Tender Mercy, Soft Self Portraits, Dawg Yawp,
and Kate Wakefield at Kaiju 8/13! → READ MORE


Dr. Dundiff & Friends - "State Of The Art Remix" feat. Jim James → READ MORE


We made a video documenting our POORCASTLE '16
experience just for you! → READ MORE

Friday, August 26, 2016

WATCH: Twenty First Century Fox - "Nothin' but Net"

The new Twenty First Century Fox video here is and it's the most sportstatic video you could imagine. Unlike their older material, or at least unlike anything that I've heard that they've done in the past, there is an unflinching love here for old school hip-hop, with vocalists Laura Quimby and Miranda Cason taking turns spitting mad rhymes, which is the preferred description here. Add the punk influenced music in and you have something not unlike the Beastie Boys, but with the good natured playfulness of Weird Al. It makes sense then that Howell Dawdy makes an appearance here, as the antagonist of the song. Well, all the dudes are the antagonist and they get what they've got coming to them. Get that mansplaining out of here, jerks.

The video is as awesome as you'd think. You've got the requisite emcee poses where each perspective rapper/vocalist looks cool and qualifies that in verse. Dawdy's appearance mid-video shifts the narrative into conflict, which ultimately descends into chaos. The practical effects and choreography are fun and only add to the good times vibe here, at least from my perspective. I mean, it does end with a lot of violence, so I guess you be the judge. Shot by a who's who of local talent including Dawdy himself and Colin Garcia, the video features cameos by tons of rad folks around town, so try and peep that.

Watch below and pick up their new tape, Yr Welcome, out tonight courtesy of Gubbey Records, and available at their record release show at Zanzabar with The Recipe for Gamma Rays and Bungalow Betty

REVIEW: Twenty First Century Fox - "Yr Welcome"

Twenty First Century Fox
Yr Welcome
Gubbey Records

Pet Rounds, the last record from Twenty First Century Fox mostly exhibited songs that maintained a straightforward approach to poppy, yet heavy-ish beach rock. I was initially drawn to the band's fun-loving attitude and infectious energy, not to mention the soaring vocals from Miranda Cason and Laura J. Quimby. A little over a year later, the band has returned with Yr Welcome, a highly anticipated release that features eight brand new songs.

After pressing play, I was immediately made aware of two things: First, this record sounds great, and in my opinion is a big step up in production from their last offering.  The second deviation I felt was that these folks were on to something much darker and interesting. Yr Welcome opens up with "Sgt. Pepper", an avant garde juxtaposition of otherworldly, hard hitting instrumentation and (what sounds like) improvised vocals. The track eventually evolves into an abstract surf rock ditty with a retro sci-fi vibe attached to it. I'm not entirely sure what I thought this album would sound like, but it certainly wasn't this. Needless to say, the opener's unpredictability threw me off a bit on my first listen, blissfully taking me out of my comfort zone.

That feeling is somewhat maintained on the next two songs "Certainly The River Is Aware" and "Skippy", but it's easy to say that these tracks follow a much more conventional structure allowing the vocals to take center stage. The delightful weirdness is still here, but if you listen hard enough you can easily hear a much more accessible collection of noise.

"Shark Week" opens up with a clever Jaws intro that leads into a dance-tastic surf rock number that rocks my motherfuckin' world. This is more of what I was expecting with Yr Welcome: A clever take on contemporary beach rock that makes me want to shake my ass. That's not to say that I haven't enjoyed that more abstract approach that TFCF has taken thus far, because I most certainly have. I'm only saying that with "Shark Week" I'm in what feels like familiar territory.

"The Fantastic Sorcerer of Zo" is an addictive vocally driven song with thematic synthesizers that back the melody. "Q.U.I.M.B.Y." (Queers Unite In My Back Yard) opens up as a moody, slow building instrumental that eventually morphs into a badass groove reminding me of something that Steady Diet of Nothing-era Fugazi might do.

