Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mo better blues

From Wax Poetics - "Remember our interview with Spike Lee in Issue 38? The following is an unpublished chunk from that piece.

Originally, Mo’ Better Blues was entitled A Love Supreme. Why did you change the title?

"Alice Coltrane! [laughs] I was in contact with her. She read the script and thought there was too much profanity in the film, and she preferred that we not use that title, but she would still let us use the song. The recording was much more important than the title.

Was Mo’ Better Blues the first instance of the media accusing you of anti-Semitism? With the portrayal of the two Jewish club owners?

The club owners were Moe and Josh Flatbush, played by John and Nick Turturro. This was something that blindsided me completely. There was a big brouhaha, and at that time, my lawyer, who is deceased and was Jewish, said, “Spike, if you want to continue to work in this industry, you have to get rid of this anti-Semitic label.” His name was Arthur Klein, and he suggested that I write an op-ed piece for The New York Times saying, “I’m not anti-Semitic.” I took his advice; I did that. They were really trying to lower the hammer. You never felt somebody on your ass until you have the JDL, B’nai B’rith, and whoever else on your ass with the anti-Semitic thing. They could put you on lockdown."

More Spike here.  He also goes into the Oscars snub of Malcolm X, and his beef with Clint Eastwood over his Iwo Jima movies, and their lack of black soldiers.He's a straight talker.

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Aug 14

Mophono's halftone society  -Sinicisism - Natural self remix
Mulatu Astatke -Yerkermo sew
Quantic - Portada del Mar
Prince Fatty - Gin and juice
Centry meets the music family - The outlaw
Richie Phoe - Heartical behaviour
Sola rosa - Lady love - Richie Phoe remix
Ticklah - Scratch to win
Dawn Penn w Steely and Clevie - No no no
Kode9 - You don't wash dub
Cooly G - Love dub
Cesaria Evora - Angola  - Get down dub by Pepe Bradock
Chancha via curcuito - Dancehall
Colman brothers - She who dares - lounge mix
Style council - Money go round
Bobby Byrd - Hot pants... I'm coming
Gary Byrd - The crown
The controllers - Hello - Simon S re-edit
Fat Freddys Drop - Hope - Mykl vs Soy Sos dub
Tony Allen - Ole - Moritz von Oswald remix
Mayer Hawthorne - The ills
Manu Dibango - Soul fiesta
Miriam Makeba - Ibande
Neil Cowley trio - Pinball number count
Oddisee - Chocolate city dreaming
Staple singers - This old town (People in this town)
The Emotions - Blind alley
Sons of Slum - Right on
Jean Knight - Carry on

Favela on Blast film screening

Favela On Blast - Official Trailer from Mad Decent on Vimeo.

As part of the "ThisCulture" film series we are proud to present the NZ premiere of "Favela on Blast" - this Wednesday night at Khuja Lounge.

Favela on Blast is the directorial film debut from Grammy-nominated DJ and producer, Diplo, and his partner Leandro HBL. For 20 years, a subculture has emerged under society's radar. Favela On Blast tells the stories of sex, love, poverty and pride for Rio's marginalized people. They have their own language, style and heroes. It's a music that's... fast, heavy and violent like the city itself. This film is a flash of a few lives of charismatic people that relate to the funk music and a retelling of the subculture itself.

In an unlikely turn of events since pre-production of this film started, baile funk fought its way out of the favela's, no holds barred. As soon as it reached the ears of music makers and booty shakers around the globe, dots got connected, cables got plugged and the movement just snowballed out of control.

The culture surrounding the favelas of Rio De Janeiro has been documented before, yet here a unique view is presented to the audience were the camera emerges from the funk balls to give an unseen look into an energetic, underground music scene so powerful it couldn't be ignored.

August 18th - Khuja Lounge - 8pm,  $5 entry - DJ support from El Gato Negro for more info.

Ace of spades

Haydamaky hail from Ukraine, and here's their delightful take on Motorhead's Ace of Spades, with footage shot on their current US tour. Punk/ska/horns and accordian. Mental. (Hat tip to Trevor R).

Friday, August 13, 2010


After 21 years, indie label Merge Records have clocked up their first ever number one album on the US charts.  In the label's history they've had 4 top ten chart successes  - 3 this year (Spoon, She and Him, Arcade Fire). The chart topper is the new album from Arcade Fire, which sold 156,000 copies in its opening week and get this - 97,000 of those copies were digital albums.

Label co-founder Laura Ballance says "The whole chart thing is kind of like sports," she said Wednesday. "The need to have a ranking is kind of meaningless. I’m more like, ‘It did good? That’s great.’ " Read more: LA Times article

The record players

Oh, a new book from the authors of Last night a DJ saved my life, you say? Bound to be essential reading. Out August 30. Download a preview pdf here.

"The story of dance music told by the people who made it happen. Bill and Frank come correct with in-depth interviews with almost 50 of history's most significant DJs, largely previously unpublished. Like the ones you've read on DJhistory, these are intriguing meetings – honest and revealing portraits, funny too. Plus memorabilia, discographies and great photos of all the DJs as young firebrands."

Black Dynamite vs Storm troopers

Adrian Younge and the Black Dynamite Sound Orchestra played live during Comic Con. They ended up playing for some Stormtroopers, Tough crowd. Hat tip: Wax Poetics.

Attention vinyl junkies...


At new venue --- FREEMAN'S BAY HALL -- Hepburn St, Ponsonby.
The Auckland Record Collectors Fair takes place this Saturday August 14 at a new inner city venue, the Freeman¹s Bay Hall, corner of Wellington and Hepburn Streets, Ponsonby.

Stalls include vintage New Zealand vinyl and New Vinyl Imports and foreign, 60s, rare, dance, soul, rock, bargain etc vinyl. AND Murray Camick will be there selling more funk and soul vinyl. The event also has stalls selling vinyl turntables, styli and cartridges.

The fair runs from 10am to 3pm. There is a $4 entry fee.

.... Because you need more records. Right?

RIP Phelps "Catfish"Collins

Phelps "Catfish" Collins has died aged 66 after a battle with cancer. BBC News reports that "The Cincinnati-based musician was part of the funk scene in the late 1960s and early 1970. He played with James Brown before joining Parliament and Funkadelic.

The older brother of Bootsy Collins, the guitarist's death on Friday was reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer. The report described him as "a jovial guitar player with a huge smile".

Catfish played on James Brown's 1970 classic Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine.

"My world will never be the same without him," Bootsy Collins told Rolling Stone. "Be happy for him, he certainly is now and always has been the happiest young fellow I ever met on this planet."
Collins' death comes less than two months after that of Funkadelic guitarist Gary Shider, who died in June."

Thursday, August 12, 2010


But wait, there's more. A film called "Blitzkreig Bop!"with a priceless voiceover - "They've been called brilliant, they've been called disgusting, but no-one ever forgets this act..." Features the Ramones, Blondie, Dead Boys, and some lame-ass rock critics talking utter bollocks.... The sound is outta sync with the pics, so just deal with it...

Part 1, 3 other parts too...

Uploaded by Top-Notch112. - News videos from around the world.

New York Dolls 73

Stumbled across this while looking for old video of the Ramones shot at CBGBS - some clever fella who has a ton of black and white video footage of the New York Dolls, some of them playing live, in 1973.

Then there's the one below, of the band at a photo shoot goofing around, and one of them out in LA, at a joke shop, then Jerry gets a haircut. Delightfully random snapshot of a long lost moment.

Hat tip to Markwasthere (Youtube channel - for more NY Dolls vids)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

P-Money 2001

Spied this great video from back in 2001 via GeorgeFM- it's P-Money dropping his routine at the World DMC Champs - he came third equal that year  (with DJ Kentaro). I interviewed P-Money that year for NZ Musician magazine. Here's the interview below.

The thing I remember from this interview was, even tho P-Money had some success and made it to several overseas DJ battles and was going places, he was talking about how his overseas experiences made him realise that the local hiphop scene had to step up its game - he wasn't just in it for himself. That's cool.

Scratch and win
by Peter McLennan (originally published in NZ Musician magazine February 2001)

P-Money is one of our nation's finest hip hop DJs - if you are looking for proof, he has won the New Zealand ITF (International Turntablist Federation) DJ Championship an unprecedented two years in a row.

An expert scratch DJ, P-Money has recently starting to make his presence felt as a producer of his own beats, working with MCs Ill Semantics, Four Corners, and on Che Fu's next album. He's been involved with bFM's hugely popular 'Trueschool Hip Hop Show', alongside well respected DJs DLT and Sir-Vere for several years, and currently hosts the show. He's a humble guy, who works hard to be the best he can be. Step up, P-Money!

"It was DLT who started referring to me as Money, taking the piss, cos I'd do tricks like Cash Money. I was looking for a DJ name and I thought, 'Yeah, that'll do'."

DJing took hold of Pete Wadams at a young age.

"I've been practising my skills since I was about 12. That was when I first attempted a scratch. I got a turntable when I was 14, and then I got a decent set-up when I was 17. I've been seriously DJing as a career for the last three years - since I was about 19.

"The first gear I used was a Sony mini-system my dad had, that had a turntable on the top, and I would just scratch with that, using the switch between Phono and Auxiliary to cut out the sound. So I had two fingers on the switches and cut the sound that way, moving the record back and forth to see what happened. I thought 'This sounds really cool!'.

"I discovered scratching from the music I was listening to, which was hip hop music, like Run DMC. Jam Master Jay was their DJ. On the video for Walk This Way, there's him on turntables cutting the record at the start and you can see and hear what he's doing. I thought, 'That looks cool, I want to put my hand on the record and see if I can make that noise'.

"The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff had this song Parents Just Don't Understand, it was a really corny song. It was the first record I ever owned. I went to the record shop with my dad and he got it for me. I got tired of it in about five minutes, and then one day I played the other side - I didn't even know there was another side of a record! I was pretty young, must've been about nine.

"I flipped it over, and there's a track called Live at Union Square 1986, and it's the intro to their live show. It's Will Smith, the Fresh Prince, and he goes 'Check out my DJ, he's gonna do some amazing new thing you've never seen', and it was the transformer scratch. There's this record called 'Dance to the Drummer's Beat' by Herman Kelly & Life, and there's a break down at the start of it, and he (Jazzy Jeff) just starts turning the sound on and off, the transformer scratch - dah, dah-dah, dah - and it just freaked me out, it was amazing! I was thinking 'How do you make that noise?'.

"I used to scratch with that record (Live at Union Square), cos I didn't know what the original sound was, 'til a few years later, and then I realised that it was just turning the record on and off, and I was blown away by that."

A lot more of what he has learned as a DJ came from experimenting.

"You just sit down and study a record, I think any musician is the same. The turntable as an instrument is only coming into its own now - and you really can play the turntable as an instrument - it's being proven more and more with each new guy that I see. At the ITF finals, there was this guy called A-Trak (the 1999 and 2000 ITF World Champ), he's just turned 19, and he's doing amazing things. He's a full-on musician, he just freaks me out. I can't achieve what he's achieving at the moment, and he's three years younger than me - but I'm going to get there!"

P-Money got started in DJ battles at the first local ITF DJ championship, in 1997.

"I heard about it through the 'Trueschool Hip Hop Show' on bFM. I was a big fan, always used to listen to the show, and I was like 'A DJ competition? Wow!'.

"A DJ battle is a competition where DJs scratch and do tricks. They get a chance to demonstrate their stuff in the opening routines, then there's two DJs set-up on stage, and they take turns for 90 seconds each, and you've got to come up with whatever you can in that time, then the other DJ will respond and try and outdo what you've done. Then you get one more chance, and they reply, and the winner advances to the next round. It's an elimination process, 'til there's one guy left. We have qualifiers in the regions, in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. There was about 50 DJs entered last year, and they all battled, and that was great, and then the winner goes overseas - and that was me!"

So how do you prepare for a DJ battle? Practice, practice, practice, advises P-Money.

"You could say I'm always preparing, because whenever I'm practising, I'm looking for new things. There are records called 'Battle Breaks' that have short stabs of sounds and really big raucous beats you can use. But I often choose to use songs that are already out there, mostly rap songs, but I've used Peking Man before - I use whatever I can find. It's like sampling. Say you want to sample one piece of music and there are all these different sounds in there, you might end up taking five different bits and rearranging them into a new track - that's exactly what I do on turntables, but I do it live, in real time, and that's where the challenge lies."

P-Money remembers that first DJ battle in '97 with a certain degree of bemusement.

"When I look back on it, it's hilarious, cos I was shocking! It was just a confidence building thing more than anything."

He placed fourth but was back the following year, feeling more confident.
"I thought 'Yeah, I'm gonna win this, I'm better than everyone else'. I had this real attitude, cos I thought that's the way you win."

Unfortunately this confidence didn't prepare him for getting knocked out in the first round.

"I went home and thought 'Why did I lose? Shucks man, that sucks'. I was going to give up battling, it was too much time and effort."

But in 1999 he gave it one more shot: "I went in the Wellington Invitational Battle competition and won the first round, and I was thinking 'Yeah!'. Next round I did my Rakim routine, my most well-rehearsed routine, done it a million times - and I messed it up! I felt really bad. I went out the back and thought 'Oh well, I definitely lost that', but then I won! I was like 'This is the craziest game in the world; when you think you're gonna win, you lose, and when you think you're gonna lose, you win!'. Then I went to the next round, the finals, and I thought 'Well, I'll just leave it up to God or whoever', you know? I'll just do my thing and be humble, and hopefully it'll be good enough, and they'll like it - and I won! So I kept that attitude.

"The whole experience of DJ battles has, in a weird way, shaped me as a person, like 'Stop thinking you're a hot shot, you're not that good', cos everyone's got to practice.'"

Winning the local ITF champs has given P-Money the opportunity to foot it on the world stage amongst the best of his peers and take in some amazing sights. In November last year the world finals were held in Los Angeles where he placed eighth. The year before in Hawaii he came in fifth out of the dozen DJs representing the best of almost as many countries - including UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan, Belgium and Australia.

"In LA the talent on stage was the best I've ever seen, seriously. They were just so good. There were these guys doing crazy, musical patterns, like taking a regular hip hop record which is in 4/4 and about 90 bpm, like I'm used to, and slowing it down to 3/4, a waltz - just doing a whole new arrangement of the song, and changing the pitch of the instruments so it's a new melody too! It's hard to explain without witnessing it. Those dudes are just beyond me."

DJ Sir-Vere (Phil Bell), organiser of the local ITF's, went with P-Money to both ITF World DJ Finals. He recalls P-Money's first time up on the world stage, in Hawaii in 1999. "The playing field at that was a bit more even, whereas this last year the standard was a lot higher. It's getting way more competitive. The standard was incredible this year at the Hollywood Palace in LA. The winner A-Trak could've won it lying down!

"This year, the world took three steps forward, and we took one. I think that even though Money didn't make the battle rounds, maybe that's where he was ranked, you know? He totally got cheated out of seventh in LA."

P-Money typically sees a challenge: "People would consider me to be quite developed technically, quite skilled compared to the average DJ here, then I go over to the world champs and I'm like that guy at the bottom again. We have to pick up our game here quite a bit. I'm trying to take it to the world, trying to be on that level and doing production for international artists overseas. So I want to take it there, but I don't want to be the only one!"

This DJ isn't just into playing other people's music - oh no. He's got designs on making music too.

"I knew how hip hop groups worked; there's a rapper, and there's a DJ. So, I just assumed the DJ must create all the beats as well, so I thought 'I need to do that'."

Searching through music magazines in the early '90s trying to find out what DJs used to make music, he discovered drum machines.

"I got a Boss Dr Rhythm DR660 drum machine, after much persuasion of my father - 'Dad, I want a drum machine for Christmas!' It was that and my birthday present and half my own money. That was in my last year of high school. I was fully into making beats and I had a good turntable set-up by then."

P-Money left school, got a job in a fish and chip shop, and saved up to buy a Tascam 07 four-track. He also had a toy keyboard from when he was a kid.

"By combining those elements, I made my first tracks. I started off with a loop of some static on the end of a 45, and I attempted to sync my drum machine to the tempo of the static, cos I didn't like the drum machine sound, it was too stale. I needed something else so I added the static. Then I played some real bad chords on my toy keyboard and layered some scratches - it was a big, layered mess of stuff.

"I'd do loops on turntables, cos I didn't have a sampler, so I'd have two copies of a record, and just start it, run it for a bar, then just repeat on the other turntable."

His next purchase was a Roland MS1 Sampler.

"Once I started sampling stuff, then I really started to hear the records I'd been listening to for many years, like Public Enemy and De La Soul and all that. I started to pick apart the production. I was learning how to get good at scratching and DJing and learning production techniques, all at the same time."

He's recently made the leap to an Akai MPC 2000 XL sampler.

"For the last two years people have been starting to say that the beats I have been making are really good. I started working with Che Fu, cos he was interested from a DJ point of view, cos he's also into DJing. He liked my beats, so we've been doing some stuff. I joined Che's band as DJ and we're working on more demos for his next album."

He's also recorded some of his own tunes, with Four Corners from Hamilton and Ill Semantics from Auckland.

"We recorded them at Studio Six in Papakura, which is just a bedroom set-up, but it's pretty flash, and put down the vocals. I put them out there just to test the waters, and people loved it, it was number one on the bFM Top 10 for four weeks. That's more motivation to pursue that. Hopefully they'll get released, if someone's reading this, get in touch! It's the same old story with everyone - you need some cash behind it to get it out there. So, that's that long assed story!"

Let's ask an expert - what makes a good hip hop DJ?

"You've got to have good records and you've got to be technically skilled and understand music. You've got to understand timing in songs. Like, if you're doing a mix of two songs, you've got to understand how many bars there are and how many beats there are to a bar and all that. You don't have to be able to read music and know all the technical terms, you've just got to be able to feel it. I didn't know what a bar was, I knew how the music went, I was like 'Ah, this many loops', I had different words!

"There are heaps of things as far as turntable set-up that you need to be aware of. You have your record, and it sits on the platter, between the record and the platter there's a thing called a slip mat, and if it's not spinning back easily when you're scratching, you can experiment with different types of plastic under the slip mat, like from inside record sleeves. I also have my turntables set up vertically, which is battle style, with the arm the furthest away from you. That's so when you're going from one turntable to the other you're not hitting the arm. I use a Vestax Pro 07 mixer, Shure M44-7 cartridges, and Technics SL1200 turntables."

What if you're an absolute beginner?

"If you're starting out, I'd say get whatever you can get your hands on. I mean, a belt drive is cool, if you're 12, 13, and you've never scratched before and want to get into it. If you're already at that stage, then I'd say don't mess around with anything other than a pair of SL1200s. It's a big step up, but you'll know if you're going to keep doing it so you'll know if it's a waste of money or not. Just save up and buy yourself a decent set of turntables, and there'll be no looking back after that. I went through about five belt drives. I saved up and bought a pair of 1200s. You can buy one, and then that'll be enough motivation to buy the other one. You can get them secondhand too."

Good advice - on the money, every time.

P-Money's Top 5 Records (in no particular order)

Gang Starr - Moment of Truth
Bob James - Nautilus
Public Enemy - Fear of A Black Planet
Wu Tang Clan - Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers)
Jeru the Damaja - The Sun Rises in the East

Christoph El Truento

Christoph El Truento is a talented young chap who I know as a fellow BaseFM DJ. He's about to drop a brand new EP as a producer, and has kindly sent out a track for you to listen to and download, if you fancy.

Introducing EP01, a 5 track EP of experimental beats, soul and future funk created throughout the first half of 2010. The EP will be released in digital format on iTunes and for free on Bandcamp for a limited time, out October 5.

zSHARE - Christoph El Truento - She Just Dont Know.mp3 (click on link for  audio preview)

For more El Truento goodness, check out the Hip Drop's album (from earlier this year) of local beat producers here - also includes tracks from Mara TK (Electric wire hustle), Alphabethead, Skylab, Scratch22 (remixing the Mint Chicks) and more.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sola Rosa remixes

Sola Rosa have just dropped a brand new album, a collection of remixes of their latest album, Get It Together. Remixers include The Nextmen, DJ Vadim, Yes King, J-Star, Biggabush, TM Juke, Beatfanatic, Alister Johnson, Hermitude, Thomas Blondet, Richie Phoe and more. Best of all, if you head over to Sola Rosa's website, you can download the DJ Vadim remix for free. Preview below, or get it here. You can preview the other mixes there too.

<a href="">Turn Around Ft. Iva Lamkum (DJ Vadim Remix) by Sola Rosa</a>

If you buy the CD, you get 15 remixes, or if you buy the digital version at Bandcamp, you get an extra 5 remixes, including mixes from Barkin Soul and Benny Tones. Oh, and the instrumentals of all the remixes are over at Bandcamp too. Nice one.