Biography, DJ Culture & Music, events, House Music, Movers & Shakers, Music, New Jersey, New York, promoters, theshineprjct

Honeycomb Music – Josh Milan :Two Time Grammy Nominated, One For The Team (January 2018)

Photo Josh Milan

I enjoy writing spiritual lyrics, conscious lyrics that touch your very soul. I love writing lyrics like that-just because I love it so much!  …..and in rolls anotha one *cue DJ Khaled

The journey to the Grammys is not quite as straight a path as it appears and as this article is being published mid–January 2018, Honeycomb Music Label Owner Josh Milan is a certified two-time Grammy nominee. To see someone in the community reppin’ a music genre that is marginally recognized by the greater music industry-is amazing!

shine – I’m thinking there’s no way that he’s not going to take home a trophy. No way. Not this year…..

House/Dance Music-singled out and officially categorized in and around the main ‘streams’ is a BIG deal. Not that it makes it any less underground or exclusive but it keeps the culture alive and well. Good music, good lyrics and great instrumentation are definitely a BIG deal in the Land of Josh Milan. I was surprised; not that he shouldn’t be a contender on that list, but mostly that the Dance category was added to the newer category list! Again, right next to Louie Vega!

Milan feels that things need to change (with respect to the Grammy Nominations Review Committee)he says, ‘there are some excellent recording artists, producers and musicians coming out of the scene/community from all over and it’s something that needs to be recognized. This is how the culture needs to be kept alive. ‘Something needs to change in the industry’

I asked him how he felt about the Grammys transitioning into a more digital judging process-he felt that the decision-making process, as advanced as it has become, indeed makes voting easier and more inclusive of all artists-but life still remains modest as a recording artist.

Milan fully understands that many still may not know who Louie Vega or Josh Milan are but he does feel that, ‘it would still be our position whether we win or not; to teach and direct our people through music…..it’s challenging he says, ‘because there’s no money in it, NO MONEY chinedu!!!!’ lol

(I had to laugh about the way he said this BUT he really emphasized that there is STILL no money in music.)

The second surprising transition on top of the 3 new musical categories is that key players contributing to an album now include (Producers, Songwriters, Sound Engineers and Mixers!)

According to Billboard.com, any supporting roles ‘credited with at least 33 percent or more playing time on the winning album will be eligible to receive a Grammy in the Album Of The Year category’.  The biggest and most groundbreaking move is that full albums from the Classical, Jazz and Dance categories will now be included. This is a subtle but very successful way to pull the ‘Underground’ to the forefront and keep the culture alive.

It’s sad that the Grammy Association took so long to wholly recognize other genres but exciting that these genres can be introduced to broader audiences to build and sustain the scene. With the ‘best’ artists embraced by the Academy its’ a great starting platform for vast audiences to focus on strong artists in each category. With Canada and Canadian Artists making waves globally in other genres-especially at this year’s Grammy Awards Show, this huge path widening for Dance Music lends exponential opportunities here up north. Especially those artists known to us.(Yay, Canada!)

Dance is broad but Dance encompasses so much and that’s the beautiful thing about this move! Milan feels that it’s truly an honour to be acknowledged by his peers and it may enhance the types of projects he’s going to work on from here onwards. It might even expand his artists network. But no matter what-He is focused on doing more music.

Being in the scene,working in the industry, loving the industry doesn’t have to be solely about the money if you have a clear idea of what you want to do.

Milan has left a huge imprint on the music scene over the last three decades. His participation has spurred musical movements and global scenes.That picture is BIGGER than money right? We talked about his career and the future of Honeycomb Music:

shine – Congratulations on your first and second Grammy Nomination!

JM- Thanks so much!It’s a great thing to say that I’m a Grammy nominated guy-it would be nice to say Grammy Award Winning Recording Artist Josh Milan….BUT mostly it feels good because I’m being acknowledged by my peers!

shine – How passionate are you about this music?

JM – I enjoy writing spiritual lyrics, conscious lyrics that touch the soul. I just love it so much! I know as artists that ‘we outta know better because when people approach me and tell me that the sounds and lyrics really resonated with their spirit, it makes it all worth it. We’re still gonna be doing what we do. What do we call ourselves? Musical heroes? Yeah, we try to save the world with our lyrics’. That’s what I’m tryna do. I’m still gonna do that! I’ll be that guy forever!

shine – Where would you like your career to go now?

JM – I want my music to be the kind of music that people are going to remember 20 years from now. I think at this point that’s where I’d like my career to head-in that direction. I’d like to have the kind of music that lasts forever, not so much what’s hot in the club right now. I want my nieces and nephews to listen to my music and be able to remember the lyrics. Longevity and all of that. I’m going for that timeless sound.

shine – When did your journey with music start?

JM – Back in the day, I started playing the organ in church. As I discovered my musicality I was unaware of my family’s church rules on playing instruments. You’re chosen to play. And with me being so young, I begged my cousin to show me everything and he showed me and I kept at it everyday, all the time. It was a natural thing at the time, and so I jumped on the organ and figured it out…… I started playing TV shows and anything I could remember in my head. I played it. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned I had a gift. I knew I could play- but I didn’t think it was a miraculous thing to play by ear.’ (yes, it is JM!)

shine – Studying piano is hard. I appreciate those who do what they do musically. It’s mostly hard when you’re taught and it’s not your learning style, its a lot harder when you’re older than school age. It’s not impossible but IT’s challenging.

