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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Denzil Porter

Sunday nights are usually pretty boring for me. I count down the hours until I have to go to bed and wake up to get ready for the 9 to 5. Yuck! Last Sunday night (July 22) was anything but boring. I made my way to see the rapper Denzil Porter rock the stage at The Studio at Webster Hall in NYC. He walked out on stage, grabbed the mic, and showed everyone that his words can cause a wave that will swallow you whole. The mic was like his hostage, being dragged with him wherever he strided on stage. He performed songs from his mixtape Home Made Music with so much energy that you would think he was a spark about to start a fire.  Mr. Porter's songs are all unique, from tunes that have catchy hooks, like "Why you gotta be such an asshole," in the song "Kanye West" to tunes that will have your ears running to keep up with all the words that spill out of his mouth, as in "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde". I was really blown away after listening and watching Denzil Porter's song "Intuition" on Youtube. The video has a surprise ending, but  I don't want to spoil it for you. Click here to watch. I bet this rapper from the Bronx will be signed and doing big things in the next five years. Keep an eye out for Denzil Porter.





An Interview with Denzil Porter
(MD: MusicDosage, DP: Denzil Porter)

Photo by Lailaa
MD: Can you give me a brief history of how you got into hip hop?

DP: Back in elementary school, I used to come home and watch music videos and judge them on my own, as if I was the one behind the music. Three other students and I started singing our own lyrics in the park of P.S. 16 in the Bronx.

MD: Can you describe how you came up with the song “Kanye West"?

DP: After doing some traveling with my music, I realized that people all over have this view about New Yorkers being the way they are. So, contrary to the title, the song is actually about the people of my hometown.

MD: Is your family musically inclined?

Not that I know of... yet. I plan to do some research myself to see if I'm the first leaf on the musical stem of the family tree, but my parents did raise us on all sorts of music from Bob Marley to Busta Rhymes.

MD: What motivates you to write a song?

DP: It depends. 98% of the time it's inspiration... what that inspiration stems from is a different story. I may be inspired by wherever the beat takes me OR I may have some events I need to get off my chest. It's really inspiration. A lot of times I feel challenged, especially on a beat that is fully designed, but the challenge is the fun part. After getting the tools and putting my mind to it, I let the inspiration speak.

MD: Is there a moment in your music career thus far that stands out?

DP: Right now, I'm in the early stages of my career so everything stands out. From my first release "Intuition," I got to see the different side of things and it opened some doors for me to hit some major blogs and get some recognition. It kind of introduced me into the underground. Though still hard to understand, just like almost any venture, the hard work comes with some sort of kick back. I've met a couple dope artist, had some amazing shows and been to some dope places, and there's more to come so everyday stands out for me.

MD: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

DP: In the next 5 years I hope my talent will help me to reach almost, if not, icon status. My rookie year would be long passed and I would be at the point of maintaining and keeping my fans happy. I'll be better at my craft, since the only way is up, if I keep it up.

MD: If you could perform with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?

DP: Robert Nesta Marley hands down. You can watch the soul take over his body on stage. Witness someone speak his mind in front of thousands, performing as if there was not a soul in the building - Amazing. Youtube every Bob performance and you will be stuck.

MD: Do you have a particular routine before performing live?

DP: Before performing live, I do some breathing exercises. I go on stage and use a lot of energy so breathing is important to me. I listen to some of my stuff and imagine how I want to project it differently from the last then I grab the mic and do my thing.

MD: If I give you a topic to rap about, such as "global warming", could you be able to give me a few lines?
DP: Lol a written freestyle?! Hmm.. well,well look who just stormed in/ step shake, earth quake, make they house board in/ heating up like global warming, catching sun rays as it's beaming/ any time I'm in the booth I'm breaking ices off of greenland (green_lin)/. It's better than you think, it's how you pronounce & project it. haha!

MD: Where would you most like to perform?

DP: Madison Square Garden, of course. It is the arena of my hometown but I don't want to just perform there - no... It has to be something BIG! MAJOR!

MD: If you weren't rapping, what would you be doing?

