Archive for the Interviews Category

Artist Interview: Tyler Keyes

Posted in Interviews with tags , , , , , , , on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 by Tim Althaus

Tyler Keyes

For those of you who don’t know, Tyler Keyes is a producer from the Midwest who relocated to Austin, Texas so that he could make music with his partner in crime – M.i. He left everything behind in the hopes for a bright future in the music industry, and judging by the sounds on Pushing Keyes, he’s well on his way. From living with and interning for the mad man MPC deity Exile, to hooking up beats for Chamillionaire, he’s writing chapters for a book that’s already impressive to say the least. Fresh off the heels of releasing Pushing Keyes, Tyler sat down with me to answer a few questions about the album but also his experiences and influences.

Tim Althaus: Hey Tyler, how’s it going?

Tyler Keyes: It’s going well, how about you?

TA: I’m doing well man. First and foremost, I wanted to congratulate you and thank you at the same time; I know the release of the album is an exciting time for you and M.i, and I’m sure that you’ve had your hands full with promoting the album.

TK: Of course. Your site has been a long time supporter, so it’s a pleasure.

TA: We appreciate that here at Mind Inversion. First off, you know how important production is to me when it comes to determining the overall quality of a record. On Pushing Keyes, you’ve definitely pulled out all of the stops, and your drum game sounds stronger than ever. Ever since Prep Time came out, I’ve known you’re a fan of sampling, but on Pushing Keyes, it seems as though you’ve taken some cues from Ryan Lewis – in terms of an organic instrumentation feel. With that being said, how much studio instrumentation did you use on the album?

TK: Yeah, there’s a lot of live instrumentation on this project; more than I’ve ever used before. We had live recordings for tuba, violin, cello, trombone, bass, trumpet, guitar and percussion. I think that live instrumentation adds a certain dynamic that keyboard production just can’t emulate. But I also did a lot of work off of my keyboard as well.

TA: Everything just seems to have an organic feel to it. From M.i’s rhymes to the beats on the album – even the sampled tracks – everything feels very natural, and I really like that. I’m sure a large part of the feel has to do with the chemistry that you and M.i share as a producer emcee duo. That kind of leads me to my next question: You and M.i have been working together for the last year in Texas, and a year prior as well, but didn’t you start collaborating when you were living in Minneapolis? How did that working relationship start and progress?

TK: Yeah, we’ve been tag teaming it for a little while now. The Prep Time project was completed entirely through email and phone calls. When we started discussing the idea of making Pushing Keyes, I guess I was the paper, rock, scissors loser. I already had a couple of the beats made for the album, so I moved down to Austin after being in town for SXSW.

TA: Even though M.i is a great emcee, he’s also a very talented producer and jack-of-all-trades. How did you two determine that you were only going to use beats from yourself for the album?

TK: There’s an unreleased version where I handle all of the rapping and M is on the beats. Look for us to be interchanging our clothes along with the microphone for the live performance. (laughs) Nah, I leave the vocals to the professionals. We have a good chemistry when it comes to working together. A one producer and one emcee album is rare to come by, but when you do, it’s something special because the work can be so much more cohesive. You’re right about M.i being a great producer in his own respect – so him trusting me to handle all of the duties is awesome.

TA: You couldn’t be more right man. One emcee, one producer combinations are my favorite instances in Hip-Hop. When you think about duos like Gangstarr, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, and even newer cats like Blu & Exile, it’s obvious that they were meant to work together, and they were able to draw things out of each other that no one else could.

TK: You said it. Blu & Exile’s album Below the Heavens kinda laid out the blueprint in our case.

TA: Speaking of Blu, you guys were able to work with him on “Church West Texas” – which is one of my favorite songs on the album. He hasn’t been in the game for a very long time, but he’s got a strong following, and to many, Below the Heavens is a modern day classic. How does it feel for you guys to have him on the album, and how did that collaboration come about?