JM – I don’t know how to read music, but I tried once. It was sooo hard…it just boxed me in so thoroughly. IT turned me off and I couldn’t do it. I know what it’s like for something that comes to you naturally.

After his revelation it made me wonder about school and how it turns kids off of learning….all it takes is just one person all it takes is a good teacher that’s able to recognize that a kid has a talent.He mentions one of his favourite writers and greatest Nobel Laureates of contemporary American literature (James Baldwin) who was given tools (books by classic authors) at such an early stage by his teachers at a time when African-Americans were given very little opportunities-this story inspires him.

JM – Kids have so many tools available to them these days due to technology. Kids can maneuver all that (tech) with ease and this is a huge step forward especially with very specific things like music and music production

Milan noted that nothing about the music business and musical content is intended to create inspiration or direction because music is sold and made for profit. That’s why he enjoys making and playing the music so much. This is the main reason he decided to make and distribute all his music on private label Honey Comb Music. At Honeycomb he says,’we keep it nice and clean’.

Honeycomb Logo

shine – Transitioning from a recording artist in the early 80s to an independent label owner and artist today-what are some of the biggest changes?

JM – One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is the steady decline in content and talent. The entire industry and record labels particularly has taken a complete turn/change. The excitement of good music has turned into the excitement of a lot of money. The good music suffers, y’know? Rarely do you find a great full album anymore. Back in the day you’d find just every song is like ‘ahhh man I love this’ its a rarity now. And of course, artists aren’t making the kinda money they are making today. Another is the cash grab.

Everybody is fighting for pennies whereas in the past people were chasing larger sums of cash. From 1989-2017 numbers/dollars/publishing and royalties have dipped a considerable amount. That’s a DRASTIC change. People (accomplished musicians even) hold extra regular gigs just trying to keep a roof over their heads. And finally, label ownership. Don’t come in thinking you’re gonna be making all this money.

It’s just not gonna happen. Everything’s rented. From women to vehicles. That’s why I have my own label. If money is gonna be shrunken and swallowed up-I’d like to be the one in control of it at least. That’s my position. I would politely decline any label offers-especially with creative direction and control. I’d like to have that. They (big music companies) need to make money.

shine – At what point did you decide you wanted to become a recording artist? 

JM – I wasn’t.  got looped into this thing, it was an accident. I was enjoying my musicality and I met a guy at church. I was playing and doing my music thing. Chris, lead singer of Blaze told me about a DJ that could make beats. We had no idea what a record deal was. We had no idea what a record label was-we would make tapes. We’d play music against record beats and come up with songs. Those recorded tapes we handed over to a guy in the neighbourhood who had just started a record label.

At that time in 1984, a record label was a real BIG deal. We had no idea about studios. IT was unbelievable. We made $500 for that and eventually Kevin sold his tables and we gathered $1000 and recorded something in the studio. We became recording artists after that. The 2nd label we signed with was Quark Records.

We got on the radio. 1987 was the last time you could hear a House record on regular rotation on major radio. Then the 90s came-that’s what ended it all. Those were the last days….. it was the end of commercial House as I knew it. The other genres started to take over. The New Jack Swing and Hip Hop was becoming the future. We were slowly fading away. Shortly after that we were signed to Motown. That was HUGE.

shine – Did you meet Berry Gordy?

JM – Yes, I got to meet my heroes. I met Berry Gordy and Diana Ross. I’ve seen major things!!! I wouldn’t trade my independent for any of that.

shine – What happened at Motown?

JM – We were (Blaze) was dropped from Motown. They looked at us as the next Earth, Wind and Fire. A fully planned Marketing strategy was set up…….it was a big plan. Motown signed Boyz II Men and included them on very many promotions with the other big Motown artists at the time. Heavy D being one of them……Boyz II Men would go on to be one of the biggest acts for mainstream Adult/Contemporary but Josh Milan remained connected to the people.

After Boyz II Men’s debut- Blaze was dropped. They didn’t start anything or develop anything with us. House was seen as a bad idea and all projects related to Blaze were dropped. We were fortunate to have huge records in the scene. Many artists were supported by the masses. We had a good run. We got gigs. (this is possibly birth of the Underground maybe?) We had a good run……I realized very quickly that I had to create Underground sounding House Music.

That’s the only way I could survive. At the same time-commercial acts Robin S,Cece Peniston,Black Box,Neneh Cherry,Martha Wash and Technotronic were dominating the charts. I decided to go hardcore. My lyrics have been consistent to this day-but the sound was almost more dark and club-definitely not a place for the radio anymore.

shine – Who’s Alexander Hope?

JM – I used the name Alexander Hope. I did a bunch of songs under that name. Blaze made a few hits at the time too-I Found Love, Consequences and a song called Saturday (it was huge). We (Blaze) survived the 90s!

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shine – What was it like trying to make it in NY then?

JM – At times like those are when I loved the industry the most- any scene is supported by the locals in NY-you could be part of any scene in NY and make a living. Of course it would be a modest living. But you can survive.

shine – What are you working on right now?

