Last year, my fifth year sober, I didn’t get to write my yearly sobriety post on my sober date, May 15th. Oddly enough, it wasn’t deliberate at all–it was because I was extremely busy at the time. My latest album, King No Crown, had just been released and I was getting ready to head out on the road for a ten-week tour across the United States with Supastition and DJ Rare Groove. I remember telling myself to sit down and write it the week before, but it ended up being impossible to get enough time (and enough quiet) to sit down and write it. Continue reading →
The fourth installment of the Fan Questions series. In this episode I answers questions about what made me good at other genres of music, whether I let people hear my lyrics ahead of time, what I thinks analog recording gear, and what caused inspired me to change my style.
Time for the second weekly installment of my “Fan Questions” video series, where I answer the questions my fans send me. This episode covers the influence of beats vs lyrics, staying down to earth, and violence and ignorance in hip-hop.
Since switching my production from Reason 4.0 over to Ableton Live 8.0 a couple of months ago, I’ve been asked by quite a few people to explain the biggest differences are between the two programs. As one would expect, there are a lot of technical differences between the two programs–most of which would be too nerdy/technical to write about here–but I would like to speak about the differences between the two programs at a really high level. My concern is that getting too technical will turn it into something that only few people can understand, so this post will just speak about the pros and cons of each program.
I would also like to preface this by saying that I am not a master at either program. I’ve been using Reason for seven or eight years, but there were a lot of things I never learned or used in the program. I’ve only been using Ableton Live for two months, and clearly that is not enough time to master the program either.
Last friday, I got on facebook and twitter to asked my fans to ask me as many questions as possible for a videoblog I wanted to make. They were good sports and responded with a gang of good questions. The result is the first episode of Blueprint presentsFan Questions. This new series will be posted every Friday. If you asked a question at the beginning, tune in for your answers. If you haven’t joined in, hit up my Facebook or Twitter, or leave it in the comments here.
Its been a while since I’ve done one of these posts. Not that I haven’t been picking up any new albums the past several months, I think it’s more that I haven’t had much time to sit down and write about them. But now that I’m getting back on top of my writing again, let’s do this!
5. Atoms For Peace “AMOK”
For those that don’t know, Atoms For Peace is actually a side project of Radiohead members Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich, Redhot Chilli Peppers basssist Flea, and a couple other cats from established bands. I’m a big Radiohead fan so picking this album up was pretty much inevitable. Continue reading →
One of the early benefits of attempting to change my home production setup into a more mobile one is that it has made me question all parts of my creative process. I’ve realized that there are certain points in my process where the momentum I have in creating art comes to a standstill. In most instances, this is caused by a technical flaw in my workflow. A example of something like this would be not having enough midi inputs or cables to connect a drum machine that I really like. The fact that the drum machine isn’t connected all the time makes connecting it an inconvenience, and therefore reduces the likelihood I’ll use it. Continue reading →
There was a time, back when I was living in a small one bedroom apartment, that all I dreamt about was having more space (and time) to do music. Back then all I had was my MPC-2000, an 8-track recorder, a pair of studio monitors, and my record collection. It wasn’t much but I did a lot with it. The fact that I had to keep all that stuff in my bedroom meant that there was a limit to the gear and space I could dedicate to my musical endeavors. I had a decent vinyl collection in my living room, but it wasn’t anything too crazy because the space I was living in didn’t allow it.
With success came the ability to move into a larger space, which is the house I live in now. I realized that I finally had the room to expand my studio space into what I had always dreamed about, so I did. About three-quarters of my basement is dedicated to music in some way. One room in my basement (“the record room”) is dedicated entirely to records and is about 15-feet by 12-feet in size — larger than the entire bedroom I once did ALL of my music in and slept in. The second room, that I now do all my music in, is at least twice that size. The only room in my basement that isn’t dedicated to music in some way is my laundry room. Continue reading →
A couple of weeks ago on twitter, I made the statement that it’s easier for a performing artist to remember their bad shows than their good shows. I wasn’t suggesting that good shows are meaningless or unappreciated, my point was that we remember the bad shows more often because they provide a larger opportunity for learning and growth. In most instances, it’s hard to justify a reevaluation of your strategies when you’re being successful. But as soon as you fail, you start to question everything. In my opinion, the best performers aren’t the best because they have a talent others lack, they’re the best because they’ve all had bad experiences that made them take their level of preparation and performance up a notch.