The closing track "Nothin' But Net" comes completely out of left field. Instrumentally, it's a gritty take on 90's indie rock, but vocally, Cason and Quimby literally each rap a verse. Yes, you read that right. While this might sound like a horrible idea on paper, this actually works for me as a fun-as-fuck party tune. Howell Dawdy makes an appearance here fitting in nicely with a verse of his own.  I was initially so taken by surprise by this song that I almost missed the references to Montrezl Harrell and Bobby Fischer.

As a whole, Yr Welcome is an unpredictable voyage of triumphant weirdness that never quite lets you settle in to any particular groove. Just when you think you've got TFCF figured out, they pull the rug out from under you with a toe-tapping eccentric riff or a bold vocal melody that seemingly comes off the beaten track. As I mentioned before, this album does take me out of my comfort zone, but in the best of ways. This troupe is really on to something fresh and exciting here, a new noise that I'm really excited about.

Listen to Yr Welcome in its entirety below:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

INTERVIEW: Hunter Embry on working behind the scenes, Seven Sense Fest, and Kangaroos!

You might not know Hunter Embry by name, but you've definitely benefited from his work. For the last several years, Embry has been a behind the scenes force, most recently through his work booking at The New Vintage. Perhaps the pinnacle -at least so far- of his output is the Seven Sense Festival, which returns this weekend for a free two-day celebration of music, with all proceeds generated going to help fund the Boys & Girls Haven. You can catch a sneak peak at his new band and read his thoughts on booking, the festival, and the power of the King of Hot Dogs!

Never Nervous: Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get involved in the indie scene here in town?

Hunter Embry: I studied journalism (mostly music) in college, so I was writing about and covering acts of all levels for several years. I learned quite a bit about many different "scenes" in town and met numerous folks already rooted in Louisville music. Through covering the scene and playing in a touring band - and asking a ton of questions, I was exposed to the ins-and-outs of how shows and festivals work.

NN: What's your musical resume? What was your first band? How did that go?

HE: I've been smashing guitars since seeing Kiss shows as a child and finally learned how to play one in middle school. I started a band called KnubDust (hahaha) when I was 16 - that band later became The Bad Reeds. We toured for several years,  played 100s of shows and spent a lot of time in the studio.

NN: What's going on with The Bad Reeds?

HE: We haven't played or produced any music in at least four years. After releasing our second record and pushing that pretty heavily, I had an opportunity to start booking venues full-time, so I started devoting most of my time towards that. I recently got a group of guys together and have been writing new material that I'm pretty excited about. It's some pretty bitchin' stuff. The band is called Sound Company - we just finished our first single and plan to record a full length by the end of this year.

NN: How did you get into booking shows? How long have you been at it and what got you interested?

HE: I was asked to throw Waterfront Wednesday after-parties in 2007 or 2008 and they ended up doing pretty well.  I decided I liked booking/promoting shows, and really hated waiting tables, which was my day job at the time - so I started putting on events around town as The New Vintage Showcase. That lead to a full-time position at ZaZoo's, which led to shows at bigger venues and opening a venue in New Albany called, Dillinger's. At some point in 2012 I was approached by investors to open a music venue and that's how The New Vintage came about.

NN: What have you learned about putting on a good show from the promoter end of the spectrum?

HE: I've learned that I can always learn more and I can always do my job better. This is a tough biz - easy to become jaded, but those who stick in it long enough and make it through with a decent reputation will most likely do OK for themselves.

"I've learned that I can always learn more and I can always do my job better."

NN: How did the Seven Sense Festival start? Tell us a little about the history there.

HE: A couple of my buds, Shawn Steele and Chris Nelson, who I met through playing and booking shows, threw around the idea of a festival. I had always been interested in the idea of putting on a festival that featured local, regional and national acts that appeal to numerous different demographics. Through owning what is strictly a music venue, we have to book all different types of shows - through doing that, I've gotten to see tons of great bands from all different ends and cliques - I had always wanted to host all of those great acts at the same place and same time. Seven Sense gives me the opportunity to do that with a two of the best dudes I know.

NN: In what ways has the festival evolved over time? How do you see it growing and continuing to evolve?

