Musings by Samuel

A blog with musings, observations, and ideas by Samuel Febres, of samuel febres photography & design on technology, life, and arts. 

Finally… Eben

Big ups and congratulations to Eben on the release of his new EP, Finally! Co-produced by EthniKids, go buy or stream ASAP. While your listening to the new album, check out some of the photos I took of Eben during a break while working on Finally.

 

An Interview with The GRS

To give you a better 'picture' of the some of the folks I've gotten a chance to work with, I wanted to share a series of interviews with you.

Check out this interview with The GRS about his music and plans.

SF: First of all, if someone has never heard your music, how would you describe your music to them? Secondly, THE GRS… would you explain or break down your name for folks who might not know what that means?

The GRS: I’m a rapper who plays guitar. I’m a blend of what I like to listen to: New York rap and 60s and 70s counterculture. The GRS stands for the Great Royal Shepherd. I wanted my name to stress a supreme authority. Rappers are always bragging about how awesome they are, and I wanted my name to be a triple boast and that’s why I wanted three words to describe my profile.

SF: How long have you been doing what it is you've been doing musically? What led you to get started in music?

The GRS: I have been rapping since I was 18. Played guitar when I was 12 but I stopped playing til three years ago.

SF: What are some of your musical influences? Do you think they creep out and show in the music you create?

The GRS: My influences are The Beatles and Tupac. I certainly try to mimic Lennon and rappers like Nas all the time!

SF: What's your inspiration when it comes to songwriting? Do you have a game plan or is it an 'as inspiration strikes' type of thing?

The GRS: Inspiration varies, could be a song or a good movie.

SF: Do you have a general theme you keep coming back to musically?

The GRS: My major theme varies between love and anger. I’m either mad about my relationship with the world or I’m in love with what inspires me in the world. My songs carry a balance between the two.

SF: I asked Ben Yang this, and I'd love to see what you think. Musically, Is there someone that you think is underrated or underappreciated, but you love and think should get more love? Why do you think they're underappreciated? Or Why do you think they're below the radar for most folks.

The GRS: Yeah I think there are a lot of bands throughout time that were underrated like the Kinks or the Velvet Underground. Their music challenged the times. Most people want to be accepted and blend in, so that’s why music that’s made for the weirdos doesn’t get as hyped because outcasts are the minority of the world. But I like that kind of music because it develops cult status: liked by few but worshipped by those few. The fans end up making their own bands because of how heavily influenced they are.

SF: Are there any new artists you've discovered recently or someone that you've recently been getting into?

The GRS: Yes actually. I live an hour from LA now so it’s local bands that I admire and influence me. One of them are called Leather Duchess. Heavy metal glam band. They’re kick ass man.

SF: So what do you have cooking right now? Are you in LA or Portland? You are a bit of a rolling stone it seems.

The GRS: Haha I am a Rolling Stone indeed! I’m living in Highland, Ca with my parents. It’s nice out here, I take a walk up a mountain trail right next door to me. I write new songs in my room and then I go out to LA and perform at open mics. I want to meet some punk musicians and form a band. A punk rap band. The songs will resemble a song called Kush Man, which I made with Ethnikids released last year.

SF: We've obviously worked together recently. Do you have a favorite photo from our session together? If so, what do you like about that particular image over the rest of them?

The GRS: Oh man that photosession is one of the happiest memories of my life. Working with Ethnikids in summer of 2015 was a beautiful and exciting time. My favorite photo is the album cover. I really liked what you did with that Sam! You made me an awesome website too! A very creative photo session in those magical woods of Crawfordville! So green! 

The GRS in the magical woods of Crawfordville.

The GRS in the magical woods of Crawfordville.

SF: Quickly, can you break down the look for our session. Explain the style. You had a name for it; what did you call it? As you know, I loved it.

The GRS: Haha I don’t recall the name I called it! It was freelancing through those woods and making jokes while you were being super professional. KD kept making me laugh that day. It was all new to me because I’ve never done a photo shoot before that, but I felt comfortable with you and Ethnikids being as creative as we could.

SF: It's your last day on Earth, and you have an opportunity to leave the world with one final message. What would it be?

The GRS: Beware of falsehood. Get mad about it. Control that energy. Harbor it. Use it and utilize that power for good. You can be the first amongst the righteous. Especially as an artist putting out music, that formula is essential!

SF: Thank you for your time! What social media sites are you most active on, or where can people link up with you to keep up and learn more about what's going on with THE GRS?

The GRS: Follow me on Instagram! I love Instagram because I follow a lot of fan Beatles accounts and I constantly see pictures of John Lennon and George Harrison. Follow me on Twitter as well. I get all controversial and passive aggressive, it’s great.

ELEVEN

Eleven is the number of years that I have been married to Natalie Rae today. It simultaneously seems like forever and no time at all. 

Natalie may seem like a series of dichotomies. She has a gentle exterior but inside she is a worshipping warrior. She may seem quiet or shy on the exterior, but she is a wealth of knowledge if given the opportunity to share. She is a quiet, strong, worshipping warrior of wisdom and determination. When I first met Nat, she stood out because she emanated warmth and was a very welcoming person. She passionately and unashamedly would worship God, with no care of who was there and what they might think; that was the first thing that attracted me to her. The second was she liked a couple of bands I did not. Lol. While not a fan of the music, I was a fan of the fact that she wasn’t afraid to like music that a was different (fortunately there are some bands that we agree on, otherwise road trips would be quite miserable lol).

Our first date was a bit of an accident. We were both heading to David Crowder Band concert at Ruby Diamond Auditorium and decided to meet up. I was going to meet her and a friend but Natalie’s friend canceled on her. We ended up there “together.” Afterwards, we went out to Denny’s (when it was on Apalachee Parkway still). It was nice... although I’m sure I embarrassed myself (and I think I had a huge pimple... ugh!). One of my classmates happened to be at the concert that night and took a photo of us singing side by side. After seeing it that night, I had a pretty good idea that Natalie was a very special person.

As life is wont to do, it has dealt us a series of blows before getting married and of course after. Through it all, Natalie has persisted. 

When she had our firstborn child, I could finally physically see how strong this woman I married was; her physical, spiritual, and emotional strength. Sometimes she doubts herself; her strength and who she is. But even then, she still persists in her strength, without even realizing it. I believe there is nothing Natalie cannot do if she truly wants to. 

Half of our marriage now has been raising children and Natalie is an amazing mother. She loves our family day in and day out without thinking of herself (despite my attempts to encourage her to be a little more selfish of her time on occasion). 

Natalie, I love you. I look forward to the road ahead; walking together, loving and encouraging one another, depending on God, I believe the rest of this trip is going to be a wonderful journey with you by my side... regardless of whatever life throws our way. 

 

Eleven Years of Nat

Baet Collective + EthniKids + sfp&d

I recently had the pleasure of meeting some of the fine folks from Baet Collective, here in Tallahassee as I was leaving the studio one night working on some EthniKids project ideas. They were working out a new mural on the wall to the Indianhead Factory (the studio's name // website / Facebook). As luck would have it, EthniKids wanted to tease a new song for an EP that's being put together and when we chatted with the Baet folks they mentioned they were time-lapse recording the mural. So one thing lead to another, and now we have some EthniKids new music snippets to a very nice mural done by the Baet folks. I had the pleasure of putting the two together. Check it out below. I hope you dig it; Also, check out Baet Collective's website and give them a like on Facebook or follow on Instagram.

Mural created by Baet Collective. Music by EthniKids. Edited by samuel febres photography & design

An Interview with Ben Yang

Hit play and vibe out to some of Ben Yang's music as you read through the interview.

SF: Thank you for taking time to answer some of these questions. I'm really excited to share with others about the work you're doing. So let's get started and let the people know who you are.

How long have you been producing and making music? How did you get started? 

Ben Yang portrait by Samuel Febres of samuel febres photography & design

Ben Yang: I've been producing for about 5 years now.  My music background stems from my family.  Both of my parents are professional musicians.  My brother is a musician.  All of my aunts and uncles are musicians.  My grandparents too.  Everyone in my immediate family plays an instrument.  I grew up in the greenroom of the former Florida Philharmonic Hall listening to classical music while building pillow forts. From there I was classically trained in piano during grade school.  I also taught myself how to play guitar.  When I got to college, I learned how to DJ, which eventually lead to the conclusion that my ultimate goal is to produce and DJ my own music.

SF: What are some of your musical influences? Do you think they come out in the music you create? Why or why not?

Ben Yang: I am heavily influenced by Ethnikids, Cashmere Cat, and Flume.  I am in love with those styles.  I find so much inspiration from their unique production styles.  And yes. In my recent productions, I always find myself using a lot of future bass chords and pads (flume), interesting percussion and vocal chop sequences (Ethnikids), and pretty, otherworldly sequences (Cashmere Cat).  However, I think it is important to retain your own personal identity as an artist. You don't want to be another artist who already exists in that space.  But rather the goal is to borrow creative ideas and build upon them in order to forge a new sound completely.

SF: When it comes to creating music, do you have a routine as far as writing and crafting your songs?  Or is it different every time you sit down to create? 

BY: I've changed up my methodology recently.  Personally, sitting down and thinking "Okay time to make a whole song!" puts too much stress on my creative process.  So usually I'll start with a 16 bar loop and see where it goes from there.  Also, I love using Ableton templates.  Whenever I open a blank slate project, I already have audio and MIDI track channels labeled and ready to go.  I also have locators that separate the different sections of a song.  Every 16 bars a new section is labeled, where it be the build or drop or verse, etc.

SF: What are you into right now musically? Favorite band or artist that you've got in heavy rotation?

BY: Oh man. It changes every month or so.  Right now I've been listening to a whole lot of Thundercat, A Tribe Called Quest, Polyenso, and Japanese House.  And Ethnikids of course.  Their new mix is insane.  Anything Sade made, Oh Wonder gets played at least once a day typically.  I'll go on a early 2000's pop punk binge every now and then too.

SF: Musically, Is there someone that you think is underrated or underappreciated, but you love and think should get more love? Why do you think they're underappreciated? Or Why do you think they're below the radar for most folks.

BY: I'm a huge proponent of the hidden gems on Soundcloud and Spotify.  Those kids who are cranking out absolutely incredible music with less than 1,000 followers.  Those artists where you listen to them and your first reaction is "Oh my god!  How does nobody know about this?! I must show the world!"  I love those moments.  It inspires the listener to spread the good word, and I believe there is power in that.  If you make good music, it is only a matter of time until word spreads.

SF: If you can and are willing to share, what's cooking for Ben Yang in the next, say, 4–6 months?

BY: Within that time frame, I'm going be putting out another project called Water — the second installation of this series I am working on. I also have a few songs with Jenny Reynolds coming out in the near future. She's incredible. She was the vocalist for most of the tracks on the Earth EP. There are also a few remixes waiting in the wings as well. Its going to be a great year, I'm really excited about it all!

SF: For some of the gearheads out there, what are you working on to create your music? DAW, and physical equipment. Maybe certain plugins and whatnot.

BY: I use Ableton.  In my opinion, it has the most fluid workflow.  Everything is very easy and user-friendly to me.  My setup is relatively simple. I have a pair of KRK 6's running through a presonus audio box.  My computer is a 15 inch iMac.  I also have a USB MIDI keyboard and a pair of Senheiser mixing headphones.  As far as plugins go, I abuse Omnisphere.  It's worth every penny.  I cannot say enough good things about it.  Serum and Valhalla Shimmer have been in heavy use lately as well.  I also run a lot of sub-mixes through Slate Digital compressor chains too.  On my master chain I'll typically use the Izotone multiband compressors, Izotope EQ, and a Slate Digital Compressor/Limiter.

SF: We've obviously worked together recently. Do you have a favorite photo from our session together? If so, what do you like about that particular image over the rest of them?

The photo Ben loves… woodsy and dark. photography by Samuel Febres

BY: Yes we have! I love this one.  It really captured the woodsy and dark aesthetic I envisioned for the Earth EP.

SF: It's your last day on Earth, and you have an opportunity to leave the world with one final message. What would it be?

BY: I hope you live a life doing the thing that you absolutely love.  The thing that sparks a fire in you.  The thing you would keep on doing even if you don't make a single penny from it.  Because that's the only thing that matters.  Nothing else is real.  Whatever it is you love doing, take the leap of faith and go for it.

SF: Thank you for your time! What social media sites are you most active in, or where can people link up with you to keep up and learn more about what's going on with Ben Yang?

BY: I'm most active on Twitter (@benyangsounds), and Instagram (@benyangofficial). I post content to my Facebook page as well.  If you have a demo or are interested in working together my email is benyangpromo@gmail.com

 

Check out some of the images from our session with Ben Yang below. Excited for more work we've got planned down the pipeline. Keep your eyes peeled. Check out the Earth EP on Ben Yang's website: http://benyangmusic.com.

An Interview with Getty Boroughs

SF: Thank you for taking time to answer some of these questions. I'm really excited to share with others about the work you're doing. So let's get started and let the people know who you are. So, you record under the name Getty… where did that name come from?

Getty Boroughs: The name Getty Boroughs came partly from my hometown's name, Greensboro, as a way to pay homage to the small town I grew up in, and where I faced many of my obstacles as an adolescent. I hold my name to high regards because it's not only a representation of me but anyone else out there that may have been left out or not given as much opportunity because they didn't come from ideal situations.

SF: How did you get started making music?

Getty Boroughs: I got started making music two years ago but like many artists, I was creating hooks for songs and rapping in my head long before I ever had the confidence to hit an actual studio. After finally convincing myself to try it, I immediately felt accomplished and eager to do it again.

SF: What are some of your musical influences and how do you think they come out in the music you create? Why or why not?

GB: My musical influences are T.I., Tupac, drake, Kanye and etc. As a fan of music, many artist have come and gone from my favor. Of course, every artist wants to create their own sound, so if I hear my music sounding too much like an artist I listen to, I will immediately change it. 

SF: What are you into right now musically? Is there a favorite band or artist that you've got in heavy rotation?

GB: Right now there is no one I deep down listen too. But I've always been fascinated by an artist's ability to make a “hit” song. That being said, if it’s good music, there’s no denying that.

SF: Musically, Is there someone that you think is underrated or underappreciated, but you love and think should get more love? Why do you think they're underappreciated? Or Why do you think they're below the radar for most folks?

GB: I think Southern Rap as a whole has been unrated and underappreciated. From the UGK’s, Goodie Mob’s, No Limit Records, 8ball & MJG, and the list is possibly never ending. Southern artists and record labels have done so much to impact the music industry but wasn’t given much credit in the early 90’s. I'm glad nowadays the narrative is starting to shift and the South is becoming the destination spot to start a rap career.

SF: We've obviously worked together recently. Do you have a favorite photo from our session together? If so, what do you like about that particular image over the rest of them?

Getty Bouroughs on the steps in Tallahassee. By samuel febres 

GB: The picture I like most is the one you captured of me on the steps of a local church with my hands held together. It's my favorite because the expression on my face says a thousands words and allows the viewer to interpret and formulate their own opinion. 

SF: It's your last day on Earth, and you have an opportunity to leave the world with one final message. What would it be?

GB: My final message to mankind would definitely be to enjoy life to the fullest. Don't be a product of your environment or society but be content with being the best you that you can possibly be. Love yourself first and then love your family members. And thank God for your many blessing and opportunities.

SF: Thank you for your time! What social media sites are you most active in, or where can people link up with you to keep up and learn more about what's going on with Robert Jackson/Getty Boroughs?

GB: Facebook, Instagram, soundcloud and Youtube. Please subscribe to my youtube channel. I got new songs dropping and a premier to my new music video.

 

Off We Go!

Away and Into the Blue album art by sfp&d

Away and Into the Blue album art by sfp&d

Late last year I got a chance to work with a client who was introduced to a unique musician. Unique is sometimes used to describe something as different without sounding mean. This time unique was used to describe a rare jewel. I was told his music was different, sampling from many wells but it wasn’t just a mindless hodgepodge. It was informed, directed, and intentional. I was intrigued, and heard a sample of the music that would eventually become the album Away and Into the Blue and I was impressed. The GRS has created a sonic palate that is creative and accessible, creating stories with singing, rapping, and a tapestry of sound that engulfs you while taking you on a journey.

The GRS released his album recently and I invite to you check it out. It’s available on AppleMusic, iTunes, Soundcloud, and Spotify and other streaming sites. Connect with him on his website, which I put together for him, and also check out some of the photos from our session below.

Also, learn more about the production of Away and Into the Blue by visiting Julian Cruz's post on the ethnikids website.

Source: http://www.ethnikids.co/blog/just-another-...