Starting out the evening, K Suave came out with all the energy truly igniting the crowd! Throughout his performance K Suave displayed his appreciation for his supporters, getting in the crowd amongst everyone while continuing to perform! Following K Suave, SoFaygo came to the stage with some heat starting the set with his song “Off the Map”. While performing he took off the hoodie he was wearing and threw it into the crowd as the beat dropped.
Rounding up his North American tour Trippie Redd has truly made his mark. From the massive LED screen, Co2 canons and light show this tours production is one to be reckoned with! Aside from the amazing display of the production and his visuals Trippie Redd ended the night with a bang. Rinsing through numerous of his platinum songs such as “F**k Love” a collaboration with XXXtentacion and “Taking a Walk” a track from a previous album, Life’s A Trip. The Crowd was eager for him to perform his latest hit “Miss the Rage” with Playboi Carti, right when the beat dropped for the song the crowd went crazy! Trippie Redd truly performs like a rock star!
Memories and music filled all four days of the 20th anniversary of Summer Camp Music Festival this August. Typically, the festival occurs in late May over Memorial Day weekend. However, it was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was rescheduled to August 19 – 22nd this year. Roughly 25,000 people attended. Summer Camp’s home is in Chillicothe, Illinois, so we took the 14-hour drive from Denver on Thursday. It was definitely one of the most memorable festival weekends of all time!
Summer Camp is known for the festival’s consistently stacked lineup. Summer Camp always features hundreds of artists across all genres, both rising talent and big names. The true kings of Scamp are the bands Umphrey’s McGee and Moe. Both dominate the weekend year after year by playing daily sets across most or all of the stages. Other huge names on this year’s lineup included Ween, Three 6 Mafia, Emancipator, and Billy Strings.
Friday highlights for us started in the afternoon when Borahm Lee of Break Science jumped on main stage with Manic Focus and played a killer set as Manic Science. Meanwhile in the VIP Tent, electro-funk band The Floozies took the stage. The Floozies brought us back to the angsty times of 2000s rock with their Emo Hour DJ set.
Across the park at the Campfire Stage, a smaller crowd of people stomped and hollered to bluegrass band Kitchen Dwellers. Denver local Maddy O’Neal dropped an energized set drippin’ in bass and hip-hop beats. Emancipator gifted us a beautiful and chill set, layering string instruments with downtempo drum beats.
Umphrey’s McGee‘s Friday night set featured a serious classic rock flavor. They teased parts of the Zeppelin song “Kashmir” between transforming “Looks” into “Preamble”. A sampling from “Stairway to Heaven” rang out when Umph turned “The Triple Wide” into “The Linear”. They also covered portions of The Rolling Stone’s “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing”. After Umphrey’s, Billy Strings took over the Starshine stage.
Late night highlights for Friday included the much anticipated CloZee b2b with LSDREAM, VIP lounge set from Aqueous, and a dirty dubstep Subtronics set to close out the night.
Saturday’s overcast weather was what we’d all been waiting for after the brutal temperatures and humidity that made for a sweaty Friday.
Music highlights included the afternoon sets of Doom Flamingo at the Moonshine Stage and Sunsquabi at the Starshine Stage. A few hours later, the two stages featured conflicting sets by Dirty Heads and BoomBox, making for another tough choice among some festival attendees. Livetronica legends STS9 played a dreamy, ethereal evening set at the Sunshine stage while the killer collab of Keller Williams and Sunsquabi – dubbed KellerSquabi – threw down on the Starshine stage. Marvel Years and later in the night Manic Focus both played funktastic and saucy sets. One of the best and possibly underrated sets of the whole weekend went down on Saturday night, when The Spicy Bois (self-described as “Flavor Town of the Underground”) brought the late-night heat with a supercharged surprise set from the top of an old white bus covered in sunflowers.
The new stage, Goodbus, and it lives in the Illumination Woods, a whole new area of Scamp that made its debut this year. During the day, the shade from the trees in these woods provides sanctuary from the harsh sun with colorful swinging hammocks and other spots to take a seat and relax. At night, the magical space transforms into a psychedelic haven, with the rainbow net of strings tied between the trees mimicking a laser show, giant mushrooms, and lit-up interactive art pieces.
The early hours of Sunday morning consisted of wandering the campgrounds. I realized so many of the aspects we love about festivals start right here – from one-of-a-kind unofficial merch (check out this reddit post for an example of one of the coolest fest posters I’ve ever seen) to hearing hilarious conversations you’d never hear anywhere else, to meeting some of the most unique and genuinely awesome people of all time. I met a gang of Power Rangers, witnessed an intense light saber battle, danced with a crew of bananas, met an author who sold me some plants (a jade and a lime tree to be specific) and caught a surprise sunrise set at a random camp by a lesser-known producer named Operatr.
Sunday was a huge day for talent. Early in the day, the brilliant and creative Keller Williams played an amazing set at the Moonshine stage. This year may have been one of the biggest yet for Sunday single-day pass purchasers.
Sunday’s bill held the much hyped and anticipated sets from some of the biggest names there such as Tipper, Dirty Heads, Ween, and Three 6 Mafia. Although times got bumped slightly, there was still a choice to be made between Tipper and Ween, We ended up bouncing between the stages to get a taste of both.