HE: The attendance nearly doubled from year one to year two. We worked out a lot of the kinks we experienced in the first year. We were able to have some bigger names, from all over the country, added to the lineup - which in-turn attracted attendees from the region and garnered some press outside of Louisville, which helped. We also were able to work on the aesthetic of the festival and add more activities for our guests. This year we'll have 502 Power Yoga, Magbooth photo booths, Suspend Aerial Arts, live painting, Big Ass misting fans, slushies, a food court and a ton more arts & crafts vendors.

NN: What sets Seven Sense apart from the other fests going on in the warmer months?

HE: For starters, we are a free festival. We will be asking for donations this year, but who doesn't love free? AND we benefit Boys & Girls Haven. Who doesn't love helping area children in need? All the while filling your belly with good food, filling your ears with amazing and diverse music and delicious cocktails and craft, specialty beer to help get ya loose. We offer 40+ local, regional and national acts on two indoor and two outdoor stages, seven local food trucks, 30+ arts & craft vendors, 5+ craft breweries (all offering specialty hard, to find beers) and some of the best spirits around.

NN: Why should we be pumped for this year's line up?

HE: Philadelphia's Low Cut Connie is one of the best live bands I've ever seen and folks from just about every major press outlet agree - even President Obama is a fan. Dylan LeBlanc (Muscly Shoals, AL)  recently released one of my favorite albums in recent memory. He's coming off support for Alabama Shakes and the record is catching on around the country. Mississippi's Cedric Burnside, grandson of blues legend, R.L. Burnside, is the real deal. I've always been a sucker for real country and electric blues. Cedric is the best of both worlds. And of course, Louisville's Linkin Bridge is blowing up right now. Quartet with beautiful harmonies. All must-sees at this year's festival. All the bands are great at what they do and are worthy of listening to.

NN: What makes for a good show and why? What are the stresses involved in booking and how do you deal with them? Have you ever opted to not work with an artist? If so, what was the deal? Not concerned about names.

HE: First, a good show is a happy band and a happy audience. Some crowds are quiet and attentive. Some crowds are dancing, sweating and losing their shit. Secondly, being a dick doesn't ever do anyone any good. Dealing with dicks is part of the job. Lastly, you have to constantly sacrifice time and money to ensure folks are taken care of. But when you take care of folks, they come back and so do their fans. For me, in the position that I'm in, talent-buying is about investing in and building relationships with artists and bands. They do their job, you do yours, the fans turn out (eventually) and everyone's happy.

NN: Why do kangaroos even exist?

HE: To hop around this beautiful earth and to carry their babies in their pouches along the way.

NN: You're the King of Hot Dogs. What do you do with that power and why?

HE: No one would go hungry. I'd fill each and every person with a hotdog at least once a day.

"I'd fill each and every person with a hotdog at least once a day."

NN: What non-musical things have your skis shined up? Have you watched, read, eaten, or drank anything worth talking about lately?

HE: I love sports and America, so the olympics have consumed quite a bit of my time as of late. I'm dying to catch one of the Speed Walking events. I love that it's an event and want to see those speedwalkers in action. I'm a huge fan of documentaries as well - even fake ones, like Documentary Now on Netflix. I contemplate wearing diapers every time I watch Episode 4 of Season One because I come close to pissing myself. It's called The Eye Doesn't Lie - it's a must-see.

NN: What are your top three desert island albums and why?

HE: Anything from The Rolling Stones between '68 and '78. Probably Exile because it's a double LP. Tom Petty's first record. Aaaaand KISS's first record. That's one hell of a one-man party, if you ask me.

REVIEW: Kawasaki Dream - "Kawasaki Dream"

Kawasaki Dream
Kawasaki Dream

Finding psych rock meets metal gems floating out in the ether is a magical and privileged opportunity I have, and I'm fortunate to have it. I suppose it's fair to say that everyone has that same access to seek out new music, but as I labor under the pretense that time is a precious, precious commodity not to be given lightly, so I feel lucky to be able to share the interesting things that I find. And Kawasaki Dream certainly fits that criteria in a way that I would definitely not have anticipated. It's a nice prize and one I'll happily claim. By rocking out that is.

