Friday, June 30, 2017

E. Grizzly Preps Beat-maker Bedrock #3 Ahead of 6/30 The Pharmacy Show with THE SH*THAWKS, FELIPE PUPO, MANIKINETER, PLANET 88 & KING ANI MAL (Producer-selected Playlist)

"When you're a DIY musician/producer, you do everything; you write the songs, you record, you compose, produce, and mix. I look at production as a finished product, not just a beat to sell to an emcee. And really, I don't sell beats. I produce my own albums and EP's. It's so time-consuming that it's hard to do it for someone else, unless I'm a huge fan. But when I first started making music back when I was a wee-lad, I had these cliché ideas of how an album is produced. I was an emcee, so I needed beats and I started sampling. It was pretty simple stuff. Mostly, a couple samples chopped and Copied together as a few loops on Reason. Then, I would put a drum beat on it; either Reason drum sounds or drums I sampled, chopped, and Copied together. There's certain albums that helped change my whole perspective about production, though. These aren't my favorite albums, but they definitely influenced how I make music."

I. Kanye West - The College Dropout (2004)

"There [were] a few things about this album that changed my perspective about production. The first thing was the whole issue with Lauryn Hill and the song "All Falls Down." I didn't understand why he had to re-create the whole song without the Lauryn Hill sample and a new girl singing the hook. It sounds like the same song! But I realized when I tried to release my samples, the labels and distribution didn't want to touch it. They said I either had to buy the samples or re-create the exact same thing. It was the last time I ever worked with samples. The other thing I didn't know was even though Kanye West produced the album, all the cool piano riffs were done by John Legend. It's when I realized that most producers have production teams. There [are] a few producers that are amazing and can do everything themselves, but most producers have help. So, I found a bunch of musicians and we started making music together. We'll jam a few things until we found something we liked."

II. The White Stripes - Elephant (2003)

"This album taught me a valuable lesson about recording and mixing. I always thought you had to record with the best equipment available in a big studio and try to get the cleanest sound. When I read Jack White recorded Elephant with no computers on an 8-track, it blew my mind. He made a Platinum[-selling] album in 2003 on an 8-track. Sh*t's unbelievable. And I love the way it sounded. Such a dirty, analog sound. I never recorded in an expensive studio again and until this day, I try to re-create the dirty mixes and recordings that Jack White does; haven't completely figured it out yet, but it's a work-in-progress."

III. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver (2007)

"I always thought you had to have complicated melodies with production: 6-7-note riffs. Many people would tell me all you need is 3 or 4 notes. Then, a few albums made me get into minimalism. One Day As a Lion and Queens of The Stone Age did simple riffs that were catchy. I was into it. Then, when I really studied James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, he does this thing where he plays 1 or 2 notes and puts layers and layers of similar things on top. It's simple, yet complicated. And it's all up-tempo. This album really made me move in a minimalist/up-tempo direction."

IV. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs (2010)

"This album changed the way I looked at production and song-writing. The Suburbs is a concept album with a common theme. It influenced me to make entire projects with a similar theme, which forces me to think in terms of a body of work, rather than one song [at a time]. This affects everything: the production, song-writing, mixing, recording, art, etc. but I really can't make an album any other way now and it's mostly because of The Suburbs. There [have] been concept albums before this, but this is the one that influence me the most."

"So, I evolved from sampling and Hip-Hop beats to what I'm doing now, which is the band Felipe Pupo. We are a "Synth-Calypso-Punk band," which is a mix of Calypso, Punk, Reggaeton, Hip-Hop, Hardcore, and Metal. All the production so far, has been done by me and my homie, Scott Labenski. I tell him the direction I want to go. He comes up with these crazy ideas. Usually, genius and all over the place. I'll organize these ideas, subtract some things, add synth, move things around, write, and produce a song out of it. Then, we both record and mix it. His biggest influence is Tom Morello and Rage Against The Machine. Zack de la Rocha was also a big influence on me, but as far as production, these albums I mentioned helped me get to this point."

- Erik "E." Grizzly (Felipe Pupo)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

British Rockers Slydigs Talk How Animal Are You? EP, Touring with The Who, Eddie Vedder's Words of Praise & More (The Witzard Interview)

"Hailing from Britain's North-West, a thriving hub of musical heritage, Slydigs are a charismatic four-piece leading the rebirth of Rock "N" Roll music by bringing a fierce modern edge to a classic sound. Consisting of four school friends who grew up together in the industrial wasteland between Liverpool and Manchester, Rock "N" Roll music became an effective escape from their seemingly pre-ordained destinies in the factories and building sites of the North-West," reads the intro to Quite Great!'s recent Slydigs press release. Slydigs founding members Dean Fairhurst, Louis Menguy, Pete Fleming, and Ben Breslin readily cite The Rolling Stones, Oasis, The Kinks, and The Black Keys as sources of both classic and contemporary sources of influence. They've previously supported Rock legends THE WHO ON TOUR in 2016, as well as played gigs supporting Catfish & The Bottlemen, The View, The Libertines frontman Pete Doherty, and two full European tours backing Vintage Trouble. I was lucky enough to get ahold of Slydigs frontman Dean Fairhurst and lead guitarist Louis Menguy to speak about their latest How Animal Are You? EP, touring with living legends Pete Townshend & Roger Daltrey, receiving words praise from Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, their "Give It Up, Brother," and much, much more; with that said, feel free to delve in, turn on a couple "chunes" from How Animal Are You? EP, and learn a wee-bit about one of Britain's finest risin' and rollickin' young bands, Slydigs!


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Rock "N" Roll Historian/Scribe

I. How would you say Slydigs' sound has progressed and evolved since you 2012 Flicknife Records full-length Never to be Tamed? How would you best describe the current Slydigs sound harnessed on How Animal Are You? EP?

Louis Menguy: The new EP really showcases our diversity when it comes to our song-writing, I think that's where you can really notice the evolution of the band and see how far we have come. On this EP, we have straight-up Rock "N" Roll tunes, some Bluesy tracks, and a few more mellower anthems. We wanted to give a snapshot of what we could do, when we eventually come to record a full album. You can also really notice how we have progressed as musicians, too. It's an EP we are really proud of!

II. What might you cite as a few of your greatest sources of inspiration and influence on your How Animal Are You EP?

Louis: Both me and Dean have contributed to the song-writing on this EP. From my side, I would say bands such as The Kinks, Jet, Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, and The Rolling Stones, from a lead guitarist/band point of view... and Bob Dylan, Donovan, and Jack White, from a song-writing angle. There's definitely many more sources in there, as every song and artist we adore influences the music we write in some way.

III. Your recent Quite Great! press releases states that you've recently toured with Rock legends The Who, as well as Catfish & The Bottlemen, The View, Vintage Trouble, and The Libertines frontman Pete Doherty. Were you able to play them your How Animal Are You EP? If so, what type of feedback did they give you?

Louis: We only actually got the EP compiled and completed at the beginning of this year, but we have been playing most of the tracks live for a few months. Whilst trying to narrow down tracks for the EP, we tended to choose songs that were getting the best reactions, whilst performing them in stadiums across North America and Europe, whilst supporting The Who. After leaving the stage whilst supporting The Who, there was many a time that we were congratulated by The Who members, who had been watching from the side of the stage. Pete [Townshend] & Roger [Daltrey] were very complimentary towards us, saying they were impressed with how well we were going down with the fans; to hear that from your musical idols, is just a dream come true and it really cemented our belief in the music we are making.

IV. Upon meeting Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder at a Who show in Seattle, he complemented Dean Fairhurst's voice, saying and I quote: "from that performance, I can see why you're excited about your future in the business!" Now, did Eddie have any other particular words of advice for you fellas, as your career progresses?

Dean Fairhurst: He was very sweet, really; however, I had to rush off to sign CD's after The Who show at our merch [table,] so sadly, I didn't get enough time to speak to him. But having him see us perform was amazing in itself and our brief conversation gave us the boost that advice couldn't. He seems a very humble guy, so I suspect he wouldn't be a man that would be giving advice out, like some artists do. I hope I meet him again! I'd love for us to support him one day.

V. While writing these very interview questions, I saw that you guys just released your latest "Give It Now, Brother" music video (which might I add, is incredibly infectious!) However, what's next for Slydigs?

