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Turntable Lab Radio 031: Eli Escobar

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For the latest episode of Turntable Lab Radio, Eli Escobar blesses us with a fire set consisting of house, disco, and more. Eli also talks to Lab’s Zephyr Ann about his latest album, Happiness, which is out on Classic and available in very limited quantities here. Congrats to the homie for the excellent 2nd LP, and stay tuned for more from TTL Radio!

Turntable Lab Radio 031: Eli Escobar

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Turntable Lab Radio 030: Ivan Ave

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Ivan Ave from Oslo guests for episode 30 of Turntable Lab Radio! He is a rapper, and Helping Hands, which dropped earlier this year with production help from LA’s Mndsgn, has been in constant rotation at our East Village storefront to much positive feedback from staff and customers (“what’s this playing?”). Before getting to the raps, Ivan played a funky, soulful set (yes, he is also a DJ) of old & new grooves that perfectly complemented the sunny, mid-70s Saturday afternoon, and it was good times / good vibes for fans, shoppers, & Lab heads in attendance.

Make sure to check out and support the talented homie’s music, and stay tuned for more from Turntable Lab Radio.

Turntable Lab Radio 030: Ivan Ave

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Interview: Bosq (Whiskey Barons)

Turntable Lab Radio was heavily blessed a few weeks ago. Featuring our longtime homeboy Bosq, he came through and played a set entirely of exclusive material that has the internet going nuts. One half of Boston’s Whiskey Barons duo, Bosq has been crafting Afro Latin tunes for the last few years with major releases on Ubiquity Records and his most recent on Soul Clap Records. Recorded live from our East Village store, it was great to kick it and catch up. Listen to the latest episode of Turntable Lab Radio here and read our interview below.

Bosq Radio TTL

First off tell us a little about yourself, how you came up, DJ / Production background.

I was born and raised on Cape Cod, MA, known to most as sort of a summer destination but it’s a very different experience being an actual resident. It’s a really dope place though, extremely liberal, very big focus on arts and home to all kinds of lifelong hippies and weirdos. We also got all these amazing reggae acts to come through and play like 100 person little venues on the beach because of the big Jamaican population (Johnny Osbourne, Barrington, Buju, Burning Spear, Mighty Diamonds, Yellowman, etc.) I was a fan of all that from maybe 9 or 10 years old, as well as all the hiphop tapes my older brother would bring home. I started messing with music on my own at maybe 14 or so I think, I got my first set of turntables around then and of course had no idea what to do with them, so I ended up doing really weird shit like plugging in my sega saturn to an auxiliary in to get noises while I layered records totally off beat and out of key of course, trying to make some magic happen hahaha. All the records I started out playing were Reggae & Hip Hop, a lot of Wu-Tang and Nas and Buju and all of that 90s goodness. I was lucky enough a few years later to get a summer job editing audio from my cousin and I got to take home this really early mac laptop and play with Pro Tools as much as I wanted which was huge for me. After years of messing around I got into a music technology program at Northeastern here in Boston and started putting it all together and getting more serious about it while at the same time pushing for dj gigs around the city, etc.

So glad we finally got you on the show. Can you give us a rundown of you set? I know you mentioned they all had not yet been released or were just about to come out.

Yeah man! Like I said, it felt pretty masturbatory once I actually wrote out the set list, but I’ve been frustrated sitting on so much material and it seemed like a good time to finally unleash some of it. There’s material from 3 separate unreleased projects on here, all totally original material no samples or reworks or anything. One is a full album coming out on Ubiquity Records in October, one is an EP dropping soon (8/17) on Soul Clap Records, and the third is an album I did in Puerto Rico with a bunch of amazing musicians down there that you could kind of group together as the Candela All-Stars. I think the only thing I played that was already out was Bad For Me which was the lead single off the Ubiquity Album, with the legendary Nicole Willis!