Griz helped close down the festival with his much anticipated set, featuring a special guest appearance by ProbCause. Everywhere was packed full with thousands of people dancing beneath the psychedelic lasers. Moe.’s Sunday night set was powerful and full of classic Moe. songs. And let’s not ignore the artists who are not as well-known but are extremely talented – LeSpecial’s campfire set was one of the best all weekend.
Leaving Summer Camp is always bittersweet, and usually makes for a rough Monday morning. With no time to hunt down a golf cart to help haul our gear, we navigated ourselves and all our stuff out of the park, weaving around the festival zombies dragging their feet in the heat. For the entire fourteen hour drive back home to Colorado, I had so many memories replaying in my head, and an amazing sound track from the weekend to match.
Many people who normally go to Summer Camp – or “Scamp veterans” – were unable to make it this year The pandemic has greatly affected live music, both small shows and festivals alike. Covid-related complications did cancel some acts such as Papadosio, Lettuce, Big Something, and Cherub. For those who weren’t able to attend, you can check out some awesome recap videos on the SummerCampFest YouTube channel.
Until next time, Summer Camp! The experience surely will be hard to beat next year. Summer Camp Music Festival is set to return next Memorial Day Weekend for its 21st anniversary – May 27 to 29, 2022 – so be sure to start planning ahead by snagging your festival passes during the Early Bird sale. Tickets aren’t available for purchase yet, but keep an eye out for updates on Facebook, Instagram, and the website’s ticket page. Want to get involved in the festival and save money on the ticket? Check out the volunteer page. Finally, be sure to sign up for the mailing list on the Official Summer Camp website!
The evening of September 4th had finally arrived. For sky gazers across the state of Colorado, the significance of the day could not easily be put into words. The entrances at Red Rocks Amphitheater were set to open for a very special night featuring a headlining performance by Trevor Christensen, AKA Said The Sky.
Seeing as performance would be the first of its kind with the melodic prodigy taking the stage at his very first headlining performance at the legendary venue; the excitement was shared and magnified through Trevor himself.
Said The Sky has made several appearances in Colorado recently, once at Global Dance Festival for a triple back to back performance with Dabin and Illenium. Said The Sky again surprised the crowd as a special guest for Slander at their own Red Rocks show. Trevor has been very vocal about his excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to have his very own show at Red Rocks. He has previously mentioned that this has been one of his biggest dreams as an artist for a very long time, a dream that was not becoming a reality.
Doors to the sold out event opened at 6:00pm and fans began filling the Amphitheater. Many kicked off the evening by running straight to the merch booths. The booths offered a variety of exclusive Said The Sky at Red Rocks apparels such as jerseys, shirts, jackets, hats, and flags that were sure to sell quickly.
As 7:00pm came along the music finally began. An opening performance by Sundial, as the sun began to set, was a perfect way to set the tone for the sure to be emotional and tear jerking evening. The California based pop duo provided what was a rather intimate atmosphere for such a large venue. Their performance featured their own live vocals, as well as bass guitar and keyboard.
Night had fallen and following Sundial the large LED screen, near the back of the stage, had lit up. Things were taken up a notch with a beautifully crafted performance by CloudNone. The masked Monstercat artist played their signature blend of ambient breaks and feel-good chill out music. The set started slow and progressed into a variety of melodic house and trance vibes that got the crowd jumping and energized while featuring nostalgic vaporware style visuals in the background.
As the night progressed, a cool early September breeze swept through the Amphitheater. Next up on the decks came Kyle Girard AKA Midnight Kids; known for his and previous duo member Dylan Jaggar Lees’ quality remixes of popular songs. He made sure to bring plenty of twists on tracks that would provide some good old fashioned sing along vibes for the crowd. Remixes included: “Ready 2 Go” by Martin Solveig, “The Island” by Pendulum, and “Bulletproof” by Laroux to name a few.
Transitioning between throwbacks, electro house tunes, some unreleased music, and ending with Midnight Kids original “Run It”, the set was definitely a crowd favorite. Midnight Kids set the vibes high before the highly anticipated Said The Sky headlining set.
After a brief intermission whilst the stage was set, it was time for the main event.
This was the moment everyone had been waiting for.
The stage went dark; while lightning, visible from higher in the crowd, flickered through the clouds over Denver. The cool breeze continued to sweep through the Amphitheater. The anticipation built as cheers rang out throughout the audience.
As the stage began to light up, every LED panel on stage started to glow brightly with footage of clouds and sky as if you were floating amidst a radiant orange sunset. The music started to build as an intro version of Said The Skys’ “We Know Who We Are” began to play. The words “Said The Sky” were spelled out on the big screen as the crowd cheered, while the man himself walked out from backstage and up to his gear. With stage production in full force, the long awaited headlining set was underway.
The set featured bright and colorful visuals that transitioned between b-roll of breathtaking nature shots and beautiful scenes that resembled a well written and almost vintage love story that served as a poetic accompaniment to the songs that were being played. Pyrotechnics and fireworks were frequently used to accent the ups and downs of the overall story and flow of the wonderfully crafted journey that the song selection provided to the audience.