Louis: Thank you! Well, we have just recently finished our first UK/European headlining tour and it was such a great experience. We played a lot of towns we hadn't ever visited before and it was so encouraging to see fans turn out in force to support us. I would
certainly like to re-visit these towns again on another tour in the near future and build on the great fan-base we are establishing. Also, we have a few more festivals in the pipeline. We have a huge amount of material that we want to get out there; ideally, we would want to be releasing it through a label that can help get our music out to as many people as possible.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Beat-maker Bedrock #2: Nihilist Punk-Rapper & TUFF TURF New Wave Revivalist JE DOUBLE F Picks His 3 Most Influential Albums (Producer-selected Playlist)

"I'm Jeff Richie from New Jersey. I make Punk-Rap under the name "JE DOUBLE F" and New Wave under the name "TUFF TURF." First of all, I've never considered myself a "beat-maker" or a "producer." I've never considered myself much of anything. Nothing specific, at least. I write songs, I record them; sometimes, with sequenced instrumentation à la Rap/New Wave, sometimes not. No bullsh*t, no claim to be part of any specific "culture" or "scene." In fact, I think music culture and scenes are a complete waste of time. With that said, here are three albums that f**ked me up permanently:"


"I had been listening to a lot of traditional Hip-Hop around the time that I first heard 6 FEET DEEP. I was probably 16-years-old. This album proved to me that you can make "Rap music" that's not about intercity violence and drugs—two things that I had (and have) no interest in whatsoever. The production is grimy and straight-forward, no frills. The lyrics are evil and f**ked up. I recorded the first Rap lyrics I ever wrote over the instrumental version of "Diary of a Madman.'"


"Glenn Danzig couldn't find a drummer to play the beats that he wanted, so he sequenced the drums for a good portion of this record [himself]. This album was a huge influence on my newest release, HUMAN RITES."


"Hateful and hollow. The production and lyrics on this album directly influence everything I do and have ever done. I don't even love all of the songs on this album—it's just that it's ORIGINAL and WELL-DONE. In 2017, people have forgotten the importance of those two things... These albums speak for themselves. Go listen to them and break something!"

"Fast, chaotic songs with no frills. Heavy touring schedule and DIY ethics; if Danzig met DOOM, you'd have JE DOUBLE F," reads a fragmented chunk of a recent press release I received from Atlantic City, NJ-based Punk-rapper JE DOUBLE F. Jeff Richie has previously worked with Pittsburgh emcee Cody Jones (formerly Stillborn Identity,) fronts a Nihilist New Wave/Punk band called TUFF TURF, and was recently cited by Static Brothers' Riff Quantum & DJ DM as a primary source of influence on their latest OBSTETRIC TRASH EP. Richie readily cites his own greatest sources of influence as Glenn Danzig, Bruce Campbell, Larry David, and Bruce Springsteen. JE DOUBLE F's latest album, HUMAN RITES, was released a few months ago and is available for FREE download from his Bandcamp. He currently has a handful of tour dates scheduled for:


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Karma Kids Founder & Label Head Lt Headtrip Unleashes Full-album Stream of Self-produced Comedy of The Filthbeast (The Witzard Premier)

"I'm Lt Headtrip, head of the Queens-based Indie Rap label, we are the karma kids. Also, a part of the Rap group, The Karma Kids. It started with me, Samurai Banana (my DJ/producer,) and Reson, another rapper friend from my hometown on Kent, OH, back in a basement on Long Island in 2008. We were just our Rap group, Sarcasmo and a rotating cast of spitters and Punk bands back then. Nowadays, we throw shows in NYC, book ourselves tours, make music videos, record, mix, help out fellow rappers, etc." reads a brief intro to Lt Headtrip directly from the deranged, often lyrically unhinged man himself. Lt Headtrip has released a number of projects under various monikers and with a handful of groups including, but not limited to Webtrip, BALD AFRO, Sarcasmo, Impervious Machine, and bluelight + Lt Headtrip, since around 2007. Headtrip's New York-based label imprint and collective, we are the karma kids (or The Karma Kids, for short) now includes sharp-tongued emcees Googie, Duncecap, Gruff Lion, and MC Eleven, as well as in-house DJ/producer and Dope Sh*t Podcast co-host Samurai Banana, in addition to Lt Headtrip himself. He previously produced label mate Gruff Lion's 2015 album, death or evolution, but Lt Headtrip's latest album, Comedy of The Filtbeast is his first entirely self-produced public solo release.

Lucky for you, we're premiering a full-album stream of Lt Headtrip's Comedy of The Filthbeast—compliments of Karma Kids' YouTube channel—right here at The Witzard today! Comedy of The Filthbeast is also now (not) coincidentally available for purchase on we are the karma kids' Bandcamp page in either Digital Album or Physical (CD) AKA a "tangible version of the album smothered in original artwork by Damian Rivera" formats for between $8-11. Karma Kids' full-album stream of Comedy of The Filthbeast is one continuous shot of Lt Headtrip down in the very basement wherein he started making music some 15 years ago; it looks like still image for the first few tracks, until Lt Headtrip slowly starts moving around the room, narrowly teetering the line between "funny and creepy." I strongly suggest you listen to the entire Comedy of The Filthbeast stream because 1.) it's extremely dope! and 2.) you really don't wanna miss the calamity that ensues over album closer, "Hang Nails." It's a bit hard to compare Lt Headtrip's Punk-Rap-leaning style to anything I (or you've likely) ever heard before, but if I were hard-pressed, I guess I would have to equate his overall sound and style to something similar to that of Carl Kavorkian's MANIK|NETER, E. Grizzly-fronted Felipe Pupo, JE Double F, or even Death Grips frontman MC Ride's Aggro-Rap delivery.

"I've released a bunch of collaborative Rap projects under the names Webtrip, BALD AFRO, Sarcasmo, and Impervious Machine and I produced an album for label mate Gruff Lion last year, but this is my entirely first self-produced full-length I’ve given the public. I wrote this record over the past five years, since Sarcasmo’s sophomore album, Cousin Id. It’s way too personal. It catalogs the ravings of a sh*t human trying to reconcile his fear of the world. I pulled some help some close colleagues and friends for finishing touches; got a few features and had a sound engineer from Stony Brook, Rob Paterson, master it. The cover art is by Damian Rivera, a street artist from Queens. Other than that, this is all me. Probably too much of me. "The Filthbeast" is a part of me that feeds on chaos and anger. I truly believe we all have this demon inside of us; I’m just hear to scream about it and make it sound cool. Patrick has an M.A. in Linguistics and is pretty mild-mannered. This album is about the duality of an artist who embraces the darkness. I’m on tour right now for a couple weeks and I’m landing in Brooklyn on 7/8 to celebrate the release. [Comedy of The Filthbeast] will be available digitally Tuesday, 6/27."

- Lt Headtrip

"Basically, me and [Lt Headtrip] have been making music together for over 10 years now and there's very little we've made that hasn't had each other's fingers on it, in some way. We also share everything we make at pretty much every step of the process. He’ll rap me verses before he puts them over beats; I heard all these beats before he wrote anything to them. Sometimes, he’d ask for suggestions and we’d talk about what might be a good part and maybe tweak a line or two. We’ve been working together so closely for so long that we’re familiar with each other’s styles to the point where we know where the other wants to take a song and we always bounce ideas back and forth throughout the creative process. You'll see in the credits that I recorded the whole album, too. That process isn’t just me checking levels and hitting record. Most times, we’re talking about delivery, sometimes he’ll ask me a specific question about a line, or I’ll tell him he needs to be more aggressive (though, that’s usually not a problem!) Don’t get me wrong, Trip’s 100% the mastermind behind everything and I’m not trying to take credit for anything. He also doesn’t always listen to me either, but we collaborate even when we’re not collaborating, you know? He’s my best friend. He lives literally three minutes away from me and it’d be impossible for us not to influence each other constantly. It’s definitely true for my own music."