Download / Stream Bosq’s Episode of TTL Radio…

You were in town for your new residency at Soul Clap Eli’s new space, Black Flamingo. I know you both lived in Boston, how did you guys link up?

I’ve known Eli for a long time as just a fellow dj homie who I would bump into and always got along with, so I was really happy for them when they blew up like they did because they’ve been putting in work for a long time. After I hadn’t seen them for a while Eli told me he had been loving my first album (bosq y orquesta de madera) and playing the hell out of a bunch of the tracks. I was pretty shocked cause I never thought of my stuff going over with a house crowd but from then on we’ve been doing stuff together, a few track collaborations & some parties, sort of working towards me doing this EP on their label.

Bosq Flier Black Flamingo

Speaking of Boston, I am stoked to see so many of the homies getting much deserved attention. Soul Clap, Kon, Durkin, yourself, 7L & so many others. Do you feel there is a healthy community amongst you guys or is it still a free for all?

It’s a community in some ways, as in we are all cool with each other and respect each other, but we are all in such different lanes that there isn’t a lot of cross pollination. There are certainly crews of people all helping each other out though – I mean just this week I was at Caserta’s studio recording Serge Gamesbourg on bass for my song on Kons upcoming BBE compilation, so I guess that actually is a healthy community yeah? I guess the reason it doesn’t seem like that though is that we all get a huge majority of our notice from outside of this city since most of the nightlife here caters towards college students.

Turntable Lab

I love that you’ve progressed into creating completely original music that shows your influences. From Afro beat and Salsa to Hip Hop and House, those early Whiskey Barons edits showed what was to come. Can you tell us more about that progression and what draws you to that sound?

Yeah it definitely felt like the right progression, I think the sound I love definitely evolved from the sounds I was attracted to even as a 10 or 11 year old – the grittiness of RZA’s production, dancehall & reggae rhythms, etc. The Afro-Latin stuff just happened through that exploration that occurs when you are a dj or anybody with an obsession / insatiable appetite for music. I followed funk and soul to ray barretto and then BAM this whole world opened up and my question is how did everyone else who ever heard this music not become obsessed with it? With Fela in particular it just encompasses everything I love in music – it’s musically complex while being catchy with strong political messages and of course ass shaking rhythms, it’s just so fucking powerful! It’s the same with the Latin stuff it’s just so strong rhythmically and you have these horns punching you in the face – I don’t know man it all just instantly resonated with me and I feel it so strongly.

Moving from editing that music to writing it has been my favorite part, I just find it so much more fulfilling and with edits and reworks I still always feel like I’m getting too much credit for someone else work. I also just love being challenged and edits weren’t doing that for me, learning to create this stuff from scratch on the other hand, has most definitely been an incredible challenge, and I still have SO much to learn which is an exciting feeling for me. All that early work was definitely a great study in how to put together music though.

Some of the material you played in your episode of Lab Radio was recorded in Puerto Rico, how did that project come to? Who else helped in the recordings?

That was a really great project for me and something I’d like to replicate elsewhere as well. The first time I was down in Puerto Rico for a Whiskey Barons gig at this party Que Sabroso put on by my now friend Victor / Lucha Libre, I got introduced to Tempo Alomar (the legend! and of ‘mi swing es tropical’ iTunes commercial fame). That trip I happened to have the in progress instrumental of what would become Tumbalá with me and it dawned on me that oh shit he could sound really dope on this! and it could also be a really cool way to explore the afro / latin crossover and the roots they obviously share. Long story short is he heard it and loved it and wrote a song immediately in this hotel room, then we recorded it the next day (shout to Chaman for letting us use his studio last minute!) This track was for my soul clap EP but Pablo the owner of Candela Records who had done San Sebastian 152 with the truth & soul crew heard it and offered to bring me down there to do a follow up to that project. He’d handle all the business end and I just had to show up with skeletons of tracks written to flesh out and have fun and record with these amazing musicians (members of the original Apollo sound, local Plena legends, etc.) It was certainly stressful to try to write and map out all these songs in like the 2 weeks I had to prepare, and recording down there presented its own set of problems with space & time and such but in the end we got some really cool shit! Right now the final mix downs are happening and Im not sure when a release will happen but I’ll definitely be back to do more as well.