DP: I get asked this question all the time. I was so focused on this dream so early I made the mistake and never took the time to think about that much. If not music, I would probably be in some sort of technology field. I like breaking and rebuilding things like ipods and sidekicks (remember those?) but yea I used to fix everybody's stuff around the hood. Or I would probably be in the underworld like a lot of the people are where I'm from. I can never blame them though, we all can't do music but we all have to survive.

Mixtapes:
- On My Way Home (2008)
- Live from the Other Side (2010)
- Home Made Music (2011)

Website: DenzilPorter.com

Sunday, July 15, 2012

NewVillager

NewVillager really knows how to put on a show. On July 7, 2012 at Cameo Gallery in Brooklyn, the band performed songs from their self-titled debut album. Some bands simple just perform live just to perform live, like “We are (insert name of band here) and this song is called (insert name of the song here)". NewVillager is different. They prepared the stage with blue and red clothes painted with hints of greens and yellows. They hung a mask on the drums and took of their shoes, making the stage like a piece of art for the audience to dissect and discuss after the show. True artists. Just look at these picture:

Photo by Lailaa

Photo by Lailaa
 
Photo by Lailaa
Their sound is futuristic and peaceful. Their song “Lighthouse” is introduced by a soft sound that is gently interrupted by plucks on a violin. Chants follow: Keep it up / Don’t stop / Don’t lose your place. Then the first verse comes in, which will spark an image of David Bowie in the 1986 movie Labyrinth singing his trance-inducing songs (if you haven’t seen this movie, you can borrow my copy). The song turns into a tune that makes your brain shutdown like a computer and focus on displaying the colorful spiraled screensaver that dances across the screen. As you can see, I enjoyed watching NewVillager at Cameo Gallery, and I highly recommend that you go see them perform. If you had the pleasure of seeing them perform already, leave a comment below.



An Interview with NewVillager
Answers by Ross Simonini (guitar and vocals) and Collin Palmer (drummer)

- Can you give me a brief history of how you guys came together as a group?

Ross: We were both going through a period of being very sick. We all met through a support group at the clinic and started playing music together.

Collin: I met Ben and Ross in the forest a little over a year and a half ago. I used to set up my drum kit out in the forest to play in a ambient outdoor space. I would hear guitars, vocals and rhythmic fragments coming from the distance.(it would really catch my ear) Then I turned around (after playing for what seemed to be 2 days) I wandered off in a daze toward the sounds and found myself circling back at my drum kit. When I arrived back, two guys were sitting facing one another playing music in front of my drum kit. It seemed like the only thing to do was join in. we have been touring and playing ever since.

- How did you come up with the group’s name?

Ross: Our friend's dad told us a story about this group of soldiers fighting in Vietnam who came across an empty village. I think it had been burned down the year before. Two of the soldiers decided to stay and start a new community in the village. They had all these ideas about making some kind of utopia out there. One of those late 19th century kind of deals. My friend 's dad came back and had to report the two soldiers as dead. They were burned alive, he said. As far as he knows they're still there. Some of the vets have this whole mythology about that village.

- How long have you been together as a group?

Ross: It's hard to say. Technically Newvillager began five years ago but we were making music together before. We just called it something else.

- Can you describe how you came up with the song “Lighthouse" (lyrics/beats)?

Ross: We came up with the verse first with the lyrics, and then recorded that and then came up with the vocal part in the chorus and then wrote a chord progression around that. The bridge took a while because of all those words. The whole song was pretty easy and natural but we went through four or five different arrangements and styles and sounds and drumbeats. We played it live with an entirely different drumbeat for about a year. That version was pretty mellow. There are still two versions - one is the radio/video version and then the album version which is quite a bit longer.

- Is your family musically inclined?

Ross: Not really. My grandfather played a little harmonica and I hear I have a cousin once removed who is a priest and plays the piano and sings at his church. My dad recently had all the satellite music radio stations taken out of his car so he could just listen to talk radio.

Collin: My Mom was a classical piano player and a painter. I would sit and watch her at an early age. I have two older brothers who were also musicians who had bands throughout my life in our house. They are currently working artists and directors in NYC.

