Archive for Artists

The Discos of Tron Release by Justin Johnson (Remixes by Wes Smith, discObeta, Fire-Beat and DJ Loryn)

“The Discos of Tron” is the new release by Justin Johnson (with remixes by Wes Smith, discObeta, Fire-Beat and DJ Loryn). I sat down with the owner of the distributor label Barely Legal Records, Justin Johnson, to see what the heck a Disco of Tron was anyway and what led him up to this release.

Tell me a little background on Barely Legal Records:

I started in late 1990’s working at Satellite Records in NYC.  I had always played all styles but I was known for breaks and needed an outlet to put my music out.  I had a good resell perspective, knew many contacts and had good info on how it all worked, so I brought my skills to the table and my Dad funded the 1st two releases on vinyl.

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How do you pick your label artists? 

The thought behind all of them is to put out my own music but also for friends of mine in a casual low-key way. We are not trying to be a big label, I enjoy doing my own thing by supporting the music of friends and family as well as some artists where we have built up good relationships. If I get a demo from someone I don’t know well then I might have someone I know do a remix and package the whole thing.

What is a Disco of Tron?

Part of it came from when the second Tron movie came out and Daft Punk was djing in the club reminded me of the old stand up game from the 80’s… The Discs of Tron. It was a nod to something I loved as a kid growing up – contemporary but with an old school flavor. You can hear that crunchy hip hop inspired breaks on the discObeta version you can hear the East Coast similarities that you would hear back at Limelight back in the day. Wes Fire-Beat and DJ Loren provided completely different flavors and spins with their contributions to the release.

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How did you choose Wes Smith for his remix contribution?

Wes and I knew of each other being involved in breaks on the East Coast and both living in NYC. For me it was awesome to see someone from back in the day holding it down and becoming successful. It’s on a whole other amazing level, I couldn’t be happier for him. He played one of our Faultline parties (actually the same one you and I played with DJ 138) and we started to build a friendship at that point. He played another Faultline event recently and from there we started talking about a remix option for BLR. It’s hard to get the artists involved after they have been paid, Wes is adding additional value to his product, which is something artists should learn from. I was really excited when you contacted me because I knew that another dimension to the release would be coming in the future.

Any advice to producers out there wanting to submit to labels? Yours or others?

Spend a lot of time making your track sound as good as you possibly can in your chosen DAW. Whatever your friends tell you – don’t listen to them unless they have at least a somewhat professional perspective. It’s because no matter what you make they will be positive because they love you and want to give positive feedback. The reality is that there is SO much noise (literally thousands of releases every week) you really have to figure a way to stand out musically. Not just key changes, but also how good the whole package is and it has got to sound original – it’s not easy. Also, no one is really making money producing tracks so don’t put a down payment on the mansion on your first release. Add value to your production skills by realizing that as an artist you are in the public eye. Basic social media maintenance shows you are active and that you care. Unless you are insanely talented and you do none of that, no one will know about you. Find an artist you respect and admire, follow their model and adjust it with your own voice and have it come from your heart. What works for them?
Ask yourself: What is it you think you have done to make you deserve the attention out of the 1000’s of tracks that are put out each day/week/month? Justin_Johnson_washed_out

You are living a lifetime of passion for music, are there any other words you want to say to all the music lovers and breakers out there?

Yes! Be kind to animals and be funky as fuck people! Those who truly love breaks need to continue to get the word out and preach the breakbeat gospel. It’s a genre that ebbs and flows in popularity but it is well back on the rise, which is great to see. I would like to see it maintain a certain plateau and it is  up to all of us involved whatever level to bring it to the masses. If you are a dancer tell your friends about it… share a link, drag a friend out, don’t assume they won’t like it. Same for DJs, producers, everyone whatever your level/involvement. Start a monthly – do something! Back when we started “Faultline” [breakbeat monthly with DJ 138 and Eric Riggsbee] we knew there were fans out there and we were right the fans do exist. You just have to hustle and find them!

Also we just finished up our 2nd installation of “Foundation”, [drum & bass and breaks monthly we do with the Dystopia crew] with Submorphics. We are building a following in broken beats on all levels.  It’s a small venue with good sound and an indoor/outdoor space with breakbeats under the stars. The food is actually really good and the staff is great…we couldn’t ask for more.

This coming Saturday (Sept. 19, 2015) we’re doing a special SF edition of Faultline at Underground SF (the old Top on lower Haight) with guests ShOOey and BENN BA$$. No cover. 21+. 9pm-2am.

Rob Analyze of Jamvana hits Wiggle 9/19 with Wes Smith, Omega Squad and SpeakerGhost

BOOM! Thought it was over after Burning Man? Nope, Agent 137 continues her missions to talk with industry leaders to gather important intelligence. This intelligence is meant to bridge Wes Smith’s audiences together with knowledge of what other promoters/labels/artists are doing in other parts of the country and around the world. This particular mission was to speak with Robert E. Leigh (Rob Analyze), owner of Jamvana, to hear what he is doing with this project and hype up this weekend’s Wiggle in San Diego:

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Who is Rob Analyze?

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What is Jamvana?

Jamvana started as a music retailer in 2008 and in 2011 we began to focus on becoming a content platform to deliver content to music retailers. We have about 400 labels and 1000 artists that we do artist & label branding focus. Our focus is on marketing in motion and revenue and we are always going toward the cutting edge of what is next.