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What does your studio look like? And what would you say is the ratio of live instrumentation to digital?

My studio has moved back into my home since I moved and it’s pretty simple but very capable! I’ve got a rhodes mk1 from the production sweet spot where they still had wooden keys but had added the tremolo controls, bunch of midi controllers, an isolation booth, a moog slim phatty, bass, sax, trumpet, and loads of percussion. I’d say in general my stuff is pretty 50/50. The percussion is almost always live, any horns are always live, same with guitar. Drum kits tend to be a blend of samples, live recordings, and stuff programmed in maschine. I play a lot of baselines on the keyboard though. For me the key is layering and just being obsessive about making sure it all fits together right sonically. I need it to have punch and sound good in modern club systems but also have natural grit and soul and imperfection.


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Turntable Lab

Any artists you really wish to work with in the future?

So many from so many different lanes man! Omar has been on my wish list forever, Randy Muller, Busy Signal, Toots, Barrington Levy, Seun Kuti, Maylee Todd, Sinkane (that one very nearly happened recently), Leroy Burgess, I could go on forever – but Im also really excited to be working with the people I already am!

We talked about expanding your DJ sets to be a little more involved allowing you to deconstruct your original material. Have you been considering an actual band for performances?

That’s an ultimate dream for me! I think it’s just a money issue at this point, but it’s something I might start to push for seriously after I get down another albums worth of original material.

Finally, aside from all your material, what are your top 5 go to records during a Dj set?

That depends on so much but I’ll try to go with a cross section…

Every Way but Loose (original version) – Plunky & the oneness of juju

Jingo – Candido

Mangous Ye – Black Soul

Born To Love You – Courtney Melody

La Plata – Quantic & Nidia Gongora

Thanks so much for doing the episode and the interview, anything else you wanna let people know about things coming up for you? Shout outs?

Thanks for having me! You are a scholar & a gentleman sir –

My new “Take Over” 12” ft. Kaleta & Evan Laflamme has dropped since the show (shout to Caserta for the mixdown on those!)
Tumbalá Ep on Soul Clap Records out 8/17
Celestial Strut (Album) out 10/23 on Ubiquity Records

Shout to my amazing girlfriend for keeping me sane and enjoying life. Shout to Bernie Sanders!
Senate Democrats Hold Briefing On GOP Attack On Social Security

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Turntable Lab Radio 029: Bosq

Turntable Lab Radio Bosq

So excited for the new episode with our longtime homie Bosq coming down from Boston to give us a set of unreleased heat!

Bosq co-founded The Whiskey Barons years ago and together they made some of the most club friendly edits ranging from afro beat to salsa and soul with am emphasis on percussion and the groove. He has since ventured on his own to create modern afro / latin tinged original tunes on the Ubiquity and Soul Clap Record labels with a grip of forthcoming work & a nice back catalog we recommend scooping up immediately.

As usual we kick things off with Turntable Lab’s Current Rotation so sit back, relax, and hit play.

TTL’s Current Rotation:
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BDP: The Original Way – ttl.dj/BDP-SV
Eddie Palmieri: Un Dia Bonita – ttl.dj/NuYorica20
Letta Mbulu: Nomalizo – ttl.dj/MbuluLP
Ben Sidran: Hey Hey Baby – ttl.dj/TSTD2LP