- What motivates you to write a song?

Ross: Drugs and failure and success and embarrassment. Other people's music and art .

- How long have you been playing your instruments?

Ross: We play all sorts of instruments on the record. We've been playing music most of our lives. I think we both really got into music when we were about 10 and then started getting serious about organized music in high school.

Collin: I was into music and art at an extremely early age. I played my first drum kit at age of 5, and it grew from that to other instruments

- Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Ross: I often picture myself dead. That's the only thing that seems likely. Everything else I picture is less likely. Mostly I want to be doing all the same things I'm doing now, like reading and writing and making art and music. I hope some strange things will happen between now and then.

Collin: I can’t see that far, but I will say I hope I can be doing what I feel is right for the moment, just like I do now: art, music, traveling, surfing, yoga… etc etc…

- If you could perform with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?

Ross: I'd conduct an orchestra of 100 people who are on their deathbed. All of them would be very close to death, like in a limbo state where they can see both sides of reality. I bet that would be a concert worth going to.

Collin: I would love to play with Tony Williams, Josef Zawinul, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Squarepusher, The Boards of Canada, Robert Glasper, Prince, Dave Holland, Brian Blade, and all my friends.

- Can you describe how it feels to perform live?

Ross: To me it's the same as walking down the street. It can feel like any number of things. Sometimes I think it sounds perfect on stage and sometimes I can't hear anything but noise.

Collin: I have to agree with Ross, and add I think with NewVillager, we have a lot of opportunity and freedom that allows expansion of the songs in a live setting. That is one of the best feelings thing about it for me diversity.

- Do you have a particular routine before performing live?

Ross: The Three Times. It's a game we play before we go on stage. We do the first two times offstage and the third time on stage. It's simple and involves clapping, snapping, breathing, looking.

- What does the picture on the cover of the NewVillager album represent (the one with the blue and red rectangles and shapes)?

Ross: It's the 10th symbol in our mythology. The colors and shapes represent all the basic elements of the world to us. Red/blue is past/future. White/black is creation/destruction. Green is the present into forms, the seed and the cup. If you look at all the symbols you can follow a story. It's the same story in our music and in all of our art and performances.

Albums:
- NewVillager (2011)

Website: NewVillager.com

Saturday, July 7, 2012

You Won't


Photo by David Randall English

When I first walked into the Mercury Lounge to record and watch You Won't (Josh Arnoudse and Raky Sastri) perform some of their songs, the place was empty and the stage was currently not in use. As the minutes ticked by, fans started to trickle in. I made my way to the front of the stage to mark my spot. After awhile, You Won't started to prepare for their set (plugging up the guitar, putting the drums together, doing soundcheck, etc.). As soon as they were ready, they began playing their first song "Bombshell". I was fast at work recording and enjoying the song. I was not aware what was going on around me. As soon as they completed their first song, the audiences started clapping, whistling, and cheering for the band. I was startled and turned around and notice that the floor was crammed with fans. Wow! You go, You Won't!

If I had to say what type of music You Won't makes, I would say that they sound like a spunky The Shins on steroids (magnificent!). The band is not afraid to mix a little bit of this here and a little bit of that there. When listening to the music on their album Skeptic Goodbye, you will hear a plethora of instruments, like the guitar, mandolin, keys, harmonica, percussion, and something like a spaceship abducting a human on "Old Idea". Their song "Dance Moves" reminds me of the music by The Beach Boys, but a little more rugged and dirty (genius!). Be aware before listening to "Who Knew" because the lyrics will get stuck in your head (If I was a hundred and three / I would share all my boring stories with you / but you caught me too soon / Darling, what can I do?). I can't wait to see where You Won't will be in the next five years.

"Sixteen" performed at The Mercury Lounge on June 29, 2012:

An Interview with You Won't (questions answered by Josh)

Can you give me a brief history of how you guys came together as a group?
Raky and I met doing theater in high school. We lived in different places for years afterwards but kept our collaborative spirit alive with a series of film projects and songs emailed back and forth. We didn't actually start playing music together until about 3 years ago, and we didn't start You Won't until early 2011.

