Jason Peterson DeLaire
1. When did you decide you wanted to be a musician?
I don’t remember ever making a conscious decision to be a musician, music has always just been a part of my life. I started singing in church when I was 2 and playing piano at 4. I honestly don’t remember a time when I wasn’t making music in some way.
2. Whose music influenced you growing up & why?
I grew up listening to a lot of different kinds of music. My mom and dad listened to a lot of oldies and gospel music and my uncle Larry, who I was very close to, had a very eclectic music collection. He was the one who introduced me to Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and Cream, Deep Purple, Emmylou Harris, The Traveling Wilburys, Wishbone Ash – so many things. Of course, being a child of the 80’s I always loved Ann Wilson’s vocals. I think you can hear a lot of all of these things in the music I make today.
3. When you recorded “Hard to Love” did you have any idea it would be so well received?
When you record an album you always have high hopes for it, of course, but it’s always nerve wracking reading the reviews as they come in because you just never know what they’re going to say. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased by how much fans and critics liked it.
4. Where were you when you first heard your music on the radio and what was that feeling like?
I was at home and turned on a random blues program on I Heart Radio one day and one of my songs was literally the first song I heard. I think I screamed. Luckily I was home alone so I didn’t scare my kids.
5. Jon Bream of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (who pulls no punches with his accolades or criticism) had high praise for you; how big of deal was that to you as a person and as an artist?
Jon has an interesting reputation. Before we met, a lot of people had told me he was mean or something of the sort. After getting to know him, I can tell you he is not mean, but honest. Jon is real and he’s going to tell you what he thinks whether you like it or not. In a business which thrives on a lot of people kissing up and trying to get ahead all of the time, I appreciate that honesty and I am very glad that he likes the music I make. He has been very supportive of my career and it means a lot.
6. How does “Out of the Dark” compare to “Hard to Love”?
The biggest difference between the two is the production quality. Having Kevin Bowe produce this record was a real joy. He did such a good job taking the songs and putting that important final “icing” on them to make them the best they possibly can be. Otherwise, the songs are all typical Parker – lots of different styles and lyrics that tell a story throughout the record. There’s nothing fake on either record.
7. What is your favorite song(s) on “Out of the Dark” and why?
It’s really hard for me to pick! I love the title track so much. It’s a very personal song for me and it would not have come to be if the quarantine hadn’t happened and the record would have gone as planned and come out in June like it was supposed to. I wrote it during the spring of 2020 when I was down in the dumps and had to have a “come to Jesus” moment with myself. This was the result, a song of facing your fears and failures and deciding that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that you can only get to the morning if you go through the darkest part of the night. I think it can mean a lot of different things to different people depending on their own situations.
8. Having performed in the twin cities for some time; do you have a Prince encounter or close encounter you could tell us about?
I missed out on meeting Prince as I came on the scene a little bit too late and he passed away not long after I may have finally got a chance to meet him. I think he would have really dug my music. We did have some people in common, so the chance may have been there to run into each other somehow, or at least I tell myself that!
Mark (Lamoine) has a cool Prince story though. In 1976 when Mark was a freshman in college, he was hanging out at a local music store, Knut-Koupe Music in Uptown. He said this high school kid with a big afro came in, plugged a guitar into an amp and turned it up really loud. Mark and his friends, who were “cool” college kids, told the kid “Hey, turn that down! It’s too loud!” After the kid left, the owner of the store said, “That guy is going to be somebody, that’s Prince.” Of course, Mark and his friends thought nothing of it until years later they realized who they had met that day and hoped that he wouldn’t remember them!
9. “Hard to Love” was number one for most of the spring/summer of 2018; do you remember when you first found out it was #1?
I do! I had just finished a show with the band in Nashville and it was pretty late at night, but I freaked out and did a live video on Facebook, so you can probably find that somewhere.
10. If you could collaborate with any artist living or deceased who would you choose and why?
Oh that’s hard. I think I’d have to pick Sam Cooke. He epitomizes soul to me. I would love to get to sing a duet with him.
from you on this tour?
A very new LIV. My energy is different this time around because I put all of my love and time
into this to get it right. I’ve grown so much. I want people to be free and my shows. Dance,
shout, cry… all of it!
How did this come about?
A beautiful amazing woman by the name of Susan Silver (former manager of Alice and Chains)
who came to one of my shows told me about this dinner theater experience… I was skeptical at
first but when I went to watch it myself I was sold. I was drawn in by the world of circus because
I was an elite gymnast many moons ago but also theater. I’ve always wanted to try theater and
she introduced me to the Director Norm Langill, we clicked instantly.
He said,” We’d love for you to play Madame Zinzanni!” When I found out who had the roles
before me I was floored… Sarah Dash (Labelle), Thelma Houston, Melba Moore, Ann Wilson. I
felt honored to be a part of a long list of amazing women. So I was instantly on board!
I was going through a lot in the past 5 years. I was very lost, insecure and burdened down with
industry woes… but I’m a fighter. I knew I had to keep placing one foot in front of the other. If I
had to crawl I was gonna do that. I was determined to keep myself busy because I was
absolutely done with the music industry but that was the problem – I was doing this all wrong – I
was making music for the industry.. not for others or myself.
I believe if it’s pure it will shine through. Mantra was pure. It was the pain the struggle of fighting
the good fight. There is life, there is sunshine on the way keep going. I needed to keep going.
As beautiful as our race is.. people of color know exactly what it means to keep pushing
He gave me many lessons…but the one thing I’ve truly learned is to own your music. Own your
work and push the boundaries of yourself. You’ve got to get uncomfortable sometimes.
Omg, Netflix and chill or bother my team about performing at another venue. Bless them… I’m
constantly trying to plan for the future.
Be prepared to work hard. Stay creative and authenticity always wins…if people don’t
understand you it’s ok. Go where the love is.
working with one of your childhood influences?
It’s really quite a trip. I used to listen to Heart while warming up at gymnastics practice and here
I am starting a band with a legend. It’s crazy! Nancy is so sweet and I really have fun with that
band. We work really well together. I look forward to doing some more shows with her!
natural or was it something that grew over time and with training?
Thank you! I think it was always there. Over the years I’ve been learning how to control it better.
I used to just do some shows and power my way through the whole set but I’ve learned to tell a
story with my voice now. Tone, diction, inflection is everything. That’s why I love Tina Turner so
Raphael Saddiq, Alabama Shakes, BJ Chicago Kid, Grace Jones, Koffee,Tweet, Tina Turner,
Alicia Myers, Staples Singers, D’angelo, Ledisi, Donna Grantis, Kamasi Washington.
Libby, you are beautiful. Stop caring so much about what people think of you. You are a child of
God and no man or woman can take the gift he placed upon you away. Be bold in all your
Dj Jedi’s 10 Questions with Ashley Tamar Davis!
A- It’s a quick-zany read targeted to aspiring performers about the do’s and dont’s of the ever-changing Entertainment industry, funny revelations that can either keep an artist working or get one fired, knowledgeable recording agreement verbiage, definitions, and encouraging and inspirational quotes, just to name a few. For educational institutions and arts programs, I have also created an accompanying workbook that includes exercises, templates, sample contracts, and more.
This book is a foundational tool as a pay-it-forward insight into not only the business of the Entertainment industry, but also revelations and principles about the lack of awareness about what’s available for us. With the removal of arts programs and the accelerated use of technology, I began uploading vlogs about the Entertainment industry. Through the vlogs, I received an influx of inbox messages full of questions, emails and requests to perform and conduct my Master Classes in front of an overlooked generation that wants to learn the business but have no clue where to begin. Everyone is not to be onstage, nor in front of the camera. There are careers that are not being promoted to artistic driven hopefuls and yet, some can’t comprehend topics such as publishing, royalties, or how to read a contract.”
1. What genre would you describe your music?
Blues indie Rock infused with soul.
