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Black Masala

9/11/18 - Special Guest: Brave Like Us

This week on DC Music Rocks, Laura and Jay from Brave Like Us, stop by for a chat with host Brian Nelson-Palmer.  The episode also features great tracks by Black Masala, Louisa Hall, and Cat Janice.

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Brave Like Us

Brave Like Us Bio/Links:

Highly sought after bassist, Jay Brazao is a self taught musician and songwriter. He writes entrancing melodies on the bass as if it were an extension of himself. Former member of Rome In A Day, Jay is a Massachusetts native now residing in the DC area.

Singer/songwriter Laura Farrell has a unique and powerful voice. Her vocals have been compared to Sarah McLachlan and Joan Jett. She is also classically trained on the violin. Laura is a former member of The Yard Slippers, Big Honey, and Rave Parade.

Www.bravelikeusmusic.com

Facebook.com/bravelikeusmusic

Instagram-BraveLikeUs

Twitter-@bebravelikeus

Snapchat-brave Like Us 

YouTube- Brave Like Us

Brave Like Us
Brave Like Us

Email Signup Link
For those who don't already conveniently get all this via email!


FROM THIS SHOW

MUSIC

  1. Trains and Moonlight Destinies, by Black Masala (Funk, Brass)

  2. Gravity, by Brave Like Us (Indie, Folk)

  3. Missed Connections (feat. Mark WIlliams), by Louisa Hall (Folk, Singer-Songwriter)

  4. ***Wild, by Cat Janice (Rock, Alternative)

 ***The first time we've played this artist for you on the show, & a new artist profile added to our DC Artist Database!  There's new artists every week!

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-


ANNOUNCEMENTS

It's the fall fund drive at WERA 96.7 FM and Arlington Independent Media. This is the station which the live version of our show is broadcast on! You tax deductible donation goes to support community radio which in turn supports our community!

Could you skip a Starbucks this week and send that money to the station instead? Do a picnic date instead of a dinner out and share that amount? Has the station touched your life in a positive way? Click below or visit the station's website at wera.fm to send your support!

https://www.facebook.com/dcmusicrocks/posts/2224949371083256

https://www.wera.fm/


NEW RELEASES

Music  (Links to their profile with their iTunes/Spotify Links to listen and Website/Facebook for more info)

  • Clutch - Book of Bad Decisions
     (Full 15 Song Hard Rock Album - RIYL Led Zeppelin, Faith No More, Black Sabbath.  Album is finally hear, we’ve been sharing the singles that have come out from this album!)

  • Eli Lev - Chasing Daylight
     (Indie/Folk Single - RIYL Mumford and Sons, Ben Harper, The Lumineers

  • Blue Skies and Death - Hey Wait
     (Electro Pop Single - RIYL CHVRCHES, St. Lucia, Savior Adore, A Silent Film)

Videos

Playlists


THIS WEEK'S LOCAL DC SHOWS TO SEE

Here’s just a few highlights for the coming week, be sure to check out the calendar for the full list of all the upcoming shows! Check details before you go in case something changed/canceled!
http://www.dcmusicrocks.com/local-music-calendar

Sep 14 - Fri
Allthebestkids @ Dupont Underground in Washington, DC
  (Hip Hop, EP Release Show, in a cool location! - POSTPONED?
Justin Jones @ Gypsy Sally's in Washington, DC
  (Rock, well known and established, tours extensively, so local shows like this are special)

Sep 15 - Sat
Wanted Man @ Black Cat in Washington, DC
  (Classic Rock/Blues Vibe, High Energy group, last time we saw them the bassist was our favorite to watch!)
Black Alley @ Amps & Ales in Hanover, MD
  (Hip Hop and Rock Fusion, we've never heard of this venue but the band is always a blast to watch, so if you're looking for an adventure to somewhere new, we'd give it a go!

Sep 16 - Sun
Laura Tsaggaris & Nardo Lilly @ Pearl Street Warehouse in Washington, DC
  (Folk/Pop Vibe, great acts at a great venue, betting this show will be fun!)
Owen Danoff @ The Soundry in Columbia, MD
  (Pop/Rock Vibe, If you're up for a field trip up to Md, it's a newish venue, betting this would be worthwhile!)

Sep 20 - Thu
The Radiographers @ MilkBoy ArtHouse in College Park, MD
  (Been a fan of these guys, and it's an intimate venue, worth a short drive/metro ride up we're betting)


Patreon

Do you like what we're doing?  Would you support us?  We'd love to grow and do more!  There’s little give aways, but for us to evolve this online platform to cover even more we really need funds and support. We're giving away shirts, and more too!  Please help if you can!

HUGE shoutout to our current Patrons! 
**Daniel Warren Hill**    **David Mohl**    **Eli Lev**
**Sarah Byrne**   **M4TR**


We're Looking For Advertisers/Sponsors

We're looking for local businesses to spread the word about with our more than 12,000 followers.  Know One?  Would you introduce us to them?

8/21/18 - Special Guest: Bruno Nasta, Coordinator of Jazz in the Sculpture Garden

Have you ever been to Jazz In The Garden?  This week on DC Music Rocks, Bruno Nasta, coordinator of Jazz in the Sculpture Garden, at the National Gallery of Art in DC, stops by for a chat with host Brian Nelson-Palmer.  The episode also features great tracks by Liam B. Smith, Black Masala, David Chappell, Tony Craddock, Jr., and Frass Green.

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Podcast:  iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, TuneInPocket CastsPodBeanPlayerFM, or THIS URL in your other podcast app of choice.

Tell Siri, Alexa, or Google Home "Play the podcast DC Music Rocks"!

 
bruno2.jpg

Bruno Nasta Bio/Links:

Bruno Nasta graduated from James Madison University with a Music Performance degree.  He was a member of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and Richmond Chamber Players in residence at the Virginia Museum of fine Arts.

Celebrities that top the extensive list he has performed with and/or convened orchestras for; include The Three Tenors, Three Irish Tenors, 3 Mo Tenors, Luciano Pavarotti, The Who, The Moody Blues, Yes, Gloria Estafan, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Lyle Lovett, Denyce Graves, Josh Groban, John Denver, Paul Potts and Liza Minnelli. 

Mr. Nasta has recorded for the Intersound Label as Concertmaster of The Taliesan Orchestra. These recordings received a #1 position on Billboard’s record ratings for three weeks in the summer of 1997 for the classical crossover category as well as several recordings that have been nominated for Grammy’s in 1998.

 He is a featured soloist on Eva Cassidy’s multi-platinum selling recordings “Imagine” and "American Tune".

His improvisatory violin solos are featured on Kathy Fink/Marcy Marxter’s Grammy winning recording “Bon Apetite” and in 2003, received a “wammie” award by the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA) for best classical artist.

Currently, Bruno maintains a vigorous freelancing schedule, active in the recording, Opera and Theater circuits of Greater Washington DC and Baltimore areas.

In 1998, he was appointed as Personnel Director of the National Gallery Orchestra and in 2002, Assistant to the National Gallery of Art’s music department.  Mr. Nasta’s personal recordings and the recordings of the NGO’s live Sunday night performances have been featured nationally on NPR’s Performance Today, NPR News and on various musical presentations of Washington’s local public radio broadcast station, WETA.

In the spring of 2008 he was appointed the program coordinator for the Friday evening “Jazz in the Garden” concert series at the National Gallery

WWW.BrunoNastaStudio.com

WWW.NGA.GOV

Music Submissions (Electronic Press Kits) for Jazz in the Garden can be sent to b-nasta@nga.gov.

Bruno Nasta
Bruno Nasta

Email Signup Link
For those who don't already conveniently get all this via email!


