As a musician, every so often you come across a venue that feels a cut above the rest. Sometimes the energy of a crowd that is hungry for new music infects your outlook on the night that stays with you from then on. This is what defines a great venue to me. Shrine World Music Venue is one of those places. Tucked away deep in Harlem, Shrine is a musician's haven that encourages grooves and improv with a crowd intent on hearing what you have to say. Thanks for letting us play last night. I needed that.
You would not believe the amount of musicians I come in contact with on a nightly basis (because you know they don’t wake up until after noon) who know nothing about hip hop and rap. I don’t understand how anyone born after 1980 could possibly know nothing about either style of music.
It’s not to say there’s a requirement to like any sort of music. As musicians, I feel it’s important to be as scholarly as possible about the history and important milestones in popular culture.
The poets, the thinkers, the artists, the musicians, the writers…these are the people with their hands on the pulse of all that impacts the world at a moment’s notice. How could you exclude not only the musical movement but such a pivotal cultural statement such as hip hop and rap regardless of how you personally feel about the music in your own ears?
With the matter of opinion certainly a factor, I feel it’s important to at least attempt to see the importance of everything I’ve already said. Educate yourself. I’m tired of having to explain the brilliance of Nas to a guitar player with no soul in their finger tips in the first place because, in all honesty, those are the people who probably need The Geto Boys in their life more than me.
Have you ever heard the perfect combination of a beat and rhythm? It hits you in a way that accents the other seemingly mundane things around you like the simple act of the sun shining in your face while you’re driving on the highway. Everything can seem perfect.
That feeling of the perfect beat and melody, that is how I feel about this phase of my life. These are the best days of my life. I have a lot to do but I’ve made some serious adjustments over the past year that I think are so prevalent that I don’t really have to say much for it to shine through.
Nothing is ever perfect but it doesn’t have to be in order to realize that things aren’t as bad as you keep making yourself think they are. You should really stop that. You spend so much time trying to set yourself up for something while forgetting that the right now is just as important. Would you rather look back remembering nothing but sad complaints of things you allowed to ruin your life or rather a confidence that you really lived to the fullest? I mean, isn’t this what it really comes down to?
There are people who do it so effortlessly that the smile becomes something within itself. The fascination I have with people who smile this way stems more from the ease with which they share it rather than the smile itself.
These people don’t just smile. These people smile hard. These people push everything out in that simple gesture as if nothing else in our lives or the lives of those around us matters so much as expressing that smile.
People who smile like this help the world to show just what it means to be completely secure and content within that moment. Smile hard.
I have a philosophy when it comes to promoting a product on social networks. I feel it is different from a lot of other people who are trying to use social networks to sell a product.
MySpace taught musicians to bombard the fuck out of people with their music. I personally think musicians were the cause of so many social networking sites being run into the ground. Someone selling something beside themselves.
I realized quickly that I needed to make anything I do a very personal extension of who I am. I feel this is not only an essential part of creativity but a perfect way to use social media. I know I don't want anything shoved down my throat so why would I do that to others?
In the need to work things out in my head, I turned to writing everything out and engaging in what others have to say. When you do this it becomes a spot that will be more you and less a product to sell.
Whether it's true or not, I like to think that investing so much of who I am into a spot where anyone can read has created an interest in something that is less a product to sell and more an extension of me. I like to think people don't see me selling them anything other than myself.
I play music because I'm fucked up and if there is one thing I've learned from reading and writing in a public forum it's that sometimes all people need is to hear that they're not the only person who is fucked up.
The only way to raise awareness for whatever issue you feel strongly toward is to talk about it.
As the death toll keeps rising while families are trying to dig through whatever may be left of their homes, there is a cloud cover over Manhattan.
This is not something people are focusing on simply because it happened to a place in lights such as New York and New Jersey. People are focusing on it because it did severe damage that is affecting the lives of millions of people.
This is where you can donate to the American Red Cross. Play a Sarah McLachlan song or something to complete your experience.
Sometimes New Yorkers think they're invincible because of all the things they have to go through on a daily basis. They're not.
Hi. I'm Sean. I play guitar, write, and sing in a band called Above The Fold. We recently finished recording our first full length rock album Deep End of Down. It’s a mixture of groove and rock with lyrics inspired by life be it sad or down or happy or yearning.
Above The Fold is a name inspired by the graphic design concept referring to the location of an important news story or visually appealing photograph on the upper half of the front page of a newspaper. It’s an idea to reach for in every aspect of life. I want to live my life above the fold.
The album was written in two phases consisting of songs I was writing after the release of our first 2010 demo Nothing Short Of Giving In and songs I wrote during the breakup of a relationship in the fall and winter of the following year.
We recorded the album over the span of roughly a year and a half in New York City. Everything was out of our own pockets as independent artists so we learned to record what we could ourselves in apartment living rooms and crammed alcohol soaked walls between sessions to save money.
We were fortunate to use a studio called Stratosphere Sound along with a studio in Brooklyn called the Seaside Lounge.
The album is mastered by JLM Mastering. iTunes recently started selling the album and Spotify is streaming it.
DUg Pinnick of King's X recently said after hearing the album, "love your sound, very emotional, your singer gave me goose bumps, he must be amazing live. Great songs, very interestingly written, good luck with everything you do, if your ever in LA ill be there..dUg"
I hope you enjoy the album as much as I needed to get it out.