A look into the thoughts of genre-transcending bass producer hailing from Jackson, Mississippi, TVBOO. Check out his newest release, “Tantrum.”

KSDT: Who are your musical influences?

TVBOO: Blink 182, Bring Me The Horizon, Jantsen, Attila, G Jones… The list never ends, I get influenced by someone new everyday.

KSDT: What movie could you see yourself doing a soundtrack for?

TVBOO: I feel like if they remade The Matrix or Mortal Kombat I’d be their dude.

KSDT: What would you say is your defining quality?

TVBOO: I’d say my style. Nobody can really explain my genre. Not heavy enough for the dub DJs, not weird enough for the Wook DJs, too heavy for the trap DJs. I don’t try to make a certain thing when I produce, I just make what comes naturally, and if that’s a booty song then so be it. I also get inspiration from comedy so if I’m laughing in the studio, I’m usually flowing. I just like to have fun in the studio and try not to worry about what people will think about it.

KSDT: How has being raised in the South affected your experience as a musician?

TVBOO: I’d say it made me work harder than most. People in big cities with big scenes have opportunities to network and perform and work with other local artists. I didn’t have that. No one [in the place] where I’m from was into what I was doing, so it made me grind it out way harder so I could make it out. Also, my parents were hella supportive. Really proud of where I’m from, I wouldn’t of wanted it any other way.

KSDT: What DJs do you enjoy seeing live?

TVBOO:

Jantsen has the best live edits in the game.

Klutch puts all of his emotions into his sets.

Zeke beats is a beast on the ones and twos.

Griz makes me smile.

Odesza makes me wanna be a better person.

Bassnectar stage production is next level.

RL Grime makes me wanna shake my ass.

Porter Robinson makes me wanna call my mom and tell her I love her.

Find more from TVBOO on SoundCloud.

 

I never thought my neck would have hurt so much after a night of head-bobbing, but there’s something about Moonchild’s sound that makes you continuously groove. Whether it’s in the irresistible backbeats, the colorful horn harmonies, or the soothing melodies coming from lead singer Amber Navran, Moonchild’s show on November 11th resulted in a whole night of groovin’, thanks to the release of their biggest album yet, Voyager.

Recorded entirely in a cabin at Lake Arrowhead, Voyager feels organic and naturally soulful, even with the inclusion of synths and the occasional glitchy beats. “We bond a lot in nature, and musically, hidden in the tracks there’s a lot of nature sounds” says keyboardist and trumpet player Andris Mattson, perhaps in reference to the bird song samples on their lead single “Cure”.

“We all have set ups at our houses so most of what we do is home recording” says Amber, “but what’s nice about Arrowhead is we’re all in the same place, because we live spread out throughout LA so it’s nice to just live in the same house and bounce ideas off each other quickly.”

The group originally met as jazz students at USC Thornton School of Music (like many students here, they made their first recordings in practice rooms). “It’s nice to be in a community of musicians, because before college it was hard to find people who were really passionate about it, so just being around that energy is really cool” says Amber. “A lot of our stuff will have horn breakdowns or horn solos, and we picked up a lot of arranging skills in college. Now, we don’t necessarily write everything out, but Amber can, when she’s not singing, record this flute solo for a track and know what voicings work well from music school” adds Andris.

After a few small recordings, they released their debut album Be Free in 2012, and grew bigger after the release of their most popular song yet, “Don’t Wake Me” in 2015. Today, having toured and recorded with everyone from Kamasi Washington to Jill Scott and Stevie Wonder, Moonchild’s music seems to resonate well with artists from across the soul spectrum, and they reflect that in their own tastes as well they cite everything from Emily King and Noname to Roy Hargrove and 9th Wonder as current inspirations. Most recently, The Internet recruited them to open their fall tour. “We’re doing this tour with the Internet now and that wasn’t initially the plan, we were going to record this time, but they asked us to open for them and we were like ‘Fuck Yeah!’” says Andris. After the tour, Moonchild plans to spend the winter recording their next album and preparing to perform in new venues across the globe, as far as Indonesia and South Africa.

Regardless of their growth, the group continues to stick to their Jazz and DIY roots. On the state of the sound today, they show that Jazz is the best it’s been in a long time, and that talent and artistry stay crucial in the music industry. “There are platforms now that are glorifying the musician, and now you have all these instrumentalists that are establishing huge names for themselves just by playing their instrument, whereas before it was more the front people that get the attention,” adds Andris, “Jazz as a genre has evolved into a bunch of different things.”

After they ended their night at the loft, the group rushed towards their open table in the back, right next to the bar. Taking pictures, signing T-Shirts, and saying “Thank You” to every fan that came out, Moonchild’s show was not only an exercise in soul, but also an exercise in musicianship. Look out for what they come up with next!

***

Listen to Moonchild

Interview & article by Tino Tirado and Needhi Sharma

Gliding through warm water in the furthest-back parts of your mind until submerging completely in it, immersed in the reflections of stars– there’s something about The Marías and their seamless, psychedelic pop-soul-funk that creates waves in your soul, blending the ocean into a painted sky across the horizon. “It’s like if you were in a pool, but it were the temperature of a hot tub, so you could swim through it at night and see the mist rising into the air,” says lead singer María, “it’s all the senses that just feel good and look… beautiful.”

Kicking off their tour with a show at The Loft at UCSD, The Marías led the crowd through the tracks from their newest release, Superclean, Vol. II, and further back in their discography. “We record everything right in our living room,” says drummer and producer Josh Conway, “booking a studio, paying by the hour… that type of deal can sometimes be stressful and halt creativity.” María adds, “it’s just like a camera– it doesn’t matter as much what type you have, it matters more who’s behind the camera and what’s done with it.”

m3.jpgThe Marías, consisting of María, Josh, guitarist Jesse Perlman, pianist Edward James, bassist Carter Lee, and trumpet player Gabe Steiner, bring together a mosaic of backgrounds that create the foundation for their distinct style. “I get ski lodge vibes from the stuff we make,” says Carter, “fireplace, rug, all that warmth.” With influences ranging from blues to Spanish rock, each song transports its audience through time. “I lived in New Orleans for some time… I sometimes find myself doing things in live shows that may be derived from stuff I picked up when I was there,” says Edward, “I grew up on the music… when I was in high school, I’d always drive people but they’d constantly have to listen to recordings from, like, the 90’s.”

Superclean, Vol. II is packed with songs that capture the band’s essence. ‘ABQ’ proves to be a consistent favorite with the members– “it’s one of the most out-there songs we’ve put out, so I always look forward to playing it,” says Jesse. “I like ‘Ruthless,’ since it’s been such a long time coming,” María says, “it was written about five years ago and went through, like, ten different versions.” “It’s the song she played at the Laurel Canyon revival show where we met,” Josh adds.

“My favorite is ‘Cariño,’” says Edward, referring to the gentle, jewel-toned ballad, “I don’t really speak Spanish myself, but the song has that transcending quality of music that lets me understand it.”

“My mom’s side of the family is from Puerto Rico, so from that side I get salsa, merengue, even reggaeton,” explains María, “We were obsessed with reggaeton. And then from my dad’s side, I get flamenco, classical guitar, Spanish rock… I can’t name one single artist that I draw inspiration from, but the overall influence from so many is there.”

“I definitely see it, even if some of it is a little subconscious,” agrees Josh, “‘Basta Ya’ and ‘Cariño’ started off with just melodies that María sang, and I think it was the Spanish influence that ultimately made us think the song should be in Spanish. We don’t really choose what’s going to be in Spanish or English, it just happens.”

‘Cariño’ was the first release from Superclean, Vol. II, accompanied by a music video shot between rolling hills and vast fields against red and white backdrops. “I feel like the color red symbolizes sensuality, passion, and also that fiery Latin influence again– like, my mom’s favorite color was red,” María reflects, “that’s why it shows up so much throughout our work. When the song is written, if we visualize something we do a video for it, but if we can’t, we don’t want to…” “Force it,” Josh finishes, “All the videos that have been up have had a very clear vision.” From its red and white outfits to dance moves and dogs, the video for ‘Cariño’ exudes pure love; especially after hearing about Gabe’s encounter with tiny bugs in the field where they recorded as he played the horn, ‘Cariño’ hints that love doesn’t have to be perfect– which is exactly what makes it so beautiful.

The Marías embody the desire to feel. Between vocals bouncing back and forth, soul-strumming guitar and bass lines, and wistful horn solos materializing into cheers from the audience, their collective warmth could melt a glacier. Every object, every note, and every word, is strung together as it comes; everything is purposeful, but nothing is forced. The group has the rare quality of simply clicking into place, both on and off stage, which lets them connect so deeply with such a broad audience. Even with such different backgrounds, their organic creative process lends itself to a unique yet universal story told through each song.

Some stories can only be told by certain people, and The Marías continue to share gems not found anywhere else.

***

Listen to Superclean, Vol. II and more here.

Interview by Tino Tirado and Arya Natarajan.

Photographs by Aili Hauptmann.

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Lewis Shay Jankel is an artist that blends old school soul with a new school sound. The London born DJ has been touring the USA this summer, and while he was in California KSDT had the pleasure to sit down with the DJ, producer, and vocal artist best known by his stage name Shift K3Y.

With his debut single “Touch” making it to #3 on the UK Singles Chart in 2014, Shift K3Y has gained acclaim in the UK and Europe, but that is only the start. The now 22 years old has come a long way in a very short amount of time. Trying to make his mark across the pond, Shift K3Y has signed to the USA’s very own Ultra Music (Ultra Records), in addition to Columbia UK. He has just released a remixes EP under Dim Mak this month and supposedly has an album waiting in the wings. You might not be familiar with his name quite yet and that’s okay, but Shift K3Y is definitely an artist to watch out for.

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KSDT caught up with Shift K3Y after his outdoor DJ set at Splash House Palm Springs this past June, engaging in a casual convo/Q&A session:

Q: How did you feel about your set today? (Shift K3Y’s DJ set was poolside in 108 F* heat.)
A: My set if I’m very honest, it was ridiculously hot. To the point where- because the mixer and everything are all metal, so if you could imagine it was like literally mixing on a stove, a cooker. So it was interesting, but after the first 10 minutes I was into it and found the flow. I always find that I can hit a blend of what I do and what I usually play here (the USA).

Q: If you could describe your own sound what would it be?
A: My sound is a mixture of R&B, dance music, jazz, soul, and a little bit of hip-hop influence.

Q: Who would you say are your music influences?
A: MJ (Michael Jackson), Stevie (Wonder), Earth Wind and Fire, Chaka Khan, (Led) Zeppelin, (Paul) Rodgers. Yeah, that is like my era of music.

Q: Who are you currently listening to? What about them do you like?
A: For me the Kendrick (Llamar) album (To Pimp a Butterfly) took a minute for me to connect, because good kid, m.A.A.d city was like my bible. For him to try and put out anything after was going to be difficult for me, naturally. So I was bit like… ehh, where are the club hits? That sort of thing… And then after awhile I realized I kept listening to it. I didn’t even know why I was doing it; I was just like this is so deep I just have to hear the end of it.
And also the guy I have been working with quite a bit James Fauntleroy did quite a lot on the album. I didn’t realize it until I started hearing his voice. So yea, I’m just in love with that album.

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Q: Your name is pretty unique, how did you come to be Shift K3Y?
A: Well at the time I wanted something that was a new stage of musical development, so yeah. And the “3” was because no one could find me when it was just regular; obviously because I knew nothing about search engines or anything. And when I was making trap music I had a dollar sign ”$”.
Yeah, it’s a name, it just clicked. It is just a name.

Q: From being in the studio making music to playing live to a crowd when you tour, how do the two sides compare?
A: It’s always a learning experience from playing shows and then going back to the studio. It does give me lot of ideas, but I always find that I come back to the same things, those same influences I was talking about. It’s just because I listen to so much of that music on a daily basis. For me when I was fifteen that is when dance music was in my life; that is when I first got into it. And ever since then I’ve been trying to blend what I’m into; and I love dance music, but it’s always hard to blend the two. I feel like there are occasional moments, like what is going on now is a good point.

Q: KSDT is a college radio station, so many of our listeners are about your age. What advice could you give our listeners who are trying to pursue music?
A: Quit your job and dedicate every possible moment to doing music. Personally I think you have to understand everything about what makes a song a song, or a track a track, you got to understand a bit about the marketing, the lyrics, the advertising, the conception, the beat, mix down, mastering. You don’t have to know how to do everything, but as long as you understand all of those elements, then you can truly say I signed off on that knowing I was on top of everything.
But also just put stuff out and don’t be afraid. Because I think a lot of people spend too long getting it just right, and in that time they could have been building up a following. So it’s a balance of addressing your craft and then knowing the right time, and you just know when it’s right, you just got to go for it.

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Q: We are a San Diego based radio station and you recently performed at San Diego’s Bang Bang. How did you enjoy your time out there? Do think you will be heading back our way anytime soon?
A: I actually love San Diego, really love it; I like LA (Los Angeles) a lot for writing and stuff, but San Diego for me has always been like if LA had a bath.  I kind of feel like San Diego has a real cool vibe and I love it. I’ll come back whenever.
So definitely coming back?
Yeah, a 1000%.

Q: In the Future what should we expect from you as a producer and vocal artist?
A: There is an album coming, I’m not sure of the exact time it’s coming out. We originally said- summer, as in this summer, but I just want to make it right. I’m chilling; I don’t need to prove anything just yet. Over here people still don’t really know me, so I’m just building my presence here and trying to get that to the level where I am in the UK. Once everyone is in the same place then I reckon the album will come out.
So you’re just building a following, like you said?
Yea, over here ( the USA). I could put it out in the UK, but I feel like I would be letting down people here. I think the time just has to be right for everyone to be into it at the same time.
So look out for an album?
An Album, obviously more singles, remixes; there is a track with me and Born Dirty which is coming out at Dim Mak in a month. All I’m going to say is it’s not my usual role, that’s all I’m going to say.
So not as much R&B and House?
No, like as in what you think I did on that track, rethink. As soon as you think you know what I did on that track think again. Because I guarantee, you won’t be correct your first guess.

Q: Lastly, for all our listeners what is the best way to find the latest on Shift K3Y?
A: At the moment, Spotify is where I’m directing everyone. It makes more sense in Europe and the UK for me: obviously Soundcloud, my website shiftk3y.com, twitter, Facebook, all that stuff, but Spotify and Soundcloud.

There was a sense of ease with which Shift K3Y spoke; an ease that comes not from knowing all the answers, but from being in the heart of the process. And it shows, since KSDT’s interview with Shift K3Y in June, he has put out his remixes EP Misbehave with Born Dirty, and another EP of his own called Off the Record. For more on the up-and-coming artist Shift K3Y, from songs to tour dates check out the links below.

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Links & Sites:
Spotify: smarturl.it/SKSPOTIFY?IQid=sc
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/shift-key
Website: www.shiftk3y.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/shiftk3y
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shiftk3y

Mentioned Singles & EPs:
Shift K3Y – Touch (Single): https://youtu.be/9KtYYHKEGDc
Shift K3Y & Born Dirty Dim Mak Records – Misbehave (Remixes EP): https://soundcloud.com/dimmakrecords/sets/shift-k3y-born-dirty-misbehave
Shift K3Y- Off the Record (EP): https://soundcloud.com/shift-key/sets/off-the-record

 

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Photos / @shiftk3y / Interview / Susan Bystrom / Audio Record / Zane Samarasinghe

8/19/2015