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Surprise Attack

3/20/18 - Special Guest: Surprise Attack

Thanks to Ian, Jay, and Tom, of Surprise Attack, for hanging out with us in the studio this week!

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

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

 

FROM THIS SHOW

MUSIC

  1. ***You and Me and Howard Cosell, by Quiet Life Motel (World, Jazz)

  2. M.D.M.A., by Surprise Attack (Funk, Jam)

  3. Petrified, by Chris Cassaday (Folk, Folk Rock)

  4. ***Come Up, by Jae Alexander (R&B)

  5. Dopener, by Of Tomorrow (Rock/Funk)

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

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-


ANNOUNCEMENTS

We need your help supporting WERA 96.7FM, the station where the live version of our show airs!  Arlington County is planning to cut funding for the station by 20%, which would gut the station staff, drive up costs to the station’s community considerably, and potentially even cause the loss of the station itself.
https://www.arlingtonmedia.org/about/proposed-fy-19-county-budget-catastrophic-aim

The county board will vote on the proposed budget on April 21st. Here’s how we need your help before the vote:

1) If you live in Arlington, or know someone who does, forward them this link and sign our petition - Urging the County Board to restore AIM's funding. https://www.change.org/p/arlington-county-board-urge-the-arlington-county-board-to-act-to-restore-arlington-independent-media-s-funding

2) Share Your Feedback on Arlington's FY 2019 Proposed Budget - This county survey asks Arlington residents to give feedback on the proposed budget. Must be completed by April 9, 2018
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FY19BudgetFeedback

3) Write your County Board members - countyboard@arlingtonva.us - Tell them you want AIM's funding restored!!  Sample letter here - https://www.arlingtonmedia.org/about/proposed-fy-19-county-budget-catastrophic-aim/sample-letter-county-board-stop-aim-budget-cuts

4) Speak with a County Board member at an Open Door Monday. Open to all Arlington residents.  No appointment is necessary to talk one-on-one with a County Board member on any topic. Mondays, 7 - 9PM, at locations around the Arlington. See schedule below:

Open Door Monday at Aurora Hills Library - Monday March 26th
Open Door Monday at Langston Brown Community Center - Monday, April 2nd
https://countyboard.arlingtonva.us/open-door-mondays/


NEW MUSIC RELEASES

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


NEW VIDEOS

Thievery Corporation - Voyage Libre
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAOEo_sVRo0

Handsome Hounds Tiny Desk Video 2018
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBngpY9RwV4

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

Check the calendar, linked below, for the full list!
http://www.dcmusicrocks.com/local-music-calendar

Fri Mar 23
Human Country Jukebox @ Hill Country in Downtown DC

Sat Mar 24
Womxn Screw Stuff Up (Clean Words) Festival @ Songbyrd Music House in Admo
Split Seconds & Curse Words @ Milkboy Arthouse in MD

Sun Mar 25
Two Ton Twig @ Solly’s on U St

Wed Mar 28
Ardamus @ Milkboy Arthouse in College Park, MD


Patreon

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**   **Music 4 The Revolution (Abu Jibran)**



Surprise Attack

Video - Bio - Links - Transcript

Surprise Attack's Bio:

SA Full Band.jpg

Drawing inspiration from across the musical spectrum to create their unique "Mountain Funk" sound, Surprise Attack thrives on collaboration and improvisation. The group’s five members share a deep connection and a passion for uncompromising, progressive music that keeps listeners guessing and always lands somewhere unexpectedly familiar.

Links:
Website
Facebook
Bandcamp
Instagram

Jay & Ian.JPG
surprise attack.jpg

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Brian:     On DC Music Rocks, we're shining a spotlight on the great songs, artists, and incredible people behind the DC region's local music scene. And Surprise Attack pushes the envelope when it comes to seamlessly blending genres and improvisation. Their unexpectedly eclectic blend of funk, jazz, rock, roots music, and hip-hop, is something they often call Mountain Funk. Multi part harmonies, searing instrumental leads, dynamic rhythmic breaks, and nostalgic covers are only a few of the tools Surprise Attack uses to entertain and delight you when you come and see them.  This five piece group demonstrates a keen ability to reflect the energy of an audience back at them, and creating unique and unforgettable experiences. They're also great dudes. I came across these guys way back when I started the show, and I've been following them for two years ... two plus years, at this point, and I love all these releases. It is such a treat to now get to share you guys with everybody listening. Thanks for being here, guys.