2. Are you surprised by the support of the Minneapolis Music community?
We have been very blessed to see our Music received in such a positive fashion, Not only in the cities, but pretty much everywhere we go!
3. Who is your dream guest artist and why?
So many to choose from!
4. What advice would you give to artists just starting out?
Practice practice practice. Stay positive and keep working.
5. What song by any other artist is your “guilty pleasure” song?
I listen to pretty much every style of music so this question for me is too hard to answer. I have a lot of guilty pleasures LOL
6. Who is each of your favorite musician and why?
I love artists like Bob Dylan and Sting who are constantly reinventing and re-creating themselves.
7. What’s the one song you’ve wanted to play live but haven’t yet?
8. What are your “day jobs”?
I am the adjunct professor at percussion at Bemidji state university, the percussion coordinator/Assistant marching band director at Bemidji high school. And I’m also a private percussion instructor at headwaters school of music and SunDrum studio in Bemidji Minnesota.
9. Have any artists that you’ve covered seen or heard your cover and reached out to you?
Not yet, but hopefully soon.
10. What is next for Corey Medina & Brothers?
The future is wide open!…And we are ready for it.
- Thank you for joining us and being a part of the “Real Music Radio” Family, it’s an honor to have you as our “Artist of the Month” for June. Tell us about your latest release “Sunny Flats” and how it was birthed
Thank you for having me!! Sunny Flats is my most recent release, and it’s all about the live band sound. A little over a year and a half ago, I started hanging out with saxophonist Jacob LaChance and we would jam on these acoustic tunes I had written. It started sounding pretty cool, so I started inviting Jacob to play at my shows. Soon after, came Chris Robbins, who played drums on the project, and Sam Collins, my go-to bass player. We started rehearsing & gigging a lot and these acoustic songs that I had written transformed into a new sound. Sort of Saxophone driven, folky funk rock, acoustic hip-hop. We played all over Michigan last year and developed the songs that would become the Sunny Flats EP. I don’t think I ever intended to record those songs for a project before I started playing with this line-up, but they really came together and it felt important to me to capture what we’d created.
- I love hearing about the writing process when I talk to artists, can you run through how “The Swamp” came about?
When I’m writing, I usually start by developing a chord progression. Then I’ll play that over and over until a melody comes to mind, and then I’ll repeat the process while humming the melody until the words come out.
I usually don’t know what my lyrics are about during the writing process. Not until I’ve finished the song and can look back at the whole thing. Sometimes the real meaning of the song doesn’t hit me until a year or two later. Or maybe it’s that the meaning changes to reflect what I’m experiencing at the time.
However, the title “The Swamp” came about from a conversation I’d had with my father. We were talking about feeling stuck in life, particularly in relation to smoking too much weed. You know, feeling like your life is this little feedback loop that never really goes anywhere, feeling complacent about changing, yet always overthinking. My father said “Yeah, some people get stuck in the swamp, don’t get stuck in the swamp.” That stuck with me and I felt like it fit the sentiment of the song.
- What’s the Ann Arbor music scene like? Are there other artists in the area that you really dig that my listeners should check out?
Ann Arbor’s awesome!! There’s a lot of support for the arts here in Ann Arbor & in Ypsilanti. Plus we have the University of Michigan, and I love when there’s crossover between U of M & the town. Ann Arbor has always had an abundance of talented artists, I think the challenge can be organizing everyone’s efforts to work together for the scene as a whole. I really like MYNA, OSSI Music, Oren Levin, The Stellars, The Left Lanes, Tru Klassick, The Hacky Turtles (out of Grand Rapids), Shai-Li (Kalamazoo), to name just a few.
- What is your biggest challenge you face today in getting your music out to the people?
I feel like there are more opportunities to reach people now than ever before. It can certainly be a challenge to be heard over the never-ending stream of content and information available to everyone these days, but I think the most powerful way of getting your music out has always been word of mouth – both online & regionally. When you make something that people really love and value, they talk about it & tell their friends. For me, my focus is on always improving as a songwriter and vocalist so that I can create better and better music that more people can connect with. Industry wise though, getting a proper publicist and booking agent is the next step in getting my music to the people.
- You are teaching Musicology 101 at a local university, what are some of the albums you would require the class to listen to?
Sgt. Peppers by the Beatles, as well as the White Album, Rubber Soul, and honestly the entire Beatles catalog. A lot of Bob Dylan, particularly the tracks It’s Alright, Ma and Hurricane. Pink Moon by Nick Drake. Blond by Frank Ocean. Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, and the rest of his discography. College Dropout, Late Registration, and Graduation by Kanye West. Every song Galimatias has ever released. The Sun’s Tirade by Isaiah Rashad. K.O.D by J. Cole. Appetite For Destruction by Guns N’ Roses. I’m just listing off some favorites that come to mind in no particular order, but the list is endless.
- Describe yourself in 3 musicians (not including yourself)
Oh man. You’ll have to ask someone else what musicians describe me, I don’t know. I really look up to Kendrick Lamar, John Lennon, Frank Ocean. My current style of music – especially with the live band – is very different from those three, but I’m moving towards those styles in the music I’m working on next. They aren’t how I would describe myself or how I think other people would perceive me, but those are major influences on me, musically and lyrically.
- What band or artist do you listen to that might surprise people?
Probably most of what I listen to compared to Sunny Flats. I’m really into Hip-Hop, modern neo-soul/R&B, and the wide-reaching genre that’s best described as “chill electronic music.” Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Galimatias, Isaiah Rashad, J. Cole, Tierra Whack, FKJ.
8. Do you have any touring or other performances planned for the summer in support of “Sunny Flats”?
We just played Buttermilk Jamboree & Ann Arbor Summer Festival, and we’re playing at Lansing Brewing Company on July 13th. Mainly though, I’m in recording mode & working on a full-length album. I won’t be playing too many shows until I finish it. We’ll pop up occasionally, but I want to get this album out before seriously hitting the road. The album is a different style musically, more up to date with where I’m at now and what I listen to. It has a lot of melodic electronic hip-hop influence, with more modern production. It’ll still some acoustic-guitar based songs and it will feature plenty of live instrumentation, but it’s a change from the live band sound.
- When you have a day just for yourself, what are some of your “go to” movies or albums that you enjoy?
I seem to be flipping between phases where I either listen to modern/hip-hop/electronic music all the time or classic albums from the 60s, so it depends on the mood. I’ve been listening to Sam Cooke recently, as well as Smino and Galimatias.
I’ve been reading/listening to audio books a lot more than I’ve been watching movies over the past couple years. I’m always down to watch a Wes Anderson film though.
- What is your favorite cartoon character and why?
My favorite cartoon character is the samurai Kenshin Himura from Rurouni Kenshin. He’s like this ultimate badass warrior, but after the war he swore to never kill again and become a wanderer to atone for his sins. He carries a sword with a reversed blade – so he can fight with it but he can’t kill. The whole premise is that he wanders the country having to battle all the villians to protect the innocent, but he can’t kill them. So he has to understand them and get them to change their ways even after he beats them in a fight, otherwise they’ll just do it again once he leaves. His power comes from his ability to read peoples’ emotions. Every episode goes into the backstory of how the bad guy became a bad guy, tracing wrong turns in their lives. It’s fascinating. Kenshin is this super kind and silly dude, but he’s also incredibly wise and powerful. He keeps a level head and I always appreciated his mindset. I learned a lot of life lessons from it.
1. Tell us about your latest release “Memories of Flying” and how it was birthed?
Memories of Flying sums up the last 5 years since I released the Black Eskimo Album Deep and Heady. I had planned on making a second album with Marco for Black Eskimo, but as time passed and no new songs were being written I felt I should turn my attention to a new solo album. It is my 3rd solo album, but unlike the previous two albums it has multiple co-writers all lending their own unique sound to this record. Five of the co-writers being from Norway, Germany, Denmark and England, (Mashti Project, Deep Dive Corp., Ganga, Charles Webster and David Hurn) give the music a European feel. The rest of the songs were written with Marco Valentin of Black Eskimo.
