Featured Artist: Gem City [Editor’s Edition]

Good morning! I just want to thank everyone again for taking the time to peruse my content. I for sure couldn’t do this without you!

Meet the interim editor of my website and the other half of Aries, Gem City otherwise known as Corey Reith to his friends and family.

Corey Reith is more than just a friend to me, he’s become like a brother. Love this dude and he’s the one who took me under his wing to learn how to mix. Without him, this Aries DO project may not have ever seen the light of day.

 

We first met at West Coast DirtyBird Campout 2017 as well as Holy Ship 11.0 ..unknowingly aware of the fact of who we were and not knowing that sooner or later we would be the best of friends and hanging out every weekend haha.

Moving forward with my platform, Corey is now my interim editor due to the fact that I can’t always catch my own mistakes. Thanks Corey!!

 

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Can you tell us what music means to you?

Music becomes an escape from reality for me, whether I’m in my room with my headphones in, riding my bike around the city or at a music show with my friends. The second the beat starts and the bass hits reality, disappears, it doesn’t exist to me anymore. Escaping reality makes me happy, it gives me the strength to achieve what i cant achieve when reality is in place. Therefore music makes me happy, it makes me who I am. Personally music has dragged me all over the country, its showed me the beautiful places this world we live in has to offer. Its also showed me another side of me I didn’t know existed, in good and bad ways. Overall music has brought me to meet my best and closest friends to date, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for music.

So what’s your story? What do you do? Where are you from?

My name is Corey Reith, I’m a wide / small format print press operator. Im from Kettering, Ohio, just outside of Dayton, north of Cincinnati. 

 

How’d you decide on DJ and/or Producing? Why?

During my musical journey of traveling the US going to festivals and attending weekend shows, I personally wanted to start playing music for myself and my friends. I wanted to take the music I enjoyed listening too and piece it together in my own way. I wanted to take what was making me so happy and express it to my close friends and the people around me, hoping it would influence them the same way music influenced me. 

How did you end up coming up with your DJ name?

So when my friends asked me.. yo whats your DJ name… I thought long and hard. I wanted to have a name that reflected back on where I came from. Gem City. If you type in Gem City in google… first thing that pops up… Dayton, Ohio. 

What do you think is the hardest thing about being in the music scene?

I’d say the most difficult thing is getting KNOWN. I wanna be known, I wanna be that guy that people enjoy seeing.. I wanna be the guy that opens for the headliner and people come early just to see me. Not because they wanna support me, but because they like hearing what kinda songs ill play for them and what mashups ill come up with while I’m playing. 

As you have transitioned into being more of an artist do you feel that you don’t hear music in the same way?

Not at all, I’m just as into it as I was back when I went to my first show. I would always get over excited and get really bad anxiety. That still happens today sometimes, not as much and as often. Ill always be a listener… but one day I want to be a leader. Till then I will follow the right path.

Favorite Artist or Favorite Track right now?

Damn,,, I knew this one was coming… Ugh lemme think here… I wanna say my favorite artist is Maceo Plex…. I can say so much about him but ill make it short and sweet… The dude is a freaking masterpiece. His tracks are so weird and complex. His live sets are another journey and I simply cant even put that in words, thats something you just need to experience. As for my current Favorite Track… well ill just go with favorite Album… Is Enrico Sangiuliano’s Symbiosis. The whole album is just impressive honestly. Go check it out for yourself.

What are some artists or tracks you want to share with folks?

My homie Jacob Massey ( Mass Appeal) from Indianapolis. From when I first met him in Detroit at movement on a boat party with worthy, the dude HAS BLOWN UPPP. It seems like as if he strapped himself to a firework and just exploded all over the US. He has opened for so many big name artists, played some sick parties and even was on the Shipfam Island lineup. Im honestly surprised he isn’t signed by someone yet. When he comes to SF he’s not one to miss out on. 

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Any mixes/tracks of your we should check out? 

 

Funny story I made this mix around 9 am in the morning after a long fun night with my man himself ^^^ Christian. I was extremely happy and proud how it turned out. If you ever get the chance to see me spin…. that mix will 100% give you an idea of what you will experience. 

Also be sure to check out Corey’s latest mix for our mix series titled “The Horoscope” created by our project Aries. The mix series is dedicated to highlighting bangers that you’d otherwise never come across and of course tracks we all enjoy!

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The Sound of Mew-sic [Box of Cats]

I’m so absolutely thrilled to be able to publish this behind the scenes interview with Box of Cats. This collective and label has been one of my favorites ever and I truly believe in their entire vision.

I first became acquainted with Box of Cats about a year ago via a certain Soundcloud repost by none other than Kyle Watson. That repost was Box of Cat’s 23rd release in one of their series they so cleverly named “Litterbox”. The release can be found here and it’s truly filled with gems.

