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 😉

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Creator’s Spotlight w/ Christian ReciKnows: Carlos Montalvo

Damn did anyone else feel like this week went  by super fast? I’m not complaining, but I swear it was JUST Monday not too long ago haha.

Today, I’m bringing you a friend of mine named Carlos! Carlos and I met through the Bay Area DirtyBird page I moderate and we’ve seen each other at shows and other events. He’s got a knack for finding some real good tunes and all-around chill guy. We recently started hanging out more because he’s been kickin’ it with Corey a lot. Carlos had been listening to some of my mixes lately and was kind enough to offer me a slot on his radio show called “LocoLDN” that’s based in the UK.

To be perfectly honest, I was super intimidated and I had asked Corey to go b2b with me so I could have someone to get my back in case I messed up. Corey and Carlos eventually pushed me and told me to just do it and they said they believed in me so that was super sweet and I’m actually super proud of the finished product! It’ll be airing in the UK this Saturday at 2PM (6AM PST btw, but I’ll post it next Monday 😉 )

Anyway let’s jump right in on this Q&A with Carlos!

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First of all, welcome! I love being able to showcase different sides of the music scene so I appreciate you doing this interview with me. Alright so the first question I love to ask is what does music mean to you? 

Music makes me happy. It’s always been a part of my life ever since I was a little kid to beginning of my young raver life to where I am right now and even now to seeing the joy and happiness of seeing friends and strangers around me listening to the same genre I love at a concert or show. Every time I’m out or at a show, concert, festival, or even in front of a dj set up, you can always catch me smiling and dancing throughout my whole set and I always feel like my mind just lifts up with my body and takes control. Music just brings complete happiness to my soul that’s unexplainable unless you feel the same way as well.

 

 Alright so where are you from? What do you do in your “regular” life? 

Born and raised in the LBC aka Long Beach city just a little south of Los Angeles. Currently I am a server and bartender at a small restaurant/brewery in downtown San Francisco. Aside from the busy work life, I dj and produce music and enjoying my two kittens wrestling each other all over my apartment to keep me distracted.

Walk us through a day in the life of Carlos.

A little boring at the moment to be honest due to my work hours haha but I always wake up early in the am for work, get back home to take care of my 2 kittens before they start destroying more stuff around the house, then while they’re having their wrestling matches when I’m home; I’ll either get on my laptop or put on my headphones, and start either working on music or on my controller and just enjoy practicing and mixing.

 

So you’ve been hosting your own radio show on LocoLDN called “The Playground”? Can you tell us what it’s about?

Of course! “The Playground” is a show that I created to pretty much show everyone what I can bring to the decks and show everyone what I love to do. Also, even though, I am the host of the show, I always have a guest to throw down a set to help someone get some exposure as well.

 

How did this idea come to be? Have you always wanted to become a radio host?

The idea came from where I live. There used to be a big playground in the backyard and I even threw a couple parties there which were so much fun. I thought it was a fun (no so safe) idea to put the dj set up on the playground on top of the slide and just loved how it happened every time. Having the opportunity to have a time slot that is being aired outside of the United States is a huge opportunity for me and I took it regardless of the little to none experience to being a radio host, I decided to give it a shot and so far I been liking it ever since.

How’d you get connected with LocoLDN?

I was randomly on facebook one day and I had a friend who I would talk to about events and one day he told me that there was an invite for those who would like to have any exposure in the UK. Of course, I couldn’t say no and was introduced to LocoLDN and House Radio Digital. I started to do my research about it and began talking to the people who were running and hosting the whole website and told me if I was interested to join and be part of it that I would have to be wait for the right time for them to post up their information and signed up. You best believe I was constantly checking their pages and group pages for the information for me to sign up and luckily I was able to get a time slot.

How long have you been doing this?

For about 7 months now. Best decision I have made in a long time. It can be very fun and stressful at the same time but in the end I couldn’t be more proud of it. 

So, you’re a DJ too, right? What’s your artist name? How’d you come up with it?

My artist name is “Nyctea”, pronounced “nick – tea – ah”. Funny how I always get people saying it as “nicetea” or “niktea”, I’ve heard it all. Nyctea came to me out of nowhere one day when I was at my apartment here in San Francisco and wanted to get a new dj name from what I had before (It was eternity by the way and that’s a different story). I started looking up different ways to say owl or night owl in either a different language or something that I haven’t seen before but once that name came out I decided to keep it and been using that name ever since I moved to the bay area.