- Samurai Banana

Monday, June 26, 2017

Height Keech, Drew Scott, Ray Strife & Lt Headtrip Play Vans_Westly's "QUILLS RELEASE PARTY" On The Eve of Nelwayne & Scott-produced Quills EP (The Windup Space)

I was attending a wedding reception here in South Jersey at The Little Red Schoolhouse this past weekend with my fiancé, when I received a Tweet from @DrewciferScott tagging me in a previous Tweet from @Vans_Westly, which simply read: "Yo, I really want someone to review Quills." Westly was of course, referring to his latest Quills EP, which was completed and released just in time for his Quills Release Party this past Saturday, June 24th at Baltimore's The Windup Space with "special guests" Height Keech, Drew Scott, Raymond Strife, and Lt. Headtrip—nearly all of whom I've previously worked with and covered here at The Witzard. Drew Scott, who produced "Spring Sh*t" on Quills, road tested a few new tunes from his upcoming "weirdo Psych-Pop EP," which soon after The Windup Space show, he said "felt real sexy and pathetic;" in addition to Vans_Westly's Quills EP, Scott also released a long-in-the-works remix of headliner Height's "Amazing Spiral" from his recent album, MIND MOVES THE MOUNTAIN. Quills EP was entirely produced by fellow Baltimore-based Producer // Musician // Visual Artists Nelwayne (aside from Drew Scott's contribution) and vaguely reminds me of Stones Throw's early 2000's output, such as Quasimoto AKA Madlib's The Further Adventures of Lord Quas, DOOM & Madlib's MADVILLAINY, Jaylib's Champion Sound, and even J Dilla's magnum opus, Donuts. Drew Scott additionally lent his hand on the mixing/mastering end of Quills EP in post-production, as well

Long story, short... I spoke with Vans_Westly following our Saturday afternoon wedding reception, as well as throughout the weekend and he was kind enough to provide this statement on his Quills EP: "Well, I made the cover like six months ago in Hawaii, but only started working on the music about three months ago. I think I've found my rhythm with this EP and although I didn't come into it with a purpose, it became a weirdly personal project... I like [to] think, when referring to arrows in the [Quills] EP, it's actually internal or external struggles I face/see people face in my life. Although, that's probably me just being pretentious lol... I got diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder like the end of last year, so this whole year I been struggling with that and the effort it takes to try and make it work. The EP for me is kinda a weird reflection of all that." Vans_Westly additionally readily cited Morrissey, The Smiths, and "Dropout Bear" Kanye as his greatest sources of inspiration and influence while creating Quills EP. Quills is Vans_Westly's second project released on Bandcamp, after last year's Re​-​Reading Texts at 3am EP and third overall, if you count his 2013 DatPiff EP, Barefoot . In . Baltimore. Westly easily had one of the strongest verses, in my humble opinion, on fellow Baltimorean Drew Scott's recent album, ILL VESSEL, which can be heard on "Signals." Vans_Westly's 6-track Quills EP is currently available for an extremely reasonable "$4 USD or more" (Name-Your-Price) on his Bandcamp page.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Witzard Presents: A Brand New Column, BEAT-MAKER BEDROCK with "Teacher, Husband, Beat-maker & Dish Washer" John Bachman AKA Jumbled (Producer-selected Playlist #1)

Just about a month ago, I got an email from my friend, producer buddy, and frequent collaborator John Bachman AKA Jumbled mysteriously labelled "2 things." Bachman was writing me about his upcoming Bmore Club-minded project, as well as an idea he said he had been "kicking around;" wherein he simply detailed he wanted to ask "producers to name 3-5 albums that influenced them/their style and talk a little about each album and maybe their [favorite] track." Needless to say, I was immediately interested and Jumbled and I collectively decided we would jointly run our producer playlist column (now, appropriately deemed "Beat-maker Bedrock") on both The Witzard and his Hatford & Reckord Tumblr. And without further ado, here's the inaugural Beat-maker Bedrock artist-penned column with brainchild and beat-maker himself, John "Jumbled" Bachman. Beat-makers and producers: if you're reading this and could like to partake in future volumes of Beat-maker Bedrock, please feel free to contact either myself or John Bachman and we'll do our absolute best to accommodate you! Also, stay tuned for additional details concerning Jumbled's upcoming Bmore Club EP, as well as separate releases with both dwell (of dwell & salk.) as Bully Preston and UllNevaNo.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Founder & Editor-In-Chief

"Greetings—my name is Jumbled—beat-maker from Baltimore. This is the first column of "Beat-maker Bedrock," where producers/beat-makers name a few albums that inspired them on their path to making music."

I. Beastie Boys – Paul's Boutique (1989)

"I think Licensed to Ill was the second tape I ever bought, but didn’t hear Paul's Boutique for many years later. I had gone to the beach with family right after I finished 11th grade and picked it up a music store. Every song is so dense—entirely produced by the legendary Dust Brothers. A completely different record than Licensed to Ill and the other albums that followed. This album (along with [De La Soul's] Three Feet High & Rising) seemed to signal the end of entirely sample-based production. (I mean, "Egg Man" ends with a Jaws and Psycho sample!) I just wish The Dust Brother had put out more during this era (and pre-Odelay). I think this influenced me by not altering the samples that much, so they are recognizable. Recommended reading: The Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique (33 1/3) by Dan LeRoy." EDITOR'S NOTE: Additional Recommended Reading... if you've read and enjoyed Dan LeRoy's 33 1/3 Beasties book, I would strongly recommend you also check out its 2014 66 2/3 "sequel," For Whom The Cowbell Tolls: 25 Years of Paul's Boutique (Volume 2) again, by Dan LeRoy and Peter Relic.

II. GZA – Liquid Swords (1995)

"My friends introduced me to Wu-Tang [Clan] Summer of '96. I think it started with Gravediggaz [6 Feet Deep] and [Enter The Wu-Tang] 36 Chambers. Once I started hearing the solo albums, I started digging deeper. During college, there was a music store that sold used tapes and CD's, where I bought most of the solo albums, but had to sell most of them a few summers ago. Out of the all of the them, [Ghostface Killah's] Ironman is probably my favorite, but the samples on Liquid Swords are legendary; dark and brooding, movie samples that set the tone, and the album is lacking filler. This is the sound I strive for now."

III. Height – Winterize The Game (2007)

"Height is a Baltimore emcee that has been creating his own path for years. After reading about him online, I’m pretty sure I bought this CD at True Vine [Record Shop]. All the songs are under three minutes. Most of the production is done by Shields, which uses a lot of samples, yet sounds futuristic, which makes the songs timeless. Other tracks produced by Mickey Free, Jones, and Ms. Paintbrush (of Grand Buffet) compliment and round out this album. I started to attempt making beats (loops) around this time and this album was in heavy rotation. Simple and complex, at the same time."

"Honorable Mentions: J Dilla – Donuts, Boogie Down Productions – By Any Means Necessary, Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions [to Hold Us Back,] Edan – Primitive Plus, and El-P – Fantastic Damage."

Thursday, June 22, 2017

"I DON'T RAP IN BUMPERSTICKERS:" Insurgent Rap Music Emcee sole Speaks On First Album, Bottle of Humans' Kickstarter-funded Vinyl Re-issue (The Witzard Interview)

"After being out of print for almost two decades, I am finally re-issuing my debut album, Bottle of Humans on double-vinyl. In 1998, I moved to California to start a record label with my friends and dedicate my life to music. I was a stranger in a strange land. I didn’t understand it then, but this was a magical period of human and musical history... it was the early era of The Internet and digital recording. Record stores were still a thing. We sat in rooms and made music together. We recorded onto tape. We wrote rhymes on paper. We broke all the rules. These were the early days of what some might later call "Art Rap," "Alternative Hip-Hop," or "Experimental Hip-Hop." Bottle of Humans was my first solo contribution to it.

This album wasn’t meant to be an "album" at all; it was an evolving collection of songs I burned onto a CD-R that I strangely titled "Bottle of Humans." I would burn CD-R's at my corporate job, when my boss wasn’t looking, make covers on the copiers, and then, sell the CD's to Amoeba Music and around at shows. There were at least three different versions of this record that circulated during the course of its early life. In 1999, it was pressed briefly to vinyl, but it was quickly taken out of print because the distributor ripped me off. It never appeared on vinyl again. Now, for the first time in almost two decades, I am proud to re-release Bottle of Humans on double-vinyl with a digital collection of rare and unreleased tracks that didn’t appear on the final CD version. Through this pre-order I am also making available the original lyric pages on which I wrote these songs. Own a piece of this history."

- sole's Kickstarter description

I. Why did you decide to Kickstart (pun intended!) a crowd-funding campaign to properly re-issue Bottle of Humans now, nearly 20 years after its initial release?