At the time, I was feeling like I needed something different within the house & tech house scene and just happened to be on Soundcloud when Kyle reposted it and I became so enamored with all these new artists. I was elated and began texting some tracks to my friend’s to share and rejoice in my discovery.

Once I looked at their Soundcloud biography I quickly realized why I loved so much of the music: It was made up of some of my favorite genre-bending artists. Their bio reads “‘Box of Cats’ is the collective mind of Wongo, Jeff Doubleu, Jak Z, Kyle Watson, Tom EQ and Marc Spence“. What more could I have asked for in that moment? It was not only the music created by artists I already liked, but music that was created by artists that they liked.

I knew right then and there that this was a collective that I had to consistently keep my eyes on to discover new groundbreaking music. I try my best to stay up-to-date with Box of Cats and it has not disappointed me. They’ve exposed me to awesome artists such as Malive, Mancodex, Overthinking, Steve Darko, LOthief, MKJAY, Lucati.

Take a listen to their latest compilation series titled “Box of Trax Volume 1”.

 

I am very proud and happy to present to you a little bit of an in-depth look into the Box of Cats crew. I managed to get one of the cats, Tom EQ, to awake from his afternoon cat nap to chat with me.

Alright, so how on earth did Wongo, Jeff Doubleu, Jak Z, Kyle Watson, Marc Spence and yourself all come together to form Box of Cats?

We started from a mutual appreciation of each others music, releasing on the same labels, remixing each other’s tracks and dj’ing at the same parties. Most of us had releases on a label called Jack Union back in the day and we all kinda felt there was something missing from them, so we just all got together and figured we’d start a project to release vibes from ourselves and whoever we think is cool.  It’s like a social club.

What’s the story behind the name?

This was the hardest thing, we wanted something catchy and memorable, we all ended up on a conference call with the specific aim of getting some serious brainstorming done, but we ended up talking shit and telling jokes. Someone said “Box of Cats” and it was like a “yeah, that’s it!” kinda moment.

What sort of plans does Box of Cats have in store for the future that you can share with us?

Well you see we started off as a group of mates, with the aim of having a laugh, and we will continue to do so.  We want to be organic, with no pressure and just have fun working with some of our idols and give a stage to artists that are on the same wavelength. We do have our 50th release at the end of September that we are dropping for free as a thank you for all of the support we have received.

In your opinion, what is one of the most difficult aspects about being a collective/label? 

Being spread around the world can be an issue time zone wise, but the worst thing is managing the release schedule. Quality control is the highest thing on our list.  Every single one of us has to approve a track for it to make it onto the label, having heavy workloads can sometimes makes it slow to review a submission and respond.

As a cat, what’s your opinion on dogs?

We love all animals.

I have been playing out that new Folly EP non-stop. There’s so much depth to both tracks and the EP just blows me away. How do you manage to find these artists? 

The good thing about being a collective is that we have our own links.  Folly approached Wongo and he saw the talent, submitted the tracks to the rest of the group and we were all blown away.

Take a listen to the Folly EP below and make sure to support both him and Box of Cats by purchasing the track here.

 

Being a label, do you feel as though you can’t experience the music the same as you did when you were just a listener? 

Not at all, we love music, this is where are hearts are.  We would hate a day to go by were we don’t have something to listen to.  Yes, we do occasionally get some stinkers sent to us, but reviewing demos’s opens us up to new music we wouldn’t normally hear.

Any upcoming Artists and/or new Tracks we should be aware of?

There’s way too many to choose from, but Mancodex is totally killing it right now, he’s got a new EP we are trying to get our hands on at the moment ;).

Also, Botnek is throwing down some serious heat right now. In addition, we are also massive fans of GAWP (but he hasn’t done an EP for us yet!).

Favorite Artist or Favorite Track right now?

If there is anything we can all agree on, Kyle’s new album “Into the Morning”  out on This Ain’t Bristol is just a work of art.

 

Any mixes/tracks of yours we should check out? 

Check out our Soundcloud, we regularly post mixes and re-post stuff we are into.

How do cats feel about catnip?

Everything in moderation!

 

Last question, could you tell us why cats’ like boxes so much? 

This could get way too deep….

 

Looks like it’s time to let this cat get back to his cat nap!

Thank you again to Tom EQ and Wongo of Box of Tracks for connecting with me to write this piece. At some point in the future, I would love to bring some members from Box of Cats to San Francisco and organize a label takeover at a venue.

P.S. Do yourself a favor and cop one of these super awesome nifty Box of Cats shirts! Wongo is pictured on the left absolutely slaying on the decks.

 

Purchase your shirt here.

Stay Connected with Box of Cats.

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Soundcloud

Cheers everyone! I appreciate the feedback I’ve been getting from my friends, peer and people who have stumbled upon my project.

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Aries – The Horoscope 002: Strictly ReciKnows

Hi all! Aries here bringing you your weekly Horoscope of music. This week’s episode features a mix crafted and curated by myself (ReciKnows). Gem City (Corey) was playing Fortnite alongside me so he was there for the moral support haha.