If you could have any artist on your show who would it be? Why?

That’s a real tough one! There’s so many out there that I would love to have on there but I would have to say Will Clarke. He has always been a cool guy to be around, always fun seeing him at events and I would be so honored to have him throw it down!

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 Do you have any specific artist(s) that you are consistently listening to? (Or one of your favorite artists? Serves as a way to connect the artist w/audience by showing what they are into)

Have too many to say but I would say my favorite artist would be Carl Cox. He’s the main reason what brought me to the scene and has always been a huge motivation to continue working on music. 

Any upcoming Artists and/or new Tracks you’d like to shed some light on?

He’s miles away from me but I would have to give props for my good friend Angel aka “Infamouz”. Even though I love my house and techno, this guy has been getting into some dirty, heavy trap and bass music lately and I am very happy to see a friend from my home town to be moving up from what he used to be.

What’s your favorite food?

Stuck between Mexican and Italian.

 

Anything else you want to say? 

I would have to say that these past 3 years living in the Bay Area has been nothing but life changing. I am very thankful and grateful for meeting everyone I have met now and became my friends. If it wasn’t for any of you, I probably wouldn’t be still working with music and being around in the scene instead of living a boring life so thank you all and hopefully you get to see me perform at any upcoming shows!

Thanks Carlos! Stay tuned for my upcoming mix on his radio show this Saturday that will air live at  2PM UK time / 6AM PST US time. Here’s the link!

Also stay up-to-date with Carlos aka Nyctea on SoundCloud as well as MixCloud

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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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The Truth about “FunEmployment” & Existential Crises

It’s weird, it only dawned on me just this week that I have been working pretty much consistently since the age of 16 (so nearly a decade, whoa). I mean, granted I did take a gap year abroad in Paris, but I was still technically working. As an Au Pair, I still had the responsibility of taking care of children and having to be a pseudo-parent.

At the same time though, I had the liberty to do what I wanted whilst still being paid. Not only that, but I was in a different country and the world was truly my playground. I had no idea what I wanted to do after high school and my French teacher suggested I become an Au Pair. Since I’d already been working at a daycare it seemed totally doable and the next thing I knew during the summer of 2011 I was flying off to Paris.

 

 

Anyway why am I talking about being an Au Pair in 2011? So I’ve spent the last  month or so “FunEmployed” and while it’s been a pretty difficult time in terms of career prospects… I’ve also never felt this free & alive since that time I went off to Paris. Although, there are some days where I wake up and ask myself, “Wtf am I doing with my life?” and spend a good chunk of the day feeling depressed/sorry for myself, but overall I think I’m actually happier as a whole.

In essence, the concept behind “FunEmployment” is the same as a “Gap Year”. How many of you actually took the time to give yourself room to breathe after graduating high school? We all need breaks. Now obviously this doesn’t apply to everyone, but a lot of the world is questioning the direction of their career, relationships, and overall meaning in life—don’t worry it’s called a quarter-life crisis and it’s normal.

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Now, I don’t want anyone to think my job was bad per se, I was a nanny and restaurant manager previously. As far as nannying is concerned, I truly do love it. I love taking care of kids, they are so innocent, honest and curious. The world hasn’t yet deprived them of their inherent joy of everything around them. I think the reason I wasn’t happy was because I never really stopped again (since Paris) to think about where my life was headed. I worked, went out, went to school, maybe took a trip somewhere for a festival or somewhere else… but more or less, this was my schedule that repeated itself. Maybe I can toss in there that I was working out too and had other hobbies, but that’s beside the point. When you’re in this cycle you don’t really take the time to stop and take a look at the bigger picture.

One of the points I am trying to make is that despite your distinguished degree, you still find yourself despondent on the daily with the thought of having to go work, go to school, etc, or maybe you did land that dream job of yours, but discover that it’s strangling your creativity. You’ve just spent the last four years in college or past few years working this job, but now what? What the hell are you even doing?

Simply put, a quarter-life/existential crisis is a time of intense soul searching and stress. Typically, we feel this way for a number of reasons some of which include  feeling that we aren’t achieving our fullest potential or are “falling behind”. So many of us are unhappy in our career/job/life choices and it really wears on us. We lose sleep, our diet suffers, we’re upset and we feel stuck. Take the time to take a step back and reassess your life.