People have been wanting Bottle of Humans on vinyl for years; that and Selling Live Water are my top-selling albums, so although my music keeps evolving, I like to celebrate that early stuff... when I listen to it now, I can hear all these influences (Aceyalone, Saafir, Saul Williams, DJ Shadow, etc.) but it's still very much its own thing. That record, in particular, in my opinion, stands in its own as a testament of those particular times, Prog-Rock beats with prose over them that barely rhymed... there is something magical about making art when you are just bumbling in the dark... literally reading poetry for the first time and discovering The Beatles lol. I have toyed with the idea of re-releasing Bottle of Humans for many years, but every time I ran the numbers, it didn't make financial sense for me to invest $4,000 into a 20-year-old record. I was very weary about using Kickstarter for this, but after considering it for years, it became clear that the only way this record will come back to life is if people who give a sh*t wanted to pre-order it. At this point, it's over halfway funded in the first week, which is amazing. I'm not trying to go crazy with it, just trying to cover costs and if it goes way over the top, I might push [to] do a little more to promote it in the Fall/Winter. From a financial perspective, it makes sense sometimes to use Kickstarter for pre-orders because they actually take a smaller cut than Bandcamp.

II. How do the three 1999-2003 Anticon CD-R versions differ of Bottle of Humans and how are they comparable or different from your upcoming Bottle of Humans Vinyl Re-issue?

When Bottle of Humans first appeared as a thing, it was literally just what people today would call a "mixtape." I needed something to sell when I was playing shows, so I collected all my songs that weren't on anything. When I moved to The Bay [Area,] it was with the intention of making an album with my long-time collaborator and producer, at the time, Moodswing9. For whatever reason, our creative relationship started to diverge in The Bay and so, that album never happened. One version of Bottle of Humans was for Scribble Jam; back then, it actually made financial sense to press up a couple hundred CD's for a music event because you'd sell them all and cover expenses. That was what the culture of Indie Rap was like when albums/CD's/vinyl/tape were the primary way people experienced music. The next version of Bottle of Humans must have been for a tour or something and then, the one after that was a 90-minute retail version. Each had a few different songs that didn't appear on the next one. Eventually, Odd Nosdam made a shortened retail version around 2000 that after all is said and done, flowed the best. That's the version I want to put out on vinyl.

III. You recently described Bottle of Humans as "an evolving collection of songs [you] burned onto a CD-R [and] strangely titled "Bottle of Humans'" that was never really meant to be an album at all... How was each CD-R version different and are all of the contained songs now presented here?

Each CD had a slightly different version and the final [Odd] Nosdam version is like a "Best of..." That's the one that is coming out on vinyl. All the other songs (about 40 minutes-worth of music, that I know of) are really good as well, but for the sake of an album sometimes you have to "kill your babies," as they say in film. So, for everyone who was helping fund Bottle of Humans, I wanted them to have access to all the music, once and for all. The extra 40 minutes will be made available as a digital download. I could have put it all on like triple or quadruple-vinyl, but that's just over the top and unnecessary.

IV. Would you care to briefly talk about the various Bottle of Humans album cover designs, some of which were notoriously scanned on copiers at your then-corporate job and sold at Amoeba Music? How did you go about choosing which cover to use for the upcoming vinyl re-issue?

I was working at a consulting firm mainly called Arthur D. Little. They were, at the time, the second or third largest consulting firm in The States. This was at the height of the first Dot-com bubble. I was making like $25 an hour with no college degree and I'd finish all my work in a few hours; the rest of the day, I'd spend promoting my music on message boards. I had a few desktops with CD-burners under my desk, which at the time, were pretty rare. I would just burn CD's at work and then, take them out and sell them at shows. As a 20-year-old kid from Maine, taking the train every day from Oakland into The Embarcadero District, it was all very surreal to me and I felt like I could do that forever. A few jobs later, I realized I'd rather just make music than work at a job like that. After all is said and done with the various album covers, I ended up going with the classic one Why? made because it's the one people associate the most with it and I like the colors and overall design.

V. What exactly was WHY? founder Yoni Wolf's involvement in Bottle of Humans? It appears as though he raps on later editions on "Center City" and designed the third 2003 Anticon edition's "revitalized" cover artwork (used on the upcoming vinyl re-issue, as well,) correct?

Yup, that's his involvement. It's a solo album, so I wasn't working too closely with anyone, in particular. I was working with everyone who was in the mood to work on music, at any given time! Always loved WHY? and his approach. Such a good dude and amazing artist. I am using his art for the final vinyl version.

VI. Bottle of Humans was briefly pressed on vinyl back in 1999, but you've said "it was quickly taken out of print because the distributor ripped [you] off;" would you care to further detail this rather unfortunate chain of events or would you rather not get into it?

Sure. We were working with TRC Distribution. They also distributed a number of other big labels back then and similar stories emerged. We sound-scanned like 30,000 units with our first few releases and they tried to pay us a tiny, tiny fraction of what the numbers said we were owed. So, I had the choice to hire a lawyer and go full on Pyrrhic victory with them or hire a lawyer to litigate and secure the release of our masters to us. That's how companies like that functioned back in the day. You could rip someone off for thousands of dollars and because they couldn't afford the legal fees of fighting back, the people who owned the means of distribution always won. For me, I knew that owning the masters was always the most important thing. So, although taking that loss was huge, that record has been a steady stream of income for my entire life because I got the masters back. First, from TRC then, later from Anticon.

VII. Anticon's 2003 re-issue says, "All songs recorded in The Pedestrian's bedroom, The Treefort, and sole's old bedroom," but what exactly were the recording processes behind Bottle of Humans like?

Really not much different than today. The biggest differences between then and now is that I was living in a 2.5 bedroom house with 10 people. There were always people around, sometimes people in three different rooms working on their projects. Back then, we were using [Alesis Digital Audio Tape] (ADAT) and 8-tracks to record on, not computers, so it would always be easier to have someone in the studio recording you/coaching you and running the machines. Also, when I'd work with producers, we'd sit in the studio with their samplers and put the song together and re-sequence stuff based on writing. Sometimes, they'd just leave the samplers playing and I'd write right there. It was pretty organic and old school. These days, when I make music, it's something I record to a demo alone in my studio on a computer on a beat a producer lays out. I send them my stuff and they remix and re-sequence the music around that. So, it's very different now with technology. It's kind of crazy to think that early analogue material necessitated more collaboration in-person. Never thought about that before.

VIII. How would you say you've grown and progressed as a rapper, producer, and overall human being since the initial 1999 release of Bottle of Humans?

On a human level, I've changed so much it's staggering. First and foremost, it's clear now that during those years, I was carrying a lot of trauma from my childhood; although, my mother always supported the f**k out of me, my father (may he rest in peace) was a pretty abusive person that f**ked me up in countless ways. Over the years, I forgave him and processed certain things my own way, but all that sh*t made me a pretty difficult person to deal with. Although, I was radicalized by reading about Malcolm X and the Black Panthers, my music back then was very much focused on vague social commentary and creative writing exercises. When I quit my job and did music full-time, I had so much free time to myself, I mostly spent it reading and trying to learn about history, philosophy etc. and that journey has never ended for me. Also, in my free time, I would spend a lot of time just messing around making beats because I had the means to do so. That was something I did just for fun for a while, until I started producing my own music. So, I went from not being a producer to being a producer. I never learned to play instruments, I always kept my production styles dirty and in homage to the early period of just making beats on samplers on tape.

As a rapper, in many ways, I have come full-circle. The music that was my favorite sh*t in the 90's was Public Enemy and early Gangsta Rap, stuff like Spice 1, N.W.A. and Ice Cube. There was a direct linkage from stuff like Boogie Down Productions to early Gangsta Rap. They all spoke on what it was like to live in the ruins and the sacrifice zones of the United States. Through lots of touring and playing shows in Europe, I became very frustrated with how when I performed my material, people would just cheer, even if they had no idea what I was saying. Back in that early stuff, I didn't enunciate very clearly. It was almost like a secret language for the initiated (kind of like Punk music, I guess.)

When I was living in Barcelona from 2004-2006, I reflected on this a lot, I researched a lot of old Folk stuff and became obsessed with how Folk artists were able to speak to the times in such a clear way and I wanted to do that to my music. To do it, I would have to change my approach entirely. I would have to find an engaging way to make music to speak clearly... so, I started really studying people like Jay-Z, Nas, and 50 Cent. It wasn't until the Southern stuff really exploded that I found my voice. I saw echos of early Anticon in everyone from Lil' Wayne to Lil B and even today in people like [Lil] Uzi Vert. So, I saw that as my window to intervene in the moment. I am a student of all this sh*t, so I thought to myself, what would Woodie Guthrie be doing today? I think he'd be rapping over hard-a$$ beats. So, that's what I am doing today. As an artist, I think its really boring to go back and make the same sh*t over and over again and I think it's really uninspiring to forever live in the cloak of old material. All my favorite artists change and I love them for it. For me, the circle on that old life has closed; I am no longer working with Anticon, I am no longer a a 20-year-old kid trying to decode Nietzche quotes, but I want to honor that old music and that period for the profound impact it had on me and for the contribution it was to the world of music in general. As a DIY artist, if I don't tell my story and rep for my back catalog, no one will!