Bosq Playlist:
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Bosq ft. Danielle Moore – Because you (soul clap records)
Bosq ft. Kaleta – Liars & Thieves (afro disco dub) (ubiquity records)
Bosq & The Candela All-stars (Tempo Alomar on Vox) – Untitled (la factoria discos)
Bosq ft. Kaleta – Pay the price (ubiquity records)
Bosq & The Candela All-stars (ray lugo on vox) – Aquarembe (la factoria discos)
Bosq ft. Nicole Willis – Bad for me (ubiquity records)
Bosq – Riding High (Soul Clap Records)
Bosq ft. Jimmy Riley – Change (ubiquity records)
Bosq ft. Kuyen – Found Your Love (ubiquity records)
Bosq – Celestial Strut (ubiquity records)
Bosq ft. Tempo Alomar – Tumbalá (soul clap records)
Bosq ft. Evan Laflamme – Bounce & Pull Up (Ubiquity Records)
Bosq & The Candela All-stars (Tito Cruz on lead Vox) – Untitled (la factoria discos)

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Interview: DJ Monk One (Wax Poetics & Names You Can Trust)

Turntable Lab Radio was blessed earlier this month with a guest set from DJ Monk One. Personally one of my favorite DJs, his style truly makes me think of what a DJ should be: knowledgeable, technical, and downright soulful. Having been a staple in New York for nearly two decades now, his credentials speak for themselves and we couldn’t be more excited to have him on the show. We caught up with Monk after the show and it went a little something like this…


Monk One TTL

Tell us a little bit about who Monk Uno is…

I moved around a lot as a kid, but spent the bulk of my youth in Japan, until I graduated from high school. My family has roots in Brooklyn but I didn’t live here full-time until 1991. At that time I was very much into the live music scene and played guitar and bass in a bunch of bands at places like Brownies, CBGB, Kenny’s Castaways, the Pyramid, etc etc. I was always a music fanatic and by default, since I had a lot of records, would be the “DJ” at parties my friends would throw. In the mid-’90s I started getting a little more serious with it, regularly putting out mixtapes and playing big loft parties in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, when it was still pretty much the wild west, anything goes. When Fat Beats opened, a friend of mine who worked there encouraged me to make a tape for them, and, in a tribute to one of my all-time favorite mixes, Kid Capri’s 52 Beats tape, I made a “104 Beats” mix with all kinds of breaks and beats quick-mixed together. It sold well at the store and led to another couple breaks mixes, which in turn led to the Underground Railroad Radio Show (one of the least celebrated but longest running and best hip hop shows in NYC, IMO) to ask me to come on as a regular DJ. At the time Spinna was the resident but he was devoting more time to production so I basically took over from him.

Monk and Aloe Blacc at the original Do-Over

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Around this time, in the late ’90s, I played Fridays at Beauty Bar on 14th Street. After a few years of that I started a weekly at the legendary Williamsburg spot Black Betty which lasted for almost nine years. That’s a whole story unto itself which I’ll touch on a bit later but suffice to say it was an important part of a lot of people’s lives. During this time I also played at another place that I think could legitimately be called legendary, APT in Manhattan. Again, a book could be written about that place and the crazy nights we had there. Outside of NYC I’ve been fortunate enough to play all over the globe, with a particular emphasis on Manchester in the UK, who were the first group of folks to take notice of me and bring me over. A special shoutout is also due to my people at the Do-Over in LA, who invited me to play in the very early days when it was at Crane’s Tavern in Hollywood. The DJing continues as strong as ever these days, and although I unfortunately don’t play much live music with a band anymore I’m doing a lot of production and studio work with my label Names You Can Trust. The music journalism, which started in high school for me, has also been a constant, more on that below…

Over the years you have successfully founded one of the best music magazines, Wax Poetics, the Names You Can Trust music label, and continue to DJ / produce. Can you tell us where the inspiration comes from? What drives you to keep going?

It’s pretty simple: a passion for music, which has never really gone away. I’m just utterly into it, 150% and have dedicated my life to it, for better or for worse!

Speaking of co-founding Wax Poetics and still contributing regularly, how is the print world these days? We talked about this at TTL briefly, but do you feel the importance of owning ‘stuff’ or hard copies has lots its steam?