FROM THIS SHOW

MUSIC

  1. ***Keep Your Head Up, by Liam B. Smith (Rock)

  2. Devil Sunset, by Black Masala (Funk, Brass)

  3. ***She's as Good as It Gets, by Dave Chappell (Blues, Blues Rock)

  4. Humidity, by Tony Craddock, Jr. (Jazz, Gospel)

  5. ***Miss You (Waaah), by Frass Green (Indie, Nasal Pop)

***The first time we've played this artist for you on the show, & a new artist profile added to our DC Artist Database!  There's new artists every week!

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-


ANNOUNCEMENTS

THE DC MUSIC ROCKS FESTIVAL THIS PAST SATURDAY was...wow!  Thank you so much for all the love, tags, shares, from everyone!  We feel like it really was a magical night!  Thanks Current Newspapers for the the incredible coverage of the event.  Great photos too!  Read all about it here:
https://currentnewspapers.com/musicians-shine-dc-music-rocks-festival/

DID YOU KNOW...There’s free outdoor concerts at lunchtime downtown right outside the federal triangle metro stop in the massive courtyard at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (near metro center) every weekday, now through Sept 28!  
Many of the acts are cover bands, but shoutout to the local original artists performing this year which we follow and have covered on the show.
We hope you pick a day, bring your lunch, and go catch a free show!
https://itcdc.com/
7/31:  Adwela & The Uprising
8/6: Sub-Radio
8/9: FeelFree
9/13: Véronneau

ITCDC Free Show Schedule

NEW RELEASES

Music

  • Empresarios - Ten Cuidado
     (Latin-Hip Hop Single - RIYL Pitbull, Daddy Yankee)

  • Chuck Brown - By Special Request The Very Best Of Chuck Brown
     (Go-go 26 Song Full Album - RIYL Go-go or Funk)

  • Tired All The Time - Little Pieces
     (Pop-Rock Single - RIYL Alkaline Trio, The Sidekicks, Protomartyr)

  • Colourtheory - Selfish Mistakes
     (Pop Punk 3 Song EP - RIYL Alkaline Trio, Foo Fighters)

  • Bottled Up - BU2
     (7 Song Punk Album - RIYL Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, Shannon and the Clams)

Videos

Playlists

Our 2018 New Releases by DC Artists’ Spotify Playlist:
https://open.spotify.com/user/dcmusicrocks/playlist/7kbMQzbrQPisoJq5A76V3k

Our ‘DC Artists Official Music Videos’ Youtube Playlist:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtzE3kBQ_70kU0_uB-sdviWajkbzi2Akr


THIS WEEK'S LOCAL DC SHOWS TO SEE

Here’s just a few highlights for the coming week, be sure to check out the calendar for the full list of all the upcoming shows!
http://www.dcmusicrocks.com/local-music-calendar

Aug 24 - Fri
Jonny Grave @ The Loft at The Hamilton in Washington, DC (Blues)

Aug 25 - Sat
Black Alley @ DIRTY MARTINI in Washington, DC (hip hop, R&B, and rock, called 'Hood Rock'
Handsome Hound @ Songbyrd Music House in Washington, DC (folk/indie)
Free Lobster Buffet @ Villain & Saint in Bethesda, MD (ska/horn-band)

Aug 26 - Sun
Eli Lev & Marielle Kraft @ Songbyrd Music House in Washington, DC (singer-songwriter/indie/pop)
Sol Roots @ JoJo Bar in Washington, DC (Jazz/Blues/Funk)

Aug 30 - Thu
Jackie and the Treehorns @ Villain & Saint in Bethesda, MD


Patreon

Do you like what we're doing?  Would you support us?  We'd love to grow and do more!  We're giving away shirts, access to our private facebook group, and more!  We also intend to set aside 10% to contribute directly in the DC Local Music Scene through charities, sponsorships, events, etc.  We want to continue to pay it forward!

HUGE shoutout to our current Patrons! 
**Daniel Warren Hill**    **David Mohl**    **Eli Lev**
**Sarah Byrne**   **M4TR**


We're Looking For Advertisers/Sponsors

We're looking for local businesses to spread the word about with our more than 12,000 followers.  Know One?  Would you introduce us to them?

10/10/17 - Special Guest: Black Masala

Thanks to Mike Ounallah and Andy Cerutti of Black Masala for hanging out with us in the studio this week!

^^Episode Audio/Post Is Live - Click Above (might take time to buffer/load, refresh page if you have any issues)^^

Podcast:  iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherPocket CastsPodBeanPlayerFM, or THIS URL in your app of choice

FROM TODAY'S SHOW

MUSIC

  1. Jump in the Water, by The 19th Street Band (Folk, Americana)
  2. Bhangra Ramo, by Black Masala (Funk)
  3. Let Me Be the One, by Juliet Lloyd (Pop/Pop Rock)
  4. Turn the World Around, by The Harry Bells (World, Calypso)
  5. The Less I Know The Better, by Backbeat Underground (Funk)

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Oct 10th is National Hug A Drummer Day. If you know one, like James Brown said…”Give the Drummer Some!”  If you make it out to Rock And Roll Hotel on Saturday Oct 14th, our host, Brian, is a drummer and would love all the hugs he can get!

Do you know any singer-songwriters around DC?  Send this to them!  The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District announces the fourth annual Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards. They will award one talented songwriter a Grand Prize of $10,000 and 25 hours of recording studio time with Innovation Station Music which is run by Dave Mallen, a past guest with us on the DC Music Rocks.  Entries must be received by Monday, November 6, 2017.
http://www.bethesda.org/bethesda/bernard-ebb-songwriting-awards-application

Local Music/Arts Conference Alert!
Event Name:  DC Talks Music/FilmDocs/Media: A Cross-Sector Dialogue at Georgetown University
SATURDAY OCTOBER 28TH
10:00AM - 5:00PM
$10 GENERAL | LUNCH INCLUDED
FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/events/616564645399219/

NEW RELEASES

Music:
Sara Curtin - Or So It Seemed (9 Song Album)
Rent Party - New (Single)   

Reminder:  If you ever want to catch up on 2017 New Releases by DC Artists, we’re collecting them for you, check out our playlist!
https://open.spotify.com/user/dcmusicrocks/playlist/24KrZD9KlUE2yC3eT2oBUI

THIS WEEK'S LOCAL DC SHOWS TO SEE

Fri-Sat Weekend Oct 13
Pebble To Pearl, Justin Trawick @ The DC Wharf Grand Opening Weekend by the SW Waterfront, DC

Fri Oct 13
Venn @ DC9 by U St in NW DC

Sat Oct 14
Nah. & Fellowcraft @ Rock N Roll Hotel by H St NE in DC

Sun Oct 15
Taylor Carson @ Pearl St Warehouse by The SW Waterfront in DC
Cinema Hearts @ Slash Run by Petworth in NW DC

Mon Oct 16
Electric Grandmother & Catscan! @ Uptown Art House on Connecticut Ave in NW DC

Tues Oct 17
19th St Band @ Ireland Four Provinces in Falls Church, VA

Thurs Oct 19
Hayley Fahey Music @ Westover Beer Garden in Arlington, VA
The Sidleys @ Bethesda Blues & Jazz in Bethesda, MD
Jackie & The Treehorns @ Villain & Saint in Bethesda, MD


https://www.patreon.com/dcmusicrocks
Would you support us?  We'd love to grow and do more!  We're giving away shirts, cohost spots on the show, access to our private facebook group, and more!  We also intend to set aside 10% to contribute directly in the DC Local Music Scene through charities, sponsorships, events, etc.  We want to continue to pay it forward!