Tom:     [crosstalk 00:00:57]. Thanks, Brian, yeah, it's great to be here.

Brian:     This is awesome. What is it that makes Surprise Attack special? I talked about the blend of the different genres of the Mountain Funk, and then there's also that ... I talked about the ... sending the energy back to the audience. What else? What makes you special?

Tom:     It's the friendship at the core. Really, we've been extremely close friends for a really long time. We're all odd. We're quirky. And I really think when we get together, we just ... we really click in a way that is special, and I think the music that we put out is a direct reflection of that.

Brian:     Absolutely. And if they haven't been to a Surprise Attack show, what's it like?

Jay:     We try to project fun. Fun is what we've got from a lot of people, so we try to read the crowd and sort of the venue, and try to cater the musical experience to that, because you don't want to just come up there with the same couple songs that you always do.

Brian:     Right.

Jay:     People might get bored of that really quickly, so we like to really ... Our name is Surprise Attack. We like to really [crosstalk 00:02:12].

Brian:     Surprise attack them?

Jay:     ... any idea of what's coming, so when you hear, it's supposed to give that feeling.

Brian:     That's awesome. So now, right along those lines then, when it comes to memorable moments where you surprise attacked someone, what comes to mind for the most successful moment for surprise attacking people?

Ian:     Well actually, recently we played ... What was the name of that bar we played?

Tom:     The Midlands?

Ian:     Yeah, the Midlands. And we went into ... Oh, sorry. And we went into Cali Love ... California Love, but Tupac.

Brian:     Stop it. Really?

Ian:     Yeah. That surprise attacked the hell out of everybody.

Brian:     I can only imagine. Wow. And knew all the words? Rapped to it?

Ian:     Yeah, the bartenders were all taking videos and everything. They loved it.

Brian:     That's awesome. What a cool thing. I love it.  And now, the story behind the name. Surprise Attack, where did that come from?

Tom:     Believe it or not, Surprise Attack formed a little over 10 years ago, the first time. We were a pop/punk sort of outfit.

Brian:     Really?

Tom:     Yeah, we were a pop/punk sort of outfit, so Surprise Attack was a great name for us then, and then we came back, we all loved jam music, and yeah, just the [segging 00:03:29] from one song to the other, the unexpected songs that come in and out of the sets. Surprise Attack just worked, and we've kept it ever since.

Brian:     Got it. The name was actually ... That was the name of the pop/punk group too?

Tom:     Yes.

Brian:     So, it's been Surprise Attack since the beginning.

Tom:     Yes.

Brian:     Wow. And how long of a break was it between when you stopped and came back?

Tom:     It was like eight, nine years after our pretty much permanent hiatus, that we all decided to move back to DC and then start playing music again.

Brian:     And when you say, "We all", describe all the members and the pieces of the band. What makes up Surprise Attack?

Ian:     Well, at first was me and Tom, the guitar ... Sorry, this is Ian on the drums and Tom the guitar player, and then we had [Gerry 00:04:13] on the keys and Danny on the base, originally. That was when we were in high school. Then once we split up, got back together, and [Jayro 00:04:23], the percussion player joined the band, and that's been over a year now.

Jay:     Yeah, it was kind of ... I knew all these guys back then too, as well, but we all ended up going to different colleges, and so we were spread out.

Brian:     Oh, of course.

Ian:     Except for Tom and I. We both went to Virginia Tech, and that's where ... I had my electronic drum kit there that I could make work in the townhouse that I had. Then Tom would come over and jam, so that's kind of how me and him started musically collaborating. Once we all sort of moved back to this area, after the college period kind of, then got back into it.