All of us are unique, highly driven, intellectual individuals and the takeaway for those of you reading this is that you need to take control of your life. Do something for yourself, seek out your friends for companionship, don’t let your degree/career define and tell yourself this is all normal – because it is! It’s also super important to have someone who you can be completely honest with and just open up to. So seeking out and talking to those close to you is key to feeling better.

There’s this lock bridge (well, a few) in Paris right above La Seine that has a plethora of locks on it from people leaving little tokens of themselves there. When I was in Paris, I always used to think about how every lock represented something so much more than the love notes on them. To me, they were a representation of the struggle of values. There’s so many different roles we can assume in life, just like there are so many locks we can choose to look at/potentially unlock. “Am I a nurse? Am I an entrepreneur? Oh, but wait, I also want to become an artist. Who am I?”

I know that I want to become a nurse practitioner, but until then I’d like to explore the different avenues that are possible for me. Such as, this very blog that you are reading right now. That’s why my blog will realistically probably not be centered around just music because I also am super into writing streams of consciousness like this that can potentially be beneficial towards someone. As well as art, fashion and health.

If you’re unhappy or questioning the nature of your reality, make a change.

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Oh and last thing, whether or not you’re still in school, working a 9-5 job, working late nights at a restaurant, or doing who knows what we’re all in this together. This isn’t a competition, this is real life. Stop comparing yourself to others and basing your own progress in life off of others. Everyone has their own path in life, own it. Run it. Do you

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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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Creator’s Spotlight w Christian ReciKnows: Pableezy

Pablo and I had the pleasure of meeting each other at Lightning in a Bottle 2017. Pablo tells me, “I remember being slightly out of my mind, needing to lay down and I looked over my right shoulder and there you were mirroring me perfectly”. At the time, both of us were baking/frying in the sun trying to stay human. Soon afterwards, we began chatting up and in those moments we realized we would be friends forever.

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In general, what does music do for you?

Music for me is an art form. One that can only really be appreciated by the artist themselves. So for me it’s a glimpse into someone else life, and I appreciate the artist for taking a risk and letting me in. It’s a special kind of relationship really. 

Where are you from? What do you do for a living

I’m from Los Angeles, CA and by day I work in television at NBC in studio city. 

Walk us through a day in the life of Pablo.

I wake up and thank god for another day. I’ve learned that life is short and a blessing. Then head to work and do my thing working with lawyers in contract negotiations. Afterwards I record Dope Shit Only.

Okay so you started your own Podcast series called “dopeshitonly_music”. Can you tell us a little about what it is about?

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Dope Shit Only is about creating an open-minded community that shares other peoples’ creations, & is always looking out for “Dope Shit”. Basically it’s what you’re doing with your platform Chris. Except through my preferred medium, voice.

How did this idea come to be? Have you always wanted to become a “vlogger”, if you will? 

The idea came from a motivation speaker name Gary Vaynerchuk. Please check out his book “Crushing It”. It inspired me to stay creative. He really does a good job explaining the huge impact “Voice” will play in the future and how it’s shaping the media landscape now. 

Where do you ideally hope to take this platform of yours?

I originally started this podcast to just highlight music that I love. Now I’m starting to get a lot of traffic on my site, and also great feedback from the artist that I’m showcasing which is really fun. But as long as I can introduce people to new artist and new sounds, I think I’ve done my job.

Check out the Instagram for “dopeshitonly_music”

Do you have any specific artist(s) that you are consistently listening to

Yeah I can’t name all the artist that I love listening to. That’s the reason I think I have a lot of content on anchor.fm/dopeshitonly but I will say my show centers around Hiphop and RnB mostly. Artist like 6lack, Childish Gambino, Sza, Kendrick etc are really inspirational too me.

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

Yes! Look out for K.forest he is really dropping amazing music. Also Jorja Smith sweet voice is something to listen too. And of course Daniel Caesar had an amazing album that you should really check out. 

A lot of have seen the DirtyBird West Coast campout Instagram video with the Vibe Trib featuring you as MC. Can we expect you to make a return this coming fall? 

Lmao!!! That was very impromptu but I will definitely make my way to any open Mic I can get my hands on. I think my superpower is my voice and I plan to use it. 

Check out the video here!

What’s your favorite food?

