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The Preatures Mixtape for Dazed Digital + Jack Moffitt Q&A

May 9, 2015

This Spring I was fortunate to work on a little feature for Dazed & Confused, where I asked one of my favourite Australian bands The Preatures to put together a mixtape. Providing an aural glimpse into their world, the mix places contemporary gems alongside classic jams. Check out my write up and interview with Jack Moffitt as it appeared on Dazed Digital below, and enjoy!
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Preatures

On April 13th, Australian rock quintet The Preatures released their much anticipated debut album Blue Planet Eyes here in the UK. We caught their live show in Camden last month and were blown away by the energy of dark-haired Italo-Aussie bombshell Isabella Manfredi. While performing songs including “Somebody’s Talking” and “Is This How You Feel?” the Chanel ambassador cartwheeled around the stage like a true rock and roll pro, whipping bandmates and audience up into a frenzy.

In the midst of touring the world to promote Blue Planet Eyes and share their music, the guys took time to put together a little mix for Dazed (listen to it here), designed to give listeners a taste of what makes the band tick. I also caught up with guitarist Jack Moffitt to find out a little more about what’s been going on in the world of The Preatures …

So, tell me about the mix you’ve put together.

Jack Moffitt: The mix consists of favourites from the playlist we put on at our shows, with a couple of tracks from our record in there. Izzi put it together, and it’s a good picture of the influences we have collectively and individually. There is a lot of sound in there that definitely inspired our album; records with an atmosphere we love. It’s important to have a mood in the room when you put on a show. This is the kind of mood we’ve been in, and it’s the mood around the album.

What’s it like being on tour with The Preatures? 

Jack Moffitt: You know, we always joke that anyone who was around for our tours would probably think we were seriously boring. And I can’t say for sure if we are or we aren’t, but we do have a good time on the road. It’s impossible to describe… You want to be out when you’re cooped up, and you want to be at home when you’re out, But all you have to focus on is getting your energy up for the show. We’re fairly critical, because we want to be great every night. That doesn’t always come from your best side.

What music do you listen to on the road?

Jack Moffitt: I’ve been listening to the Courtney Barnett record, which I really love. It’s the kind of music that can be really divisive. Some people wonder what the point of her songs are, but I love that they remind me of our home and our lives. I think she’s fantastic. You don’t have to be Australian to appreciate it. Also I had the new Rihanna track on, the new Pond album, some Lennon, Sam Smith, the new Tame Impala track… I went back to the Frank Ocean album the other day. I also love old records and the radio in different parts of the UK and Europe, they have great radio in France.

Do you guys work on new music while on the road? 

Jack Moffitt: Yeah we do. Izzi’s always sitting with an idea, and Gid will be working on something. I’ve been working lately in Ableton and writing anything that comes to mind. Izzi and I did some demos in London recently, a couple of songs we’ve had on the back burner for a while now which we’re excited about.

You guys have a great chemistry on stage. How do you feel during live shows? And is it similar or very different when in-studio/rehearsals?

Jack Moffitt: One of the main reasons there’s so much chemistry on stage is down to us all responding to the energy Izzi takes to performing. But sometimes you’re in the room and sometimes you’re not. It differs a lot from the studio or rehearsals. There’s a sudden feeling of doing something for all-time, which can be a strange leveller and put you in a big hole. I love them both equally, with as much hate for when it’s bad. When it’s bad it’s fucking bad. Rehearsal is just torture you choose, it’s like putting your soul on the rack for fun.

Tell us a bit about Blue Planet Eyes out this month

Jack Moffitt: Well it’s long overdue, that I can say for certain. But also it’s locked in the year we had, from CMJ in 2013 to coming back to the UK/US late last year, it’s the snapshot of us as a band in that time. We did so much work and so much touring, we were ragged and driven and up every night working. I think it’s a perfect picture of what we were trying to do. I’m quite proud of what we’ve made, and we’re all very keen to get started on the next one.

What is a Preature? How did that name come about?

Jack Moffitt: We’ve never thought of it is a singular thing, it’s always Preatures. But a Preature could be an irreverent creature. Some kind of proud and freakish animal. We were originally The Preachers, which is hard to look up, and it’s religious, so some people thought we were a God Rock band. We wanted to keep the sound of the name without changing it too much. One day on the bus I saw a pub with a sign for Little Creatures ales out the front and wrote down ‘Creatures/Preatures’. I thought it was kinda cheesy. We had a few different spellings, but that one looked and felt right. I’m not saying I invented a new word or anything, but I did.

Tracklist:

Mac De Marco – “Rock and Roll Nightclub”

Connan Mockasin – “Caramel”

The Preatures – “Rock and Roll Rave”

POND – “Zond”

Prince – “Kiss”

!!! – “One Girl / One Boy”

The 101ers – “Keys to Your Heart”

The Nerves – “Hanging on the Telephone”

Blondie – “Sunday Girl”

The Preatures – “Cruel”

Harry Nilsson – “Jump Into The Fire (single version)”

Patti Smith – “Gloria”

INXS – “Original Sin”

UMO – “How Can U Luv Me”

The Strokes – “Last Night”

The Pretenders – “Back on the Chain Gang”

Wax Poetics Issue 61 : Bishop Nehru & Soulection

April 25, 2015

I remember the first time that I bought a copy of Wax Poetics back in 2007. It was the Rick James issue with a feature on New York hip-hop club The Latin Quarter by Brian Coleman. Reading it blew my mind and provided glimpses into a world that inspired me to no end.

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I never thought then that I would one day get to write for the magazine, so it is such a thrill to see my first cover feature for Issue 61. I interviewed young rapper Bishop Nehru back in January, after having first seen him play at Birthdays in Dalston last year. Having already released an album with MF Doom and now working with Nas, Nehru’s career is seriously set to skyrocket.

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The feature runs back to back with a Ghostface Killah interview written by my Bay Area homie David Ma in what I feel is a very strong issue of the magazine. The alternate cover has James Brown and Curtis Mayfield back to back, two true musical icons with such musical depth and mass appeal. The overall theme for the issue is in highlighting the Black Lives Matter message in music, and examining the prominence of racial politics in music today as oppose to previous decades.

As well as the Nehru piece, I also have a feature in the issue on the Soulection collective: a record rundown with Joe Kay detailing the key records that have shaped the Soulection’s journey thus far. Joe’s selection are great and brilliantly varied – Slum Village, Arthur Verocai, Genuwine, and Rage Against the Machine all make an appearance.

Again, I am super excited about this issue. Big shout out to : Brian DiGenti, Freddy Anzures, Andre Torres, Bishop Nehru, Joe Kay, Jacqueline Schneider, David Ma, Robert Adam Mayer, and Eric Coleman!

A Tribe Called Quest Mixtape

April 25, 2015

Earlier this month I worked with my friend Chris Read on a mixtape project to celebrate the 25th anniversary of A Tribe Called Quest’s debut album People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. The album is my personal favourite from the Tribe oeuvre – I’ve said it numerous times, but there is just something about ‘that sound’!

The mix features original sample material from the likes of Lou Reed, Carly Simon, Earth, Wind, & Fire, and Roy Ayers alongside album cuts, and even contains some interview snippets from one time I chatted to Ali Shaheed Muhammed in 2011.

I love the album so much. It reminds me of being seventeen and still sounds as good now as when I first bought it in my hometown. So, I was excited to present this little mix with Wax Poetics and Who Sampled – I even got a little shout out from OkayPlayer for it!

Here is the post as it ran on Wax Poetics last week:

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“We were like virgins,” says Ali Shaheed Muhammed, referring to the time of People’s Instinctive Travels & the Paths of Rhythm and the experience of making the album for himself and fellow A Tribe Called Quest bandmates Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, and Jarobi. “If you could capture and pull out the chemical make up of your dreams coming true—it’s happening and at the same time you’re a teenager—if you could extract that, it would be euphoric for all ages and all time periods. And I think that was what was in that album, because we were living our dreams.”

