Category Archives: Art & Music

Touring Two Bit Circus in Los Angeles, California

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Some of the best places in LA are found deep inside warehouse complexes where creative people manifest extraordinary things. One such place exists within the collection of calm and tranquil art lofts located in an area known as the Brewery. In the past, it has housed Pabst Blue Ribbon as well as the Edison power plant; and innovation seeps out from every corner here.

In one of the buildings is a workshop where entrepreneurs, inventors, engineers, programmers, designers, roboticists, and game developers have gathered to make what they are calling “The Carnival of the Future.” More specifically it is being branded as the STEAM Carnival and looks to bring together lasers, robots, virtual reality experiences, and fire performances for a travelling high-tech circus like no other. Watch the video tour below:

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HNDP.LA brings together the local community for a Kickstarter launch party

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Two days after releasing their initial funding goals, the talented team behind the unique music platform called HNDP (Helping Nations Discover Peace) organized an event at a skateshop in the Northeastern part of Los Angeles, California.

The party was held at Maintain your-lifestyle, and dozens of people gathered to help support the mobile music truck movement that HNDP is looking to setup. T-shirt’s were purchased while graffiti art was sprayed onto plywood boards live on the streets outside by members of the surrounding neighborhoods. As refreshments were served up, the co-founders of HNDP (William Correa & Aaron Duran) started a small cypher vibing to the beats and rhythms of DJTun gaining momentum and attracting attention of those who strolled by.

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It was amazing to see how artists, musicians, rappers, designers, game-developers, DJ’s, hustlers, photographers, and bloggers all showed up at the skateshop soaking in the creative environment as onlookers walked outside. Those who stuck around for a bit, consistently whipped out camera-phones out of denim pockets raising them toward the sky ready to capture the moments in time.

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When the night unreluctantly wound down, the crowds dispersed leaving behind the foundation of the HNDP team. This is when I had a chance to sit down with Stephen Saiz, the President of HNDP’s Board of Directors, to talk.

Below are segments of what was asked:

Why are you here today?

I’m here today to help the rest of the Board and co-founders Aaron and William launch our Kickstarter program which is going to help us fund the 1st phase of building out the truck that we are going to operate out of.

Tell us about HNDP. What is it? And where did the idea come from?

So HNDP originally started out as a program at Self Help Graphics & Art back in 2009. At that time, I was the Board President at Self Help and William and Aaron came to me and pitched the idea of using our space every Friday afternoon and throwing open-mics. We basically allowed them to do that, and what they ultimately built after that point was incredible. They built a huge buzz.

At that time, the program the program was actually called Hard N’ Da Paint. They ultimately were getting anywhere from 40 to 60 kids to come in on a Friday afternoon. They started to do more shows and even began operating on Saturdays to throw these larger events and bring in bigger-named artists allowing these kids that came in on open-mics to open up.

It was just really a compelling program, and to see the youth’s response and how they worked with the kids and to see the enthusiasm of the participation was something that I knew I wanted to be a part of longer-term.

Who came up with the idea of the Mobile Music Truck?

So the mobile music truck is something that we kind of formulated as a group. We knew, and because of a lot of us were experienced within the nonprofit sector, how challenging it was to actually own a physical space. So we thought we would kill two birds with one stone. We knew we wanted to serve the greater LA area and we knew that some nonprofits were using mobile vehicles like schoolbuses and that type of thing. In addition, we also experienced the phenomenon of lunch trucks within LA and saw how compelling that was to get people to follow on social media and always follow where the trucks were at. So we thought that we could combine the two and keep our overhead lean down by exclusively operating out of the vehicle, to be able to serve the greater LA area and to actually do it in an innovative way and to get people excited how we were going to approach it from a nonprofit perspective.

What do you think people will learn from the HNDP experience?

I think they are going to learn a ton of stuff. At its core, we are a music development program. We are building that out though to broader digital arts. But at the end of the day, we are really teaching entrepreneurship, whether they want to be a musician, a digital artist, a game developer, a promoter, a street team builder.

Do you think that you will reach the $15,000 goal that you have set with Kickstarter?