This weekend Corey and I tried to keep it pretty low key since each of us has been feeling more homebody lately so if you didn’t see us out at the club now you know why. Our lovely friends Drew and Anya invited us and some others to their new pad to mix live and catch some insane views from their new place. Check out some of the photos below.

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Pictures are courtesy of Drew aka OpenFire Photography and his nu nu equipment!

Oh and Corey & I weren’t the only ones mixing so don’t be surprised if you see some guest mixes emerge in some of the coming episodes of The Horoscope 😉

Stay connected with us.

Facebook | SoundCloud | Instagram | Twitter

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Featured Artist: Ocean Roulette

Happy Friday everyone! It looks like it’s going to be a jam-packed weekend especially with Outside Lands happening. I’ll be laying low, but I will be going out tonight to see the homie Michael Bricker open for Eli Brown & Dateless at Halcyon tonight! Speaking of Outside Lands, Louis Garcia aka Ocean Roulette is in town for the annual San Francisco festival and he was nice enough to do little interview with me!

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Alright, so I love asking people this question as it really allows for artists to talk about music in a spiritual and philosophical way. Can you describe what music means to you?

Music can trigger memories like the first time I went to a rave, the first time I heard house music, etc. I love its ability to activate nostalgia. 

Where are you from anyway? 

I’m from Northridge California.

 How’d you decide on DJ/Mixing and/or Producing? Why?

I decided to begin this project once I decided to quit a rock band I had previously been involved with. My basic reasoning was that although I love indie rock music, the genre of rock had already been around for decades with an insane amount of saturation in the market. Electronic music was really cutting edge and always changing, I figured if I wanted to make a living off of music this would be the appropriate route.

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What sort of style do you like to produce? 

Tech house.

Ocean Roulette is a really cool and interesting name. How’d you come up with it?

The name Ocean Roulette came from my love of the ocean and of casinos. The ocean represents mystery, depth, and overall just a world that most people are unfamiliar with. Casinos however represent risk, addiction, and all of the bad things in life disguised as something good and fun. Something about both of these themes felt like they could be explored through my music.

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This is another one of my favorite questions to ask people that do interviews with me. I find that it really gives the readers and myself an inside look into the music world from the artist perspective. What do you think is one of the most difficult aspects about being in this scene? 

The most difficult thing is matching sounds together (beat matching). Even though two ideas can sound good on their own, they might not always fit well over each other and it is tough having to let something go for this reason. The majority of my music is made by creating a ton of ideas looping over each other then picking out which I like and deleting the rest.

In my opinion, not a lot of people realize that once you make the shift from a listener to an artist there is a fundamental change in how you experience music. You end up being a lot more critical and in a way you end up being way more technical about everything. Do you feel like nowadays you can’t experience the music the same as you did when you were just a listener? 

 Enjoying music can be even better as a DJ because you are often listening with the intention of finding new material for performances. The experience of finding music and testing it out live is an even greater way to appreciate something. On the other hand listening to dozens of tracks with the intention of finding music for a set feels more like a job sometimes than a leisure activity. 

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Favorite Artist or Favorite Track at the moment?

Favorite artist right now might have to be Gorillaz, their new album The Now Now is insane. Favorite track would have to be Lake Zurich. I’m a sucker for tracks that sound instrumental with vocals that come in later on.

 Any artists you think all of us should be aware of?

Upcoming artists on my radar: Sly Turner, Morelia, Sirkea, and Zendlo.

Any mixes/tracks of yours we should check out? 

Checkout my latest EP on Psycho Disco!

Do you have any cool shows or projects in the future?

Performing at Kosmic Gardenz as well as Jackson Tree in the Fall. Both are desert renegade campouts which is my favorite type of party.

Anything more to add?

Last bit – Someone once told me that the music we create does not come from ourselves but rather from the universe. In order to create great art you must be willing to listen and allow ideas to enter and pass through you.

Keep yourself up-to-date with Ocean Roulette by following him on Instagram and Twitter!

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The Photograher Series: Drew Pador (OpenFire Photography)

Hi! Hope you’re all doing well and getting in some tacos on this fine Tuesday. One of the things I’ve been meaning to do lately is post an interview series about something different from music.

And so today, I am pleased to present to everyone one of my close friends Drew as the start of my photographer series! Drew and I met during the start of a group I moderate for called Bay Area DirtyBirds (s/o to all you birds). We hit it off from the start and have since been sending it and looking for more fun!

 

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For the readers that don’t really know you, can you give us some details of who you are are and what you do?

The name is Drew and I was born and (mostly) raised in the Bay Area. During the weekdays I work an IT job to support my hobbies.

When did you buy your first camera?

Funny story: I actually got my first camera gifted to me in January this year by my company, but I grew up using my friends gear when we would go on adventures.

How long have you been into photography? Or how long have you been doing this as your career?