Double Pepperoni Pizza, large fam

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Anything more to add? 

Everyone works a 9 to 5… but what are you doing from 5 to midnight? Stay hungry – Pableezy

Also I want to S/O all my tech House heads out there listening to Dope Shit Only! The rave community really embraced me and thought me how to be unapologetically myself. PLUR L-O-L

Be sure to stay up-to-date with Pablo aka Pableezy and his Podcast here.

Also give him a follow on Instagram too 😉

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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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Behind the Scenes w/ Max Charnas

Max and I crossed paths when I drove down for This Ain’t Bristol‘s very first event in America. It was a collaboration with Insomniac Events called “One Night In Los Angeles” @ The Union last year and have kept in touch ever since!

We have since met up with one another at Insomniac’s Beyond Wonderland, CRSSD and other countless events. Max is truly the most down to earth easy-going and fun human I have come across haha. He is currently Director of Operations for Space Yacht and was the Former Editor for This Ain’t Bristol 

What exactly does music do for you?

Music enhances every aspect of my life. I would estimate that I spend over 50% of my waking hours listening to some type of music. Whether that be house or techno while I’m working and studying or Led Zeppelin to wake me up in the morning, or Hip Hop while driving, or romantic music while I’m in love or sad music when I’m experiencing heartbreak. It is always with me.

 Where are you from? What were you doing prior to music? 

Cleveland, Ohio originally. I also spent three years in Chicago working in finance before moving to LA to start the American imprint of This Ain’t Bristol with Billy Kenny.

 You went to school in Chicago? What’s your favorite place to eat in Chicago?

Actually went to Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. Best food there is Tommy’s Pizza. Lived in Chicago for three years after graduating. Favorite place to eat in Chicago was Bavette’s: the parlor room in the basement is one of the best dining atmospheres in the country.

How did you first get involved with This Ain’t Bristol & Billy Kenny?

 It actually started with a Facebook message to Billy inviting him to a Facebook group where we share music. He was all about it, which speaks to what a down to earth dude he is.

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 As editor for This Ain’t Bristol, what exactly did you do? 

Editor for every written word published by the label. For example, I would write track descriptions, blog posts, press releases, etc. I would also help Billy throw events in the US.  

What was it like working (and living) with the man, himself, Billy Kenny?

 Never a dull moment. Billy is an incredible friend and roommate and his brain is always going 100 mph. He would wake me up at 9AM excited about an idea or a track that he was working on and I would need 3 cups of coffee to understand what the fuck he was saying.

 Not only did This Ain’t Bristol bring out the legend Kyle Watson stateside to play his first US festival ever, but also his first club show too! How was it working with him and finally being able to bring him here?

Actually, my first ever project for TAB was interviewing Kyle for his The Cone/Rhinoceros release. We skyped for over an hour even though he had no idea who the hell I was. One of the most humble and intelligent people I’ve had the honor of meeting in the industry.

 The Crssd After Dark: This Ain’t Bristol – One Night In SD had to be one of my favorite shows I have everrr been to. Music Box was PACKED to the brim, how smoothly did that night run for all of you? OrHow did it feel to see so many people lining up for the sold out show?

Hahah, fairly smooth overall. Except for the fact that the company running the event didn’t have any of our guest list so we had to literally escort every artist and all of their guests from the door. However, that was not the venue’s fault and we absolutely love the Music Box.

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 What has been your most memorable experience working with This Ain’t Bristol?

I would have to say our stage at Nocturnal Wonderland. We got an AirbnB Ecodome in the mountains of San Bernardino where 15 of us slept (or didn’t sleep) and became really really close friends. The group chat from that weekend still goes off on a daily basis. Shoutout “LOBT @ Ecodome”

So you’re now that you’ve teamed up with Space Yacht as Head of Operations, walk us through a day in the life of Max Charnas.

Basically, I make sure that everyone we work with is getting paid on time and that the company on track to make money and achieve our goals internally. There is a terrible trend within the music industry of artists and vendors not being paid in a timely fashion and we make sure that everyone that works with Space Yacht comes away feeling like they are family.

 How did you meet Henry anyway?

 I met Henry and Rami my first week living in LA when Billy suggested that we go this thing called Space Yacht.

What sort of plans do you have in store for Space Yacht that you can share with us?

Expansion! Both domestic and internationally. That’s about all I can say for now.  

