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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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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The Quarter Life Crisis: Technology, Society & Openness

We always hear about the mid-life crisis, but never the quarter-life crisis… I mean you can’t reallyyyy compare the two, but that’s not the point. The point is here we are all suffering and there is an incredibly large disconnect with ourselves + our generation.

Let’s be honest, life’s complicated.

..it’s like…. rEaL c O m P l I c A t E d

 

 

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How are we supposed to figure out which path to take in life? What kind of person you want to be and/or should be? (edit: my personal thoughts to these questions I asked can be found at the end of this piece)

We can blame technology, society (*will speak on society later in this blog*), nature, nurture, others,.. yet at the end of the day, it’s really up to us to make changes, be more proactive and imbue our lives with some sort of meaning and/or purpose so that we can “keep pushing it” as they say. Like I mentioned in Change & Awareness piece, humans are social creatures and as such, we require connection! Sure technology gives us an entity, if you will, to hide behind, but what it also does is give you this seemingly never-ending platform for connecting with people from… *drum rolls*

…yep, that just happened I’m sorry haha I felt like I had to lighten the mood before I continued to dive deeper into this topic. I’ve noticed comedy can always help bring me out of a bad mood.

Anyway okay so.. technology should be bringing us closer together not further apart. (Also btw, I am in no way saying I am this all-knowing guru… these are just trends I’ve noticed that I am also a part of). We need to be more open & honest with each other and also just bounce ideas off each other… and take it from there! I mean who knows what you’ll come up with. It’s kind of like when you had sleepovers when you were younger and you’d stay up all night and just talk about “life” and just other random, but cool stuff.

But let’s face it, each and every one of us (including myself) would rather save face and pretend our lives are “la-di-da” and “ooh-la-la” than admit we feel lost, disconnected and alone. Sometimes we post on social media, text our friends or use SnapChat to send these moments of our lives that are supposedly the best days of our lives… but are we truly allowing ourselves to soak in those moments and enjoy it to its fullest?

 

 

More than half of the time I snapped, posted a picture online, texted someone about something super fun I was doing I wasn’t allowing myself to be immersed in the experience. What I didn’t understand during that time was my intention behind these messages I was sending out. What I wanted was connection and to feel like I was doing okay. Instead, what I did was present myself in such a way that made it seem like I was having an awesome time (well okay, I was to an extent) and knew what I was doing. Honestly, it was just a cry for attention and I was in essence, lying to myself (BIG smh @ myself)

Now here’s the thing with society, it’s not that society is inherently corrupt or bad, but it is flawed. When people say things like “Oh, it’s society’s fault” or something along those lines.. what is the message they are sending? Let’s unpack this.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

  • Society functions like a living organism, it’s not a particular person, or secret group of people (I expect illuminati discussions to come)
  • So who makes up society? All of us
  • As such, the “problem” therein lies in the fact that the so-called “rules” that govern society during any given moment in time were established by a different society (basically the generation or generations before us)
  • Like any living organism, society absolutely needs to adapt because the people that make up society change and there’s always a new generation

Society HAS to change  otherwise, you create such a disconnect and ultimately cause confusion to individuals because the people that are in the society / alive are different than those who established the society before them.

And no, I’m not saying f**k the system let’s raise hell and embrace anarchy. Everyone needs structure, that’s where we thrive most. All I’m saying is society can be viewed as a living organism that has different constituents that serve a purpose and you need it.
Maybe if we take a step wayyy back and look at it through a different lens and connect with one another more we can come up with a way to make our lives that much easier.

 

 

We all need to improve, it’s been so damn hot lately and that’s literally humanity’s fault!
So how are we supposed to figure out which path to take in life? What kind of person you want to be and/or should be?
Honestly, you won’t know ’till you give it run. Simply put, it’s through trial & error. Don’t be afraid to take risks, learn from your experiences, understand that hardships will come, but ultimately pain leads to growth. 
Most importantly, embrace your individuality because you are perfect the way you are so use that negative energy as a catalyst for self-love and change to become a better you.
If you ever need to talk, just reach out to someone. Take care of yourself
Your friend,
Christian

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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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