Archive for February, 2012

Skrillex: Eight Wild Nights and Busy Days With the Superstar

Posted in Conversation Piece on February 29, 2012 by mymorningjoe

“Want to go to a party at the drummer from Muse’s house?” Skrillex turns and asks.

“Sure, why not.”

Fifteen minutes later, the car is full and navigating through the Hollywood Hills. Skrillex is in the back seat with his girlfriend, U.K. singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding, and the bartender from the hotel we just left. In the front seat is his tour manager, Road Hog, who’s never been in the hills before.

Ratatat’s “Loud Pipes” is blasting through the car. Goulding and Road Hog are celebrating the moment, singing “the Hog is in the hills” to the instrumental track. Skrillex – nee Sonny Moore, known to close friends as Skrilly and drunk friends as the Skrill– is recording the jam on his iPhone. “This is going to be a track,” he says excitedly as we park. Behind us, another carload of Skrillex’s friends and crew unloads, and they all climb the hill, a mobile party. “Every night is like this,” Skrillex says, bounding up to the house. “It’s just totally random.”

To spend a week with Skrillex is to learn to operate with no sleep, no silence and no pause. Even sitting still, he’s moving – bouncing a leg up and down, tapping his fingers, looking around the room to take in everything going on. “He’s inhuman,” says his European booking agent, Simon Clarkson. “We gave him only one night off in Europe, and he calls and tells me he’s putting together a party that night so he can DJ. He doesn’t stop.”

“I book myself tight,” Skrillex confirms. “If I have any time off, I get antsy. I haven’t taken a vacation in, like, eight years.”

It is this tireless, jittery energy that’s propelled Skrillex through an accelerated music career: He joined his first indie and punk bands when he was 12, toured the world fronting the Top 40 screamo band From First to Last at 16, and signed a solo deal with Atlantic Records the year he turned old enough to legally go to the clubs he’d been performing at. Now, at 24, he’s performing 300 shows a year playing the most noncommercial music of his career – his tonally dirty, dynamically aggressive brand of bass-rattling dubstep – and to everyone’s surprise, most of all his own, he has become the most exciting thing happening in popular music this moment. He won three Grammys in February. His Facebook page has been growing by 300,000 new fans a week. And everyone is blowing up his phone, from Dr. Dre to Kanye West, who took Skrillex to Vegas in his private jet, watched him DJ and then invited him to his hotel room to cut some tracks.

“I’m aware of what’s going on, but at the same time there are parts I can’t see with any perspective and don’t know if I should,” he says as we stand in a bedroom with Muse drummer Dominic Howard and four girls who are cavorting around the room, hungry for the pair’s attention. “I mean, it’s surreal when you step back and see everything going on. But when I’m in the moment, I don’t realize it.”

If Skrillex continues to have his way, he will never realize it. “I don’t like being overexposed,” he says. “I don’t like being on covers. And I don’t like people talking about me.”

So in order to get a better understanding of who he is, here are a few scenes culled from eight days spent in a nonstop maelstrom of vodka, bass and late nights with pop’s reluctant phenomenon.

SCENE ONE
Interior, car, Arts District, downtown Los Angeles – afternoon

“I gotta ask management to take down that sign,” Skrillex says as we pull into a parking lot. The sign reads lofts starting in the high 300′s. He straps on a black backpack, which contains his entire studio (a MacBook and Dre Beats Pro headphones), and walks through the courtyard to the last unit. “I prefer the gloominess to the sun,” he says as he opens the door. “I don’t know why.”

He walks inside and marvels at the bare loft. It is almost his – just as soon as he closes – along with the adjacent apartment. He then points out where he’s going to build a studio, bar and lounge for his crew and friends to hang out in. “I haven’t met any of my neighbors yet,” he says. “But the walls are thick – and we’ve done screaming tests.”

Standing on the edge of his metal stairwell, Skrillex looks like a skate-kid-turned-goth-turned-computer-hacker. He’s a diminutive five feet five in all black – from the long, greasy undercut and thick-framed glasses to the G-Star pants and Converse trainers.

Four days earlier, he turned 24. These lofts are his birthday present to himself – and a surprising purchase, because he rarely spends any of the hundreds of thousands of dollars he earns from his shows on anything but creating new shows. He rarely even stays in the luxury hotel rooms promoters buy for him on the road, preferring instead to crash on the couches of friends.

Just 21 months ago, Skrillex was at an all-time low. A solo rock release on Atlantic Records had been delayed for months because of an obscure legal dispute; he had spent the entirety of his advance, was living off his credit card, and touring expenses and medical bills had left him about $60,000 in debt. (When he was fronting From First to Last, he had an operation to remove nodes that had formed on his vocal cords.) Collection agents were calling his friends trying to track him down, unaware that he was basically homeless. Evicted from the warehouse he was squatting in, Skrillex was sleeping on his fellow DJ 12th Planet’s couch in a downtown apartment, management office and studio known as the Compound.

While stuck in limbo, he decided to put out My Name Is Skrillex, an EP of electro-industrial-dubstep songs he’d been working on. But his label, which wasn’t enthusiastic about the project to begin with, held it up for nine months trying to clear the samples. So Skrillex released it himself as a free download on his manager’s website, promoting it on his MySpace page. The downloads came – hundreds of thousands of them, crashing the website countless times. Soon Deadmau5 was calling to put him on tour as an opening act and sign him to his label.

Skrillex remembers the moment when he realized that everything had changed: a year ago at a 3,600-ticket show in Austin. “At that time, it was the biggest show I’d ever sold out by myself,” he recalls. “And I felt this new responsibility, like, ‘Fuck, it’s real now. I’m not just playing raves and clubs, but they’re here to watch me.’”

The other vindicating moment came shortly afterward, when he paid off his debt in one day. Now, just a year later, Skrillex is turning money away, including $200,000 to put his song “Kyoto” in a G.I. Joe movie and $300,000 to do a promotion with a mobile-phone company. “The minute I start to overthink something, I know I shouldn’t do it.”

After Skrillex leaves his apartment, he heads to the hipster sausage restaurant Wurstküche for lunch. However, before he can get through the door, he is waylaid.

“Aren’t you the guy who was looking at apartments?” a man in his thirties asks.

“I actually bought the one in the corner,” Skrillex tells him.

“Then I’m your neighbor,” the man says. “But don’t worry: I’m quiet. I can’t stand noisy neighbors.”

Skrillex shifts his feet, and looks around uncomfortably.

“So,” the man continues, “what do you do for work?”

Continue Reading on RollingStone.com

Shanise Abrought: Bringing Celebrity Portraits to Life

Posted in Conversation Piece on February 23, 2012 by mymorningjoe
RW: How long have you been painting portraits on mirrors?
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I’ve been painting portraits for about 40 years. I started painting on mirrors approximately 10 years ago. I first got the idea while working a dead-end job;  I prayed and I asked the Lord to give me something that would separate me from just being an everyday “t-shirt artist” ‘cause it seemed seasonal and limited.
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And then one’s casual appreciation turned into a request for my one-of a kind signature portrait on mirrors, and I’ve been doing it ever since. My customers were my walking, talking billboards and I got a lot of great feedback from those who saw my finished portraits, and more and more requests came in.
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RW: You’ve worked with an extensive amount of Who have you worked with, as far as celebrities?
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As far as celebrities who own my portraits: Martin Lawrence, Erykah Badu, Jamie Foxx, Lil Wayne, K-Ci and JoJo, Keyshia Cole, Kandi Burruss, Chris Gardner [Gardner's book of memoirs, The Pursuit of Happyness, was published in May 2006 and he later became an associate producer of the major motion picture starring Will Smith]. I’ve also worked with Anthony Hamilton, singer Jaheim Hoagland, Steve Harvey’s nephew, Cuba Gooding Sr, comeidan/actor Laura Hayes, comedian/actor Michael Coylar, and Katt Williams.
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Most recently I have had the privilege of working with Phaedra Parks of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. That is very exciting to me because I am a huge fan of the show! I did a piece for Phaedra which will be featured on an episode of the show.
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RW: Of all those names, who gave you the best reaction when you handed them their portrait?
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I have to say comedian Micheal Coylar gave the best reaction. He said, “Before I say anything, let me first say ‘thank you’!” He kepts saying, “Wow!” repeatedly and told me he thought that the portrait was, “Spectacular, so far beyond beautiful.” That really meant a lot to me. He referred to me as “an artist of the highest degree” and kept reiterating that he was really blown away by it, that it was “magical.” And Katt Williams said, “I am looking at me, looking at me!” [Laughs]
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RW: What was the most exciting portrait you’ve painted?
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My favorite has to be the portrait that I painted of the late, great rapper, Pimp C.  I added diamonds, and faux fur on the mirror for his hat and coat — he looked so real!
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RW: Who is someone you’ve always wanted to paint?  
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Well, there are several people I’d be honored to paint. Martin Larwrence would be one, Martin Luther King Jr., Donny Hathaway, and Marvin Gaye. The list goes on…
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RW: You mentioned that your work will be shown on an upcoming episode of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”. I know that you can’t give away any details of the show at this point, but what can you tell us about that exciting experience?
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I really appreciated working and building a friendly business relationship with Phaedra Parks and her mother. They showed me so much love and belief in my talent, telling me that they were happy to be a vehicle to showcase my work through the Bravo show. They referred to me as a “best kept secret” and said that my work looks like “the handy work of the Lord.” [Laughs]
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RW: Speaking of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”, what do you think of the newest lady to grace the screen, former convicted felon Marlo Hampton?
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I have never been one to knock another person’s hustle, especially another woman. I think that we should support each other. I think it’s enough for us all not to put each other down or to be envious of each other, etc. That’s the example that I think Whitney Houston set. She was always so supportive of fellow singers and up-and-coming artists. It was never jealousy or competition, it was just all about the music to her. 
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I don’t want to waste time looking around at the competition. I want everyone to be successful.
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RW: Do you have any other plans with any of the Housewives?
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Phaedra Parks and I have been discussing going into a business venture together involving her new funeral home business. More to come on that.
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RW: Do you have a website?
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Yes, my website is www.lifelikeart.biz.
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RW: Any final thoughts?
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I’ve realized that I have a God-given talent and I am thankful that I am able to be a blessing to people, especially those who have lost a loved one. Often times, they are overwhelmed and they cry, and they say I’ve given them a piece of their loved ones to cherish forever. I am honored to be able to do that. To offer a little bit of happiness in a tragic situation. That ignites my passion, and is the reason why I do what I do. Once I had a person almost faint when I showed her a painting that I had done of her deceased mother. This lady was elderly, and she told me in all the 70 years that she has lived, that painting of her mother was the best gift she had ever received! That lets me know that I have done my best and that I was truly a blessing to someone.
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I am also anxious for the day that I can help my mother retire and be in a position to offer employment to those who are unemployed. I’m looking forward to the future and excited about all of the great things that are happening in my life.
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For more info on this artist, please visit her website: http://www.lifelikeart.biz. Interview by Raina Webber.

The-Dream: Chris Brown Collaboration Was Rihanna’s Idea

Posted in Conversation Piece on February 23, 2012 by mymorningjoe

The-Dream, the producer of Rihanna‘s controversial new remix featuring a guest spot by Chris Brown, says that the singer wanted to work with the man who was convicted for beating her in 2009. “It was Rih’s idea,” the producer told Billboard. “Not only do we work together, but [Rihanna] is a friend of mine. And it’s like, ‘You wanna do something? Then cool, let’s do it.’ I don’t know how she got the logistics and how it happened. Maybe she’ll talk about it one day.

“For me, it’s just music – two talented people doing a record together, doing two records together, and that’s what it was,” said The-Dream. “It wasn’t about an incident that happened. The true thing really is to forgive, and you want to believe in people.”

The producer believes fans should support Rihanna’s decision to work with her former abuser. “I think [the topic] that should be more on the tongues is – how do we proclaim to be a nation of forgiving, and we go by all of these rules and everything, but we can’t actually do it? It actually makes you look weaker than your adversary – if you don’t have the power to forgive, but you lie and say that you did. If [Rihanna] can forgive, that’s where she is mentally. As a friend, it’s like, ‘Okay, cool. Let’s roll.’”

Source: Rolling Stone

Bruce Springsteen Explains His Experimental New Album

Posted in Conversation Piece on February 22, 2012 by mymorningjoe

Two years ago Bruce Springsteen told Rolling Stone that he had just written his first song about a “guy that wears a tie.”  The songwriter had spent much of his career writing about characters struggling in tough economic times, but the financial crisis convinced him it was time to write about the people and forces that brought America to this ugly point.

The result was Wrecking Ball, a scathing indictment of Wall Street greed and corruption and a look into the devastation it has wrought. “This is as direct a record as I ever made,” Springsteen tells Rolling Stone. “That’s with the possible exception of Nebraska, which this record has a lot in common with.”

The stark subject matter is paired with an experimental sonic palette that Springsteen created with producer Ron Aniello. “The record basically started out as folk music – just me and a guitar singing these songs,” says Springsteen. “Then Ron brought a large library of sound that allowed me to explore – like  maybe a hip-hop drum loop or country-blues stomp loop. The actual drums came later. There was no preconceived set of instruments that needed to be used, I could go anywhere, do anything, use anything. It was very wide open.”

Album opener “We Take Care of Our Own” poses a question: Do Americans take care of their own? The songs that follow make the answer clear: The narrator of the slow waltz “Jack of All Trades” struggles to find work, while the anti-hero of the country-folk stomper “Easy Money” decides to imitate “all them fat cats” on Wall Street by turning to crime. The similarly uptempo “Shackled and Drawn,” meanwhile, offers a political analysis worthy of Woody Guthrie: “Gambling man rolls the dice, workingman pays the bill/ It’s still fat and easy up on banker’s hill/ Up on banker’s hill, the party’s going strong/ Down here below we’re shackled and drawn.”  Continue reading

Dolo The Bandit: “Break Me Down”

Posted in Conversation Piece on February 22, 2012 by mymorningjoe

Dolo The Bandit with his single called “Break Me Down” from his upcoming EP “Project Monarch” that is being released mid summer.

Click Here to Listen!

Eleven 11 Media: The Best In The Business

Posted in Conversation Piece on February 22, 2012 by mymorningjoe

Eleven 11 Media Group, Inc. is a Houston, Texas based media company specializing in urban content. On April 15, 2012, Eleven 11 is launching its IPTV Channel eleven11media.tv with a full programming grid at the beginning of the second quarter.

For the first time ever, viewers will get an opportunity to experience Reality TV like never before, through the eyes of Eleven11media.tv. The programming will consist primarily of organic reality shows like: “Becoming The Ultimate Player” classic reality TV hosted by Max Julien aka Goldie of” The Mack”. One house, one prize, and 11 contestants, which is the recipe for a whole lot of drama!

“Pole Dreams” is a look into the lives and aspirations of five strippers living together and pooling their resources to achieve their long-term dreams. “Bi-Polar” is a take off of “The Odd Couple” with an urban spin, featuring opposites Kwame Smalls (from I love New York and I Love Money fame) and Bad Girl, Stasi Quinn. The two are paired together in a no-holds-barred mandatory living arrangement which is sure to keep viewers interested and laughing.

In addition to these shows, Eleven 11 will offer a plethora of blog video shows, talk shows, viral video shows, news shows and, of course, music video shows for their viewers’ entertainment and enjoyment. Never content to rest on its laurels, Eleven 11 Media Group is proud to announce the upcoming release of its first full-length feature film “Reality Movie”. Reality Movie is a long overdue spoof on Reality TV that only someone out-of-the-box like Eleven 11 Media can provide. Reality Movie is a-laugh-a-minute and features some of the most recognizable faces of Reality TV. You will recognize Monica “Danger” (For The Love of Ray J), Erika Lynn (Bad Girls 5), Stasi Quinn (Bad Girls 7), Judi (Bad Girls 7), Tiara (Bad Girls 7), Jackie Dafonseca aka Doll (Real Chance of Love 2), Kitti Kouture (Model), Sidney Lauren (Model), Kwame “it” Smalls ( I love New York, I love Money 4), Oran Juice Jones (Platinum Recording Artist) and many more.

Eleven 11 will chronicle the adventures of Ray Michaels aka Metro (Billy Sorrells), a has-been rap artist recently released from jail at the behest of “The Man” (Clifton Powell) to host a reality dating show. Things become interesting and treacherous as a subtle rivalry with Metro’s older brother Lil Metro (Kwame Smalls) takes a turn for the worst. Did we mention Clifton Powell is starring as “THE MAN”?!!

Reality Movie jabs at some of the most memorable and lovable aspects of the Reality TV culture including a sex tape, lots of girl-on-girl fights and of course nonstop laughs. This movie has it all, and who is better than Eleven 11 Media to tell the back-story of Realitydom in a fun filled movie. When asked about all the excitement going on at Eleven 11 Media, CEO “Kennyboy” only had this to say “We are constantly looking for talent and ideas, so stay tuned.”

For press materials, interview requests, and/or more information on Eleven 11 Media Group go to http://www.eleven11media.tv

 

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