He moved around the stage with passion and enthusiasm, jumping between his keyboard and drum pads. He would occasionally stroll to the raised platform behind his electric keyboards, mics, and DJ equipment to sit at a large and elegant white piano for the more intimate, warm and heartfelt moments of the set. The expressions on his face and motions of his body spelling out just how much the performance meant to him. He was truly showing his heart and passion on stage, sincerely grateful to be connecting with his audience in such a magnificent setting.
Drummers would frequently join him on stage to accent the drum lines in many of his songs as well as a full string quartet to play along in the melodic journey.
Diving deep into the emotional discography, Said The Sky seemed to be hitting all the fan favorites and even made sure to include some unreleased music for the special occasion. Joined on stage by Olivver The Kid, they performed an emotional live vocal version of “Hero” followed by what was said to be the final song of the night, Said The Skys’ newest single “Treading Water”.
The supposed finale ended with Trevor expressing his gratitude to the audience saying “Thank you Red Rocks, I love you”. He walked off stage but the stage stayed dark, hinting that the headlining artist had one more trick up his sleeve for the special night.
After a few moments of silence and the crowd chanting “one more song” an acoustic guitar was heard, followed by a spotlight hitting center stage where Said The Sky was sitting up front on the stage floor. Joining him in the special moment was vocalist Annika Wells. They sat facing each other as Trevor strummed the guitar and Annika sang. It was a truly intimate and heartfelt finale as they performed an acoustic rendition of “Sad Songs ft. Illenium” whilst a ring of lasers circled around them on the floor.
Following the heartwarming finale, Said The Sky yet again expressed his eternal gratitude to his fans who attended the show that night. He invited every artist and performer from the night out onto the stage for a family photo with the crowd and one final goodbye.
Returning back to any music festival in 2021 can feel a bit strange. With that in mind, Backwoods was able to help make that experience extra special for their 4500 person event. Capping it off at that number helped improve a ton for the festival. 4 music filled days graced Mulberry Mountain on August 26th-29th of 2021. The weekend ranged tunes from Jam Bands such as Lotus and Disco Biscuits to experimental artists like Of The Trees and G Jones. This festival had something for everybody.
Backwoods began strong on Thursday with artists CNOPES, MLOTIK, and MOLOKAI. All of which you could say have done projects with Spicy Bois. After their takeover at the Casino Stage, the crowd moved over to main stage to catch Lotus and Andy Fasco & the Un. Getting that bit of jam bands in for Thursday night the crowd could move back over to Lusid after for those experiential vibes. Sound Camp was another stage at Backwoods. This stage was filled with Funktion-One sound, creating that deep bass for whoever took over that stage.
The weekend was finally beginning on the mountain, more attendees were pulling in and setting up. Each day began with multiple different workshops to choose from, ranging from Guided Meditations and Yoga to Hoop Dance. A comedy hour also helped start off each morning with lots of laughter. Dirtfoot, Maddy O’Neal, Shiba San, and Sunsquabi all took main stage Friday afternoon while the sun was high in the sky. The Irie Lions, Opal Agafia, Artifacts, and more all took over Circus Casino as well.
Aliens invade the mountain! ATLIENS step aboard main stage as the sky turns dark. Following up the madness they brought, G Jones brought quite the performance. Strobes flashed and custom visuals played as this glitch artist played. Ganja White Night finished off main stage Friday night with their unreleased collabs featuring Rusko and Dirt Monkey, amongst many others. They played a live set which took the audience everywhere from deep wobbles to upbeat house and DnB. Festival goers could end their night with Flintwick or a Sound Camp set.
This was truly the night for late sets as the crowd was show a Of The Trees set with Data Byte Visuals. PLS&TY took the stage after to finish off Circus Casino. If you were still looking for music after that, DIRTYSNATCHA played a late night set that included a ton of unreleased music.
During the weekend, food trucks and many other vendors could be located around the venue. Custom merchandise was made for the festival along with artist merchandise, most artists could even be found there! For food, they had many options for attendees, some of which included Vegan options. One nice addition that the mountain offered was a General Store, where you could find many helpful necessities such as ice, air mattresses, tents, and much more. Free water was offered in multiple locations.
The weekend was about over but the music was far from done. The Fungineers were added to the lineup later on as a replacement. That made for an awesome Sunday opener. Following them on that stage was Ryan Viser, Modeling, Acid Katz, Com Truise, and Keller Williams. Of course we also saw an insane Carbin set which was different from what we have heard before. Many new collabs were thrown out that featured artists INZO and DIRTYSNATCHA.
Main Stage saw some insane talent this day. Freddy Todd gave and insane performance as a Keytar was brought out. Adding that live element with blue skies made for a perfect day set. Zeke Beats followed the stage to give listeners live scratching. Rumor is Freddy Todd and Zeke Beats did a renegade b2b set. Mulberry Mountain was cooled off later with a quick rain fall, which didn’t last very long.
Following the rain, CloZee played one of the most beautiful sets of the weekend. Showing new visuals, that we believe might be from the Neon Jungle Tour, to showing an insane laser show, this set was perfect. Greensky Bluegrass hit the stage after for a bit of change in the night. The Floozies finished off main stage with an hour and a half set. These brothers played classics along with unreleased tunes. Some would say it was a great way to end that stage for the weekend.