JM – I try to find artists that make noise vocally. Reminiscent of Earth, Wind & Fire style music [loud with horns] I’m looking for loud music with horns and good lyrics. I look for strong instrumentation and solid production are key components I strive to re-create a 70s for 2018 sound. I’m currently working on a few singles with artists Ramona, Dawn Tallman and New York based Afro Latin group Ritmo Y Tumbao (percussionists who embrace African and Latin Rhythms) I add vocals and more rhythm to their music.

shine – Are there any favourite artists you’ve met over the years?

JM – Over the years I’ve met so many greats-from Phyllis Hyman to Bobby McFerrin but really, I would like to work with Chaka Khan. (Even accomplished individuals have people they admire!) I’m not sure if she’d work with me though. She’s my shero. I channel my inner Chaka Khan for #inspiration. I feel that maybe she wouldn’t take me seriously. I’ve wanted to work with her my whole career! (Ahem Ms. Khan are you reading this???)

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shine – What are some of the new rules to learn about the good ole’ music biz?

JM – It’s really important for artists to learn the rules of this biz, don’t come into the studio thinking that you’d like to work on music wanting it to sound a certain way. If you don’t know the rules, how can you win? Learn about publishing which is extremely important. (One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned.) Publishing rights for music and lyrics are even bigger than gigs. Keep all rights to your publishing. It IS a business. Treat it as a business first and foremost. Louie Vega is someone who has taught me about the business first. He taught me a lot. We both took different routes towards our careers. Louie to DJ’ing and myself to the studio.

I’m sharing this kind of advice so no one has to go through this walking into the industry. Many singers and vocalists arrive to the studio with no conversation or agreement and talk nothing about being paid. Many artists passionately want to perform and sing but this forewarning is solid. Lofty and dreamy ideas are great but before entering the studio, there should be some discussion about what you’re doing and how it looks financially.

Producers reading this might not like the candid advice I’m giving but it’s truth. Artists, don’t get burned! It’s rare that all-encompassing details are so direct-with these financial times we’re all really fighting for the dollars and if you don’t know something; nobody’s gonna try to tell you-be forewarned from here! You gotta get what you need for yourself. It’s an ugly business. Get it? Got it!

Stay Tuned

Every year he holds a birthday boat ride in NYC. Louie Vega, Jihad Mohammed hosted a House Music cruise on the Atlantic last year with guest DJ Mike Dunn (Chicago) and he brought it! This cruise happens every year!

The shine prjct wishes Josh Milan and Louie Vega all the best this month at the Grammy’s. Take one home for the Global House Team! 

-shine

Credits: https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/grammys/7832881/grammy-awards-changes-online-voting-album-rap-categories

DJ Culture & Music, Establishments, events, Manifesto, Movers & Shakers, Music, Social Media, Toronto

Manifesto 11 -Toronto-Let’s Re-CAP!

Post-Manifesto re-cap and I’m still reeling from the festival’s High Energy vibe. A weekend mash up of Oldskool meets NuSkool under many historical roofs and under the open sky. (RBC Echo Beach) It was such an exciting weekend to look forward to and what an unexpected show it was! (The weather was fabulous!)

The peaceful party vibes continued all 4 days! Shout outs to local lady DJs Dre Ngozi and Nino Brown alongside special guest Selecta Vashtie for throwing down! What I loved was the way all eras and genres connected to Hip Hop legacy with pride and knowledge. All events were spread out all over the city!! Local acts Tika Simone,The Sorority,Sean Leon,Derin Falana,Matthew Progress and Majid Jordan all represented! Truly a pleasure to watch and sing along!

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Sitting in to chat with Brooklyn’s Sweetheart Vashtie, we get to see the other side of urban culture and what it actually took for her to build her foundation from the inside/out. Che went from the mundane to the spiritual to the video light perspective. We learned a lot about how she ‘arrived’. Her story’s amazing. In a new age of the music industry, where it doesn’t take much to be notable, we often forget about what it takes to get there. Vashtie talked about Health/Wellness, the Art of Networking, her time at the record label, her travels, her childhood and her heritage. She’s a remarkable young woman. No wonder she’s sought after! Not only did Manifesters walk away with a little bashment but they walked away with some gems for self development.

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Right now as social media reigns, Che asked about her play-by-play social postings online (prior to her arrival to the T.Dot that weekend.) She talked about her reasons for relying on it so much, “I think it comes from my filmmaking, storytelling side…..I feel like if you’re watching something, you should see it all-the conversations I have with people…..from having a blog…I want to show that I’m like everyone else.I come from a generation where we just don’t share information—and so now making a connection with people with every snap (Snapchat) I feel like I’m showing what’s happening. Back then (in 1998/1999) I felt that Social Media was so strange and I’m coming from a generation where we just don’t share information….but with technology we can talk to anyone anywhere”.

With social sharing permitted at a showcase like Manifesto-all angles of the weekend were splashed all over the web and city. Yes, there were smartphone users all over the concert but the ability to capture these moments helped show the world what’s here and it’s an incredible kind of new beginning.

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If Manifesto is one of many Urban Culture fixtures that collectively brought the rest of North America to look at Urban Culture they way they did this June-I’m down. What’s most inspiring is to see the crowds of people at the live concert and parties enjoying all the incredible acts! Toronto is diverse-all ages and all faces really show what a mosaic looks like united in music and I love that.