Brian:     You described ... I hear six people. Yeah? There's six?

Tom:     There's five of us.

Brian:     Five of us. Got it. And the instrumentation is two drums ... What is it? Tell me the rest.

Tom:     We've got the standard traditional drum kit. We got Jayro who plays percussion, like [tongos 00:05:25], bongos, all sorts of random fun loud-making stuff.

Brian:     Okay.

Tom:     Guitar. We got keyboards, and we've got base.

Brian:     And base. What a great ... And that means you can play any cover too, because you've got all the instruments you need to do that. Oh man, guys, that's fun.  What about ... Outside of the music thing in your personal time, I want you guys to each share. What do you do for fun? Outside of that.

Ian:     Well actually, coincidentally, I started doing music lessons. I know this is music related, but that's actually what I do for my job now.

Brian:     Really? What kind of ... so you teach lessons?

Ian:     I teach drums, guitar and piano.

Brian:     Where is that? Where do you do that?

Ian:     It's at a place called Bach to Rock.

Brian:     Nice.

Ian:     Yeah. Teaching kind of from six to 13 or so. Younger kids.

Brian:     Very cool.

Ian:     Yeah. It's a lot of fun.

Brian:     Teaching music lessons.

Ian:     Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jay:     This guy can play everything, man.

Brian:     Everything drums, or everything ...

Jay:     Like everything.

Brian:     [crosstalk 00:06:29], like whatever you want. Wow, man. That's amazing.

Ian:     All the rock instruments.

Brian:     Awesome. And what else? About the rest of you?

Tom:     This is Tom, and I'm a huge yoga advocate. That's probably-

Brian:     Really?

Tom:     ... the thing that eats up the most of my time outside of the band.

Brian:     Now, when you say, "Huge", does that mean daily, twice daily?

Tom:     Not twice daily. It's definitely a daily thing for me. Sometimes more than others, but it's just been a huge part of my life for the past four or five years. It really keeps me grounded.

Brian:     Grounded is such a good yoga word, that they use. [crosstalk 00:07:02] associated with it. Do you go to a studio to do this, or do you teach it, or do you just do it at home, or what?

Tom:     There's a ton of great studios around Arlington, Virginia. Everywhere in northern Virginia and DC has them. I'll do stuff at home. I'll do stuff at studios. I like experimenting. Doing with a community is nice, and then practicing on my own can be nice too sometimes.

Brian:     Very cool.

Jay:     And this is Jay, and I started skateboarding at six years old and used to do it competitively. I don't do it as much anymore. I'm kind of a big guy to be skating. It hurts when I fall.

Brian:     Now, when you say a big guy, if they don't know how big you are ...

Jay:     Well, I'm 6'4" and weigh about 200 pounds.

Brian:     Got it. Yeah, that is pretty tall for skateboarding. You're right.

Ian:     Everybody in this band is really tall, except for me. Everybody is six feet and above, and I'm standing here over here, 5'9".

Brian:     So Ian, the 5'9" under the giants.

Ian:     Yeah, exactly.

Brian:     Oh god, that's amazing.

Jay:     But yeah. I don't do it as much anymore, but I still get out there a lot, and still try to do some crazy stuff from time to time.

Brian:     Nice. I like it, guys. One of my favorite questions to ask, and I want each of you to answer it is, if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Ian:     To other bands, or ...

Brian:     I'm going to leave it entirely up to you.

Ian:     Oh, okay.

Brian:     It's just your piece of advice to whoever.

Jay:     Listen to Surprise Attack.

Tom:     This is why we put Jay [crosstalk 00:08:28].

Brian:     That was Jay, and Jay, you still got to come up with something else. But we do love that advice. I do. I do.

Ian:     That's just good advice for life, in general. Listen to Surprise Attack.

Brian:     Absolutely. I would say, "And then go to a show and be surprised and attacked." There's that too. Go ahead, Ian, what do you got?

