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Tour Necessities Q&A: Bonnie Blue on See Me Tonight tour

California-based emcee Bonnie Blue is wrapping up her See Me Tonight tour, along with Nat The Lioness, Zzay, Rics Rumble, and Razor, so I thought I’d ask her some questions about it and touring, in general. To give you a *little& bit of background, Bonnie released a collaborative album with Rics Rumble and Razor under the name Bushwall Junkies, back in 2013, called Black Eye Blue, and then released her debut solo album All Things Considered early last year. If you caught Issue 4 of our magazine, you would’ve seen her name and picture in my “Do The Ladies Run This Motha…” article, where I talked about some talented women in music whose names you should’ve gotten to know (it’s not too late). Since then, though, she has been performing a lot (especially throughout California), working on new music, and, basically, kicking ass and taking names.

So, go ahead and read over this Q&A, where you will find her talking about packing for tours, what she’s been listening to on this run, travel necessities, Hot Cheetos and cheese dip, what a full day of touring generally consists of, tour riders, some memorable experiences, touring advice, and more.

Credit: Edwina Hay

Tour Necessities Q&A: Uncommon Nasa on A Few Days to Churn tour

After talking with Brzowski about this tour in my previous Tour Necessities Q&A (read here), I knew that I had to shoot some questions about it over to New York-native emcee (and man of many other hats) Uncommon Nasa. If you’ve been around CrayonBeats for awhile, you would know that he’s no stranger to our site either (although, I’m a bit behind on writing about a couple of his projects–I’ll catch up, I swear!). Since the last time that I covered him, he released two projects that you should listen to: New York Telephone, which released in August 2014, and Halfway, which released October 2015.

After you read this Q&A, I highly advise that you go through his discography. Now, let’s get into this interview. Before he goes on this short run with Brzo, he’ll be throwing down at Yule Prog’s 9th annual event on December 3rd (peep the FB event), so I started this Q&A by talking about that first. Then, we jump right into all CHURN tour stuff, so give it a read.

Tour Necessities Q&A: Elaquent on Fall Tour 2014

Canada-based hip hop beat maker Elaquent is up next in my Tour Necessities Q&A interview series. As you may already know, with my first Q&A, I ask a musician about their current/upcoming tour, regarding their favorite snacks, their mode of transportation, what they’ve packed, their riders, and so on. It’s just a break away from the norm of talking about music only, but instead more about the traveling artist in question.

Already in progress (since September), Elaquent is a headliner in the Fall Tour 2014, with Blockhead, as they perform in various cities in North America (mostly in the states). As of today, they still have 6 more stops left, spaced throughout this month. While you wait for him to stop in your area, make sure you check out my Q&A below.

Tour Necessities Q&A: J.Lately on Nice Dreams tour

Hello, everyone. I am beginning a new interview series at CrayonBeats, called Tour Necessities Q&A. Basically, musicians will be answering a handful of tour-specific questions regarding the tour they are about to embark on, or are already on. It’s just a fun, different Q&A series that will give you some insight into their road trip life (their must haves, favorite road snacks, their tour rider, etc), while also informing you about their current tour!

Being that Bay Area rapper J.Lately is about to go on the Nice Dreams tour, headlining with Rey Resurreccion, I wanted him to be the first. Rey is up next! Check it out!

Interview: J.Lately

Ever since I got put onto J.Lately (@justlately) at the beginning of this year, I’ve been a fan. While I haven’t fully listened to his past works a whole lot (steamed them a bit), other than his Fly With Us EP, I do believe that his most recent album, titled Make. Believe., is his best work. There’s always something refreshing about having an entire album that communicates positive and uplifting messages, through introspective and honest lyrics, while still having a damn good time. His laid-back flow over head-nodding, boom bap beats, handled by numerous producers, made the songs enjoyable to listen to over, and over, and over again. I had a lot of high praise for it, too.

After listening to Make. Believe. in full, I wanted to talk to J.Lately about it, and get to know him. I recently had the opportunity to talk with him, where I gained some insight into who he is as as a person, his struggle with confidence, the ideas behind some songs, his most recent tour experience, and a whole lot more. Check out my interview with the Oakland-based emcee below.

Interview: Chic Gamine

I first heard about the Canada-based band Chic Gamine this April, and immediately rushed here with excitement to write about them. It was like stumbling across this big, incredible secret that you couldn’t wait to share with the world… in this case, the readers of CrayonBeats. Chic Gamine is 5-person band that is made up of four rotating lead lady singers and one man whom is the drummer. They are Andrina Turenne (vocals, keys, guitar, percussion), Alexa Dirks (vocals, keys, percussion), Annick Bremault (vocals, keys, percussion), Ariane Jean (vocals, keys, percussion), and Sacha Daoud (drummer).

They released their album Closer in March, and since hearing it they have made it to my top list of favorite bands. The album pushes youthful pop melodies, vintage R&B rhythms, fun danceable beats, and relatable poetic lyrics. All four women have powerful, unique voices where they can easily stand out when singing solo and also when they sing together to do their notable, pure soulful harmonies.  They are incredible musicians, singers, instrumentalists, and they have charming personalities to match. I feel while they may be compared to, and definitely possess, a 50’s/60’s girl group sound, they also incorporate heavy elements of modern pop, soul, blues, and some rock. They don’t just enclose themselves in a single box. Like a flower that grows between cracks of concrete, they stand out amongst a lot of bands that I’ve been exposed to this year. I hope that you, too, will enjoy them and become a fan.

I had the pleasure to interview the band, discussing things like how they formed as a group, the crazy coincidence of all of their names beginning with the letter “A”, their album Closer, some of their songs, who they’d invite to dinner, writing songs as a group, their “tantrum workout”, touring, and what’s next for the band. Check it out!

Interview: Epp

A couple of years ago, I was put onto the Portland rapper/producer Tope via Fresh Selects (the Free Lemonade album in 2011). After following him on Twitter and liking his Facebook page, I was then lead to the hip hop trio TxE. It’s made up of of rappers Tope and Epp with producer Calvin Valentine (aka G_Force). They have released 3 projects since forming a crew, while also continuing to work on their respective solo material. Tope has released several albums, including Until The Next Time We Meet, Since The Last Time We Spoke, New Kicks, and most recently Troubleman. Calvin Valentine has dropped an album with Planet Asia called Camouflage Jackets, Red Eye Flights, the official Green Team project, and more.

Then, there’s Epp. Although he’s put in work, he hasn’t released any solo material. We all know he’s good, too, because we’re fans of TxE and recognize the talent. The time has finally arrived where he is getting ready to release his debut album, titled Chrome Plated Chronicles. He has recently dropped a couple of singles from the album, including the music video for “Watch This” and a song called “P.O.L.O.

Interview: m.a.double

Writer and director Matthew Walters, also known as m.a.double, from Birmingham, England, will be the first person to premier a film at the Cannes Film Festival, who shot the movie while on bail. He was on bail and under surveillance for 16 months, due to the suspicion of importing $160K worth of cocaine, and was ultimately facing 10 years of jail time. While they were building up a case, he took that time to constructively write and direct Ready 4 Whatever–a movie about drug dealing.

Interview: Taiyamo Denku

Taiyamo Denku is a man of many hip hop hats–he freestyles, he writes dope lyrics, he can sing, he does graffiti, he can spin on the tables, he used to beatbox, and he can do some footwork. He’s also a straight-forward guy that isn’t afraid to speak his mind on mainstream rappers that he doesn’t respect–through his aggressive, old school-style lyricism and in regular conversation. If you have been around these parts, though, you should already be familiar with his name.  The Milwaukee emcee has been pumping out quality music for quite some time–for example, play catch up with his previous work: Cycle of Death (2004), Dark Journal of Thornwords (2007), Lost Thoughts (2010), and Articles of Mind (2010).

His latest album, Quadrofiendia, was released last year. Produced entirely by Agartha Audio, the album was named one of my favorites of the year in our first issue. If you’re sleeping on it, I strongly suggest that you head on over to Bandcamp and stream the album in its entirety (I also did an album review).

Shortrock – “Propaganda, Existence & Music Turntable Compositions Vol. 1” + Interview

Shortrock is a turntablist from Boston, Massachusetts. He stands out from the bunch with his all-real gold rope chain that he rocks 24/7, his awkward scratch position, and his style of cutting. He releases music through both Uncommon Records (he’s Uncommon’s official DJ) and through Paramanu Recordings. He has collaborated and shared a stage with artists such as Keith Murray, Prince Po, Nasa, K-The I???, Bigg Jus, Short Fuze, Ceschi, Taiyamo Denku, Brzowski, Masai Bey, Quest The Unborn Child, A.M. Breakups, and others.

In 2007, he released his first EP, titled “Propaganda, Existence & Music Turntable Compositions Vol. 1“, on vinyl with Paramanu Recordings. To celebrate its 5th year, Shortrock has re-released it digitally, yesterday, again with Paramanu. Along with the four original tracks, there are also two bonus cuts in the digital download. You can stream them all over at Grimey Republik, before you hit that download link.

Interview: Atari Blitzkrieg

Atari Blitzkrieg… where do I even start? I first heard of him in 2010, when we posted the “No Dough, No Show” compilation, presented by Uncommon Records and clothing company Soap-Box World. Since then, we’ve been paying attention and, now, here we are.

This Maryland-born, Virginia-based musician has been making music for nearly 2 decades. If you Wikipedia’d “Atari Blitzkrieg”, the first sentence describes him as a hip hop artist. While that’s a true statement, I think that unfairly boxes him into one area. His music spans beyond just hip hop, as he fuses his style with rock, metal, jazz, and punk influences.

Aside from being a solo artist, he’s also in a handful of groups. There’s Blood Moon Uprising, a metal band with guitarists Hidekazu Seki and Matt Coller; and, Vinyl Pimp Cobras, with Digital Fiend and Bionicheart. He has worked with artists such as Lord Jamar, Daedelus, Louis Logic, Vast Aire, LMNO, Breez Evahflowin, Wildchild, John Robinson, Rapper Pooh, Sadat X, C-Rayz Walz, and many, many more.

His work ethic is extremely commendable, because he’s constantly productive and working on something new. He has a vast discography–he’s clocked in with 2 dozen EPs, numerous full-length albums, and hundreds of songs. This doesn’t include the handful of projects he’s currently working on, and getting ready to release.