The print world is in a bad way, there’s no doubt about it. I am very proud that the little thing we started back in 2001 is still actually available as a bound paper object. As you can see happening in a number of areas, the way forward with “stuff” or hard copies of things is to make them unique in a way that the digital world is not able to emulate. We try to do that with the visual look of the magazine as well as the exclusive content, and others are doing the same in their respective fields (like Get On Down and their elaborate reissues).

Wax Poetics

You’ve been championed as a pretty heavyweight collector / digger. Where did this start and is there an end? Are there genres you don’t dip into?

It started when I was tiny and my parents gave me a Fischer Price turntable and a box of kid’s stories that came with records. You would read along and turn the page when the chime sounded. My dad also had a lot of 45s that he obviously cared a lot about. I started buying records myself as soon as I could. I think the first one was “Killer Queen.” As far as genres, there’s a famous saying that there are only two types of music, good and bad. I will dip into any genre that’s on the good side. I listen to bluegrass, ’60s girl groups, string quartets… it’s endless, really, which is one of the reasons music is so damn great!

While I personally feel Discogs is a great tool, it seems to have made things a little too easy. Maybe this is how I am directly effected, but finding something by chance makes a bigger impact on me than googling, adding to cart, and that’s that. How do you feel sites like Discogs have changed the after market community? (this is some nerd shit, I know)

Since I came up very immersed in the real world record digging scene it definitely took me a while to adjust to the online version. I totally agree with you that nothing compares with finding something “in the field,” especially a previously unknown joint that you take a chance on and then becomes a big record for you. Almost every single record I have has a story behind it, with the exceptions being things I bought online! That said I certainly appreciate the convenience of buy-it-now.

The thing that people are really missing out on buying over the internet is the knowledge you absorb from just being around other music heads and keeping your ears open. I spent many hours just hanging out at stores listening to things that older more knowledgeable heads would play, trading inside tips and just apprenticing at the feet of the masters, haha! You can’t really get that online.

You recently played at San Francisco’s premier Boogie party, Sweater Funk. While they’ve been at it for some time, have you noticed the tide shift recently with more focus on the later, modern soul sound? What do you think causes these changes in record collector’s habits?

When you stick around long enough to see trends come and go (hey B-more House!) these things become sort of amusing. When I got into what we called back then “classics” (aka “boogie” and “disco”) I could count on one hand the number of people I knew who were into it, and still have fingers left to flip you off UK-style. NOBODY wanted that stuff, it was dirt cheap and no one was playing it. The internet hype machine obviously plays a big role in these things–in my opinion there are a great many records which are vastly inflated in price and will come down as the masses move on to the next thing. Case in point, Bob James records used to go for $50 in the ’90s…

Sweater Funk and Funkmosphere are definitely in it for the long haul, and have my maximum respect and love.

Listen to Monk’s Sweater Funk Promo Mix from 2010

Sweater Funk Monk One

Your guest spot on Turntable Lab Radio was filled with some deep cuts, can you talk about any of the records that are special to you?

Monk One TTL

This would be a very long answer in an already wordy interview, so let me just point out a couple…

The sixth song in the mix is something we put out on NYCT from my homey Todd Osborn, under the name Superstructure. We threw a party with him last year and pressed about 150 of these exclusively for folks at the party–you can’t get this particular track anywhere else. His regular single on NYCT is also great, but this track is special for that reason. A few hardcore folks knew the time — I think Natasha Diggs came out and copped four or five copies!

That’s followed by a cut from Masayoshi Takanaka, who played guitar in the Sadistic Mika Band (beat diggers know what’s up). I threw that in since I know you like the Japanese jams, Klassen.

A couple tunes later is “Get Off The Phone” by Epicentre. This comes off a Seattle radio station compilation of local bands that I picked up out there. I think the don dada Mr. Supreme put this on one of his Wheedle’s Groove compilations. It’s a perfect little cut from a totally unknown band that never did anything else.