Black Masala

VIDEO - BIO - LINKS - TRANSCRIPT

BIO:

Black Masala

Can you hear that? Can you feel it? It’s the sound of Washington, DC’s eclectic high energy brass band Black Masala. Ranging from Gypsy music, Balkan brass and New Orleans funk, to Bhangra and Dance music., the band creates an irresistible dance groove packed with funk, gypsy punk, and soul. Black Masala has made a big impact as one of the most exciting live acts in the region and is the winner of four Washington, DC Area Music Awards (“WAMMIES”), including ‘Best New Artist’ and ‘Best World Music Album.’

In just a few short years, Black Masala has released its debut album, multiple remixes, live recordings, and its follow up second album, “I Love You Madly”. The new album showcases the band’s variety of influences and moods, ranging from Bhangra and bounce to New Orleans funk and Balkan brass. This sound was forged on the road, playing countless shows up and down the East Coast to enthusiastic crowds. Black Masala is part of a new generation of go anywhere brass bands, and when they take the stage, their infectious grooves result in dance party that leaves smiling concert goers eager for the next song. 

Website
Facebook
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Press Kit

Black Masala

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Brian:     On DC Music Rocks, we're shining a spot light on the great songs, artists, and incredible people behind the DC region's local music scene.

     Black Masala is Washington DC's eclectic, high energy, brass band. Ranging from gypsy music, Balkan brass and New Orleans funk to Bong-Ra and dance music. The band creates an irresistible dance grove pact with funk, gypsy punk and soul. Did you get all of that? Because that was a lot of influences there.

     Black Masala has made a big impact on one of the most exciting live acts and as ... Well, they are one of the most exciting live acts in the region, they're part of new generation of go anywhere brass bands. And when they take the stage, their infectious groves result in dance ... In a dance party that leave smiling, concert goers eager for the next song.

     I first came across these guys when I first started doing the show. I've been a Black Masala fan. The bassist in my band, Brandon Williams, he was like, "Hey. Listen. You're doing local music. You got to check out Black Masala." And that was about two weeks into doing this show. And I've been a fan ever since. So now I have you here. This is a treat. Thanks for being here guys.

Mike:     That's so cool. Thanks for having us.

Brian:     Absolutely.  Now so talk about Black Masala and how did the band come together.

Mike:     So, basically it happened about, we're going on five, six years now. I met a trombone player. He used to live in DC and he wanted to do just gypsy brass music. So it started off just me and him in my basement in DC just working on this music and trying to learn about it a little more and then do our own sort of spin with it.

     And then the word spread. We went through about 15 bass players and 100 horn players and eventually we had a band of stable people. But it was great because all the people -

Brian:     Those stable people. Mentally stable and emotionally stable and no maybe not, but they were ... They came religiously.

Mike:     Yeah. I mean, everyone who was involved in with the band had such a huge impact on the group. And I'm talking about before the band was even, even had a band name. We went through like a ton of different people.

     And so we just developed from there. We were playing locally like once a month in some now de-funked venues like The Getaway. There was another venue above there. I can't remember the name. Then we slowly built. I remember our first big show was at Rock and Roll Hotel, actually, with Congo Sanchez, who's the drummer from Thievery Corporation and then it just expanded. Then I started trying to get us out of town and things like that.

     And so now, we pretty much have the same group. It's always the same people. Before we had to kind of mix and match quite a bit. You know? When you have a band of seven or eight people, it's kind of like that.

     And the music's expanded, obviously from like just being Balkan influenced to like everything else we do, everything else we listen to. And yeah. So now we're doing about 120 shows a year. On the road a lot.

Brian:     Holy smokes. Now does that mean you're doing it full time? Is this your job or is this ...

Mike:     It's like ... It's not a full time job. I also teach music lessons throughout the week. Like private lessons and stuff like that.

Brian:     I see.

Mike:     Yeah.

Brian:     So it's the band and then more music. It's lots of music.

Mike:     Yeah. Pretty much. All music. But yeah. I mean, when you're handling a band of this size and then at the time booking and managing, it's like its own full time gig.

Brian:     Oh. Absolutely.

Mike:     You know? And there's many days where you're doing like ... Or many weeks where you're doing like 40 hours on the band then like 40 hours at your job. And then you're on the road all weekend. And you're just like ... And it was like for years.

Brian:     Wow. Yeah.

Mike:     We've been fortunate to start to build a team around us over the last couple years. So it's taken the pressure off like the one person, but ...

Brian:     That's ... And you ... What kind of lessons are you teaching? You said you teach lessons on the side, too.

Mike:     Yeah. I teach drums and I teach piano.

Brian:     Wow. Look at that.

Mike:     Yeah. Private lessons.

Brian:     And Andy, you're here with us too. Talk about you and your role with the band.

Andy:     Yeah. Absolutely. I'm part of that team Mike was just talking about. And you know, right after these guys started, maybe a year or so into the project, I checked them out. Went to a couple of shows. And I became a fan. And that's really how it started.

      I went to see these guys live and, you know, like you were saying earlier, they have something special. You know, that unique mix of genres, that high energy that they bring to the show and it's just a lot of fun. And then, you know, if you go to enough shows, eventually you've seen it all, so to speak. But then when I would go out to see Black Masala, that was something totally new, something different, something exciting that got me out of the house. So, after going to enough shows, I just started talking to these guys. I was like, "Hey, guys. You have so much potential. I would love to work with you and take things to the next level, help out any way I can."   And now, I don't even know, three or four years later, this is where we are. So it's pretty cool.

Brian:     That's amazing. And talk about the name. Where did ... Black Masala.

Mike:     So, it was kind of ... It was kind of tricky to [crosstalk 00:04:48] name. I just like the word masala. I remember going over it and then we wanted a color to go with it and black was like kind of like the vibe that people were kind of going for. So it was really that simple. Just take this word masala and put black in front of it. And it's kind of the signifies sort of like masala is like a spice that's comprised of a bunch of different spices, so it's like a mixture. So it kind of works in that way, too, if you wanna take some of the meaning.

Brian:     By the way, is not to be confused with Marsala.

Mike:     No.

Brian:     Which is ... Does that ever happen?

Mike:     That happens all the time. Happens all time.

Brian:     Oh, man.

Mike:     Yeah.   We rage in the background and try not to show it, but we're secretly very upset about that.

Brian:     Oops. When they say, "This is Black Marsala." That is so wrong?

Mike:     Well, I mean, I gotta tell you. We drove all the way to Pittsburgh one time for a show, which was like about seven hours that day. We got to the venue and it said, "Black Marsala" and then underneath it "Pasta Night." I lost it. I just lost it. I mean, we just like fell over. True story.

Brian:     Oh no.

Mike:     Yeah. Yeah. It was that awesome.

Brian:     Oh man, Mike. That's crazy.

Mike:     Yeah.

Brian:     Alright so, now what about ... So you, outside of the music family ... Obviously this is a lot of your life then, but you must have some other hobbies. Talk about that.

Mike:     We like to drive. A lot of driving. And when we're not driving, we like to sleep.  No. Some other hobbies. We just try to stay ... And I'm gonna speak for the rest of the band, too, because they're not here, but try to stay healthy. Just enjoy like going out hiking. Doing things like that. Especially when we're on the road because we get to hit a bunch of beautiful places like West Virginia. So we'll spend the day going out hiking and go swimming, you know, whatever.

     So, but it's so much ... So much of this group is working. So it's a lot of time spent writing. A lot of time spent organizing. Things like that. So ...

Brian:     Wow. And is it mostly, do you a lot of the heavy lifting. Or does all the band pitch in for the writing and the organizing and all that?

Mike:     Well, I think it's just kind of fallen on me. I never really wanted to be just the sole person, but people kind of like look at me that way. I do a lot of the writing, it's just 'cause I like writing music and try to get better at it.

     But I definitely have help when it comes to like when we're on the road, all the guys chip in and gals chip in and, you know, help with like the daily whatever.

Brian:     Got it. Do you guys car pool or does everybody get there on their own? Is it like everybody in a van or something?

Mike:     Well, we almost got a van, but we decided against it. So it's two cars, usually, and put 7 people and the gear [crosstalk 00:07:14]

Brian:     Holy smokes. In two cars. That's impressive.

Mike:     Yeah.

Brian:     I hope there's some pictures on social media somewhere of that because that must be an amazing ... It must be packed to the brim. Unless there are huge vans or something. Two cars and seven people and all the gear for the band. Come on, man.

Mike:     Yeah. Yeah. No we do it. Of course, I have a big car. So ...

Brian:     Okay. That works.

Mike:     I got a drummer's car.

Brian:     Yep. A drummer's car. I'm like, "Gotta have at least a hatchback and room in the back."

Mike:     Yeah.

Brian:     Alright. So, now what about ... Something in your music collection that might surprise us.

Mike:     That might surprise you? That's a good question. Well ... Well, I have a lot of 90s rock and roll. That's a huge part of my music collection. So people listening to the band probably wouldn't think like, "Oh. That guys like Dinosaur Junior or like stuff like that." And I have this huge collection of like 90s rock and roll, you know. Fishbone, Rage Against the Machine, all that stuff I'm really heavy into 'cause I was like Lalapalooza kid when I was younger.

Brian:     Nice.

Mike:     Yeah.

Brian:     Oh. That's fun. Alright.

Mike:     And more bands than that, but yeah.

Brian:     Oh, god. That's funny. Now what about ... Talk about a biggest success moment for Black Masala. What comes to mind?

Mike:     Well, it was pretty amazing 'cause ... Right? We were a band for six months and then we got booked at the Kennedy Center and so we kind of thought we were doing something right at that point. If you watch the video, it's really funny. We're just so like kind of nervous and kind of new. We wanted to be perfect. And people's, people using music stands and stuff like that. And there's music flying on the stage. That was like a huge moment for us as a band.

     But I think anytime you book like your first tour, even if it's not successful, you're just excited because you took something that was nothing, wrote music and then someone in like North Carolina wants to book you. And so that was great.

     And DC government been very supportive to our band, you know. We've gotten some nice grants from them over the years that's helped with recording and things like that. Those all nice moments for us.

Brian:     Those are great moments. Holy smokes. And the DC government, I give them credit. They are very supportive. They supported me and DC Music Rocks, too. And the arts. If you're ... For the artists in town, they do good things for the artists, for sure.

Mike:     Absolutely.

Brian:     Alright. Now this one's for both of you guys. This is my favorite question to ask. If you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Mike:     Andy?

Andy:     Oh. Honestly, Black Masala, I think, is a great example of the advice that I always give to people. And that's just how much hard work it takes, how much dedication. I feel like ... I've even had this conversation with you before, Brian.

Brian:     If you go back and listen when Andy was on the show with Fort Knox Recording a little while ago. And still remember the advice.

Andy:     It just came back to me. But honestly, like I said, I've been working with Mike here now for a few years and it's great working with him because of what he brings, like his work ethic and then the whole band. They're professionals. And that just really makes a huge difference. Even just ... So a specific advice, return your phone calls and your emails promptly when you're booking gigs and when you're making arrangements. It might seem like a small thing to do and you're busy, but just making that time to return those emails or phone calls like promptly shows people how serious you are, professional. And it really just sets the tone for everything going forward. And that kind of advice, I think, is what really makes a difference.  And if you wanna know what it'll get you, it'll get you all the great success that Black Masala's had 'cause these guys just work so hard. It's incredible.

Brian:     That's good advice, too. I mean, we reach out to artists for DC Music Rocks, "Hey. I wanna play you on the show." And we never hear back from them. So, I mean, it really is return those emails. I love it, Andy. What about you, Mike? What do you got?

Mike:     Yeah. I mean, I think that's great. I think when you're in a band, especially if you have someone in the structure of like kind of being responsible for a lot of things, you have to learn how to be a people person with your band because you're dealing with artists. And artists, I've learned this over the years, are a little bit different. They're more ... They're gonna be sensitive about things and people are gonna be moody. You just have to kind of like work around all these issues.  So, you know, you just wanna like be patient and try your best and try to keep it going forward. I guess.

Brian:     Be patient. Try to be nice.

Mike:     Try to be nice.

Brian:     Especially via email.

Mike:     I recommend ...

Brian:     Mike is nodding. That's a huge nod that just happened.

Mike:     Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.

Brian:     It is true. I ... Absolutely.  And for those who wanna find out more about Black Masala and following you guys, where do they go?

Mike:     So we have a website, www.blackmasala.com. Super easy. You can just type the band's name in Google and you can find just about everything. Facebook, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, Spotify, we're everywhere.

Brian:     All that stuff. Is there one social media you guys like just a little more than the others?

Mike:     I've been really enjoying Instagram, recently. But our go-to has always been Facebook.

March 7, 2017 - Special Guests: Andy Cerutti & Steve Raskin of Fort Knox Recordings

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Andy Cerutti & Steve Raskin

Video - Bio - Photos - Links

BIO

Fort Knox Five and Fort Knox Recordings were launched in 2003 by Steve Raskin, Roby Myers, Sid Barcelona and john Horvath. These guys met together as part of Thunderball, the first artist signed to Thievery Corporation's label ESL music back in the mid-1990s, and decided to start their own label, a new group focused on funk for the dancefloor. The label has gone on to drop over 100 releases and widen the list of artiststo include See-I, Nappy Ridem, Ursula 1000, Qdup, Omegaman, Empresarios and Thunderball. With the tragic passing of John Horvath in the summer of 2015, Steve Raskin has carried the torch as the leading DJ of Fort Knox Five and regularly tours across the US and Canada. In addition to all the great music they released and shows played around the world, Fort Knox Five and Fort Knox Recordings have licensed a lot of music to movies, video games and more - including the 2010 Oscar Winning Best Documentary "The Cove", Fox TV's "The Fringe" and countless EA Sports and Disney video games. Andy Cerutti joined the team in 2008, and in addition to serving as Label Manager, he also manages the various bands and artists on the label.  

John Shore2.jpg
Andy Cerutti.jpg

Interview Transcript

Brian:     Fort Knox Five and Fort Knox Recordings were launched in 2003 by Steve Raskin, Rob Myers, Sid Barcelona, and Jon Horvath. Now these guys, their focus was funk for the dance floor. The label's gone on to drop over a hundred releases and many more artists, including some of D.C.'s greats. In addition to all the great music they have released and shows played around the world, Fort Knox Five and Fort Knox Recordings have licensed a lot of music to movies, video games, and other places as well, so it's really branched out. Andy joined the team in 2008 and in addition to serving as Label Manager, he also manages the various bands and artists on the label as well.

                  I first came across these guys' music when I was first starting the show. I think it was Black Masala, was the first band where I ended up connecting with Andy and now it's such a treat, listeners, for me to be able to introduce these guys to you and have them here. So guys, thanks so much for being here.

Steve Raskin:      Thanks for having us.

Andy Cerutti:     Yeah, thanks a lot.

Brian:     This is really cool. Let's start with the track that we just played now. That was Fort Knox Five. Tell us about Fort Knox Five.

Steve Raskin:      Well, I think one of the interesting things you actually mentioned, Fort Knox Five has always been about funk at the root of it all. That track in particular was a collaboration that was destined to happen. We always celebrate D.C. music. We're very much supportive of the whole D.C. music scene. For us to be able to collaborate with a D.C. legend like Sir Joe Quarterman, who paved the way for what we're doing, really, right now, which is representing D.C. with some funky dance music. Actually, that was a great story. We actually got to meet ... I'm a long time fan of Sir Joe Quarterman. He did a project called the Free Soul back in the 70s and had a song called, "I Got So Much Trouble On My Mind." A fantastic funk song, one of those old school kind of funk 45 things. Actually, through Andy's connection with the Funk Parade, we had the privilege of actually getting introduced to Mr. Joe Quarterman.

Andy Cerutti:     Yeah, it was really cool to meet him. I mean, he's a D.C. legend and I go to the Funk Parade meetings and there's Joe Quarterman. We just kind of approached him and said, "Hey, are you interested in making some new music together?" The next thing you know, he comes into the studio and these guys made this great track, which is an instant classic, really.

Brian:     I love how those stories come together and how you just suddenly, magically end up with magical tracks like that.

Steve Raskin:      Absolutely.

Brian:     And the connections. It's getting to know folks around town. I love that. I'm dying to know the story behind the name. Fort Knox? Tell me. Tell me the story.

Steve Raskin:      Well, it's like all good stories. It starts with more of a legend than anything else. No. Fort Knox Five was always kind of an inside joke between us. Like you mentioned before with Rob Myers, Sid Barcelona, and Jon Horvath and myself, the four of us together were doing this project and I kept calling it the Fort Knox Five even though there was no fifth member, because none of us are really vocalists. The fifth member really became everyone that we collaborated with. From the get go, we always joked about how all our favorite bands came in fives. It was the Fort Knox Five just like Jurassic 5 and the MC5 and ...

Andy Cerutti:     Jackson 5.

Steve Raskin:      ... Jackson 5. I mean, there are so many. All the bands came in five. It was like, "Name a four band." There's no fours. The Fantastic Four, the Funky 4, there were very few. They were all in fives, and the five kind of really encapsulated what we wanted to do with music in general, which was about collaboration. As instrumentalists, the whole point of us doing Fort Knox Recordings as an extension of Fort Knox Five was to really celebrate the D.C. music scene. That's been, really, our ethos from the beginning. Fort Knox Five is the five is the four.

Brian:     That's amazing. Four of you guys together with a fifth member is the Fort Knox Five. I love it.

Steve Raskin:      It really completes the sound.

Brian:     Fort Knox Recordings then, was that just an extension of Fort Knox Five? Now it's going to be recordings, too?

Steve Raskin:      Yeah, well, no, and actually the Fort Knox Five, the name itself came as a joke. We used to call our recording studio just Fort Knox, because all we had was the music. The music was our gold. Fort Knox was sort of a tongue-in-cheek when our studio was in the hood. You were like, "Yeah, we got nothing to steal here except the music."

Brian:     Except the music, I get it now. Fort Knox, holding tight the music.

Steve Raskin:      Exactly.

Brian:     Oh, I love that. That's cool.

Andy Cerutti:     The classical ... The label compilation The New Gold Standard kind of sets that also apart. It's like the gold in Fort Knox ...

Steve Raskin:      ... is really just the tunes.

Brian:     There you go. So the name of the label that you guys have is ...

Steve Raskin:      I mean, the label is Fort Knox Recordings, too. Like you had mentioned in the intro, we launched the label and the group at the exact same time. The label was a vehicle for us to be able to do a collaboration with the idea of making funky dance music really celebrating D.C.

Brian:     That's amazing. Andy, how did you get linked up with these guys? What's the story there?

Andy Cerutti:     I've known a bunch of them since way back in the 90s from the music scene, and especially the co-founder Jon Horvath. Him and I were real tight. In the mid-2000s, when they were ready to sort of take the label to the next level, start releasing a bunch of other artists, Empresarios, See-I, Nappy Riddem, they were interested in bringing on somebody who could help them build the foundation and build the platform larger. That's where I came in. That's when we started really fleshing out the full identity and bringing in all these different artists and releasing so many great projects, which we continue to do.

Brian:     Holy smokes. I've featured a lot of those artists you just mentioned. They've got profiles on the site. Phenomenal music coming from those guys. Some of my favorite jams are from some of those guys.

Andy Cerutti:     Absolutely.

Brian:     It is really cool to see what you guys have built here. That's amazing. Now go ahead, I want you to clarify, if someone comes to see a Fort Knox Five show, what can they expect to see?

Steve Raskin:      Actually, that's interesting that you say that, too, because given the name Fort Knox Five and the sort of mythical confusion behind it ... Are we a band? Is it a DJ? We make the dance music, inherently, but we've done so many different incarnations of it. We've done the full live band where we had horn sections, live drums, bass, all of us playing live instrumentation. But that's been few and far between. More often than not, Fort Knox Five has been I've been traveling representing Fort Knox Five playing eclectic DJ sets and mixing originals, instrumentals, remixes, collaborators, all into the sets. From the five becomes a single DJ set, and then as an extension of that, Jon and I ... the original founding member, Jon ... we've been doing a four turntable or a four deck set where we were doing live ... Everything that we were doing in the studio, this sort of mash-up kind of culture, but we were doing it live. We'd play instrumentals and acapellas and take our acapella and put it on top of a Biggie song, or taking all these things and sort of interchanging these things.

                  That's something that we've been doing really as a festival thing. The Fort Knox Five four deck set now includes our collaborator Jason, Qdup, who we're putting out his new single, and the two of us go out and do that same kind of four deck set.

Brian:     That's cool.

Steve Raskin:      It's Fort Knox Five solo, the four deck set, and then occasionally the live band.

Brian:     For listeners who don't know what a four deck set means, what is that?

Steve Raskin:      It's, like I was sort of saying, four turntables that we're syncing up live, not as a preplanned set. Almost as jamming, as a live mash-up, where we can take our songs and use other people's vocals on top of it or our instrumentals. It's sort of a jigsaw puzzle of live music.

Brian:     That's amazing.

Steve Raskin:      It's not just sequencing songs as a DJ set. It's creating the actual songs that are created on the spot.

Brian:     Got it. For you guys outside of the music scene now, do you have other hobbies? If they were to meet you outside of this stuff, what might they see you doing?

Steve Raskin:      Well, Andy? I don't know.

Andy Cerutti:     I'm a history professor.

Brian:     Really?

Andy Cerutti:     Absolutely. I'm an adjunct professor out at NOVA Annandale.

Brian:     Wow. Shout out to the NOVA kids who might be listening. All right.

Andy Cerutti:     Absolutely. Absolutely.

Steve Raskin:      You may have had Professor Cerutti.

Brian:     Cool. I love it. All right, also adjunct professor. I like that. Okay, what else you got?

Steve Raskin:      I'm actually a graphic designer by trade. When I first started in the D.C. music scene, even way back in, going back to the 90s, the punk rock days, I used to design a lot of album packaging for ... specializing in D.C. local music from ... I used to do from Jawbox to Girls Against Boys, a lot of the old D.C. punk stuff. Then from that I started doing national bands like Bad Religion. I designed some of their record covers. Then through that I actually met the Thievery Corporation guys and started designing their records. In terms of a little history ...

Brian:     Oh, okay. That's a lot of design, yeah.

Steve Raskin:      Design has sort of [crosstalk 00:09:35].

