DIGITALLY LIVE: LOST MIDAS DELIVERS ELECTROFUSION VIA LIVE BAND IN “HEAD GAMES” VIDEO

[dropcap letter=”E”]lectrofusion guru Lost Midas has been making his own branding of electronic music for years, yet in the juxtaposition of traditional music composition aligned to modernist beat-making method, the latter is more the norm for the east coast native. In his latest video for the new single, “Head Games,” (off of his up-coming album “Off the Course”) we catch a glimpse of electronic music delivered in a way seldom than most: via a live band. Sans the visuals, the track itself peaks at its intergalactic tendencies, interweaving tinges of funk-based wavelengths and crisp percussions played by Lost Midas himself and strung together with vocals from Audris. Next week, Lost Midas will be hosting an album release party in LA’s Arts District at Fifty Seven, RSVP and get in for the free here.

 

PLEASURE AND PAIN: JESSIE WARE’S NEW SINGLE, “TOUGH LOVE”

Jessie Ware took 2012 by storm with the debut album, “Devotion,” but the UK singer didn’t cease to stop there. Upon the album’s release, a cover of 1990’s R&B group, Brownstone’s “If You Love Me”  took to the blog-o-sphere and thus Ms. Ware has barely left our cranial void. BenZel, producer duo of London’s Two Inch Punch and Benny Blanco, who created the sonically-charged cover have laid another track for Jessie in newly released single, “Tough Love,” which we can only assume is the first glimpse into Jessie’s “Devotion” follow-up.

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Following the Brownstone cover’s lush synth and percussion, Jessie’s vocal stylings progresses throughout the track, alluding to the same kind of devotion and passion onto “Tough Love,” as we heard throughout that stellar first album. Check out the track below.

GRAY SPACES: OPEN MIKE EAGLE’S “DARK COMEDY” LP LIVES IN BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE

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LA-founded and operated Hellfyre Club epitomizes the saying, “You are the company that you keep,” a mantra that holds true within the realms of hip-hop and the street culture associated with it; to be loosely translated, the idea goes hand-in-hand with the ghetto rule-of-thumb stating that “Fate chooses your friends, you choose your family.” Founded and streamlined by Nocando, he surrounded himself with individually like-minded cats that had a niche for writing rhymes over beats in a way that enticed a contextually unfamiliar vernacular that was stylistically familiar at the same damn time. Enter Open Mike Eagle, native Chicagoan, Hellfyre Club member and proud indie rapper. Upon today’s release of his most recent LP, “Dark Comedy,” Open Mike Eagle held it down in the rap game for nearly 20 years – living somewhere between hip-hop’s realms of gangster rap and the eclectic hip-hop that Hellfyre Club has built their foundation off of. We sat down with Open Mike Eagle to talk about what it means to be an indie rapper, the changes in hip-hop and why he should stop reading articles about himself.

LA CANVAS: How’s life?

Open Mike Eagle: Life is treating me well, I’m just sleepy most of the time and I have to come up with a better way to strategize sleep. I take my son to school in the morning, no matter what happens the night before; I had a show in San Bernadino last night and didn’t get home until 3am and he got up early today for whatever reason so I’m operating on about a third of my brain capacity right now. *laughs* But that’s almost typical, and that’s kind of weird to me.

LAC: Well, we only use about 10% of our brain don’t we?

OME: Yeah, but I’m at about a third of that ten, so I’m more like at three right now. *laughs* So guess what I’m going to do after this? Take a big, fat, juicy nap.

LAC: Your album “Dark Comedy” just came out. What are some of the concepts that went into the album, what are some of the stories behind it?

OME: So many stories, man, each song is a different story by itself. I spend a lot of time crafting each song – there’s 13 songs on the album and each ones comes from a really different place. I was probably in a very different mind state for most of them.

LAC: I mean, I figure with a title like “Dark Comedy,” I’d assume it’s some heavy content.

OME: There’s some heavy stuff and there’s light stuff, but there’s also making light of the heavy, vice versa and the juxtaposition of those things. I think there’s where I live: in that space in between what’s serious and what’s not serious because people ask me sometimes if a song is serious or if it’s a joke, and sometimes I don’t know because I think it can be both.

LAC: Because life is like that – all different shades of gray.

OME: Exactlly; and most of the time the things I enjoy from other people’s art are things along that line too. So, I didn’t really answer your question, but truthfully its because I don’t know how.

LAC: So to pick your brain further, what’s the creative process for when you’re writing your music?

OME: The beat that I love is asking me something, and I have to figure out what it’s asking. And then I play it over and over and over again until it reveals itself to me on how I should talk or what I should say, and the songs develop from there pretty much. If it’s a good song, I’ll get a pretty clear picture and then just start writing. Sometimes I’ll write starting from the first bar to the end, other times there’s a lot of note-taking and going back to craft it.

LAC: Do you ever read what bloggers or journalists say about your work?

OME: I do, but I think I do it too much.

LAC: Does it ever get to your head?

OME: It does because my ego is very sensitive, but it’s also very large. And that’s because I’m an American male and I rap for a living. Those things are very tough on an ego — that’s like weight-lifting for a cast iron ego and so I do want to know what people are saying, but even when its good it’s not good the right way or it’s never perfect. I should just stop *laughs*

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LAC: I always imagined it’s hard for artists to present this body of work and then have someone come out of left field, who doesn’t know you’re coming from, and just interrogate it, whether the resulting critique is good or bad.

OME: What makes it worse is that a lot of times they think they know where I’m coming from. If you as a writer are going to present your interpretation of something is at least state within that’s it’s just a mere interpretation – it’s not the ending definition of anything. There are some songs on this album where I have a hard time dissecting where I was coming from when I wrote it. Some of them are two years old, so the distance between where I was when I was writing it and now where I’m talking about it is very far away – and that’s me talking about my own project, let alone some writer from some publication to interpret it.

LAC: What was your reaction to being called an “indie rapper”? I know with some folks, it might strike a nerve or some kind.

OME: I loved it. I love indie rap. That’s the nicest thing someone could call me, really – there’s a lot of worse ways to describe what we do. I enjoy indie rap as a concept because it’s like how rock music has all these different kinds of rock; you got rockabilly, hog, punk, art rock and there’s just these so many different ways within that genre for artists to express themselves. Ultimately, I think a lot of what me and my friends do is trying to establish that same reality within rap so that we’re not bound by the expectations of one kind of rap music or one kind of rapper, which tends to happen because the media only shows rappers shown on larger media outlets.

LAC: If we’re talking about hip-hop today, who’s really out there dominating mainstream rap? You have TDE and Kendrick Lamar, and then you have like Tyler the Creator and Odd Future.

OME: But even those two, those are better than what has been around for a long time, which was straight up gangster rap, but there a few new voices now, which is cool, but again, it’s just a few. Our angle is closer to that but it’s more unique and more vulnerable. Tyler is kind of shocking a lot of the time, which is his thing. Kendrick is doing his own thing, and I really have nothing bad to say about either of them, but compared to them, what my friends and I (in Hellfyre Club) do are just a lot more open, less macho-man type stuff, you know?

LAC: I mean, you guys are constantly being described a crew that’s “super left-field.”

OME: Which is weird because Nocando is not weird at all. He’s the normal-est rapper I hang around. He listens to a lot of stuff that I can’t listen to because his ear is to the street. So it’s interesting that he gets lumped into that – I mean, I know I’m more left field, and the thing that’s common between us is that I know we’re both vulnerable, but I really don’t think he’s weird or left-field at all.

LAC: You started your rap career mostly associated with a few different crews (Thirsty Fish, Swim Team, Project Blowed) when did you start doing more solo work?

OME: When I was in college I started writing solo songs because I didn’t have a crew back then. Then when I moved out here, I was in Thirsty Fish, then we started the Swim Team, which was a bigger outfit. Somewhere between doing all the collaborations with those two, whenver we got together to hash out ideas for Thirsty Fish — trying to figure out our common bond, even though we were all really different – when I’d go home and do my solo stuff, I’d be super into it. I think I started to find my voice through collaboration – I would start to learn the difference between me and my friends in how we approached things. When I wanted to work on my solo stuff, I could just indulge in this voice that I’m not often able to inject into that situation. When we were making our first record in 2008 (with Thirsty Fish) I was working around a lot of my solo material in that time. I had an EP beforehand but at that point in 2008 I started working on songs for albums.

LAC: How does that dynamic work? You’re talking about you’re able to find your voice among working with so many different people, but to backtrack, how do you put out a single album or project when there’s so many moving parts?