I think that it is going to be a challenge, but I think that we will get there. We are already nearly 20% of the way there. With additional support and the more people that learn about it and are introduced to the organization, and because of our compelling offering and compelling story, I think that people will hopefully feel the same way and open up their wallets and donate.

We have very low limits. You can donate as little as $2, and we also have some much higher stretch goals. So we are hoping to get in some bigger donors as well. We think that we are actually offering a pretty compelling variety of items and merchandise that will appeal to a variety of potential donors.

What are the next steps to reaching the Kickstarter goal?

We are going to continue to market it. We are going to continue to reach out to our network of people that we have in social media. A lot of us on the Board also have a lot of big professional networks, so we are individually reaching out to our friends and colleagues in the industries that we all come from.  We will continue to do that.

We will potentially talk to some friendly corporations out there that have either equipment and/or tools that we can potentially use in our programming to come in at some of the larger levels. We also have a series of fine art that we are going to be releasing, and we know that there is a huge collector base of some of the art that we have decided to select. We have been fortunate enough to have those artists donate their time and their art to us as a part of this campaign. As we continue to release new items and continue to market it and keep people updated on the type of content that we have, we think that that’s going to be a really big way for us to continue to reach out goal.

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As this Kickstarter campaign continues over the next month or so, it is important to spread the story to as many people as possible. If you are interested in donating to the cause, or would like to know more about the project, be sure to visit their Kickstarter page here.

HNDP’s Kickstarter Video:

Article written by @industrychanger

 

More Links:

HNDP’s Kickstarter Page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hndp/hndp-music-truck-mobile-mentorship-to-inspire-new

HNDP’s Website: http://hndp.la/

Another article about HNDP: http://www.digitaljournal.com/a-and-e/music/kickstarter-campaign-aims-to-inspire-artists-w-mobile-musictruck/article/386471

An Interview with Co-Founder of HNDP, William Correa: http://hackertrips.tumblr.com/post/88296003520/william-correa-is-working-on-a-mobile-recording-studio

 

In addition, here is a link to the full interview with Stephen Saiz:

Downtown Anaheim’s Art Crawl Experience (the wrap-up story)

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It was sometime around Saturday afternoon, an hour outside of LA, when the artwork began to kick in.

Suddenly there was a driving roar all around the city when several food trucks showed up and a group of electronic producers started blasting old school gaming samples into the sunny sky. Without any warning, hundreds of unique individuals gathered at the heart of downtown looking for an art crawl experience like no other.

It all started on the corner of two busy streets where a popup arcade of extravagant gaming references was painted on the walls. Artists like Kasey Taraju, Annathalia Nalapraya, Sam Carter, Cliff Cramp, and Rask Opticon displayed their uniquely created works of art. Many characters bled into the room. They included people like Rincewind, the failed student at the Unseen University of wizards who is often described by scholars as “the magical equivalent to the number zero.” Mario world personalities like Bowser, the princess, Yoshi, and the popular plumber also dropped in from the magical mushroom kingdom to make an appearance within the captivated crowd of onlookers. Even Sonic the Hedgehog zipped by with a spray paint can in hand shaking up the environment with a flash of speed.

sonicWith the art gallery buzzing, just down the road from it were tables and booths lined up on the street with all kinds of work ready for sale. Some artists used paint, others used ducktape. Some used stainless steel, while others chose leather. All kinds of materials were fashioned together intermingling the atoms to form amazingly profound works of art.

It was great. Fractals breathed through a canvas while the Mathematical Mind of a guy named David painted psychedelic outlines under color changing LED’s. Wood shavings hit the floor when a sculptor etched out tribal faces that sat on the ground.  Emotions of awe seeped into the minds of the observers when aliens and disturbing minions where drawn live in front of an attentive audience.

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As groups of like-minded individuals danced and frolicked around happily enjoying the popup community that showed up for an evening of pure bliss, it all felt right. The music floated so well weaving in and out of the air while wanderers and explorers asked themselves what art meant to them.

There were two areas setup for different types of bands, and it was easy to float around soaking up the sounds. One place had traditional instruments played by groups of musicians, while the other had orchestration by a collection of DJ’s and producers called Space Circus. They sampled John Lennon and DJ Snake, asking questions about turning down for what and why musicians in Hamburg would take pills around the time when the Beatles were just figure out their unique sound. For you see, “they were all taking these pills to keep themselves awake, to work these incredible hours in this all-night place.” This quote and many others were thrown into the set in-between Atari and Nintendo bleeps and bloops and other gaming sounds giving the environment an experimental type of feel to it while Josh Spoon, DJ Craig Lamont, and Hiko played on stage.

spacecircusThere was even a guy by the name of Joe Koon who made ducktape wallets with various symbols and logos on them. AC/DC was purchased 1st, while a reporter checked out the Anonymous, Disney, Deadmau5, and Minecraft ones. As the press filed down the line taking photos, more booths were discovered. For instance, an eclectic duo of two people, Scott & Janell with Guaranteed Meat, were selling off cigarette cases and flasks with body parts on them. Food was also sold on the side. Pizza, soup, tacos, and French Crepes were the main meals bought from the mobile food trucks. For desert, one could get fudge, brittles, truffles, toffee, nougat, and caramel from The Kandy Jar booth run by a nice family (Beth, Kat & Randy).

The whole evening was exciting! Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves as lots of entertainment, food, music, and fun kept the people happy. Even fire spinners brought an extra sense of heat to the equation. It was definitely worth going, and a totally an event that should be checked out again soon in the future.

mathArticle written by @industrychanger

 

Links:

Downtown Anaheim Art Crawl Experience: http://www.downtownanaheim.com/artcrawlexperience

Mathematical Mind of David, the Fractal Artist: https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Mathematical-Mind/151694051654000

Space Circus: https://www.facebook.com/spacecircusmusic

Guaranteed Meat (Art, Clothing and Accessories by Scott & Janell): http://gtd-meat.com/

The Kandy Jar: http://www.thekandyjar.com/

Moist Snail Poop (Ducktape Wallets by Joe Koon): http://moistsnailpoop.storenvy.com/

Additional Photos:

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mario^^ ‘The Plumber’ – by Mike Vetron^^

zz^^ ‘Genesis Prado’ by – Sam Carter

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wallets^^ wallets by Joe Koon ^^

mushroom^^ ‘Fear and Shrooming in the Mushroom Kingdom’ – by Rask Opticon

 

 

 

 

Gobbler and the Great Company host their 5th Jam Night for Music Creators

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It has been over 1 month since the last meetup at The SEED Center and so much has changed! Concerts have been attended, producers have been interviewed, and connections have been made. There is so much creativity flowing through Los Angeles coming from all over the globe. Home bases for the music industry, where people of like minds can aggregate together and influence each other, are popping up everywhere. This type of creative environment is exactly what Alex Park and his team have setup through these Jam Night meetups.

The night starts just like any other well-organized event with platters of food and drinks. This time it was dozens of subway sandwiches and bottles of beer. Water showed up later to quench the thirst of those not looking to consume alcohol at this moment. Eating and mingling continues as introductions were made, hands were shaken, and business cards were given.

To warm up the crowd, an Experimental Live Controllerist & DJ named Rahfee Zahkee jumped on stage and began to jam out on an interconnected iPad as he sipped his beer. His dreads and presence gave him a Rastafari type of feel to him. He would tune the frequencies of rhythm and sound to test the limits of feedback from the crowd. Questions like ‘which buttons increase the conversation rates of the audience?’ and ‘how many will notice this subtle change?’ must have floated through his mind as he played his music.

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Over time, people started to move into the main room and sit down. Some sat on chairs, others posted up on stools, and more relaxed on couches or stood near the edges in the back. Just then a panelist of 3 individuals positioned themselves up front while a moderator asked them questions. The group included Chris Restivo (Music Supervisor @ Toy Box Entertainment), Jordan Silverberg (Director of Music @ Transit LLC), and Maria Gonzalez. After which, Maria then brought the producer duo Christian Rich up on stage and started a riveting conversation of success.

