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
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
Draplin’s Show and Tell
Aaron Draplin is an iconic fixture of Portland, Oregon’s busy graphic design scene. Having made a name for himself with stand-out work for snowboarding companies and their like, he’s now courting more mainstream clients.
Draplin has a fetish for the greater design decisions of thirty-odd-plus years ago, especially the sort of stuff that enclosed a wingnut for your whatnot. It’s an influence that constantly shows in his work, and we don’t think you should be expecting that to change with his new paymasters.
While on a mission to video-document the designer for snowboard website Yobeat, Jared Souney had a guided peak into the big man’s drawers of dirty delights for Level mag dot com.
—Chris Noble, 07 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
Lucas Badtke-Berkow has been exploring the world of the printed page in Japan for the past 16 years with his company Knee High Media, producing inspirational, independent and open-minded publications and consistently looking at things with new eyes and an infectious inquisitiveness of the world around him.
Starting with Tokion magazine (which featured 11 years ago in Level issue 05—that’s the ‘part 1’ of this story) Lucas and his company have remained absolutely true to their values while developing new and exceptional places, products, events and publications for themselves and others—and most importantly, for this one-island Earth.
Read the full story of the singular Knee High Media, linked below.
—Lee Basford, 21 January 2011
Steven Vogel represents my idea of the modern-day Renaissance man. Even if you don’t know him by name, you’re likely familiar with some of the projects he’s headed up or played a pivotal role in. As a published author and former editor, communication is arguably his strongest suit but he’s much more than just a wordsmith.
Whether you’re an artist, a writer, a musician, a skateboarder, designer or even an entrepreneur, Mr. Vogel’s opinions are worth listening to.
—Don Pendleton, 19 April 2010
I first heard Jahdan Blakkamoore on Earth Force, DJ Child’s mixtape tribute to classic roots reggae music, released on the Project Groundation label. The song, titled “She Told Me”, featuring 77 Klash, at first seemed a little out of place to be honest: a bare, hyper-digital track slotted between crucial hits from Gregory Isaacs and Dennis Brown. Over the next year or so I started checking for more of Jahdan’s material and I really began to understand the context in which his work fits seamlessly with the classic styles of the artists previously mentioned, while maintaining a modern sound that lends itself to the myriad of current interpretations of Caribbean music. “Diversity” is an understatement. From powerful one-drop tunes crafted
—Omar Almufti, 09 March 2010