OME: It got to be difficult, to be honest. By the time we got to our second album, I think all of us had kind of matured more in terms of our own individual aesthetic so it became harder to find a place to meet on all concepts or directions because I think we all came into it as solo acts first. With three people it got to be agreeing on a beat was difficult, and agreeing on a concept was difficult, and agreeing on how the hook should be got difficult to the order or how the verses should be broken up. There’s so many phases to have to agree on, but there are some groups that have done it for years and I can admire that.

LAC: What do you have planned for the rest of 2014?

OME: I have some spot dates for now, but no tour booked yet. I have a show here and there, I’m doing the Hop Scotch Festival in September, a show in New York City later in the year. We just did a Hellfyre Club tour, which was great, with some hopes of another one next year. But we’ll see. I’m starting a podcast that I’m excited about, which is still in the works.

*WERK IT OUT, OME. 

AIN’T NO STOPPING: CONTROL FRIDAYS CELEBRATES FIVE YEARS AND COUNTING

Before launching into stardom, new waves of electronic music must make their rites of passage through the Avalon’s CONTROL Fridays. Always on the forefront of the newest and most forward-thinking brands of electronica, CONTROL Fridays has played host to some of the genre’s biggest acts way before they even qualified a mock Coachella bill — EDC gawds like Skrillex, Wolfgang Gartner, Dada Life, Bingo Players and more passed through the Avalon’s weekly showcase. This weekend, they celebrated a glorious five years with Dada Life and with no intentions of slowing down, we caught up with co-founder Ryan Jaso on CONTROL’s success and what made it the mainstay it is to date.

LA CANVAS: What spurred CONTROL’s creation?  

Ryan: We saw a void in the marketplace — there was a new sound coming and with it a new generation of fans. We went to a lot of dance music-based parties that were more underground, and we saw what Avalon was doing on Saturday nights and wanted to introduce this new sound to a big stage.

LAC: What do you think has allowed CONTROL to have such longevity?  

R: CONTROL is a brand, it’s known across the world at this point and I think that is something you rarely see in nightlife.  We’ve never done anything we weren’t proud of, and we’ve always stayed true to what we believe in.  You won’t see Paris Hilton gracing the CONTROL stage anytime soon.

LAC: At what point did you feel like CONTROL was a success — was there a particular show or moment where you realized it?  

 R: For me it was our second show ever with Surkin, we probably only did about 750 people — low by comparison to our big nights now — but it made me think this could actually work.

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LAC: What were the challenges in keeping CONTROL afloat? Any near-disasters or mishaps? 

R: There was a challenge every week in the beginning. We went through three or four bookers before we linked with Giant which really helped solidify the bookings, countless promoters, general managers, production coordinators… you name it. We always had the backing of the owner John Lyons which is really what made it last.  Most clubs would have given up if they saw more than half the shows in the red, but Avalon believed in it and that’s what brings us here today.

LAC: What are some of your favorite/most memorable CONTROL shows and why?   

R: There are too many to name; we’ve had the pleasure of having artists like Bingo Players, Krewella, Rusko, Dillon Francis, Skrillex and Dada Life cut their teeth at CONTROL. I’ve heard many of the aforementioned state CONTROL is one of their favorite parties in the world and that means a lot.

LAC: Where do you see yourselves in five years?

R
: Doing an interview with LA CANVAS about how we made it to ten years of CONTROL.

Photos courtesy of CONTROL. Pictured: Dada Life at CONTROL’s recent 5 Year Anniversary party. 

TRADING PLACES: ALEX PRAGER’S “FACE IN THE CROWD” EXPLORES THE INDIVIDUAL WITHIN THE MASSES

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In what may be a normal day-to-day occurrence, Alex Prager sees stories to be told. Her newest exhibit at M+B Gallery, “Face in the Crowd” explores the notion that as crowds and masses may seemingly be just seas of people, there are actually millions of individual stories and experiences “silently colliding.” Photographing hundreds of actors in specific settings in both stills and a film starring Elizabeth Banks, Prager’s photo exhibit also touches upon narratives of private and public revelation, repulsion, fear, personal safety and the need for basic human interaction. The exhibit opened last Saturday, January 25, and will be on display at the until March 8.

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INTERVIEW: PREFUSE 73’S MUSIC BIZ SURVIVAL TIPS 101

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Last Friday, eclectic beat masters Prefuse 73, Falty DL and Nosaj Thing encapsulated and transported the Echoplex’s sonic youth into unearthly dimensions with each of their uniquely branded electronica. The OG of the three — Guillermo Scott Heren aka Prefuse 73 — was the center piece of the triple-act, smoothing out the transition from Falty DL’s dancey, high-energy production to Nosaj Thing’s more spacey version of the type of electronic beats that Prefuse began to explore back in the early 2000’s. Though only in his early 30’s, Prefuse’s subsequent amount of experience and knowledge came from his start in the biz as a teenager, and by the looks of it, he has no intentions of slowing down — especially with the help of some echinacea. Check out the interview below to see how Prefuse survives climate change and taking his music to the grave.

LAC: How’s life?

Guillermo: It’s good, just started this tour yesterday in San Francisco and that was good. It’s a short tour – maybe only seven or eight shows – but we’re going all over the place; we’re like flip-flopping climate wise. It’s crazy, we went from like negative-ten degrees wind chill to San Francisco that was beautiful, like 50 degrees or something and then down here where there’s like, humid heat. Then we’re headed out to Portland which is colder, and from there we hit like Texas which is hot then back to progressively freezing — Chicago, Toronto, New York. And that’s all within ten days so I’m definitely gonna be sick when I get back home (to New York.)

LAC: But I mean, you’ve been going to tours all these years, I would think you’d have a method to surviving the climate madness.

G: Well yeah, you just have to push through it and be positive. But like you said, over the years, you learn how to deal with it and take of yourself. Like, don’t eat a lot of junk, cause that’s what I learned in the past is that over the course of touring, bad diet and stress can totally weigh you down, at least it did for me. I don’t even drink too much anymore when I’m on tour, or smoke weed. As you get older, you get smarter about that type of stuff.

LAC: Tour Survival 101 with Prefuse. (laughs)

G: Yeah, it’s gotten to a point where I make sure I have like, Echinacea and all these preventative medicines with me. And I always Yelp the hotels we stay in so we don’t catch bed bugs, cause those are always a bitch to deal with.

LAC: And here I’m thinking tour life is awesome.

G: I mean, it’s awesome for the 21-year-old that’s never been out of the country. I used to just deal with all the shit that comes with touring, but now I feel like I’m kind of a prude cause I’m always double-checking everything and make sure shit is right; I didn’t use to be like that, I used to just roll with the punches and be sick all the time. I think I’m this way now because I’ve been doing this for half my life and it’s all just habitual now.

LAC: So what do you have going on for 2014, following this really condensed tour?

G: I’m working on a new record and doing a lot of collaborations for my own label. There’s a lot of work right now, and I’m kind of swamped, so the timing for this tour is throwing me off a bit, but this lineup is so sick that’s it’s worth doing. I mean, the tour is only ten days, but when you really think about it, ten days in the studio is priceless because you just don’t know what crazy shit could happen – maybe even three out of the ten days something magical could happen. So when you sacrifice that time to do something, you question it but at the same time it’s like, how often do you get to tour with your homies, with a crew where the vision is similar even though the music is different.

LAC: Over the years, you’ve gone under all these different aliases that aligned with a particular project. Should we anticipate a new alias with this new record?

G: Probably. That’s the way my mind works – I always make aliases. Not to be like, ‘oh, let me over saturate the market with an alias,’ but more like to not be me, so that it’s not to be confused with Prefuse 73 or any other alias I have. It’s just like freedom from the project because aliases should come from a complete idea of concept. You’re just trying to separate from what people are used to – it’s not like a gimmick. You’re doing something with the exact same total amount of passion – you’re excited about it, and aliases are cool because it’s new. You know, you have an idea and you think you can build an album around it and that people will like it, so let me call it something – anything, whatever’s in front of you – and that’s kind of how it happened. So right now I’m in Prefuse 73-mode production-wise but in that process, I could just turn the knob the right way to make an alias happen.

LAC: Has Prefuse 73 always been your center “alias”?

G: Yeah, because I think it’s been the most digest-able stuff I make. Savath and Savalas was really mellow instrumental music, there’s only a certain amount of people that are into that: it had Spanish vocals laced onto it, so (I knew) in the US that wasn’t going to pop off. At the same time Prefuse was the one marketed the most because it aligned a lot better with the other stuff coming out of Warp (Records.) I kept on doing the aliases because I loved making music, I didn’t really care about racking up a whole bunch of dough off of the side projects I had, I just had ideas and wanted to share them. For me, I didn’t make music because I wanted to make millions; I feel like if I were to do that, it would go against my own personal integrity as a musician, and I try to stick to my guns when it comes to the integral part.

LAC: I feel like that’s a standard crossroad any musician comes across: either you get lucky by being able to make your music, hit a target audience and that pops off, or you sell your soul to make millions.