IX. I remember you saying that around the time of Bottle of Humans, you were first getting into production work and making your own beats; did you hand-craft any of the beats on the album? And if not, who was responsible for the production work and how did you go about finding them?

No, I didn't produce any of the music on this album. The producers I worked with were mostly Controller7, Alias, DJ Mayonnaise, Odd Nosdam, and Jel. DJ Mayonnaise, and Alias were both from Maine and moved out to The Bay when me and Pedestrian did in 1998. Other artists we met through tape trades; people like Jel and through Jel, doseone and through doseone, WHY? and Odd Nosdam. All of them re-located to The Bay at the same time with the same dream. I met Controller7 when I was listening to the music that was distributed at the first house I lived in San Francisco, an underground tape [distributor] called Atak Distribution. That's how I met all those people, most of them formed the core of Anticon.

X. Are you currently working on any new music, Nuclear Winter remix collections, or anything of that nature? If so, when might we ultimately, expect to see said new material released?

I am working on a new mansbestfriend-y kind of record called Communique. It'll probably come out in the Fall. I am also halfway through the new sole & DJ Pain 1 record, but we are taking our time with that. I feel like the stuff we have been making could really reach a bigger audience, so I'm interested to see what we can do with that record to make some bigger things happen. As far as Nuclear Winter, it's hard to work on that stuff these days because all the music is stolen, so I can't sell it. I might make another one in the Fall, but we'll see how far I get on these other projects. It's hard to make music in the Summer; my brain shuts down in the heat and I just wanna stare into my backyard and watch life spring into being. One of my biggest creative projects right now that I am working on is my podcast, The Solecast. I am also working on a book about Hip-Hop and radical politics for a radical book publisher that I have a crazy amount of respect for; so, between these albums, I'll be trying to wrap that up, as well.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Shark Tank Let Loose Chummy Third Single from Height-produced Dan's House, "Dan's House (Shouts to Hell Rell)" COLD RHYMES RECORDS

Not only is Shark Tank a Kevin "Mr. Wonderful" O'Leary-helmed dream-crushing ABC reality show, it's also a dream-crushing Kingston, Ontario/Pittsburgh, PA/Baltimore, MD-based Hip-Hop posse. Shark Tank AKA The Fun Youngs—fronted by "John" Height and backed by lyrical assassins "John" Lord Grunge, "John" B.Rich, and sometimes, "John" Mickey Free—are currently prepping their fourth Height-produced album, fittingly titled Dan's House for a summertime release on Cold Rhymes Records. "This is the video for "Dan's House" filmed by Ben O'Brien and edited by B.Rich. Naturally, this was filmed in my house. We were originally supposed to play ourselves in the video, but when a wrench got thrown [into] our travel plans, we got Emily Slaughter, Jones, and Mickey Free to stand-in. All three of them are fire emcees and beat-makers and of course, Mickey Free is the Jarobi White of Shark Tank," Height Keech wrote within an emailed statement over the weekend.

"Dan's House" (complete with parenthetical "Shouts to Hell Rell" of The Diplomats fame) is the third single let loose ahead of Shark Tank's upcoming Dan's House, behind quick-strike "Intro (Blaze for Days)" and The Witzard-premiered lead-off track "ACE;" however, I've heard a pre-release press advance and I can whole-heartedly attest that Dan's House is indeed chock-full of nine additional Beastie Boys-style Rap Round Robin compositions entirely produced by "John" Height and mixed by "John" Brandon Lackey. Dan's House is currently available for pre-order for an incredibly reasonable $7-10 in either Digital Album or Compact Disc (CD) formats from both Shark Tank's and Cold Rhymes Records' Bandcamp pages. If you still aren't 100% sold, for whatever reason, the three aforementioned hard-as-nails tracks are currently streaming from "ALBUM FOUR FROM THE FUN YOUNGS." Dan's House is out 7/17 on Height's own Cold Rhymes Records.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Witzard Presents: Another EXCLUSIVE Interview with Seanh On Villainous Follow-up, SADEVILLAIN II (DOOM + Sade Mash-up)

"After /r/jimmyjrg created those stems of MF DOOM, I knew I had to follow up SADEVILLAIN with a [sequel] and this is exactly what I've done. I've had nothing but free time on my hands and went right to work on this project. The amount of recognition of the first tape got was insane, it was incredibly overwhelming and I still thank everyone who has listened to it," Seanh AKA clerksfanboy AKA Snh AKA @TheSeanh2k11 recently wrote within an /r/MFDOOM Subreddit titled I Present to You... SADEVILLAIN II. I've spoken with Seanh a few times over the course of the past year since the release of SADEVILLAIN (2016) and last I knew, he was busy crafting some original beats for an Aesop Rock remix project, which became his recent Aesop Rock vs. Seanh EP. It appears as though Seanh quietly uploaded SADEVILLAIN's proper sequel, fittingly titled SADEVILLAIN II, Monday afternoon and seemingly wasn't picked up by an media outlets until @okayplayer Tweeted out: "Ol' Metal Fingers and the iconic British Soul singer are joined once more in 'SADEVILLAIN II,'" that very evening. I then, promptly reached out to Seanh via Twitter DM and submitted an interview request—itself, oddly enough, a sequel of sorts to our 2016 conversation and Seanh's original DOOM EP—and today, a mere two days later, voilà, you have the very SADEVILLAIN II-cenric interview you are about to embark upon! Seanh initially posted a SADEVILLAIN II link within the /r/MFDOOM Subreddit (which has since been taken down.) Although, full-album SADEVILLAIN II streams are currently available on Soundcloud and YouTube, as well as a direct download from mixtape-hosting hub, DatPiff.


"Master Allah Truth Truth" (M-A-T-T)
The Witzard Founder & Editor-In-Chief

I. What was your typical recording, remixing, and mashing-up process like for SADEVILLAIN II and how did it differ from your processes while creating its 2016 predecessor, SADEVILLAIN?

My process was pretty much the same; I listened to a lot of Sade and picked out songs that I thought fit the flow of DOOM well and flipped the sample [whenever] possible to give it a different feel to the original. I then added drums to the sample and then, added DOOM's vocals, thus creating SADEVILLAIN. I also added a prelude track called "Fun Is High," which was fun to make. It was a little skit to go into the "Blunted" track featuring [Sean Price and] vocals from old commercials.

II. Have you received any type of feedback from either DOOM, Sade, or any of their respective affiliates? If not, what was the highest form of praise you've received on the SADEVILLAIN project(s) thus far?

No feedback from either DOOM or Sade and to be honest, I'd be worried what they'd think of it. I know a lot of artists don't like their stuff being remixed and what not, but it would be cool to know if they have heard it. The biggest praise was from Lupe Fiasco, who Tweeted out the first SADEVILLAIN [album] a year ago on Twitter, which I thought was really dope.

III. I remember you saying you got the DOOM a cappella stems from Reddit user /r/jimmyjrg, but how exactly did you go about obtaining and choosing the various "features" peppered throughout SADEVILLAIN II?

In terms of choosing the features, not a lot of thought went into it. I would have liked to add guys like Earl Sweatshirt, Aesop Rock, and Apani B, but none of them had any stems that would have worked. So, I chose artists who would have complemented DOOM's [flow]. I also originally had Ghostface Killah on the "The Toughest" track, but changed it last minute to Raekwon because I preferred his flow and style more; you might see some sources saying "(ft. Ghostface)," but that's only because I forgot to change the title's name.

IV. Would you care to briefly speak on a few of your other recent Bandcamp releases, namely Aesop Rock vs. Seanh EP and Stand Alone EP? Also is Stand Alone, as it sounds, your first release of completely original material?