TK: We had Blu picked out for that song right away. A few years back I was living with his producer – Exile –  in L.A. while he was completing Fashawn’s album – Boy Meets World. I got to learn from him and see how he approached sessions. He is notorious for producing full albums, and watching it taught me not to over-control and keep trust in your writer/collaborator. Coincidentally, our video director Aaron had struck up a working relationship with Blu, so bridging the talents naturally came together.

TA: To me, Boy Meets World is a classic album, and one of the best debut albums in recent memory right alongside Below the Heavens; I can’t even imagine what it was like to watch Fashawn & Exile collaborate on that project.

TK: Yeah, it’s a great album. They were in the final stages of it when I arrived. Then the focus shifted to DagSav – the joint project with Johaz. Did you ever hear that one?

TA: Nah, I can’t say I’ve heard it

TK: Tonight

TA: (laughs) I’ll definitely check it out tonight.

TA: You guys were also able to link up with Chamillionaire for the project, and you’ve produced tracks for him a couple of different times. He’s a Grammy Award winner, and he has an extensive following in Texas. What led to you two collaborating, and ultimately ending up on the album?

TK: Yeah, he’s the man. The first beat I produced for him  – “Never Enough“-  was set aside for M.i in the early stages, but Pushing Keyes didn’t go in that direction. Cham heard it right before Ammunition was released; he scrapped the original outro he had, and he cut the new record in a couple of days. As time went on I started sliding him some of the material I was recording with M.i., and when I asked him what he thought about hopping on “Nothing You Can Do”, he was all about it.

TA: That’s awesome that you were able to make that connection man. You guys have definitely have good relationships with other emcees, but I’ve also noticed that you guys maintain good relationships and get some serious love from some of the biggest Hip-Hop blogs on the internet (i.e 2Dopeboyz, The Smoking Section, Okayplayer, Kevin Nottingham). How does that feel for you guys as artists?

TK: It’s an honor, and it reassures us that we’re doing something right. The internet is the main highway for modern day music, and those sites are some of the most heavily trafficked out there; I’ve been visiting some personally for years because of their good consistent musical content, so it’s dope that they consider our material in that same category.

TA: My personal favorite from the album is “No Money”, and you mentioned that the other day that it has been the Twitter favorite as well. M.i’s lyrics are heartfelt and ridiculously on-point, your beat is insane, and to top it all off, you got the kids from the “Hot Cheetos and Takis” video to lay down some vocals (that I absolutely love). What is your favorite track on the album? and why?

TK: My #1 song changes with the days. “Comes & Goes” and “Throwing Stones” are two of my favorites though; they both have some personal meaning to me in the lyrics. I think the beat for “Throwing Stones” is my favorite overall.

TA: “Throwing Stones” is a great song, me and Steve (mutual friend) were talking about how M.i shouts out La Crosse on that song the other day. Upon my initial listen, I didn’t even realize that he spit a verse from your point of view, and I thought that was really interesting. Did you actually write the lyrics for that or provide guidance? Or did M.i just craft those words himself?

TK: That’s actually something that we thought to do towards the end of recording, and I wish we could have done more. I had a notebook of written bars and jump off points that M could run with. He took it, and he wrote everything in his own words.

TA: It’s amazing that M.i was able to convey your thoughts so well on “Throwing Stones”, and as the song mentions, you moved from La Crosse to Minneapolis to Austin, Texas. Was leaving your comfort zone and family in the Midwest for a certain level of uncertainty a hard thing for you to do? Or was it something you were dead set on?

TK: Definitely not an easy move. I not only separated myself from my family, but also my friends and my people I came up doing music with. Austin was something that I wanted to do for myself and my career. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of the people from back home fly down for visits at least once. The city is incredible which makes for an easy transition too.

TA: Without risk, there’s no reward.

TK: There’s a lot of truth behind that.

TA: You’ve told me before that you’re heavily influenced by cats like Just Blaze, Mike Shinoda and Classified, but I’m curious, what producers are you into right now that make you want to elevate your production game?

TK: If anyone pushes my sound right now its No I.D.; his recent work with Common, Nas and Mikkey Halsted has me on my game. I also like what Soundwave is doing for Kendrick Lamar and them. Always I’m paying attention to what Kanye and Pharrell are doing musically as well.

