Welcome to thekause.com — a media company & brand uniting lovers of music, sports & art to help a non-profit, The Tribe, build a solar-powered music production school in Kenya.
The Arts of Music, Sport & Life make up three main sections of The Kause media — with music being the driving force behind our mission. We’ll address these topics individually but also investigate how they interact. Our priority will be to provide up-to-date, informative & original info on these subjects & ideas that support a greater Kause.
Hip-hop duo Phil "phLo" Gomez & Ollie "Ol.Around" Dexter debut EP & interview as "Mystikz"
Art by Alex Burke & Eric Lee Castillo. Words by Diana Hentschel. Mystikz has arrived with some true underground hip-hop. I interviewed the duo, Phil Gomez (a.k.a. phLo) and Ollie Dexter (a.k.a. Ol.Around), from Denver, Colorado as they put the final touches on their debut EP “Hierophany of Axis Mundi” that dropped January 12. I’m happy to tell the world that these two gentlemen are doing more than just making music. They’re telling a story with a message. Metaphorically speaking, I think the bolts up in your head need some tweaking.” — Ol.Around on 'Metaphorically Speaking' by Mystikz. The lyrics are a breath of fresh air for a genre that can seem saturated with over-used phrases and ideas. Phil handles the production, and it’s definitely above average for an indie hip-hop release. Combine that with Ollie’s emotional delivery of meaningful lyrics, and it creates a deep, raw piece of art worth holding on to. Press play on the five-track release below while you read the Q & A. Then make sure to download for future enjoyment. <iframe width="100%" height="50" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/19478483&color=7500ff&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true"></iframe> The conversation gives insight into how Mysitkz came alive and what the future has in store for these talented young men. Diana: So tell me a little bit about yourselves and about Mystikz. When and how did the two of you begin collaborating? phLo: Alright, so Mystikz is mainly myself, phLo (producer/DJ), and Ol.Around (Emcee), but I want to let people know this album's guitar work was all done by our friend, Jordan Salnier. He's an amazing guy and deserves his credit for his jams. Ol.Around: Yup, well, I've been making sweet music since I was 12. I find it intrinsic to make tunes to relate to people at any point of their existence. We've been working it all out since 2008, and it started with 'HomeMade', a collaboration we made in our homie Skyler’s basement. phLo: Yeah, it started back in high school, when we were both sophomores. There were three of us in Skyler's basement with a mic and garage band on his computer. We had a very minimal setup, and it was definitely a 'homemade' project, which is where we came up with our first name ever: 'HomeMade Productions'. Diana: How long have you been working on this first Mystikz album? Ol.Around: "We’ve been writing for the album since 2012, and started beat collaboration in 2013. Gomez catches the vibe; I wouldn't prefer anyone else to make these tunes. A relation is key for this kind of production." phLo: "Yeah, this album has been in the works for about a year now. It took a while to get the perfect beat for the perfect song and with both of us on such a busy schedule, it was sometimes hard to get to the studio and put a lot of time into it. But we have made about 12 songs this past year, and we are only growing and proceeding in this conscious hip-hop movement that's embedded in our veins." Diana: So how would you classify this style of music, is it hip hop? phLo: This is hip hop, true hip hop, the hip hop that's a culture. Ol.Around: Yeah, and I would also say it is weird hop on some acid jazz beats. *laughs* "I don't know, we swoop styles from the past and try to throw our spin on post modernism. I take influence from people like Frank Sinatra, Jack White, Deltron, Nate Dogg, Guru, Andre 3000, Atmosphere and Aesop Rock. Diana: I feel that a lot of what you guys do is such a blend of sound and art. There’s so much emotion coming out of both the beat and the lyrics. Ollie, where do you find your lyrical inspiration? Do you freestyle most of your verses or do you sit down and write them out after Gomez lays down a track? Ol.Around: "It is. Art is life. I think people rarely take the time to realize that their life is a canvas completely self-drawn, and although outside relationships may impact that, they themselves are the creators. I hope people find this statement empowering. My inspiration comes mainly from personal head cases, and from females and moments in life I find particularly striking. The majority of the verses are written in a surge of emotional energy at the time of pen on paper. The sentence structure seems to find itself. When it's on point, it feels transcendental, nearly like channeling. Most closely, I can describe it like a conversation that moves through you from the universe, and it's always cleansing, like a weight has been lifted off the shoulders. They are always written before, normally when a storm's a brewing in the conscience." phLo: "I agree, Mystikz is deep. We have a message to send, and it's not necessarily something to rage to. It's something for you to really listen to, soak in, and understand the underlying meaning of the overall production itself. I approach my technique the same as any other song honestly, but on this album, we had our friend help us with all of the guitar. The guitar really caught Ollie and I's eye, and it was the perfect setting and mood to capture the vibe and the message we have to send. Diana: "Gomez, what are some of your production techniques? How is the production of the Mystikz tracks different from your other projects (such as with Lyftd)? How do you manage several projects at once, all being different styles of EDM and Hip Hop? phLo: "Mystikz production is a little different due to our homie, Jordan Saulnier, on guitar, and the fact that I keep it calm. Jordan will lay something down, and sometimes I chop it up and make something completely different out of what he played, or sometimes we leave it as is. I also have so much fun with these beats, because I play all the drums live on a machine. I don't like to overdue any production because Ol.Around's words need to be heard, I find it more important for his voice to be primary focus, rather than the beat." "As far as project management, let's just say I’m highly motivated to spread my productions around and share them with the world. I've been making music for three to four years now, and this past year I really worked hard to finish about 30-35 songs. To be honest, it really just depends on the mood I'm in at the moment to see what kind of song comes out of it. Hip hop is my true love, but I also have a soft spot for EDM. When I make my EDM, you can always tell I have quite a few hip-hop influences infused within my beats. I just love to make music, good music or at least what I consider good music. The push for productivity has really kept me in the lab a lot this past year." Diana: "So tell me what we can expect to see from Mystikz this year. Will there be more releases? Possibly some live shows? phLo: "This year Mystikz will be working on another album, shows may be on hold due to the fact that I'm moving to Vegas, and Ol.Around will be traveling. But we plan on making a whole album this year again and releasing it later this year when the time is right. We just like to take our time and make sure it's perfect. Like I said earlier, we have a message to send, Ol.Around's words are so strong, and I love to make beats that you can just close your eyes and zone out to, which is perfect for an emcee of Ol.Around’s talent. I just believe the world should hear what Ol.Around has to say, and I will continue to try to capture the full essence of it all by supplying the perfect beat for Ol.Around and the Mystikz project we've created." That's The Kause. Here’s some of our favorite Ol.Around lyrics from Mystikz debut album … “I’m as gutter as the cigarette but you flicked out the window As obscure as your eye trying to peep through a pinhole And I’m the bleeding heart, that only beats when there’s percussion The knot in your throat that suffocates through spontaneous combustion I’m the substance I’m the bread and as smooth as butter cream I’m the vandalized the criticized for always doin’ me I’m a damsel, the type of mess you’ll probly wanna fix unitl you figure out what’s scarred beneath and see the triple 6 I’m the asphyxiating fixation to the things that make me sad The iron wall that blocks my dreams as things I’ll never have I feel like the dirt under your fingernails … ” — opening verse to the song “ID.” “I’m spineless, you think of me, you think of Gumby I pinky pressed against my chest could make me Humpty Dumpty …” — also from “ID.” “My whole life has been a battle between utter beauty and the sodomy of struggle So when I woke up to smell the roses when I put my nose to it I was to eager to smell its sweetness the pungency of the smoke smothered in my mustache got the best of me Now wary of my first mistake I went for a second sniff Aware that the scent of smoke could easily weed its wretched seed …” — from "Collective Consciousness." --- Here's a short video of Ol.Around practicing his flow and freestyling a bit to a phLo beat that was used for the song "Collective Consciousness."