I started to get interested in about 2007 when I started going boating on the Delta with some new friends. They all had nice DSLR’s to shoot us behind the boat when we would wakeskate, and I found I really enjoyed being behind the lens. Only this year have I really begun to try and get work at clubs and events to build my portfolio.

Describe the style of your photography. 

Being relatively new I am still exploring all types of photography, but it has mostly been club nights or events thrown by different collectives in the house community in the city. Other than that, I have really enjoyed dabbling in landscape and night photography.

 

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Do you mind sharing some of your best work?

 I love to share! Check out my pics on Facebook here! (Hyperlink FB link)

How do you manage to get yourself out there? What kinds of social media do you use to help promote?

Facebook and Instagram are a must, and I also have a website that I publish my work to.

What has been one of your most memorable experiences?

I was invited to shoot a small festival up in Mendocino just a couple months ago and I was completely blown away by the whole experience. So many great candid moments with beautiful scenery, it was truly a magical time!

If you could work with anyone, who would it be? Why?

Hands down, Clark Little. His passion for waves is what drove his photography and I really admire that and use it as an example. I love the house music scene in San Francisco and getting to capture moments of my friends and I doing what we love is such a blessing.

One of the most difficult aspects about doing this?

Balance between getting my shots in and trying to have a good time with my friends. The scene is so much fun it can be challenging to stay focused, lots of distractions!

 

Do you feel like you’re constantly experiencing life through a lens? 

It has gotten to the point where I feel almost naked without a camera. Capturing a moment that some might miss and getting to share my unique perspective is super rewarding.

Where do you get your inspiration from? 

 I am really inspired by other artists, getting to see them in their element, doing what they are passionate about and capturing that.

What photographers do you look up to? 

 All the National Geographic photographers and surf photographers.

Do you have any cool projects in the future?

 I am working on a private event that I am hoping will turn into a really great photo opportunity, so stay tuned for that collection.

Follow Drew on his journey in photography on Instagram and Facebook!

Check out Drew’s portfolio at  https://home.openfilre.photography

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Featured Artist: Wei

Tonight’s Featured Artist is probably one of the most modest and kind-hearted individuals I’ve come across that DJ’s, too. I’m sure a lot of you have gotten Weivy with him (no pun intended). He goes by the name Wei his real name being Wei-Sean. Meeting Wei-Sean happened over a series of run-in’s at clubs and events. Eventually, I think we got to that point where you see someone so often you might as well strike up a conversations. Been homies ever since..

Pinkezup Weivy.pngIn your own words, can you describe how you feel about music?

Music has always been a way to express myself. To connect everyone into that particular feeling you’re trying to achieve during that moment of a song or the journey through a set. Its a nostalgic feeling to revert back into our primitive nature of chanting and dancing around the fire pits.

Who are you? What do you do? Where are you from? 

I was born in China but am originally from Los Angeles and grew up in parts of Malaysia, Florida, Philippines, Texas, and Arkansas. I grew up in all of those places for a minimum of 3-4 years each. Currently I’ve been in the bay for almost 4 years. I used to be an Aircraft Mechanic in the US Air Force, competed & coached in MMA & Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, played in metal/post-hard core bands in the Philippines, and currently work as an Analyst at Facebook. I also have an Etsy for my “DirtyHeart” design!

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How’d you decide on DJ/Mixing and/or Producing? Why?

Music was always a detrimental part of my life, an escape of reality, a way to express myself. I used to have a heavy influence of Metal/Post-Hard Core music when I was still doing the band stuff in the Philippines, but that was easily 10 years ago. After getting out of the military in 2014 and moving back to Los Angeles, I was immediately sucked back into the music scene. Shortly after moving to the bay, everything just grew from then!

 

How long have you been DJ/Mixing and/or Producing?

Surprisingly, I began learning how to DJ at the very beginning of 2017 and later on that year I played at my first underground afterhours. I know I had to play catch-up with all the amazing Producers in the scene, thus I started to dive into producing at the beginning of this year.

How’d you form your moniker? 

I play off my name more than I should, Weivy, WeiKreative, Digital AirWeivs, etc. So branding “Wei” was easily a no-brainer. Wei to leave a legacy lol.

One of the most difficult aspects about doing this scene?

As you can tell by now, I’m still pretty fresh in the scene. I’ve been blessed to have the network I have and to be booked at the places that I have been. I can definitely tell you we don’t do it all for the money. Currently trying to juggle my “9 to 5” on top of DJ’ing and keeping up on fresh tracks, supporting the homies (because that how we roll), and working on production, my most difficult aspect has been trying to set times for certain priorities. You still have to take care of yourself..

Do you feel like nowadays you can’t experience the music the same as you did when you were just a listener? 

My music taste has changed and evolved significantly but I still enjoy music to its fullest. Yes, the producing aspect does favors more attention to every single instruments arrangement being played, but I’ve always been hearing sounds inside my head.

