Posts Tagged ‘Battle of the Bands’

D.A. The Future is Now! Rapper turns front man and wins In the Groove’s Battle of the Bands

December 4, 2011 2 comments

D.A. The Future is Now!

Rapper turns front man and wins In the Groove’s Battle of the Bands.

DA Future and ADD after performance

The band backstage and back walled

We have recently been extolling the virtues of adding live musicians in to your production system. The idea of having live instruments mixed in with your electronic and sampled foundation is nothing new to our music. While most producers are content to have samples replayed, there is a whole ‘nother universe behind working off of a live chemistry. On the Rapper’s side, there is the idea of performing a show to something other than the stale and unchanging dat-tape or worse, performing on top of their own record. As part of this new identity, D.A, The Future,  a young and up-coming rapper, has embraced the idea of adding a full band [A.D.D. = Always Determined & Dedicated] behind his sound. Chapter one begins with winning a Battle of the Bands in Long Island City New York.

D.A. The Future Jams for In The Groove

The Band jams

You knew things would be different once the host did the roll call and asked “Is long Island in the house?” and the place roared. The performance was tight and solid. To be honest, it might have been over once D.A. hit the stage. He came to win. The band played to win and so they did. It was a four song set, including “It’s all so Clear” and “I’m addicted to You”. DJ Shuttle worked the wheels and did the hype-man honors while interacting with D.A. The crowd participation was brand new and fresh – it was actually very …Churchy. Yeah, there was a lot of stomping of the feet and hand waving- all while rocking.

D.A. The Future performs at a Battle of the Bands in Long Island City New York

In the Groove meets the Future

Judges panel at In The Groove Battle of the Bands

Jordan, Jamiee and Jake "I hold the microphone like a judge"

Ali from Scarlet Fade hosts the Battle

Ali moves the crowd and moves things along

The host and judges for the night have a band of their own (Scarlet Fade) and are all related- yeah, some kind of 2012 Partridge Family. Ali, the host, kept it moving between sets and Jordan, Jaimee and Jake struck the perfect balance between showing natural emotions and critiquing the performances. They offered helpful comments to the bands and left each group feeling like they won for simply being there. The judges took note of DAs’ commanding presence, the power of Shea’s voice (they all mentioned her standout talent) and the killer violinist [Classique]. They never saw anyone play the violin and jam-on-it like an electric guitar.

Afterward it was something to eat next to the 5 Points and we took time to honor the legend. Kings from Queens indeed. Congratulations to D.A. The Future and everyone that helped make this win possible. The event was sponsored by Local recording studio Tonic Couture, the musician’s one stop shop Sam Ash and New England’s School of Groove.

Jam Master Jay Graf in the 5 Points

Legendary DJ Jam master Jay is immortalized

Afterwards Words

While I was there, I connected with another band called Johnny Hirsch. They play all over the city and sound like a mix between Steely Dan and Jamiroquai.

Johnny Hirsch band

Johnny Hirsch bands together

As we got to talking, they asked me “What do you play?” and I said “Um..everything. I’m more of a producer who…” and it dawned on me- about how much we really are a one-man-band. Now of course, I’ve been around for a minute and play a bunch of instruments (horribly), so I’m NOT suggesting you go out and take lessons for four different instruments, but I am saying respect their nature enough to study the musical context and consider the idea of bringing in a true player instead of noodling around on your keyboard for every instrument. I think D.A. is forever changed by the experience of performing in front of a band and I think every producer will be changed for the better when you unlock your own musicianship by influencing and being influenced by actual players.

There is a great article by Phil Clendennin in Producer’s Edge [Issue 04 Teddy Riley Page 32] that touches on voicing traditional instruments in our workstation keyboards. It’s really a great read. Here’s my parting shot: Next time you’re in the studio creating a joint, try turning your room into a stage and see what happens. Stay Productive.

Drew Spence Producer’s Edge Magazine