Towards the end there’s a killer Italo track that was given to me by my old friend from Manchester, Christian “Il Bosco” Wood, who is spearheading a neo Italo movement over there that has to be seen to be believed. I highly encourage folks to go check him and his label Red Laser Disco at http://redlaserrecords.blogspot.com/. He’s a Manc geezer to the core, hilarious and gives zero fucks about trends and propriety. Love him to death. Oh yeah, the tune is “Witch” by Helen.

“Witch” is surrounded on both sides in the mix by my new record, a group called NY Hustlers. Original music mostly played live and Danny Krivit approved, as you saw when he walked in to the Lab and heard it.

Download Monk’s Episode of Turntable Lab Radio Here

You played a new original cut coming out on your label, Names You Can Trust, what else is coming up for the label?

We’re really excited about a new artist we’re working with who makes incredible original stuff using a hodgepodge of synths and outboard gear in his crib in Jackson Heights. We’ve been calling him the Prince Of Queens but I’m sure some rapper out there has taken that moniker already. That will come out later this year, but in the meantime we’ve got a sick side project from Max, the drummer from Poets of Rhythm and the Whitefield Brothers, a literally lost electric funk 7-inch that we did years back that was found and is finally coming out, some new things from our friends in Colombia, Frente Cumbiero and Romperayo and a fresh Superstructure thing. Plus a few more things I can’t mention quite yet!
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Back in the days Turntable Lab issued a 45 with pair of edits from you on our Money Studies imprint. Do you regularly make edits and how do you feel about that scene? It seems like everyone and their mama is making edits.

I make edits for myself all the time. It really is one of the best things about digital DJing: I can get an idea and really tailor the music to the way I want it to go, and actually bring it out and put it to use immediately. There’s nothing wrong with everyone making edits, it’s been done since the days of reel-to-reels. Everyone thinking their stuff is so hot that it merits coming out on wax, that’s another story. There’s lots of cool things out there but the market is glutted, shall we say.

Peep Monk’s Soundcloud where he throw things up on the regular and download his Money Studies edits below…

What is your home rig looking like for production / DJing? Favorite pieces of equipment?

In the box I mainly use Ableton Live, with lots of plug-ins. For ripping vinyl I use a Rane Empath going into an AudioFire A/D converter. I use the Rane as a preamp because it’s relatively colorless (audiowise) and is completely analog, unlike almost every other mixer out there. I have a few keyboards, a Linn Drum and guitars, but for more involved production I work at the NYCT studio where we’ve got a whole slew of outboard gear. The Tempest drum machine going through a Roland Space Echo is particularly fun to play with. DJing I’m definitely of the “less is more” mentality. Give me a simply laid out mixer with good EQs and maybe an echo, I’m happy.

Roland Space Echo

In your long New York history what would you say are the more memorable clubs / gigs / parties?

This could be a very long answer! But to briefly touch on parties I played, the original warehouse parties in ’90s Williamsburg were giant, off-the-grid interactive art installations that had music and booze, etc, an amazing freaky scene.

The vibe at Black Betty in the ’00s was very special with a close-knit family of regulars that were extremely diverse, totally open and ready to dance to whatever we came with as DJs. It really encouraged those of us spinning to take risks and be progressive with what we were playing (the super supportive management was the other very necessary part of that equation). Another element at Black Betty was the frequent impromptu live gigs from folks like Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, TV On The Radio, etc. It was a special place and time that bridged the eras in Williamsburg.