This is obviously a serious of demos. It's not for lack of craft here that I write that, but the text on the Bandcamp attributes this to Max Overstreet alone, which you can hear all the same by the presence of drum machines (or maybe not... it sounds that way in some spots and less in others... don't want to misrepresent... maybe it's just a very clean and precise drum sound). Maybe I'm just used to hearing demo tapes, my own or otherwise, and can spot it. I guess what I'm saying is that if you listen to this and like it, you should reach out and be in this band. Because it's good.

Oh... what's it sound like? You would ask that. This is entirely instrumental and leans fairly metal, or at least heavy. In noisy(er) indie, I can never really make a proper distinction, but suffice it to say you won't confuse this with Iron Maiden. Think early Smashing Pumpkins or Hum, just visceral riffage never shy with the distortion pedal. For a contemporary reference, you might check out the band Ventura, which has the same kind of emphasis on thick chord structures that I'd be willing to bet are in a dropped tuning. 

This is smart music. Songs like Mental Health Day show off Overstreet's ability to get down, and to mix up the dynamics like a champ. Opener Solitary leans on the chorus/phaser hard and in doing so manages some especially interesting drone notes that kind of float in the background. Closer Five Hour Synergy is perhaps the heaviest of the lot, with plenty of minor chord antics. This is an entirely cohesive album and one well worth your time. I'm looking forward to what's next.

Listen to the album in its entirety below:

LISTEN: Wuntayk Timmy - "Taykn"

Never Nervous readers, meet Wuntayk Timmy. His punchlines have punchlines, he stays shouting out Louisville in his music and if he tries his hand at a remix he lyrically kills the original. Ah fuck, I'll just come out and say it, I don't know if there's anybody fucking with Wuntayk's bar for bar lyrical consistency. Sound impressive? It is. And luckily there's a brand new mixtape out now called Taykn

Check it out in its entirety below.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

INTERVIEW: In Lightning on Composing, Live Shows, and the Power of Funk!

In Lightning bring a special kind of joy to their music, which blends funk, prog rock, and orchestral scores into something both easily palatable and wholly unique. For the last several years, the ensemble have been making waves in the local scene, playing a string of big name events, including the Highlands Summer Concert Series at QDoba, which they created, and have even popped up on WFPL. What they have done so far is to release an album, and that's set to change on August 26th. You can check out the video for Turn It Wild, the lead single of their upcoming debut album, and catch them at their record release show with The Tunesmiths, Wilder Stallions, and DJ Alli at Headliners. We caught up with them to ask about their music, telling a story with no words, and willing The Flash into existence!

Never Nervous: What is In Lightning? I mean that both metaphorically and literally. What is the band about and also what is literally in lightning?

Lamar Cornett: In Lightning is literally a seven piece instrumental rock orchestra, composed of bass, drums, guitar, keys, violin, cello, and french horn. Philosophically we are the embodiment of outside the box, proof that there aren't limitations to what a rock band band be.

"Philosophically we are the embodiment of outside the box, proof that there aren't limitations to what a rock band band be."

Ben Short: I'm very happy with our band name, haha. One of those that sounds cool and intriguing, I believe, like Explosions in the Sky. In Lightning is a play on words, as we intend to perhaps enlighten listeners that music doesn't have to have vocals to be awesome and engaging.  It's electric, it's powerful, energetic, in motion.

NN: How did the band come together? Tell us your origin story.

LC: Ben and I met each other when I joined another band that he was already in. Sometime later he happened to need a roommate right around the same time that I needed a new place to live, so that worked out. We spent a lot of time hanging out and jamming, and eventually started brainstorming the idea of this radical instrumental rock orchestra. Some of those jams, along with some other stuff that he had been working on, became the foundation for the first crop of songs. One we had enough music together, we began recruiting the others.

NN: How do you describe your music to people that may be otherwise unfamiliar with the genre? For that matter, what do you identify as your genre?

LC: Ultimately we're a rock band, but there are bits and pieces of stuff from lots of other genres, from hip hop to heavy metal.