Favorite Artist or Favorite Track right now? (Or one of your favorite artists? Serves as a way to connect the artist w/audience by showing what they are into)

As of right now I have to give it up to Chris Lake. The amount of material he has being released that are all A+ bangers is just insane. Theres so much you can learn by breaking down and dissecting its musical components.

Any other upcoming Artists and/or new Tracks we should know? 

San Francisco’s House & Techno community has been a huge influence in my evolving taste in music, so definitely keep an eye on that. I know a lot of local collectives are making big things happen this year.
#pinkezup, Admit One Records, Pizza & Techno, just to name a few…

Any mixes/tracks of your we should check out? 

Posted a recent mix on Soundcloud for the recent celebration of Independence Day

 

Do you have any cool shows or prospects in the future?

This Friday July 20th I will be playing at Halcyon for the first time. Supporting for Tim Baresko show and opening up for the ladies of #pinkezup, Ney X Miss Mak. And then next week Saturday July 28th we are having a burning man fundraiser for our Mudskippers camp at the Cafe in the Castro. As far as bigger events, West Coast Campout with the #pinkezup crew, but if you’d like to keep up, follow me on Facebook or check out my website

How do you know Ney x Miss Mak?

Ever since I moved to the bay at the end of 2014, I was immediately sucked into the EDM community. It was back then when Renee used to DJ with Joe Famularo as “Animal Control”, I knew of her as I was working with the “EDMSF” collective. We all knew each other through mutual DJ/music friends so eventually when House & Techno came into my life, our groups of friends evolved. Pinkezup became a big part of the community that helped me in my growth.

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What can we expect from you this Friday when you open for Ney x Miss Mak + Tim Baresko?

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This is definitely my biggest show yet and we will be bringing the heat. I have been a huge fan of Tim Baresko and his underground house/tech house – DirtyBird/DesertHeart vibes that he has in his productions. This night will be one to remember. And to be able to open with Ney X Miss Mak means even more.

How are you feeling going into this?

Extremely excited and ready for the night’s shenanigans!

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Featured Artist: Rucca

Happy Monday everybody!

Is it just me or has July been a weird month for everyone?

To start off this week, I talked to a buddy of mine, Lucca, who I’ve known now for a little over two years. He’s pretty versatile, kind of like the jack of all trades type fella. He’s a bit of a hypebeast and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous of his wardrobe let alone his sneaker collection haha.

Anyway let’s just jump into this…

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Who are you? What do you do? Where are you from?

Yo! I’m Rucca. I’m a Digital Strategist/DJ/Photographer originally from São Paulo Brazil. I currently live in Washington, DC working for one of the largest strategy agencies in the country helping non-profits and political campaigns navigate the digital world. But once 6pm hits, I’m in the streets with my camera taking photos of clients of all sorts. By 11pm, I’m behind the decks at clubs across DC. I’ve focused most of my music around house/techno, but I have been expanding into much heavier music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How’d you decide on DJ/Mixing and/or Producing? Why?

I’m not sure what came over me. I just remember going to my first show and being fascinated by how they were doing it. Eventually downloaded some free software and went from there. Played a few house parties in high school. In college I lived with an international DJ by the name of Mekanikal (https://soundcloud.com/djmekanikalofficial)  who taught me even more and pushed me to improve. And now here I am getting booked across the East Coast and traveling to festivals I never thought I’d be playing.

 

How long have you been DJ/Mixing and/or Producing?

I guess it’s been about 8 years (shit… time flies)

How’d you form your moniker? 

In middle school this guy once called me Rucca. It kinda stuck from there. Only recently did I find out that Rucca means something very different… check urban dictionary if you’re bored.

One of the most difficult aspects about doing this scene? 

It’s definitely a “what can you do for me” scene. If you have nothing to offer and you don’t push yourself, people won’t give you a chance. I learned that the hard way in the beginning. But there’s more positive aspects to the scene than negative.

Do you feel like nowadays you can’t experience the music the same as you did when you were just a listener?

Damn… good question. Yes. It is very different. Because before I understood the things behind the music, it was all kind of magic to me. Yes, there’s still shows I go to that blow me away production wise as music wise. But for the most part, it’s difficult to hear a DJ transition poorly without thinking to yourself “damn they should’ve done this instead”

What’s your favorite type of food?

Pasta & sushi.

Favorite Artist or Favorite Track right now?

There has been one song that is on repeat for me every single day. It’s Jay Hudson’s remix of SZA’s Love Galore

 

In terms of artists, I don’t have one favorite. Right now I’m heavily into Joyryde, Kanye, Logic and SZA.

Any mixes/tracks of yours we should check out?

A little over a year ago I put out this mix about all the changes I was going through. I was feeling a lot of emotions while I was traveling the world. So I put it into this mix called Changes. I would add a song or two as my mood changed. You can feel the progression as you listen through.

 

Do you have any cool shows or prospects in the future?