TA: I forgot to mention Ye because I know you’re a huge fan of his, but I can’t agree more with No I.D.; everything he has been doing lately is absolutely genius.

TK: No I.D.’s got the crown right now in my opinion.

TA: Mind Inversion is a Midwest minded blog, and you’ve been a resident of both Minnesota and Wisconsin. Besides your family and friends, what’s one thing that you really miss from each state?

TK: I miss being able to say “pop” instead of soda and not catch a weird look from someone. Also, there’s nobody down here that can compare to a Wisconsinite when it comes to drinking; ya’ll can wear that title belt proudly.

TA: They definitely don’t generalize Wisconsinites as strong drinkers for nothing.

TK: It really all comes out during Oktoberfest week in my experiences; I need to go to another one of those. I’ll be the guy singing off key to Asher Roth “I Love College”.

TA: (laughs) oh man…. Are you guys going to be heading to the Midwest for any tour dates to support Pushing Keyes?

TK: For sure. I can’t wait to do a show up there; plus, M has never been properly acquainted to my mom’s strawberry rhubarb pie, so that in itself is worth a trip up north.

TA: I’m definitely looking forward to catching you guys live, so you’ll have to let me know when you’re making it this way. As a last question I have to ask, if you could work with any emcee in the game right now, who would it be?

TK: Will Smith! I think he’s still got something left in the tank, and I think I could set him up on a nice Fresh Prince type stage. That would be legendary (laughs).

TA: It sounds like the 90’s all over again. I would play the shit out of that!

TK: I just saw him performing “Summertime” on Letterman the other day – still sounding like the illest.

TA: Him and Jazzy Jeff were ahead of their time without a doubt.

TK: Pioneer status.

TA: Agreed. Well, I want to thank you for your time man, it’s much appreciated, and I hope that Pushing Keyes continues to gain momentum because it’s an incredible project. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

TK: Thanks for having me. I also want to say thank you to you and the other people out there who have been taking the music in and responding to it. We put it all out there for free so as many ears as possible would hear it and let it be their life’s soundtrack for a little while. That’s what its all about.

TA: I appreciate it Tyler, and thank you again.

Pushing Keyes is out now, and you can download it for free here.

Local Love with Lukeb.

Posted in Album Download, Album Premiere, Album Stream, Art, Audio, Downloads, Interviews, Life Perspectives from T.S. Niebeling, Local Love, Mind Inversion Exclusive, Music News, News, Reviews, Video on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 by Terry Scott Liebchen

Here at Mindinversion we like to show love to local up and comers in the music scene.  Some artists of our areal, even artists we might know and hang out with personally.  Cause we are so cool like that and we can.  Here is a chance for us to get out of the mainstream a bit and focus on the future, on things that interest us now, and to show you what’s up where we live.

In this edition of Local Love I have decided to do a little bit of a piece on my friend and almost neighbor Lukeb.

Lukeb. is a local Minneapolis transplant from La Crosse/La Crescent area (La Crosse Music Scene), as well as this guy, so there is empathy and recognition in his art and words that I can relate to.  He has been rocking his style for some time and he goes hard on the mic all the time.  His MC skills are authoritative, aggressive, and deep.  Northern Lightz live shows are always exciting.  He does his own production (“everything, Man.”) and he rages daily.  If you are looking for something local and homemade with a twist of great lyricism and humble humility then you are looking for Lukeb.  He has been doing shows for 10 plus years in the Midwest, he is a vet. go check out a show if one is near, also check the jukeboxes at your favorite bars, hit up Northern Lightz with a Z.

This video is good for a listen.  It makes a decent day start better.  These are beats made down the street.  I can enjoy that.  The video is artsy and made by Lukeb.  Well done, representing the neighborhood.

“We do all this shit ourselves.”  -Lukeb.