BS: Genre stuff is hard. I just had to officially choose our genre for online distributors like iTunes to organize us, and really struggled with it, haha. If I'm describing the band to someone in person, I have typically settled on, "If the Red Hot Chili Peppers worked with Hans Zimmer to write movie scores."

NN: What are the stresses involved with organizing an ensemble of this size?

LC: I think the hardest thing is just getting that many schedules together. We all have day jobs, and most of us have other projects that we're working on.

BS: So because of that, we need to be extra organized and communicative when trying to book a show or even a rehearsal. For everyone in the band, Monday night has been reserved as InL night no matter what, since June 2012, whether we need to practice, band meeting, or just hang out.

NN: Why did it take so long to get the debut album recorded? What can we expect from the record? Where was it recorded?

LC: We started recording over two years ago, but we didn't really expect the post production stuff to be as challenging as it turned out to be. Then Ben had to take some time to work on some real life stuff, so that put us behind a bit more. But more than all of that, we just wanted to make sure it sounded good. What's the point of finishing the album quickly if it sounds bad.

BS: That real life stuff was two herniated discs in my lumbar spine, which through some bs ended up in me losing my day job. It was ultimately a good thing, as now I have a job I'm much happier with, but I financed the production of this album all myself, so no more income after losing my job, meant no more progress on the album for awhile.

NN: Who is the "leader" of the band? How important is it to have responsibilities distributed to the constituent members of the band? How are those roles filled internally?

LC: Ben is the band leader/composer/manager/booking agent/sound man for the band. In Lightning is his baby. I tend to think of myself as second in command. On stage, I'm the conductor. Off stage I help with arranging songs.

BS: My approach from day one has been to have the attitude to lead by example, and prove to my bandmates that I am going to be a leader that is going to steer us toward success.  Ya know, there's been very little money relative to the time commitment this band has required, especially since everything we make is split 7 ways. So I have tried to not ask our bandmates to have to do much more than donate their time for rehearsals and gigs. With the hope that as we achieve and succeed, In Lightning may prove to be something all 7 of us may be able to make our job one day.  Also I'm bad at delegating tasks.

NN: How do you write? Does one person bring in a composition or do you write collaboratively?

LC: Ben writes everything but my parts and most of the solos. I help with arranging the parts, and setting the overall feel of the songs. Most of the songs began as jam sessions. We'd record them, listen to them and pick out sections that we liked and expand on them. Then Ben would disappear into his room for a couple of hours or days, and come out with midi recordings of all the new parts that he added to each of the bare bones recordings we made. Now that we don't live together, he usually has a song pretty well structured before he brings it to me, I add my touches to it, then he'll go and compose everyone else's parts.

BS: Lamar's pretty much right on there. Usually it starts with a feel/groove and a bass line. What are the rhythms, what are the chords? Once you have that skeleton, it's just filling out the rest. What I initially write on my bass may become a part for one of the other instruments instead. I'm often thinking of our violin/cello/horn as our "vocalists," working together to create lush and harmonized melodies.

I like to compare composing to being an archeologist digging for dinosaur fossils. Once you're onto something, you know there's a 100% complete fossil that exists down there - a 100% correct fulfillment of this song that exists from the universe. It's my job to uncover it the best that I can.  A few of our songs are 100%, I think.

"I like to compare composing to being an archeologist digging for dinosaur fossils. Once you're onto something, you know there's a 100% complete fossil that exists down there - a 100% correct fulfillment of this song that exists from the universe."

Also, Lamar brings songs to life like no one else I've ever heard. He is The Band Doctor of Louisville. When he joins a band, they get better, both on stage and behind the scenes. And luckily for Louisville music, he's in like freaking 10 bands.

NN: When is a song done? Does it evolve in the moment or is it a static reflection of a moment in time?

LC: As far as I'm concerned, they're never really done, I regularly change up what I'm doing just to keep the songs fresh.

BS: A lot of things evolve and improve from the time that I pass out sheet music, to the time we perform and record.  The music I pass out has no markings on it whatsoever.  No dynamics, no articulation, etc.  Just notes and rhythms.  So everyone continually works together to be "editing" the songs, evolving them, making them better.  Certainly, my bandmates often have ideas that were better than my original ideas.