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APT had just about every hip DJ you could think of pass through and it was a blessing having a weekly there. A friend of mine has pictures of the line-up board that are sort of mind-boggling, seeing who was playing any given week. For me, a Halloween “Night Of The Boogie Monsters” party I threw with Chairman Mao where we had live appearences from Randy Muller and Leroy Burgess, with one of the girls from Skyy doing an ad-libbed vocal, was pretty special. Or the time Grand Puba decided to MC the entire evening. Or getting to rock with Red Alert, or when Dam Funk showed up with his keytar or when Mayer Hawthorne played a floor-destroying Northern Soul set or New Year’s Eve with Jazzy Jay or… Yeah a lot of great nights!

As for things where I was just a party-goer, my favorite long-running jams have been #1, The Loft, which I started going to in the late ’90s and was massively influential, followed probably by Body & Soul at Club Vinyl in Tribeca. I also always love hearing my friends play — there are too many to name but you know who you are!

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We really appreciate you taking the time to record the show and do this interview, please let us know where to keep up with Monk.

I play every Friday at the Leadbelly in Chinatown, where I am having a great time digging up dusty records that I haven’t played in years and avoiding the commonplace. You can find me playing more contemporary things at Brooklyn Bowl, Output and Starvue. Check in on my social for all the details.

Thank you very much for having me. Much love to the TTLab fam and sincere gratitude to everyone who has supported and come to the parties over the years!

Monk Facebook
Monk Twitter
Monkstagram
Names You Can Trust
Wax Poetics

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Turntable Lab Radio 028: Monk One

Turntable Lab Soundcloud

We’re back with another edition of Turntable Lab Radio! This time with long time homie and NYC staple, Monk Uno.

Monk has been around the New York soul scene for years with excellent mixes and production, DL his Money Lotion edits here: ttl.dj/LostMasters3. He continues to contribute to the best music magazine in the world Wax Poetics and runs the Names You Can Trust Label.

Monk recently played at San Francisco’s premier Boogie party Sweater Funk so we asked him to bring along some of his deeper Boogie / Disco cuts for the episode and he brought some heaters. Amongst the rare cuts we were treated to a first listen to a Danny Krivit approved new release on Monk’s label NYCT!

As usual we open with TTL’s Current Rotation…

TTL Current Rotation:
——————————-
Marcos Valle: Estrelar
Elia y Elizabeth: Alegria
Win Win: Been So Long (coming out on arts & crafts)
Darbys: Auto-Reverse
Tuxedo: Number One

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Interview: Cousin Cole

Cousin Cole has been a Lab staple for years. His past collaborations with Pocketknife under the name Tambourine Dream have classic written all over them and his recent solo work can be heard all over the world from BBC Radio to Tim Sweeney’s Beats In Space. Cole also was one of our winners in our last Legitmix Remix Contest (sign up for the ongoing contest here) and having DJed with him a few times it is safe to say dude just knows what he is doing. We had Cousin Cole on Turntable Lab Radio last month and now we follow up below.

Turntable Lab Radio 025: Cousin Cole

Tell us a little bit about your background as a DJ / Producer.

I started producing in about 2000, making rap beats. Some of those became the soundtrack to my brother’s movie Just To Get A Rep

I had been DJing since 98, but just house parties until my first bootleg record came out, and I started to take it more seriously. I had to get Serato just so I could play my own shit. I remember one time before that just playing some off a discman hahahaha.

Your remixes have been blowing up the internet lately and you definitely don’t do flavor of the month picks. What is your process and thoughts behind those?

Basically anything that I mess fits two conditions: I like it to begin with and I see something I can do with it. Sometimes it feels like the song is trying to be something else, and I just try and help it get there. On that Rihanna “Nobody’s Business” edit, I just brought out the 90s house vibe I felt was latent in the song. Other stuff I like so much that I just listen for what I could bring to it.

But I do feel like some of the stuff that’s really blown up has been the more flavor of the month stuff, which is kinda unfortunate but what are you gonna do? The way music on the internet works right now, thanks to hype machine, and to a lesser extent soundcloud, the bigger the name the more people will give it that initial listen. And then mashups get exponentially more exposure — DJ Whoever’s Drake vs Lana Del Rey or whatever will come up for everyone searching for Drake plus everyone searching for Lana. And BTW there is nothing easier than putting rap vocals over an instrumental… MAKE A EFFORT!