If you dig the video I advise you to check out more music from Lukeb.  Lukeb. also is part of the creative force surrounding Northern Lightz, and he does collaborations with numerous artists in and throughout the Midwest, specifically La Crosse, WI:  Motz, CASTaway, Sara Mae, Mysta J, YoursTruly, Cat Robey and the Whiiild Ones, MasterNate, and others.  Also, check out the above single and other songs on his soon to be dropped album The Midnight Zone.  

Check them at:

Soundcloud Link:  Northern Lightz Sound

ReverbNation Link:  Northern Lightz ReverbNation

Other Albums:  You Can’t get there from Here, Other Side of the Table, and others.  

An Interview With Tiger Vs.

Posted in Concert Dates, Interviews, Mind Inversion Exclusive, Music News, News with tags , , on Saturday, February 18, 2012 by Terry Scott Liebchen

TIGER VS.

Minneapolis is a treasure trove for great music.  Fortunately I have been going out and experiencing some of it first hand.  At the end of 2011 and at the beginning of 2012 I was invited to a show by a friend and I experienced Tiger Vs.  I have seen a lot of local talent over the past few years, but Tiger Vs. stuck out to me.  They had something different and interesting about them.  Their sound radiated on a different level; the concept of their music was deep to my ears, it did not sound thrown together, but put together carefully piece-by-piece.  This was a multi-layered band with a multi-layered sound.  At first they reminded me of a Radiohead-esque type band (with a touch of sound from The Beatles), but then I was hit with thing I hadn’t heard before, classical sound in a present setting.  The vocals were deep and the sound was of quality and thought provoking.  Their sound was new and interesting.  They didn’t sound like a one off band, all of their songs were solid.  I completely enjoyed my experience, and at the end of the set I wanted more.

So after a bit of contemplation I searched out Tiger Vs., I wanted to know more about them.  I figured I would sit down and write to the band and collect some information.  As I see this band has something to offer musically.  Tiger Vs. intrigued and delighted at the Triple Rock.  They were the opening act, but I feel they had the ability and talent to be the headliner.  They did an excellent job and I feel they deserve a shout out on Mindinversion.  So here is my second attempt at an interview.  I hope it is as interesting and revealing as possible.  Check out Tiger Vs. they are down to earth and their sound is deep and moving.  Introducing Tiger Vs., here it is, the interview:

TS:  Members of Tiger Vs. and their roles:

Tiger Vs.:  Ranelle Johnson- singer/songwriter, keyboards

Addison Wasson- electric cello

John Accaregui- drums

 TS:  Where are you all originally from?

Tiger Vs.:  Ranelle- Spicer, MN

John & Addy- Iowa City, IA

TS:  How long have you been performing together?

Tiger Vs.:  1 year

TS:  What do you think the Minneapolis music scene brings to the table for local bands, and how has that benefited you (Tiger Vs.)?

Tiger Vs.:  Everyone in the local music scene is very welcoming and supportive. Bands help each other out with booking shows and promoting each other’s music. The Minneapolis scene is also really eclectic and provides a place for music of diverse styles.

TS:  Who is Tiger Vs. most influenced by musically and what is in your boombox right now?

Tiger Vs.:  We all grew up in very different backgrounds. We also all are influenced by and listen to a variety of genres. (Rock, pop, hip-hop, indie, jazz, electronic, punk, funk, classical).

Influences: Beach House, The Books, Portishead, Sufjan Stevens, CocoRosie, Battles, Don Caballero, The Beatles, Bjork

Boombox Right Now:  Ranelle-  Dvorak (Symphony No. 9 in E minor), The Beastie Boys (Hello Nasty)

Addy- J Dilla (Donuts), St. Vincent (Strange Mercy)

John- Beach Boys (The Smile Sessions), Dr. Dre (The Chronic 2001)

TS:  After rocking a show describe the type of after party Tiger Vs. has.

Tiger Vs.:  We go home and let out the dog.

TS:  I noticed at the show you all played musical instruments, such as the electric cello, and the piano (it seems to make the listening experience more involved) as an artist how does having a classic instrument like that on stage make your performance different?