Ian:     Well, I guess for bands in the area starting up and stuff, just going to a bunch of different shows and supporting local music and stuff is definitely ... definitely was a big help for us, as far as just making friends and also seeing different styles and stuff like that. Listen to as many people as you can, I would say.

Brian:     Awesome. That's cool. What about you, Tom?

Tom:     I got to say, just in general, do your do.

Brian:     Do your do. It sounds like a Mountain Dew commercial.

Tom:     It's not a Mountain Dew commercial. There's a lot of things that we're told that we can't do, we shouldn't do, things that are just a bad idea for us to go down. In particular, as a musician, that one really strikes home for me. Really, just if you've got the passion to do something, absolutely go for it, and give it everything you've got.

Brian:     Absolutely.

Ian:     I like that.

Brian:     I like that one. Absolutely. All right, Jay. Your second shot. More advice. I was only asking for one, but you're allowed two.

Jay:     Drink a lot coffee, so that it can support you to ... As a musician and everything, it's ... As you're coming up and trying to really make it work, you still got other things in your life you try to balance and get everything together, but just every time that I'm ... just kind of notice I'm sitting around and doing nothing, I just kind of have the realization, and just try to stay energetic, and stay on the path towards achieving whatever I've set out to achieve. I just try to have a lot of energy when it comes to that, just so that I can achieve kind of a good balance with my goals and living life.

Brian:     Absolutely. When you have those moments, take advantage of them and do the stuff that's important, not just [inaudible 00:10:44]. I like that. I like that.  Cool. And for those folks who want to find out more about Surprise Attack, where do they go?

Tom:     SurpriseAttackDC.com is the definite place to get any and all Surprise Attack information. Looking us up on Facebook also. There's a ton of information, and all of our music is available for free for download; Band Camp, SoundCloud, Spotify, iTunes.

Brian:     That's amazing. All right. And is there one social media that you guys do more on than the others?

Ian:     Probably Facebook, at this point, but we're getting more involved with Instagram and stuff. We've been thinking about getting a Twitter, but ...

Brian:     Facebook and Instagram

 

10/17/17 - Special Guest: Chris Cassaday

Thanks to Chris Cassaday 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. Blood Moon, by Chris Timbers (Rock, Americana)
  2. The Bad Man, by Chris Cassaday (Folk, Folk-Rock)
  3. Red Herring (Alternate), by Surprise Attack (Funk/Jam)
  4. Lion's Den, by Bottled Up (Punk, Surf)
  5. Hold, by Wally Worsley (Hard Rock, Rock)
  6. After All Is Said and Done, by Justin Trawick (Bluegrass, Rock)

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-

ANNOUNCEMENTS

We have a whole series of playlists on Spotify for you to enjoy.  The DC Music Rocks Show playlist is up to 422 songs and features all the songs we’ve played on this show in the past, set it to “shuffle” and enjoy!  We hope you’ll click “Follow” on that one!  We also have mood and genre playlists for you on our playlist page. www.dcmusicrocks.com/playlists

Our DC Music Rocks Show Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/dcmusicrocks/playlist/5tNIZ3Afg1vz6gkqvHpDjE

NEW RELEASES

Music:
Ddespair - Next To Me (Single)
https://open.spotify.com/track/3JrUNzFOABnMsiFhl4tq8M
Alecia Renece - The Struggle (Single)
https://open.spotify.com/track/59not3wz5cmjcTMy3XVAyR

Our ‘2017 New Releases by DC Artists’ Spotify Playlist:
https://open.spotify.com/user/dcmusicrocks/playlist/24KrZD9KlUE2yC3eT2oBUI

Video:
Sara Curtin - Wellish Home
https://youtu.be/Vg28pTgo9Xw
Edjacated Phools - Life Is What You Make Of It
https://youtu.be/Bq0wJMiIoaM
Higher Education - Wait
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOjpmXsjNa0
The Fringe Benefits Band - Step Out
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pybWB-Ns--U
Bumper Jacksons - Old Birds
https://youtu.be/fhudVPYD8RM