The album begins where Black Eskimo ends. The title track, Memories of Flying was one of the last songs written as Black Eskimo. It speaks of feeling burdened by our hearts and minds that have forgotten how it feels to be weightless and carefree, forgotten how it feels to fly. It beckons the listener or subject to wake up. The album goes on a journey of self inquiry and reflection always returning to a place of hope, shining a light in the shadows. The album ends with the song, Driving To The End Of A Dream. These are the words of Jean-Michele Basquat.
I drove through the night and into the day
Like I was driving to the end of a dream
And when I saw the light I knew I was awake
And it was good.
2. I love hearing about the writing process when I talk to artists, can you run through how “All the love in the world” came about?
All The Love In The World was written to totally different music. Somehow, I was able to glean such a pretty song out of music that I knew would never be the final sound of the song. I gave it to Mashti Project and he stripped the music away and created a different bed of music for the vocals. The version I sent to him did not have the section where I say, “You’re gonna find somebody, You’re gonna find somebody, You’re gonna find somebody, somebody to love you.” When he sent back the new version of the song, I heard this new lyric and melody, it added that finality that the song needed.
3. I personally love Graffiti Bridge but people within the fan base seem to have mixed feelings about it. I always saw it as “dream sequence” type of movie with Prince’s higher self (The Kid) VS his darker side (Morris), what light can you shed on this project to help people understand what Prince was trying to do with it
If I put my character Aura into that equation, we as people know what we should do, what is right but, sometimes when we find ourselves face to face with our demons, we need guidance. Some people believe in God, some people believe in angels and some people just believe in energy. In the film, prince was searching for the light. I think that has been the theme of his life and music. As a true artist such as Prince you have to be willing to live in the balance of both light and darkness, you have to be unafraid to dive deep and bare your naked soul. He was fearless in his convictions. This movie is just another expression of Prince searching for peace with God, Peace with himself.
4. You are teaching Musicology 101 at a local university, what are some of the albums you would require the class to listen to?
This is a tough one but these 3 albums seem to be very important ones for me personally.
1 Joni Mitchel ‘Hejira’
2 Prince ‘Dirty Mind’
3 Erykah Badu ‘Mama’s Gun’
5. I know you were in Minneapolis in April and will be in Detroit this month with the PRN Alumni, what has the PRN Alumni Foundation experience been like for you?
The PRN Alumni Foundation has been a great friend and support for me as an artist. It feels good to be involved with a foundation who’s sole purpose is to continue on with Prince’s mission of supporting the education of youth in the arts and Urban Farming and sustainability initiatives. Also, their support for alumni in crisis is a perfect example of how we as family should always support each other. I know that any event that I am asked to be involved with is coming from a place of giving back and love and it’s going to be a great celebration of the life and legacy of our dear friend Prince.
6. Do you have any touring or other performances planned for the summer in support of “Memories of Flying”?
After the show at ‘The Hewing’ in Minneapolis we will look at what it would take to tour the states and Europe. I am looking forward to traveling and sharing my words and songs with people through live performance.
7. When you have a day just for yourself, what are some of your “go to” movies or albums that you enjoy?
A “go to” movie is ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ which was filmed in part in Detroit, which paints this image of the city for me through the lens of Jim Jarmusch.
My “go to” music is usually Neo-Soul so I might play ‘Z’ by SZA or FKA Twigs EP 2. I have a playlist on Spotify called Snow Exit that has some newer British Neo-Soul that I have discovered that I would dive into on a leisurely early summer drive now that the snow is gone.
8. What is your favorite cartoon character and why?
Speed racer! He was my first crush!
Thanks again Ingrid for spending some time with us here are Real Music Radio, I look forward to meeting you in Detroit and will you sign my Graffiti Bridge vinyl
Thank you Jedi it will be a great time in Detroit. I have never been there and so I am excited! And yes, I will sign your Graffiti Bridge vinyl 🙂
10 Questions with Dj Jedi – Lisa Coleman
- First of all, thank you for joining the Real Music Radio family! It’s truly an honor to feature you as the Artist of the Month for May 2019. You and I have talked a few times over the past couple of years ago about these pieces of music you had never released and now we get “Collage” tell us about how it all came together.
To be perfectly honest , I have always kept a folder of piano music and whatever little cues we write and sometimes not use them. I’ve always done piano improvs, and I’ve thought about putting them out for a long time. Well, then our PR people, MADINK, lined up an interview for a pretty cool OTHER radio show……that shall remain nameless… and the show asked if we had any new music coming out that they could play during our interview. I couldn’t say no! I just felt this bubbling inside and I said, ’’ YES! I’ll Bring a couple tracks with me to the interview!’ ‘ and I quickly went to my piano folders and starting picking out pieces. I called my friend, Josh Boardman, and asked if he could master the tracks and make sure they sound as good as they can, and he was right there for me!
Then I told Renata, my wife, because …. You know…. She is my wife, AND she is sort of a computer genius and music manager in her spare time…. And she whipped up the whole package using drawings, and collages from my endless pile of notebooks! The radio interview was cancelled at the last minute do to an emergency of some sort, and there I was left with a whole album ready to go! So… LETS GO!!! My fantasy was a bluff called by a twist of fate!
Don’t EVER call my Bluff! HA!
2. You’ve obviously had the spotlight on you in a big way being part of “Prince and the Revolution and then as part of the dynamic duo of “Wendy and Lisa” but this time it’s “Lisa Coleman”. Is that scary even for musical royalty like yourself and what has the response been from people about “Collage”?
YES IT IS SCARY! It’s reeeeeeeally scary! It’s so private! It’s just me, and its me being as open as I can be to the thing I love most in this life. Music. Having played the piano since before I could spell…. I think of it as a language that bypasses a lot of processing by the brain, but instead fills the brain, soothes the brain, and allows the brain to communicate without words. Music brings us together and promotes literal harmony on earth! So, I am like a child here with my songs of the heart and a naive desire to share my discoveries with the other kids. It feels like love and that’s scary because one tends to want to be loved back! I have to forget that part of it or I’d never do anything! The hope is that someone else feels something when they listen, and can spend some time with their feelings. Maybe we can learn something. Maybe we can heal pain. Maybe we can just expand the collective unconscious to include a little bit more love and understanding. OR…. Maybe its just nice to have a record to put on that is there just to hang out in the room a while.
p.s.…. I love the security of playing with the revolution! Its just nerve wracking being alone!
3. Speaking of “The Revolution” and “Wendy and Lisa”, I know a lot of fans are wondering are we closer to another “Wendy and Lisa” album or a “Revolution” album? Can you give us any insight as to if we will get an album from either soon?
Hahaha…… YES!!! YES yes,,,,and yeah… I think so? Wendy and I are writing a lot right now and when there is something that we are ready to share with people….we WILL let you know! WE NEED YOU!
4. Also speaking of the Revolution, the band received their “Star” at 1st Avenue last week. What was that like for you considering your history in that city, that club and your maestro?
Getting our own star on the wall at First Avenue is a sentimental milestone that we are all extremely proud of.
That place is part of our personal histories. I remember when it was Uncle Sam’s and they did fashion shows and even had a ladies night with male ‘’chippendale’’ dancers! So I’ve witnessed the life of the place, and it’s been just amazing! Back before the place was repainted, there was a star that said Prince and the Revolution, and when they repainted, by that time, we had disbanded and Prince continued to frequent the place so much he had his own parking spot in the back. Anyway…. It is an honor.
5. All of my kids, 25, 23, 19 and 16 have finally all seen “Purple Rain” over the past few months and all of them LOVED it. What in your opinion makes that film so timeless and relatable?