G: You gotta make that decision going into it. I started at a time when I was lucky, I was in the right frame of mind for doing it, I was in front of a lot of people where there maybe remotely five guys that were making the same sounds that I was and that went on for like four years. There wasn’t really anyone for me to compete with, no one for me to really tour with like this – Four Tet may have been the closest one for me to tour with, but even then it was still very different from the stuff I was making.

LAC: Because your music is more hip-hop based.

My shit is so deficit of attention, so many ways for me to play it because I always like to change it up and it comes from a distinct ‘I-grew-up-on-hip-hop’ background, no matter how weird it gets, it still has that similar hip-hop beat. You’re talking about a kid that figured out to work an MPC in a really primitive era, who had a day job at a studio making prehistoric trap beats that hated making them, and out of that Prefuse was born — making trap in Atlanta before even Outkast was blowing up. I hated it, but it was something I had to get experience and learn from. It was what drove me to do something weird.

LAC: How was all that received?

G: I grew up with a whole bunch ‘hip-hop purists’ who hated it. I would play my stuff for my friends and they literally told me that they hated it, so I had to learn how to eat shit for about two years until I got a (record) deal. Nobody was feeling it, but I knew I had to keep at it, I knew it was going to work because it was coming out of me naturally, like it wasn’t contrived. People were so set on this standard formula for a hip-hop beat where you were only supposed to have like 16 bars, a hook, a kick and snare – the weirdest you could get was looping a sample lyric. So what I did was like some obscure part of a sample – like the air in between the rhymes – and make a whole song out of that. I wanted to obliterate this whole system of making a beat and turning into music and letting it mesh – that became the goal for me.

LAC: Do you ever think about what role you’ve played in this whole mashing-up-of-the-genres movement that’s been going on?

G: I leave it up to other people to give me those decorations. I’ll listen though, and see what labels they place upon me, like how they say I invited this genre or whatever, but I’m just whatever about it. There are people in Miami that were hating on me, saying like I’ll never be the best or there are dudes that are way ill-er than me, but I’m not even trying to be the best, I’m just trying to come up with some fresh shit. I recognize that for some of these new producers, I might have taken some weight in a journalistic sense because I was doing these pressing interviews where hip-hop outlets back in the day were saying shit like I’m degrading the role of the MC, and I never understood where that came from because I have the same respect for the MC as much as I do the beat. So I took all these overcomplicated, dead serious shit back in the day and I was able to take all those harsh vibes away from the dudes that do it now; they don’t have to deal with that today. Anybody can make an album, put it on the internet and as long as it’s good, they can pop off and enjoy their life and success, but they don’t have to answer up to a lot of people that I had to, which is a bunch of people that were only listening to two records at a time back then.

LAC: Do you think these new cats look to you as a uhh… I don’t want to say pioneer, because that makes you sound old.

G: Everything makes me sound old. People will call me out like, ‘he’s been in the game for 17 years,’ and I’m just like, “Damn.” Somebody tracked my whole discography all the way back to the records I don’t want anyone to hear. I mean, I’ve been making music since I was 16, but when they call me out like that it makes me sound like, I’m 80. (laughs) I don’t have problems interacting with Nosaj Thing, and I’m not on my death bed, so I don’t understand.

LAC: I would think it’s a respect thing.

G: I would hope so, unless someone’s trying to play me and be like, ‘this old motherfucker.’ I mean, I grew up listening to jazz records from my mom so I see everything from a jazz musician’s perspective – none of those dudes quit, they died making music. These guys died in their 60s-70s-80s, and not to place one over the other, but they weren’t mapping out their careers to call it quits once they make a ton of money. They were making music because they wanted to make music for as long as they could. It seems like everyone I followed in that jazz era just suffered as musicians – they had really high points and really low points and this never stopped them and that’s kind of how I came into it. And when I think about these jazz dudes, they took it to the grave. That’s how I’m going to go out, no matter what I’m making. This shit I’m making is always going to be relevant to me; it’s what I started making, it’s going to be what I’m making no matter what aliases I go under.

THE WEEKLY: BEATSMITHS, BORROWED DRESSES, GANGSTER GRAMMY AFTER PARTIES + MORE

A run down of events in our fair city this week.

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TIM ARMSTRONG AVENUES AND ALLEYWAYS OPENING RECEPTION
WHEN: Friday, January 24th, 8-11pm
WHERE: Subliminal Projects | 1331 W. Sunset BLVD Los Angeles, CA 90026
WHAT:  The worlds of art and music converge Friday night as musician, songwriter and artist, Tim Armstrong (of Operation Ivy, Transplants and Rancid) celebrates the opening of his Avenues and Alleyways exhibit. Never-before-seen pieces will be displayed along with 45 numbered and signed screen prints. Switching roles for the night, Shepard Fairey will be deejaying. | more

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PREFUSE 73, FALTY DL, NOSAJ THING AT THE ECHOPLEX
WHEN: Friday, January 24th,
WHERE: 1822 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026
WHAT: Whether or not Guillermo Scott Herren has multiple personalities to go along with his multiple monikers, the fact remains that the multi-faceted producer remains a staple in the avant-garde circles of hip-hop x electronica cross pollination. Breeding about a “machine gun funk” (sans Notorious B.I.G) in his work, Prefuse has earned himself a place rubbing elbows with the likes of Gaslamp Killer, Diamond Wrist Watches, Savath y Savalas and others generating that raw, gritty, genre-bending brand of bass music. | more

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THE STYLIST LA SAMPLE SALE
WHEN: Saturday, January 25th, 11am-4pm
WHERE: 3793 Wade St, Los Angeles, CA 90066
WHAT: Stylist LA have long played that role of older sister lending party dresses, frocks and merch to many an Angeleno, and this weekend, fans can keep the goods for good at their sample sale. Score dresses from the likes of Parker NYC and LA-based brands like Naven, Nightcap, Paper Brown, Boulee, and many more, priced anywhere from $5 to $100. Also score some Bettini swimwear and Treadsmen tees while you’re at it. | more

 

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ALEX PRAGER FACE IN THE CROWD OPENING RECEPTION
WHEN:
Saturday, January 25th, 6-8pm
WHERE: M+B | 612 N. Almont Dr. Los Angeles, California 90069
WHAT: Alex Prager brings her busy city inspired photographs to, well, our busy city. With elaborately staged crowd gatherings, Prager seems to be in nearly impossible vantage points that make her lens appear birdlike. Her exhibit will be on display until March 8th. | more

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RYAN HEMSWORTH AT THE ECHOPLEX
WHEN: Saturday, January 25th, 9pm
WHERE: 1822 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026
WHAT: Ryan Hemsworth has had a grip on our sonically-inclined souls since 2010, and that grip just seemed to get tighter since the release of his 2013 album “Guilt Trips.” With a penchant for sampling and curating remixes like Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You,” and Tinashe’s “Boss,” that rival the originals, Ryan Hemsworth has proven that sometimes, new is indeed better. | more

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LAST GANG RECORDS X ZANEROBE POST GRAMMY AFTER PARTY
WHEN: Tuesday, January 28 at 10pm
WHERE: Honeycut | 819 South Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90017
WHAT: Forget watcha heard about any other Grammy after party, Last Gang Records — home to beloved beatsmiths Ryan Hemsworth, MSTRKRFT, Purity Ring, and Tiga — is showing love to their extended Last Gang family out here in Los Angeles. We wish we could tell you who is on the surprise guest DJ list, but that would be taking all the fun out of the surprise — you’re just going to have to roll through and see for yourself. RSVP for entry at [email protected] OR check out our instagram for your chance to win VIP entry and a complete outfit from Australian menswear label, Zanerobe. | more

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LIVING ROOM AFFAIR AT EBANOS CROSSING
WHEN: Wednesday, January 29, 9pm
WHERE: 200 South Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
WHAT: Cocktails, beats and art have quickly become part of our weekly Wednesday night route, particularly in Ebanos Crossing style. This upcoming Living Room Affair is pairing up with Russian Standard to provide libations, and Formosa Cafe’s Billy Ray to pour. Dominique Ovalle will be showcasing her perceptive paintings on nature  and jazz/hip-hop duo Aragorn and Olivia providing a live showcase. On top of all that, Koshka will be in the house with a  gift certificate raffle giveaway — as if you needed any more reasons to hang out with us. See you then. | more

21 QUESTIONS: HOUSE DJ/PRODUCER JESSE ROSE

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The terminology and culture associated with “house music” has grown so expansive over the years, that very few relay the genre back to what it originally was in the 90s, and there are even fewer that stick to that regard. Jesse Rose, thankfully, is not of the former, but of the latter. The British-by-way-of-Los Angeles DJ/producer garners a discography of his unique blend of Chicago house and early Detroit techno, paying homage to house music’s glory days in warehouses and underground clubs. We caught up with the house guru to (briefly) pick his brain right before he released 12 tracks that are up for grabs for the freesies on his Facebook today. Check the Q&A and stream the tracks below.