Musical perspective from Burning Man-inspired band, BoomBox — Russ Randolph & Zion Godchaux.
Photo illustration & words by Eric Lee Castillo Music is meant for dancing, but BoomBox makes you dance. You don’t have a choice but to bob your head along to the smooth, entrancing beats mixed with flowing instrumentals. The two artists, Russ Randolph and Zion Godchaux, make it a point to get listeners movin’ on the dance floor. The duo released a groovy new album “Filling in the Color” today by virtue of a Kickstarter campaign that raised $16,355 of a $15,000 goal on January 2. "Filling in the Colors" album art. Purchase & listen by clicking here! Ladies and gentlemen, this is BoomBox. The two take pleasure in providing music for many moods. If the party's just starting, throw on “Showboat” ... … or if the party is winding down, throw on “Kool Aid Smile.” Boombox is flexible. You can tell these musicians are very connected to their music. From the way they play to the way they talk about their musical ideas, they’re fully immersed in their band. They have nothing to prove, and they don’t care what anybody else thinks. The songs bring you into their world. The short sweet lyrics leave a lasting impact that won’t soon be forgotten, because BoomBox doesn’t bombard their listeners with excessive proclamations. It’s about forgetting elaborate worries and letting your guard down. They embrace a musical mentality that was built at Burning Man — a place where people connect on another level. It might be one of the reasons why BoomBox is able to engage their listeners so hypnotically. Below is an audio-recorded interview with Russ Randolph & Zion Godchaux of BoomBox. A section of the interview, which was used for a story in my former student newspaper, has been cut, and I’ve made minor edits to help the flow of the conversation (parentheses denote helpful additions). I’ll also have you know I’m a BoomBox aficionado. Thanks to Fresh Bakin’ for introducing me to this band. Eric Lee Castillo: ... so I wanted ask a little bit about your inspiration to create BoomBox. Zion Godchaux: When Russ and I first met, we were working out in Alabama with a band called the Heart of Gold Band (a group started by Zion's parents, Keith and Donna Godchaux, who were previously members of the band Grateful Dead). on a record called "At The Table." We had been working on that for awhile, and it was at the point that me and Russ had been in the studio for long hours and realized that we might be able to collaborate on this music that we’re doing now (BoomBox). Back then (around 2004), it was just kind of a sparkle in our eye, but in order for us to really be able to get going on this project, I felt like Russ needed to get out to a place like Burning Man to really get to see the high water mark of electronic music, art and stuff like that. I thought that was a crucial thing we needed before we could make this happen. Russ Randolph: I was living out in Alabama, and at the time, Z' lived out in San Fran. We moved out west, and I was new into electronic music. I just didn’t have the right experiences or the right people to look up to in the electronic world. I had kind of written it off. I knew it was important. I knew there was weight there, but I just needed to be shaken back into what was really happening. So anyway, we flew out to Reno (Nevada), drove to Burning Man and I had my mind blown. This was like ten years ago, and it was the kick in the ass I needed to get back into electronic music. Eric: What was it about Burning Man that kickstarted BoomBox? Was it more the networking aspect or the experience of seeing new art and gaining perspective? Russ: Burning Man helped me see that there is another side of artistic creation. It was a very freeing experience. Listening to that San Francisco, house scene, Burning Man showed me that there’s more out there. We were working in the studio making records for the people already, but Burning Man was inspiration for both of us. It gave us confidence to do it ourselves with just two people leading a band. Out at burning man, you see people doing all kinds of stuff that covers the whole spectrum of art, music and experience. It was definitely what we needed for this project. Eric: So I’ve read a lot about how you guys like to sort of wing it during your concerts, but your songs are very catchy and memorable. Do you guys like to improv a lot during live shows? Russ: Yes, we’re definitely not big into planning. Zion: As well as in interviews obviously. *Both laughing* Eric: So if at all, how much do you guys consider BoomBox a jamband? Russ: We’re a rock-and-roll band, but we’re obviously influenced by jam music. It affects us and the way we play. I wouldn’t necessarily say that we’re a Jam band, though. I mean we came up influenced by that world, but I think we try to have a broader scope than just that one particular label. Zion: In my mind, a jam band isn’t as song oriented as it is just improv and going with the flow. We’re definitely into improv and going with the flow, but these are core songs that we know deep down. We’re not playing random scales, melodies and lines just because that’s how we feel at the moment. Those are all a part of songs, and so really we’re improvising on that song’s theme. In my mind, that’s different than jamming. Russ: We’re very focused on the aspect of a song and translating the idea of a song to the audience or to a listener. I mean, a lot of jambands do that, but you can go see a jamband show and walk away going, “That was cool, but I don’t know the name of any song they played.” That’s not what we’re going for. We really want you to walk away with songs, ideas and that kind of thing still in your head. Zion: I mean we’re going to do our best to turn the songs inside out for you during our concerts, but they’re still songs and not jams necessarily. Eric: I also wanted to get your guys’ whole perspective on lyrics. BoomBox isn't real lyric heavy, but for the words that are used, what can you say about that process? Zion: I believe that you can tell a story in a few words. With the type of music that we play, the hour we play and the mindset people are in, we’re not really trying to beat them over the head with a bunch of information and words necessarily. Less is more a lot of times, you know? Personally as a songwriter, I enjoy trying to get the most out of the least amount of words. You have the most power when you say the fewest words that people will have to process during a show. Words are powerful, and you don’t need to have seven different ways of saying the same thing. You should just say it in a few words, if possible. To me that’s really where it’s at. We’re minimalists in that sense. Eric: Do you feel like you can speak to your audience without lyrics? Russ: In a way, because you can convey a certain type of emotion, or that kind of thing, but you really need to have the lyric to complete a specific thought. Zion: One of the reasons there aren’t lots of lyrics is because, you know, the lyric is meant to be able to encompass many people in many different stages of their lives. We’re not trying to preach a certain philosophy, but these words we do have are just suppose to provoke thoughts and images more than some sort of preaching. We’re not trying to tell anybody that we know anything that they don’t, or … Russ: We’re not trying to tell anybody to do anything, you know? Zion: But if we can provoke a thought and then that line gets into their head a few times, hopefully it will mean something to them. It might mean something different to them than it does the next person, to me or Russ, but that’s kind of the design of our music. Eric: When you do try to convey those images or thoughts, is there a certain audience