Its got to be the music! The music is just really good. ALL the music! The performances (MUSICAL) were authentic and bold, and told a classic story. Its got a few moments of not greatness…….but the band rivalry was so cool, and the pacing of the film is good. It’s an easy ride, and a lot of fun!
6. What’s the next year looking like for you? What projects will you be working on? Touring? Relaxing?
The next year is looking a bit mysterious to be honest. We had a scoring gig, and that is done. I’m looking for another scoring gig, and taking some interesting meetings. (Shhh…..follow me on twitter @girlbros and I’ll keep you posted)
Wendy and I are writing. I put out this piano record and it has lead to some possible collaborations ….. the Revolution has a couple of odd gigs on the books, but we wanted to regroup. Take a little time off before we think about putting together another show that we can take on the road, or do some “special gigs”. Other than that, I’m trying to be a good Mom, and make sure my daughter is happy, healthy, and LOVED (by ME!).
7. Describe yourself in 3 musicians (besides yourself)?
Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Keith Jarrett.
8. When you have a day to yourself to either listen to music or watch a movie, what are some of your “go to” films and albums?
One of my favorite things to do is to get a bunch of cookies and snacks, and watch the Planet of the Apes Movies!
The ORIGINALS! I don’t know what it is, but I love those movies and on a hot summer day when there’s nothing to do……… that is one of my favorite things to do!
With music it is so vast. I just listened to Chopin Piano Concerto no. 2 in F………… I used to listen to that over and over when I had nothing but a record player in my room. Seems like now that I have bluetooth and the cloud, cds, and iTunes, Listening to a favorite album doesn’t happen as often as it used to. But…. I loved Chopin…. Umm… Aerosmith “Rocks”, Armadillo- Leo Kottke, Slave to the Rhythm- Grace Jones, Here I Am- Dionne Warwick!!!!!!(LOVE)…Rolling Stones- beggars banquet. . . . and of course….anything Joni .
9. Since “Avenger’s: Endgame” was just released, who is your favorite “Avenger” and what super-power would you like to have?
DARN IT!!! I HAVEN”T SEEN IT YET!
I wish I could be like Superman and be faster than a locomotive, stop a bullet with my bare hands, leap tall buildings with a single bound! Its a bird! Its a plane! It’s …… Lisa Coleman!? :^O
10. Favorite Cartoon Character and why?
This is really hard ! when I was five…Mighty Mouse was the man I was going to marry. When I see him now…haha…. It explains a lot….ahem…. Those eyelashes!
I also love Bugs Bunny because he a part of our inner dialogue as HUMANS that I find hilarious. He is clever, androgynous, sarcastic, and cute!
Oh! WHAT ABOUT TOTORO! Totoro is the coolest. Sleepy floating hero that plays the ocarina! I mean… come on!
Once again, thank you Lisa for taking the time hang with us at RmR, We appreciate you!
I appreciate you more than you know, and more than I can express. I’ll play it on the piano and then you’ll know. Thank you so much for your support. We’re in this together, folks!
THANK YOU JEDI!
10 Questions with Seismic City
1. First of all I would like to thank you for being our featured artist/band for March. It’s a great month because it just happens to be my birthday month! So for my first question I am curious what were the other band names you guys thought of before the final decision was made? How did Seismic City come about?
We went through 3 changes before we landed on Seismic City. Matt Dylan and The Overflow, The Overflow, and then finally Seismic City. It was originally supposed to be the name of a song and we all thought it would be a cool name. Dave was the one who said it first.
2. Is this the first recorded CD you have made as a band or are there other songs floating around out there?
There are few out there floating around that never fully caught on or were done with different projects. Matt Guertin and Austin Jones are both audio engineers so we do a lot of recording. Some things just never get used.
3. How did you find your sound in Minnesota? Is there any pressure to sound a certain way or is this just your natural sound?
Our sound can be influenced just as much by local bands and peers as our favorite national and international acts.
4. How did the band Seismic City form? Were you all friends before the band?
Mainly through college. Zach and Dave knew each other since first grade. Yeah we were all friends. That’s why this group is so awesome.
5. Are you guys sports fans? Is there some rivalry between band mates and their favorite sports teams or do you all get along and like the same teams?
Dave is a big Lions fan so he spends his Sundays pretty sad. Other than that not really. Everyone except Austin played sports growing up. That’s why Austin is a better musician.
6. What advice would you guys give other bands that are trying to make it in this business?
We are learning every single day. However we have found that constantly networking, striving to be better and shameless promotion has helped us out a lot.
7. What is next for Seismic City and what venue is your “ GOAL “ ?
Always trying to get more shows and currently we are working on a full length album which we are hoping to release summer 2019. Most of us say our venue goal is First Avenue but “some” of us were thinking why stop until we have played Mars.
Do you know Elon’s number?
8. Describe yourselves in 3 musicians ( besides yourself )
Tom Petty, Alabama Shakes, My Morning Jacket
9. What is the funniest live performance story you have? Is it something you guys agreed to take to the grave or can you share it here?
We were playing a show in Bay City, Michigan and a woman who was apparently a kindergarten teacher, got on stage and stuck her tongue in Matt’s ear mid-song. Then 5 minutes later she proceeded to drunkenly fall into the P.A. system and knock it over. Needless to say we finished the song we were playing with it laying on the floor. The P.A. and the girl were both fine.
10. Favorite cartoon character and why?
Matt – Spongebob because he is hilarious and I see myself in him some days.
Austin – Reptar because he is a Godzilla spoof and an unsung hero of Rugrats. Much like the bass player in a band.
David – Mr. Krabs because he is all about that paper
Zach – Scooby Doo because… well… talking dog who solves mysteries? Plus the Hex Girls are badasses.
1. Let’s begin with the obvious, the name iLLism. For me this set the bar high but that was far exceeded by your style and sound. Can you, ( iLLism ) fill us in on how this name came about?
E: Fancy called me one and said “We canʼt have our name be Envy & Fancy” and she said she was going to do some thinking. I wasnʼt into anything other than Envy & Fancy because I identified as envy for so long prior to iLLism.
F: And I did think. I started to think about Hip Hop and when I did the word “iLL” kept popping up in my head. Then I started thinking about powerful movements of our time and the word “ism” also stuck out on several occasions so I out the two words together “iLLism”. iLL in Hip Hop means dope and “ism” means movement.
E: So when you put it all together its a dope musical movement. When she called me back I was all in.
2. The decision to use “ Live “ instruments, was this a natural fit or something to stand out from the norm?
3. What are your thoughts on todays music? Do you feel the “ Real “ musicianship or true artistry of being a lyricist has been lost or is it just being missed in the mainstream?
F: In hip hop itʼs all about expression, in soul music itʼs the same. Thatʼs how we connect to both genres. The openness of both genres allow us to be as explosive or one dimensional as we feel we need to be. In the case of todayʼs music, I honestly think itʼs a generational gap and misunderstanding. Who are we to judge or say that people can only express themselves the same we do, or whatever makes us comfortable.
E: How do you grow? how do you evolve if your aim is to always box yourself in? No, I donʼt listen to everything out there, only because itʼs my preference to listen to music that I can directly relate and connect to. That doesnʼt make it bad, art canʼt be picked apart… We are all just looking for that connection.
4. Out of all of your live performances, is there one that sticks out as your favorite? Is it the same for both of you?
E: Just recently we per ormed at the NAMM show in Anaheim, California. Itʼs one of the largest music and media trade shows. Thousands of people who are either musicians, artists, talent seekers, buyers and more attend each year. Famous faces do too including Stevie Wonder. This performance was special because the audience had much more of an appreciation for live music. The way we connected
to the audience was extremely meaningful because of this factor, and because we were the only Hip-Hop act that night.