The verdict: Toronto people love music and support local acts with force. According to Vashtie, (Che didn’t have to twist her arm or nothing) J Canadians are killin’ it with talent. Manifesto you’ve come a long way, Toronto let’s keep going!

DJ Culture & Music, Establishments, events, Knowledge, Manifesto, Movers & Shakers, Music, New York, promoters, Reflections, theshineprjct, Toronto

Manifesto 11 – Toronto (June 2017)

It’s with the utmost pride that I can say Toronto’s got an organization devoted to Urban Arts & Culture. Something I’ve always supported and it’s where my musical roots came from. Artists like Maestro,Kardi,Julli Black,Ghetto Concept and Dream Warriors is what I knew. I’ll always love Hip-Hop no doubt but I turned away when outlets remained bare.

I was so frustrated that I even started a talent showcase with fellow York U Undergrad (Dj Nana) we hoped to provide a platform for unsigned hype from Singers to Battle Rappers to Poets and it ran for a minute. We even tried to start an Urban Media Arts Association-but the work and support back then was bleak.

As I took stock of the many years learning about the music scene in Toronto, I started with my first internship at what was Flow 93.5 and from there I became a NXNE and Honey Jam volunteer to promoting parties and events over at CHRY college radio station. Manifesto is the evolved and growing version of what I’ve always hoped for.

An organization like @Manifesto_TO is something to be incredibly proud of. To see artists,acts and personalities rally around an incredible festival that’s put Toronto on the map (permanently) is quite amazing. With Canadian exports like the Biebs,Drake,Tory,Party Next Door,Weekend,Tika,Slakah,Majid Jordan and the list gets longer….. we’ve got so many more to put on display!

If you haven’t purchased tickets to anything; look for something and become a part of Toronto’s rich ‘Urban Culture’ landscape. Find an art installation, find a concert.Hit up the Opening/Closing Party and Artists Panel. If Urban isn’t your thing check it out, you’ll be blown away. Here’s the website: http://mnfsto.com/

This weekend the #theSHINEprjct is pretty excited to be stationed over at Echo Beach not just as a volunteer,intern or avid concert goer but a part of the festival reppin’ Toronto at Manifesto 11. Here’s to another groundbreaking decade!

Stay social:

Socials
Twitter: @Manifesto_TO
Instagram: @Manifesto_TO
Hashtag: #Manifesto11

 

Biography, DJ Culture & Music, Establishments, events, House Music, Knowledge, Movers & Shakers, Music, promoters, Reflections, Social Media, theshineprjct, Toronto, women & entrepreneurship

House Music Series-Local-Installment 8-Ticky Ty & Miz Megs Make an Awesome Team! (Toronto)

No matter where we are there’s always a starting point…..these ladies here revisited memory lane to talk about how they started doing what they’re doing today!

Before the official interview I spoke to Ticky Ty and for some odd reason- I discovered some interesting facts. For those of you who actually know me I’d lived in Japan for a bit and after talking for a bit I learnt that she also lived there! She worked at a local franchise club/bar Sam and Dave’s. They had many locations all across the city and country and I too worked at that same location many years ago. She had lived in Fukuoka/Osaka and I lived in Osaka. Two really happening places in the Kyushu and Kansai areas- this was an awesome surprise!

Cool facts about Miz Megs:

o She met Ticky Ty at Andy Poolhall;she booked her for an all girl DJ line-up

o She just found out about the term ‘New Jack Swing’ this year! She’s loved it long time.

Some cool facts about Ticky Ty:

o Used to listen to Happy Hardcore and Chill out. Did you?

o She started with a 2 channel Stanton Mixer and Battle Mixer Turntables

What struck my interest was the energy they had behind the decks. I wondered what it would be like to talk with them. I’d been to their shows a few times-Li’lys, CODA and Geary Lane. You see, sometimes it’s not so much what they play or how they play…it’s the passion they put into what they do. It shows. They keep the crowd going. I’d seen them spin separately and finally side by side at Love Buzz this past July! They absolutely make a great team. They took a bit of time to chat about how they got started. I’m truly inspired. I asked them what keeps the passion for music going and eventually we talked about how it all started …..

Me: What’s you earliest connection to music?

Megs: I remember being 6 years old, listening to Dance music, pushing the couch aside and watching my reflection in the TV while my parents played cards with their friends. I just loved Pop-you know, Debbie Gibson and Paula Abdul. I would turn on the Pirate Radio Sessions (Energy 108) and listen to Chris Sheppard! (I think everyone started with that.) I also danced Ballet from ages 3-16, that was very similar to Ticky Ty!

Ticky Ty: I started dance at Toronto Dance Theatre at 3 years old. All my early music connections were dance-related. ‘I went back to visit almost 24 years later and the same pianist and drummer was still there. Rhythm came naturally to me.

One thing I loved about talking with them is that they followed each others’ cues. You can see how connected they are. It’s then that I understood that these two had one of the foundational pieces that demonstrated a deep interest in music at such an early age.

Me:Which music era speaks to you the most? For me, I really Iike the 70s……

Miz Megs: 90s Euro and New Jack Swing. ‘I never knew there was a term for it until this summer’ I offered Blackstreet as the more well known groups that was known for this style in the 90s. She spent some time on Youtube listening to songs to see more groups. She never knew there was a term for it until this summer.