One of the most difficult aspects about being in this scene? (What’s the thing you dislike or what’s the most frustrating thing?)

Hangovers.

 Do you feel like nowadays you can’t experience the music the same as you did when you were just a listener? (The purpose of this question is so the audience has a sense of what it’s like to be behind the scenes?)

 Actually, since I’ve started learning to DJ, I’ve gained an even greater respect for artists that are able to mix well.

 You started mixing too! So who was your sensei, Billy or Bones? (I’m not actually sure when you first started to DJ lmao)

Billy was my first sensei. I remember when he got his CDJs, we didn’t sleep at all that week. Just like two kids on Christmas. Trevor is also an amazing DJ and has taught he some really important tricks of the trade.

What’s your DJ name?

Dude! I got nothing good right now. I would love some input from you and the readers to help me come up with something catchy. 

Shoot Max a tweet and give him an idea for a DJ name!

 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)

That’s a hard fuckin question man. I would say that my favorite artist that I’ve recently been introduced to is Polo & Pan, an awesome French duo.

My favorite weapon of track has got to be Dreamcatcher – Dario D’Attis. I’m a huge fan of Defected and almost everything they do..

 

Any other upcoming Artists and/or new Tracks we should know? (This question is a way to plug in your own musical connects or artists you feel should also get exposure)

If you haven’t heard of Schade yet, he’s the next big thing. He played on our boat party and absolutely blew me away.

Any mixes/tracks of your we should check out? (Showcase artists’ discography – could also put this mix or track at the very beginning of the Q&A or somehow incorporate this question better so featured artists gets more web traffic for their SC, Spotify, Page, etc.,)

Yes! One of my favorite mix series is by this dude from Buenos Aires named Pabels. I play each of his mixes a minimum of 10 times after they come out. Check him out.

One last thing, I’m sure you travel a lot doing what you do. What’s your favorite place you’ve been to so far?

 My two favorite countries that I’ve ever visited are Germany and Israel. Great music scenes and great people.

 Anything more to add? 

Loved this interview dude!

Follow Max on Instagram to see what direction he takes Space Yacht in!

Be sure to follow Space Yacht and stay up to date with their events!

They will be having a Day Club party @ the Academy in Orange County with an ever so exclusive lineup

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Grab your tickets here!

I would like to take a moment to thank Max for giving me his time and allowing me to do this piece on him. Thanks Max!! ❤

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Featured Artist: Chef Boyarbeatz 

Today on Featured Artists with Christian ReciKnows we have artist “Chef Boyarbeatz” doing an AMA.

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Joey Koppenheffer aka “Chef Boyarbeatz” and I met at I believe the very first Wobbeland in 2016. Hucci, Nghtmre, Ghastly, Dr. Fresch were amongst the top headliners that weekend. We were both a part of this online Facebook group called “OWSLA IV” that was created as a sort of community for people that had been subscribing to OWSLA via the Drip system that allowed you to get their newest music.

He came with some of his homies John and Matt all the way down from LA to San Jose just for this event. I forget which exact set we met up for, but I remember we hit it off almost immediately. We all just geeked out on music and the rest is history.

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There was a point where I was traveling down to LA nearly every month to visit him and go see some dope shows. I’m super glad I was able to meet him because it’s crazy watching him going from just this random guy I met at an event to seeing him pursuing music and playing all these shows.3

In general, what does music do for you?

Music does a lot of things for me…before I started producing I felt like I was constantly searching for something that really gave my life a focus/purpose. Music gives me hope, inspiration, happiness. It makes me sad and melancholic at times. It brings about all the emotions that really help me feel totally human. I’ve tried my hand at many things throughout my life and music feels like the only thing that truly made me happy.

Where are you from? What do you do?

I’m from Anaheim, CA literally right next to Disneyland!!  I attended Cal State Fullerton and graduated with a History Major while taking music classes. I am currently attending Icon Collective in Burbank, CA. I have dabbled in a lot of different genres since I started. I originally was making a lot of progressive house/trance for the first year or two. From there I started to get more into bass music and beats in general. My main style right now though can really only be described as experimental bass music, but I try to incorporate various styles of dubstep, drum and bass, classic hip hop and more.

What’s it like being at Icon Collective? What’s the homework like?