F: Iʼd agree, and also say performing at Paisley Park is definitely one of my most favorite performances. The energy that swept over that place when we were there for the Battle of the Bands completion was incredible. None of us had ever gotten the opportunity to meet Prince, but his spirit is everywhere in there and we got to leave a part of ourselves in the soundstage too
5. The perfect blend between the lyrics of Envy and the smooth mesmerizing vocals of Fancy sets iLLism on top of what’s out there today. Do you see it as going against the grain or setting a new path?
F: In the beginning of our careers, I think like most artists at one time or another just want to feel like they belong or fit in somewhere. We emulate the “popular” music around us. We did this for a long time, and I think now looking back at it, itʼs what took us to finding ourselves. Iʼm not sure what finally opened our truest selves up, but something did. And we began to explore that and discovery was made.
E: Meaning we, donʼt create to get ahead or to be different, we just do what feels the most true to us. We know what that is now because we did it backwards for so many years, and now we reap the rewards for being 100% true to ourselves and our art
6. What advice would iLLism give to up and coming artist that are trying to get into the music industry.
7. Being in a successful band is hard enough these days, so is being in a successful marriage. Congratulations on both! Any advise for your fans out there?
E: Thank you! Communication F: Faith, God E & F: Giving Back
8. Describe yourselves in 3 musicians \ lyricist ( besides yourself )
F: Aaliyah, she embodied an essence that was not of this world. You hear people use the phrase “Wear their heart on their sleeve.” Aaliyah wore her soul on her sleeve, and I hope to embody an ounce of that courage and sexy boldness at some point in my career too. Mariah Carey, She was the first live concert I saw. I remember sitting there next to my mom and dad and being captivated by her. I think I sang “hero” for weeks after watching. She truly is just that, a hero of mine. Brandy, she understood me as a pre-teen growing up. I would sit for hours playing her songs, and it definitely reflects now in my vocal performance. It didnʼt even hit
me until someone pointed out to me several of our songs where Iʼm giving Brandy vibes throughout.
E: 2 Pac, because he was poetic. I learned how to rap by writing poetry. Dr. Dre, and his craftsmanship when it comes to being an incredible producer. I latch on to dynamic sounds, and synths, that are jazz and hip hop infused like he so famously does. Drake, he has a great ear. He knows what good music is and he knows a when itʼs a hit. Heʼs been in the game for over ten years and consistently has hit records. I feel I share that same ear, and canʼt wait to get in the studio with him and Dre one day.
9. Not too many artist out there do everything themselves from start to finish. Do you, “ iLLism “ find this more rewarding when complete? What are the challenges?
10. Favorite cartoon character and why?
1. You have been writing amazing songs for over 34 years, tell us a little about your writing process. Do the songs come to you naturally or does inspiration play a part in a songs creation?
I try to write from my heart so others can feel it. I do love adding life experiences along the way
2. What are your thoughts on where music is today with technology? The ability to download the 99 cent song, auto-tune etc.
Technology allow the industry to move forward as the world moves LOL but sing just sing no enhancements on that . 99 cent songs have hurt the industry but opened the doors for artist that are not able to get that record deal.
3. What is one of your best performance memories ? What moment do you look back on and think, ” Man that was a great time ” ?
Wow, I love all of my fans and shows so I just give them all of me to make them all be greats. I just love to look back and see my fans reactions, the photos album covers they come with me to really keep me going for them.
4. Who do you currently have in your playlist?
Silk, Morris Day, Aretha Franklin, Luther, Zapp, Marvin Gaye just to name a few
5. Tell us a little about “ Tattoo “, your new music and what should we expect to hear from Melvin Riley in the future?
Love songs man, something for the couples the ladies and just the image a beautiful tattoo is that woman not her body but her soul, her mind is a tattoo of the spirit. I want to continue to bring real music from my soul and for my fans. I am true to them first.
6. What advice would you give to up and coming artist that are trying to get into the music industry.
Keep grinding and stay true to yourself. Research the business find yourself a good attorney and learn the business. Do good clean business always
7. How did growing up in Flint Michigan shape you musically?
My family gave me a alot of love and my friends were there to support me along the way
8. Describe yourself in 3 musicians ( besides yourself )
Marvin Gaye, Prince and Michael Jackson
9. You represent what Real Music is about in writing, performing and singing, do you feel this is getting lost in today’s music or does it have the possibility of making a come back?
I feel it is making a comeback
10. Favorite cartoon character and why?
Road Runner, he is fast and right behind you. You can never out think him
Kandy Apple Redd
1. Tell me a little about your latest release “ This Club “ and how that funky groove came to be.
“ This Club” was written and produced by Patavian’s brother and Tonysha’s cousin Tra’zae Lewis Clinton. When this song was written we were at our manager/cousins house and basically we were having a writing session, and a few songs were created that night. “This Club” stood out because it’s fun, sexy, and definitely for the ladies! People have told us it reminds them of “Nasty Girl” by Vanity 6 and that was a huge compliment. We hope our song lives for ever!
2. What is the song writing process between the two of you? Does one person write the lyrics and the other create the groove or is it done together?
The groove is normally brought to us or created while we’re in the studio. The writing process is pretty simple. We typically come up with a melody and a topic and it’s starts from there .
3. Are songs easily agreed on or has there ever been any “ friendly “ disputes on song creation?
We agree for the most part on a song. Sometimes we have different opinions on phrasing or tracks but we’re pretty good at aligning ourselves.
4. Coming from the Clinton Dynasty, has it been difficult creating your own sound?
Yes and no. Yes because producers and writers want us to be funky so bad and there’ll come with a kind of dated sound because they want to mimic what our Dynasty is known for . No because Parliament and Funkadelic have so many sounds. Our grandfather is open to music and if you go back to the catalog you’ll get a dose of everythang.
5. Now let’s get into “ KAR’s Comin’ “! What can the fan’s expect and will there be any special appearances on this album?
They can expect a well rounded album. It shows off our vocal abilities and our personalities. We’ve worked extremely hard on this project and we know people will enjoy it. There be some special appearances but you gotta wait and see!
6. I’ve watched some of your live performances and the stage presence between both of you looks natural, like you have shared the stage for many years. Tell us a little about how much work goes into Kandy Apple Redd’s performance.
We’re very big on stage presence , but to be honest a lot of our chemistry comes natural. We’re lucking enough to watch our grandfather demand the stage every night, so we’ve learned a lot from that. Also we both took theatre and music in school so we’ve both had our lessons on bringing the audience to life.
7. Something that stands out for me is the amazing harmonies that is created between the two of you. Please explain to the music fans out there how important harmonies are in the “ Real music world “ and how much work goes into being able to hit those notes in a live performance.
A lot of times harmonies bring a song to life it adds an inflection. Since we’re cousins our voices have a natural blend. Patavian is a great harmonizer and she has an ear for where to place them. To perfect your craft you have to practice. Singing is much more than having a nice voice, it’s your instrument so you have to keep it polished.
8. How do you see Kandy Apple Redd’s influence on today’s youth ?
We want to be a positive reinforcement to today’s youth. Encouraging our youth to be strong, courageous, determined, and most of all comfortable in their own skin. We want them to be confident in finding their own voices, and empowering them to use their voices for leadership and change for the future!!!
9. Describe yourselves in 3 artists ( besides yourselves )
Mary J. Blige, zhané, Monica
10. Favorite cartoon character and why?
Tonysha’s favorite cartoon character is: Pinky and the Brain because “They plan to take over the world, and so do we”.
Patavian’s favorite cartoon character: Daffy Duck because he has a smart mouth, he’s rude and sarcastic as hell. He’s hilarious!!!!!
1) Your latest release and new Video is “In The Water”. How did you come up with the concept of this video and song?
Nono Ayuso who directed it and I came up with the idea and visuals together. The whole idea was about freedom and going against the current and fight of love and life.
2) Is your passion being a creative artist or being an artist that “creates”?