Ticky Ty: She says ‘Guys don’t laugh at me, but I really love the 20s. She mentioned the movie Chicago. And the truth is the 20s sound has been sampled quite a bit in Dance music. She is hilarious because she adds ‘ I probably wouldn’t do to well in that era or even be alive then. ‘I still really like Jazz and Swing.’

Me:When did you realize you were into House?

Miz Megs: Dancing at home and thinking I was in a club….’I wanted to be a GO-Go dancer’ and Ticky cheers her on and says ‘It’s not too late girl it’s not too late’ This was the interview highlight.lol

Ticky Ty: ‘For me it would be with an old friend of mine, we used to steal her older sister’s Happy Hardcore CDS and pick raspberries in the backyard and zone out.

Me:How did you both meet? Andy Pool Hall! They were both booked for an all girl Dj line up and Flipside/Andy suggested she ask Ticky for that night. Meg booked Ticky. ‘Thanks Flipside!!’

Me: Who do you wanna work with? Any production yet? ‘We’d love to work with Duro. ‘I had a song out with Jerome….We’ve worked with Flipside. Internationally they’d love to work with Chus and Ceballos and Channo.

Me: What kinda music are you both listening to right now?

Ticky Ty:‘Stuff comin out of Brazil… Groove to Light and all that dirty and hard stuff.(Okay!!!???lol) Megs-‘ Luciano is my all-time favourite but lately I have been especially inspired by Loco Dice. I love that hip hop flavor he adds to his sets.

Me:The one thing that comes to mind ladies; in the industry doing your thing spinning- Meeting people at the party, meeting people in and around the scene. What’s it like? You know, doing business?

They break it down to two trains of thought:

You get the ‘Wow, chicks that’s hot… let’s watch it OR ‘Oh mi gawd chicks;they’re probably gonna suck’…’You get a little bit of both. It’s either you don’t get the same sort of initial responses as with a guy. You’re either a chick or you’re a commodity. Or you suck. ‘You have to prove yourself past those barriers. Every. Fucking.Time. Which is fine-because every time we do it-we show what we can do…..’

Me: You ladies take what some would consider very sexy photos…..what’s up with that? They (the pics)look good by the way…

I got in shit for that a few weeks ago…..Meg said ‘someone called them out for showing side boob and abs’ they were told that on TRC….. that no one would be attending their gig because they actively/purposely used their bodies to sexually try to get a gig’. Their comment got destroyed by people defending us because they are just press PHOTOS and anyone who has actually seen us in person knows we usually wear baggy clothes and are so not like that. The guy eventually apologized. <<<interesting, yes.

Me: Wasn’t the gig already got?

Miz Megs/Ticky Ty: Yes! We didn’t make the flyer. A group discussion ensued and one of our fans supporters told the person where to go….fans are awesome that way!

Me: Where can we find you ladies?

Miz Megs/Ticky Ty:Nest, CZ (Comfort Zone) and various parties across Toronto or in cities out-of-town.

What do you both like about Dj’ing? Meg-‘The music and getting to be a part of something that has to do with the music you love….‘Just being there to dance. And creating a new sound with what you love.’

Ticky Ty:‘I love the connection I have with everybody. It’s really intense. You can almost feel the energy of this group of that people or that group of people. As long as you let go you get into a meditative thing. You can just feel it. Everyone moves as one. Not over thinking it. It’s really nice to be the catalyst of something like that. Spurring a movement, its healing for me and so many others.You can go to an underground party and a CEO of Microsoft can be dancing beside someone homeless. And it doesn’t matter. No one cares what you do in the daytime. No one asks.’ What do you do in the daytime?’ Meg says ‘I hate when people ask that’ they both agree. ‘Shut your face we’re dancing right now.’

It’s a challenge for the music/entertainment scene to really delve into current issues and/or politics but very necessary so I asked anyway:

In light of everything that has happened in the last week. (Orlando shooting) How do you feel about it as a musician/artist/House enthusiast?

Ticky Ty:I wanted to take it back to pride month because the House scene did come from the Black Gay Scene. She played the night and remarked at how special it was to spin for so many.’There are no cultural and sexual boundaries. We don’t give a shit about that stuff. We’re blessed to be part of an Underground Community that embraces everything. No cops standing around at the outdoor party. No one is being searched at the door. People are enjoying the music…..it’s such a gift….……The vibe is really connected. You can’t fake it. It’s visceral. You either don’t like it  or you totally enjoy it.And beats is their gift to us.Entertainment people don’t really like to make comments about political shit but they did! So much has happened since then…..

We’re half way through the year what’s in store for 2017? At the same time they answer: Production! That’s the next step, albums will happen once we tour and produce more!!!

Alright ladies, DO YOUR THANGS! You can find them on most social platforms! @DjTickyTy @MizMegs

Thanks so much ladies!! You both rock!

 

 

 

 

 

events, Food, House Music, Music, New York, promoters, Reflections, restaurants, Travel

Travel Inspiration – Return to New York City

It’s been a minute (like 3-4 years) and glad I went this summer! So much to do out there-tons of new food places/establishments to see! My return to NYC was amazing! I’m nostalgic because this is kinda the reason why the blog started. Travel provides a sense of wonder and inspiration. This is probably where my motivation comes from.

