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House Music Series – Jellybean Returns to Revival – International

Behind the Decks

Trust your instincts. These are the parting words of a talented artist whose career has spanned many decades.

Trusting his instincts has taken him to  places unimaginable. Literally. As a child from South Bronx, NY he says, ‘there were only two options amongst my friends…’ to be a drug dealer or a bouncer at a club…..I wasn’t gonna get into drugs and I was too short to be a bouncer’……that broke the ice! lol

Jellybean enthusiasts kept passing by; uttering comments, props and questions about when he was gonna  hit the stage. I’m not gonna lie-I knew about Jellybean as a kid because of Madonna.  I mentioned that to him-but what is fascinating is the kind of work he’s amassed in this many years, as well as the industries that he’s crossed. It is truly remarkable BUT also makes sense as he’s always ‘trusted his instincts’.

Another thing I noticed about what always came up while he responded to my questions was his need for CREATIVITY and his focus of wanting to simply MAKE MUSIC. Watching the crowd’s response on the dance floor Benitez said ‘is like GM testing cars…..as a creator of  sounds, tunes, records…..the dance floor allows you to see what works, what’s fresh and what’ll sell’

In his earlier years after Dj’ing for friends parties, his phone started ringing and requests to collaborate with big artists (Madonna, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson) to name a few- brought him into the studio. By working in the studio with recording artists,  it validated his production skills and allowed him to reach more people.  He left DJ‘ing for 10 years and produced music and soundtracks for films. This instinctual departure added more to his musical talents and skills.

Studio54 and Funhouse residencies allowed him to flaunt his production skills in the clubs and he would go on to produce (3-4 records a week???? Damn!) The music industry has definitely changed! The New York house scene is a very  different one than it was back in the day- in that it strictly thrived as an underground scene. This underground no longer exists. Perhaps this underground scene now thrives online?

I asked him about his XM Satellite Sirius Radio station that started in 2011. He was asked to program the station because of  his expertise, tenure and experience. This allowed him free reign over the design of the station’s music catalogue.  He plays FULL tracks when mixing on air  and that he mentions, has also lost its way with the new style of music mixing. He’s able to give back and educate new  listeners by introducing Disco and Classic House styles within the programming.  So every time, you tune in, and listen to Studio54 satellite radio, YOU learn something new! And just like that, our interview had to end……

Jellybean hit the decks at Revival  and  the  song he plays that draws me in is Louie Vega’s ‘Brand New Day’ feat Blaze. I almost forgot what I was gonna  write tonight.  LOL

I danced the night away 🙂

-shine

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Biography, DJ Culture & Music, Establishments, events, House Music, Music, promoters, theshineprjct, Toronto, Travel

House Music Series – Nothin’ But a Little Monday Night Reading – TRIBE – Zepherin Dean Saint Brings the Heat with Some Thoughts…..

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After reading so much about his accomplishments and time spent in the industry- the descriptions I heard were all positive. His intense level of creativity…his tenacity for music and his jet-setting Tribe crew….I had questions about what started it all and what keeps the whole thing going…

I hit up the TRIBE website and was graced with some new and current tunes from an awesome podcast and as I scrolled around I saw the growing list of label artists who hands down seem to be one of the hardest working artists collective in house music…I smiled at my fave-Kristel (props), Peven Everett, Tim Regisford, Djeff Afrozila (see July interview) Nathan Adams….the list is growing. As I met up with Zepherin ‘Dean’ Saint last weekend, I understood that he had been travelling extensively…..the kitchen corridor at the new Ricky Ricardo’s became our interview space and I fired away….

I asked him about the artists and why he signed them…. he answered straight with no chaser ‘it’s all soul music, with depth’…..I liked his answer this set me up to understand the way he perceived music……I asked him ‘why house music?’ He had grown up playing a wide variety of instruments (drums and piano) and he adds ‘house music is one of the only genres to encompass all styles sounds under one umbrella’ For what house music represents this is a very unifying answer. What’s the one trend changing the UK house scene today? The new generation is embracing the sound of the 90s and re-working it to suit the modern taste  and style.

What do you think of the South African music scene? Simply put ‘I’ve been visiting SA since the 90s…from then until now they stay hungry (about the music) South Africa had a bourgeoning scene in the 90s they’ve now been able to create something tangible and lasting, they’ve nurtured something that is uniquely their own.’ Similarly he argues that the South African House is differentiated by the drive and hunger of the people who make up that scene. From dance floors to studios it’s all authentic…… Very candid and well thought out!

I asked him how he feels the Miami Winter Music Conference (WMC) had changed in the last 15 years and one of the most interesting answers I’ve heard…He believes that ‘it hasn’t translated into a new audience, numbers haven’t grown or expanded which mean they haven’t connected with audiences’….Could Zepherin ‘Dean’ Saint be onto somethin’?

