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’m very happy to announce that even though I’m only hosting the Soundset Festival and not performing, I will be playing a headlining show in Minneapolis the night before the festival. The show will be Saturday May 25th @ The Triple Rock and I will be joined by Illogic, Mally, and DJ Rare Groove. Doors open at 8pm, the cover is $10, and you must be 18 to get in.
Buy your presale tickets here HERE. You should probably get your tickets early for this one. And here’s the facebook EVENT PAGE.
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:
About six weeks ago, I was contacted about teaching two workshops on writing to a group of High School kids. The person who contacted me had originally reached out to me a couple years ago, but for whatever reason we weren’t able to make it happen. It looked more likely this time around since my schedule was clear; I had been at home writing my book for several months straight and had no plans to be on the road for a while.
After giving it some careful thought, I confirmed the date and started to prepare. Admittedly, I was nervous about teaching, but since I had more time to prepare I felt confident I could put something together that the students and I would be happy with. Continue reading →
For all my friends who have Kindles (or Ipad’s with Kindle Reader apps), the E-Book version of The Making of Adventures in Counter-Culture is now available on Amazon.com for $5.99. Click HERE or the cover to purchase. Audiobook version will be available later this month.
In the spring of 2010, while I was on tour with Killah Priest, I had the idea to write a book about the making of Adventures in Counter-Culture. I started jotting down thoughts and memories, emptying my head of everything that I could recollect about the process and everything that went into the creation of the album. I wasn’t sure if I would ever finish it, but It was a cool activity to keep me busy during the long drives.
The album itself wouldn’t come out for a year, so my initial idea was to finish the book before the album was done so it would be available on the album’s release date. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. I was able to write up about three or four pages of notes but that was it. Sadly, the initial idea for The Making of Adventures in Counter-Culture book was filed away along with all the other ideas that I used to talk about but never finished. I had a bucket list just like everybody else, which included items like sky diving, write a book, and make a movie, but during the two year period that I was drinking heavily nothing really seemed to get checked off of it.
Things started to change shortly after that 2010 tour with Killah Priest. Continue reading →
The one year anniversary of Adventures in Counter-Culture is today. In celebration we are releasing the official music video for “Go Hard or Go Home.” The music video was shot on the south side of Columbus and directed by yours truly, Printmatic! If you like it, please share it on your Facebook, Twitter, & Blog. Pick up the album HERE
It's been a while since since I've aired an episode of “The Adventures of Blueprint,” but have no fear, I'm back. Brand new episode, baby! This one talks about the upcoming video for “Go Hard or Go Home” and the circumstances that inspired its creation. Check it out!
The official music video for “Go Hard or Go Home” will debut next week, on the one-year anniversary of the Adventures in Counter-Culture album.
For those who write, writer’s block is the antithesis of expression. As unseen as the common cold and as paralyzing to our creativity as any sickness that attacks our bodies. Those unfortunate enough to catch it are forced to carry on their lives voiceless in a world that barely gave them a voice to begin with.
As writers, we tend to beat ourselves up over it. The longer it lasts the more we start to question everything that made us unique, how we got this far, and if we’re really cut out for this field of work. We worry that maybe we just ran out of “stuff” to write about. Maybe our lives are just boring and we have nothing to offer. But following that line of thinking only leads to the most obvious solution, which is to go do something interesting so we’ll have interesting things to write about. This sounds good on the surface but don’t be fooled.
Yesterday I bought a used Roland TR-606 drum machine from craigslist. For those that don’t know, the Roland brand of drum machines are synonymous with most of the music released in the 80′s. You would be hard-pressed to find a record from that era that wasn’t made using one of the Roland drum machines; the most popular being the TR-808 model. This model is so popular that people just refer to its sounds as the 808 kit, and an “808″ is now slang for the really deep bass kick that’s used all over the place. Even if you didn’t know what it was, you’ve heard it a million times, especially on southern rap records and 80′s music. The TR-606 I bought originally came out in 1982.
Even though I experimented with the 80′s sound on Adventures in Counter-Culture, I never owned any vintage gear, so I had to work from memory and studying those styles more than actually owning the gear they used to create it. I would’ve loved to own some vintage gear in the past but it’s usually pretty expensive, and I didn’t know if I would be using it enough to justify the purchase. Luckily, I saw the 606 on craigslist for a price that was in my budget, so I went for it. I spent a few hours last night going through the user manual and learning how to use it, and while it hasn’t even been 24 hours since I brought the TR-606 home I’ve been reminded of something that was starting to get a bit lost. Continue reading →
I often get asked by friends and fans if I get nervous before I get on stage, and my answer for the past 10 years has always been “no.” When I say I don’t get nervous most people think it’s because I’ve got nerves of steel or that my confidence is just so high that I can’t be shaken by being in front of unfamiliar crowds, but the truth is a little more complicated than that.
Early in my career, I wasn’t nervous because I was too nieve to be nervous. I was playing shows in my city but hadn’t really left yet and could still count on knowing the majority of the faces in the crowd. Shows were social events more than shows back then and it was easy to be comfortable. At that point being nervous about performing would’ve meant that I actually understood the long term scope of what I had gotten myself into, and that I wasn’t just out there having fun. It was easy to be comfortable when you don’t know how bad things could go, and what you could lose in terms of fan support by doing really bad shows. Truth be told, if i would’ve actually understood things a bit more at this stage I probably would’ve been nervous enough to piss my pants. Everybody goes thru this stage. Continue reading →
2012 marks the tenth year that I’ve been a full-time artist. Without a doubt it’s the most rewarding career I’ve ever had. It’s also the most challenging, although in completely different ways than my previous jobs.
I remember when I was considering resigning from my job back in 2001, I went around getting advice from other self-employed people, in hopes of getting encouragement or advice before I made the leap. One of the people I spoke to was named Todd Buck and he ran an in-home studio on the west side of Cincinnati that I would routinely use for mastering the first few albums I ever released. He had just made the decision to move his studio and business out of his basement and to a larger one on the opposite side of town. He had only been self-employed for a year at the time so I asked him for some advice. Continue reading →