Brian:     Okay, that's design. Tell me, how did music come into both of your lives? What's the story there?

Steve Raskin:      For me, music has always been an integral part of it. I think as a visual artist and as a musical artist, I think they kind of go hand in hand. Watching old spy chase movies and Blaxploitation movies really, that inspired me more to make music than the actual music of the time, because it's more of a feeling. I tend to be more inspired creatively by visual things that put in ideas as opposed to sort of like imitating or emulating kind of things. But I think they go hand in hand.

Brian:     Hence the graphic designer thing you were talking about.

Steve Raskin:      Hence the graphic designer thing.

Brian:     But you also play an instrument. What instrument?

Steve Raskin:      I play bass guitar, keyboards. In the live setting I play bass, but in the studio it's one of the things that I love about making modern electronic music, or electronic bass music, is that as a multi-instrumentalist I can sit there and do this orchestration that I could never have done before. If I want a string section or a horn section I can kind of concoct it and structure it and we have such amazingly talented musicians here in D.C. that to be able to get Frank Mitchell or some of the other horn guys to come in and be able to do a horn section and replay these ideas that you can kind of get into your mind is one of the most amazing things about our collective group of friends.

Brian:     That's cool. Andy, what about you? How did music come into ... That's totally different from history professor.

Andy Cerutti:     Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, it's actually pretty easy for me to explain it because in 1994 I started working at Tower Records.

Brian:     Oh, Tower Records. I remember those guys.

Andy Cerutti:     Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, I still have a lot of friends from Tower.

Brian:     Nice.

Andy Cerutti:     It's still a big part of my life. I worked there for several years and I became a singles buyer. I got an office in the back. I'm dealing with the representatives and the sales charts and data and really, that's where it really began for me on the business side. I'm not a musician, so I do business and management side.

Brian:     I see.

Andy Cerutti:     Around that same time I linked up with a DJ, DJ Slant, from here in Washington, D.C. We formed a company, 2Tuff Productions. We threw countless events and concerts and tours and special shows promoting drum and bass music, which in a roundabout way is how I became linked up with these guys.

Brian:     That's amazing.

Andy Cerutti:     It's a true D.C. story through and through.

Steve Raskin:      Exactly.

Brian:     For both of you guys, one of the questions I love to ask is if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Steve Raskin:      I would always say when people ask me that kind of question, there's so many different things to say, but the truth of the matter is if you really want to do something just don't give up. Don't rely on someone else to do it. I think part of that is the D.C. ethos of growing up in the punk scene, which is if you wanted to do a show, put a show together. If you want to put out a record, you want to do a recording, go and do it. There's nothing really stopping you.

Andy Cerutti:     Absolutely. I'd say longevity, perseverance, you know?

Steve Raskin:      Yeah, don't give up.

Andy Cerutti:     Right when you think that it's time to quit, that's just when you're getting started. You got to stick in it. If you're not prepared for decades of commitment, you're not in the right field.

Brian:     Wow, okay. Stick with it. God, great messages, guys. I dig it. One other fun question. What's one thing in your music collection that might surprise us? Come on, Steve. Don't hold out on us, now. Andy started laughing because there's something there. What do you got?

Steve Raskin:      Well, yeah, in the same way that I like 60s and 70s car chases, I also like really cheesy music from the 60s and 70s, too. It's what would be considered light and fluffy, maybe like bossa nova light, more of the cha-cha kind of stuff.

Brian:     Okay. Really? So are we talking like "Girl From Ipanema," like the classic?

Steve Raskin:      Oh, yeah. "Girl From Ipanema," sure.

Brian:     Really?

Steve Raskin:      Yeah.

Brian:     Wow. Well, I guess that also makes sense because like Fort Knox Five ...

Steve Raskin:      It makes a little sense. Yeah, sure.

Brian:     It's still the big band and actual instruments and it's not just electronic. Not too much of a stretch, I've got you. What about you, Andy?

Andy Cerutti:     I've had so many musical phases it's hard to pinpoint one. I had a phase where I went through the Grateful Dead and some jam music, which is not something that's a big part of my life now, but I feel like it played a role in sort of shaping my musical development.

Brian:     That's amazing, guys. If listeners want to find out more about you guys or follow you guys online where do they go to find out more about you?

Andy Cerutti:     FortKnoxRecordings.com is an absolutely great spot. FortKnoxFive.com, because we have so much going on that we kind of have to parcel it out between the label and the artist.

Brian:     Sure. Right, which is great problems to have.

Steve Raskin:      Sure. Exactly.

Brian:     So much cool stuff happening. I love it.

Steve Raskin:      Find us on ... Especially, we have tons and tons of mixes. Go to SoundCloud.com, Fort Knox Five. We do a series called Funk the World, which is basically what it says, inspired funk from across the globe. Different types of genres, hours and hours and hours to be entertained too.

Andy Cerutti:     I mean, every platform. SoundCloud, Mixcloud, Twitter, you name it, you'll find us there. Fort Knox or Fort Knox Five.

February 21, 2017 - Special Guests: Geoff Browning and Jon Modell from “Of Tomorrow”

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FROM TODAY'S SHOW

NEWS

Washington City Paper's Best of DC Poll is out.  Go vote for your favorite local original band.  We've got 170+ Profiles of deserving bands on our Find-Browse Music page

MUSIC

  1. Live By The Sword - Lanternfish (Rock/Noise Rock) Album Release Show 2/25 @ DC9!  
  2. Drunk On The Power - Holly Montgomery (Rock/Adult Contemporary)
  3. The March - Of Tomorrow (Rock/Funk)
  4. That's Love - Oddisee (Hip Hop/Rap)
  5. Insight - Fort Knox Five, Asheru (Funk)
  6. I Love You Madly - Black Masala (Funk/Brass)
  7. Intro/Outro music by Fellowcraft (Hard Rock/Blues)

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Of Tomorrow

Geoff Browning & Jon Modell

Video - Bio - Photos - Links

Bio

DC Music Rocks Of Tomorrow

At the core, Of Tomorrow’s music is authentic, technical and diverse – touching on the sounds of funk, Latin jazz, festival rock, samba, neo-soul, and hip-hop. Formed in late 2015, the band is comprised of core members Nick Soderstrom (bass), Jon Modell (drums) and Geoff Browning (guitar / vocals)--fixtures on the DC music scene who have toured extensively, performing at sold-out venues including DC's 9:30 Club and the All Good Music Festival. Together, these three form the rich backbeat, melodies and lyrical structure for other players to texture, improvise and compose over.

On a mission to energize its fans and empower both core and guest musicians to shine, of Tomorrow has released their self-titled album and continues to write, tour and record. They have performed with John Popper or Blues Traveler and regularly collaborate with Ralph Washington and DJ Unown of Oddisee and Good Compny, the Yellow Dubmarine horns, and a long list of well know, extremely talented regional players. Appearing in dozens of cities and festival venues this Summer, of Tomorrow is not a band you want to miss. Tomorrow is yours.

DC Music Rocks Of Tomorrow (2)
DC Music Rocks Of Tomorrow (3)
 

Interview Transcript

Brian:     That was Of Tomorrow, my guest for today and that was the track The March.

Goeff:         Yes it was.

Brian:     At the core, Of Tomorrow's music is authentic, technical, and diverse, touching on the sounds of funk, Latin, jazz, festival rock, Samba, neo soul, and hip hop. They bring it all together. They were formed in late 2015 and the band's comprised of their core members: Nick, Jon, and Geoff. Together these three formed the rich back beat melodies and lyrical structure for other players to texture, improvise, and compose over. Of Tomorrow's release, their self-titled album and continue to write, tour, and record all around the region.