How did you come up with the group’s name?
The name is taken from a one-off avant-garde existential dadaist performance I did with my friends Billy and Ian for our high school's band night.

How long have you been together as a group?
About 15 months.

Can you describe how you came up with the song “Who Knew”?
I had just started messing around with the mandolin and really wanted to write a song on it. I played the only four chords I knew how to play and warbled randomly until a melody emerged. Et puis Voila!


Photo by David Randall English

Is your family musically inclined?
I am the only musician in my entire extended family. Raky's sister Mali is a very talented singer and songwriter and a ferocious performer with the Boston-based band Jaggery.

What motivates you to write a song?
Whoa that's a big one. Some desire to make sense of the world I guess. An attempt to create order and meaning where it does not exist? This is getting awfully academic. Telling it like it is, but making it more fun?

How long have you been playing your instruments?
I started playing guitar in 5th grade, but I never really played or sang my own songs in front of anyone until a few years ago. Raky has been playing the drums since he was 14 or so. We have footage of him rocking a red plastic guitar around age 3.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I see us...on a highway...with a GPS...stopping at the Citgo station because we've convinced ourselves it's more ethical than Shell...i am buying a Magnum double chocolate caramel ice cream bar...filling my water bottle in the sink and ignoring the thoughts of gasoline leeching into the water supply...

Photo by David Randall English
If you could perform with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?
Jim Carrey.

Can you describe how it feels to perform live?
Well it depends a lot on context. When the sound is good and the crowd is receptive, it can feel pretty effortless and fun and cathartic. When you can't hear yourself and the 12 people in the bar are poking at their phones, it's kind of like an obstacle course you have to push yourself through.

Do you have a particular routine before performing live?
Well increasingly I try to take a fair amount of time to warm up my voice. I like to find a quiet space before we hit the stage, because then for the rest of the night there will be no quiet and no space.

What does the album cover on Skeptic Goodbye represent?
I would say the battered mime represents the way the songs on the record feel, if I had to envision them as a living, breathing, walking (limping) being.

How do you guys put your heads together when practicing or coming up with a song?
Generally I write the song by myself and send Raky a demo recording with just voice and guitar. He might make a few suggestions about the structure or the lyrics, and then we arrange the thing together. We have kind of a shorthand for everything.
Photo by David Randall English
Albums:
- Skeptic Goodbye (2011)

Upcoming Shows:
- August 10, 2012: Johnny Brenda's @ 8p (Philadelphia, PA)
- August 11, 2012: World Cafe Live at the Queen @ 7p (Wilmington, DE)


For more photos by David Randall English, visit RandallEnglish.com


Sunday, July 1, 2012

GIVEAWAY TIME, PEOPLES! - CLOSED

WIN A $50 EMAIL GIFT CERTIFICATE FROM ITUNES! Read below for whacha gotta do.

In order to participant in this giveaway, all you have to do is post a comment (on this post) with your favorite song lyric and become a follower this blog, MUSICDosage. Easy breezy! Also with your post, put your e-mail address after the lyric. Three simple steps:

1. Post a comment with your favorite song lyric
2. Follow this blog (In the right-hand column of my blog, click “Join this Site” and follow the instructions)
3. Post you e-mail address with your post (So it's easier for me to contact you if you are the winner, and to send out the email gift certificate sooner).

The giveaway starts on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 12:00am EST and will end Wednesday August 1st, 2012 at 11:59pm EST. I will announce the winner on Sunday August 5th, 2012 before 11:59pm EST. If the winner does not claim their prize within 48 hours of when I announced, I will choose another winner (the process will repeat until the winner claims the prize). I will be using random.org to choose the winner. One post per person. You must be 18 years are older to enter. Not open internationally.

Note: If I feel the lyric that you post is inappropriate, I will delete it and you will no longer be able to participate in the giveaway.

If you don't win this time, I will definitiely be doing more giveaways/contests in the future.

Good luck to ya!




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