My other Bandcamp stuff isn't anything to shout about. I created an Aesop Rock tape because I was new to his stuff and wanted to mess around with his stems and see if I could create a beat that gave him a darker feel, [which] was fun to do. The "Stand Alone" EP was my attempt at a "Chill-Hop" tap, featuring soft drums and soft melody loops that was supposed to give off a relaxing vibe. It was purely experimental, as I don't rate the tape that high, but it was still fun to make.

V. What are your Top 5 DOOM or DOOM-related releases (be it full-lengths, singles, EP's remixes, etc.) and why for each, Seanh?

This is going to be tough! I'm a huge DOOM fan, so I'll give you my Top 5 official projects that DOOM has worked on (from 5th to 1st): Born Like This, MM.. FOOD, THE MOUSE AND THE MASK, Vaudeville Villain, and MADVILLAINY. Just speaking briefly on each tape; Born Like This (2009) being DOOM's latest solo project, I feel like this tape is fairly under-rated. DOOM's raw lyrics shine throughout this project and the production is fairly minuscule, but that's only because DOOM really wants to show you he can rap raw if he wants to... tracks like "Cellz," "Ballskin," and "That's That" have some of the rawest lyrics of any DOOM project. THE MOUSE AND THE MASK (2005) album has a very cool concept—the cartoony samples really fit well into DOOM's persona. It makes it sound as if DOOM has his own show and he's just giving us a tour on his life as a cartoon. It's a really cool album that is always on repeat. Vaudeville Villain (2003) is by far, his most unique album—the weird futuristic vibe of his alter ego/younger self really shines through. The amount of movie references in the project is crazy and it's always fun to listen to! The last two, MM.. FOOD (2004) and MADVILLAINY (2004) get spoken about a lot. MM.. FOOD is the first project I heard of DOOM—the food references and double entendres are out of this world! And MADVILLAINY is his greatest project, in my opinion. The crazy unique samples that Madlib pulls out really makes this album more that just a musical project, but an experience that everyone needs to go through, no matter what genre of music you're into.

VI. What exactly do you have planned next for creation and eventual release? Now, would you ever do a third DOOM-centric release or are you planning to try to distance yourself a bit from SADEVILLAIN I-II from here on out?

In terms of what's next, I really don't know. I probably won't make another SADEVILLAIN [project]. I feel like two is enough, but never say never. My plan is to continue producing, try and step my game up, and maybe work on some original stuff, while I try and progress further as a producer.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Zilla Rocca & Small Professor AKA Career Crooks Join a Long Line of Hip-Hop Luminaries Waxing Poetic About Steve Martin with Bob Sweeney-directed "Steve Martin" (GrownUpRap)

Steve Martin's long-standing and storied relationship with Hip-Hop goes back nearly 30 years. It seems to have all started with "The Steve Martin" from EPMD's critically-acclaimed and genre-shaping debut Strictly Business (1988) which goes a little something like this:

"Well, I have a new dance, that you all must learn
You may have seen the Pee-Wee Herman, but it's had it's turn
Now, this brand new dance, I know you not with it
You might break your neck, to really try to get it
If you seen the clumsy movie it was called The Jerk
You had to check out Steve Martin, as he started to work
He was doin' freaky moves with his feet and head
With his blue farmer suit and his big Pro-Keds."

It appears as though, according to YouTube's Learn Hip Hop Dance instructor MahaloDance, "The Steve Martin" is also "an old school Hip-Hop move," which I would assume was likely inspired by EPMD's 1988 album track of the same name. Lest we forget, Steve Martin starred within 2013 American Comedy film Bringing Down The House alongside Queen Latifah, Eugene "Jim's Dad" Levy, Betty White, and Angus T. Jones from Two and a Half Men; a film fittingly billed as "When a lonely guy meets a woman on The Internet who happens to be in prison, she breaks out to get him to prove her innocence, and proceeds to wreak havoc on his middle-class life." At one point within the Adam Shankman-directed movie, Martin's character Peter Sanderson buys an Enyce jersey and outfit from a young African-American man (whom he calls "homeboy") and proceeds to make his way through a club hilariosuly "dancing" with women nearly half his age. Bringing Down The House's Hollywood Records-released soundtrack additionally features rhymes from the likes of Jadakiss & Eve, Foxy Brown, Queen Latifah herself, Floetry, Lil' Wayne, Big Tymers & TQ, Pharrell-fronted N*E*R*D, Kelly Price, Robert Palmer, and Barry White.

The Witzard's latest interview subjects, Zilla Rocca & Small Professor (collectively known as Career Crooks) recently partook in a similarly-minded with interview with London-based writer and GrownUpRap Editor Ben Pedroche. Along with said Zilla & Small Pro interview, Grown Up Rap additionally premiered Career Crooks' Bob Sweeney-directed music video for Good Luck with That's incredibly infectious stand-out "Steve Martin." After seeing the "Steve Martin" premier at GrownUpRap, I promptly reached out toboth Small Professor & Zilla Rocca, via email; with Small Pro stating: "[it's the] second video from Good Luck With That. Watch Zilla demonstrate his South Philly Rap hands technique and me stare menacingly into the camera, while inexplicably wearing a wrestling mask. Learn the "Steve Martin" dance from YouTube and do it to the song. Our album is out now, cop or stream it wherever you regularly do either. Eff Bill Maher!" Smalls' partner-in-crime, Zilla Rocca, further detailing within a separate email: "'Steve Martin" is a super-old song, one of the first [collaborations] between us. The original beat ended up on Small Pro's remix project Gigantic, Vol. 0 (2012) on a song with me and Curly Castro, "Welcome to The Holodeck" Remix. So, the retail version is the polar opposite in every way. I always loved the song, so I figured we should revisit it for the Career Crooks album. Smalls cooked up the remix and now, we have the video, which is Small Pro's first ever video appearance in his Rap life."

Monday, June 12, 2017

Walter Gross Unveils 50 Limited Edition Hand-made & Re-dubbed VESTIGE Companion SUPER BASIC "Beat Tapes" (Bandcamp, self-released)

"I don't want to go into too much detail with this release, except for the idea that it was made in the spirit of a beat tape, even [though] it's not traditionally a "beat tape." Meaning, it's a hodge-podge of random stuff that is sequenced and edited to be able to enjoy as a little journey. And it is also an excuse to use these [CHILDREN'S TALKING BIBLE] cassettes I had and make some art. The term "SUPER BASIC" is a bit of commentary on the state of our world right now; this super-mechanical, very stagnant status of things," Berlin-based beat-maker and multi-media artist Walter Gross told The Witzard within a recent email. SUPER BASIC is a companion piece, of sorts to Gross' March 2017 Black Box Tapes-released cassette, VESTIGE and he'll be the first to tell you why it was released so soon after its predecessor: "Rent. I need rent money!" SUPER BASIC was made in true 1980's Golden Age Hip-Hop mixtape/beat tape fashion: 50 super-limited edition copies with one-of-a-kind hand-crafted Burroughsian "cut-up" slipcase covers, re-dubbed over THE CHILDREN'S TALKING BIBLE cassettes and last, but not least, artistically splattered with florescent pink and blue paint. SUPER BASIC is also available digitally, for those who might not be able to snag one of the super-limited 50 cassettes, before they're all gone; although, as a slight buying incentive, "the tape version contains a bonus secret song not available digitally." It appears as though SUPER BASIC's three versions consist of 10-12 tracks created around the same time as VESTIGE that could very well be deemed "bonus tracks" to that very album themselves: left-overs, unfinished song ideas, B-sides, post-VESTIGE compositions, and a FilthyBroke Recordings comp. submission all recorded between 2015-17. SUPER BASIC sounds like the woozy, free-spirited slightly more loose red-headed stepsister to Walter Gross' VESTIGE.