While it is true that I have a great number of fans who know me primarily as a vocalist, I’ve also realized that there are also many fans that don’t really know how serious I am on the beats. In addition to producing both of my solo albums, 1988 and Adventures in Counter-Culture, I’ve also produced three albums for my homie Illogic, as well as albums for my fellow Columbus artists Envelope and Zero Star. So, I’ve decided to run a special sale to bring people up to speed with some of my production where you can get my Chamber Music, Sign Language, and the Weightless Radio CDs for just $10. Plus, you get 11×17 posters for the Chamber Music & Sign Language albums.
I first got familiar with Maw several years ago when he popped up on the Weightless Recordings forums. He quickly became a regular poster and welcome contributor. Although his conduct was very mature, we soon found out that he was only a teenager at the time, which made him the youngest regular on our forum. Even more interestingly, we found out that he was from Finland and english was his second language. You never would have guessed it by the way he interacted with everybody.
Over time, Maw started getting into hip-hop production and posting his beats in our “show & tell” forum. His beats were decent at the beginning – especially for a young kid who didn’t even seem to have any equipment – but he seemed to get exponentially better every time he posted something. Eventually he was damn good. From there, I always kept my eye on him, and every year he gets better and better. It’s reached the point where I check out anything he releases and try to spread word about him as much as possible. Continue reading →
Although I do have many fans that have been with me since I first started releasing music in the early 2000s, I’ve noticed that a large part of my fanbase is divided into two groups: those who know me primarily from my 1988 and Adventures in Counter-Culture albums, and those know me primarily from my Soul Position work with producer RJD2. The last Soul Position album was released in 2006 and although RJ and I have worked together since then (most notably the track “the good life” that was released two weeks ago), we have yet to release a full-length album. RJ and I remain good friends and are definitely trying to align our schedules to work on some new material, but I can’t make any promises how or when that will manifest itself. But rest assured, we’re both working towards making it happen. Continue reading →
I’m proud to finally release this animated music video for the latest single from the album Adventures in Counter-Culture, “Wanna Be Like You.” The video was create by the talented artist Dax Norman. Please check it out and share it on your blog/facebook/twitter if you like it.
The first time I played a show in Cleveland was around the year 2000. I was still living in Cincinnati at the time and the rest of my crew lived in Columbus.
We had just released the first Greenhouse Effect and Illogic CDs and were beginning to play shows outside of our city. Everybody was still working full-time jobs, so doing shows felt more like weekend getaways than touring; Inkwel would get the rental car, we would drive a couple hours to play the show, and all be back home by Sunday morning. Back in those days we would usually roll at least six or seven deep to the shows: Me, Inkwel, Manifest, Illogic, Plead the Ph5th, DJ Drastic, DJ True Skills, and our dude Juan who did merch. Continue reading →
For the past couple of months, I’ve been considering writing a book about how to become a better live performer. I’m still in the brainstorming stage of writing down rough outlines and topics that I think should be covered, but so far it’s going pretty well. If I get a solid enough outline I’ll give it a try.
I would like to start giving some basic tips about performing here. I’ve realized that what is unspoken and normal to me may not be normal to others, especially those that are just starting out. I would like to share these things from time to time.
Last year when Adventures in Counter-Culture was released I created an exclusive instrumental album to be given away free with all pre-orders that were sold through Fifth Element. The name of the album was Weightless Radio: A Collection of Blueprint Instrumentals and, outside of the people who pre-ordered the album on Fifth Element, it hasn’t been available anywhere else prior to today. In fact, there’s a lot of people who had no idea that this record even existed. Therefore, I have decided to make this album available here on Printmatic.net for the first time. Check it out: