Washington DC

A NIGHT OF CHOCOLATE AND CHEVAL
July 28, 2016 6:50 pm

When walking into any small time club, you can expect some loud popular music while waiting for a band to go up on stage to have fun and play some cool tunes. But last night at U Street Music Hall in Washington DC, a small club turned into a musical hot box.

20427_620380401430800_4122135562059143816_nStarting the night with some cool DJ work from local artist Dirty Chocolate, he pumped out some of his own music while playing club hits with elegantly twisted remixes. From metropolitan city Gaithersburg, Maryland, he taught himself how to make music while going deep into the internet. From humble beginnings (graduating the same high school that I did) to sick clubs, Emmanuel Osemene has a strong future ahead of him. I had a minute to chat with him about his experiences with music after the show:

I’ve always been a huge fan of music…I love discovering music and finding people who push boundaries. It’s cool to see talented people use their imagination to make music better. You wouldn’t hear it in my music but Pharrel, Timberland, Daft Punk, Juicy J, Kanye West, Justice, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, and Tame Impala have been some of my biggest influences.

After him, the crowd turned around to the main stage and there were so many switchboards and keyboards that I honestly had no idea what to expect. Then the band started to play and I was immediately blown away as the four of them played musical hacky sack, taking turns on solos and bits of the song while perfectly supporting each other.

Their name is Club Cheval, they live in Paris, France are in the states for a bit to tour. Theyed play song after song of fantastic electronic sound and mixing with a superb drummer in the back who ended the show with the gnarliest drum bit I had ever heard. I had a chance to talk to Panteros666 (the drummer) right after their set list.

Tell us about yourselves…

We live in Paris, but we we are from a little city called Lille…We have a lot of influences there from Britian and Belgium so we have that kind of culture where we just mix everything together.

Where do you get you unique sound from?

Literally everywhere. We don’t put any genres on any pedestal and have no hierarchy with our music. We listen to stuff like Hip-Hop, Balie Funk from Brazil, Slow Jam and experimental stuff. I’m into trance and lots of other stuff. Each one of us has our own certain sound and we like to mix it to create something different. It doesn’t really work well in France though, so that’s why we’re here, we can relate better with the people. Sometime we are just too powerful for them and that’s probably why we are bigger here.

How did you guys meet?

To cut a long story short, we were all doing our high level studies which actually including political sciences, sound engineering and other areas. But we got together in our small city and were really obsessed with making a new breed of electronic music. We did well in our little city and then moved to Paris and met a lot of people and now were here playing music.

It was amazing how humble and relaxed Dirty Chocolate and Club Cheval were. It was a fantastic show, great start and great end with happily ringing ears all the way home. Check out more Dirty Chocolate here and Club Cheval’s tour dates here and new album here.

LITZ: WASHINGTON DC’S LEGEND FROM BIRTH
June 1, 2016 1:25 pm

For somebody hearing your band for the first time, what would you want to tell them?

“We are a band focused on metaphysical ascension, our music is literally a sacred practice to enlighten, open the mind of the world and to evolve the collective consciousness.” -Austin Litz

The band LITZ is a spiritual tsunami of energy and talent that creates a beautiful vista of sound at every concert. We had the chance to talk with the face of the band Austin Litz about his family’s store, Victor Litz Music Store, and his journey to local fame and amazing connection with music.

To get started, could you introduce yourself and tell us about the store?

I’m Austin Litz and I’m a third generation musician. But we are the first generation that is trying to do live music and shows on a regular basis, not just make money from the music industry background. My grandfather started the store and played live for a bit, but kept going with the store and teaching lessons for the most part. My dad doesn’t really teach lessons, but he oversees all the departments and stuff. I was fortunate enough to grow up here with the store and take lessons on anything I chose.

What are some of your definitive points as a musician?

Life is like a sound wave. Here are a few of what I would call my defining moments: I have a brief memory of playing a 2 minute solo at a bluegrass festival when I was 7 because my father’s friend pushed me on stage between performers to fill the time. Playing the Saxophone was the biggest defining moment though, something just clicked, it was the first time I wanted to dive in and play music constantly, teaching music, seeing that I am a professional and was confident in instructing people. Lastly, selling out the show of our record release. It wasn’t just random people, we had roughly 350 people come and pay to see us. This was the moment where we thought, “Wow, we can be live performers and have a real career here.” So, I guess those three things, finding a new instrument, being a teacher, and being a successful performer.

After seeing you play and talking here, can you list off all the instruments you play?

(Chuckles)

Woodwinds – All the saxophones, flute and clarinet

Piano – Synthesizers, organs and keyboards of sorts

Strings – Bass, Classical guitar

Vocals – It counts as an instrument

Brass – Trumpet, Trombone and French Horn

Just about everything?