Where were you on the afternoon of May 23rd between 12:04 and 1:36 PM? Because Walter Gross (@waltergross) was on Twitter giving some short, yet insightful 140 character max commentary on his just-released SUPER BASIC collection and 6 of its 11 standard edition tracks (which I've transcribed below.) COMMENCE THE SHORT COMMENTARY: TRACK #1 "'Hierophant I:" I read the word not really understanding & then, it was spoken to me in a weird way by a Serbian gypsy... For me, personally, it's my favorite; it's a live remix of [album closer] "Hierophant II." Last year was insane and this song is my diamond bullet to it." TRACK #4 "'Timer" was also an accident recorded when I made "Naked Lunch." I like the bit with "The National Anthem" in it. One take." TRACK #5 "'Cookie [By The Sea]" was made for this Anti-Bullying comp. for @FilthyBrokeMJC using samples from Ron & Fez / Manchester By The Sea." TRACK #6 "'Dear Dirt Baz" continues the Dear Dirt McGirt tradition of mashing Wolf Eyes / ODB as a healing process... yet another installment of Dear Dirt McGirt / the quintessential collage of ODB / Wolf Eyes #RIPDIRTDOG." TRACK #9 "'Chip's Pile Driver" is from a beat on the Double Down Tour (now lost) using a Jim Norton / @ChipChipperson clip." "So, this concludes the commentary segment of this evening. Thanks for listening. Hope it finds your reality well and loud!" @waltergross signed off on 5/23. SUPER BASIC was entirely produced, processed, remixed, and re-arranged by Walter Gross in Berlin from 2015-17 and contains samples from Academy Award-winning film Manchester By The Sea, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Wolf Eyes, and Chip Chipperson. It's currently available for purchase on 50 hand-made re-dubbed cassette tapes and digital download from Walter Gross' extremely plentiful Bandcamp page.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Darko The Super Unleashes New Doc Heller Beat Tape BUMMER EVERY SUMMER; Feat. Apocalyptic Bastard Left-overs & 90's Sample Flips (U DONT DESERVE THIS BEAUTIFUL ART)

Mere hours before penning this very piece you are about to embark upon, I was taking a late night scroll through Twitter and happened to stumble upon HYPEBEAST Editor Ben Roazen (@broazay)'s recent interview with [adult swim] Vice President & Creative Director Jason DeMarco (@Clarknova1.) DeMarco is of course, responsible in part for [adult swim]'s seventh annual Singles Program, Williams Street Records, DANGERDOOM's THE MOUSE AND THE MASK, and bringing together Run The Jewels, amongst countless animated/musical triumphs. I was, as a matter of fact, at the time, trying to figure out a slightly unique angle to approach this Darko The Super BUMMER EVERY SUMMER write-up and VOILA... Near the end of HYPEBEAST's interview, Ben Roazen asked Jason DeMarco to briefly discuss [adult swim]'s storied years-long working relationship with DOOM; to which DeMarco replied in part, "I've got paintings that DOOM made for me on my desk. Like I said, I wanna build these relationships and have them be fruitful and continuous. It's a refreshing change for someone like DOOM, who's used to people trying to steal their money all the time. As far as now, DOOM's working. I can't say much more, but I'm definitely doing more with [DOOM & Danger Mouse]."

And to be honest, that's exactly how I feel about my friend and as you well know by now, frequent collaborator Evan Souza AKA Darko The Super. He's an extremely talented and very unique aspiring Philly-based rapper-producer, who like all of us, just needs a little reassurance and affirmation from time to time. Darko The Super is currently readying to unleash his 60th album, Watered-Down Demon Fuzz this August, as well as Return to The Hell Hole Store with partner-in-rhyme ialive on June 23rd. I first met Darko about a year or so ago after reading a detailed interview John "Jumbled" Bachman conducted along with ialive about their then-forthcoming The Hell Hole Store album on Already Dead Tapes. It's been grrr-eat working with Darko The Super and over the span of the past year, we've collaborated on a number of unique features, profiles, reviews, interviews, U DONT DESERVE THIS BEAUTIFUL ART artist spotlights, and even a Darko-penned guest post for The Witzard. It's honestly, one of the strongest and most plentiful working relationships and friendships I've managed to build up and maintain during all my years writing and running this very site! Darko The Super's latest beat tape, BUMMER EVERY SUMMER, is currently available for streaming or purchase for just $3.11 at his U DONT DESERVE THIS BEAUTIFUL ART Bandcamp page with an additional 12th bonus track, upon purchase.

"BUMMER EVERY SUMMER is a beat tape of some stuff I made while working on Watered-Down Demon Fuzz, plus some older random songs I went back to. I like putting together and releasing albums—it's fun for me—so, I try to do it often. This album is mostly filler and some killer, in my opinion. I love the title—it's something I had in mind already—then, when I heard the line from [Frank Zappa &] The Mothers of Invention's Absolutely Free album, I knew I wanted to use it for something. The artwork was fun to work on; I have all these old photos from when I was little that I found on a hard drive and have been using for my artwork. That’s me buried in the sand at the beach one summer. I wish I had more to say about this album, but I've been so depressed and hoped releasing this would cheer me up somehow, but it's not working. Thank you to anyone who enjoys it," Doc Heller AKA Darko The Super detailed within an emailed statement. BUMMER EVERY SUMMER features a wide array of characteristically Darko instrumentals, album left-overs, previously unreleased tracks, quick vocal interludes, late 90's sample flips, and much, much more! "Breed" samples The Breeders' "Cannonball," "What Are We Doing? What's Going On?" flips Linda Perry-led 4 Non Blondes' "What's Up," "Check Out These Wheel Deals!" samples Tears for Fears and is actually a left-over from Apocalyptic Bastard, Juice Newton "Angel of The Morning"-flipping "One for Homeboy Sandman," Billy Joel "The Longest Time"-sampling, a cover of Tommy Maris' Bud Ross-penned 1971 single "Guess I'll Never," and a bonus instrumental fittingly titled "Kool A.D. Rhymed to This for 6 Minutes," as well as two Darko-led vocal tracks: Harvey Danger-sampling "And I Don't Even Own a TV (Doc Heller's Dangerous Remix)" and "Looney Bin Loser."

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

3 Feet High & Rising: Superet Unleash Glitchy Zane Lowe-premiered "Pay It Later" from LCD Soundsystem, David Bowie & The Bravery-evoking Full-length (Rob The Rich Recordings)

"Superet is an American Rock band that formed in Los Angeles on Valentine's Day of 2016. Tattooed across the arm of singer/guitarist Matt Blitzer, the date marks both the project's genesis and the manifestation of the musical partnership between five close friends," reads a press release I recently received from BB Gun Press. Superet consists of Blitzer, along with keyboard player Alex Fischel, drummer Sam KS, bassist Patrick Kelly, and guitar/keyboard/percussion player Isaac Tamburino, who have previously "collaborated in various iterations over the preceding years;" further detailing that Superet is "the culmination of their long-standing creative kinship." While Superet recently premiered their first single, "Pay It Later," on Zane Lowe's Beats 1 radio show, the majority of their social media sites cryptically read either "Superet is coming..." or "SUPERET IS A BAND." Frontman Matt Blitzer and his fellow bandmates harness a rather unique, joyously frantic Dance-influenced blend of Pop-Punk and Garage Rock on "Pay It Later" and have already been compared to the likes of David Bowie, Roxy Music, LCD Soundsystem, Brian Eno, The Bravery, and early 2000's Dance-Punks The Faint.

"Snatched from the facade of a decrepit Los Angeles church, the Latin word "superet" translates to "may it overflow," an apt description of the reclusive band's modus operandi [M.O.] After quietly stockpiling eccentric, hook-laden Rock gems behind closed doors, the group unveiled its blistering debut single "Pay It Later" in May of 2017. Superet is coming..." continues BB Gun's press release. Last week, Superet wrapped up a string of East Coast and Midwest dates supporting AFI frontman and all of the non-Gwen Stefani members of No Doubt as DREAMCAR behind their maiden voyage in support of their recent self-titled PLOF, LLC/Columbia Records debut. While their is currently no type of formal announcement to be made concerning a Superet full-length on Rob The Rich Recordings—just "Pay It Later," at the moment—I'm assured it's something to look forward to and the staff at BB Gun Press are "all really excited about what's to come..." Later this month, Superet will be heading back out on the road for six dates in support of DREAMCAR (*) once more, Gang of Youths (&) and Dream Machines with Thumpasaurus ($):
• 6/11 at Mississippi Studios in Portland, OR &

• 6/12 at Barboza in Seattle, WA &

• 6/14 at Bottom of The Hill in San Francisco, CA &

• 6/30 at Troubador in Los Angeles, CA $

• 8/11 at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA *

• 8/12 at The Fonda in Los Angeles, CA *

Monday, June 5, 2017

Brazil/Australia to America: Fernando Aragones Unveils First Proper EP As Animal Ventura, Forrest St. (Pat Van Dyke Sessions)

"Back in Summer of 2016, I got an email from Brazilian-born/Australian-based song-writer Fernando [Aragones] (aka Animal Ventura) inquiring about having me produce his upcoming record. Last November, we did just that," Jersey City-based drummer and producer Pat Van Dyke wrote within a recent email. Van Dyke is of course, referring to an album he produced, recorded, mixed, and drummed throughout for Animal Ventura over a span of 10 days last November. What was birthed out of those five days of recording and five days-worth of Jersey City gigs between sessions will now forever be known as Forrest St; an instantly timeless 8-track collection which blurs the genre lines between "Alternative, Electronica, Roots, Dub, Electro, Groove, Hip-Hop, Jazz, and pedal steel guitar," as listed on Bandcamp. Forrest St, to my moderately trained and traveled ear, sounds something like a mix between Pharrell, fellow Aussie Jonti, Jason Mraz, and Madlib's 2004 Electro-Acoustic Stevie Wonder covers album aptly-titled Stevie. "I think Forrest St. represents the spectrum of influences that shaped my musical path and taste over the last 20 years or so. I tried to keep as diverse as I could, but at the same time, coherent with the sounds and production style. I also tried to keep as faithful to that space and time as I could, so this record is a like photograph of those songs and experiences," Fernando Aragones blissfully recounted about the 11/2016 Animal Ventura-PVD sessions.