Both. Creating of any kind is in my heart.
3) Who is your favorite musician or singer and why?
The Cocteau Twins are my favorite band sonically. I’ve taken comfort in the fact that their words are hard to define like my lyrics can be sometimes. When you listen to them you just feel like they are unapologetically themselves and free to just be
4) What is your process to create music?
When I feel a tinge of something I will go from there and explore it but I don’t believe in forcing a song out of yourself if it’s not there. Usually it starts on guitar and I sing over it and take it from there with melodies then either work on it myself solely or bring it into a collaboration if it feels like it needs another energy to it and little sounds
5) What 3 things do you need when recording in the studio?
My crystals, a notepad and headphones
6) Favorite day of week and why?
Sunday because the world feels calmer somehow. It also feels good to know there are 7 brand new days ahead of you like you can just start all over.
7) How important is networking with other performers or artists?
If you form a connection with them then that’s very meaningful because no doubt you will have made something great.
8) If there was one piece of advice you would share with a newcomer to music what would
Never lose sight of the music and make sure the people surrounding your projects are doing right by you and genuinely believe in you.
9) What does Happiness mean to you?
I think it’s very important and a challenge. If you can master self-love then I truly believe you have found happiness because you can then fully give yourself to relationships and anything in life and then happiness keeps expanding. I guess its contentment ultimately. I’m still learning.
10) Is it Fish and Chips or Fish and Fries?
Fish and chips ?
Tell me a little about your new release ” American Soul “
American Soul is my first full length “solo” release. I wrote these songs from 2009-2016 time frame. Its my attempt at a somewhat contemporary effort, and focus on songwriting. Before this I was in group called Down Lo, where we would write more out side of the box and unconventional songs. Experimental progressive genre melding fusion stuff. This record my goal was to write songs with structure and soul. We worked for a number of years on this record. In the past I have been restricted with tight timelines and budgets. This time I was able to take me time, and make the record I really wanted to make. No compromises. I’m pleased with it, and also very exited to be already working on my next one!!
What is the message or story your trying to tell with this release?
The message is really a story about myself. Growing up, loving, learning and giving it all I have! There are songs in here about heartbreak, growing up on my grandparents farm, discovering guitar and rock’n’roll, life, death and many other themes. Its my experience and reflections on life.
How do you feel music has played a part in your life other than being a musician?
Music is my saving grace. Its my friend for all time. Music is the sound track of my life, literally. Its rare for me to not be listening to something. Music has gotten my through the hardest time and has highlighted the best times. Music is how I connect to the the unseen world, god, spirits and communicate to the planet and universe.
What artist have you shared a stage with that you looked over and thought to yourself, I’ll never forget this moment?
I got to play with Robbie Kreiger from The Doors. That was a real treat and one of the highlights of my career. It also did not hurt that John Molo was on drums. Molo played drums on Bruce Hornsby & The Range’s first record and countless others. Both are heroes of mine. When I played with them I was blessed to be surrounded by friends and family which made it even more special.
Have you ever had stage fright and if so how did you overcome it?
I think all performers go through some form of this. Its all part of the program. Music is organic for me, so the performance is human. So I spend a lot of my time trying to remember that. Being yourself before trying to be perfect. Letting the music breathe and be natural. I have my moments, but generally speaking I feel pretty comfortable on stage.
What is the last movie you watched?
Ken Burns documentary on Vietnam. Respect to all veterans and civilians who served, died, were wounded, were MIA or who suffered from PTSD. Its a powerful piece.
What do you think of music sources like iTunes and Amazon?
Digital music distribution is an important platform to sell music. I think we have a ways to go until artists are properly compensated for the art they create. But that is a whole other conversation!
Where do you see music headed with our youth?
I think the music of the day is a reflection of the times. It will continue to grow and change. Thats only natural. I think substance can be missing, but I think the natural next step would be to seek out depth and substance in your music. I see this playing out with my daughter frequently.
Describe yourself in 3 musicians ( besides yourself )
Van Morrison / Melvin Sparks / Jeff Beck
Favorite cartoon character and why?
Fun question! I like lots of them! Space Ghost is hilarious and his sidekick Zorak. Brak is pretty good as well.
1.Tell me a little about your latest release Physical Science?
Physical Science is primordial funk. Musically, it’s an amalgamation of the varied sonic and compositional aesthetics I’ve pursued throughout my career — art-funk rhythms, electronic soundscapes, jazz-informed improvisation, fragmentary pieces, pop songform, spoken and sung vocals. There’s a companion chapbook, Inside Pocket of a Houndstooth Blazer, which has a mix of poetry, flash fiction, prose and comics, made in collaboration with illustrator/designer Lindsay Santiago. A copy of the chapbook is mailed out with each download of the album on bandcamp — the only place to get it.
The album is a short but intense listen. I modeled the length of the album after a few great short albums: Dirty Mind and Controversy by Prince, Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, and Some Girls by the Stones. I like those kinds of strong, succinct statements that encourage repeated listens instead of fatigue.
2. What is the message or story you’re trying to tell with Physical Science?
I am exploring the myths and realities of America and the philosophies we claim to value. To borrow a phrase from the Catholic mystic tradition, I believe America is in a kind of collective dark night of the soul right now; an identity crisis. To break through that dark night, we have to face some demons — residue from our past—before we can move on healthily. Take the piece “Rugged Individual”, which musically is maybe the most challenging listen on the album: idiosyncratic electronics, free jazz drums, intoned vocals. What were the pros and cons of adopting an outlook like “rugged individualism”? And what were the long-term consequences for the culture and the country? How does a bottom-line, “every person for themselves” attitude square with other tenets we claim to value? These are the types of questions I try to deal with on the album. I believe most people living in the US are pondering similar things right now, either consciously or subconsciously, because we all are observing the warring perspectives, the dueling paradigms, the drastically different visions for the country being discussed in the public sphere 24 hours a day.
3. When you listen to music on FM radio, for the most part, it’s fluff. Do you think that music can still change the world or are the kids today just looking for a distraction with music?
Music definitely functions differently for this younger generation than it did for other generations in the pop era. The ubiquity of it is a big part of that. I believe music will always have the power to transform and bring people together, but it clearly does not serve the same prophetic purpose that it did during the 60s-80s, when we looked to certain artists to lead the way politically and culturally. Specific songs, videos, and symbols still move people in powerful ways, though, and we see that in the rapturous, devoted responses to pop artists like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry, as well as “edgier” mainstream artists like Kendrick Lamar, Janelle Monáe, and Childish Gambino. Whether or not these artists end up as culturally legendary in the long term as the previous generation’s greatest artists is another question, and maybe not even an important question.
4. We have known each other a long time and I have pretty much everything you’ve released and my favorite album is “California”, what’s your favorite album or song of yours?
I very rarely listen to my older albums, but I do enjoy certain songs a lot when they come up on shuffle, like “California” and “The Passing of Time” (from California), “Sturdy Heart”, “Hurricane Miguel” and “Chatter & Buzz” (from Grab Bag). I also really like the song I wrote for my wedding, which was briefly available as a bonus track on a CD single a while back. Other than those, I always say my favorite piece is the one I’m working on at the moment.
5. From the time we first met to now, the internet and getting your music out there has changed a lot. How has your career benefited or suffered from the changes?
This is an important question. I recently watched a test screening of an upcoming documentary called Unsound, which was directed by a Bay Area-based producer called Count. Part One of the film details the origins of the internet, the intentions of its original developers, and how things got to where we are now, with music being severely undervalued in the digital space. Every one of us who creates music for a living has been affected by this devaluation. When you and I first met, I was on staff as a producer at a record label —that entity doesn’t even exist anymore! Physical Science is a DIY affair, no labels or staff involved; just contracted vendors for specific tasks. There are pluses and minuses to that. On the positive side, I own my masters and control my work. On the negative side, I don’t have a powerful entity advocating for my projects at high levels in the industry and marketplace. We’re all up against this general cultural inclination to want music and other digital creative products for free, or for a scant subscription fee that primarily pays the distributors. I understand these inclinations, but I also have observed and personally felt the consequences of the devaluation of recorded music. I do like bandcamp a lot, which is why I chose to release Physical Science on that platform and bypass all other digital distributors and streaming services.