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

Fri Oct 20
Edjacated Fools & Higher Education @ U Maryland in College Park
Juliet Lloyd @ Rocklands Farm Winery in Poolesville, MD
Chris Cassaday @ Songbyrd Music House in Adams Morgan in NW DC
Den-Mate @ Black Cat on 14th St in NW DC
Black Masala @ Gypsy Sally’s in Georgetown in NW DC
Oh He Dead & Soldier’s of Suburbia @ Rock and Roll Hotel on H St in NE DC

Sat Oct 21
Sub-Radio @ Sauf Haus Bier Garden by Dupont in NW DC
Vim & Vigor @ World Of Beer in Ashburn, VA

Sun Oct 22
Rare Essence @ Warner Theatre by Metro Center in NW DC

Thu Oct 26
Sara Curtin & The North Country @ Black Cat on 14th St in NW DC
Alex Vaughn @ Songbyrd Music House in Adams Morgan in NW DC
Flasher @ Rock N Roll Hotel on H St in NE DC


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!



Chris Cassaday

VIDEO - BIO - LINKS - TRANSCRIPT

BIO:

Chris Cassaday_30Jul2017-48.JPG

Chris Cassaday is a folk-funk singer/songwriter from Arlington, Virginia. Chris's unique blend of blues, folk and funk, his crafty songwriting style, his unpredictable set lists, and his thunderous, distinctive voice have captivated audiences in the DMV, up and down the east coast, and around the country. With two albums released, a song being played on SiriusXM radio's the Coffeehouse, and a resume of hundreds of amazing performances under his belt, Chris has proven himself as a must-see act in the Washington D.C. music scene. 

WEBSITE: http://chriscassadaymusic.wixsite.com/chriscassaday

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/chriscassadaymusic

TWITTER: @ccassadaymusic

INSTAGRAM: @chriscassadaymusic

chris cassaday.jpg

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Brian:     Here on DC Music Rocks we are shining a spotlight on the great songs, artists, and incredible people behind the DC region's local music scene. Chris Cassaday is a singer-songwriter from Arlington, Virginia, with a unique blend of blues, folk, and funk. His crafty songwriting style, his unpredictable set lists, and his thunderous, distinctive voice have captivated audience in the DMV for a while. With two albums released, a song being played on Sirius XM Radio's The Coffeehouse, and a resume of hundreds of amazing performances under his belt, Chris is an awesome act, and I hope you get to see him live at some point.  I first came across him doing this show, and I've been such a fan of his music, and now I actually get to have him here in the studio with me and this is such a treat, man. Thanks for being here.

Chris Cassaday:     Thanks for having me.

Brian:     Now talk about, so you're born and raised in Virginia ...

Chris Cassaday:     Yes sir.

Brian:     Wow. So, Great Falls and then into Arlington. Now did you go away for school, or have you really been Virginia the whole time?

Chris Cassaday:     I don't know if I would call it going away. I went to JMU in Harrisonburg. It's a couple hours away. It's far enough where your parents can't bother you, but close enough where it's not a hike to get home.

Brian:     So you've really been in the area for your whole life pretty much.

Chris Cassaday:     Yeah pretty much. Always been around Virginia in some way, shape, or form.

Brian:     And where and when, how did music start?

Chris Cassaday:     Well my dad got me my first guitar when I was 14 years old. And I had always been singing, when I was a little kid, singing in the backseat. I had a really deep voice as a kid and everyone used to make fun of me for it.

Brian:     Oh yeah?

Chris Cassaday:     My dad was like, "You sounded like Rod Stewart when you were like six years old." But I was always singing. So he was finally like, he got me a guitar, and I took lessons for a brief period. And it always just stuck with me; I loved it. And it kind of developed as I got older; I was in bands in high school. And when I went to college at JMU I kind of got into the whole solo acoustic thing, just sitting in my dorm strumming and writing down lyrics. And really fell in love with it.

