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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