As always its essential to figure out where to stay. I’ve stayed at different hostels, homes and hotels but this time I chose to stay somewhere accessible, comfortable and a little swanky…..It’s a smaller hotel located on the Lower East of Manhattan the best things about it is mainly it’s location. The Smyth is located at a point where three stops east you’re in Brooklyn four-seven stops west you’re in Chinatown. This makes travelling around on foot, Uber or NYCT cheaper and safer. The Smyth (Thompson) is a small but stylish hotel on Broadway Ave next to subway, Whole Foods and a Barnes & Noble.

The service is amazing there! The staff is on point and the Bellman knows where to send guests for the best inexpensive/expensive food, nightlife and the nearest Duane Reade! The exchange rate wasn’t too great- for Canadians visiting make change at home. There are 2 other Thompson locations in Manhattan and this area is the best to get to BK, Bronx or Coney Island! The hotel lounge has a homey feel-looks very much like a cozy living room.

I didn’t wanna stay on the premises for long BUT decided to have breakfast at the restaurant connected to the hotel one morning.  It’s a quaint French-style Bistro looking small from outside; when you walk inside it’s filled with people ALL day. The menu is amazing and all breakfast items have a little variation to it. This restaurant is inspired by famous chef James Beard, this you’ll notice from the decor to the meal presentation. It’s good food. There’s a full service bar and patio on the premises. The whole restaurant is quite an experience.

 

Walking around the city and also with how HOT it was there; There were many stops for water, snacks and more food. Favourites include any Afro-Muslim food places. They are clean and have a crazy variety to choose from. Speaking of African food, I purchased tickets to the Afropolitan NYC Food Festival! It was held at The Brooklyn Navy Yard quite a ways deep into BK but for a fairly new culinary event to the city, it was very interesting. Foods from all over Africa made from local NY rising chefs and well-known establishments in the area were in attendance. The restaurant booth with the most line ups were the Eritrean and Ethiopian foods. There were South African wine samples, Afrobeat DJs and refreshments. It was a hot-ass day. Any refreshments they sold were a welcome relief. The food actually looked like the picture and tasted amazing.

 

*Pics taken from https://www.facebook.com/theafricanfoodfestival/ page! My camera was overloaded with photoshots! Couldn’t find my pics.I’m sure they’ll turn up somewhere 🙂

One more noteworthy food place Brooklyn Greenery-a hidden gen on Flatbush Ave. You can take the B,Q and S trains to Prospect Park Station. It’s a healthy, healthy place but what got me is the Hip-Hop Smoothie and Green Juice names. You have your choice of a small or large Supreme Clientele (Pineapple, Carrot, Green Apple), Mos Def, Queen Bee or Redman drinks. And to make your taste buds multitask you also hear your fave Dead Prez or Method Man playing for support. The place is immaculate and earthy. They run live shows in the shop and it is treated like a community meeting place. This shop has an each one teach one concept-they have a shelf filled with books where you can drop some off and pick some up. Besides it’s Hip-Hop enviro, the main reason it’s a gem is that it’s located amongst dozens of Popeyes’, Pizza joints and Golden Crusts-all of which have one too many calories to eat on a hot day! They really stand out on that block. Here’s a quote written by a Yelper about BKG: ‘The names of the smoothies and drinks are relevant and fitting for the times. The price is worth it.’ TOTALLY.Brooklyn Greenery

Now, on the holistic tip. I visited Namaste Bookshop. Wasn’t too fond of the name but the amount of people there……you’d want to walk in just to see what the hype was about. Lots of books, Crystals, incense EVERYWHERE. There were mini workshops and Tarot card readings going on. From the looks of it-it was as if everyone is looking to expand their minds at the same time. There people asking associates all kinds of questions about body ailments and meditation tips. This shop smelled amazing. It’s sensory overload when you walk in there! Lots of trinkets to see……

namasteinside

I ate so much but burned it off with walking and dancing of course! This was my favourite part of the whole trip. There’s always something to do anywhere/somewhere in Williamsburg,NY. My favourite record store (Dancetracks) is gone so I headed over to the newer ‘gentry-fied’ Halcyon in BK. The music is still the focus. One thing I love about many establishments in New York are that they double or triple as a few things. This is wonderful for business as it brings many people to one spot at any given time. Over at Halycon you can drink coffee, listen to live DJ sets, sample records you’d like to purchase, party on the rooftop or party inside! (Output) I arrived when sound check was going on before the big event-their soundsystem was ridic……..I brought back some goodies-can’t wait to spin with them!

On of the main things I do down there is shop at the black beauty supply stores for cheaper or larger sized products and summer clothes. I visited a very neat flea market. A very stylish one with handmade but fashion forward. Who needs a mall? I found plenty of that EVERYWHERE!