What does your studio look like these days? Any secret weapons we should know about?

My studio is basically just my computer and a little midi keyboard. I can’t really play but it’s nice to get more of a natural feel versus drawing shit onto the piano roll. And a few months ago my girl gave me the Arturia Microbrute, which is an awesome new analog synth with a lot of flexibility.

We have had this discussion before but let’s expand on it a bit. Your remixes, personal taste, and soundcloud reflect who you are but there isn’t a very linear path in your selections. Do you feel this hurts or helps when someone is checking your music out?

Honestly, I think it probably hurts me in some ways… I know for me, there is so much music out there and so little time to go through it all that I tend to jump to conclusions based on the first thing or two I hear from someone. So I expect everyone else to do the same thing with me. Someone who’s into baltimore club isn’t necessarily going to be a Bruce Springsteen fan, so if they hear that first they might write me off.

It seems like “cool music” is becoming more stratified lately (and ”open format” is almost just a euphemism for Top 40) in contrast to a few years ago when eclecticism was seen as a virtue in itself. There’s nothing wrong with diving super deep into one thing, but I’m curious if we’ll see a return to djing that crosses a bunch of types of music.

Turntable Lab Radio 025: Cousin Cole

DJing around New York for sometime now, how do you feel things have changed in the recent years?

No one requests freestyle any more.

In your episode of Lab Radio we got a sneak peak at some upcoming releases. Can we expect a new project soon?

Yeah I’m working on it! I’ve got a ton of almost-done tracks I’m trying to finalize, including some of the stuff from the mix. Some of that stuff will probably come out under a new name though!

More immediately, I’ve got a remix for Congo Tardis ft. Sam G coming soon on Gold Whistle, my Manicured Noise remix is finally getting a vinyl release, Nacey & I are finishing up a followup to our Misun Summer Bootlegs series from last year, and Phi Unit and I are working on So Emotional 3.

Top 5 DJ records currently

1) Bok Bok – Da Foxtrot, His new stuff is so dope to me

2) Beek – Like This Like That, And if you’re feeling it y’all should support him here:

3) DJ Youngin – Too Much Remix, One of the MANY lesser known but still super dope Jersey Club producers.

4) Detroit Swindle – 64 Ways Feat. Mayer Hawthorne (Kerri ‘Kaoz’ Chandler Vocal Remix)

5) Popcaan – The System, Produced by Dre Skull. Nothing gets me more hype.

Top 5 listening records currently

1) Sananda Maitreya – Ornella Or Nothing, This is Terrence Trent D’Arby’s new name & man it’s a great song.

2) Alice Smith – Another Love, Because I’m depressed hahaha.

3) Jerome Lol – Always ft. Sara Z, <3 4) Womack & Womack – New York City, Best band of the 80s. Plus… NEW YORK IS STILL NUMBER ONE!

5) K. Michelle – VSOP, I played this at midnight on NYE and no one was feeling it but me hahhahahha.

Top 5 tracks you produced

Really I’m more psyched about all this unreleased stuff I’m finishing but…
1) Blunted Dummies – House For All (Cousin Cole Remix)

2) Amen Amen

3) Manicured Noise – Metronome (Cousin Cole Remix)

4) James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream (Cousin Cole Alternate Version)

5) Bam A Lam (Black Betty)
Get more Cousin Cole remixes at Legitmix

Free for all, talk about anything you want. shout outs, all that good stuff.

RIP Matt Stackswell

Turntable Lab Radio 025: Cousin Cole

Thanks to Cousin Cole for the interview and doing Lab Radio. You can listen to his episode here and keep up with him via Bookface, Soundcloud, and Twitter. Special shout out to Really Nathan for the photos and TTL NY Staff for putting up with my terrible jokes.

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