Known for throwing crazy parties, the group has had enormous success in the last couple of years.

“X-Rated” is full of energy derived from its house beat, but also folds in funky reggae melodies.

Video directed by: Kris Koster at Radar Music Videos

Kyle C. Stilley | Marketing Strategist | @stillz | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC | kyle@musicwithoutlabels.com

Stereo MCs – “Tales” [VIDEO]

And the hits keep coming! More new releases for you today. This time it’s coming from London, England in the form of the new single, “Tales” by Stereo MCs. The electronic dance group has now release two videos in as many months (“Boy” was featured in April). “Tales” seems to pick up where “Boy” left off last month. Check it out below.

Also, Stereo MCs also recently released Spring Selection Mixtape which is now available as a free download.

Kyle C. Stilley | Marketing Strategist | @stillz | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC | kyle@musicwithoutlabels.com

Michael Kiwanuka – Tell Me A Tale [NEW MUSIC]

Vintage soul from a 23-year-old Londoner

Tell Me a Tale – all delicate flute flourishes and rich brass tones – is the title track of his debut EP and, though his influences are obvious, there’s something fresh about his approach to 60s soul, with a reliance on authenticity as opposed to posturing or role playing.

this instantly timeless recording, in which Kiwanuka wears his influences (Otis Redding, John Martyn, Bill Withers, et al.) on his sleeve, hasn’t even been officially released yet. There’s no question that the weathered soul in this 23-year-old’s voice is authentic and modern, though: the jazz inflections here recall Ray LaMontagne’s“You Can Bring Me Flowers.” Tell Me A Tale arrives on June 13 via Communion Records, but in the meantime, enjoy our first taste of the London singer-songwriter’s debut above.

Michael Kiwanuka from Black Cab Sessions on Vimeo.

find out more at his Facebook, Blog or Myspace

By: Shayne Byrne | Beat-Play Ambassador Ireland |@shaynewithMWL| Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC