Author Archives: Charles Gray

Festival Fast Talk: Daltn

We continue our Bonnaroo coverage of Festival Fast Talks we did at the Red Bull Music Academy‘s Basscamp. The Basscamp was a Red Bull mini-school pulling 20 producers from the region, offering them studio time in rooms packed with gear and talks with Mannie Fresh and Thundercat, and encourging them to create and collaborate in their cooldown time from the festival.

Producers involved covered all types of varying electronic sound. One that I was able to talk to quickly was daltn, a house producer whose sound is developed from equal handfuls of thick grooves and relaxing vibes. He creates slow-build atmospheric heavy house tunes that are full of rich synth work and optimistic chord progressions that revolve around tightly locked grooves.

How did you start making music?

I initially started playing guitar in bands, and then I played the drums for a bit. I eventually gravitated towards DJing and producing music with drum machines and synthesizers.

How I started DJing is a funny story, actually; I used to have band practice in my old house in Miami that was empty since it got foreclosed. We were a rock band with a cellist that wanted to sound like Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Around then I started to delve deeper into dance music, and I decided to sell some gear and buy a handful of records and some turntables. I set them up in the space and started throwing parties after our practices, and I was having so much fun that eventually I dove in and sold all my guitar gear and bought records and a copy of Logic.

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Festival Fast Talk:

If you caught our previous Festival Fast Talk, you saw that we spent time at the Red Bull Music Academy at Bonnaroo. The facility was a spot that Red Bull set up, bringing 20+ producers together, granting them time in fully stocked studios, having Mannie Fresh and Thundercat lecture them, and encouraging them to write music.

Though the entire crowd of producers were all great, one producer who definitely resonated inside the pack was BoomBaptist. Just as his moniker implies, he religiously studies the art of boom bap, making offerings to its church in the guise of hip hop beats and heavy grooves. BoomBaptist makes hard hitting and soulful beats over chops of kitwork and carefully queued samples. Be careful, his tracks might just give you whiplash if you’re not paying attention to how hard you’re nodding along when the snare follows the kick and it hits so hard its difficult not to just be like “damn.”

How did you start making music?

My mother instilled a love for music in me as a child. She was a very talented pianist, extremely focused, and dedicated to her craft. She put me through piano lessons early on in life, around six years old, I believe. But as far back as I could remember, I was drawn to the medium. Supposedly I would play the glockenspiel for hours and rock to the rhythm of washing machines as I sat on top of them.

Several years later, when I was exposed to East-coast rap on the radio in Miami, I obsessively studied all the production greats of that era—early ’90s—Premier, Dilla, Pete Rock, Diamond D, etc., etc. I realized that what drew me to those records was the production. At the time, a couple of friends and I had invested in our first turntables/mixer. The package was called the Gemini Starter Kit and was the budget option for people wanting to get their feet wet with DJing. Around the same time, I started dabbling with other styles, playing in a couple of jazz groups (percussion/woodwinds), a Latin group, etc. But ultimately, I had a real love for hip-hop and its production. About a year later, I discovered a free online program named Fruity Loops that was a very elementary option, and that sparked what became BoomBaptist.

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Festival Fast Talk:
Austin Paul

We recently went to Bonnaroo and were inundated with new music. One of the coolest experiences this year was spending time in at the Red Bull Music Academy’s Basscamp.

Though Redbull is accustomed to a presence at festivals, this year’s Bonnaroo ramped up their involvement with the Basscamp, an onsite area where Redbull collected 20 regional producers, gave them studios stocked with great equipment, showered them with lectures from the likes of Thundercat and Mannie Fresh, and encouraged them to write music in between sessions of going out and seeing shows. I got the opportunity to sit down and talk to a few of the producers involved.

Austin Paul is an emerging singer and songwriter. Though his sound can go anywhere from James Blake minimalism to ’80s throwback R&B, he labels his music “Goth pop.” After checking it out, it’s clear why. His art and aesthetic is clean and slick, with lots of stark contrasting elements and color palettes usually involving dark imagery or Gothic symbolism. The visuals match the mood of his music, which is ruled by his voice and its strong sustains, soulful runs, and delicate portmanteau work between the words and throughout his phrasings. These vocals lay atop sexy or somber chord textures, producing a satiating and full sound.

How did you start making music?
I began with show choir when I was five years old. I started writing when I was about 10.

What equipment did you initially use?
GarageBand, a Shure 57, and a pair of M-Audio Monitors.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: DC9 10th Anniversary with Dead Meadow, The Apes, and Sunwolf, 2/14


Over the past 10 years, DC9 has become one of the most notable venues for off-beat acts and music that is left-of-center. The spot has been promoting and showcasing “music for the 21st century” to a growing crowd that comes out for a wide variety of musical styles and genres. From uptempo DJs to artistic guitar bands, the venue has created a platform curated and eclectic taste.