you target? I know you guys are popular with the college-age crowd, but are college students a demographic you look to attract? Zion: Honestly, not to sound weird, but we’re targeting the human race. We would like a child to be able to get a similar feeling from listening to our music that an elderly person would. It’s medicine in its best form so we’re not aiming it toward one demographic. Russ: We get fan mail across the board from all ages, races and professions. It’s not just from one specific group, which is really cool. Zion: We have areas in the country we play that are more college heavy, and we get more college students coming in usually when it’s a college town, but there are a lot of cities where there are older and more established young professionals that come out. It’s all over the place. Russ: It’s not better or worse. It’s just a different kind of thing each show. Eric: Anything you guys do to reach out to college students? Zion: We went to University of Colorado, Boulder one year and did a workshop, a panel discussion Q-and-A kind of thing with students. That was really awesome, but we sat there in the front of the students all corny with the glasses of water and everything, *Russ breaks out laughing* but it was really cool. We talked to kids that wanted to get into the industry and answered their questions. We’d like to get into as much of that kind of stuff as possible. Really the way I see it when we go on to a college campus, we’re doing our best to make a positive impact. And hopefully, they’ll go out and make a positive impact on somebody else. Russ: Hopefully, college students have some positive experiences with us in their lives, because we realize these are the people that are going to be running the country, and we take it to heart when we go out to play for them. Eric: I can respect that. Zion: Our goal is to meet the crowd where they’re at, and our job is to find out whatever frequency they’re on that night. We pick songs accordingly that will fuse the smoothest with the night and with the people, and that usually let’s people feel free enough to dance. I don’t know … I find that our songs can be disarming in a way. Eric: You guys seem really in tune with your music, so what’s your stance on giving it to the public for free ? What can you guys say about that dynamic of the music industry today? Russ: It’s part of modern day music, but you know it is an interesting situation because we are artists who pay our bills by selling music. If we can’t make money by selling records, that means we have to tour to make it. If everyone shares our music for free and we’re not touring, then we don’t have income. So there is a place for sharing files, but there has to be a balance. Because if artists can’t sustain themselves, then there will be no art. Your artists will be forced to do something else. And so, I’m all about giving away free music, and we do. When we release an album we'll give out the first 3-5,000 copies away for free, but at the same time we have to make money off of the albums to keep building the machine. So there is definitely a balance to be found there. I think the modern situation is releasing a small number for free, because kids are going to share the product no matter what. It is what it is, but there are people out there who are willing to pay to support artists. We’re still in the developing stages of this thing, and the modern music scene has yet to really unveil itself regarding what the actual equation is for the future *(Remember he’s speaking from a 2012 perspective, though the formula probably still hasn't been solved completely)*. But it has to be a balance of both. It can’t be just one or the other, because the old system doesn’t work and just giving stuff away completely for free doesn’t work either. Every artist has to have a balance. Even a band struggling has to give away stuff, but they also have to make money, you know? So I don’t see it as: You hit a certain level and you don’t give away shit for free anymore. I mean, Radiohead puts a Radiohead album up for free, and you pay what you want. It shouldn’t be categorized as: this band is struggling, they need exposure and this band has made it so they don’t have to do that. I think across the board the modern solution is a balance of giving away free material and also selling the proper products that the people out there will buy to help artists keep building the machine. Eric: Any thoughts on that Zion? Zion: It’s a new game now. It’s any man’s game now with where technology is at. You know, it used to be real hard to get anybody to be able to listen to your music. You used to have to have a record contract, go through all this stuff and the record companies got to decide who was good. Now that’s not the case. Now it’s more of the people deciding who’s good. Anybody can get their music out there to the people online so it really is a big equalizer. So you do have to put out free music and you have to put out really good free music, because there are so many people now. Everyone's iPods are completely full, but that’s a good thing I think. It gives everybody a chance now. It gives more musicians a chance to be heard, and it gives the people a chance to hear something that’s not top 40, on the radio or something. Only the good one’s can survive through this. Eric: Beautiful quote there. Eric: Are there any upcoming artists you guys have been following that you think are worth looking out for? Russ: You know I hate to say it, but I can’t think of anyone at the moment. I’m really blown away by that. There are, but … Zion: We’re probably not very up to date enough with everything that’s going on and what everybody is doing. I mean, I’m sure there’s some really, really cool stuff out there. Russ: But we don’t pay attention to what anyone else is doing, you know? We don’t listen to other bands really. I mean, we have music we like, but we’re not out there looking for what’s current, and we don’t listen to every current band and all the shit every electronic producer is doing. We just kind of do our own thing. Zion: We’re more influenced by older rock and roll, and a lot of our influences are gone and dead now. But we’re still just barely scratching the surface of what they had to offer. So we’re backlogged in our musical discoveries right now. Eric: Before we say goodbye, what’s the last thing each of you listened to? Zion: Albert Collins *answers in proud voice* (everyone should give that link a listen). Russ: I think I listened to Les Paul last night before I went to bed. We’re not listening to electronic music. I mean we do, and we listen to the older guys, but currently we’re listening to songwriters. Zion: We’re really influenced by electronic music and house music and all that stuff. It comes out in our music definitely, but ... Russ: But on a day-to-day level, we’re listening to the old masters. Eric: Beautiful. Thank you guys for the time. We really appreciate the interview, and I enjoyed talking with you guys. Russ: Cool thanks, Eric. It’s been fun, man. We’ll see you out there. Zion: Ya thanks, Eric That's The Kause. Catch BoomBox on tour this winter starting Thursday, January 16th in Frisco, Colorado. They're also a contest running on the group's Facebook right now, giving away tickets to see BoomBox perform at the Gem and Jam Festival ... Also, be sure to follow BoomBox on Twitter & catch some of the live sets the band posts occasionally on its SoundCloud below. <iframe width="100%" height="100" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/users/5216473&color=7500ff&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true"></iframe>
Music perspective from laser bassist Jasper Reeder, NastyNasty, artist from San Francisco, California.
Photo illustration & words by Eric Lee Castillo, founder of The Kause. The bass of Jasper Reeder's musical creation NastyNasty is absolutely disgusting, but there’s nothing nasty about how he describes his sound. When I go out for coffee in the morning, I frequently don’t bring headphones with me because I just like to listen to sounds … cars going by, leaves crackling under your foot and there are a lot of really interesting sounds that happen in your mundane, daily life that are really fascinating to me. I try to learn from those sounds, and go back into the studio and recreate or manipulate those types of sounds when I make my music.” Jasper took the time to let me interview him awhile back, and the then 28-year-old spoke about his philosophies regarding music and its industry, life, tacos, Lil' Wayne and, the subject you’ve all been waiting for: where my boy J.T. (Justin Timberlake) fits into the electronic music scene. Seriously. Before you embark on this epic journey of musical perspective, listen to NastyNasty’s latest: “My Wasted American Youth.” An EP released January 2014 via BandCamp with a name your price tag: <iframe style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 135px;" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=1169344067/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/" seamless><a href="http://nastynasty.bandcamp.com/album/my-wasted-american-youth">My Wasted American Youth by NastyNasty</a></iframe> Below is an audio-recorded interview with Jasper of NastyNasty. A section of the interview, which was used for a story in the University of Nevada student newspaper (The Nevada Sagebrush), has been cut, and I’ve made minor edits to help the flow of the conversation (parentheses denote helpful additions to the conversations). Thanks to Fresh Bakin' for introducing me to this musician ... Eric Lee Castillo: So you’ll have a week off before your next show. What’s your schedule like in between shows? Jasper Reeder (NastyNasty): I just really love being in the studio more than anything else. That’s like my favorite place in the world. I go all over the country and all over the world now, but the one place that I keep going back to that I really love is just anywhere in front of my speakers. ... I really just want to rock shows, smoke blunts and make out." Eric: OK, I might be able to help you out with the smoking blunts part. *Laughs* Jasper: *Laughs* That’s about as honest as I can be. Eric: So I was lucky enough to see you perform at SnowGlobe in South Lake Tahoe, Calif during its first year (2011). A lot of fun ... what can you say about the vibe of those big festies as opposed to a smaller venue concert? Jasper: There’s something to be said how about how much more anonymous a crowd gets the larger it becomes. When you’re playing in a club with 20 people, you can literally pick out what’s going on the faces of every person. Whereas if you’re playing with crowds of like 1,000 or more, it’s really just one mass, faceless form out in front of you and you’re just trying to work it as hard as you can. I almost feel less pressured when audiences get to that size, because I can’t really recognize anybody in the audience. I feel like the magic number is somewhere around 300 because once it gets larger, they stop being people and become just sort of like objects that you want to make dance. Eric: I feel like your music and dubstep in general attracts mostly a younger crowd. Do you try to appeal to the college-age group? Jasper: I don’t really try to appeal to a demographic. I just get into my studio and start watching movies and then like whatever sort of ideas that pop into my head, I try and run with them. I’d say about 75 percent of the time it’s horrible and I end up deleting it, but every now and then something good comes up, and I just kind of go out and play those for whoever will like it. In the states, it most definitely attracts a younger crowd. It also really depends on how you define dubstep, though. The major bout right now *(remember we're in 2012)* is between contemporary dubstep and then what was dubstep ten years ago with guys like Loefah and Scorn versus contemporary like Skrillex and Datsik. It’s almost like not even the same music anymore. The states have really sort of picked up on the heavy electro influence dubstep, and that’s definitely gravitating toward a much younger crowd. (Everyone should put on some dubstep for his or her grandparents. It’s hilarious.) Eric: I’ve heard your music labeled a few different genres, like dubstep and even glitch hop, but I was hoping you could describe your sound and maybe nail down a genre or two that you identify with. Jasper: I think I really make a lot of different genres, and it’s not really up to me to decide. I’d just really like to say that it's anything but glitch hop. I find that to be like a really offensive term, *laughs* but I definitely make music that would be classifiable as contemporary dubstep. I also make music that would be more like hip hop, house or just rap beats. I actually do kind of like the term laser bass. I’m not really opposed to that. Actually, I feel like it’s kind of appropriate. Eric: *Laughs* Okay, so in a lot of the stuff I’ve read and heard about you, it seems like you’re kind of a simple man. Would you think that assessment is accurate? Jasper: Yeah, I mean I’m pretty simple. I’m your average anti-social nerd, I guess. *Laughs* I spend a lot of time on the internet in front of computers and ya, I’m a pretty simple man. I like tacos, coffee, cigarettes, smoking weed and watching CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) *Laughs* Eric: But when you make music, you’re not easily satisfied; it has to be perfect. And when you talk about it, it seems you have a lot of thoughts and philosophies. Can you describe that dichotomy between your simple-man Jasper personality and your NastyNasty personality? Jasper: I appreciate simple things, because nothing is really as simple as it seems. I feel the whole concept of infinite complexity with macro and microcosms. You can always make things way more complicated or way more simple. For example, I really enjoy tacos and horchada. It seems simple on the outside, but molecularly it's like insane. I guess I can say that I kind of like staying under the radar, and my simple tastes keeps me that way. I come from a background of making like IDM (intelligent dance music) ... and I have really academic background as far as music goes. I went to college for sound engineering, and really my life-long goal is to be a sound designer and just make sounds for movies and stuff like that. I really appreciate sound as an art form. Not necessarily even music, though. I mean, like when I go out for coffee in the morning, I frequently don’t bring headphones with me because I just like to listen to sounds … cars going by, leaves crackling under your foot and there are a lot of really interesting sounds that happen in your mundane, daily life that are really fascinating to me. I try to learn from those sounds and go back into the studio to recreate or manipulate those types of sounds when I make my music. Eric: That’s a very good answer. Thank you for that. Jasper: Yeah, I mean like one of my favorite sounds is horchada swishing around. *Laughs* Eric: *Laughs* So some of the other songs that I felt more matched that simple personality was your song “Last Impression” from your album “Old Flames.” It seems like one of the more simple ones so I was hoping you could run me through what your whole influence for that song was. Jasper: That song I wanted to make something in between traditional style dubstep and contemporary like Mount Kimbie and James Blake. I wanted to use a lot of organic sounds, but still use my same vocal manipulation stuff in there. It’s made to sound very simple but at the same time there’s like really weird stuff going around in the background of the song. <iframe style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 135px;" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=4155647874/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/" seamless><a href="http://nastynasty.bandcamp.com/album/old-flames">Old Flames by NastyNasty</a></iframe> Often times when you get really complex with a song, you kind of lose the emotion in it whereas songs that are … take for example that Lil Wayne beat “A Millie.” There’s like four sounds in that entire beat, yet it resonates with an entire generation of people because they took a simple idea and executed it flawlessly. And I think that’s something to aspire to in music. That’s the trick with minimalism, which is something I’m not very good at. So I try to make experiments in minimalism and try to expand that. Eric: A lot of artists I talk to have a lot to say about minimalism. Jasper: Yeah, I’m no good at being minimal. I really find that a lot of songs I make are still about attempting to learn other styles and wrapping my own sound into it. Eric: Okay, so along the lines of your influences, I know you were a bit of a hip-hop artist back in the day, and some NastyNasty songs have a hip-hop feel. So what artists were you listening to back then when you were into hip hop and what has carried over into your music today? Jasper: When I first got into hip hop, I was in high school. I had no respect for electronics in music before. I played traditional instruments, and I played in punk rock bands, ska bands, surf bands and stuff like that. But somewhere around like 17 or 18, somebody tipped me off about The Roots. Their like, ‘check it out this jazz band and MC front man. Give it a listen.’ I got the “Do You Want More” album and “Things Fall Apart.” I fell in love with the albums, and I was listening to what they were saying. I was able to line up the ideals of what he was saying with the ideals of the punk bands I was listening to when I was growing up — Minor Threat, Black Flag and stuff like that. The Roots have some of the same ideals but just present them differently. That got me listening to more and more hip hop, because I liked that they had no fear to call out the establishment, call out cops for what they are and stuff like that. It’s something that just goes through both punk and hip hop, so I find that fascinating. At around 19, I was on acid in my living room and this kid dropped an Outkast album on me. At that point, I gained this newfound respect for production, electronics, synthesizers and what they can do to your brain. They can augment your mind and make you see stuff while your tripping or just when you close your eyes. I realized using synthesizers to create sounds that you have no reference to can really invoke emotions, and from there on I was really into Southern rap, like Outkast and Goodie Mob were major favorites, but then I got really into underground stuff like Def Jef’s crew and Anticon. Then it was Souls of Mischief, Living Legends and like the Bay Area underground rap stuff. Eric: Yes, I love Living Legends. Definitely some of my favorites. Jasper: Yeah, Living Legends are amazing, man. Eric: One of the songs that I think really embodies this sort of hip-hop influence is your song "Jelly." Jasper: Oh yeah. Eric: That one’s a real head-bobber for sure. Jasper: That was is my tribute to Madlib, J Dilla and that variety. I mean obviously it’s like a sample bass tune, but I really just love their style and wanted to do something like that. I made a choice on that song to use nothing but analog synthesizers to give it that really 70s vibe and see how far I could take that without using any software or synthesizers. <iframe width="100%" height="29" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/13187683&color=7500ff&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true"></iframe> Eric: So from what I've read and what I’m hearing now, it sounds like you have to have inspiration before you make a song. So what was your influence while you were making “Memorabilia”? Jasper: Memorabilia is almost entirely about old girlfriends of mine, actually. I was just going back into the past for inspiration. Like, “Aquanet” is about my first real love. It was a very long relationship I had, and it ended in heartbreak. “Busted Rainbow” is about this really bad relationship I had with this other girl. And “2008” got its name because that’s the last time I had a really significant girlfriend. I apologize to anybody reading this that thought they may have been significant (before spring 2012). That was like the last one that really … it was actually the one that sort of started NastyNasty. Yeah, and that song says, “I haven’t slept like that since” because I really haven’t slept like that since. *Laughs* I was just at that sort of peace, and I haven’t had that feeling of being truly loved since. But it’s an intimate kind of love. Of course, I feel truly loved by my family, audience and whatnot. Eric: One thing I think is interesting is that when you listen to those songs, you wouldn’t really know that (they’re about your ex girlfriends) right off the bat. Jasper: That’s one of the allures of electronic music, and that’s one of the things that sort of drew me in. It’s fascinating you can invoke these emotions without singing about love or singing about hate. Those are pretty much the two most popular song themes, but just being able to stir those emotions with sheer melody is something that fascinates me. Hopefully, I can continue doing that. “Waves” is one of my songs that’s kind of out there. But with the ambient tracks, I don’t play them in sets much, like I’ve never played “2008” in a set. I don’t think I ever will. It’s just sort of beatless and formless. I started playing “Waves” in some sets, and it’s just kind of interesting to see because you can really tell who’s on acid. They’re dancing to beats that just completely aren’t there, and everybody else is just like staring at you like, ‘where’s the drop, bro? <iframe style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 135px;" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2178081427/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/" seamless><a href="http://nastynasty.bandcamp.com/album/memorabilia">Memorabilia by NastyNasty</a></iframe> I also feel a responsibility to play stuff like that at show, though. I want show people that there are other types of electronic music out there. Because there’s such a surge of young kids interested in dubstep, they’ve never heard Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and these old-school Dons of electronic music. I also kind of get off on playing bizarre sounds that kids haven’t heard." Like they’ve never heard a gabber kick before, but it’s stuff that I grew up on. But it’s also coming to the point where I’m a decade older than a lot the fans. I try to pull strengths from that rather than have it be a massive weakness. Eric: How do you try to keep up to date with upcoming artists and stay in tune with what’s new, if at all? Jasper: I love blogs. I really do. I love Fader.com and Fact Magazine. Those are a couple of really good sources. I like Fader because it’s a one-stop shop. I can get all my mainstream rap, southern hip-hop and electronic all at once. Eric: I also wanted to ask why your songs are so much shorter than I usually see with a dubstep track. Usually, people have like six- or seven-minute songs and yours are little shorter. Do you consciously do that? Jasper: Oh yeah. I have no reference of ever being a DJ. I’m a train wreck on turn tables. I like songs a lot, but there’s a couple of those nine-minute songs out there, like Maggot Brain (everyone should listen to this), that I can listen to all the way through. But if there’s a