As Christian Rich left the main stage, they glided to the back and tons of people started to follow them hoping to make contact with them. This led to a slightly vacant scene when Rahfee, Sharin Canta, and Chief Wakil performed their sets one after the other.

When everyone had their chance to share what they wanted to share, Alex Park let everyone know that there was still time to make connections with the influencers in the room. Michael Sebastion Romero showed up. Josh Spoon, iLya O, Eric Sharp and Robert Gee all made an appearance. A guy named Gregory who plays drums conversed with other musicians as well. Even the lovely Graph Gonzales, who was wearing an elegant black outfit with a black backpack accented with gold earrings and a gold jaguar emblem, was surveying the scene.

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It was definitely a good night. Tons of connections were made. Music was played, with lots of happy laughter happening in between. Eventually, the people here will get together in the near future to produce some music, start record labels, and just have fun. It is places like The SEED Center and meetups like this that facilitate the industry. It allows people to get together and collaborate, which is all good for the whole city. And what is good for the city, it good for you! Just be in the right place in the right time to make the most of events like this. You never know what will come out of it 🙂

 

Article written by @industrychanger

 

Links:

LA Music Creators Meetup Group: http://www.meetup.com/LAMusicCreators/

Rahfee Zahkee’s Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rahfee-zahkee

Chris Restivo’s Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/chris-restivo/77/a97/32a

Maria Gonzales’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Mozzermonkey

Jordan Silverberg’s Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jordan-silverberg/10/82a/146

Christian Rich’s Website: http://thechristianrich.com/

Sharin Canta’s Youtube Account: https://www.youtube.com/user/sharinofficialTV

Chief Wakil’s Website: http://www.chiefwakil.com/

Michael Sebastion Romero’s Website: http://www.michaelsebastianromero.com/

Josh Spoon’s Blog: http://www.joshspoon.com/

iLya O’s Website: http://www.ilyao.com/

Eric Sharp’s Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ericsharp

Graph Gonzales’s Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/graph-gonzales

The Great Company’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheGreatCo

More Jam Night #5 Info: http://www.meetup.com/LAMusicCreators/events/176127482/

The Brewery Art Walk in Los Angeles. 5 approaches to art.

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“We got paintings! We got industrial lamps! We got Vodka!”

This slogan was chanted as dozens of people roamed the world’s largest art complex. Located just a few blocks away from Big Art Labs, the open studios here surround a worn-down Pabst Blue Ribbon beer brewery. This scene is the center landmark associated with the free, educational, public arts event that is held twice a year where food, art, and creativity gushes from every corner here.

The lofts that are there are a part of what has become a uniquely vibrant and creative community. With so many different ways to show off their work, each artist-in-residence has come up with their own approach to displaying their art. Here are just a few:

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1)      Teach the kids!

Children tend to latch on to bright colors, odd shapes, and intriguing sounds; all of which show themselves during the art creation phase. To get the kids interacting with the art, several artists developed games and fun little projects to keep them interested.

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2)      Be in the right place at the right time

Checking out the photography of the legendary Bruce Talamon led to the idea that it is critical to position yourself when trying to capture a moment. Looking at the pictures that he took of Rick James, Isaac Hayes, and many other well-known musicians shows that it takes a lot of organization in order to record an event as it is happening.

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3)      Work with metal and heavy machines

Technology is everywhere now. It is intertwingled in our very existence, starting with the metals that are used to structure the frames of our smart devices. Combining the bright colors of spattered paint with the mechanical nature of steel, zinc, and aluminum produces a beautiful clash of two worlds.

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4)      Observe the world from above

At the very top of the tallest building in the art complex is a space where clay makers sit and watch the world go by. You can see all the way out to the edge of the horizons where mountains, cities, and railroads align. It is peaceful and tranquil allowing the mind to relax, right before diving into the molding process.

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5)      Go psychedelic

My favorite approach is the method of altering the mind and environment in a way that challenges what you think you know. One good example of this is a Bad Ass 3D Mural Artist by the name of Debi Cable who creates the hottest black light art in the city. Her work is best seen wearing 3D glasses. The kids love her art, all while the parents reminisce of the times when everything seemed so new.