I just wrapped up a great show with Hekler. There’s more for the future. But for right now I’ve been laying low focusing on my photography (which you can check out here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anything more to add? 

Support your local artists! They’re usually more unique and have a much more difficult job than the top artists

Be sure to like Rucca’s Facebook page here.

Follow him on Instagram and twitter to check out his photography too!

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Fashion Spotlight w Christian ReciKnows: Spicy Boys Club

The idea behind Fashion Spotlight w/ Christian ReciKnows is to reveal some low-key trend setters/designers that are doing their own thing and killin’ it.

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Alex and I met for the first time at a POP NYE show for Get Real through our mutual friend Jordan. Though we had been affiliated before that thanks to the Bay Area DirtyBird Group we are both a part of.

From then on, we have run into each other at shows events, and I’ve just been admiring his style from day one. One of my most vivid memories of him was when we saw each other at San Francisco’s How Weird Street Faire and he was wearing his one of a kind Spicy Boys Club I was like alright, this guy has such unique style.

Who are you? What do you do? Where are you from?

Simple things first, I’m Alex, grew up in Manteca in the central valley, hopped around California for a bit, and now I’m living the beach life in Santa Cruz.  I work at a screen printing shop in town printing shirts and things like that all day.  After hours I’m working on my brand, Spicy Boys Club.  I also do freelance work in web/graphic/print design, illustration, and photography.  Aside from that, I’m pursuing a music career, but finding time for that has been a real challenge haha.

How’d you come up with the idea for Spicy Boys Club?

It all started at Dirtybird Campout 2017.  Someone had a sriracha bottle totem and it was lost the first night.  We were talking about it the next day, and then went on a tangent about eating hot sauce on everything.  And since all of us that were camped together loved house music as well, it became a thing.

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Alright, soooo what’s with the name? What does it mean to you?

Spicy Boys Club was pretty much thought up as a joke.  The approach to the brand is very tongue-in-cheek, we don’t like to take ourselves seriously.  Then people started asking to be part of the club, and I jokingly told people to give me their emails and I’ll put them on a waiting list.

At first it was just souvenirs I made for the DBC campmates.  Now, to me it represents a lively approach to just about any situation in life.  Spicy stuff always puts a little fire in your step, and that’s pretty much what the ethos is behind the brand.  Why be vanilla when you can be spicy?

Any backlash from Anti Social Social Club?

Luckily no, but there are also a lot of other knock off designs from their signature piece, so I feel like they’d have to go down a list before they get to me.  I do have contigency plans for the design mimicking there’s as well as the logo, so I’ve already put some thought into this.

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Who helps you out? Or do you do most of the work behind the brand yourself?

I handle all aspects of the brand myself.  Artwork, marketing, emails, online store, social media, as well as screen printing everything by hand.  But there is a growing number of people showing a lot of support, really repping the brand, and that helps a TON.  I also throw ideas out to the original camp group to get their feedback, I like to keep them included since this was all started because of our group.

Have you had any previous projects?

I have had a couple previous attempts at brands.  Most recently was Adventure Brand (@adventurebrand.co), with the motto “Always Wander, Always Wonder.”  But SBC started gaining momentum and since I keep the artwork manageable for it, it grew much faster and was easier for me to handle, so Adventure Brand was put on the backburner for now.  That brand was more dedicated to my illustrations and graphics that were intended to question reality and their approach to things.  So, there are some similarities in the brands, but enough of a difference to where I couldn’t handle both at the same time.

One of the most difficult aspects about starting your own brand?

Working a day job and also handling a growing brand/business has been the biggest challenge.  Finances are tough as well when first starting out, having to plan products that you can see to completion but work within your budget.  However, time has been the biggest setback.  After work I either go home and handle orders or social media stuff, or I stay at the shop all night to print up batches of stuff.  I’ve been building inventory lately, and that’s been a big relief, but I’m still on the edge of two lifestyles.  I’m hoping soon I’ll be able to commit fully to the brand as well as my long time goal of opening a creative studio.  Soon, very soon.

Do you feel like you will take this somewhere or is it more so like a passion?

I’m very passionate about anything I do, it kind of defines me, and I do not handle failure well, so as long as I can keep building support for this, I’ll keep pushing.  One aspect that helps is having the brand woven into the music community.  There’s so much love and support in it, and it gives me more of an incentive to furthering the community that’s starting to take shape around the brand.

What are some of your favorite clothing companies?

I’ve been a big fan of Benny Gold for years, that’s by far my favorite brand.  I love the aesthetic, and the story of how he started with a sticker and grew it into a company.  It’s exactly along the lines of what I’ve wanted to do for so long.  I spoke with him in person a couple years ago for my birthday and he gave me a lot of words of encouragement, which really set a special place in my heart for what he does.

Other companies I’ve been into over the years are Mishka, Black Scale, Vans (I have like 30 pairs haha), Upper Playground, and then merch from artists.