Brian:     And it's always been guitar, or other instruments too?

Chris Cassaday:     You know, I actually started on bass. I was a bass player first.

Brian:     Really?

Chris Cassaday:     Yeah. But was taking guitar lessons while I was playing bass in the band, you know, and then we kind of did a whole switcheroo thing in my high school band where we got to play different instruments, so ... I was kind of learning two instruments at the same time.

Brian:     Nice. So guitar and bass.

Chris Cassaday:     Yeah.

Brian:     Wow. And what age was this again? When did that start?

Chris Cassaday:     That was like age 14 probably, yeah.

Brian:     Got it. So high school is really when ...

Chris Cassaday:     High school, exactly.

Brian:     The music education kicked in. Got it. Wow. So then what's your earliest memory with music? What comes to mind?

Chris Cassaday:     Oh man. My earliest memory with music is ... Oh boy. This is tough. Probably singing, I can't believe I'm saying this on the air. So, I sang a Nickleback song in the sixth grade talent show, when I went to the [inaudible 00:02:48].

Brian:     Don't judge him! Don't judge him! He did.

Chris Cassaday:     No judgment here, folks. I sang "How You Remind Me."

Brian:     Oh, excellent.

Chris Cassaday:     Which was a good song at the time. I mean, you know ...

Brian:     Yeah. Oh, that was huge back then.

Chris Cassaday:     But, we played the karaoke track of that and I sang it and, needless to say I was a stud at my elementary school for the next few weeks.

Brian:     Did you win? Did you win that talent- [crosstalk 00:03:09]

Chris Cassaday:     It was just like everyone performs; there wasn't an actual winner, yeah.

Brian:     Oh a showcase, I gotcha. Wow.

Chris Cassaday:     But, I think I won.

Brian:     Oh that's funny. So you are secretly a Nickelback fan. We'll keep that a secret between us.

Chris Cassaday:     Uh, yeah.

Brian:     And whoever's listening. No. And that was your first memory I guess performing too.

Chris Cassaday:     Yes sir.

Brian:     It would have been that one. Wow. Alright now, so outside of music then, you've got to have some hobbies and stuff. What do you do outside of music?

Chris Cassaday:     Well me and my girlfriend Haley live up the street in Rosalind, and we go to a lot of concerts, whoever's in town.

Brian:     Do you?

Chris Cassaday:     Yeah, we went to a ton of concerts this summer. I mean, I love music, local and big shows. Also, I love hockey, a big hockey guy. I play adult league hockey.

Brian:     Nice. Do you?

Chris Cassaday:     In fact I have to meet up tonight at Kettler.

Brian:     Wow.

Chris Cassaday:     At like, 11 p.m. tonight; it's late.

Brian:     Wow.

Chris Cassaday:     Late till ... but I love hockey.

Brian:     And this isn't roller hockey; we're talking ice hockey.

Chris Cassaday:     This is ice hockey. Yeah, I played when I was growing up, played at JMU and still trying to keep it going. Needless to say I'm horribly out of shape now, so it's getting tougher, but ...

Brian:     Oh, you seem pretty trim to me man. You don't look terrible.

Chris Cassaday:     It's like riding a bike, except way more humiliating if you mess up.

Brian:     When you mess up, I got it. And like shows, or other, there's a little bit of ice hockey and some going to see concerts. And anything else? What else is his life like?

Chris Cassaday:     Um, I'm trying to think here. Traveling. Love to travel. I like getting out of town whenever I can. In fact we were talking, Haley and I just got back from Ireland; I was there for nine days.

Brian:     Get out of here!

Chris Cassaday:     Yeah, I loved it.

Brian:     Where in Ireland did you go?

Chris Cassaday:     We started in Dublin and rented a car and drove around the country. Which is terrifying by the way, driving on the other side of the road.

Brian:     Really?

Chris Cassaday:     It was terrifying.

Brian:     Oh, because they drive on the opposite side.

Chris Cassaday:     And the roads are so narrow there ...

Brian:     Ah, man!

Chris Cassaday:     I'm like, how can this be okay? Where we stayed in Cork ...

Brian:     Wait, who drive, did you or Haley drive?

Chris Cassaday:     We switched off, but you felt safer in the driver's seat because, you know, everything's backwards so you're just like ...

Brian:     You want to be in control.

Chris Cassaday:     But it was fantastic, my first time in Europe. I had a blast.

Brian:     Wow. First time. Congratulations on making it to the Euro Theater for the first time, man.

Chris Cassaday:     Thanks man.

Brian:     Holy smokes. Alright now, so funniest moment that comes to mind in performing now?

Chris Cassaday:     Like a funny incident, or ...

Brian:     Sure! That's good. Yeah.

Chris Cassaday:     Okay. There's a few, but the one that always comes to mind when people ask me like, about embarrassing moments was, I was playing with this high school band I was mentioning. In front of the whole school; we had this place called The Commons, which was like the middle of the school, and we were playing, and the whole school was watching, and I was jumping around, you know, playing bass, and my strap broke and my bass just fell to the floor.

Brian:     Oh my god!

Chris Cassaday:     In the middle of a song. And I was just like, "Uhhhh ..."

Brian:     Did it break too?

Chris Cassaday:     No it didn't break, thank god. But I just had to like scoop it up and strap it back on, and ...

Brian:     Hoping nobody saw that.

Chris Cassaday:     No, but it broke.

Brian:     But everybody did.

Chris Cassaday:     Since then I got the locks you know, so the strap won't go anywhere.

Brian:     Right, yeah, the strap locks. By the way, a public service announcement for any guitar players, make sure you have strap locks.

Chris Cassaday:     Good advice.

Brian:     A best practice. Nice. Courtesy of Chris Cassaday's amazing moment from performing.   Alright, so tell us a story about a time you tried and failed.

Chris Cassaday:     Tried and failed? Oh boy. One time I tried to cover a Bruno Mars song and just absolutely failed.

Brian:     Oh! Which one? Do you remember?

Chris Cassaday:     It was ... (singing).

Brian:     Oh, nice.

Chris Cassaday:     That was a while ago though ...

Brian:     Okay wait a minute. Just for the record, how does it go, one more time?

Chris Cassaday:     (Singing.) Yeah, see that's exactly why I tried right there.

Brian:     Oh, trying.

Chris Cassaday:     That was a long time ago. A lot of people, I don't even think Haley knows about that, but it was at an open mic and I was like, "You know I'm going to go for it," and it didn't go well.

Brian:     Didn't go well. Oh my gosh, that's amazing. Now, and what do you have in your musical, aside from Bruno Mars now, what do you have in your music collection that might surprise us?

Chris Cassaday:     I love doing like mashups of songs. I've got a lot of Dave Matthews in there; I do this Dave Matthews song "Jimi Thing" and I mash it up with "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield.

Brian:     Wow.

Chris Cassaday:     In addition to old songs like Buffalo Springfield, I'll do newer, like rap songs. "Hold On We're Going Home" by Drake. And I've got a lot of reggae in my repertoire. Love reggae music.

Brian:     Nice.

Chris Cassaday:     A lot of Sublime in there, stuff of that nature. And I also do a mean "Lose Yourself" by Eminem.

Brian:     Oh yeah?

Chris Cassaday:     Like at the end of a show. Like, if the crowd's kind of dying down, I'll just do like the (singing) and [inaudible 00:07:43].

Brian:     Wow. Oh man.

Chris Cassaday:     Yeah, that's one of the biggest surprises in the set.

Brian:     That's so funny. And so these are when you're playing two and three hour sets, just you and your guitar, you're tossing these covers into it?

Chris Cassaday:     Yeah.

Brian:     You have anything that you don't cover, that's in your music collection that you're a fan of, but you don't necessarily cover? Or do you really play it all?

Chris Cassaday:     I try to play it all. My setlist is always super diverse. I try to like, surprise you with the next song, you know? It could be anything, you never know.