NN: What is the best show you've ever played and why? What constitutes a bad show?

LC: For me, best show is a tie between the Free Week show we did at Zanzabar earlier this year, and the Pride Festival show we did just in June. We played our asses of at both shows and we had extremely positive responses from the audiences.

Bad shows happen when everyone isn't on the same page. A lack of focus causes people to miss parts or play wrong notes or whatever, and with so many moving parts in this band, something could cause a chain reaction and everything gets sloppy. Fortunately, that kind of thing isn't very common for us.

BS: In my opinion, we've only had one bad show. And we were quick to resolve it afterwards. Also, some of our best performances have been for under 10 people.

NN: How does your environment inform your music? Does your practice space influence your writing? Do the venues you play influence how you play? Is there a sociological effect to playing in Louisville or the midwest in general?

BS: From the beginning, we've known that we would need to be outside the box when it comes to booking shows. We're not exactly a bar band. And for the most part, the kind of music we play will be completely unique to the average, "I listen to whatever's on the radio," person. But we believe in our sound, intriguing, fun, and positive. And people in Louisville have responded! It's been a priority of ours to play outdoors as much as possible, play at neighborhood festivals as much as possible. Play where speakers will carry our sound blocks away, rather than containing within brick walls.

"We've known that we would need to be outside the box when it comes to booking shows. We're not exactly a bar band."

We're fortunate to be in Louisville, in this pocket of a more open-minded culture, here in the middle of this southern/mid-western vibe. We no doubt benefit from that.  (Shout out to Never Nervous! Contributing to that culture in a huge way!)

editor's note: ah shucks, guys.

NN: Why instrumental only? Have you ever worked with vocalists?

LC: Why not? Most of the music throughout history is instrumental. On top of that, having words puts us back in a box. With words our songs would have a more definitive meaning and would be less open to interpretation.

BS: Our songs are all very story-telling.  They are dramatic, and they end in a different place than they began. We want our listeners to be able to make up their own stories to our music, if they wish.  
For me, my experience in listening to music has always been to hear the notes, the individual parts. The lyrics have always been the last thing my brain would pay attention to. There are Chili Pepper songs I've probably listened to 1000+ times, but I couldn't write out the lyrics for you. BUT, I could notate out all of the vocal melodies and harmonies!

And for my music snobby answer, "Would someone have asked Beethoven, 'Hey man, you ever thought about letting someone sing and put words to your compositions?!'" haha

NN: How do you tell a story without words? Actually, are you trying to tell a complete narrative with your music, or is it only meant to occupy aural space without any kind of visual -imagined or otherwise- story?

BS: Ooh, great question! Yes, some of the songs have a specific story I am telling, and it is told through the progression of the intensity and the mood of the song. Flagship is a great example, with sections of feeling chill, melancholy, angry, or determined. I wrote Flagship about my experience of losing a best friend.  But of course, no lyrics means it can be whatever the listener wants it to be!

LC: I don't consider that we're necessarily trying to tell a specific story as much as convey a mood or evoke emotion. We want the listener to hear the song, and decide for themselves what it means to them, that way the song is unique for everyone that hears it.

NN: In what ways do you believe the power of funk should be utilized? Tell us how funk can or should change the world.

LC: Funk is our mentality. You can hear that in the way that the bass and drums lock in together and play off of each other, in the guitar and piano rhythms. Before every writing session, Ben and I would listen to Earth, Wind and Fire, Michael Jackson, Jamiroquai, Parliament, or any thing like that to get ourselves in the right head space. We may be a rock band, but we're funk musicians.

"Funk is our mentality. You can hear that in the way that the bass and drums lock in together and play off of each other, in the guitar and piano rhythms."

BS: In Lightning music is fun! That's that funk. And we're here to spread positivity.

NN: If you could will one superhero into existence, who would it be and why? How would they interact with the world?

BS: There are few people in the world better suited to answer this question than Lamar Cornett.

