I had a chance to catch up with San Francisco-based, multi-talented, electronic musician Travis Miller while he was out on the East Coast before heading to Amsterdam for a semester at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. He offered up some insight into his work, influences and upcoming EP.
I guess to start from the beginning, how did you get into making music? Tell me about some of the really early stuff you worked on, what you’re up to now, that kind of thing.
I’ve been making music forever. I used to be super-into punk, and in like eighth, ninth and tenth grade I was in a ska band. I started making beats my first year of college; I was 18
—Omar Almufti, 07 November 2011
Kenna understands that there is so much more to this world than silver and gold. A model of meaning guides his career moving forward from two remarkable albums with a series of three EPs, the Land 2 Air Chronicles. The first release, Chaos and the Darkness, is a gripping example of music with a distinct purpose. I had a chance to listen to Kenna talk about the record and play a few other songs on the piano and the spur of the moment in front of perhaps twenty people at the studio he’s been using in Manhattan. Then, when I called him up to do the interview, he made life easy by saying a lot of really cool stuff. Kenna
—Omar Almufti, 24 June 2011
I recently had a chance to speak with Dexter Tortorielo, the founding (and sole) member of an experiment in electronic music functioning under the moniker Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross. We talked about his recently released Mad Decent EP, Blow, some of his earlier works and other current projects, and a bunch of super-nerdy stuff about making electronic music.
Tell me a little bit about yourself, growing up, how you got into making music and some of the early projects you worked on, that kind of stuff.
I grew up in Chicago. I got into music at a pretty young age, one of my father’s friends owned a recording studio and he dumped a treasure trove of old analog recording equipment
—Omar Almufti, 27 May 2011
Rusko at Terminal 5 NYC
Damn, Rusko showed up at Terminal 5 in Hell’s Kitchen last week and tore the roof off the joint. The sold-out venue was literally shaking when I walked in and his set hadn’t even started yet. When he did hit the stage, it was straight to business, as he rinsed one bass-heavy, dubbed-out banger after another. The building felt like it was about to collapse at this point, the crowd was fucking mesmerized and even the venue staff had that look on their faces like, “Woah, who the fuck is this guy?”
Rusko’s set is a physical experience, pushing the affects of bass frequencies on the human body in a way that is truly mind-blowing. Touching on classic dub, drum and
—Omar Almufti, 04 May 2011
Grails at The Knitting Factory, Brooklyn, NY
Portland-based rock outfit Grails hit up the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn last week about halfway into their tour in support of the band’s recent release Deep Politics. As casually as these guys might touch the stage and dig in to their set, beers cracked, seeming as chilling as they would be if the show was in someone’s backyard, the energy of the music they put forth is staggering.
As the set progressed it became pretty clear that these dudes are extremely well-practiced, multi-modal musicians, as instruments and drumsticks change hands and each member is given the space to explore some sounds with the variety of tools available. This was a heavy session, refined instrumentation delivered carefully with a fresh psychedelic interpretation, referencing the library music era from which the recent project takes some of its influence.
—Omar Almufti, 04 May 2011
Mad Decent Records continues its tradition of showcasing standout artists from a variety of disciplines with the upcoming release from recent signing Bosco Delrey. The record, titled Everybody Wah, is a strong, fresh, super-diverse collection that speaks to Delrey’s sensibilities as a musician. Already in the process of trading remixes with Mike D. and Ad-Rock (as in, the Beastie Boys), it seems pretty clear that dude is being vetted by the best and there’s sure to be a heap of dope material coming from him in the future. I recently had the chance to ask Delrey a few questions about his work, linking up with Mad Decent and the current project…
Tell me a little bit about yourself, growing up,
—Omar Almufti, 02 May 2011
When Black Lips passed through Webster Hall in Manhattan’s East Village last week to support their latest project, Arabia Mountain, out June 7th on Vice Records, it became clear from the outset that this it was going to be a wild fucking show. I had always heard these guys put it down, but hadn’t had a chance to catch them in the past. A few seconds into the first cut, the packed house was shaking, beer and all kinds of other shit was being tossed around… simply put, people were raging it. I hadn’t been to a proper rock ’n’ roll show for a minute and the set these guys played was definitely a reminder of all the best reasons that people are drawn to this music in the first place. Bassist Jared Swilley took some time to speak with me about the new record, some of the band’s travels over the years and their upcoming tour.
—Omar Almufti, 26 April 2011
Cult Cargo: Salsa Boricua De Chicago, the latest compilation released by Grammy-nominated archival record label Numero Group digs deep into the history of Chicago’s little-known salsa recording industry. Focusing on releases from Carlos Ruiz’s storied Ebirac imprint, accompanied by detailed liner notes and a lot of dope photos, the project maintains a composed sense of history that these guys have become best known for.
This is a really cool record, what was the inspiration for developing this compilation?
No one even knew there was a salsa recording industry in Chicago whatsoever. Discoveries are what drives a lot of our directions. I was calling extremely knowledgeable salsa collectors and stumping ’em with these releases.
How did you first learn about Carlos
—Omar Almufti, 06 April 2011
The sound cultivated by Portland, Oregon-based band Grails on their latest release, Deep Politics, is out of this world. Level had a chance to speak with founding member Emil Amos and get some insights on the project.
For those unfamiliar, tell me a bit about how you guys got together as Grails, and some of the projects you’ve worked on leading up to Deep Politics.
The band has been around since around late ’99/early ’00… it feels like it’s gone from being a typical ‘band’ that played weekend shows to some sort of art production warehouse at this point… there’s more of a back room/mad scientist element in revealing these experiments to the rest of the world than the usual
—Omar Almufti, 21 February 2011
I was at Morcky’s flat in Amsterdam a few months ago when I first had a chance to check out some the images that would come to be included in his recent book release, Day and Night. The finished work, realized with support from No New Enemies and Buzzworks, is a cohesive, thought-provoking collection of black-and-white illustrations that touch on a number introspective and collective experiences. Morcky was kind enough to answer a few questions and give some insight into the creation of the project.
How did you decide to create Day and Night? Is it something you were thinking about for a long time before you started?
Day and Night has been the answer to the need of giving a
—Omar Almufti, 13 July 2010