6. What was the last movie you saw in the theater and did you like it?
I recently saw Avengers: Infinity War and 16 Bars, a documentary about a music-based prison rehab program. Obviously very different films, and I liked them both. One of the primary questions in Infinity War seems to be “What happens when a very powerful but clearly misguided individual is able to fully execute a wildly distorted and damaging plan?” They show us what happens, and it’s unequivocally not good, though it’s pleasing to the individual with the plan.
16 Bars is a whole different thing. It follows several incarcerated men in Richmond, Virginia, as they participate in a music-based rehab program, which is led by Speech from Arrested Development. It’s powerful and empathetic and inspiring —really, really good. I was fortunate to attend its premiere at a screening here in the Bay Area; not sure when it will hit theatres.
7. What artists are currently in your heavy rotation?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Sunny Murray (a forefather of free jazz drumming), Don Cherry’s Music Wisdom Love 1969 project, the Bar-Kays’ Nightcruising and Propositions albums, Randy Weston, Alice Coltrane, Willie Nelson’s Stardust album, the Max Roach/Cecil Taylor duets, an Italian duo called Futuro Antico, Carole King, Chuck D’s solo album, and Tom Petty’s song “I Won’t Back Down” over and over again. I’m embarrassed to admit that I only recently discovered what an incredible vocalist P!nk is —-been listening to her a lot as well. Also, my son is into an EDM artist called Alan Walker, and I’ve been enjoying that guy’s stuff too— at first by force and now by choice.
8. Describe yourself in three musicians (besides yourself)
Leonard Cohen, Don Cherry and Meshell Ndegocello. I have some significant things in common with those artists, and I’ve found that referencing them has been useful in helping new listeners understand what I do.
9. Are you into watching sports? Who are your favorite teams?
I grew up in a very sports-oriented household, and for years I was the type of guy who religiously watched football games, memorized stats, collected and displayed cards, monitored the drafts, argued about the greatness of various players, all that stuff. I played both football and basketball for years. Though I still value all the things I learned from my dad (who was a coach and referee) through team sports, I grew disillusioned with the NFL as an adult. I felt like I gave that corporation a lot of commitment —mental time and space and money—and I didn’t feel any loyalty coming back from the league or the teams I liked. Felt like a one-way relationship! I bailed on them in the 90s and I don’t think the NFL misses me at all. I watch NFL and NBA games occasionally when someone tells me about a particularly great player. My brother-in-law will often hip me to players I might like, and my sister-in-law is really into basketball, so that stuff is often on TV when I visit them and I enjoy it. But the only sport I follow really closely these days is boxing. I like boxers in all the divisions and all eras. I’m currently excited about the Charlo twins, Vasyl Lomachenko, Deontay Wilder…too many to name. I like Amir Khan a lot and glad he recently came back strong.
10. Favorite Cartoon Character and why?
I’m a big Hanna-Barbera guy. Secret Squirrel and Top Cat are my dudes —SS for the gadgets and Top Cat for the stories and wit. I also love Foghorn Leghorn, a Looney Toons guy, ‘cause he says everything twice. Twice, I say.
We want to thank Danny Kusz for Participating as our Artist of the Month
I actually wrote some of the songs back in 2013/2014 and when we lost Prince I had to do this cd as tribute to what he started years ago…The Minneapolis Sound.
2. What is the song writing process like for you? Lyrics first? A groove? A little of both? Tell us about how one of the songs on “Get Up” was birthed.
At times I start with a groove, then melody and lyrics last, but the most important rule is to let my soul have it’s way.
3. What is the vibe and feeling on “Get up”, What songs do you really dig and what songs do you hope the listeners will dig?
Get Up has a very positive energy about it and it’s really inviting to those who are not into this style of music. I Like the song “More” because its rock, R&B and has a lot of soul. I also like what its about (being patient with the one that you love).
4. You’re not originally from Minneapolis but have been there a long time, can you tell us some of the bands, artists you’ve collaborated and played with over the years
I’m from Davenport Ia., and started playing in my dad’s gospel quartet at a very young age. For Years I had my own funk rock project called The Tracey Blake Project. I’m also a member of The Purple Xperience and another band called The Sons Of Almighty who has 2 cd’s and the members are Michael Bland, Sonny Thompson, Tommy Barbarella And Julius Collins. Lately there’s been talks with me and Jesse Frasure about cutting a new cd on me so we’ll see.
5. What has it been like playing with the “Purple Xperience” since Prince’s passing? The fan reactions and just what it’s like playing all those songs on a regular basis?
The Purple Xperience is an amazing 5 piece band. The response is overwhelming because we all realize how much of a gift he was and still is and that we will never experience another live performance from him again. We just do our best in celebrating his music and it is such an honor to be a part of this. It’s an awesome show.
6. What was the last movie you saw in the theater and did you like it?
Black Panther. I usually don’t get into those types of films but I really did enjoy it.
7. What artists are currently in your heavy rotation?
No artists in heavy rotation right now because I’m always creating. It’s interesting, 1 day I’m into funk/R&B and the next day it could be smooth jazz or Metallica and I’m committed to it all.
8. Describe yourself in three musicians (besides yourself)
Jesse Johnson, Angus Young and Prince (there’s no telling what we will come up with next).
9. Are you into watching sports? Who are your favorite teams?
I like Football, boxing and UFC. I’m gonna have to stick with the Minnesota Vikings through their ups and many downs.
10. Favorite Cartoon Character and why?
Bugs Bunny because he’s always cool and very clever. Hard to get one over on him.
1. Tell me a little about your debut solo release “Introducing Stokley”
This whole project is just about my evolution. The songs are dynamic, ranging in different tempos & genres. It all just feels good to me and I wanted to start sharing more of my individual self with the world.
2. You’ve been around a long time and contributed on so many albums, what was different about the process this time around knowing that this was your album
A different type of liberation I guess, & working with different people obviously brings out different facets of yourself. Also I would definitely say when in the studio alone half the time I would record in pitch black, it makes you use a different part of your brain.
3. All the songs are important to you or you wouldn’t have included them on the album but what songs do you want the listeners to pay special attention to?
They are all important to me as you say, I’m fine with listeners picking their own favorite’s for different reasons. It will depend on the life and/or day that they’ve had I suppose.
4. What were you trying to say with “Introducing Stokley”? what is the message, vibe or feeling you want listeners to get from it?
Ultimately I just wanted healing energy, I wanted an energy that helps to bring some balance with what you usually hear out here. Something familiar yet a little left from center. Something fun, sexy, thought provoking, musical.
5. When “The Revolution” first announced they would be going on the road with special guests, I was skeptical but I saw you at 1st Avenue and then in Detroit and I just wanted to say “Bravo”, you were a great part of the show and did Prince proud. tell us a little about what the experience was like?
Yes, well I was a little skeptical too…ha
First of all we will never get another one of these guys. That’s it. All I try to do is perform in the spirit of… nothing obviously will be as good as the original. But the feeling absolutely surreal for a few different reasons. One, I just still can’t believe that he’s not here. Two, I just can’t believe he’s not here!! It is a little strange to be singing the songs because I never thought I would be singing them ever. At least not the big hits. It was a little difficult the first couple of months and then we began to fully settle into the celebration of his legacy.
6. What was the last movie you saw in the theater? did you like ?
Black Panther, absolutely love everything about it!
