Wednesday, January 23, 2008

SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER: follow-up photos

my going away party on saturday night was a BLAST!!! it was hot in the 'box' (i.e. middlesex lounge, Boston's sexiest lounge bar) indeed. my friends really made this night very special for me...and of course, also much harder to leave. these folks are my family here and it was so great to have them all together. as usual, my homie KON was off the hook, and as you can see from the pictures, he had the whole room on fire! the glowing faces and the dance floor fever tell it all...thanks again for showing me so much love over the years...i love y'all!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

FOR THE LOVE OF HOUSE: Bradford James & Seed in the City

Bradford James has been one of the defining figures on Boston's underground soulful house music scene along with other major players, such as DJ Bruno, Bob Diesel, Cruzz, KC Hallett, and Soul Revival's Adam Gibbons. With partners, Deknology and Oveous Maximus, he has founded SEED (Soul Enters Every Dancer) Recordings which released a number of gems in the past years. As a performer, he has Dj'ed parties all over New England, Boston, Montreal, Toronto, New York City, Philadelphia, Miami, Amsterdam, Phoenix AZ, and Detroit. In the past he has played parties with Master Kev (Defected/NYC), Lars Behrenroth (XM Radio LA), Andy Ward (Defected, UK), Glen Underground (Chicago), Mike "Agent X" Clark (Detroit), Rudy C (LA), Jesse Outlaw (LA), Hali Toronto), Uzi (Montreal), Ray Bones (Detroit), Joe Dipadova (Phoenix, AZ), Lola & E-MAN (NYC), Dj Bruno (Boston), Louis Benedetti (NJ), Joey Mazza (NJ), MSG (NYC), Joeski & Onionz (NYC), Alix Alvarez (NYC), Santos (Phoenix), Michelle Weeks (NJ), KT Brooks (NJ), Dawn Tallman (NJ), Unified Spirits (NJ) to name a few. Bradford's creative drive never ceases to inspire me. When he is not recording, or spinning at his monthly Seed in the City event, he is busy bringing you the freshest soulful house tunes on a number of different internet radio stations (for a schedule, check his website). What's evident to me is that his seemingly bottomless source of creativity and musical talent will take him to places he's aiming to be at. If you plant the seed of a dream with the right attitude and commitment, it can grow into anything you want it to be...a record label, nightly events, a ask.

L: I always like to ask about my artists' friends creative journey. What were the most influential early childhood musical memories? Tell me a little about what got you into music?

BJ: My mother was the lead singer for a Disco Cover Band. She was very instrumental in my early experiences with music I remember times when I would "act" like her, since she also played the guitar. I would say I was like 6 years old at that point, I never learned how to play the guitar but loved music in general. It later gave me the inspiration to play bells in the church orchestra, then later on playing the clarinet thru jr high school...from there, that's where my major influences in HIP HOP culture really manifested.

L: Who were your early musical influences?

BJ: Well I would have to say the influences I had growing up to guide me into the person I am today would definitly be the Beatles, Africa Bambatta, Sugarhill Gang, Stevie Wonder, Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, Chaka Khan, UTFO, Run DMC, LL Cool J.... I grew up listening to HIP HOP on college radio stations during the early to late 80's so the list could go on and on...

L: You've been working as a DJ for a while now and you've been running the SEED IN THE CITY nights in Boston. What are the pros and the cons of trying to make a living as a DJ?

BJ: This is a good question... Running a night in general is very difficult; there are not alot of opportunities left in Boston which in the 90's had a thriving dance culture/scene. This is mainly because the club owners decide to go mainstream and do what is "safe" and predictable looking at it as a numbers game. When every venue decides to do the same thing (Mind Control) it pushes out the culture and forces people to do either illegal or offnight events. This hurts DJ culture in general, especially when more and more people have become dj's in the past 10 years. This in result has spawned the mp3 business which has been detrimental to the record industry, and community that supports this culture. When I was growing up your local record stores and clubs was the place where you got the culture, the music, especially the inspiration to play music you never heard before. That does not exist anymore in the United States and other parts of the world. Its like taking the diversity which I call the "urban factor" that all corporations are banking on out of the urban markets in a major city like Boston. As far as making a living at it, its possible to do so but your gonna end up playing "status quo" music.
The best thing about playing parties like Seed In The City, being a free party it gives you the opportunity to reconnect with your community in order to build a larger and stronger one. Kind of like going full circle to the early years of Hip Hop when nobody wanted the music played but the people who listened to it. It's very underground these days to say the least. But the feeling of joy people receive is worth it all. Shout out to the Goodlife for letting us keep our vision strong 1 year and running.

L: You also run a record label, right? Where can one find your releases?

BJ: Since almost all of the Vinyl Distributors in Dance Music have gone out of business we currently sell our music on our website, and many other digital download sites like iTunes,,,, for more information check out our site.

L: I heard one of your tracks is coming out on Osunlade's new album on BBE Records. Are there any other collaboration or new projects we should be watching out for?

BJ: Yes, I am very pleased to announce I am executive producer on a project with HBO Def Poet Oveous Maximus and the very talented Boddhi Satva out of the Central Republic of Africa entitled "I Apologize" which is due to be released on Osunlade's new Yoruba Album sometime after the WMC2008. I also have other collaborations one called "HEAVY" which I produced with Tyrone Mixologist Francis out of NYC coming out in 2008 on Trippin Records, UK, another called "Seed Allstarz - The Sniper" with the multi-talented Quentin Harris on Underground Garage Hits label in London that is in stores now. I have alot of remix work as well coming out on NY Soul, Offering Recordings, Shack Music as well as on Seed, so stay on the lookout.

L : From where do you channel your creative energy? What makes the juices flowing?

BJ: My juices flow from interacting with other creative minds whether it be in the club or in the studio. I've learned that everything has been done before from Mozart to Stevie Wonder, classical to jazz; musical frequencies have all been explored thru the technology of yesterday and today. As a producer, I channel my energy thru my natural feelings of past and present experiences when I hear something inspirational. Meditation, Green Tea and alittle scenery never hurts either.

L: What book are you reading these days?

BJ: The book that has my fullest attention is a book recommended by Ron Trent from Prescription Records Fame out of Chicago called "The Music of Time by Preston Nichols". Its about how "electromagnetic energy" (which is what sound waves are technically) has been used for positive and negative uses thru government and mind control. If your looking to explore sound in a different light... the information in this book will shock you.

L: What would be your bucket list [thing you'd like to do before you kick the bucket:]?

BJ: Besides world domination? (joke). I am a very simple person, I feel blessed to have what I have today. Whatever synchronosity has in store for me to achieve success thru positive energy, I welcome it with all of my heart and soul.

Check out the next SEED IN THE CITY event on Friday, February 8th with special guest DJ, Miguel Ortiz (Shanti, NYC///Boston After Hours) at the Goodlife. (note the change of date!!)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

BOOM BAP SUNRISE: Zane Tate breaks it down

One of the hottest debates in the music world revolves around the state of hip-hop today. Dead or alive--- only time will tell, though the debate has certainly invigorated the culture and brought out some truly fresh acts. What's undeniable is that hip-hop is one of the grandfathers of many new filial musical trends, such as electro, broken beat, future soul, nu jazz, downtempo, and countless others. Zane Tate, one of the great new talents on the US broken beat/ nu-jazz scene would surely agree. His first album, BOOM BAP SUNRISE: Rural Sounds Volume One is one the examples of such musical genealogy.

L: I discovered your music through getting curious about your album cover that my friend, Kenji Nakayama, designed. Tell me a little about the long did it take to make it? Who did you work with on it?

Z: I guess your first album always feels like it took your whole life to make since everything sort of built up to that point. But realistically I wrote and recorded most of it over a couple years. Every instrument, every part on Boom Bap Sunrise is me. There's the occasional sample of course, but I played all the instruments (keys, synths, bass, etc.), composed and arranged the songs, programmed the drums. The exception is the remix of Star Slide, which was expertly produced by my good friend Dave Healy aka Green Cigar.

L: I would say your album fits the broken beat genre that is one of the dope new developments on the underground music scene… could you tell me a little bit about the genre and who are your major influences/inspirations?

Z: Yeah it's definitely got a Broken Beat influence as well as Hip Hop and downtempo. I think that influence will be even more pronounced on the next album - I've been listening to a lot of Bugz in the Attic lately. But when I was making this album I was listening to Amp Fiddler a lot, and Mark de Clive-Lowe. Hip Hop artists too like Nicolay, Pete Rock, Kanye. I mixed all those styles up a bit so no single track sounds like pure broken beat or pure hip hop, but they're all heavily influenced by those sounds.

L: When are you the most creative? How do you come up with a track?

Z: Early in the morning, which is why the album's named Boom Bap Sunrise. You know, every day is like a new start with new opportunities, new blessings. And first thing is the morning is when I feel that the most - like today could be anything, so how am I going to participate in that? That inspires me.
From there the music can start with any number of things, like a simple chord progression or beat, or maybe I'm trying to communicate a particular experience or idea. The song "Sunday" for example was written the Sunday after Dilla died so I wanted to write something mournful but celebratory too.

L: What are you working on these days?

Z: A lot! I've been working on some collaborations and productions with other people like my man Tray, Motown Pride, and a few others who I can't mention just yet. I'm writing the next album now, and it's probably going to have a heavier Broken Beat feel, and a heavier Hip Hop feel at the same time. I'm also working on some new Drum and Bass. And I'm preparing my live show.

L: Any wishes for 2008?

Z: I plan to get out on the road a bit. I hope to get a lot of new music out there with some interesting new collaborations - I have more ideas and inspiration than I know what to do with.... It's going to be an exciting year! I hope everybody checks out the Leisure Lab site and of course my site to stay up to date. Good things coming...

Monday, January 14, 2008

CREATIVE CRISS CROSS:Lichiban is their featured member of the week!

one of the freshest and most dynamic creative networking movements on myspace, CREATIVE CRISS CROSS, has decided to feature me as their member of the week!!! i'm so honored! they are up to something pretty amazing and are getting a lot of well-deserved love from their they say "a movement nothing without it's builders"... indeed, CCC is going to grow into a global honeycomb of creative folks that will make you want to be a bee!!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

IT"S OFFICIAL! i'm moving...

it's official! i'm moving to the apple at the end of this month! i will miss you guys so much! come give me a goodbye hug if you are free on saturday. it's my homie and vampire mate, disco & hip-hop expert legend, Kon at the wheels to provide the heat for a special saturday night feeeeeverrrrrr!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

my new work

i've been exploring some new techniques...
this is inspired (obviously) by the Sensual Seduction video everyone is going crazy about.

a new take on an old drawing
this one is an homage to my old cat, Lili.

Friday, January 11, 2008

MANIFEST DESTITUTE: connecting the dots...

thank you Alfredo for featuring me on your blog! Diana Ross, Futura, Dondi White, Don't Doers....MANIFEST DESTITUTE is dope!!!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

CAMERON 38 Gallery Opening: Kngee in the house!

One of my dear friends, KnGee aka Kenji Nakayama, is having a gallery opening along with local artist Rene Gagnon this Friday. Kenji is one of the illest stencil artists out there...his hauntingly beautiful urban landscapes are produced with painstaking precision involving several layers of finely cut stencils. (Photo: KnGee installing his piece on 179 Mass Ave, Boston).

KnGee & Enamel Kingdom collab piece in the Enormous Room (left), KnGee "Reflection Returnal" 2007 (right)

BLACKPOOL Magazine x Lichiban

i submitted a piece for a cover contest...the winner of the contest is determined by voters. you can check it out, there are some great covers .

Friday, January 4, 2008

YUME (BROOKLYN) artshow opening

If you live in NYC, go check out my friend, the lovely miss Fly Lady Di's birthday celebration + art show opening at Brooklyn's YUME, one of the hottest urban gear stores around.
Happy Birthday Mama!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

IF YOU SEE IT YOU CAN BE IT: Urban Thermo Dynamics

1995: Mos Def in U.T.D....ACTUALIZE is the message...that is my new year's resolution. hard work and work that's play. happy 2008 to the kings and the queens of the universe...gotta shine your light!