1. So, what’s up?

Just got back from Mexico playing at BPM Festival which was great. Spending a few days home in LA while getting ready to go on tour in Australia next week.

2. Can we get you something to drink?
Normally a few shots of tequila and a vodka soda but this week i’ll just take water please.

3. What are you wearing?
Always have a different pair of Nike’s on my feet, a pair of Paul Smith jeans and a black pocketed American Apparel tee.

4. Are you interested in anyone right now?
I guess when you’re not interested in anyone your life is pretty boring right.

5. Do anything last night?
Was thinking about someone, doing a remix for playmode, while trying to finish some email interviews.
6. How late did you stay up?
Til about 4am

7. Meals or snacks?
Meals and snacks, I love food!
8. If life could resemble any soundtrack…
La Haine – both the movie and the soundtrack remind me of where I grew up in London, even though it was shot in the outskirts of Paris.

9. The fashion moment you most regret…
Everything from the age of 11-16.

10. Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?
Spike Jonze, Marvin Gaye, Scarlett Johansson’s voice, Jamie Oliver (he could cook), Paulo Coehlo, Jhene Aiko, Woody Allen, this list could go on for days.. I’d probs have to hire a bigger house for the night.

11. What’s your best dance move?
the Flat Eric head nod – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmsbP13xu6k

12. Who’s your biggest fan?
Probs my mum. Otherwise there is a guy in Italy who changed his whole internet profile to have my name and picture, was a bit scary.

13. You kissed a girl and liked it?
Yeah and?

14. Who would you hire to write your theme song?
Roy Ayers & Leon Ware. I can hear it now.

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15. Ever sit down in the shower?
There is a great wooden seat built in to my shower but i’ve never sat in it. I’m too busy dancing.

16. Last three Google searches…
Scarlett Johansson’s voice, Scarlett Johansson’s voice, Scarlett Johansson’s voice

17. Are you listening to music right now?
Nope, enjoying the silence.

18. Will you text the person you like today?
Yep, already done so a few times.

19. If we gave you $50, what would you buy?
Probs give it away to the homeless guy who chills at my local gas station and maybe karma will hit me with a cheeky $100.

20. What are you doing later?
Getting older

21. Can we come?
Why not?

THE WEEKLY: ART TAKES OVER LA, WAVY BEATS, B-BOYS/B-GIRLS GET DOWN + MORE

A rundown of the best events in our fair city this week. 

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Photo by: Jay Mark Johnson

PHOTO LA
WHEN: Thursday, January 16 to Sunday, January 19
WHERE: LA MART | 1933 Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90007
WHAT: If the only art you’ve seen lately is the galaxy wallpaper on your laptop, it may be time to step out and sharpen your visual acuity. Photo LA is our city’s premier gathering of the photography and arts communities and promises a vast selection of photography, installations, and seminars. Tix are $20. |  more info

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“The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” (1991) | Damien Hirst
*Prints of the sculpture available at LA Art Show

LA ART SHOW
WHEN: Now through Sunday, January 19
WHERE: LA Convention Center | 1201 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90015
WHAT: If Photo LA left you inspired, visit the LA Art Show to round out your journey to aesthetic fulfillment. Three sections await your exploration: Modern & Contemporary, Historic & Traditional Contemporary, and the IFDPA Los Angeles Fine Print Fair. Tix are $20, with a $5 discount if purchased online. | more info

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GIRAFFAGE, GROUNDISLAVA, ASTRONAUTICA
WHEN: Friday, January 17, at 9pm
WHERE: King King | 6555 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028
WHAT: Bedroom producer turned in-demand beatsmith Giraffage pays a visit to Hollywood to grace our fair city with what we’re hoping for is more of his signature concoctions of lush vibes, synths and beats. LA’s own Groundislava and Astronautica provide the counter attack to Giraffage, with their own brand of wavy beats to shake up Hollywood. | more info

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LOS ANGELES CYPHER ADIKTS 3 YEAR ANNIVERSARY
WHEN: Saturday, January 17 at 9pm-1am ; Sunday, January 18 at 6pm-9pm
WHERE: Think Tank Gallery | 939 Maple Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90015
WHAT: Practice your b-boy stance, or learn from the best at the Cypher Adikts event, celebrating three years of heavy dedication to one of the key elements of hip-hop. Cypher Adikts was founded with the intention to bring back the essence of dance by throwing out formal competitions and rules and instead encouraging the humble cypher.. Expect to see some of the best b-boys/b-girls on the planet  and check out the one night only photo and art show showcase “The Portrait of Hip-Hop: From the Inside Out”, with works from photographers Joe Conzo, Ervin Arana, renowned artists Easy Roc, E3 and more.  | more info

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JOEL KYACK: “OLD SAILORS NEVER DIE” OPENING
WHEN: Saturday, January 18, 6-10pm
WHERE: Francois Ghebaly Gallery | 2245 E Washington, Los Angeles, CA 90021
WHAT: There’s not much info on Joel Kyack’s upcoming show. In lieu of a tradiitional press release, there’s an odd Q&A with the artist. The first question asks: “If you were to be eaten, how would you like it to be?” The multiple choice answers are: a) chewed up; b) swallowed whole; c) from the inside out. Morbid, but we’re intrigued.  | more info

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FOOD IS ART” DINNER BY NYESHA ARRINGTON
WHEN: Sunday, January 19-20; Various Seatings
WHERE: The Farmers Kitchen | 1555 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028
WHAT: Ever tried to replicate the fancy platings of high-end, fine dining restaurants? Us too. And we failed. Miserably. Leave the artistry to the experts and sit at the table of Chef Nyesha Arrington, whose dinners this weekend promise a unique dining experience that uses food as a medium for art. An open kitchen will allow you to see dishes like grilled New England Calamari with Tangerine BBQ and marigold being made. | more info

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INVISIBL SKRATCH PIKLZ AT LOW END THEORY
WHEN: Wednesday, January 22, at 9pm
WHERE: Airliner | 2419 North Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90031
WHAT: Low End Theory founder DJ D-Styles is doing us a huge favor and bringing in two of his legendary turntable brethren, Shortkut and DJ QBert, to show LA just exactly how the Bay Area works the one’s and two’s. The Invisibl Skratch Piklz were pioneers in the world of turntablism and they show no hint of retirement just yet.  | more info

RECAP: CHAMPION SHOWCASE POPS OFF DOPE VIBES AT TRIED + TRUE CO.

Lo and behold, Champion‘s sole responsibility for supplying us with sweatshirts and sweatpants has wandered into streetwear territory and we can’t wait to get our hands on some of their 2014 Street Active Collection. This past Friday, we had the absolute pleasure of co-hosting Champion USA’s pop-up-slash-launch party on Fairfax’s vintage threads shop, Tried + True Co.

The launch party had every inkling of hip-hop present: classic rap jams (no semblance of “Who is Outkast?” in this jawn) provided by DJ Hapa and DJ Seano, b-boys and b-girls servin’ the floor and Hennessy pouring. To top it off, artist Mike Norice was in full effect, conjuring up a dope live painting piece featuring the illicit Wu-Tang Clan;  we talkin’ “C.R.E.A.M” — Champion Rules Everything Around Me. Dolla-dolla bill, ya’ll.

 

For Champion Active Wear Fall 2014 Collection wholesale inquiries, contact Scott Roberts — [email protected]

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THE WEEKLY: ARTWALK X VAPES, POP-UPS, CRAZY LA + MORE

A rundown of the best events in our city this week. 

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ARTWALK LA PRESENTS: STREET / SAINT, A SOLO EXHIBIT BY STEVE PINEDA

WHEN: Thursday, January 9, 7pm-11pm
WHERE: Vape Supply Co. | 129 East Sixth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014
WHAT: The boys at Vape Supply Co. are getting their feet wet for their first Artwalk LA exhibit, Street / Saint,  featuring Nike designer-slash-artist Steven Pineda, otherwise known as ESPY. Pop in during your first of many  2014 Artwalks and indulge in complimentary drinks from Monaco, tunes from guest DJ Wendy City and check out some of the shop’s top-choice vape pens and juices. Oh, and did we mention there’s a rooftop lounge? |  more info

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YOUNGBLOOD HAWKE AT THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

WHEN: Friday, January 10, 5:30pm
WHERE: 900 Expositoin Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90007
WHAT: Poppy, funky and all things reminiscent of summertime and swimming pools, Youngblood Hawke was born out of late night musings between friends turned bandmates, Sam Martin and Simon Katz. The two had previous stints with another band, but out of yearning for a creative outlet sans commercial pressures, Youngblood Hawke was born. Bringing on songwriter Alice Katz, drummer Nik Hughes and Tasso Smith, the five friends have come to encompass what it’s like to be young and unsure of what life has in store — but not without a few dance parties along the way. | more info

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CHAMPION X TRIED & TRUE POP-UP / LAUNCH PARTY

WHEN: Friday, January 10th, 7pm-10pm
WHERE: 507 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036
WHAT: Champion USA is set to debut their Fall 2014 collection during a week long pop-up shop at Tried + True boutique on Fairfax. Celebrate the launch this Friday where exclusive garments from Champion’s Street Active Collection will be available to purchase for both industry folk and civilians alike. | more info

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WILLIAM EGGLESTON OPENING RECEPTION

WHEN: Saturday, January 11th, 6pm-8pm
WHERE: Gagosian Gallery | 456 North Camden Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
WHAT: Pioneer of color film and member of the prestigious permanent collection at MoMA,  photographer William Eggleston presents his collection At Zenith XI for the Gagosian Gallery through February 20th. Catch the exhibit’s opening reception this Saturday in Beverly Hills. | more info

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KCRW PRESENTS: UNFICTIONAL LIVE 

WHEN: Sunday, January 12, 5pm
WHERE: The Smell | 247 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
WHAT: As we Angelenos know all too well, you can’t live in this town for long before you rack up a few strange stories.  This Sunday, the local gods over at KCRW will partner up RIOT LA to present Unfictional Live —  an in-real-time installment of the Independent Producer Project, from the station that showcases odd, funny, and compelling tales indigenous to LA. | more info

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DWNTWN RESIDENCY AT THE SATELLITE

WHEN:  Monday, January 13th, 8:00pm
WHERE: 1717 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
WHAT: Everybody knows Monday is the new Thursday. Next week,  twinkle electro-pop kids DWNTWN kick off their monthly residence at The Satellite. All of January, our favorite live-music destination in Silverlake will play host to the alt-pop quartet, whose debut EP “Red Room” has already received notable praise by the prophets over at Spotify. | more info

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ROBERT GRAHAM EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION AT KAYNE GRIFFIN CORCORAN

WHEN: Tuesday, January 14, 7pm-9pm
WHERE: 1201 South La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90010
WHAT: Robert Graham has long been known for his affinity for the human form in bronze. And as the first exhibit for the Kayne Griffin Corcoran, visitors will experience such, but on a miniscule scale and made of wax, which was the focus of Graham’s early work. The minute figures — complete with perfectly sculpted appendages and detail — twist and distort themselves in plexiglass boxes that leave context up to the viewers’ imaginations. |  more info

21 QUESTIONS: AUSSIE SINGER/SONGWRITER ELIZABETH ROSE

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For a long time, we had trouble putting a face to the name Elizabeth Rose after hearing her feature on Flight Facilities’ 2013 Soul Train-reminiscent jam “I Didn’t Believe,” and since then we haven’t heard the singer/songwriter without a tinge of soul ever since that first taste. Dropping her EP, The Good Life, on January 17, the five-track project teeters more toward a straight-forward electronic production, but it’s Elizabeth’s vocal stylings that adds on soulful inklings as heard on the Flight Facilities collab — to put it simply, think of an Australian Katy B. We caught up with Elizabeth for a quick 21 questions sesh, check out our run-down with her below.

1. So what’s up?
Nothing much, on the bus on my way home now.
2. Can we get you something to drink?
Yes please I need a sugar hit! A fizzy lemonade por favor!

3. What are you wearing?
Pair of Nikes that I bought in NY recently, denim skirt, R&S records t shirt that my boyfriend got me for Christmas

4. Are you interested in anyone right now? 
Yep

5. Do anything last night?
Watched that David lynch movie Mulholland Drive right before bed…bad choice

6. How late did you stay up?
Mm til about 2am

7. Meals or snacks?
Meals

8. How often do you consume alcohol?
Not very often actually! Every now and then when it’s free/on my rider haha

9. It’s midnight and you’re hungry, what are you craving?
Aero bar block of chocolate

10. Cats or dogs?
Definitely dogs!

11. Favorite hip-hop producers…
Dark child, Timbaland, Pharrell

12. Who you listening to music right now?
‘All I could do’ by Oscar Key Sung

13. Ultimate festival lineup? (Not including yourself)
The Knife, Caribou, The Chemical Brothers, Jean Michelle Jarre and Outkast!

14. Who would you want to see live via hologram?
Jean Michelle Jarre – I want to see the intricacy behind all of the synths he plays

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15. Most embarrassing moment?
I’ve had many… One recently was when I didn’t wear my glasses to a show and watched another band play before me; backstage afterwards I said to this guy “Hey great set” and he says, “I wasn’t playing…” and I went bright red and couldn’t dig myself out of it!

16. If life could resemble any film…
It would be Donnie Darko… What is reality? Ah, I think too much..

17. Favorite place to go on the weekend?
Flea markets!

18. Your dream project?
To restore an old Victorian terrace house haha…been watching way too much of that show Grand Designs

19. If we gave you $50, what would you buy?
I’d pay off my phone bill because I’m way over due… Can I have the $50?

20. What are you doing later?
Looking for houses to rent online

21. Can we come?
Sure can, help me find a place!

THE WEEKLY: STEAMPUNK ACROBATICS, FLOSSTRADAMUS + MORE

A rundown of the best events in our fair city this week.

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LOVE NAIL TREE 7TH EDITION CHRISTMAS WAREHOUSE SHOPPING EVENT
WHEN: Thursday, December 19, 6pm-11pm & Friday, December 20, 10am-7pm
WHERE: The Warehaas | 611 Gladys Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90021
WHAT: We don’t always wear graphic tees–but when we do, we make sure they tell a story. Celebrate visual storytelling and clothing with a meaning by visiting Love Nail Tree’s 7th Edition shopping event tonight. Expect drinks, homemade desserts, Christmas music, and first grabs at Love Nail Tree’s collection. | more info

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UPXUNDR X VIPER ROOM: ‘GRAVY’ POP-UP & PARTY
WHEN: Friday, December 20 at 8:30pm
WHERE: 8852 West Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069
WHAT: Purveyors of the ultimate casual-luxe tees and jerseys, UPXUNDR have been on our radar for a minute. This Friday they team up with the iconic Viper Room for a party soundtracked by up-and-coming beatsmiths and DJs: Esta, Kittens, Joe-Kay and Abeskees. Better yet, get 25% off all the UPXUNDR gear you can get your hands on. $10 pre-sale; $15 at the door. | more info

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CULTS AT HOUSE OF BLUES, LA
WHEN: Saturday, December 21 at 7:30pm
WHERE: 8430 West Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069
WHAT: NYC-by-way-of-San Diego duo Cults are making their way home and bringing their sunny, synth-pop with them from the east coast back to where it belongs. Band members Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin’s whole surf-pop vibe brings about longings of summer, which they probably desperately need in New York this time of year, but while the two are home are the holidays, we could use our own dosage of summer, sun-kissed tuneage. | more info

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LUCENT DOSSIER EXPERIENCE AT THE FONDA

WHEN: Saturday, December 21 at 8pm
WHERE: 6126 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90028
WHAT: Acrobats, fire dancers, and snake charmers are just some of the many oddities you may find at a Lucent Dossier Experience show. You may have gotten a taste of this highly theatrical troupe at the Do Lab’s stage at Coachella, but this Saturday, head to the Fonda for the full experience, where steampunk meets electronica meets trapeze for a highly interactive and surreal performance. | more info

photos by Clayton Hauck for Flosstradamus

FLOSSTRADAMUS AT THE WILTERN
WHEN: Saturday, December 21 at 8pm
WHERE: 3790 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90010
WHAT: For the past eight years, Chi-town boys J2K and Autobot have made breaking new sounds to audiences all over the globe their prerogative and have become club-kings in the process. With their Major Lazer “Original Don” flip introducing them to the masses, the duo have a rep of tearing down every venue they step into:  from warehouse to mainstage, the two have taken party-rocking to a whole different level that doesn’t involve any shuffling whatsoever.  | more info

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UGLY SWEATER RUN AT LA STATE HISTORIC PARK
WHEN: Saturday, December 21, 11am
WHERE: 1245 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
WHAT:  Put your hideous christmas sweater to more than one use by rockin’ it at this Saturday’s Ugly Sweater Run. The LA State Historic Park hosts this 5k run dubbed “the ugliest 5k in the world.” Ditch the gatorade and grab a hot chocolate during the run, and at the end of the race, you’ll receive a choice of Sam Adam’s Winter Lager, Boston Lager, or Angry Orchard Hard Cider. Yum.  | more info

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LA COUNTY HOLIDAY CELEBRATION
WHEN: Tuesday, December 24, 3-6pm
WHERE: Dorothy Chandler Pavilion | 135 N Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
WHAT: True to tradition, the LA County Arts Commission presents its 54th annual holiday celebration, complete with over 800 performers presenting music and dance representative of the many cultures and neighborhoods in our fair city. Emmy-nominated performances and there’s free parking at the Music Center? The arts commission knows how to cater to their Angelenos.  | more info

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21 QUESTIONS: MELBOURNE-BRED SINGER CHELA

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Melbourne-based singer, Chelsea Wheatley — or more affectionately known as Chela — has been brandishing about some irresistible electro synth-pop that not only caught our attention recently, but also the folks at Noisey. With singles like “Romanticise,” “Plastic Gun,” and “Full Moon,” Chela might be another Melbourne-ite to make a big international breakthrough. Check out her 21 Questions segment with us below.

So what’s up?
I’m busily getting ready to shoot my next music video this weekend for ‘Zero’ which will be my first single of 2014.

Can we get you something to drink?
Yes please! I’m dreaming of a root beer float.

What are you wearing?
Black leather pants, silver docs, a silver silk sports vest and a gold chain with a dragon holograph pendant which I got from The Cobra Shop a couple weeks ago.

Are you interested in anyone right now?
I’m interested in lots of people.

Do anything last night?
I went to watch a few friends bands play at The Kelvin Club in Melbourne – Citizen Sex & All The Colours. It was a good time.

How late did you stay up?
Til 1, way past my bedtime.

Meals or snacks?
Meals! Big burgers with fries and a shake!

How often do you consume alcohol?
Never unless it’s in dessert, I’m intolerant. I’ve got the AZN flush.

Favorite rapper?
Ninja

Blue or black ink?
Black

Ever sit down in the shower?
Heck no, I’m a ‘germaphobe’.

Who’s on your current playlist?
Too many to list. Arthur Russell, Kindness, Aaliyah, Doobie Brothers, Andrew W. K. Haim, Blood Orange, Arcade Fire, Chairlift, M83, Backstreet Boys to name a few..

Favorite 2000’s pop hits?
Too many to list again! Here’s some – Casanova by Ultimate Kaos, Getting Jiggy With It by Will Smith, Say My Name by Destiny’s Child, Toxic by Britney, Doo Wop That Thing by Lauryn Hill, Hey Ya by Outkast, Pop Ya Collar by Usher, Ride With Me by Nelly, Remix To Ignition by R. Kelly.

Favorite One Direction member?
The only one whose name I know is Harry Styles, is he the one with the hair? :/

Most embarrassing moment?
This is hard! I don’t get embarrassed often. Maybe when I had to wear a plate in my mouth at school (I had fucked teeth), I was pretty embarrassed about that.

If life could resemble any film…
Peter Pan.

Favorite place to go on the weekends?
Wide Open Road in Brunswick for breakfast.

Your dream project?
To make an album next year!

If we gave you $50, what would you buy?
Everyone a round of root beer floats.

What are you doing later?
Going to the opening of my friends new vintage motorcycle store.

Can we come?
Heck yes!

BENEATH THE BASS: THUNDERCAT TALKS “APOCALYPSE” AND HOW MUCH HE APPRECIATES DRAKE

Last Thursday, Los Angeles born-and-bred Stephen Bruner, better known as Thundercat, topped off his North American fall tour with a fantastic homecoming show that would make any native proud to regard him as an Angeleno brethren.

Thundercat’s latest album, Apocalypse, was recently mentioned at number 29 on Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Songs of 2013 for his hit, “Oh Sheit It’s X,” and has received rave reviews on the album since it’s release earlier this summer. An album ripe with inklings of Thundercat’s genre-versatility – due to previous stints with acts like Suicidal Tendencies and Erykah Badu – and the thundering cohesive direction from Brainfeeder brother Flying Lotus, Apocalypse was built with just as much emotion as it was with skill and talent, a feat that transferred directly to his performance that night.

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Photo courtesy of Michael Melwani | IHEARTCOMIX

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Photo courtesy of Michael Melwani | IHEARTCOMIX

We got to chill with the cat right before he went on to blow everyone’s minds away, and while maintaining eye contact during the conversation was a little difficult due to his Rick James-esque hair-do, talking with Stephen Bruner proved that he is everything we’ve heard about him and so much more. Check out the interview below to see what he had to say about coming home, his appreciation for Drake and how hard it is to sing and play at the same time.

LAC: How does it feel to be back in LA? Good? How was the tour?

Thundercat:  Feels good, man. Feels good to be home. Anytime I leave for a long time I get weirded out cause I miss the dynamic of being at home. The tour  was really tight. (laughs) It was fun, everyday was different, it was an adventure. At one point I had both of my brothers with me, and then we switched in the middle of it – it was just a lot of fun.

LAC: What was the craziest city?

T: Toronto, by far. Toronto goes nuts. The club we went to after the show was just nuts. But I do want to say that I did have a lot of fun on the other side of the states, like towards Philly, New York, Chicago, folks there were really into the show.

LAC: Anything like that New Year’s party?

T: (Laughs) No, not at all. Yeah that’s still the epic one – to this day we still refer to that party. (Flying) Lotus still gets mad about too, he was in Australia and we talked about it the other day and out of nowhere he was like, “It’s cool, we don’t have to talk about it,” and I just laughed. He missed out, he can still feel it.

LAC: Has the transition from being a sideman to a front man gotten easier as you’ve been working on your music and been on tour?

T: Yeah, it’s been a couple years since I started that whole process. I’ve still been learning a couple things about being the frontman, but it’s funny because I still get nervous when I come home. I feel like it’s too personal (because) there’s a lot of people here that are friends, and they’re all looking at me, or family’s here and they’re all like, “Oh, look at my baby!” Kinda weirds me out a bit, but it’s cool.

LAC: As your vocals styling’s have expanded, has that changed how you write your music?

T: It has a bit, I mean, I am absolutely more comfortable getting ideas out without being held back by the fact that I’m concerned how it’s going to come off how I sound. I know areas I’m comfortable with and areas I’m more willing to explore – I wouldn’t mind being pushed a bit though, you know?

LAC: Prior to, you were just writing music to play on the bass and now you’re singing and also a solo act. Is there a way you balance your expression between your instrument and your vocals as you become more comfortable?  

T: Yeah, a little bit. It’s funny because sometimes I’ll see footage and if I start playing, I’ll stop singing because it’s difficult for me (to do) both at the same time. But for the most part if I’m playing something solid and steady, it’s easier for me sing. But a lot of the time with the music, we try to use improv as much as possible and sometimes they get mixed up.

LAC: So it’s almost like, once one switch is turned on the other gets turned off.

T: Yeah, that’s where it can get hairy, but I think that’s also the fun part too because it leaves the door open for other things to happen.

LAC: You’ve said being a bass player it has forced to be creative and determined in a particular way.

T: It’s aided in the melodic structure in music for me in a lot of ways. It’s also like, looking at different examples and bass players in the past as big shoes to fill, but it’s also brings about this thing where there’s this inquisitive thinking on how far I can go playing and singing. There’s a lot to it, but it’s a bit simple when you spend time with it I guess, but you really have to dedicate yourself to it. It’s a funny thing because a lot of the songs, with some of the progressions I can’t outright sing over it. Sometimes I have to literally sit out and think about sustaining my voice over these chord progressions that are going on under it.

LAC: It gets super technical to a certain point.

T: Yeah, some of these songs, I’ve gotten good when I’m singing them at home. (laughs)

LAC: Considering the wide range of acts you’ve played with – from Suicidal Tendencies to Mac Miller and The Internet – what are some of the differences when playing with artists of varying caliber and ages?

T: I mean, there are always differences but a lot of the times you just try to feel out the vibe. Everybody has different sets of emotions and things that come with where they’re at, so I try not to over or under estimate anything, I just try to find a good balance to how whatever is going to occur between us musically is going to happen. I remember when I was in Suicidal and they would always be saying to me, “You know this stuff ain’t no joke, you gotta take it seriously,” and yet it felt really simple to me. The funny thing is that most of the time, when someone can’t tell you what they’re not hearing, that’s the part that’s actually a little bit more difficult. You know, I never judge, I just try to give what I can when I’m involved.

LAC: I’ve heard that you’d love to work with Drake.

T: I think it has to do with the fact that I’m a big fan of Drake, naturally. At the same time I’m a fan of where he comes from. That coupled with the fact that hearing about he’s really in touch with how he feels with his music, no matter what anyone says, he set a trend for people – that it’s okay to be sensitive, it’s okay to be emotional about certain things that happen when before it’s always been about downplaying (those emotions.) It was just something I always appreciated about him as an artist.