                  I've known these guys and I've seen these guys around the scene for years and listeners, it is with great pleasure that I introduce Geoff and Jon from Of Tomorrow.

Geoff:         Hello, world.

Brian:     Say hi, fellas.

Jon:         What's up, guys? How's it going?

Brian:     It is such a treat having you hear. Now talk to us about where ... How Of Tomorrow came together. How did that happen?

Geoff:         Well, I played in a band around D.C. for a long. That's where I met Jon. Jon's actually toured pretty extensively and played with a lot of folks. Bands sometimes go the way of the dinosaurs. It's part of the industry, I suppose.

Brian:     True. All right.

Geoff:         I had recently left one project and I ran into Jon at this amazing meeting of the minds jam session out in Virginia and told him the story and he said, "Oh, well, actually that's interesting because I have a new project coming together with this bass player I met who is amazing." And Nick is amazing. He said, "We have a show next Friday. Would you like to play with us?"

                  I said, "Yes," and we practiced for about 30 minutes for a four-hour set and we had so much fun we said, "Wow, we should actually start writing songs and bringing in more people who we know, who are talented in the scene, teaching them the songs, and aggressively booking shows." It came together from there.

Brian:     That's amazing. Jon, I want to switch over to you. Where did music come into your life? Geoff just said that you've been playing for a while. Talk about that a bit.

Jon:         Yeah, I started beating on pots and pans as a baby. My mom really was all about that.

Brian:     Beating on pots and pans?

Jon:         Yeah.

Brian:     Yes!

Jon:         She just encouraged me to hit all kinds of stuff in the house and make sounds.

Brian:     All right.

Jon:         I had a little record player with five or six records. This Fisher-Price thing I'll never forget. I just loved music from the beginning, but I took some Suzuki piano early on. I just really didn't have that much interest in studying music until I saw a couple of local players around my early teen years. Like when I was 14, I saw this great jazz drummer and I went up to her ... Her name was Roberta Washington and asked her to give me lessons. Same with the pianist. Walked up to him and asked him to give me lessons. It came into my life that way.

Brian:     Whoa, so both piano and drums then?

Jon:         Yeah, and at the same time I was going to school at [Maret 00:03:04] in D.C. and me and a couple of guys there formed a punk band. We played a lot of Bad Brains covers and whatever.

Brian:     Nice.

Jon:         We eventually hooked up with a singer. Amanda [Makki 00:03:15] actually. Don Z was just in here. I played around the D.C. punk scene and in a hip hop band called 3LG back in the day. I came into music really playing a lot of different styles.

Brian:     Sure.

Jon:         I didn't really care. I loved hip hop. I loved early rap. I loved early electronic music. I loved jazz and I studied 'em all and have been looking for a band that I could just be me, which means I could do a lot of things, which is the impetus for forming this group for me.

Brian:     Yeah.

Jon:         In its early inception was just to really be a place that music's music and I think people are smart enough and open enough out there now to be able to love just good music.

Brian:     What about you, Geoff? How does music enter your life? What's that story there?

Geoff:         Well, I think everything I ever wanted in a band including things I didn't know I wanted, I've found in this band, but it was a long journey to get there.

Brian:     It sounds like the beginning of a sweet love story. It's such a sweet love story.

Geoff:         It is. It is.

Brian:     Tell us more.

Geoff:         Okay, so my grandfather was a musician. He actually played during World War II in the marine corps band. His band was actually weaponized and turned into a fighting unit. The whole band was shipped to the Pacific. It's a pretty crazy story. There's actually a lot of military history that's been written about it, but ...

Jon:         I was just going to say I really hope that doesn't happen to us.

Geoff:         I hope that doesn't happen to us. Not out of the question in these crazy times, Jon.

Jon:         I'm not looking forward to being weaponized.

Geoff:         Yeah. So he was a musician. My mother was a music teacher so growing up we had a big roomful of random noisemakers to play around with and she ... I always wanted to play guitar. She said that she played guitar. She was a music teacher from when I was negative nine months old all the way through birth so I listened to a lot of guitar in that period. My brain's wired around it.

Brian:     Okay, so guitar's your thing.

Geoff:         Yeah, so I picked that up until I was about 18. Wanted to be a professional musician. Got cold feet. Wandered around for a year. Wasn't sure what to do. Then found political passions and spent the better part of 10 years exclusively pursuing that passion using skillsets that actually aren't overall dissimilar to music in some ways like you and I talked about earlier. Now for the first time as an adult, I'm doing both.

Brian:     Wow, which makes for a pretty busy schedule, I would imagine.

Geoff:         Yeah, it's not good for things like sleep, but it is very good for overall having a balanced life where I do things I'm passionate about. Sometimes it's been very trying. Lately, especially, but the band has really been a great outlet.

Brian:     That's cool. Now you guys had said there was a start ... We just played that song, The March, from a ... There's a video that I'll post with the episode of these guys ... They did a live broadcast from a recording studio and it's just an amazing video and a lot of fun to watch the dynamics of everything that is happening. Tell us about that.

Jon:         Can I actually just tell a little bit about the musical side of it before, Geoff, you tell a little bit about the lyrical side of it?

Geoff:         Oh, please do. Absolutely. Yeah.

Jon:         Because that song represents what you read out of the bio, for me. It started as a formed bass drum/guitar back beat and then we brought two keyboardists and a trumpet player who aren't the core members of our band to come in and compose over it. The result is what I think, when you play that song back to back with others songs, I listen to, I'm really proud that it sounds fresh and it sounds different and it doesn't sound intentionally different because it's not.

                  What it is is just grabbing people from all different areas and saying, "You're not committed to performing some certain genre or certain sound. We've got the bass drums and guitar covered. You be you and we're going to come up with something we have no idea what it's going to be," and that's what The March ... And that's what that recording [crosstalk 00:07:08].

Brian:     And what we heard, was that really ... They had never played that with you before or they knew the basics?

Jon:         No, they've come up with it. They've helped us come up with that song, but not every note is supposed to be plotted out.

Brian:     Yeah.

Geoff:         Essentially the way that things have gone recently is we took a book out of the playbook of Everyone Orchestra who's a band who are good friends of ours from by Matt Butler out of Portland, Oregon. He invites people who he knows who are really talented to come and play with them. Well, Jon, Nick, and I write a lot of the songs and the songs have really ... We would like to think strong structures, lyrical content, things like that, but then we invite keyboard players and horn players and violin and rappers and anyone we want to come in over it. As a result, the result is always really creative and fresh and inspiring, at least to me.

                  With that particular song, the lyrical content's interesting. When we're not touring around, I live on Capitol Hill, about two blocks from the U.S. Capitol. I was walking on the plaza one day and there was this big rally going on behind the Capitol and everyone was singing, "Corporations aren't people." I started walking away and in my head I started thinking like, "[humming]."

                  The first two lyrics there are, "Corporations aren't people," but then the third time I say, "Corporations are made of people," because the thing about it is corporations ... It was interesting to hear that protest say that because they were frustrated with corporate personhood, obviously, but at the end of the day, corporations are made of people. They're just other people who are really good at exercising their political leverage very effectively. I think especially for our friends who care about things like economic fairness and basic rights, I think it's important to maintain that distinction and not see the other side in such monolithic adversarial terms in a way that is exculpatory and satisfying at times.

Brian:     Yeah, Jon, I'm curious now ...

Jon:         Those are big words.

Brian:     I was going to say those are amazingly big beautiful words and you just earn sexy points on the radio when you start talking big words like that.

Jon:         I hope I'm exculpatory at times.

Geoff:         I have the best words. All the best words.

Jon:         I think Exculpatory At Times is a good song title for something coming up. I'll have to find out what it means.

Brian:     Stay tuned for something like that. Jon, it sounds like ... Is it the same ... Clearly Geoff, brings a lot of political perspective and current events and stuff happening on the Hill. What do you bring to Of Tomorrow outside of ... Is it just the music for you or [crosstalk 00:09:39]?

Jon:         So really, when I met Nick at a jam session, I was playing in another local group, Nappy Riddem, great reggae band.

Geoff:         They're awesome.

Jon:         I had been with them for three and a half years, but when I met Nick ... As a drummer, you meet a bass player. His versatility and what it brought out of me made me think, "Wow, as a back beat, as the backbone of a band, we could enable amazing things to happen." I really created this in my mind, what I created, was a place that people could express themselves on top of and with the support of drums and bass that can pretty much do whatever is called for.

Brian:     That's amazing.

Jon:         When Geoff brings this passion and lyrical content to the song, that's exactly what my mission is, is not to control or say, "Hey, you come here and play this guitar or you come here and say these things," but to see him or anyone come in and really be enabled to make something that is really true to them, but also musically technically versatile and beautiful. That for me is the mission. I'm not the singer so I'm not about to tell you what to sing.

Brian:     Right. What about now outside of the music part now? Geoff, it sounds like a lot of your life is captured in political persuasion and such. Outside of work and outside of the work part, what's life like for you guys? Are you homebodies? What do you do in your downtime?

Geoff:         Every single second of downtime I have when I'm not sleeping, I'm generally mustering up all the energy I can to do things that are related to this band and its development.

Jon:         Getting a band to be actually playing out and have shows and get records done and all that ... As anyone out there knows, everyone knows, it takes an immense amount of work and Geoff definitely does an incredible amount of work.

Geoff:         Jon helps a lot. The thing is, you know, in some senses starting any new initiative and getting it off the ground, it can be ... It's sort of like a political campaign in a way. Running a band can be like a political campaign just with no election day, which can be exhausting. One difference is instead of having a VAN database where you have hundreds of thousands of voters and you put together root packets and send volunteers out to talk to them, you have a spreadsheet where you have 200 venues, festivals, and breweries and you basically need to look up contact or hire someone to go through that and look up contact information and do all the outreach.

For us, who's a band who does a lot of that ourselves, we don't quite have the volume yet to get a big production house but we've had a really amazing group of people who've really latched on to what we're doing and contributed their enthusiasm.

                  For anyone who's interested, I would definitely recommend they go to DCMusicRocks.com or to BandOfTomorrow.com and see the videos that we've had. We shot those at this big warehouse party in D.C. at a art space. It was this amazing night and we invested a lot in the video crew and we had Da Vinci Sound and Vision out to record it and [AudioBar 00:12:46] came out and [Pat Chen 00:12:48], [Sean Gokin 00:12:48]. It was great. Everyone walked away really excited, almost feeling like, "This must have been ..." I hear someone walk away and say, "This must have been what it was like to be in Haight-Ashbury in the 60's." That same kind of ... It was two weeks after the election. The whole art scene came together around it. People just had a lot of raw energy and in our song Order of the Red Banner, which is also on our website and social media channels, a lot of that came out in that as well.

Brian:     Check that out. Now what are you guys ... Talk to me about exciting things coming up for Of Tomorrow.

Jon:         Can I speak to that just for a second?

Brian:     By all means. Jump in.

Jon:         Because I think the D.C. music scene has something special, as that we're in D.C. and having grown up here and been in the underground scene and the art scene, there are certain parts of the scene here that are totally disconnected from what people think of Washington monuments, politics, all that. It's just people expressing themselves, making art. There's another part of the scene, which is very, very politically active. That was represented always by a lot of charity shows and Positive Force and groups that combine music with political action.

                  That's what makes this place special, but it's important in and out of the area to recognize, there's always been a part of the scene that's just about the music, just art.

Brian:     And the scene is wonderful for that in terms of being very supportive and I love that about the D.C. music scene, which is one of the reasons I love this show and we do this.

Jon:         We have a really good thing here. It's great. And it's growing too. It's awesome to see it grow.

Brian:     I want you to tell ... Well, first I want you to say if they're interested in finding out more about you guys, where do they find you guys online or to follow you guys?

Geoff:         BandOfTomorrow.com.

Brian:     Got it. It's all there?

Geoff:         Or @bandoftomorrow on Instagram, but BandOfTomorrow.com, actually our new album is up for free, just for an email address.

Brian:     Check it out.

Geoff:         There's also a link there to our very good friends at Void Life Records, who if you are willing to pay $8.88, they will send you a physical copy of the CD with one-of-a-kind drawings on the envelope and handwritten thank you note because they are amazing.

Jon:         Wow, those guys are super cool.

Brian:     That's amazing.

Geoff:         That's all at BandOfTomorrow.com.

Jon:         Talk about grassroots.

Brian:     I want you guys to speak to ... I'm going to put this little clip on because you said there's a DJ Unown. Is that what you said?

Geoff:         Yeah, [crosstalk 00:15:10] good company.

Brian:     Talk about this. Hold on. Let's listen for just a second here. Listen to what's happening in this audio clip here.

Geoff:         From the song we just heard, that sample ...

Brian:     It sounds like noise.

Jon:         Oh, put it back up for a second. He just deconstructs it the beginning and turns it into ...

Geoff:         And turns it into this.

Jon:         A crazy beat.

Geoff:         It's amazing.

Jon:         He did this at the show. He actually made this as we were playing.

Geoff:         It was that warehouse party I was talking about before.

Jon:         It was done when we were done. He just grabbed stuff out of the air and makes art. His name's actually Unown. Not really DJ Unown. He plays with Oddisee. He's their MPC sample player. He's extremely well known around here to anyone in the hip hop scene.

Brian:     Wow.

Geoff:         He basically came and he set up a microphone in the corner of the room and then when we were done, he went down and he plugged into a DI box on stage and he played back remixes of all the songs we had just played, none of which he had ever heard, using only samples that he recorded that night.

Jon:         Live.

Geoff:         He also plays with Oddisee, the rapper from D.C. who is about to go on a nine-month world tour making us all very, very proud and Ralph Real, who's our keyboard player is also going on tour with them.

July 26, 2016 Show

^^Episode Is Live Now - Click Above (might take time to buffer/load, refresh page if issue)^^

  1. DC Music Rocks Listeners Choice Track of the Week: Albino Rhino - Walk In Squares  (Funk/Blues)
  2. The Jones - Bruises (Rock)
  3. Aaron Tinjum and the Tangents - Silver in the Foothills  (Rock/Folk Rock)
  4. Dan Wolff & The Muddy Crows - Straight Crazy  (Rock/Americana)
  5. Lisa Said - For Today (Rock/Americana)
  6. Don Zientara - The Things You Do (Rock/Americana)
  7. The Meer - Medicine (Rock/Acoustic Rock) -- Glory In Sound DC Music Blog
  8. Amy Wilcox - Summer in Slow Motion (Country)
  9. Black Masala - Too Hot To Wait (Pop/Brassband)
  10. Raheem DeVaughn - I Don't Care (R&B)
  11. Raheem DeVaughn ft R. Kelly (R&B/HipHop)

Cool Venue Spotlight: Acre 121 - Voted best place to have dinner and hear live music in the Washington City Paper's Reader's Poll

I'm looking for great DC Musicians who have released music!  Know of any?  Send them my way or send this to them!

http://www.dcmusicrocks.com/submit-music/

July 12, 2016 Show