Icon is really incredible. I feel like it gets a bad rap from people who don’t attend or have this negative idea of “art school” being all formulaic and stuff. The teachers there are honestly super invested in you, and let you do your thing. You just got to soak up as much information and opinion and make do with that, all while still following your gut intuition. Another thing about Icon is its really all about how much work you put in. You get out of it what you put in essentially. They have office hours everyday with all the instructors where you can ask any questions, get feedback, go through their project files, etc. One of my favorite office hours was Petey Clicks on Night Bass. Dude just has a very unique way of approaching music production where he’s just like, let’s just fuck around and have fun turning knobs to the highest degree and generally doing stuff that should necessarily be “wrong”

The homework varies for all the classes. One of the more challenging/rewarding homework’s that I’ve done have been in songwriting. We had multiple weeks where we had to write a song with just piano, and only have a chord progression and a melody. Then, we had to sing our melody topline over it. Most of the guys in our class are guys so…listening to dry vocals sung by a bunch of dudes straining to hit notes was pretty hilarious hahahaha. Some other examples of homework would be from my music business class. Last quarter we had to search out events/promoters we wanted to play at and collect contact info in a big list. We had to find labels we would like to release on and collect promo emails and such. Currently I’m working on looking at one music and non-music social media campaign. We have to look at the social media tools they used, themes, when it started and ended, audience reaction etc. A lot of the homework we do has a lot of applicability we can relate to the real world and our own productions.

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

I had always dreamt of playing in a band growing up, so once I started DJ’ing and producing it felt like a one man band sort of. The moment where it really hit me though was attending Nocturnal Wonderland in 2012. Above & Beyond hosted a stage the entire day with people such as Mat Zo, Super8 & Tab and more, and back then Anjunabeats was my shittttt. That Above & Beyond set though was and still is one of the best sets I’ve seen to date. The crowd and vibe was just too perfect. I have ventured away from that style of trance but I still respect A&B for everything they’ve done. I picked up virtual DJ to start around 2013, and shortly after torrented FL studio and began making mashups to figure out the program.

How’d you come up with your DJ name?

Honestly I don’t remember the EXACT moment I chose the name, I just remember cooking every morning and just thinking about random shit, and I think I saw the Chef Boyardee logo or something and thought the name Chef Boyarbeatz was a funny/catchy name that had a lot of branding potential. 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most difficult aspects about doing this scene? 

Hahaha.. there’s honestly a lot of things I dislike…I hate promoting on social media. It makes me feel weird to be completely honest, like “hey, here’s my content. let me shove it in your face until you are a fan.” Another thing I dislike heavily is the pay to play a lot of promoters push. When I first started DJ’ing at clubs, they would push soooo hard and get soooo mad when you didn’t bring 15-20+ people for a 9PM slot. Like dude, first of all no one wants to come THAT early. Then they would get mad when my friends would dip after my set…like maybe thats a testament to your artist bookings my guy. There’s a bunch of other things but I don’t want to be that guy that complains about minimal things lol

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

Oh definitely. Listening as a producer is a completely different game than the average listener. I feel like it has definitely made me more jaded too, like big room house is the most generic thing to me, but people fuck with it so who am I to say what they listen to is bad? But yeah, whenever I’m listening to things I’m always imagining how they made certain sounds or drum grooves. Especially since I’m pretty deep into production now and my sound design chops are pretty decent, I’ve gotten pretty good at recreating those sounds.

 It must be so surreal playing shows and getting booked everywhere. Any clubs or venues you have played so far that really stuck out to you? 

I mean… I’m not getting booked everywhere!! I haven’t really tried pushing for tons of gigs currently just because I’m focusing more on school, at the moment. Honestly one of my favorite sets that stood out to me was at La Cave opening as direct support for Lo’99. I actually got a booking for another show with White Rabbit opening direct support at Envy Lounge in Newport Beach because the promoter loved my set. Speaking of that Envy Lounge set, that was definitely the biggest crowd I’ve played for…I remember looking up after being lost in the music for the first 15 mins or so and was like “holy shit there’s a lot of people here!!” Like I said, I haven’t played too many places, mostly stuff in Orange County.

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How do you know Bryan Orozco? And how did you first get connected with La Cave?