Basically everything but the drums set itself, but I do use a few other percussion instruments. Also the didgeridoo, pan flute and ocarina. We actually just covered the “Temple of Time” from the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and put it at the very end of the last song of the new album.

Let’s talk about the album, was there anything in particular that helped create Illusion of Time?

All of it comes from personal experiences. The whole concept for the album didn’t come until after we recorded all the music. So the album is actually a double album and the second half of it was already recorded 6 months ago and both of them are that same concept of time. The second part of the double album will come out in October. We wrote all the material and recorded it and during post production, we took a step back and realized that a lot of it is about travel, time and circular patterns in life. A lot of these songs really relate to aging and growing. We have been playing music our whole lives and yet this feels like the first thing we really truly made. Like a paradox, releasing our album felt like our birth, and yet music has been alive in us for years.

What were some of the bands and people who really influenced you?

A college friend Chris Martin helped me to not fear being outlandish and the social parts of music. Even though I don’t listen to The Motet much, the idea for LITZ was literally an instantaneous moment at a music festival in a quasi religious experience where I was watching them, feeling the energy, realizing that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. We also all grew up on ska and go-go music which was a huge influence (Fishbone, The Pietasters, Rare Essence Chuck Brown).

303345_143979772441727_886127356_nHow did you come up with the sound for LITZ?

We knew the venues, the crowds and we knew what we liked. We took our preferences and filtered them through what people enjoy and make our music. It’s a very conscious creation of music while being true to ourselves.

How do you deal with “writer’s block”?

Jam sessions. We might get stuck playing the same key or tempo at times, which isn’t bad, but jamming out helps creativity flow.

Thanks so much Austin, we are super excited for your next album in October. Anything you would want to tell your listeners about the band?

Thank you and you’re welcome! I would just say that we are very spiritual in our music. We want people to be able to come and enjoy our music and turn around with the motivation and dedication to achieve their own dreams.

Austin Litz, LITZ the band and Victor Litz Music Store are based in Washington D.C. Check out their music here and if there is a show near by you, nothing in the world should stop you from going.

REACHING FOR GEMS
February 15, 2016 10:00 am

In two short years, GEMS has gone from “The Best New Band You’ve Never Heard” to “…an understanding of the true height at which these two stand as influencers.” I’m sure that’s not intimidating for them at all.

Luckily, the band seems to be keeping their heads on straight as ATYPICAL SOUNDS found out in our interview with vocalist Lindsay Pitts.

gems_2

Kill the One You Love, the title of your debut LP, is a reference to Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. You also use a Sylvia Plath quote in your band bio on the Carpark website. Have either of these authors influenced your work?


LP: Sylvia Plath definitely has. Actually, we kept coming across her collection, Ariel, when we were writing our EP, Medusa. It sort of just kept being there in our path wherever we traveled and I feel like we were meant to read it. Her poetry is very close to death and that’s something that we try to explore through our music.

How was your recent tour with Oh Wonder? Did anything surprise you about the experience?


LP: It was lovely. This was actually one of the shortest tours we’ve gone on. (We’d previously spent a month on the road with Autre Ne Veut and a month with Classixx—they were both great tours). But I was glad to have a shorter run this time and be in the sun in LA and not trudging through the snow on the east coast.

You also recorded a live session for KEXP a few weeks ago. Are you a fan of the station? Do you have a favorite KEXP session from another band or artist? 


LP: KEXP is a great station and one session actually comes into my mind right away. I was unsure how I felt about Grimes when she first came out, but after watching her KEXP performance, I was a convert. Her personality really shone through in that setting and it felt very honest and real.

It seems like GEMS has suddenly blown up with your last tour. Does it seem that way to you? Has your personal life changed at all?


LP: Wow that’s really sweet, we’re just taking things one day at a time and being grateful for having the opportunity to keep making music.

It’s been suggested that your songs “reach for authentic and raw human truths.” Do you agree? And if so, is this something you aim for when writing, or do you find your songs take on this quality as they progress in their production?


LP: I think that is a large part of the core of what we are about – especially the “reaching” part. My main goal with writing songs is to create something that helps people transcend space and time, connect with something on a higher plane, and access that deep sense of existential longing.

GEMS originated in Washington, DC but you have since relocated to Los Angeles. Did that come before or after your record deal with Carpark? Was it hard to adjust to the change?


LP: The move came after I guess, but I don’t think that really played a part in when we decided to move…basically we wanted to finish our album before packing up and making our way out here since we wanted it to be a cohesive statement. I feel more at home in Los Angeles than I ever did in DC. It’s so inspiring to be here.

What are your favorite places to listen to music in LA?


LP: I love going to the El Rey, the room looks and sounds amazing. I also really like the vibe of the Lyric Theatre.

What are your plans for the rest of 2016?


LP: Writing music is what I really love to do. I’m excited to finish what we’ve been working on and release more songs.