7. What artists are currently in your heavy rotation?
There is currently nobody in my heavy rotation. Sometimes I’m heavy into a lot of different things and sometimes I turn everything off. This is one of my off periods.
8. Describe yourself in three musicians (besides yourself)
Sammy Davis Jr.
9. Are you into watching sports? what are your favorite teams?
Vikings (like them but don’t watch)
10. Favorite Cartoon Character and why?
Droopy Dog. He was real cool until you made him upset then you saw another side.
1) Tell us a little bit about your new release “Prometheus and Pandora”
First of all, thank you very kindly for the opportunity to speak with your tribe, it is appreciated.
‘Prometheus & Pandora’ is my deepest foray yet into the great unknown that wills to be known. From the moment the title came to me initially, I was totally mesmerized by the possibilities inherent in pursuing its production. Titles & Concepts greatly inspire & motivate me, otherwise, I am just another asshole trying to organize and sell another batch of songs. I LOVE HAVING A POLE TO WRAP THE TENT AROUND. And I loved having the chance to work with & rework the Sumerian/Greco-Roman Fables, it gave me a great canvas to paint on. It has 3 CD’s for your perusal, ‘Prometheus’, ‘Pegasus’ & ‘Pandora’, each with its own mission & flavor, each with its own story to tell & add to the greater whole. Each allowing me to indulge how very lucky & grateful I am to be able to make music at this particular time in history & Add my voice to the choir. It also allowed me to work with a Long time dear friend, Luisa Corna, who portrays Pandora & adds texture to the project that my voice alone couldn’t give it.
2) You went all out on this release, why three discs of music?
I ONLY WENT ALL OUT BECAUSE THE MUSIC DID.
I don’t write the songs, THE SONGS WRITE ME, and tell me when THEY are ready. The songs poured from a generous fountain, so I shared them as they were shared by the Angels with me. It took 3 Cd’s worth to count the blessings.
3) What is the message you want people to hear on “Prometheus and Pandora”?
Much less a message then a simple narrative.
In general however, there isn’t really ANY message more valuable than ‘Enjoy Your Life’. And there is no meditation more worthy than endeavoring to enjoy our time on earth, no matter the circumstances & challenges of the game. I think that the listening to ‘Prometheus & Pandora’ allows one to form ones own images of the nature of what the project is about. If ANYTHING, it may be about US, in THIS TIME WE ARE LIVING IN NOW & that ALL TIME IS THE SAME TIME LOOKING AT ITSELF FROM DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW.
But mainly, ‘It Ain’t What You THINK It Is, But It IS What It LOOKS Like’.
THAT is the essential message if any at all.
4) All your songs are important to you or you wouldn’t have included them on the album, but what songs to you want listeners to pay close attention to?
THE ONES THAT GRAB THEIR ATTENTION FIRST, as one would always hope. It is a record of pop music, NOT a pop quiz. There is no sequence they are obliged to pay attention to, it will all fall into place at
Just the right time.
5) In support of this release, will you be doing more touring & will that include the United States?
That is all being taken under consideration at this present point in time. The first priority is sorting out Europe, closer to home where we love & where it is easier to get started. We will certainly know much more about this subject in the near future. STAY TUNED.
6) What is the last movie you saw in the theater and did you like it?
Actually, the last movie I saw in an actual theatre was ‘THE INCREDIBLES’ With my wife over more than a few Christmas’ ago in Portofino. And YES, I did like it very much, thank you!
As you might imagine, it has been home entertainment ALL THE WAY, since our family started, except when my wife takes the boys to a film with friends. As for me, I needn’t ever see the inside of a movie theater again (unless its to check my ‘close-up’). I like the hookup I have at the crib.
7) What artists are currently in your heavy rotation?
The usual, Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Miles, Monk, The Ramones, Mingus, Zeppelin, Debussy, Hendrix, Stones, Herb Alpert, The Gladiators, Joni, Tom Petty, Steely Dan, Mina, Todd Rundgren, Deep Purple, Bob Marley, The B-52’s, Ray Charles, Mother’s Finest, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, The Who, Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Bill Evans, Luciano Pavarotti, Maria Callas, Springsteen, Sergio Mendes, Carol King, Dionne Warwick, Aretha, Streisand, Judy Garland, Nat Cole, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Liz Phair, Prince, Michael Jackson, Eros Ramazotti, Flatt & Scruggs, Iggy & The Stooges, The Isley Brothers, Van Morrison, The Troggs, Sade, Dwight Yoakum, The Carpenters, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, Patsy Cline, Sam Cooke, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cream, Buddy Guy, Kate Bush, The Stanley Brothers, Al Green, Linda Ronstadt, Beach Boys, Snoop Dog, Stevie Wonder, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Fleetwood Mac, Rory Gallagher, Marvin Gaye, Pearl Jam, Erykah Badu, Stone Temple Pilots, PJ Harvey, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Duran Duran, Otis Redding, Louis Prima, Doris Day, Antonio Carlos Jobim, The Pharcyde, Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Chuck Berry, The Walter Hawkins Family, Scott Joplin, The Clash, The Bangles, The Smiths, R.E.M. Buck Owens, Oasis, Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan, Pink Floyd, The Monkees, Frank Zappa, Santana, Billy Joel, Lenny Kravitz, Antonio Farao, The Breeders, Stravinsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Son House, Howlin’ Wolf, (We 3 Kings), Albert, Freddie & B.B. Rick James, Chic, Sylvester, Living Color, James ‘Blood’ Ulmer, The Jackson 5, The Allman Brothers, Sonic Youth, Sly & The Family Stone, Elton John, Earth, Wind & Fire, P-Funk, Peabo Bryson, Donny Hathaway, Roberta Flack, Jay-Z, The Talking Heads, The Kinks, Leadbelly, The Strawberry Alarm Clock, Beatles, Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Dylan, Lucio Dalla, Frank Sinatra, The MC5, Nina Simone, Louis Armstrong, Grace Jones, Rod Stewart, etc. (JUST TO NAME A FEW….;-) plus whatever current artists are making a play for my ear in the moment, usually through my wife or sons. And allow me to reiterate once again the immense debt I owe to the great master
ROD STEWART. He is on tour now & I wanted to resubmit to all that he chief among all living artists in my lifetime was HUGE for my development as an artist. I wrote ‘Holding On To You’ for him but got it to him too late to be of use to anyone but myself. His importance to the history of Popular music cannot possibly be overstated. He took a baton from the grandmaster Sam Cooke & used it among other gifts to reshape the landscape of Rock & Roll’s maturity & reach. He was/is a MONSTER & we are some grateful bitches because of it.
8) Describe yourself in 3 musicians (besides yourself) ?
Beethoven, Schubert & Brian Jones.
9) Are you into watching sports? who are you favorite teams?
I watch mainly ‘Calcio’, with my wife & sons. We are all ‘JUVENTINI’,
An inheritance from my wife’s family. Italian families can forgive you being of a different religion, if it comes to that. But being for a different TEAM? THAT is unforgivable. A wise man from abroad QUICKLY (& loyally) adopts the family squad and that is the END of THAT.
Fortunately we are like the New York Yankees and are expected to win a lot & almost always field a competitive team. My sons LOVE their team very much. I also like HOCKEY. And still baseball, the love of my youth.
10) Favorite Cartoon Character and Why?
From very early childhood, my first 2 loves were The Beatles & BATMAN. All brothers of the way TOTALLY understand why they empathize with Batman over Superman. Plus, he was simply more DARK, which in & of itself was an outlaw, outsider’s bad-ass cool. You could always feel how much this dude HURT. I am certain that the original dreamers of Batman intuited MUCH from the same PROMETHEUS myth that I just milked for ‘Prometheus & Pandora’.
They’ve much in common as archetypes.
AGAIN, I THANK YOU very much for your interest, it has been of great help and I appreciate it with all my heart. May God & Spirit Bless & Keep You Always!
Milano, 6 February 2018