It was on April 17, back in 1990, that A Tribe Called Quest released their truly unique debut People’s Instinctive Travels & the Paths of Rhythm on Jive Records. Full of playful humor, abstract musings, teenage tales, social commentary, and distinctive production, the album channels and touches in on a spectrum of sentiments and feeling. From such odes to adolescence as “Bonita Applebum” and “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” (possibly the best hip-hop music video?) to the philosophical leanings of tracks like “Push It Along” and “Footprints,” and the conscious themes of “Description of a Fool” and “Luck of Lucien,” Tribe were undeniably youthful old souls.

The remarkably experimental album (just dig the dawn-of-the-universe-esque intro) kicked off what was to become one of the most inspiring and influential careers in hip-hop. So many musicians and fans cite A Tribe Called Quest as their very favorite group that it is hard to imagine what the musical landscape might look like without their contribution.

To mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of People’s Instinctive Travels & the Paths of Rhythm, our buddy Chris Read has put together a sweet mixtape for Wax Poetics andWhoSampled. Delving into the album’s DNA, the mix includes original sample material from the likes of Roy Ayers, Lou Reed, Carly Simon, the Isley Brothers, Earth, Wind & Fire, and RAMP, all to celebrate the genius of such a special record.

Listen up and enjoy!

Tracklist:

1. A Tribe Called Quest – Can I Kick It? (Extended Boilerhouse Mix) (Extract).
2. A Tribe Called Quest – If The Papes Come (Loop)
3. Chris Read – Theme #3 (Scratchapella)
4. Jimi Hendrix – EXP (sampled in “If the Papes Come”)
5. Eugene McDaniels – Jagger The Dagger (sampled in “Push It Along” and others)
6. Ali Shaheed Muhammad interview for Wax Poetics
7. Junior Mance – Thank You Falletin Me Be Mice Elf Agin (sampled in “Push It Along”)
8. Grover Washington Junior – Loran’s Dance (sampled in “Push It Along”)
9. A Tribe Called Quest – Push It Along
10. A Tribe Called Quest – Bonita Applebum (Why? Version)
11. Carly Simon – Why (Extended Version) (sampled in “Bonita Applebum (Why? Version)”)
12. Little Feat – Fool Yourself (sampled in “Bonita Applebum (Album Version)”)
13. Isley Brothers – Between The Sheets (sampled in “Bonita Applebum (Hootie Mix)”)
14. A Tribe Called Quest – Bonita Applebum (Hootie Mix)
15. RAMP – Daylight (sampled in “Bonita Applebum (Album Version)”)
16. A Tribe Called Quest – Bonita Applebum (Album Version)
17. Funkadelic – Nappy Dug Out (sampled in “Ham & Eggs”)
18. A Tribe Called Quest – Ham & Eggs
19. Lou Reed – Walk On The Wild Side (sampled in “Can I Kick It?”)
20. A Tribe Called Quest – Can I Kick It? (Extended Boilerhouse Mix)
21. Lonnie Smith – Spinning Wheel (sampled in “Can I Kick It?”)
22. Chambers Brothers – Funky (sampled in “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo”)
23. A Tribe Called Quest – I Left My Wallet In El Segundo
24. A Tribe Called Quest – Footprints
25. Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke (sampled in “Footprints”)
26. The Cannonball Adderley Quintet feat Jesse Jackson – Walk Tall (sampled in “Footprints”)
27. Donald Byrd – Think Twice (sampled in “Footprints”)
28. Sly & The Family Stone – Remember Who You Are (sampled in “After Hours”)
29. A Tribe Called Quest – After Hours
30. Billy Brooks – Forty Days (sampled in “Luck of Lucien”)
31. A Tribe Called Quest – Luck of Lucien
32. A Tribe Called Quest – Rhythm (Devoted to the Art of Moving Butts)
33. Earth Wind & Fire – Brazilian Rhyme (Beijo Interlude) (sampled in “Mr. Muhammad”)
34. A Tribe Called Quest – Mr. Muhammad
35. A Tribe Called Quest – Description of a Fool
36. Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Running Away (sampled in “Description of a Fool”)
37. Billy Baron and his Smokin Challengers – Communication Is Where It’s At (sampled in “Public Enemy”)
39. A Tribe Called Quest – Public Enemy
40. Reuben Wilson – Inner City Blues (sampled in “Youthful Expression”)
41. A Tribe Called Quest – Youthful Expression
42. Slave – Son of Slide (sampled in “Go Ahead in the Rain”)
42. A Tribe Called Quest – Go Ahead in the Rain
43. A Tribe Called Quest – Ham & Eggs (Outro)