Overall the weekend was great, the rain didn’t stop the mountain from having an amazing time. To keep up on all things Backwoods, check out the links below. They actually feature a blog on their website that gives a bit more insight into everything! Keep your eyes peeled for a Day 2 and Day 3 recap from Backwoods. If you weren’t able to make it this year we would highly suggest making it next year. Until next time Mulberry Mountain!
Last Sunday, singer-songwriter extraordinaire Em Possible put on a mesmerizing concert. It was at Mile High Spirits in downtown Denver. She hails from the mile high city herself. Em has been singing since before she could talk. She’s spoken and performed at TEDx events. You might have seen her at Denver’s Stars and Stripes Streetfest this summer. Now, her albums Stupid Love and Time are available everywhere.
Following Em tonight was talented rapper Know Self. He formally calls himself Knowledge Thyself. During the concert, the rapper translated his name into his art exceptionally. Know Self‘s mission is to heal and activate through music. His top songs are “Conscious Thought” and “The Healing.” Clearly, his music is full of philosophy and enlightenment. Check out his recent album Flight of the Phoenix.
Accompanied by a lively band, Em Possible’s voice hypnotized the audience immediately. Ranging from sweet and raspy to funky and resounding, the artist defined herself tonight as truly genre-defying. Her performance was sweet yet spicy. It was girly yet, funky. Also, soothing yet, invigorating. Above all, angsty electric guitar accentuated powerful vocals perfectly. The downtown street echoed her unique sound as concertgoers enjoyed the show. Ted Kleist on the guitar truly showed out.
Em’s most entrancing moment was her performance of “Monday Morning.” Raw emotion from the singer filled the venue during this song. Immediately, the funky ballad echoed an excellent combination of soul and rock. Then, she closed her part of the concert with a cover of Emotional Oranges’ “West Coast Love”. Em’s voice complemented the lyrics and vibes with perfect precision. The artist added an edgy twist to the cool beach bop.
Em Possible and Know Self performed a surprise collaboration. Her lovely vocals and his hype lines bounced off each other in awesome harmony. The intimate venue glowed with pink and purple, blue and green lights. Enchantingly, the unexpected duo collaborated onstage. In conclusion, this collaboration cemented the night as fantastically genre-defying.
Spiritual rapper Know Self followed Em’s wonderful set. Refined and uplifting, Know Self’s lyrics took Mile High Spirits on a journey of encouraging enlightenment. It is no exaggeration to say that Know Self was absolutely spitting bars. Continually, I was impressed by his smooth voice and flawless delivery. DJ Roadhouse’s harmonic melodies complemented the rapper’s words. The lyrics were enlightening. Vulnerably, his words were raw and real. No doubt about it, Know Self is a rapper to look out for.
Chat With Em Possible
I caught up with Em Possible after her captivating set. Have a look into her artistic development:
Question: Who inspired you to make music?
Em: My friend Craig in high school taught me how to play a little bit of guitar. Unfortunately, he passed away a year after. I felt like I had to keep going for him.
Question: Which person would you love to collaborate with? Dead or alive?
Em: Amy Winehouse! Someone alive, though, who inspired me to step outside my comfort zone, would be ZZ Ward.
In past years, Backwoods Music Festival has hosted some insane acts and 2021 is no different. As always, they aren’t just presenting a stellar lineup of music. Workshops, comedy shows, visual acts, and theatrical performances will be available. Throughout this event, you will find an array of amazing art instillations everywhere you explore. During the day you can also find hiking trails that lead you to waterfalls and other scenic views. It isn’t called Backwoods for nothing!
Choosing Your Adventure
Backwoods offers multiple different tickets to buy, ranging from GA tickets to VIP tickets! Both tickets will be paired with car camping or shaded camping. Shaded camping allows you and/or your group to be back in the woods relaxing under the trees. Car camping will be next to your vehicle in a designated space. If you would like to arrive early for the Thursday pre party, make sure to grab those with the rest of your tickets. This site makes it very easy to add everything you need to your cart HERE.
If you are looking to bring an RV then you’re in luck! You can either choose to have hookups or non at all, hookups include electric, water, and bathrooms. The website linked above shows how many tickets are left in each group. Run and grab those tickets now, they will not last much longer.
Once arriving at Backwoods, many on-sight activities can be discovered! Yoga classes, art performances, workshops, food trucks, merchandise booths, and much more can be located. On the property a free water source can also be found. Finally there is a general store that offers camping necessities such as ice on the grounds. It does get hot out there so plan accordingly!
A Few Thoughts
Party Guru was lucky enough to reach into the minds of a few acts performing at this years festival! Down below you can read what those artists are excited for! They also give us a sneak peak into how they are planning to make it such a special time! Check out all they have to say below.