Do you eventually want to create your own clothing line? Like big-time?

I do, it’s always been in the front of my mind.  There is a whole lot of work and money that goes into really developing a clothing line, so the time is still ahead of me.  But I’m always keeping my eye on it, it’s one of the prizes I covet.

Any clothing or art you want to show off?

If you take a look at the IG, that’s all the stuff I want to show off.  I’m a perfectionist, so I take the work I do seriously, and I like to make each piece be top quality.  There are a few limited edition pieces in there.  Namely, the tie dye, which I dye myself by hand and print to match the color scheme.  I would show off some of the women’s stuff I’ve been working on, but I’m putting in extra effort to really seal in those flavors, so I’m going to drop them when the time is right haha.

Spicy Boys Club Descending

Do you have any cool prospects in the future?

When I opened for Option4 a couple weeks ago, he threw the idea out there of a Hotboi Records x Spicy Boys Club collab, and I was totally on board with it.  I’d love to collab with other brands or artists, it’s always been something I’ve wanted to pursue.  I’d like to start vending at events, and hosting more parties or get togethers.

 

Aside from that, I’ve been getting in contact more with artists that want to rep the brand.  Buku is the first person on board with it, he’s been posting photos of him at Paradiso and Electric Forest rocking the original tee.  It was such a surprise to have friends show that popping up on social media, so afterwards I contacted him, and I’m now flowing some stuff his was since he’s already helped out a lot with exposure.  At Santa Cruz Music Festival this year Justin Jay had said he was down to be a Spicy Boy, but I never got a response from him (I’m waiting, Justin!).

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Oh wait! One last thing that’s in the works is a possible Spicy Boys Club takeover night at a venue around here.  Keep an eye out for that!  I just released the first official Spicy Boys Club mix a couple weeks back to kind of stoke the fire for that, so hopefully we can soon make it a regular thing.​

 

> Buy a Spicy Boys Club tee today <

Be sure to check out Alex’s music alias Oszo

 

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Self-Love & Changing Paths

 

 

Too many people get stuck w/not accepting the reality of things because they’re so deep into something they are unable to see passed themselves/look at the bigger picture, these kinds of people (like myself) need to hit the bottommost layer of rocks in such a way that it is impossible to… and discover/explore themselves.

If you feel lost, start from the bottom and work your way back up… It’s like doing a system reset but instead of your laptop, it’s you. I know it sounds tacky/corny, but I’m a firm believer in the idea that we all have the capability of being whomever we want… It’s never too late and don’t be afraid to start over.

 

Letting go is perhaps the hardest thing to do as a human because it’s like you’re giving up but you’re not, you’re just going about it a completely different way.

 

 

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Find your talent, skill or whatever tf you want to call it & cultivate it while setting the bar higher & higher! don’t settle down because literally everyone can do better & these connections fostered through this kind of ideology can create new ideas that no one has dreamed about.

 

 

I don’t think we ever fully love ourselves – but that’s good because then we would never have the drive to constantly try to better ourselves. And that’s what life is… just trying to be the best we know we can be and learn. We constantly learn about life and others until we die. We won’t learn everything, but at least we learn as much as we can.

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Featured Artist: mphatiq

Hey all! This week to kick off “Music Mondays w/ Christian ReciKnows” is a good friend of mine by the name of mphatiq  *(edit: I have decided to change this series from Music Mondays w/Christian ReciKnows to simply  “Featured Artists” so as to not restrict myself to a Monday deadline)

This series is Q&A style interview to expose artists that don’t get much exposure and to provide them with a platform from which to grow from.

 

 

 

Oddly enough, I’m fairly certain I met Ananya the weekend he met his DJ partner Avi. Both Ananya and Avi are two minds behind “AVN“. Ananya has a certain knack for developing and creating a groovy a** beat and as a friend, I really admire his taste in music.

Anyway’s let’s get down to it!

In general, what does music do for you?

Music, for me, is an outlet for expressing emotions, creative ideas, and inspiration that I can’t express in other concrete ways such as words or actions. When I hear or am lucky enough to create a sound that moves me, it provides a dopamine rush that can’t be compared to any other experience in this world. And the absolutely positive energy that emanates from experiencing music you love with another person who also feels the same way, is beyond explanation. I am not a religious man, but it’s one of the few things in this world that moves me on a spiritual and transcendental level.

Who are you? What do you do? Where are you from?

My name is Ananya Mishra, and I was born in India, living in a few places in between until I finally settled in Houston, TX at the age of 5. My name means “without equal” in Sanskrit, and definitely had an impact on shaping how I’ve perceived myself and the impact I want to make on the world (for better or worse). I went through a few musical phases in my life, starting with classical (cello), then heavy metal (guitar/drums), and then finally Japanese traditional music (taiko, bamboo flute) before encountering electronic music, and the influences from each have shaped the sound I strive towards. Oh, and I’m a software engineer as my day job.