If things haven’t changed too much in the industry and you have trailblazers carving out their paths where does all his energy come from? How does he keep going artistically? It comes from the various musical genres he can draw from to make good music-no matter what it is. Disco, Latin, African, Caribbean, Tech….. pretty much anything. His comments veer into production styles he says that these genres can allow him to play with musical tempos and make use of some great production software. (He’s a techie)

With all this travelling the team’s been doing where has TRIBE been well received? He lists first and foremost France (See DJOON podcasts), New York, Atlanta, Montreal and Greece (Kefalonia) The energy in those cities is on a completely different level. You can see that the TRIBE family often promote and travel to these places together!  They support one another-this seems to be the formula!
With TRIBE making so many waves this year, what should we look out for with TRIBE in 2014? New music from Miranda Nicole and Stephanie Cooke and a string of singles he’s working on!
Advice he offers to those trying to get ahead and make waves with their music, projects, talent, production, promotion: Believe in yourself, stay focused, keep your passions alive!

Thanks for reading people!

-shine

Biography, DJ Culture & Music, Establishments, events, House Music, Knowledge, Music, Offering Recordings, promoters, Reflections, Social Media, theshineprjct, Toronto, Travel

Boddhi At Bunda Lounge in Toronto

Boddi Satva (Offering Recordings)

Lights dimmed, incense burning (precisely Nag Champa), music is just right- Late night date? No, not at all. It was the Toronto leg of DJ/Producer Boddhi Satva’s Canadian tour. I had been wondering about Boddhi the artist after stumbling on a podcast a few years ago and was assigned his latest ‘Ancestral Interpretations Pt. 2’ (for review).

I had a chance to sit down with Boddhi Satva last Saturday to discuss the album, the journey, the collaborations and most importantly; the person. He had a lot to say……..

About Being African: Born and raised in the Central African Republic and being well exposed to other parts of Africa and his approach to business and interaction with people in general- this is an integral part of who he is as well as the music he has chosen to share with the world. He is proud and says….’I’m African don’t get it twisted-I’m mixed but anyone who knows me knows I’m more African than any African’

On Being signed to Vega Records: Louie’s got a great heart, he’s family-oriented in business and in life. Our friendship is beyond business….it’s a team effort. He allows me to express my identity. It’s opened many doors for me…it’s definitely increased my credibility. People recognize me for my talent first and foremost……’

On his climb forward: ‘It was very slow, it was and still is lots of work….there are still challenges. Just because you tour, travel, have a label backing you up-the work never stops there. Money is a means to be able to direct your work but it’s not stop….I’m grateful for the all the opportunities awarded. I’m so blessed’

Collaborations with other artists: He’s always wanted to do this! In fact he says,’I wanted to collaborate-it’s the smartest way to get your brand out, it’s all about team work, I can’t have an ego when I know it takes a lot of collaboration with others….

On respecting those that paved the way: He sites Louie Vega, Alton Miller, Kai Alce, Osunlade among many that he has looked up to, worked with, those that have designed the music industry in a way that makes House what it is today….he lists tons of other producers from everywhere-‘I believe in Pan-Africanism especially with art/music’

On African artists namely (Oumou Sangare, Ade Alafia, Yuba, Mangala Camara) and their support of Boddhi Satva using their vocals for ‘house’ consumption- ‘They give me props, she (Oumou) is in full support and respects what I’ve done. The support is mutual-the connection is organic’

On the South African House Invasion: ‘No doubt that South Africa is a hub for house music but EDM in Africa has reached other African countries….Angola has been a runner-up for a few years now and Senegal’s hip hop music scene is stellar. Botswana is another heavy-hitter’

Music to look for: (For those looking for things he’s fond of….music and artists he mentioned during the interview……Paul Randolph (Soldier), Mara TK, Salif Keita, Jose James (Vicadin), Rancido, Offering Recordings vocalist Marie Jolie, Orgasm EP feat.Ade Alafia, Teedra Moses (My fave :D)……

Music as a spiritual connection: ‘Music can move a grown man to tears…..it can heal someone’s spirit, it invokes feelings…it can be sensual in nature’

Working with Promoters: ‘It can be tricky sometimes-my name has been used on events that I didn’t know about….you want to visit different cities but promoters don’t always come through’

On the future of Offering Recordings: ‘Offering Recordings is set to be persistent in providing quality music’

Advice to those on their hustle to succeed in the industry: ‘Stay true, work hard, collaborate, never forget to respect yourself, be grateful for all opportunities’

Impression of Canada (Canadian Tour cities): Winnipeg was happening. The festival (Manitoba Electronic Music Festival)…it was fireburn…a very organic city really peaceful. Lots of street art. Big ups to Winnipeg!’….He describes Toronto as ,vibrant with a mixture of people’ and, ‘good peoples’……’I hear Bunda’s the spot’

Expectations for that night’s (August 17) show (At Bunda Lounge): ‘I hear that Solid Garage and Booty Lounge are pretty good…..(laughs) I don’t have too many expectations but I plan to take the crowd on a journey’

Needless to say, the night was a journey. He traveled the world with music and brought tunes from countries where rhythm rules….no matter the language or dialect….you heard and felt the beats! Dancers of all ages and colours shook their butts (myself included) lol

Afrobeats and Eurobeats ran the night. The interview was as eclectic as the set that night….Boddhi, thanks for the visit!

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