They’ll be celebrating their 10th anniversary with the help of Dead MeadowThe Apes, and Sunwolf tomorrow, and we’ve got tickets to give away.

Psych-rockers Dead Meadow having been playing around since the late ’90s. Their sound is equal parts hard rock and ’60s experimentalism with healthy inspirational cues from H.P. Lovecraft and Lord Dunsany. The band has been around in its time, appearing on the Peel Session before John Peel’s unfortunate passing. Dead Meadow has toured around the world and released several full-length albums and even a live cut album of their best live bits.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: Murder City Devils at The Fillmore Silver Spring, 2/9

From depictions of dead band members to love songs for Santa Claus, Murder City Devils are a power-chord punk band garnering a unique charm that has gained them plenty of critical acclaim and fan fervor.

The Murder City Devils got their start in 1996, and had already recorded and self-released their debut album less than a year later. The next five years saw the band with releases from Sub Pop and an ever-growing fanbase based around their energetic punk attitude in tandem with fun and catchy garage rock.

After activity slowed in the mid ’00s, Murder City Devils have been moving again in the past 48 months. The band is now showing a return to their raw style and sound that’s worth catching at a venue near you.

And it just so happens that we’ve got tickets to see The Murder City Devils, Tweens, and War on Women at the Fillmore Silver Spring on February 9 to give away.

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Modoc, S/T

Modoc makes energetic rock that references anything from classic rock ‘n’ roll to post-punk. The quartet have released-two full length records in the past two years that define the new Nashville sound of fresh, raw, and catchy rock.

Earlier this month, Modoc debuted the video for “Runnin,”a riff driven love ballad garnering heavy toms in the verses and colorful vocal lines in the chorus.

The track is a cut off the limited-edition beautiful blue vinyl out via Soul Step Records. Soul Step is a grassroots label dedicated to helping talented growing acts get work pressed on vinyl. We’ve got a vinyl copy of their special limited self-titled release to give away in all its “blueberries and cream” glory.

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway:
Mode Moderne,
Occult Delight

Mode Moderne can be likened to aesthetic descendants of indie icons like Joy Division or The Smiths. Their repertoire is filled with catchy riffs on jangly guitars and earworm-choruses, all while avoiding the intellectual absence of popular guitar music.

This Tuesday, January 21, they’ll release their third full-length album Occult Delight on vinyl, and we’ve got a copy to give away.

The release will come out via Light Organ Records.  The album solidifies the band’s sound as texture-heavy melancholy that is often introspective and usually features a soundscape of washed-out guitars and steady rhythms.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: Big Head Todd and the Monsters at the 9:30 Club, 1/18

Big Head Todd and the Monsters are a road band known for their live shows and accessible pop rock. They’ve created a lasting following from countless tour dates showcasing their musicianship and familiar melodic heavy sound.

They’ll be playing a show at the 9:30 Club on January 18 with Ronnie Baker Brooks and Hazel Miller, and we’ve got a pair of tickets to give away.

The band took form in 1986 as a trio with Todd Park Mohr on guitar and vocals, Brian Nevin on drums and vocals, and Rob Squires on bass and vocals. By 1989, they had started their own label and released their debut album to a growing following who fell in love with the Monsters live.

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TVD Ticket and
Vinyl Giveaway:
TOY, Join the Dots

English outfit TOY provides a sound familiar to ’60’s pop experimentalism that takes modern cues with its arrangement, tone bank, and post-millennial melancholy. If you haven’t heard either other of their two full-length efforts, their body of work is something that any psych-rock fan should play around with.

TOY mixes aspects of psychedelia, noise, experimentalism, and pop to make a sonic concoction thick with weird sounds and jarring noise juxtaposed against heavy melodic content in their vocal work and choruses. Their offhand sense of “too cool to care” is inviting and subtly hiding detectable amounts of introspective reflection in both the chords and lyrical content.

They’re on tour throughout North America and will play a smattering of shows. We can give away a pair of tickets to a select date… Which one would you like to go to?

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: Trombone Shorty at the 9:30 Club, 12/31

With the aid of his trusty trombone, Troy Andrews has built a persona and reputation as Trombone Shorty, a prolific New Orleans virtuosic musician who has played around the world representing his city and its colorful range of music.

Shorty leads the Orleans Avenue band with an electric charm and an heightened musicianship that speaks through his solos and melodic themes alike. This year, he released his 9th studio effort, the funk-fueled Say That To Say This. Out on Verve Forecast Records, Andrews describes the album as “James Brown mixed with The Meters and Neville Brothers, with what I do on top.”

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue are coming to the 9:30 Club on New Year’s Eve on the last of a three-night stint at the club. We have tickets to give away so that you can ring in the new year in New Orleans style.

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