LC: The Flash. He had the best ratio of power and humility. He could do a lot to help people, not just by stopping bad guys, but by providing abundant clean energy to the world. But he wouldn't try to impose his will or judgement on everyone the way a lot of other superheroes probably would.

NN: What non-musical things have you excited lately? Have you read, watched, eaten, or drank anything worth discussing?

LC: Stranger Things. Have you seen this show? Its like Stephen King and Steven Spielberg in their prime got together and made a TV show.

I'm also cautiously excited about the movie adaptation of The Dark Tower, my favorite series of books.

BS: Man, I've been so hyper-focused since the beginning of the year on making this album release happen, I don't even know. I'm a pretty high level GoT nerd. And I'm looking forward to playing the PS4 remastered The Last Of Us that my man here let me borrow, as well as Uncharted 4 eventually.
The album release show is August 26th, and I'm super excited for it. But there's a big part of me that is really looking forward to August 27th, haha.

NN: What are your top three desert island albums and why?

LC: 3. 2001 A Funk Odyssey by Jamiroquai. A beautifully diverse, and funky album. The performances are top notch and every song makes you want to get up and move.

2. In Rainbows by Radiohead. My favorite album by my favorite band. It's incredibly atmospheric and emotional.

1. Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder. As far as I'm concerned, the greatest album ever recorded. 21 tracks, 2 LPs and a seven inch, covering multiple styles and genres, and every song is absolute perfection.

Plus Stevie recording most of the record by himself. It's just an amazing record.

BS: I would be more than content with Lamar's choices there. I also just want to shout out Ratatat's Classics, as that is the album that unlocked my belief in this path of writing fun, engaging, instrumental music.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

INTERVIEW: Devine Carama on Believing in Forever, Balance, and Barbecue!

Louisville curator's and all around good people Saving Our Style are throwing a show this Friday night called Bourbon and B Sides. Performing at the event is renowned community activist, non profit founder and oh yea...consummate hip hop artist Devine Carama. You can listen to his most recent album below before the show Friday. We decided to catch up with Devine in an interview to find out more about what we can expect from him at the show Friday, among other questions.


Never Nervous: You juggle a lot of different roles. What are they and how do you stay organized?

Devine Carama: Honestly it's not as difficult as some would seem. I honestly believe that we waste a lot time as a society. When you take in to account the partying, hours on social media, watching TV, etc., there are several hours in a week spent on things of no major significance.. As I've gotten older I've just learned to use more of that time to engage in things that are more purposeful and aligned with my mission.

Never Nervous: You just performed in Cincinnati opening for Zo!, you are opening for Talib Kweli in Lexington soon and you're performance at Saving Our Style's "Bourbon And B Sides" show this Friday night. What all goes in to your approach when preparing for shows? What/Who are some of the things/people you would say have influenced your stage show?

Devine Carama: Indeed. Been blessed to still move around and give people the my music live. Jay-Z and Common are 2 of the biggest influences for my live set and for totally different reasons. Hov has a way of completely captivating the crowd with absolute nothing but his LYRICS... Limited movement and crowd engagement but no hype man and no backtrack... That's what stood out the most to me when I saw him perform in Northern Kentucky a few years ago. Ironically that show was the first time I saw, or even heard of for that matter, J. Cole

In any event, the way Jay performed forced all attention on his words. It created this aura of royalty during his live sets.. Iconic. Being someone who doesn't move around a lot in my live sets, I've learned to captivated the audiences with eye contact, diction, and presence. With Common, I loved how he made conscious & soulful songs on track very energetic during live sets. A lot of my tracks are so soulful and somber that they don't always translate well during live sets. I've learned to take ques from Common on how to make those type of songs translate more during my live performances.

NN: What is Believing In Forever and what is your vision for it?

DC: To make the world a better place... Corny, right? lol.. Seriously though... I think that our initiatives specifically focuses on uplifting our community's youth. Not to say that adults can't be inspired, but you can't empower a community or a country focusing on those that are on their way out... The future of any society is it's young people so if we are trying to better the future, it only makes since to start with our children. Check out some of our initiatives.

NN: Is hip hop unique in comparison to other genres in how it relates to people and community?