LAC: Is it much of a stretch to say that Apocalypse is as much FlyLo’s project as it is yours?

T: It’s not a stretch at all. The best way to describe is that the only thing that I can think of is that I put a lot of care into Lotus’s music and I treat it like it’s mine, straight up and down. And I would hope that people can see and tell that that’s how it feels. That’s why I don’t have a problem with his say-so in mine because I know he treats my music as his too. The lines have always been blurred between me and him and it’s never been anything weird. When we first started working together, it was just like me and him watching Adventure Time, have a computer one, have like, three basses lining up and just collaborating and coming up with ideas. It was a constant, “Let’s do more,” with me and him at that point. And we try to capitalize on it as much as we can.

LAC: So what’s up for 2014? Big things? A haircut?

T: (laughs) Well the hair isn’t changing, that’s for sure. We got a long of things in the works, me and Lotus are always trying to take over the world. That coupled with a bunch of different things, a lot of collaborations, I’ve been doing a lot of work with Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, Donald Glover, a few more things. I’m working on a new album of course. Kind of trying to take it easy, but still be as fast and forward as I can.

 

TO NO COMPARISON: PORTLAND’S SHY GIRLS TALKS MOONLIGHTING FOR HIS MUSIC

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Portland’s Dan Vidmar, otherwise known as Shy Girls, is an up-and-coming vocalist-slash-producer-slash-artist that has been slated to aid in the City of Roses’s R&B resurgence, but he’d be the last person to tell you that. Similar to a majority of this music generation’s  genre-transcending artists, Shy Girls hates labels and hates to be compared, especially when it involves the words, “sexy,” “baby-making,” or “The Weeknd.” But in what other ways could you describe vocals that are airy in tone yet sultry and emotional in delivery? How else are you to supposed to treat clear production, with melodies that are minimalist and captivating at the same time? What else can be said for songwriting so delicate and empathetically-driven? As far as Shy Girls is concerned, he says to let the music speak for itself. Check out the interview below to see what he has to say for himself.

LAC: How’s life? You’re on tour right now and released the Timeshare EP a few months ago, what’s life been like since?

SH: It’s been good. Tour’s been like a bunch of highs and a bunch of lows, but overall it’s been great. We’re having a good time going through it and the EP has been doing really well, we’re pretty satisfied with the reception.

LAC: It’s not your first project though, right?

SH: It’s my first release technically because Sex in the City was kind of a collection of demos that sort of became “released.” Its really just something I sort of started sharing around with friends on SoundCloud and I packaged it up and released it on Bandcamp, Timeshare is the first actual release.

LAC: How did you get in touch with Cyril Hahn to make “Perfect Form”?

SH: Cyril got in touch with me after he heard “Under Attack,” and basically said that he was looking for a vocalist and releasing the track on PMR [Records]. I was super stoked because I loved his remixes and I was a big fan, so I was all for it. We approached it where I gave him an a cappella because I knew he was used to remixing vocal stems, so I gave him just that. I recorded the song in the studio as I pictured it in my head, sent it to him and let him do all the production.

LAC: That’s not really a normal way to make track though is it?

SH: Yeah, it isn’t. But we sort of strategically did it that way because I felt that’s how I work best. If I’m sent a track and it’s really busy or there’s a lot going on, that sort of gets in my head and I can’t really sing or create the melodies I would otherwise. And he also works that way where he starts with an a cappella – like the Destiny’s Child remix – where he took the vocals of the track and built around that. We just kind of figured out over a couple emails that that was the best way to approach it.

LAC: So I understand that you work in a hospital emergency room. Did that impact the writing process of your music in any way?

SH: People ask me that a lot and I don’t know if I can say that it impacted me directly. I think that maybe down the road I can look back and say something like, ‘Oh, that time in my life was totally sculpted by the things I saw at work,’ but I think it’s really too immediate right now to say that. I can’t quite connect the dots yet. I mean, I do see a lot of people at work – a variety of personalities and experiences in general. Most people go through their day seeing a certain spectrum of behavior and I feel like I see a much larger spectrum of behavior so that probably in some way effects how I approach the personalities I saw.

LAC: I think the idea is that working in a hospital, you see people on the edge of their emotions, and in turn, whether by coincidence or not, translated into Timeshare, which is noted for its high-emotion.

SH: Well yeah, the idea makes sense because working in the hospital you see people that are feeling intense emotion, much more than you or I. It’s still hard [to make the connection] though, because when I come home from work, I tend to shut that part of my life off because I have to. It’s the only way to do that kind of work, is to leave it at work. It’s hard for me to think that ‘Oh, work is affecting me,’ in an immediate sense, because it isn’t really.

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LAC: Given that, what did influence the EP?

SH: I guess it was just a lot of social experiences. In the last two years, there have been new friendships made, changes in relationships, transitioning from this point where I was sort of working all the time and spending time alone into this world where I have a lot intense relationships with people and being able to navigate that world. I guess that was that.

LAC: So where did the name come from?

SH: There really isn’t a good story, to be honest. It’s kind of a random thing, but it does kind of make sense with the music, to me at least – there’s kind of a feminine side to it, an intimate sense about it. I think also when I first started doing it, I had to come up with it at some point and I needed a name to put onto this body of work I created to send to my friends.

LAC: Why don’t you like the term “baby-making music”?

SH: I think people hear the soprano sax solo on “Under Attack” and some of the funkier elements or even just the fact that it’s slow and they just associate that with baby-making music. I understand it, I get where people get it, but at the same time it’s just like people have one word for something, and if anything falls anywhere remotely close to it, they just label it. Nowadays anything that’s slow is labeled “sexy” or “baby-making.” It’s basically a cop out.

LAC: Artists nowadays seem to be constantly transcending genres, thus hate genre-labeling.

SH: I guess I never really think about that at all, like how other people are going to label it. Because for me, my job is just to make music, whereas (I think) it’s the job of the critic to place the label on it, and they will. But it doesn’t affect how I make music.

LAC: Did you ever think about how people were going to perceive it? Or was it more of a, “Here I made this, I hope you like it”?

SH: Yeah, I mean I didn’t really think that far ahead in regards to how people are going to perceive it. But you do always think about it a little bit, but for me it was more like, ‘how would I perceive this, is this something that I would want to listen to?’ And if so, that’s good enough for me. I’m not really thinking, ‘Oh, I hope people see it one way or another,’ I’m more thinking about how it sounds to me and if it feels good to me.

LAC: So what’s after the tour?

SH: Been working on a lot of new music that will probably be released as a full length album, I’ve also been working on a lot of new guest vocals, maybe a few more surprises within the few months. As far as for Timeshare, we have some remixes to put out, a music video and more touring in the spring.

Shy Girls is doing Los Angeles a favor and gracing us with two appearances as opposed to one. Catch him this Thursday at The Spare Room and on Friday at Bootleg Theater opening for French Horn Rebellion.

RECAP: VAPE SUPPLY CO. CELEBRATES NEW DTLA LOCATION WITH GRANDEUR OPENING

The fellas at the Vape Supply Co. have finally opened their downtown location doors to the masses, with a party to boot. And we just couldn’t say no to personal invites from owners Aaron, Joe, JC and Ben.

A quaint little shop located on East 6th and Los Angeles Street, had a vape bar in full effect with patrons testing out juice and checking out the shop’s wide variety of pens and mods. Sounds from Cornbreezus on the one’s and two’s built up the glamorous, yet laid-back, motif inside the shop.

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Then, if you were crazy enough to brave the cold, or you downed enough cans of Monaco’s cocktails to make you immune to it, you followed makeshift signs and were directed to the 7th floor rooftop terrace. DJ crew the Beat Junkies’ Babu graced the tables after Pasadena’s DJ Serts held it down for most of the evening’s rooftop festivities with his choice hip-hop selection. A mixture of dope sounds and a clear downtown view made it certainly worth the chill

The Vape Supply Co. downtown opening celebration was beyond appropriate for its second store reveal, especially when comprised with quality folks, good drinks, good music and good food. Did we forget to mention there were tacos? Yeah, there were tacos.

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Photos courtesy of: Roy Mananquil

21 QUESTIONS: ABSTRAXION

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Abstraxion is that dude. Since the release of his debut album, Break of Lights, we just can’t seem to get enough of the kid. His brand of house music is heavy in shadow and darkness that is brought to light with soft guitar rifts and futuristic beats, but remains just as infectious. To get a glimpse of the man behind the music, we railed out a series of questions for the 28-year-old London producer before he gave us the boot, but at this point, we’ll take what we can get. Check it out below:

So what’s up?
I’m in my studio right now in Marseille, south of France, finishing a session.

Can we get you something to drink?
A glass of rosé, from Miraval please.