Tiger Vs.:  We use modern spins on our classical instruments. We are able to express the classical sound in our music, but are still able to provide that rock edge in our live performances.

TS:  What is the direction of your band, is there a sound you are trying to emulate?

Tiger Vs.:  There is not a specific sound that we are trying to emulate, for we have a lot of different influences. We are about to release our first EP. After this, we are looking forward to writing new material and expanding our sound.

TS:  Where does your inspiration come from when writing songs?

 Tiger Vs.:  Thought bubbles, freedom, Addy’s fear of birds, breakfast, coffee, and vigilante justice.

 TS:  Where do you see Tiger Vs. in a year?

Tiger Vs.:  Writing new music, releasing another album, playing shows outside of Minneapolis.

 TS:  Dream venue?

 Tiger Vs.:  Aboard the Battlestar Galactica…or

 TS:  Pepsi or Coke?

 Tiger Vs.:  Coke for whiskey, Fuck Pepsi.

 TS:  If there is one thing that you would want your audience to know about, or take away from you (Tiger Vs.), what would it be?

Tiger Vs.:  We are passionate about writing music, and are grateful for the opportunity to share and perform. We just want people to have fun and enjoy themselves at our shows. If they can relate to the music or take away something more from it, that is awesome.

TS:  I asked for a CD at the concert at the Triple Rock and you all said you didn’t have one.  If I want to get a CD of yours now where would I look?

Tiger Vs.:  We have not pressed/released our first EP yet. We do have a website where you can listen to some of our tunes that will be on the upcoming EP.

www.facebook.com/tigervsmusic

www.soundcloud.com/tigervs

We are currently working on designing our own website, which should be up by March!  www.tigervs.com

TS:  Also, can I get a shirt or CD or something?  Tiger Vs. shirts would be awesome by the way.

 Tiger Vs.:  We will be releasing our first EP this Spring 2012. We will keep everyone updated on dates and more info on our websites. It is going to be real soon! We just need to master our tracks and find an artist for our album art.

 TS:  Lastly, If you could hang out anywhere in Minneapolis what side would it be on, and what bar?  a.)  Downtown, b.)NE c.) South d.) Uptown e.) North f.) Loring Park.

 Tiger Vs.:  WEST BANK!

Favorite Bar: Triple Rock

Bowling at Memory Lanes

DP! (dog park)

End of Interview.

***

I would like to give a big thanks to Tiger Vs. for taking the time to answer my questions.  I would also like to say if you have the opportunity to catch Tiger Vs. live do it.  They are a locally performing band and they are very talented.

Artist Interview: Jacob Hemphill of SOJA

Posted in Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 by Eric Gilardi

So I found myself interviewing Jacob Hemphill the lead singer and guitarist of SOJA on Valentine’s Day. If you would have told me this a month ago, I would have said there is no way but yet there we were sharing a conversation.

Eric from Mind Inversion (E of MI): First off, I would just like to thank you for taking the time to sit down with Mind Inversion do this exclusive interview.

Jacob Hemphill from SOJA (JH of SOJA): Sure, sure.

E of MI: Secondly, I would like to congratulate you on the success of your new album, Strength to Survive. Did you guys expect this much instant success with this album?

JH of SOJA: We really didn’t know what to expect, it’s reggae you know? And it’s not even Jamaican Reggae, its American Reggae. We expected our fans would like it and we hoped people would feel like the things I was talking about were what was on their mind or if it wasn’t on their mind we hoped it would become one of the things they would be thinking about. Those were kind of our two goals and then it jumped to #3 on all of iTunes and we were all like, “Holy crap, what’s going on?”

Continue reading

Artist Interview: Prof.