Forrest St. showcases the talents of many of Aragones & Van Dyke's friends and frequent collaborators: bassist Jordan Scannella, keyboardist David Stolarz (who played on RE: Crates 001,) pedal steel player Jonny Lam, songstress Laura Stitt, Shannon Stitt on melodica, trumpet player Richard Polatchek, tenor sax player Jeff Hackworth, trombonist Peter Lin, and of course, Pat Van Dyke on drums and Fernando Aragones on lead vocals, guitars, and percussion. Aragones himself attests that he had "been playing these songs for a while back then" (prior to meeting PVD) within his Animal Ventura live sets and to that effect, there are a few high-quality early takes on Animal Ventura's YouTube channel—namely, Forrest St. stand-outs "Muddy Water" and "Slave of Love (Do It Twice)" both accompanied by Shannon Stitt on keys. Animal Ventura's first tried and true "solo" album, Forrest St. is now available for mass consumption on Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music, and like-minded digital platforms; to accompany the widespread release, Fernando Aragones has uploaded Animal Ventura // Making-of Forrest St. which chronicles his journey from Australia to "the outskirts of Jersey City, New Jersey," marathon recording sessions behind Forrest St. and full band live gigs interspersed throughout.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Double Decker Records & YO! BABY SUP's Alex Sanchez On "Pressing" 30 Limited Edition JAY-Z/The Ultimate Warriors "Split" 12-inches from Record Store Day 2017 (The Witzard Interview)

Discogs simply describes JAY-Z, The Ultimate Warriors ‎– Split 12-inch as: "a JAY-Z 12-inch single glued to The Ultimate Warrior's Our Gimmick Is Wrestling LP. Limited to 30 copies for Record Store Day 2017 at Double Decker Records. Some copies have orange "IMPORT" sticker on the front. Some copies have the the A-side of Our Gimmick Is Wrestling LP playable and some have the B-side." The Ultimate Warriors were a Nazareth-based Wrestling-themed Hardcore/Powerviolence band active from about 1998-2003, which notoriously heralded as a pre-Pissed Jeans incarnation of Pissed Jeans; featuring Matt "Rageez" Kosloff (Korvette,) Brad "The Mothaf**ka" Real (Fry,) and Little Randy Youth (Huth,) as well as additional members who went on to form Pearls & Brass, The Gate Crashers, and Torchbearer. Throughout their short, yet sweet tenure, The Ultimate Warriors unleashed seven singles and split EP's with the likes of Abathakothie, Warrior Noise, Daybreak, Kobra Khan, and Kungfu Rick, as well as a full-length fittingly titled Our Gimmick Is Wrestling on Doppelganger Records/White Denim. The Archivist collected The Ultimate Warriors' lone album plus 27 obscurities on Our Gimmick Is Wrestling (Expanded Edition) as recently as February 2017, while ROBOTIC OBSCURITIES collected a nearly complete 99-track THE ULTIMATE WARRIORS - Discography as a downloadable 3-volume set as early as 2009.

But back to the coveted JAY-Z/UW split 12-inch... this past Record Store Day 2017 was quite a rainy, messy day and to be honest, I haven't participated in the past few RSD's just simply because the "exclusive" releases aren't as good as they used to be; unfortunately now, it seems to be more of a cash cow than anything else. As I have the last few years, I found a few select releases I really dug and perused them online, rather than going out to a record store and braving troves of deep-pocketed hipsters—one of said releases was a mysterious JAY-Z/Ultimate Warriors split limited to 30 copies (19 available) seemingly only in-store at Double Decker Records located in the heart of Allentown, PA. Even though Double Decker appeared to implement a rather strict "No Mail-Order / No Holds" policy, my wonderful fiance got on the phone with Alex at Double Decker Records that rainy weekend and somehow managed to secure copies 16/30 and 18/30 of said JAY-Z/Ultimate Warriors split 12-inch by the following Monday! I've since spoken with Double Decker Records employee and @YOBABYSUP curator Alex Sanchez at particular length about what he's fittingly dubbed "jay z uw 12.'" What you'll find below is a quick, yet extremely thorough 5-question interview with Alex Sanchez outlining the creation of what he calls "a joke that went too far."


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Founder & Editor-In-Chief

I. How did you initially come up with the idea behind Double Decker Records' Record Store Day "Exclusive" JAY-Z/Ultimate Warriors split 12-inch? What did you then, have to do to make it a reality?

Jamie from [Double Decker] and I have have always seen [Record Store Day] as a goofy gimmick, rather than something that actually helps independent stores. Its great if they want to promote independent shops, but the faux "collectibles" they trick people into ordering can really put a [hurting] on a shop's bottom line. I came up with the idea to make a joke RSD UW's 7-inch a few years ago. I've known The [Ultimate] Warriors for a long time and knew they always loved the art on the Kenmores/Griswalds split 7-inch for its 90's computer-generated terribleness. A box of Warriors Dogfather EP's was found in the basement and I thought it would be funny to make a fake RSD release and use the Kenmores art; basically, a joke that no one wold get, outside of about five people. My friend Giancarlo altered the art in Photoshop, Reject at LVAC screened the covers, and the 7-inch sold out super-fast. This 12-inch was basically just the same thing: a joke that went too far.

II. How did you come up with the concepts behind your JAY-Z/Ultimate Warriors split's magnificent (might I add) Jay Z in a luchador mask cover, various tip-on hand silk-screened inner sleeves, and reverse sleeve "sponsored by", Roc-A-Fella Records, Doppelganger, WWF, Square of Opposition, Hate The Eighties, Coliseum Video, Midway, and White Denim?

The concept was making fun of the stupid Side-By-Side Series RSD has: pair two bands that would never have a split together. In the basement of Double Decker, there are tons of factory-sealed cases of early 2000's Rap 12-inches. There were a couple of cases of the JAY-Z record ["99 Problems,"] so I grabbed one of those. Found a pic of JAY-Z from one of his covers that was really big and then, LVAC's art department added The Ultimate Warrior face paint in Photoshop. "Sponsored" definitely needs to be in quotes. No one had any idea they were releasing this, except me and my old label isn't even on there. (You should take out tip-on sleeve; these are just screened on cardstock.)

III. I remember you mentioning you ran the idea behind Double Decker's JAY-Z/UW split by bassist Brad Fry early on... but did you run it by his fellow Pissed Jeans bandmates and Ultimate Warriors founders Matt Korvette and Randy Huth, as well? What did they think of the awesomely absurd concept?

Nope. I mentioned doing something to Brad [Fry], he laughed and then, I just did everything else without them knowing anything about it. They havent even seen the record yet because I didn't give them their copies yet

IV. While my personal copy (18/30) features Side A of JAY's Def Jam-pressed "99 Problems" single and an unspecified side of The Ultimate Warriors' Our Gimmick Is Wrestling LP on bowling ball blue wax... how many different variations are there? And what exactly is contained on the UW side?

Just whatever colors the original Warriors LP's are on and some copies have Side 1 playable and some have Side 2, but that's it.

V. What do you guys currently have in mind to attempt to concoct for next year's Record Store Day festivities? And what do you think are the odds of Double Decker Records/YO! BABY SUP ever scoring an officially-sanctioned RSD release?

No plans and 100% never happening. I can't imagine RSD likes people making fun of them, but who knows.