The highlight of the whole trip was BBE’s 10th Anniversary celebration for JDilla’s ‘The Shining’. Parties for this anniversary celebration were held all across the U.S.and I’m sure the others were just as amazing!  It was an incredibly epic night. All kinds of freestylin’, all types of horn players. Guest birthday boy/ bad-ass drummer Daru Jones (Jack White of former White Stripes) killed it!  Subrosa NYC hosts an event ‘Soul in The Horn’ on Fridays where Soul, Jazz,Hip-Hop and any other genre meet. Hosted by Dj Natasha Diggs and friends, I was blown away. The Shining was celebrating FULLY that night. Guest DJs Rich Medina & DJ Scratch attended. Have a listen to a snippet from that night at>>>>>> Soul In The Horn

There’s so much more I can share here but if you’ve been to NY, you’d know that your adventures/travel preferences would completely differ from mine! If you head to the Big Apple, I’ve mentioned some places definitely worth checking out. Come by and visit shine2u.wordpress.com every now and then to see what I’ll be listening to and where I’ll be!

-shine

 

Biography, DJ Culture & Music, Establishments, events, House Music, Movers & Shakers, Music, promoters, Reflections, Social Media, theshineprjct, Toronto, women & entrepreneurship

House Music Series -Typical Cat…everything bass. turntables only-LOCAL-Installment 6 (Toronto)

 

Typical Cat

It’s amazing to have a blast from the past……a lady I met about 7-8 years ago we talked about turntables and vinyl. We stayed in touch. Look at what she’s up to now…..

Who are you? DJ Typical Cat

What’s Her Story?

As far back as she could remember her Dad was a drummer. He collected records. Her aunt was a country music singer. ‘When I was younger I was listening to House Music and stuff…I’d turn on the radio and I would just feel it in my heart…stuff like Electric Circus or Much Dance…you know that kinda shit?’ When she first heard something she liked she says, ‘I felt it in my chest, I felt it in my heart…. in high school about grade 8 or 9, Freaky Flow was the first guy I heard of when it came to Jungle or Drum N Bass. In high school I heard his ‘World Domination’ album  and it got me hooked. I heard Nelly Furtado on a track with the drums and bass and I wanted to understand this type of music more. So I got into guys like Andy C, Dj Craze, Dj Hype. I’d always loved this music without knowing what it was. I wanted to know about it and I started to go to raves by myself and I just knew that I wanted to DJ and I was just there for that.

About her first gig…. Her very first event and it was bigger than she expected. This was one of  her very first BIG events at Velvet Underground. ‘I was nervous as hell but I had fun with it and opening up for Plastician was a huge deal for me because he was a DJ, I looked up to in so many ways.’ She noticed that people loved what she was doing. She mentioned that this is something that women go through. She remarked that women should be confident especially when wanting to pursue a thing like Dj’ing. Some people will like that. Focus on the positives.

About raves….I wasn’t going to party and do drugs. I would just watch what the DJ was doing- I just knew that I wanted to DJ.

What did you do the first time around? In grade 9 my mom asked me if I wanted to sign up for-those program books for summer classes. And right away I was like I’ll take that! Then in grade 11 when I had enough money, I bought tables!

How were those classes? What did you learn? ‘I took that class and actually Oscar ‘DJ Grouch’ was the first person to teach me how to use a turntable. He taught me VERY basic stuff-he taught me motions like scratching and stuff, not cuts but feeling it out with drums and using levels. He was an awesome connect because he’s pretty big in the city. Knowing him made me feel like I was on the right path. He wasn’t just some guy turned DJ. He was part of the scene, he was a great teacher. He would even give me records. I started with Hip hop and I went from that to Jungle.

 What kind of music do you like? ‘My heart’s with Drum N Bass. I love listening to the radio. I love top 40. I love funk. I love listening to things I’ve never heard. My sound right now is Bass.’ She plays unreleased dubs straight from producers-I love things that are brand new!

How’d you find your style?  It was a journey. It’s taken her a few years to know her musical taste. She plays a more Housier Bass style now but for awhile she went through a Jackin’ House style even. But really, mostly ‘I need that Heavy Bass…I think I found my sound at Plastician-it has the same BPM as House’ (Yes, it does.)

Working with Alan Lam-what’s that like? Her partnership with Alan Lam (Stranjah) didn’t just happen, It came after some time. ‘He’s got a wikked business sense and very passionate about his work. I’ve thrown parties with him and I know there’s a huge following. Regardless of that-I love this music! She is grateful for her crew because they know what they are talking about. They are pioneers of Jungle. It makes her feel confident.  When they’ve produced tracks he asks her opinion. She never questions his decisions when putting together events or tracks. She recalls her first ever event headlined party with Demuir which was a huge success.

About Vinyl and Serato ‘I really need to learn not to carry records everywhere that I spent so much money on. I went switched to Serato. It’s the next best thing. It’s like faking records. So now I just stick with Serato. It’s funny cuz I feel like I’m stuck in the past with all of this. People are all up on their shit with CDJs and all that. There are USBs wherever you go. Something about the CDJs are just not my thing….I’m a record and turntable person…it’s not the same feel. I need to feel it. People now know that if they’re booking me I won’t show up without turntables….I made it that way.’ She doesn’t care that it’s a hassle. ‘People have told me I wasn’t gonna make it anywhere because I insist on turntables. So many people say it’s not industry standard.’ She thanks and shouts out club owners who come through with turntables.

About Old Skool tunes…. Some old heads have said that they’ve heard some parts of her mixes/sets. They listen to her mixes and they say that the samples or funk records are from back in their B-Boy days…..’If I hear it and I like it and it’s usually from an older genre’.