Bryan Orozco (Rozco) and I go wayyyyyy back. We actually met in high school around 7-8 years ago playing World of Warcraft hahahahahaha. One of my homies I was doing PvP and raids with at my high school knew Bryan from his hometown in Irvine, and we just connected from there. Fast forward to college, I had to just gotten into DJ’ing around my sophomore/junior year and saw Bryan post an Instagram photo of him DJ’ing as well. We reconnected from there. He started getting gigs at a club in Newport called Sutra, that’s no longer around (they moved into what is now Time Nightclub). We played a bunch of gigs there from time to time. Once Sutra closed and Time opened up, Bryan transitioned there to MDA which runs a house weekly on Wednesday nights at La Cave. He hooked me up with them and I opened the first slot for Stranger one night, they loved my set and eventually got booked for direct support for Lo’99 and Maximono! We also started a Bass show on Thursdays called Bass Cave at La Cave that we’re transitioning into a monthly! We have our first grand reopening of that on August 4th with the Big Booty Bass crew from LA!!

You and Joe ( J Woogie ) went to high school together too, right?

Yeah I forget exactly when we met, but it was sometime sophomore year in high school. We played a bunch of Call of Duty together super late into the night, good times!

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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)

Tbh, I’m always listening to a bunch of people, my favorite track right now though would be this indie record called “She Can’t Leave Me Here Alone Tonight” by HOMESHAKE. Notable artists I’m really fuckin’ with right now though would be Shades (Eprom x Alix Perez), G Jones, Chee, Joker, Toro Y Moi, Badbadnotgood, Thundercat, Jack Garrett, The Internet, Kursa, Anti_Negative, and Abelation.

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

Yeah man, Abelation and Anti_Negative are two really fuckin’ sick up and comers. Both are putting out some really dope, next level shit that’s completely their own style. I know Abelation’s got an album on the way and Anti_Negative just released an EP so check those out if you like weird, experimental bass.

Any mixes/tracks of your we should check out? (Showcase artists’ discography – could also put this mix or track at the very beginning of the Q&A or somehow incorporate this question better so featured artists gets more web traffic for their SC, Spotify, Page, etc.,)

My recent bass set I played at Bass Cave was probably one of my favorite sets to date honestly. There’s two unreleased tunes in there from me as well. As far as tracks, I’m in the process of going through about 20+ demos and cleaning them all up to release sometime throughout next year once I relaunch my brand.

What exactly is the Vibe Tribe and how did it come together?

At its core, Vibe Tribe is just a group of friends sharing similar interests, mainly electronic music though but yeah! It started in college, the story is kinda funny hahaha. I was at a LED events show in San Diego on acid watching Milo & Otis, just thinking thoughts and the general future/vision of where I wanted to take my music and stuff. Around this time I was super in Selection and other music collectives, so the word Vibe Tribe just came into my head and it really stuck. The whole vision kinda came into my head too. I threw a few events here and there, but felt like I wasn’t really getting a ton of support and it was hard trying to do it all on my own, so I put it on the back burner for a bit and just made a Facebook group where we could share music, shows etc etc. From there it kinda grew more organically and now we have like a solid group of 60+ people we all fuck with. This past Lightning in a Bottle we had a huge camp site with like 40 people strong. It was super sick. I definitely want to pursue the collective more but want to approach it with a more refined vision/plan to push events and the general vibe (pun intended lol).

When you and I as well the rest of the Vibe Tribe camped last year at Dirtybird West Coast Campout, the ____ took a video of us. What was it like watching yourself be shown on such a huge Instagram follower? 

It was honestly super surprising hahahaha I don’t remember him coming up to our campsite, I guess I was just too into the music!! It was pretty sick though, I think one of our guys tried sending him a video of us from Lightning in a Bottle but he never responded.

So, are we doing it bigger & better this coming year for the 2018 West Coast Campout?

Hell yeah bro! In all seriousness though, definitely trying to organize our renegade more in depth and bring in some outside artists, make set times and what not. We have a really dope light setup, speakers, and CDJ’s we can borrow so we just need to organize and spread the word this year.

(Well there you go folks, you heard it here first! Come find us at West Coast campout!!)

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What’s your favorite tv show?

It’s for sure a tie between Arrested Development and Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve binged those shows hahahahaha.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Hit me up on my twitter! Always down to connect with like minded peeps 🙂

Check out Chef Boyarbeatz’s SoundCloud 

Follow Chef Boyarbeatz’s Instagram to see what he’s up to!

Thanks for reading everyone! Cheers, I appreciate all the feedback I’ve been getting lately.

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