Posted in Interviews, News with tags , , , , , , on Thursday, February 2, 2012 by Terry Scott Liebchen

Ah…  Yes, so for some time now I have been digging on Prof. (musically and creatively); he’s a South-Side Minneapolis native (Powderhorn represent!), who makes music that is of quality production-wise, catchy lyrically, and it has an easy way of relating to, even with some delusions of grandeur and vulgar hyperboles.  Prof.’s imagination is over the top, and hard to overlook, but his sense of humor is something to be admired in an age of all seriousness.  His music is an escape from a world of frowns and disapproval. Continue reading

Mind Inversion Exclusive Interview: Cage & Aviary

Posted in Audio, Interviews, Mind Inversion Exclusive with tags , , , , , , , , , , on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 by Erik Burg

cage and aviary interview picture

Part man, part machine, part cockatiel, Cage & Aviary take flights of fancy whenever they can.

Cage & Aviary, one part Jamie Paton and one part Nigel of Bermondsey, are busy people. They run a record label, they DJ, they produce, they jam. Their most recent release, the stellar Television Train/Suburban 12″ out now on DFA records (the euro version), has catapulted their success to a global scale. The two came stateside to play some of their first ever American DJ gigs in Los Angeles. So as their legend grows, and as their music continues to amaze, be sure to check them out. The two were nice enough to sit down and fill out a nice e-mail correspondence for Mind Inversion as well. Enjoy! (Nigel isn’t much for the talk)

Mind Inversion: So I’m barely 19 and have a limited knowledge, yet great appreciation and love of disco and house records from days gone by. I feel like all of your tracks draw upon very historic music, and music that most mainstream listeners don’t have an ear for. Elaborate on this idea, What from the past has influenced your music?
Jamie: I guess the short answer is lots of things, but that’s not much in the way of elaboration! We both bring lots of different influences to the mix, but our tastes also blend in some areas too – we both love the whole post-punk NY art-pop stuff like Talking Heads, and the Mancunian 80s new wave punk-funkers like A Certain Ratio and early New Order. We also have much love for the whole island records thing. A lot of this stuff when listened to now doesn’t sound mainstream but at the time, when the charts were made up of less formulaic production-line music, these oddball records made it into the upper reaches of the charts, I think it was an amazing time for popular music. Aside from all of that, I guess I bring more of a disco and house thing to the mix.
Nigel: I agree

MI: What is your model for creating music? I know you guys are involved in various other projects, so is the way you guys create started separately and then fused together at a different time, or is it more of the just sit down together with a plan and create tracks?
Jamie: We just sit down and jam really, see what comes out and take it from there. Recently we’ve been getting our live DJ set thing together, and the practice sessions for that have really produced some great new material, or at least starting points for them.
Nigel: I concur

Continue reading

Mind Inversion interviews Vernal Pool

Posted in Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on Thursday, March 5, 2009 by Ryan Buege

mind inversion interviews Vernal Pool

Vernal Pool is a Minneapolis-by-way-of-South Dakota doom metal band that really doesn’t give a shit if you like them or not – but they do think that right people might if they just had the time. It’s a sound that takes patience, but their free-minded, introspective, brand of classic doom metal is one that reveals many astonishing sonic rewards amidst its many varied layers, from devastation to meditative bliss. In truth, Vernal Pool may play the bleakest, slowest metal music you’re bound to hear in your life, and the wisping traces of shoegaze, Americana, western, and folk music that accent their doom, especially in the live setting, create a result is something very dark and haunting indeed. After nearly two years of work and quiet shows around the area, they’ve just finished putting their first record together and look to be releasing it soon. However, before it’s out they’ll be playing the album live at their shows around the area, the first of which comes next week when they open the much anticipated Battlefields, Irepress, Frontier show at Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis next Wednesday, March 11th. Ryan from Mind Inversion was able to meet up with Eric (vocals, bass) and Heath (drums) from Vernal Pool at their place in NE to talk about their band, their sound, their take on doom and experimental metal in the Midwest and Minneapolis, and what we can expect from their future.

Mind Inversion: For anyone not familiar with Vernal Pool, could you tell me a bit about yourselves, your history, where you come from, and how you all came together as Vernal Pool.

Eric Torkelson: Well Heath and I are both from South Dakota, near Sioux Falls, and we both left there.

Heath Rave: Yeah, exactly; we left…. Continue reading

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