“Really looking forward to being back at Mulberry Mountain for Backwoods. It’ll be only my second show this summer as well as my second ever festival set, and quite possibly my biggest set yet so i’m extremely stoked to premier new songs i’ve been working on and have fun getting down with everyone in the sun.” – CNOPES
“Backwoods has been one of those festivals i’ve seen over the years that is so perfectly curated artistically. I can’t wait to be apart of this years experience. Wakarusa at Mulberry Mountain was one of the first festivals I ever played years and years ago so that location is a vibe for me and extremely nostalgic of the journey back as the artist I am now.” – Maddy O’Neal
“Really excited about playing Backwoods Fest with SCI. The festival has really solid roots in balancing the lineup with strong jam bands and electronic acts, and we love that musical diversity – all being in the same place for people to check out. Combine that with Backwoods Festival being on the property with so much personal musical history there (Michael Travis and I have played there lots as EOTO), and that’s a recipe for even more to look forward to. We’ll also be coming in hot from touring the month of August – all lining up for a serious SCI throw down at Backwoods Fest!!!” – Jason Hann (Of The String Cheese Incident)
“We are new to the Backwoods Music Festival this year but well versed in high energy sets of music to keep your feet and body moving. Stoked to share this energy with all of you on the mountain and to see what Backwoods is all about!” – Spafford
To stay in the loop with all things Backwoods, make sure to follow them on all social platforms. Backwoods has recently released all instructors that will be hosting the 2021 workshops, you can find that HERE. Keep your eyes peeled for the daily lineup schedule, which will include workshop times along with everything else. See you all on the mountain!
We recently had the chance to hear from Sean Rodman and Nathan Gurley of Moontricks! A duo that provides “grassroots blues, wistful soul, and boot-stomping bass” through a combination of folk, blues, and electronic music. Their inspiration comes from their location in British Columbia, Canada.
“Not only is it beautiful here, but both electronic music and folk music are quite popular. When your life flip-flops between dancing to heavy bass and jammin’ harmonica around a campfire, the marriage only seems natural.” Nate tells us. Since their debut in 2013, the pair have performed at shows such as Lightning in a Bottle and Shambala and are only getting started.
The Journey So Far
“Ideally a good song is going to reach someone carrying some emotion and meaning for them to relate.” Sean said. Every artist from all genres tries to convey emotion or meaning in all of their works, but from a different viewpoint. The folk-electronic fusion that Moontricks provides leads many to feel from the duo’s point of view. “It’s all a bit hit or miss and varies song-to-song and person-to-person, but we try to write songs that will leave that door open for anyone.” Sean says.
The pandemic has provided the duo with many ideas for songwriting. Drawing from the ups and downs of these crazy times, Rodman and Gurney have had no shortage of topics about which to write. Sean said, “I think difficult times are inspiring places to draw from. If i’m in a rut for writing, I’ll get out into the world and take it all in.”
Rodman finds ideas from walking in the forest or around town or going on a road trip. “There’s amazing material everywhere that you can experience and translate into music.” If you are a budding songwriter reading this: Get out there, experience life, and write it down!
The duo has many influences, but draw much of their work from friends and acts with whom they have worked such as Frase, Dirtwire, and Gone Gone Beyond. “Having toured long circuits with such talented acts, we really get to take in their music and who they are. It creates a [sense] of strong inspiration, influence, and friendship,” Sean said. “We’re very lucky to be surrounded by such amazing people in this industry and call them friends.”
Anyone that listens to Moontricks knows that the banjo cuts through and gives the duo a signature sound. It used to be an obscure instrument, but now many consider it more mainstream, making its way back as a widely-accepted instrument from a long history of jokes, twang, and hillbilly nature. Sean said, “Both Nate and I have a soft spot for folk music, so incorporating banjo into the music felt like a bold move. I started playing banjo while I was working in a music store called Mountain Fruit Folklore.” Nate laughed and went on to add, “I remember the first time we tried bringing banjo to an electronic music show. We were worried people might start throwing beer bottles at us.” The rest as they say, is history. The pair found a sound all their own that has brought them big success.
New and Upcoming
Moontricks has a fresh new release. The Nirvana-like style features acoustic guitar, standup bass, and harmonica with an electronic flair. “We recorded the beginnings of this song in 2016 in a power outage by candlelight and battery-powered recording equipment. That made it pretty easy to capture the dark, moody magic in this track,” Sean said. The track features Canadian artist/vocalist Frase, from Montreal. The track also features Fawna on backup vocals. “Being a Nirvana fan in my youth, when Frase first played the cover on guitar, I was drawn to it,” Nate said. “I hope that we embodied even just a little of what acoustic Nirvana is all about.”
Additionally, Moontricks has a lot of their music used in film and television. When watching an outdoor advertisement like snowboarding or mountain biking, you may have heard some of their tracks. “It’s extremely inspiring seeing people do outstanding feats while our music is playing in the background,” Nate said. “It’s nice to see that music written in the mountains can be used for the mountains!” Next time a ski or snowboard advertisement comes on TV, turn it up to see if it features some new work by Moontricks.
Photos Provided by Moontricks
As we all know by now, quarantine has not been kind to artists. The pandemic has had somewhat of a silver lining for Sean and Nate as it has given them a lot of time to write, record, and hone their musical talents. “We’ve learned a lot in the last year and we’ve been working hard every day,” Sean said. The livestreams the pair has offered gave them a way to connect with their audience and “keep the fires burning.” The duo is eager to get back on the road and bring their fans the live music everyone has been missing.
Moontricks is gearing up for a lot of new music in 2021 featuring more covers, collaborations, and remixes. “We are currently sitting on a boatload of new Moontricks originals,” Nate said. “We are really excited to share our new sounds with everyone.” Keep updated on all the new Moontricks happenings by following the links below. You can also go check on the new track down below! Make sure to add it to your weekly playlist.