DC: Pop, Techno, R&B, & alternative genres of music aren't really created from the community like hip hop is. Other genres were built off love, business, experiences, and sound... Hip hop was built to be a voice of the community. I think that's why it's roots are so deeply entrenched in the heart of every city and town that the art form resides in.

NN: If you had to give a hip hop State Of The Union address, what are some of the situations/ideas that would have to be discussed and how would you address them?

"Everything, including hip hop, is at it's best when it has diversity."

DC: Balance. We need more balance in the artistry, in the promotion, in the coverage, in the content.... Everything, including hip hop, is at it's best when it has diversity. Diversity and balance not only represents more people but it also exposes people to different types of art, social ideas, spirituality, and other mechanisms that can change our lives for the better thus making the world a better place. All of just one thing is BRAINWASHING. We need "turn up" and trendy... But we also need uplifting and timeless... Hip hop isn't as exciting for me on the mainstream or even the local level these days because it's lost it's balance. Thank God for catalogs and discographies... :)

NN: What's it like being a hip hop artist in Kentucky?

DC: Frustrating. Not to get too deep into this, because I'm touching on some of those issues in some new music coming out soon... But to put it short.. Too many rappers and not enough fans. To the point where 90 percent of the people attending local hip hop shows are other hip hop artists... One of the pieces of foundation that hip hop is built on is competition. So when you are relying on support from those that are competing against you at the same time, it muddies the waters and creates a toxic environment. Social media, the modern wave of talentless artists engaging now leading the popularity of the art form, and home studios have made it possible for damn near ANYONE to become a "rapper." So those that have been lifelong fans and lovers of the culture are now trying there hand as a rapper.

Imagine at 35 year dude who has never played a minute of basketball in his life, waking up one day and saying "I think I'm going to try out for an NBA or semi pro team!" So in KY, more so Lexington than Louisville, you kind of have to work backwards. Hit the blogs, hit the road, make some noise and get acceptance outside the city and then come back. Even then, many of the hip hop lovers have been driven away from the local scene because of the influx of bad music that comes from it which is directly correlated to al........ Wait a minute..... I said I wasn't going to go deep on this answer, didn't I?? Ok.. I'll just stop here..... lol.

NN: What does Kentucky get right as a hip hop scene? What does it get wrong?

DC: Talent is what Kentucky gets right. Some of the most talented lyricists and producers in the world come from Kentucky. I honestly believe that and our music speaks for itself. But where we fail is in using the modern platforms to promote our art in ways that highlight our music scene individually and as a whole to our own local community as well communities abroad.

"The 'streets' is now the net.... Mixtape DJ's of the early 00's are now the blogs.... The problem is many Kentucky artists have failed to make that transition.. Some of the nicest MCs in Kentucky don't know how to convert a WAV file to an MP3 or how to make a show tape or believe the Internet is 
for 'nerds.'"

The game has changed.. The "streets" is now the net.... Mixtape DJ's of the early 00's are now the blogs.... The problem is many Kentucky artists have failed to make that transition.. Some of the nicest MCs in Kentucky don't know how to convert a WAV file to an MP3 or how to make a show tape or believe the Internet is for "nerds"... So until we learn to adjust with the times and use these platforms to our advantage we won't go to that NEXT level...

NN: Are you working on any new music? If so can you tell us about it?

DC: I am currently working on a project entitled Kingtucky. Been 2 years since my last full length album. I took a year off and then came back with a couple of EPs... My ultimate goal on this album is to push my pen to its zenith. If I die the day this album is released, I want to be known as one of the best MCs in K ever... That is obviously a long shot but I can't push my pen to the moon if I don't write for the stars. October or November release. Hopefully we can talk again later as the release date grows closer.

NN: What are you currently watching? Reading? Listening to? Do you have a favorite spot in Louisville to eat?

DC: Just watching movies from my epic DVD collection until TGIT on ABC starts next month.. Read the Bible daily. My favorite spot to eat in Louisville is definitely Smokehouse BBQ over on Bardstown. Ate there with my wife a couple of years ago on Derby weekend and have been hooked every since!
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