The No Comply Network

April 19, 2015

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I’m a big fan of The No Comply Network . Founded to support and promote the creative talents of those involved in and around skateboarding, No Comply brings together filmmakers, illustrators, musicians, and more, and shines a light on their work.
Earlier this month I was stoked to be featured as a member – check out my little Q&A below:

Meet the No Comply Network Member 16# Alice Price Styles – Pt 1

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Alice is a freelance music writer and skate culture fan based in London

“I write mostly for Wax Poetics and have interviewed Hip-hop artists such as Prince Paul, Shock G, Souls of Mischief, and Bishop Nehru. In Wax Poetics issue 61, I wrote the front cover feature on Bishop Nehru and also a feature on Soulection in there.

I also write for Dazed & Confused and NYLON Magazine and have worked closely with the record label Delicious Vinyl since 2011. Recently, I’ve been focusing on my own creative writing, which I hope to start sharing soon

I think one of the greatest things that skateboarding and music have in common is how they link you up with the best people out there. The friends I’ve made through music are like family to me. When you share a passion you often share a sensibility or outlook on life too, and I think those types of relationships really help you grow and be your best.

Plus, so many skateboarders I know have dope taste in music! Always a win in my books…

I think The No Comply Network is all about supporting your tribe. I can think of so many talented musicians, filmmakers and photographers that I’ve met with a background in skating that a network connecting those heads is really exciting to me.”

Alice

 

Posted by The No Comply Network on Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Cambridge Companion to Hip-Hop

April 4, 2015

This Spring sees the publication of my first academic chapter in The Cambridge Companion to Hip-Hop. The Companion, edited by Justin A. Williams, features a wide selection of Hip-Hop oriented essays from an array of contributors including Anthony Kwame Harrison, Adam Haupt, and Chris Tabron. I feel rather honoured to be a part of the collection, and also excited to see my work published in a book for the first time. My chapter “MC origins: rap and spoken word poetry” explores the shared history and facets of spoken word poetry and rap forms, with special case studies into the Black Arts Movement and the Good Life Cafe/Project Blowed.

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I met Justin A. Williams in 2011 while interning at the old Mixcloud offices on Featherstone Street, back when Mixcloud shared office-space with Drum&Bass Arena. Williams visited the then HQ to conduct fieldwork and speak to Mixcloud co-founder Nico Perez. After being introduced, we began chatting about academia and geeking out about Hip-Hop…

As I had researched spoken word poetry and music in depth for my undergraduate dissertation, and was building up a portfolio of hip-hop interviews, Williams commissioned me to write a chapter on spoken word poetry and rap for his next project: The Cambridge Companion to Hip-Hop.

Over the following months I began incorporating research for my chapter into my writing projects, sneaking in questions about poetry and rap during many of my interviews. In reflection, I appreciate how many memorable experiences and ideas I have been fortunate enough to encounter and enjoy through working on this project. I can so clearly remember sitting outside on a sunny day in Oakland talking to Bay Area poet D. Scot Miller about the transcendental merits of Camp Lo and Q Tip, partying with Freestyle Fellowship in Hollywood, afternoons in various libraries across London and San Francisco with a mountain of books by my side, and all the times that listening to poetry and rap made me feel inspired and excited to be alive. I believe that expansion of the mind is a very beautiful thing, and feel fortunate to have spent time developing my understanding of art and expression relating to some of my very favourite music. In sharing my work, I hope that it can stir some thoughts and feelings, and that readers can ultimately take something from the chapter.

To all those who have have been generous with their time, allowing me to pester them with questions and abstract musings I am eternally grateful. In no particularly order I would like to thank: Justin A. Williams, David J. Pugilist, Amiri Baraka, D. Scot Miller, Freestyle Fellowship, SlimKid3, Abstract Rude, Robert Glasper, and of course all the musicians and poets who have made my world richer through discovering their work.

You can find the Companion here .

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