Brian:     God, that's amazing. I can't wait to catch another one of these shows, man. Now, do you have any rules that you always end up breaking? That you've set for yourself?

Chris Cassaday:     Not drinking the night before a big show.

Brian:     And is that because of peer pressure, or just because, you know, a beer sounds good, or ...

Chris Cassaday:     A little bit of both, yeah. Also, going to bed on time. "I've got to go to bed on time!" No, it's-

Brian:     Alright, so it's "I'm not going to drink" and "I'm going to go to bed on time," and "I'm not going to be hungover before the show." Except, that might happen.

Chris Cassaday:     Yeah, you never know. But, it can affect you big time, you know. I've learned the hard way, and I'm always like, "Now you know! Don't do it." And then I just ...

Brian:     Right, and then it happens again. Oh, that's really funny. So now, one of my favorite questions to ask, actually I've got, I'm going to do this one in two parts. What is the best piece of advice you have ever gotten from someone? And this can be in general, it doesn't have to be music.

Chris Cassaday:     Best piece of advice I've ever gotten from someone was, Dave Matthews, who said, in an interview he said, "Play for anyone you can, anywhere you can, at any time. You never know who's going to hear you."

Brian:     That's amazing. And is there like a story that comes to mind as to like, someone you've ended up playing for that, that was a surprise?

Chris Cassaday:     Well, I mean, the way I started getting all of these gigs was, I went to an open mic on like a Monday night out in Sterling and a promoter guy by the name of Dave [Mastell 00:09:40] heard me and started booking me at pubs and restaurants, and that's how I started booking these big gigs, was through him. And I just happened to be at that open mic at that night and he heard me, and now I'm, paid gigs on the way. You never know what's going to happen or who's going to be there.

Brian:     Wow. That's amazing. And, are you entirely a musician? Do you have other jobs, like part-time jobs as well?

Chris Cassaday:     By day I am a financial planning administrator at a wealth management firm. And then by night I'm a singer-songwriter.

Brian:     Fantastic. See, and I love it; and you know, sometimes we, I don't want to say "joke" about it, but sometimes I feel like there is this conception that, "Oh, well no I do have a day job." But what's amazing is that so many folks in the DC region that, very, a lot of folks have that same story, they work during the day and then they play shows at night, and they really are incredible at both of them, which is kind of, it's amazing to see, so that's awesome, man.

Chris Cassaday:     Thanks man.

Brian:     Alright, so now what's one piece of advice you would offer?

Chris Cassaday:     "Practice makes perfect," is what I always say. My bandmates hate me because I'm all about practicing, I'm like-

Brian:     So say more on that; what does that mean?

Chris Cassaday:     I mean, just practice as much as you can. There's no, you can never practice too much, in my mind. There's nothing wrong with being overly prepared for your shows.

Brian:     So what does that look like in, does that mean you play with the band but then you go home and play for two more hours?

Chris Cassaday:     You've got to, in a band particularly, you've got to practice on your own, not just band practice.

Brian:     Yeah.

Chris Cassaday:     You know, working on your own so when you get together with the group, everybody's done their part, you know?

Brian:     And when you practice, is there a certain like, do you break down the parts? Like do you play one segment at a time over and over again until you nail that one perfectly? Do you break it up, or ...

Chris Cassaday:     It's usually like, I'll listen to the whole song, if it's a cover. And then I'll just try to play the whole song. And if I get stuck at a part I'll fast forward to that part, learn it, et cetera et cetera.

Brian:     And then rewind that one part until you can play that, and then you play it all the way through.

Chris Cassaday:     Exactly.

Brian:     Wow. That's amazing. Alright. Now, for those folks who are interested in learning more about you and the cool things happening, where do they go?

Chris Cassaday:     Well, you can check me out on Facebook, Facebook.com/ChrisCassadayMusic; it's got all my info on my shows. All social media, for that matter, Instagram @ChrisCassadayMusic, Twitter.

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.  

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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.