What is next for Jamvana?

We are focusing on development, creating apps, VST Plugins and also becoming a leader in the sample pack world.

jamvana3Tell me why streaming is the future:

It’s changed from 10 years ago. You used to be able to throw a tune on Beatport and sell 1000 units. It’s become over saturated with producers and it’s just not as easy to find good music as it was before plus attention spans are shorter so the life of a tune is much shorter. Also apps like Spotify and being able to DJ off a stream has changed the game. We want to push good artists on a quality stream to both monetize for us/them and give the music consumer a better product. We can also then move to app growth, license it out and then offer quality customer support.

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How did Jamvana and Wes start working together?

We love what Wes is doing and want to help him succeed. Juice Recordings is one of our first labels and Wes as an artist that is on point with every aspect of his game right now. Juice is doing everything a label should be doing and more . It’s hard for an artist to accomplish what he has (and continues to do so) and it’s what we look for as a company and ally in the industry.

Robert is the owner of Jamvana and is also known as the artist Rob Analyze. He has been a part of the scene for years and is heavily involved in several projects in addition to Jamvana. You can check him out at Wiggle this weekend in San Diego and if you are not in the area, click below and check out his Soundcloud.

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Thank you for your input, Robert- we appreciate what you do for our scene to make it better and look forward to what you bring to is in the future.

Related links:  [Wiggle Facebook Event] [Soundcloud: Rob Analyze]  [Juice Recordings Website: Free Stuff] [Jamvana Website] [Facebook: Jamvana]

It’s Wes Smith Yo! Burning Man 2015 Tour @ Slut Garden

Dot Diggler is next for my “It’s Wes Smith at Burning Man Yo!” interviews.  Dot resides at Slut Garden during his stay in the dust. This is a camp that I remember well from last year – it’s colorful, fun and the music was always on point. Getting to see Wes play up on that stage is going to be a sight to see with the crowd dressed up in their space wear. BOOM!

Check out the video by clicking this picture!

Check out the video by clicking the link!

Slut Garden is certainly an interesting name – tell me about Slut Garden and what you all are about:

We are the ultimate party on the playa and are a real interactive camp. Whether it is the shadow boxes, platforms, The Wet Spot (bar), dome or clothing exchange (Slutty Seconds). We have people who go out in the crowd to recruit girls to dance in the shadow boxes and we aim to never have them empty of sexy silhouettes dancing.

What’s your role for Slut Garden?

I’m in charge of staging build scaffolding, setting up the lighting and am a main residency DJ. I am based out of Seattle but the founding members and campers are mainly from Portland and Montana.

That’s great – how did you get involved with Slut Garden?

This is my second year with Slut Garden, after my first burn I played a hip hop set with my best friend Matt (Pressha) for a hip hop happy hour. Slut Garden was having some sound issues so I jumped under the sound booth and fixed what was wrong. They were appreciative and they asked me to come back to play. I started with an empty crowd and once I was done there was a huge crowd. I was offered to play a fundraiser in Seattle and it just exploded from there. I don’t rep a crew or a label when it comes to Slut Garden…so I promo the heck outta it and get the word out about them.

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Speaking of promo – tell me about your biggest music events/parties:

Wednesday: Sluts In Space when Wes Smith is playing, it’s an astronaut/space themed event.

Thursday: Booty Wonderland with Deekline and Dot Diggler ++

Friday: Satan’s Schoolgirls that DJ Dan hosting with Donald Glaude ++

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You were the one that booked Wes. How do you know about Wes Smith all the way in Seattle?

I asked Wes if he would be down to play a set – he is one of my favorite producers. I found his tracks awhile back and the tracks went off really well at the burn one of my good friends Justin (Blacklist) Alson also plays a lot of his tunes out as well.

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Any advice to aspiring DJs/producers out there going to Burning Man?

It’s good to make connections in this industry it is very hard if you do not. Everyone is a dj/producers/etc so you really have to set yourself apart from the others.

Tell me why you do all of this and keep coming back to Burning Man:

One of the reasons why I love Burning Man is because breaks are reigning supreme (parallel with house). I have been a breaks DJ for 15 years ever since I heard Icey’s Essential Mix and then started getting into Baby Anne, Fixx, Volume, Huda Hudia, Deeklline, Plump DJs, Freestylers and Stanton Warriors. I have been blessed to play with most of them except Deekline and that comes true this year.

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Also, I have never met such a hard-working group so focused on their goal. It’s a camp full of Alphas and surprisingly-  it really works. The founder of Slut Garden, Brad, is the shit. He is a superb leader of people. It’s why the camp has become as awesome as it is and it keeps getting bigger and bigger each year.

Check out the Dot Diggler mix I have been bumpin’in my speakers this week:

This year’s Burn is going to be interesting and I can’t wait to meet you and see/hear all the awesome on that beautiful stage surrounded by those shadow box dancers – thank you sir, see you in the dust!

SLUT GARDEN

LOCATION: 9:15 & E

Related links:

[Slut Garden : Website] [Slut Garden : Facebook] [Juice Recordings: Website] [Wes Smith: Facebook] [Dot Diggler: Facebook]