Vocals? No vocals? ‘I like some singing but not too much of it. It must be subtle….not too overdone. It’s hard when you have a set with too many vocals. Actually, it’s just not my style. Sometimes I like vocals every 2 or 3 tunes. I usually like vocals at the beginning of my mixes because it draws attention to the crowd.’

How do you prep for a gig? ‘You overcome your nerves. Even if the bar is empty I used to get nervous but like always I’m still riding off of it. The rush you get from it is amazing. You break walls after the first gig. You reach out to people you don’t even know. People tell me they’ve downloaded my shit and bump it in their car. And I’m thinking…. I did that just for me….I’m still riding off the gig I did 2 nights ago’ lol

Your Mom and Cousin were at your last gig…..

She told her Mom to wear black to fit in. She thought it was everything that her Mom felt it would be. I talked to her about what my mother said also. It was something out of a movie. ‘I didn’t think my cousin was gonna stick around but she stayed ’til the end of the show!’ She remembers how her mom used to yell at her because all she would hear is Bass shaking the entire house and she’d tell her to stop. Shockingly she kinda yells out ‘Now she’s coming to my parties?!!!! It was very weird. I haven’t even heard her opinion yet. I’m so scared. I don’t even think she has an opinion it was just something for her to experience in the moment. It was amazing. My mom would ask me back in the day about the Bass shaking the walls. I think my mom was very proud of me.’

Cat, who do you wanna work with? She wants to work with anyone specifically with the people who throw Promise parties. She wants to bring her sound to Costa Rica. She sees herself in Europe. (Anywhere in the UK) and many of the people she works with are always touring there. We talked about the Underground and how our scene is quite different from across the pond. For example how progressive and genre flexible the musical tastes are.

Any advice to those in the creative field who want to venture into production, promotion, Dj’ing anything related to the industry/scene? (As a woman to the ladies out there what would you say?) Throughout our talk she kept referring to the old her…’. I was so concerned what others thought about the music I played-now I don’t give a shit’….You don’t always have to play for everybody else just play for yourself. The people who like it will enjoy it….!

How about people who have an original skill/sound….We talked about upcoming female producer Wondagurl she comments ‘I can guarantee you she’s doing shit she loves. I’m not big time nothing but I’m just doing it cuz I love it. I wasn’t ready for it before. I’m ready now. And all the things I’ve always wanted are coming to me. I love this music!’

Cat emphasizes….‘I can’t stress enough…you need to stop caring what other people think of you. Just do it. Reach out to whatever connection you have-because not everyone has them-and if you know even one person that’s into the same thing as you or if you know one person that you’ve looked up to, reach out to them’. She’s reached out to people from across the world on Facebook alone…. ‘It’s that easy, some are flattered and will do everything they can to help you. Take the plunge and just ask. She realizes that she’s the only person holding her back and if it’s meant to be it’ll come’.

Typical Cat spins next at Round Venue in Kensington Market, August 25th 2016

 

Thanks, Cat!

Check out her set Typical Cat – Live @ Rumpshakers Present AMIT + COMPA – July 2nd, 2016 on SoundCloud!

Vinyl Rainbow

 

 

 

 

805 Studio, CDR Toronto, DJ Culture & Music, Establishments, events, House Music, Knowledge, Movers & Shakers, Music, promoters, Reflections, Social Media, theshineprjct, Toronto

CDR Toronto- Local Music Series – June 16 2016-Part 2 (cdr-projects.com)

CDR (Create, Define, Release) – The night of ideas and tracks in the making at 805 Studio

CDR Cover Banner June 2016

I decided to re-cap the first CDR event of 2016. CDR thrives on genre differences and a lot of that was played a few weeks ago.  Musical differences are what CDR is all about.

The idea is for all participants to hear other sounds and maybe connect each other to the musicality of sound. CDR speaks to collaboration. The last session has seen a steady progression in participants reaching out mostly on the night of the event. Gavin mentioned that it was great to see extra layers of music people coming out of the word works.

‘We’re starting to see a bit of an organic development. There were a larger number of listeners. People are bringing in gangs of friends who are also interested in making music….It’s a discovery for everyone’

Some of the submissions are spontaneous and most were last minute. Gavin and Ramon specifically sent a shout out to Peter Delorum from Kingston, Ontario. He submitted a wikked track ‘Iliad’. He drove from Kingston, Ontario! CDR Toronto had an amazing Akai software giveaway. (Just one of the few reasons why it’s a great place to be!) The reason is to empower good production people and increase the potential to make great music!

The Dego event in April really helped CDR expand their reach! One of two mandates is to promote CDR artists at other clubs/events followed by the other to create a visual understanding of other artists’ creative process.

CDR continues to focus on supporting local Toronto/Canadian-based artists. Gavin believes that Canadians are poor at self promotion. Events like these are a great way to get your musical projects out there. Ramon shouts out DJ Gareth (Snafu 76) who is always ready and attended all 3 CDRs and as always the team is excited to see more new faces.  Special thanks to Elizabeth Da Costa for allowing CDR to run events at her community arts building! (805 Studio) It’s an amazing space which personifies CDR-be sure to check out the next event on June 16th! Have your submissions ready!