song that goes four minutes and just starts to repeat the previous four minutes, I am just bored to tears. I don’t ever want to do that with my music, so I don’t really format my tunes for DJs. It kind of hurts me a little bit, because I don’t get as much play through DJs but at the same time I feel like it’s kind of a strength. I don’t like wasting time with music. I don’t feel the urge to have 32 bars of drums at the beginning of my song. Obviously, that’s the part that everybody skips anyway. Eric: For sure. So you say you’re working on a new album. How do you feel you’ve evolved since “Memorabilia”? Jasper: I’ve just been experimenting with acid techno and incorporating those kinds of sounds. Just the other day, I made, like no bones about it, a bro-step song. It was pretty fun to make. “Memorablia” was like a cleansing for me. I was just getting it out because those aren’t necessarily the most awesome emotions going on in there. I just had to set them to rest, and after doing that, I reexamined life a little bit. Some of the stuff I’ve been making recently is highly dance-floor accessible, and I did a couple of other songs that will just make you fall over on the dance floor because the beats are bizarre. I feel pulled in a lot of directions right now, but I’m just trying to make a really focused album with high-grade synthesis. (Below is the most recent release after this interview took place) <iframe style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 135px;" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=1662104384/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/" seamless><a href="http://nastynasty.bandcamp.com/album/lvrs-bss">LVRS BSS by NastyNasty</a></iframe> Eric: Do you play any new songs in your live sets before they're released? Jasper: Absolutely. Always. And I never play the same live set twice. That’s a rule I have for myself. I’m always shifting, adjusting and manipulating. That’s one of the reasons I’m always going home back to the studio so quick — because I like to play all originals as much as possible. I can’t depend on other people for new songs to play in my sets, so I actually have to go home and make them every week. I try to have two or three new ones every week. Eric: Is there improv in your shows at all? Jasper: There’s a lot of improv that goes on in my shows. I’ll have all my tracks set up with an order in mind and by the time I get on stage, I’m usually just like, ‘all right maybe I want to start like this.’ I have it set up in modular sections that are at different tempos and whatnot that I can shift between. Then from there, most of my music is made in the same key so it’s all key matched, and it doesn’t really matter which order I mix it in. It just depends on how I want to tell the story. Eric: So I know you’re sort of over your stint as a rapper, but have you ever thought about throwing that back in with your music? Maybe throw some freestyles in there? Because I think that’s a market that hasn’t been fully tapped into yet in the mix of freestyle hip-hop and dubstep. Jasper: Of my own lyrics? Probably not, because I’m really not a big fan of the sound of my voice. That’s one of the only reasons I ever stopped rapping is because I don’t have the right tambour. It’s not convincing, and it’s not the most pleasant vocal tone. I do enjoy working with other rappers from time to time though. Eric: Have you thought about throwing some beat boxing in there? Jasper: I like beat boxing, but on the same point with rapping, it’s very easy to find average beat boxers and rappers, but it’s extremely difficult to find talented ones. When it comes to beat boxers, I can think of two off the top of my head that I would be willing to work with on the entire planet. They’re kind of big names like Rahzel and his cousin Kenny Muhammad. It’s because every time I hear someone beat box, it sounds like every other I’ve heard. Eric: You wouldn’t throw a little Justin Timberlake beat boxing in there? Jasper: Justin Timberlake? Does he beat box? Eric: Yeah, he’s been known to. Jasper: That’s kind of hilarious, but I would definitely work with him as a vocalist. I’d probably ask him not to beat box though. Actually, I’d really just ask him to show up and dance. *Laughs* Eric: Perfect marketing scheme. *Laughs* So before we wrap things up I want to ask that sort of cliché industry question about sharing music. What do you think about this modern day dynamic in music? Jasper: I think it’s a great thing. There are two sides to it, though. I see very good things about it and very bad things about it. On the good side of the fall of the record industry, the release of free online music and pirating: it makes for a much more competitive live environment since the lion share of where a musician’s income comes from is touring and selling merchandise. Musicians don’t make a whole helluva lot off record sales, and most of what is made is taken by the record labels as it is. So you have to tour — heavily. Even when it comes to touring, more often than not, about 70 percent of that goes to taxes, agencies and managers. The actual quantity of it is much, much larger than album sales will be, though. So you have to provide some sort of competitive live show whether it be by hemming it up or whatever, but you can’t be boring on stage anymore in the states at least. You can get away with more of the studio-intensive vibe on stage in Europe, but it really doesn’t fly in the states. You have to act a fool on stage, have a big show or play what everybody wants to listen to … I feel like that’s an upside, because if you’ve ever gone to see an artist that you really liked, and they absolutely sucked and bored you live, then you know how heart-wrenching it can be. It has happened to me before. I won’t name names, but I was really excited. I paid a shitload of money to have this grand night out, but they just offed it, were boring to watch. It just really left a sour taste in my mouth. Since the performance is such a big part of it now, you can’t really get away with that anymore. You won’t last very long if you do. On the other side of that, there is a certain group of musicians that just doesn’t play very well live yet make incredible music, and their numbers are dwindling. That’s one of the sad things about the way the industry has gone, because they can no longer rely on their album sales to carry them. They can’t get across with the same emotion live as they do on CD. That’s the really unfortunate thing, and it’s sad you can’t rely on that anymore. People have less and less of these bedroom geniuses, but life goes on. Eric: I love asking artists that question, because they just pour their soul out. Jasper: *Laughs* Yeah, that’s a question I’ve battled with for the last six years or so, because I suffer from pretty bad social anxiety. I hate being on stage, where bunches of people are staring at me. I really just like making music, but I have to go out there. It’s a good thing for me, though. It’s sort of therapeutic, because I have to get out of my shell and have the attention on me for an hour or two at night on the weekends. Eric: So to wrap it up, what’s the last song you listened to? Jasper: Quite literally, I listened to “Waves” by J Dilla from the album “Donuts.” Eric: Nice, well thanks a lot for your time Jasper we appreciate it, and it was great talking to you. Jasper: All right thanks, Eric. Have a good one. That's The Kause. We recommend keeping up with NastyNasty on Twitter, Facebook & SoundCloud for upcoming releases, tour dates, festival announcements, and other random goodness. <iframe width="100%" height="100" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/users/48202&color=7500ff&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true"></iframe>
A new EDM group out of Denver, Colorado looking to funkify your 2014.
Art courtesy of LYFTD. Reworked by Eric Lee Castillo, The Kause. Words by Diana Hentschel, contributor to The Kause. The musical trio of Cody Keen, Mark Goetz, and Phil Gomez make up the newly formed EDM group known as LYFTD, rooted in Denver, Colorado. Their music evokes a diverse emotional experience by combining elements of hip-hop, jazz, funk and soul music all into one electronic package. We at The Kause believe they’re heading in the right direction and that their sounds will make listeners boogie down. The collaboration of their musical talents and incorporation of influential artists like Pretty Lights, Bassnectar, Late Night Radio, and Manic Focus results in a specialized genre of dance music that’s hard not to love. I was fortunate enough to sit down with two members of the crew, Cody Keen and Mark Goetz to talk about LYFTD's formation and future. The interview gives a glimpse of the down-to-earth, genuine personalities that form the group’s foundation, while their passion to create and spread positivity is reflected in the production of meaningful music. Look for their upcoming EP "Changing Colors" this year and be sure to get down to the record’s first funky single, "Sing a Simple Song." <iframe width="100%" height="29" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/123431032&color=4900ff&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true"></iframe> We started the interview out by listening to the beginning stages of a beautiful melodic track they’re working on that incorporated samples from Outkast's "Ms. Jackson" and Jay Z's "99 problems," and the guys talked me through some of their ideas their music … The following is from a recorded interview that has been edited for conversational purposes: "This is kind of the direction we’re trying to go is groovy, chill, laid-back, some bass, not a lot of grime, but sometimes funky or glitchy," Goetz explained. Diana Hentschel: So tell me about Lyftd, formally known as Dub GMC. How did you guys meet and decide to make music together? What is the significance behind the name change? Cody Keen: "We basically started just knowing each other in high school. All three of us have been pretty good friends for a long time now, I mean Mark (Goetz) and I since about junior year, sophomore year maybe?" Mark Goetz: "Yeah, sophomore or junior year. Cody was always throwing parties *both laugh* in my parent’s neighborhood, and I didn't really know him because he was a year older. One day I just decided to hit him up, and I think that's how we started hanging out. Eventually, we just started making music and then we all decided we wanted to make music together." Cody: "It took a bit of time at first and it’s come a long way from the very beginning to where it is now...and with the name change, that came later. We just decided we needed to do something different, a little bit more serious." Mark: "Yeah the old stuff with Dub GMC, we didn't really know what we were doing. We were all very new to producing EDM." Cody: "We weren't taking life too seriously, ya know? *Cody laughs* One of my big focuses with the new music has been listening to my favorite artists and not exactly trying to make the same type of music as them but taking some of the parts that I like that they use, and trying to incorporate that with our style as well." Diana: "So who would you say are your biggest musical influences?" Cody: "For me it started with Pretty Lights back in the day, that's what got me to do electronic music in the first place. But we all started going to places like Electric Forest, and I feel like that's really broadened my horizons with music. Definitely artists like Big Gigantic, Pretty Lights, GRiZ, Manic Focus, Late Night Radio as well as some hard dubstep and just good electronic music. People like Madeon, Skrillex, and Bassnectar of course. But for Mark, I know its definitely a little bit different … *turns to Goetz* what do you think?" Mark: "Yeah my influences just come from playing guitar and playing the drums and playing piano and, you know, if it's good music it's good music. So I think that pretty much my influences come from everything ... " <iframe width="100%" height="29" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/128095220&color=8a00ff&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true"></iframe> Diana: "So there is obviously more than one producer in the group, I want to know how each of you specifically contribute to the tracks as individuals and how your work is able to fuse together … " Cody: "Well that's actually what I think is the coolest part about what we’re trying to do with the new music. We’re using live guitars, and we just bought a brand new midi piano, so we’re recording and utilizing everyone's skills. Mark is really good at piano and guitar … and what he's used his whole life is his production on Fruit Loops. I feel like what I do is, since we are producing this all on Ableton, is that I kind of format the song and Mark obviously helps with that as well." Mark: "Yeah, right now we’re trying to utilize my guitar skills and that's pretty much all I'm contributing at the moment. Cody has definitely become so much more of a producer in the last year. His arrangement skills have become better, his production skills have become better. You know, his ideas are just more creative. So I'll contribute to the arrangement and the production, but my main focus is just making sure the musicality aspect is a part of the song." Cody: "We can tell how far the music has gone and how much better it is. We both just add to each other's work. One of us will sit down and work on the computer a little bit, and then the next person can come and just pick up where the last person left off. Music is definitely a trial and error process (for us), you try stuff and you delete it and you change this or that." Mark: "Yeah, somebody makes something, and it sucks then you have to tell them that you know, it needs to be changed!" *Mark laughs* Diana: "Alright, so you're about to release an EP — "Changing Colors." What style of music can we expect to see from this?" Cody: "Well, with that first song we just released, that one's just a little funky remix we did, but other than that, this next one is going to feature Andrew Scully. He's going to shred the guitar on it. He was over here this morning playing on it, and it was incredible. So I'm really excited for that. And then this one we’re working on right now is totally different, a little more chill and laid back." Mark: "I feel like it's a lot of just really mellow, kind of laid-back, groovy beats that you can just kind of chill out to. I don't think we’re going be afraid to really collaborate with anyone. Especially with Lyftd, you're going to see tons of collaborations with different artists, musicians, singers and pretty much anybody that can contribute in a positive and creative way. We’re going to try to utilize that, because I think that's the direction of EDM. I think that's a good thing too about having more than one producer, so we’re not stuck in this cycle where everything is just our own compartmentalized perspective." Diana: "Very cool! What has been the biggest struggle with this whole process, all the ups and downs? How have you gotten yourselves back on track and motivated to create and release all this music?" Cody: "Well, I think for me over the last year I’ve just been really busy haven't had as much time, but I feel like when I'm actually starting to think about what I want in life, I really can't see anything that I would want to do more than producing music, because it's just so fun. Especially performing live, that's one of the most incredible, fun, exhilarating experiences. I see myself doing that for the rest of my life and loving every minute. Just to see the world, travel, and you know, do what ever you can to help people." Mark: "Yeah, I think for me (the biggest struggle is) just being in school. I'm a junior in college, and I've been in countless music projects my entire life as well with (a group named) Mizer and Goetz right now … It's really cool that I can have different outlets for all the different kinds of music I want to make. And like Cody said, playing live is amazing. I love playing live. You love the energy; you love the people. We all love it. We all love to dance; that's what it’s all about baby!" Diana: "So true, I love it! Well, I have to ask as we start the New Year, what was your favorite concert of 2013?" Cody: "Oh my gosh … let me think about this for a second ... probably just Electric Forest in general, but I mean definitely the Big GrizMatik set there. Also, we’re just so fortunate with all the shows that come through Colorado. But Big Gigantic just does something for me, I mean that was probably my favorite Red Rocks show of the year." Mark: "Well, I've been super broke all year *everyone laughs* … a broke college student. So I haven't really gone to many shows, but I did get a miracle to go to Electric Forest from my friends. I was really thankful for that, and there were tons of really awesome artists there, but I definitely thought Break Science at EF killed it, shout out to Break Science." --- As we wrapped up the conversation, we re-joined the rest of the crew in the living room of Cody's humble abode in Denver. These artists surround themselves with good people and good music and the divergent, crowd-pleasing tracks from Lyftd are a clear reflection of this lifestyle. We’re impressed with the amount of talent that exists in this group. Keep an eye and an ear out for Lyftd to drop new music during 2014. This is a skilled group that shouldn’t be overlooked. Follow them on Facebook. Update: Lyftd's new logo!