Favorite thing to look at?
Waves

Rock, paper, or scissors?
Rock

Do anything last night?
Yesterday was my birthday, so I stayed with few close friends at home, that’s one of my favorite moments.


How late did you stay up?
Not that late, 3am, as I had to wake up early to work around the release of my album.

Favorite hometown landmark?
I don’t have anything specific in mind but I would say Les Calanques of Marseille in south of France. It’s limestone rocks, peaceful creeks with intense, clear turquoise water.

Live instruments or computer software?
Live instruments as I compose everything with analog instruments in my studio

Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party? Must be alive.
Maybe James Murphy, Brian Eno or Roger Federer. All at the same time.

If life could resemble any film… any film score?
Man on the Moon of Milos Forman… Vangelis film score for Blade Runner

Who would you commission to take/paint/draw your portrait?
Kandinsky

Your worst vice?
Internet


Describe your music in three words?
LIGHT DARK HEART

What was the first thing you said aloud this morning?
BONJOUR!

What are you listening to?
Arcade Fire & Darkside LP, Mount Kimbie remixed by Dj Koze.

Your dream collaboration?
James Murphy, Grizzly Bear, Thom Yorke or Richard D James (Aphex Twin)

Where and when can we catch your next show?
Birthdays in London 6th December, and I’ll be in New York on 14th December at Cameo Gallery for my debut US performance.

If we gave your $50, what would you buy?
I’d probably buy some Vinyls & CDs from Rough Trade.

Last 3 Google searches?
1 – Boiler Room
2 – Homeland S03E10
3 – rough trade NYC

What are you doing later?
I’m gonna have a nice dinner at home, then I’m going out!

Can we come?
No! 😉

NOBODY LISTENS TO TECHNO: LA’S UNDERGROUND DWELLING LIVES ON

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Los Angeles may be known for its glitz and glamor, but our fair city is good for more than snooty bouncers, exorbitant ticket prices and arbitrary dress codes. Might we direct you to the places and parties which dwellers of the underground embrace. In contrast to the recent meteoric rise of commercial electronic dance music, left-field dance music has had a home here for over two decades, starting out in clandestine warehouse parties and eventually finding itself in the mix with slightly more established venues and parties.

With the proliferation of the internet and its social media megaverse, we’re not sure that anything is truly underground anymore, but let’s give it up for some of the movers and shakers of the scene still imparting the underground spirit of techno, house and drum’n’bass.

READ THE FULL FEATURE ON LA’S UNDERGROUND VENUES HERE

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A WARM WELCOME: THE ITALIANS ARE COMING

Welcome.  Right this way.  Please silence your smart phone.  (And forget everything you thought you knew about focaccia.)

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Bucato translates directly to “laundry”: a reference to the customary way handcrafted pasta dries on the line. Nodding to the time spent under Alessandra Spisni at La Vecchia Scuola Bolognese in Italy, studying the traditional ways to properly handle pasta fatto a mano (by hand), Chef Evan Funke has thought of everything, and it is immediately apparent even before the first appetizer has had a moment to cool.

Having recently opened their doors this past summer, Bucato is fetching new buzz to the already famed Helms Bakery District in Culver City. They nonchalantly advertise the sort of authentic Italian food celebrated in New York, but notoriously omitted from the Los Angeles foodie scene.  Without the usual overwhelming onslaught of flavors (so common as to give LA its bad reputation for Italian cuisine), Bucato offers deep, rich fare without a pinch of pretention. It is nothing short of refreshing to find friendly, accessible food that still allows for the feeling of fine dining.

READ THE FULL FEATURE ON BUCATO HERE.

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21 QUESTIONS: LIZ

Mad Decent’s princess LIZ has been making a-whole-lotta noise lately, and we like how it sounds. Her debut release, “Hush,” reminisces on classic 90’s R&B/pop, but remains forward-thinking with inklings of trap and bass music — lace LIZ’s sugary sweet vocals over it, and you have a match-made in 90s-baby-heaven. Coming off a tour opening for Charli XCX, we were able to catch up with LIZ and pick the princess-brain beneath those gorgeous blonde locks.

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So what’s up?
Shivering under the covers right now.

Can we get you something to drink?
Soy caramel brûlée latte, please (holiday season at Starbucks is my fav time)

What are you wearing?
Sweatpants and a really big *NSYNC concert tee that is falling apart because it’s been washed way too many times.

Are you interested in anyone right now?
Kind of, but all the good ones have girlfriends. Ugh.

Do anything last night?
I got home from the studio late and then slept in bed with my mom and my chihuahuas. Maybe this is why I’m single….

How late did you stay up?
Not too late…like 1am-ish

Meals or snacks?
Snacks on snacks on snacks

How often do you consume alcohol?
Like once or twice a week. I really like spicy margaritas or Hennessy on the rocks.

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Favorite rapper?
Bone Thugs n Harmony

Blue or black ink?
Purple!

Ever sit down in the shower?
No, but that sounds really sad.

Who’s on your current playlist?
Trippy Turtle, Bondax, Drake, Kandi, 3LW, Fabolous, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Rhye, Lorde, Disclosure, Ellie Goulding, Katy Perry, Ciara, Ryan Hemsworth, Robyn, Lana Del Rey

Ultimate festival lineup? (Not including yourself)
Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears B2B for like 14 hrs straight

What’s it like being a princess?
LOL I’m more like the younger sister that gets picked on by everyone and left out of activities.

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Most embarrassing moment?
Literally everyday. Rap Game Sky Ferreira.

If life could resemble any film…
The Little Mermaid….I am very down with the aquatic life and feel at home in the ocean. I am a Pisces after all. I am also always falling for guys who are not necessarily the easiest choices. BUT DADDY I LOVE HIM.

Favorite place to go on the weekends?
My best friend, Gia’s place. We throw the best house parties and I always end up making mac ‘n cheese and passing out first. It’s basically the joke amongst my friends.

Your dream project?
To star in romantic comedies and Nicholas Sparks movies like Mandy Moore. Maybe a story where I can die in Channing Tatum’s arms?

If we gave you $50, what would you buy?
I’d probably buy a gift card from my fav frozen yogurt place in the valley.

What are you doing later?
Gonna be in the studio……surprise surprise

Can we come?
Yes! But you have to bring pizza.

POWERFULLY DISJOINTED: STORYBOARD P BUCKLES DOWN FLUME & CHET FAKER’S “DROP THE GAME”

Despite what it’s become in recent years, we have to give it up to MTV for revolutionized music with the music video, especially when done right. It’s videos like Sydney filmmaker Lorin Askill‘s interpretation of Flume and Chet Faker‘s “Drop the Game” that seamlessly weaves the sonic components and visuals together to create a simultaneous storyboard experience.

The dancer in “Drop the Game” is Storyboard P, a Brooklyn dancer that previously interpreted Jay’Z’s entire Magna Carta Holy Grail, who essentially acts as the light among the shadowy streets that he dances upon. Let’s put it this way: if Flume’s dark, lush production is the video’s backdrop, then Storyboard P is Chet Faker’s vocals: the haunting, yet beautiful element that resonates over the track — a direct visual mirror to the balancing act in the sounds.

Flume and Chet Faker are set to release a collaboration project, The Lockjaw EP, on November 26.

PREVIEW: BENJAMIN ALEJANDRO’S “THE TROUBLE IS, YOU THINK YOU HAVE TIME”

This Saturday, self-taught slash self-proclaimed vandal turned street artist Benjamin Alejandro hosts his latest art installment at the Amanda Harris Gallery of Contemporary Art in none other than Sin City, Las Vegas.

Known for his philosophical and iconographic approach to his art, Benjamin’s newest body of work builds upon the famous mug-shot portrait series that featured the likes of Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Lindsay Lohan – simply because of course, you can’t not mention Lindsay Lohan and ‘mug shot’ in the same sentence – and even his own.

 

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By taking moments of past failures – as exemplified by the mug shots – and transforming them into pieces of art that teeter between disturbing and funny, Benjamin has developed a penchant on taking his concepts and ideas on societal worship of celebrities and flips it in an attempt to reveal to viewers just how obsessed we can be.

His latest body of work, “The trouble is, you think you have time,” Benjamin continues to toy with the idea of taking the celebrity off of the pedestal, to reaffirm that they too are also human, which is easy to forget – hell, we saw Adrian Grenier at Harvard & Stone last week, and he looked pretty human ordering a measly PBR.

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For you lucky folks that are in Las Vegas anytime between now and January 18 of next year – and you can definitely count us in for a Sin City visit before the year is over – check out Benjamin’s take on his favorite human beings and maybe take a leaf out of his book: “Some of our giant culture icons were and are human and people just like me and you. We are all human and yet quite capable of great level of influence.”

Go get ’em, tiger.