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Photos of mphatiq by Christine Cueto & Jeffrey Chuc

How’d you decide on DJ and/or Producing? Why?

I was messing around in Logic within a few months of diving into electronic music. Having always been into computers & music and the intersection thereof my whole life, I knew from the beginning that producing electronic music was something I had the potential to make my own. I made my first shitty track within 5 months of starting out and the personal sense of fulfillment I got from that was addictive beyond measure, and sealed the deal. I knew this was what I wanted to do long-term.

 

 

 

I didn’t start DJ’ing until about 2 years after I got into the electronic scene – on the same day I got my first set of decks, I also met Avi (the other ½ of AVN/my DJ partner) and we were quickly spending weekend and after weekend honing our craft and learning from each other to quickly get where we are today. It was cool to have worked on production long before starting DJ’ing as I felt I had gained a lot of sensibilities for mixing before even touching decks for the first time.

How’d you form the name “mphatiq”?

My stage name ‘mphatiq’ is a stylized version of the word ’emphatic’, meaning “showing or giving emphasis; expressing something forcibly and clearly.”

 

 

 

I strive to create a sound and performance on stage that impacts people in a way that they will remember long after the fact, and I felt this name embodied that ideal. The stylization, which is loosely French-inspired, came from my strong passion for underground French house DJs and their aesthetic. I also appreciate how it evokes the word “empathic”, which is also important to me as I seek to connect to others on an emotional level through music.

One of the most difficult aspects about the music scene?

I’d say the most difficult aspect in the modern electronic music industry is creating a truly unique sound that rises above the rest and creates an experience the listener hasn’t had before. With the advent of YouTube tutorials and the democratization of knowledge on the internet, the bar to producing music has been lowered, which I think is awesome, but at the same time, has oversaturated the electronic music market with a lot of tracks that sound the same, or are of low quality.

Do you feel like nowadays you can’t experience the music the same as you did when you were just a listener?

I can’t honestly ever say that I listened to electronic music without an analytical ear. From the very beginning, when I was listening to nothing but deadmau5 and Pryda’s progressive house and trance melodies, it felt like I was always listening with an eye towards “how would I do this myself?” “What would I create?” “What can I take away from what these masters of the art have created?”

That part of my brain rarely shuts up, which is a double-edged sword.

However, sometimes it’s nice to shut off that analytical side and just fucking dance to some good tunes. Luckily, I have friends around me that are honest enough to tell me to stop overthinking and just enjoy when we’re out at shows, and I’m grateful for them.

Favorite Artist or Favorite Track right now? 

Right now, I’m really digging Madeaux, an artist out of LA who has a dark, almost sinister, electro-influenced rhythmic bass house sound. His set at Lightning in a Bottle this past May was one of the best live DJ sets I’ve ever seen, and his seamless mixing combined with his elegant, tastefully diverse track selection really left an impression on me. His stage presence was also incredibly smooth and almost cocky in a way that was really entertaining. I can’t wait to get him back to the Bay again.

Any other upcoming Artists and/or new Tracks we should know?

I’d check out Bloodtone, Kage, and Matroda’s latest stuff. These guys are really pushing some of the greatest sound in the bass house scene right now. This is the sound I strive towards myself as I find it utilizes the physical aspects of sub frequencies during the live performance in a way that most other subgenres of house don’t do too well. I see it as combining the deep, dark, consciousness-expanding sounds of West Coast Bass with the more upbeat driving rhythms of house music in a way that creates novel sensations and makes you wanna move.

Any mixes/tracks of your we should check out?

A recent release I’m proud of is this remix of Zhu’s epic track Nightcrawler that trades out the 4/4 house beat and rolling melodic bass line for a more trap inspired breakbeat and deeper minimal bass:

https://soundcloud.com/mphatiq/zhu-nightcrawler-remix

I was gunning to make something more danceable and driving than the original, and I’m a fan of how it turned out.

Do you have any cool shows or prospects in the future?

This coming August, I’m launching a monthly party in San Francisco called GCODE (GCODE in San Francisco Aug 18), designed to showcase the bass house & g-house sounds I’m so passionate about, as well as provide a platform for artists in these genres to get their names out there. It’s a sound that is hard to find in San Francisco aside from the occasional visiting artist, and I really want to create a devoted scene for it here.

 

 

 

Also, I’ve just gotten signed to G-Mafia Records based in Brazil, a label that specializes in Brazilian Bass & G-House, so look out for my first original release on Spotify, iTunes, and SoundCloud in the next few months

Anything more to add?

“Question everything, assume nothing, take no prisoners.” – mphatiq

> Follow mphatiq on SoundCloud <

Check out mphatiq’s latest mix and preview of his new monthly party below!

https://soundcloud.com/mphatiq

mphatiq’s Facebook

mphatiq’s Instagram

Thanks for tuning in everyone! Be on the lookout for the next artist to come sooooon!

All the best,

Christian Recinos

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