Guitarist and producer Cory Wythe (A.K.A. Marvel Years) gave us a glimpse behind the curtain in this interview. In July 2013, Wythe had his first live performance supporting Pretty Lights in Boston, MA. Later that year he supported GRiZ on his Rebel Era tour. In the Spring of 2014, Marvel Years began his first national tour–The Retro Electric Tour. Fast forward and he has played with amazing acts including: The Floozies, Exmag, Break Science and even Gramatik.
Wythe began playing guitar at eleven years old. “I played in a few bands for fun throughout middle school and high school,” he said, “I started messing around making beats in my senior year of high school just to pass the time and ended up posting it on my YouTube channel.” This snowballed into his first offer to play a show in college and taking a leave from college and playing shows as his career.
When asked about his growth, Wythe said, “I just try to make music that I enjoy creating and listening to. I feel like you have a better chance to stand out making music that is true to yourself.” Obviously, a major part of the Marvel Years sound stems from guitar. “I try and make that a focal point throughout my work.”
Behind the Curtain
Next we ask, they can’t all be bangers right? “I just recently started to accept this fact,” Wythe said laughing, “I spent so much time lighting myself up when every new track I was writing wasn’t my best track.” In some regards, this can push an artist to be better. “I have accepted the fact that not every track is going to be amazing and that is ok. It’s all a part of the process.” he tells us. Wythe gains inspiration from traveling and experiencing new places. Additionally, his musical friends push him to work harder and keep pumping out music.
Wythe has said each song takes a different amount of time to finish. “It really depends on my creative head space at the time. Some songs kind of just flow out of you where you know exactly what you want to make. Other times I start with a cool idea like a guitar or drum loop and then build on it over time.” No matter how long the song takes, Wythe is confident in his music.
“What makes a good song is definitely subjective and different for everybody, but for me it’s the emotional reaction I feel,” he said. This holds true with his song, Friends–released a few months ago. The song originally began as a beat challenge Marvel Years put on Instagram. He later began the song and added his friends to it. “It ended up turning into a monster collab with 9 artists in total and it’s something I’m really proud of.” Wythe says.
Marvel Years has performed with legends like Pretty Lights, GRiZ, and Gramatik. He shared that all of these artists are major inspirations in his life and music. “It’s obvious that they are putting 100% of themselves into their [music], but it’s also the amount of time and effort they put into the behind the scenes that makes them the best in the game.”
Quarantine and the Road Ahead
Quarantine has affected us all. Marvel Years has stayed busy by performing ten live streams and he even played a socially distanced halloween festival. Wythe regarded his New Year’s Eve stream as his favorite.
“I’ve really been using this time to make music and collect myself mentally.” I’ve spent the last couple years on the road so it’s been nice to have some downtime and time to create.” While Wythe has stayed busy, he has many plans for the upcoming year including: New music, merch, and there have even been rumors of vinyls. “We are in the process of choosing the songs and getting the mixed and mastered for wax,” Wythe tells us. We are looking forward to everything Marvel Years has in store for 2021. Click the links below to learn more about Marvel Years and stay up to date on all of his plans ahead!
In 2008, Jordan Craft started expanding his musical status as a DJ, beginning in the bar scene and growing into the larger Colorado music scene. While he still performs at bars every now and then, DJ Craftmatic has performed in a variety of settings including weddings, fashion shows, and art showcases.
Who is Craftmatic?
DJ Craftmatic began his musical journey as a rapper when he was young. “I was in a group with my eldest brother and cousins,” he said. The group even went on tour with Bone Thugs n’ Harmony Jordan tells us. “Things never panned out so I transitioned to being a DJ in 2010,” said Craft. While this is an amazing beginning, Craftmatic kept growing. During his growth, Craft has used his own life as inspiration.
“My family, my surroundings, my experiences, my blackness–It’s all an inspiration to me.” DJ Craftmatic draws upon and looks up to many artists in the industry from all genres. For example: Prince, Roy Ayers, Flume, D’Angelo, and Todd Terry just to name a few. “I want to take bits of pieces of every musician and artist that I love and incorporate them into my sound and create a new sound–they all influence me,” he said, “It shouldn’t be about a banger all the time. If that’s what you’re hunting for, then you’re going to be miserable.” Jordan believes it is not always about bass and drops, the love of the music keeps him going. “Some will like it and some won’t but as long as you’re happy with it, then that’s all that matters,” he tells us.
When creating his own work, DJ Craftmatic looks for crisp and unique sounds with intoxicating rhythms. Some of his favorite producers like Timbaland, EPROM, Chris Lake, Dillon Nathaniel, Mr.CARMACK, or The Kount use what DJ Craftmatic refers to as “texture.” He said, “[It] could be something as little as including the old vinyl record sound lowly in the background to inverting, filtering and layering a kick drum to give you a certain depth on that sound. It’s a science.” While Craft believes he is just beginning on his “sonic journey,” he has already developed a unique and amazing sound.
