Dec 18

Vaski [Preview]

Vaski Fbook Event

Hometown hero and EDM staple, Vaski, will be hosting his final First Avenue residency show this coming Saturday (12/20). For the past nine months the Record Room residency has boasted some exceptional talent – the last will be no exception. The final “Christmas Blowout,” hosted in the Mainroon, will include the support of New York natives eSenTRIK and BENZI, aka TWRK. Also on the bill are Boombox Cartel, World Class Art Thieves, and Cfans. Simply put, the lineup is STACKED!

With his move to LA, the release of Weightless EP, his appearance at Target field, and of course his First Avenue Residency, Vaski has been busy. Saturday’s Blowout will not only be a celebration, but yet another accomplishment in a monumental 2014.

Read our March 19th “Vaski, Drunk at SXSW” Interview HERE.

 

Vaski Mainroom Holiday Blowout

First Avenue

701 North 1st Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403

Tickets available HERE

 

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Article by Alex Stahlmann

Photos compliments of Hydrive

Music compliments of Vaski

Music compliments of Vaski and TheSoundYouNeed

 

Dec 15

Jingle Ball @ Xcel Energy Center 12/8/14

Guilty Pleasures

Jingle Ball: where the Twin Cities youth show off their sequined tops and matching braces in selfies while being sound tracked by 2014’s biggest pop hits. While that may not sound like a pleasant time for most, sometimes one must brave these brace-toothed youths for the chance to enjoy 2014’s biggest guilty pleasures in pop music.

IMG_20141208_222651058Once I discovered that both Ariana and Iggy were a part of this year’s line-up, I couldn’t refuse. A good friend and I decided to purchase the “Worst Seats in the House” behind the stage, grateful to be able to hear what these talented artists had to offer, although we might not have the luxury of actually, ya know, seeing them. When we arrived at the Xcel Energy Center we were actually blown away by our seats! Sitting high above the stage gave us a similar view to what the artists see, which was a unique and overwhelming perspective; luckily they had big screens facing our way in an attempt to make us feel less poor and more included.

Having arrived about 45 minutes late, we ended up missing the first three artists: Meghan Trainor, Becky G, and Kiesza. Lesson learned: being older and thinking you’re cool when you show up late for things can lead to missing out.

The rest of the line-up proved to be a speedy, powerhouse affair, providing short and sweet sets, giving the young crowd every pop hit they could have asked for.

Nico & Vinz: They performed their two songs featured on the radio, and sounded quite good! But I will probably never think about these two ever again. Thanks for the memories!

OneRepublic: First off, I was surprised at how early in the night they played! Their career has spanned many years with countless hits and I figured they would perform closer to the end of the night. I have never been a fan of their music, finding it overplayed and underwhelming, but I discovered that Ryan Tedder has an incredibly moving voice that truly is infectious. I caught myself singing along, thinking multiple times, “What is happening to me??” “Counting Stars“ and “Apologize” got the whole arena screaming, but nowhere near the volume that their Sam Smith “Stay with Me” cover got. Overall, I have a new-found appreciation but will not be going out of my way to listen to them.

At this point in the night we were handed lower level seat tickets behind the stage. Poor person upgrade! We went from “Holy Shit, if I fall down these stairs I’m gonna die” territory to “If I fall, there will be more people to cushion my fall; I feel safe” territory.

Shawn Mendes happened, which means bathroom and beers happened. I don’t know him and don’t intend to ever care about him.

IMG_20141208_220134681Demi Lovato: Besides glimpses on the radio, I couldn’t name a single song by her. Demi’s set ended up showcasing her strong, beautiful voice and charismatic personality, which is impressive considering how short the set was. The crowd favorite was her “Let It Go” cover, which I didn’t know was a thing before that night. Let me guess, you’re now singing “Let It Go.” You’re welcome.

Rita Ora: What a beautiful human being with a talented voice! Wait, I only blinked, she’s done now? Ok…

Jessie J: Lovin’ the outfit and the energy and the….COME BACK YOU ONLY SANG ONE SONG AND I WANNA LOVE YOU!!!

Ariana Grande: Cue my freak out. One of the benefits of sitting so close behind the stage was having the opportunity to see the artists do their pre-stage pump up stuff. I got to watch Ariana do a silly “I’m so small and adorable and silly and everyone is gonna love me” dance as Jessie J performed her one track. Donning small cat ears and a faux-fur lined skirt, Ariana took the stage with her tiny-person pep. She opened with “Problem” and I was expecting Iggy to come out and share in the fun, but her ass was nowhere to be seen. She followed up with “Love Me Harder,” minus The Weeknd, which made me realize that The Weeknd is my favorite part of that song. Apparently the sound guy REALLY loves that song, because it started two more times before the correct track “Break Free” began and the youth rejoiced. She finished up with “Bang Bang” which Jessie J returned for, and the crowd went wild. In summary, Ariana’s voice is absolutely spectacular and I was not disappointed with her performance.

I-G-G-Y: The crowd was definitely ready, if not a little sleepy, as it was nearing (my) bedtime. At first I was confused and scared she wouldn’t even perform, as Ariana was slated as the headliner during Jingle Ball promos. But do not fret! Iggy opened with “Bounce” and proved that her booty can do just that. “Problem” was performed shortly after, but wait, didn’t we just hear that from Ariana? Maybe that’s why it’s been stuck in my head for the past week. Iggy continued with “Iggy SZN,” “Beg For It,” and “Black Widow” in which Rita Ora graced us with her presence yet again and the fun they had on stage was palpable. A few more tracks and the night closed with “Fancy,” allowing all the 14 year olds the opportunity to show off they knew all the words to her pop-rap song. Iggy’s set was full of gyrating, fast words and my continual hitting the dad’s head in front of my with my dance-y hands. Sorry, Dad.

Overall, Jingle Ball 2014 was a huge night for pop music in the Twin Cities and a most enjoyable Monday night. Now excuse me, my mom is picking me up outside, I gotta go!!!

 

Article by Lauren Dargus

Photos by Lauren Dargus

 

Dec 10

Bass Violator [Interview]

Bass Violator has been steadily building a name for himself in the Twin Cities as a solid producer and powerful DJ. In addition to creating all of his own music, he also writes and raps under the moniker Free Drugs. The self-made artist has big plans for both projects – including, but not limited to, releasing loads of new material in the coming year. I spent a little time talking to Bass about his roots, the Bass Violator / Free Drugs narrative, and what’s in store for 2015. Check it:

 

The Beat MPLS: Tell me a little bit about your start. What turned you on to making music?

Bass Violator: My family is musical. My dad made us take piano lessons as kids, so music has always been a part of my life. The time I realized I wanted to make music, I feel like, was the first time I watched Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” video. I heard Eddie Van Halen’s solo. I was so confused. I just didn’t understand the sounds that were coming out of the TV. I was like, “Is that a guitar? Is someone screaming? What’s goin’ on?”  You know? I started getting really curious, and going through a lot of my dad’s records. Listening to a lot of 80s Funk. That’s initially what got me into music: that funky, groovy, 80s music.

TBM: You’ve got a couple of projects. First, Bass Violator, and the second being Free Drugs. Tell me about Bass Violator.

BV: Bass Violator was an idea I developed when I moved to the Twin Cities. I started going to music school. EDM was just becoming this really big thing. I went to a couple of shows. I had already been a DJ for a while, but the idea of actually being able to DJ in the Twin Cities became a reality. I started trying to develop my sound and style. I used to go by DJ Patron, but that’s a corny name [laughter]. I worked with the idea, and people were telling me that my sound was really heavy, always funky, always melodic. They’d say it felt like an experience. Obviously I love bass, and Violator kind of just came to me. Bass Violator is more of my EDM / production persona. It’s all what I do without saying a word. It’s just me writing music.

TBM: A while back you were telling me about a theme, or rather, a Bass Violator story. Is that something you’re still working on?

BV: All the music I’m writing right now is meant to be a soundtrack for the story. I don’t have any visual ability. I’m not an artist, in that sense, by any means. I’m sort of waiting to meet the person who can design my vision. Yes, the story is still in the works though. Bass Violator, in the story, is a soldier. It’s like musical warfare basically. It’s in an age where it’s all computers, and the government is using frequencies to keep people docile. Bass Violator fights back by teaching people how to speak through music.

BV1TBM: So what’s up with Free Drugs?

BV: Initially I started off as a rapper. Production / rapper, but I was definitely gunning to be a rapper more. I developed Bass Violator and every once in a while I would be inclined to rap on a track. People were really feeling it, so I just felt like it would be best to develop a different concept for the vocal side of me. I feel like my vocals and productions line up, but at the same time I have very different concepts for my vocals. Again, still tying in with the story, Free Drugs is Bass Violator’s right hand man. He helps get the message out by speaking to the people. Free Drugs is my vocal side. Everything I’ve held back over the last couple years. All my experiences, spiritual experiences, my growth… I kind of want to bring that to the table now and simultaneously launch the two together, officially.

TBM: Do you struggle with balancing the two personas?

BV: The trouble with it right now is that I’ve done so much as Bass Violator and not as much with Free Drugs. It’s a bit of a catch up game with Free Drugs. I’m trying to align everything up, but eventually the product will start speaking for itself. I have a whole bunch of stuff I’ve already written. February is actually the month I’ve dedicated to Free Drugs. I’m going to drop at least eight to ten Free Drugs songs.

TBM: So what exactly is in store for you in the coming year? You just mentioned you’ll be dropping a few new tracks.

BV: Oh yea! In January I’ll be reviving Bass Violator as a producer, bringing a bunch of my originals, concepts, and remixes to the table. February, like I said, is dedicated to Free Drugs – all Hip Hop. After that I’m dedicating a month to cinema. I’m a huge movie head. So many concepts within cinema are great and align with music so well. I’ve got a Mortal Kombat remix coming out, I’ve got a lil’ Ron Burgundy remix coming out. There are a few things in the works. It’s going to be a fun year.

TBM: If you had the chance to collaborate, or even just pick the brain of any artist, who would that person be?

BV: Honestly, over everyone, there’s this female vocalist from Ireland (but she’s based in the UK). Her name is Róisín Marie Murphy. Her music just speaks to me on so many levels. It’s so classy. Beautiful. Just the way she writes is amazing. If I could sit down with anyone, it’d have to be her.

TBM: What are your thoughts about the music scene here in the Twin Cities?

BV: I love that there is always something happening. Whether it be Hip Hop or EDM, there is always a show. Every week someone is playing – from local to national to international. Minneapolis is actually the center where a lot of people stop. It’s great. It doesn’t matter even matter what you’re into. You can definitely go out at least once a week and catch something that you like. The variety and interconnectivity between everyone is really cool.

There is however an issue of nepotism within certain companies and it makes it a bit hard for people to find themselves and grow in a way that’s conducive to their future plans. I feel I’ve worked all my personal issues out with that.

TBM: When you’re not producing or writing music what are you doing?

BV: I am mostly just on a spiritual journey. I’ve been trying to figure out a lot more about palmistry… astrology. Just bettering myself I guess. I do a bit of writing aside from my lyrics, but I haven’t really gone public with that yet. I’d say that’s what takes up the remainder of my time. Trying to develop my writing style. Meditating. Smokin’ weed, you know [laughter]. Video games. PS4. FIFA.

TBM: Do you have any upcoming events in the works?

BV: I don’t have anything planned immediately, but you can expect an EP release party once a month this next year to coincide with everything that I’ll be droppin’.  There’s definitely 12 awesome, bass spectacular, shows in the works for next year.

Photo Cred: Dana Kim

Bass Violator on Facebook.
Bass Violator on SoundCloud.
Free Drugs on Facebook.
Free Drugs on SoundCloud.

 

Article by Alex Stahlmann

Photos by Dana Kim and Kale Fischer

 

Dec 09

College @ 7th Street Entry 12/4/14

Night Class

A consistent beat throughout College’s set made for underlying trance vibe, yet when coupled with all the new wave synths and playful vocals the feeling was perhaps better described as futuristic. Well, futuristic in terms of the 80s anyways. A heavy sense of nostalgia was prevalent, and was made apparent from the audience’s dance moves: Think Michelle Pfeiffer at the club in Scarface. Needless to say, I loved every minute of the experience.

20141204_223512(0)Prior to the show David Grellier had mentioned he had upped the ante on his tour’s visuals this time around. Although they weren’t comparable to, let’s say Skrillex’s mother ship, they were extremely effective. Grellier’s equipment was set up stage left and allowed for the audience to hone in on the projected images. Album artwork synched to whatever track was being played, and the red lettered “College” logo was shown unfailingly. There was an image that distinctly reminded me of Castlevania with its ominous castle, bats, snakes, and chilling V formation of persons I readily associated with the Valerie Collective. I also quite liked the image of the two hands shooting lighting out of their fingertips and holding an orb containing the word “Valerie.”

Grellier saved his two most famous songs for last: “A Real Hero” and “Save the Day.” Both of which were greeted by and received a great deal of applause. Not saying a word, College humbly smiled, waved, bowed a couple times, and exited stage left. Overall the night was a refreshing escape from the current trends of electronic music.

The Night Depicted by .Gifs:

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Article by Alex Stahlmann

Photos by Alex Stahlmann

 

Dec 04

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