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Links:

Brewery Art Walk Website: http://breweryartwalk.com/about

Two Bit Circus: http://twobitcircus.com/event/april-artwalk-2014/

Bruce Talamon: http://www.brucetalamon.com/

Debi Cable: http://www.debicable.com/

 

Visiting ReAmp Studios in Anaheim

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The sun is beginning to set to the west coast of the California horizon. My brother and I are on our way down to San Deigo to visit our cousin for a laidback relaxing weekend of drinking, smoking, and eating good food. We decide to make a pit stop in Anaheim first to check out a meetup that is happening at ReAmp Studios in a warehouse complex off Cosby Way in Unit X. The car rolls up to where the event is taking place. We park off to the side where no one can see us yet. I jump outside slowly and start taking photos of the surrounding area like usual when scoping out a place.

Sticking to the concrete mud-spattered wall, I walk around the building following the sounds of people singing. A group of artists gather by watching and vibing to the rhythms. Holger greets me and lets me know that I can explore the inside of the studio. Slipping in opens up the world associated with the recording environment located there.  Posters of inspirational bands line the plaster. Even a signed picture of Kurt Cobain creates an aura of creativity radiating from the photo. As people start funneling back in, I leave. The adventure must continue south where family and friends await.

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ReAmp Studios: http://www.reampstudios.com/

Music Studio Meetup Group: http://www.meetup.com/Music-Studio/

 

 

 

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Finding like-minded people in the music industry

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The spirit of connectivity is strong in Los Angeles. It is all about collaboration. One event that is leading the changes in music is happening monthly at the SEED Center in the downtown arts district. Led by Alex Park, the event brings a great lineup of speakers, gear demos, and giveaways. They are accumulating a following of approximately 50-80 in attendance of each Jam Night so far. The meetup I went to was on April 2, 2014.

I was invited by Gary Chung from the OC Electronic Music Producers group to check it out. We sat at the back on a white fluffy couch and watched as producers, singer, engineers, and other music enthusiasts filtered in. A guy by the pseudonym Mekanist was the 1st to speak. He played an Ableton track that he is currently working on. It ramps up and echoes off the brick walls bouncing around every surface including the wooden panel floor on the ground. The sounds he uses include coins being rolled and cups being dragged across desks. He also is exploring photography.

Up next was DJ Hapa. He started live music entertainment in 1995. Scratch DJ Academy was started up with Jam Master Jay in 2002. After Jay was murdered, his legacy continued in this company. “If you don’t teach, all the secrets will die with you.”

After a brief transition, Michael Frick and Steph Altman of Mophonics Music got on stage. They sat down and addressed the audience in an informal fashion. Their company hires songwriters and producers to create music for branded initiatives in the ad space. They’ve worked with Apple, Google, Audi, Visa, Muscle Milk and have incubated artists such as Foster the People. Steph keeps people laughing with his humble and honest nature. Michael is more business oriented which manifests a good dynamic between the two.

Last but not least to the front of the room is Phil Wagner who is the President of Focusright and Novation. They make the popular Launchpad family of hardware midi controllers that are used by producers, DJ’s, and musicians across the world. Madeon, a 19 year old producer from France, utilized the platform to create an amazing Youtube video showcasing the potential of this platform. Even my roommate in Tallahassee was inspired by the creativity that Madeon presented through the web with the use of the Launchpad hardware. The effects of this movement are witnessed firsthand.

As the night came to a close, a majority of the truly passionate individuals stuck around gathering inspiration from the other people around. Contacts and business cards were given out. Connections were linked up. Josh Spoon and Hiko were met. Those two are involved in a Space Circus and are preparing for the upcoming Pasadena Music Festival. Talks of the unique influences of Daedelus briefly surfaces. Even Ilya O shows up to get a feel where the music industry is going. Overall, it looks like these people here will collaborate with one another. It is just unclear yet where exactly it will take us.

 

Links:

LA Music Creators Meetup Group: http://www.meetup.com/LAMusicCreators/

Orange County EMP Meetup Group: http://www.meetup.com/OC-Electronic-Music-Producers/

Mekanist’s Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/mekanist

Scratch DJ Academy: http://www.scratch.com/

Mophonics Music: http://www.mophonics.com/

Novation Music’s Website: http://us.novationmusic.com/

Space Circus Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/spacecircusmusic

!lyaO’s website: http://ilyao.com/

Erik Mark (my previous roommate)’s soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/eric_mark

Experiencing the production of music at PeopleSpace

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A group of local producers have come together at startup coworking space in Irvine, California. They meet to make and maintain contacts as well as to exchange knowledge and help each other to improve music techniques. This particular meeting was on April 1, 2014.

The area surrounding the building is filled with diamond retailers, banking corporations, and dental associations. Parking on the street is necessary so that the vehicle won’t get towed. Walking carefully is a means to make sure the body doesn’t get hit by passing forklifts carrying boxes of god-knows-what. Located near multiple warehouse complexes is an entrance where music is being played.  The door out front is cracked a jar just enough to allow an individual to slip inside without making a sound.

As an introduction lecture is going on and people are taking notes, time is spent scoping out the upper floor of the office where all the startup code camps are held. It looks as if the floor was repurposed from a gym into a place to hack stuff. The software presence is near, but there are hints of hardware surfing from here. The producers below are developing with code through tools like Abelton and Logic. However, the ones who like a hands-on approach talk about the devices that can transmit and receive electrical signals producing sound that can be tuned into specific frequencies. Bass, rhythm, and tempo all influence the nature of this music. As each member shares their work, collaboration ensues. Teams begin to form as feedback and responses continue with the vocal thoughts that float between the sounds of creativity blasting through the speakers.

Already connections are being made. Individuals swap contact information as a hardstyle type track is pumped into the system. The constant nodding of the head vibes to the rhythm as the brain sets into place. Images of underground warehouse raves at a various hackerspaces flood the mind. Hard trance and glitch hop occasionally finds it way in.

With the vibrations of the room shaking, the collective mind begins to appreciate each other’s creative process. We are all here together for a reason. Music shows the emotions of the individual who created it. You can tell where they are coming from without any words, only sound. Monarch bass and leads potentially makes something beautiful. A gentle sidenote can develop a good mood without forcing the outcome. Expanding the melody of a particular track while adding some reverbs sweeping the silence in and out can completely change the feel.

Just then Kellen Sampson moves to the front of the room and plugs his Macintosh laptop to the monitor and speakers. He goes by the name The Kell and is from Corona, CA (says his soundcloud profile). His latest track is a remix of The Fray’s new single ‘Love Don’t Die.’ The original is played first to show the contrast and melding of styles. After the project has been played, feedback from the other producers is given. Questions of how he made this song arise. Eventually, it is discovered that Kellen goes through the entire song in his head before touching a computer to reproduce it.  This makes him a very clear minded person who will greatly influence the music industry in the upcoming future. His ability to share his work goes well with the way that this group of people provides feedback making this a fantastic place that fosters innovation.

 

PeopleSpace: http://peoplespace.us/

Orange County EMP Meetup Group: http://www.meetup.com/OC-Electronic-Music-Producers/

The Kell’s Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/thekell

Love Don’t Die Remix: https://www.indabamusic.com/opportunities/xbox-music-presents-the-fray-love-dont-die-remix-contest/submissions/ff51010c-b88b-11e3-b98c-22000a239828?awesm=indaba.us_r03MF

 

 

Watch for the emerging music hacker culture

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There many types of co-working locations across the world. Some called themselves hackerspaces, other prefer the term makerspace or fab-labs. No matter what the classification is, what is evident is that niche spaces are being formed. Breaking from the software/hardware mold are places that cater to a specific group of people. One particular exciting trend that is surfacing combines the love for music and technology. Hackers are beginning to meetup to discuss projects they are creating in the music realm. This will be an exciting revolution that will blend sound, visuals, and vibrations like nothing we have seen before. Stay tuned for more information.

Examples:

LA Music Tech Hackers – http://www.meetup.com/LA-Music-Tech-Hackers/

Sound Puddle Project [developed at Solid State Depot] – http://www.soundpuddle.org/