Depending on his flow, Craft can pump some of his music out in a few hours, while other tracks can take days or weeks. “I really try not to force myself to finish anything because it messes up my creative process,” Jordan says. DJ Craftmatic likes to begin with foundations and loops then build upon the track, changing and adding sounds such as samples, drums, and sound textures. Craftmatic believes that a good song makes you feel.
“Melodies, groove, and swing bring that,” he said, “I am a sucker for live instrumentation and incorporating analog sounds to give the track warmth.” Personally, I knew this guy was a winner when he named two of his favorite artists as FKJ and Tom Misch–my top two as well. The top albums being French Kiwi Juice and Geography, respectively. Craft said, “Emotion intertwined and infused into the very fabric of the music–I love that kind of music.”
“I perform the same no matter the size. There could be one person there or 10,000. You treat it exactly the same, as long as one person enjoyed my music and set I’ve made an impact.” Craft has even hosted his own events, including a sneaker event, Beats, Eats, and Sneaks.
“Doing the sneaker event was actually more in my element to be honest. Events are events and hosting can be tailored to any event, but I think because it was my event, it added that extra spark. You believe in it a little more.” Overall, Craftmatic believes 2020 was a slow year, he was happy with his growth though. Jordan was excited to mention the Silent Disco events and “Doses and Mimosas” brunches with COATI Uprise. While many of these were before quarantine or limited due to restrictions, Craftmatic is excited for life to return to some sense of normalcy and get back to planning and performing at events.
Craftmatic has plans for 2021 to be all about the music. He plans to drop three EPs of hip-hop, house, and EDM trap genres. “I want to show the versatility of my sound and show the rest of the world what I have to offer musically. Especially in the house scene. As black artists have become marginalized in a genre created by black DJs.”
Coming soon in 2021 is Craftmatic’s first house single, I Feel Like I’m on Dope. Be on the lookout for that dropping soon, you will not want to miss it! In the meantime check out more about DJ Craftmatic below.
After finishing up two nights at The Black Box and having an EP on the way, Levitation Jones has been making some serious moves. Responsible and socially distance that is. Selling out four shows at Black Box Denver, Levitation Jones has started off 2021 with getting to show what he can do. We recently had the chance to sit down with him to have a quick conversation. As we get into this interview we learn a ton about the new EP, how he spent his days of 2020, a standup act that may be in the works, and much more. Read everything that was talked about in the full interview below.
Party or No?
The conversation starts off like any other would, with some “Hey, what’s up?” and “How have you been”. As hellos have been exchanged we dive deep into the questions. We ask if his shows at The Black Box were some of the first that he is doing with Covid restrictions.
Levitation Jones responds with, “I’ve been taking opportunities. I find that with the concept of prohibition dosent work, people are going to party whether you tell them to or not. Why not go be a good influence, ya know? I played a show and the promoter pulled me to the back and asked if there was anything they could do differently? I told him, to be honest they didn’t push the mask recruitment thing hard enough but the distancing was fine. We played a show the day before and masks were super enforced. For that exact reason people were more comfortable dancing near each other, while giving space, which made for a way more energetic crowd.”
“The promoter said thank you and he would enforce mandatory masks. I felt that was a good influence, i’m not a hero for doing this but I feel it’s in my heart that I gotta do. I’m also trying not to get evicted, it’s not like I can make a million dollars right now to pay rent. I don’t have that option, I am kinda back against the wall. There is a lot weighing against me but I don’t blame people for being mad at me in a way. I’m still not going to listen to it. I’m not a Covid denier, I just feel there’s something weird going on here that we aren’t seeing. I am kinda trying to stay out of everyones way.” Brian tells.
We continue on the chat asking Brian if he has a day job. “You know when Okeechobee came around I quit my day job. I sometimes have a day job I sometimes don’t. Since I have lived here I started working at this place that was walking distance away. It was great at first because I was having the hours to allow me time to work on music while also being able to get hours in at the job. They started to ask for more hours and I was definitely trying to get less hours. Then I played Okeechobee and I thought, I am going to try to do music full time again. So I have forever been here, trying to survive.”
“Do music full time during a pandemic, real genius move, right?” Brian jokes.
Livestreams and Live Sets
“You have been doing quite a bit of livestreams during this all haven’t you?” Patrik asks.
“At first they were okay. If you caught somebody on payday you’d probably be alright, or if you had some sort of established following. I can’t get more than 20 people to get on my stream at a time now and it’s not like any of them are really donating. But that’s fine! I like practicing and playing for people. Sometimes you’ll get a nice day where you’ll make $20-$40 which is always cool. As the governments been less generous and everyone has been struggling, I know I haven’t been the only one out here struggling. It’s been pretty obvious in donations and what’s available as an artist.”
Our conversations begins to lead into the direction of live sets, as Levitation Jones recently sold out two nights at The Black Box. “How did it feel from playing these livestreams to playing sold out shows in front of a live audience?”
Levitation Jones responds, “It was really cool, ya know? I definitely enjoy the fact that people get it enough to buy tickets to a show of mine during an experience like this. I am the right guy to play a seated table show. It feels like I got the right tunes for that attitude and I think everyone had a pretty good time with the experience. There are some other people out here selling out shows also which makes it feel good to know that you aren’t alone here.”
Activities that one may do in their free time can range from a number of things. For Brian it is working on a standup bit, “I was thinking about starting to do open mic nights. I have been writing some standup bits, unrelated from bass music. I have like eight minutes, I haven’t even practiced it at all. It’s very interactive and physical with the crowd, it dosent really work unless you can watch me up on stage being a dingus.” Brian jokes.
“We are going to see if it’s alright first. I am going to be super humble about it. If it’s alright like people laugh, we’ll run it. If it bombs we can say that we tried and it’s not for me.” Brian tells us.
We then ask Brian about what he has done with his time during quarantine. “I felt very comfortable executing on creating listening music instead of club music. That is something that I always wanted to do, I say always all the time, it is something that has been in almost every release. I put in some sort of chill song or laid back song that is not meant for the club. For this upcoming EP called Morality is Subjective, it has four songs that are all very chill and downtempo-ish. It’s all very different influences of stuff that you might not normally hear at a dubstep and/or weird bass event. I am excited to introduce a lot of that, my fans may not know a lot of these wave sounds so we will see how that goes.”
EP Coming Soon
Now, about the upcoming EP. We are insanely curious as to more details about it. We question Brian with, “Touching on the EP a bit more, when is it supposed to come out.”
“We’re making sure that it is perfect, which is always a conundrum and oxymoron. I have a certain vision of how I want the master to sound on each track. Two of them are done and we are waiting on two, one I am very back and forth on. We want to make sure it’s good. It’s all very awesome already and I am confident in the music as far as what I want to listen to. I tried to make music that I wanted to listen to or music that you could hangout with. It’s nice thinking tunes.” Brian says.
“Would you say that you are starting to develop your own sound if you haven’t already?” Patrik questions.
“Yeah! Some random kid at one of my shows told me he heard my new EP. I had played a few of the tunes at the club that night. The kid tells me, I don’t mean this in a weird personal way, this is kinda you starting at square one again. I was like I get it. Yeah, it was a bit weird to hear that right after a set but I was like okay I do get that.” Brian tells us.
“This is the first time I have released music after cutting my hair, it’s kinda a reset on who I was trying to be and how I was trying to approach the music industry. I don’t have an agent now and it’s a lot of changing points. I think i’m a lot more confident in my music production now than I was before. At this point I believe I can be taken serious as a music producer with this release.” Brian shares.
Behind the Scenes
Touching a bit more on the two nights at Black Box with Levitation Jones, we asked about how he chose the artists to open up for him. We also asked if he booked all his own gigs since he doesn’t have an agent.
“I came up with all the themes, I did do a lot of the communication, and handpicked all of the openers. No I didn’t do all the work.” Brian laughs.
“Yes, I wanted to go with people that I have been a fan of for awhile. I am a huge fan of a lot of artists from the Denver local scene. There is so many artists from Denver who go under the radar who nobody really cares about. If these guys moved to Connecticut where I am or Rhode Island where I was coming up, they would be doing great! There is not a lot of music producers out here doing okay. There is a handful that are and are very talented but it’s not very competitive in a way. You can stand out very quickly if you’re making really good music. Tons of these people are.”
“MYXED UP and QILIN were very awesome openers. I have known them for a long time and have been supporting them for a long time. Putting them in my mixes and all that good stuff, we slowly started talking more and more and to be honest they were some of the first people that I thought of. They played great!”
Music Scene of Connecticut
Finally we ask, how the EDM or bass music scene is out where he lives.
“It’s interesting you know, there is a real EDM blanket scene everywhere. The underground bass scene is very Tipper oriented, that’s a good baseline. There is a lot of Truth’s Deep Dark and Dangerous energy up here, there’s a lot of roots connected with their business in this area. You see a lot of your standard deep dubstep and squishy bass and psychedelic stuff. It’s cool because there is a bit more of a crowd for the downtempo community.”
Brian shares with us a story of before Covid when he was able to play his music. “I would be playing house parties, pre Covid of course, where it was big cuddle puddles and mattresses on the floor where I would be playing three hour sets into the sunrise with these nice big windows. Everyone is hanging out listening to music. Very beautiful. It is a much smaller community up here.” Brian tells us.
“The people don’t really like me up here honestly” Brian laughs. “They don’t understand my jokes really. They like me everywhere else in the country a lot more than here. Which it’s weird why I am from here!”
Growing up listening to artists such as Deftones and The Prodigy, Brian says these were a few of his influences. He also watched Jackass and Viva La Bam heavily growing up, which he says could be some of the reasons for his shenanigans. This four track EP is to be on the lookout for, you will not want to miss this.
Levitation Jones was on the radio at the age of 18 putting on a radio shows, he started creating music around that age as well. “These parties are sick, they’ve made me feel at home. You know, I’ve never really felt too comfortable around anyone before.”
“I have been making music for over 10 years.” Brian shares with us as we begin to finish up this interview. “I give my music out for free, I don’t believe in my music being exclusive to a vinyl or to rich people. If you are homeless and have an MP3 player, bump my tunes homies!”
Something to go and check out after this is Levitation Jone’s podcast! You can find that linked here. Jerseys are on the way and much much more music. On behalf of myself and everyone at Party Guru Productions i’d like to thank you for the time to allow us to do this. If you’re still reading this Brian, i’d still like to be one of the first to know about that standup.