The Kause is donating 25 percent of its profits & doing whatever possible to help The Tribe build a solar-powered music production school in Kenya.
Candice and Fredrick Nyando are the founders of The Tribe, a non-profit building a solar-powered music production school that will be the first of its kind in Gina, Kenya. They’ve graciously given all of us the opportunity to help with this endeavor. Two of our lead journalists, Eric Lee Castillo and Tony Contini, sat down to talk with Candice and Freddy about their vision. The following text is from a recorded question-and-answer session. It's the first of a three-part interview and has been edited for conversational purposes. Eric: What can you say about music in Kenya, having been there multiple times (Candice) and having lived there (Freddy)? Candice Nyando: “You can't look at the population as a whole and say that they know how to play really well, because they have not been given that opportunity, and that’s where we come in and say we’re going to give them that opportunity. Because we know it’s in their blood. Take our (Candice and Freddy’s) wedding party for example: when kids and people started dancing … it was unbelievable. It would blow your mind. I mean, you could go into ten clubs in America and not find a single person who can dance as well as anyone can dance there … and I grew up dancing! I started dancing when I was four, and there were 5-year-olds in Kenya that could dance circles around me. They have just this insanely natural rhythm and especially with his tribe, it’s in their blood. They’re known for being music lovers. And he (Freddy) just has a crush on any band that we go see, I mean, like his eyes are glistening any time we go see live music. He’s always asking them about their instruments and how they play. I think had he been given a guitar or a set of drums when he was young, he could be an amazing musician.” *Freddy laughs* Eric: What age group are you considering focusing on for this school? Candice: “The teacher we’ve recruited, Bjorn Thorsrud, wants to start on the high school level and because Bjorn’s skillset is so high, we want to be able to utilize him as much as possible. That means we’d start it at the secondary level most likely, but it doesn’t mean we want to exclude primary kids. They’ll be able to sit in, and get the chance to use the instruments as well, but our emphasis right now is going to be on a secondary school.” Eric: What do you think are the biggest obstacles in front of making this happen? Candice: “Our biggest challenge is figuring out how to cover costs and how to get all the equipment there. Once on the ground, we want to recruit another non-profit run by Sam Dewey that has lots of experience with clean energy and solar projects all over Kenya to help us oversee implementation. We already have a hut on Freddy’s family compound that’s good size and not being used, so that’s where we plan on putting the production school. Bjorn will most likely work hands on with Sam to make the building suitable. We’ve spoken to the high school headmaster about implementing this into their curriculum, so the kids would have time everyday allocated to this. They've been extremely receptive. We want to integrate their schooling system into it as much as possible to smooth the transition process.” Eric: What kind of a time frame, roughly, do you think it would take to get this school built? Candice: “Realistically, this would occur anywhere from 10 to 14 months from now (between October 2014 to February 2015) to get Bjorn there and then he’ll spend several months there. He might have to take two trips, though I would personally rather see him devote a large chunk of time. With the specialties of people supporting this project, set up won’t take as long as planning and gathering. We already have the hut, so it’s not like we have to build from the ground up, and the guitar class would be taught on the local school grounds. Bjorn has planned to have a friend of his, Nikola Dokic, teach the guitar class while he teaches in the production studio. The production studio is about a 15 minute walk from the school. The hut is made of mud and cow dung (the most common practice), and it’s spacious and on Freddy’s family compound, which is good for security. “ Eric: What is your family known for in Kenya, Freddy? Fredrick Nyando: “We’re a family of farmers. The place is very fertile, so we plant lots of different types of crops. Sugar cane is the cash crop, because there are two sugar milling factories nearby. But down there, you’ll also find we farm beats, corn, cassava, fruits & many things. We eat well while we’re there.” *Freddy Laughs* Eric: Is there anything there you won’t eat or can't eat, Candice? I've come across some questionable dishes that are considered the norm in other countries. Candice: “The only thing is that I don’t eat meat … in America , or in Kenya. And the problem is that everyone is so grateful for visitors being there that anytime we go to someone’s hut, they’re ringing a chicken’s neck for you and bringing it in and to say thank you. To say you’re not going to eat it is a little hard, so that’s difficult to turn my nose to.“ Eric: What else have you learned about Kenya in traveling there for work and just for the experience? Candice: “I’m very American in this way. We were there for fun but still trying to get work done for The Tribe. I wake up everyday thinking, 'We’re going to get this and this and this done, we’re going to accomplish six things today,' but inevitably in Africa, you get one thing done, and that’s a good day. We have visitors all the time. You can’t even fathom the pace of life and how vastly different it is until you’ve been around it. It just had a totally different rhythm than life here, and transportation anytime you try to move anywhere inevitably there’s problems, or you break down or the roads are so muddy no one can move, or the roads are so muddy you can’t even walk, or you get 15 visitors before you’ve even had your breakfast and breakfast takes an hour and a half to two hours to make. Things just don’t move the way that they do here. It’s hard to describe. Bjorn has been to South Africa, but he’s been to the city in South Africa and worked in a studio with electricity, so he’s definitely going to be headed into a great challenge. My job is to prepare him for that and make sure that we can actually carry out the ideas he has when he’s on the ground.” Tony Contini: Are radio stations common in Kenya? Candice: “In his area, that’s the most popular thing.” Freddy: “That’s another reason why making this school is awesome and really will be very, very valuable to this community. It’s really very, very popular.” Candice: “I told Eric that you’ll see people in his area with tiny little radios on their shoulder just walking around … and I would always find Freddy with just like 15 guys sitting around in the dirt listening to the radio laughing and telling stories. I have a friend from another tribe that’s kind of a wealthy tribe in Kenya and she said, ‘Those boys won’t have a spoon to eat with, but be sure they’ll have a nice suit and a radio!’ They like to look good, and they love to have that music going.” Please visit back soon for part two of the three-part interview. By Eric Lee Castillo and Tony Contini.