Music

DJ Set at Brasserie Barbes

October 11, 2017

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Tres excited to be DJing this Thursday 12th October at Brasserie Barbes in Paris! Gonna be spinning lots of LL Cool J, Aurra, Bar-Kays, Big Daddy Kane, Heavy D, Beastie Boys, Shalamar, Michael Jackson, Brass Construction, Jody Watley, and so much more ..

Peep the Facebook event here : http://bit.ly/2kzRUld

Brasserie Barbes, 2 Boulevard Barbes, 75018 Paris

9pm – 1:45am.

Come boogie!

 

February in Paris

February 28, 2017

My round up of sights and sounds from the past month in Paris.

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*^A pretty private street I found tucked away behind the Eiffel Tower^*

Music

Everything I’ve heard from the 79.5 so far has been perfection, so I’m very much looking forward to their full album Predictions due out later this year on Big Crown Records. “Boy Don’t Be Afraid” dropped around Valentines and is a delightfully sweet Springtime love song. Reminds me a little of Luscious Jackson, and as a former flute-player I dig the flute riffs.

79.5 – “Boy Don’t Be Afraid”

 

I re-discovered Aussie band Pond earlier this month after sitting next to them at one of my favourite local spots Les Ptits Gros. They also have their album The Weather coming out later this year in May on Marathon Artists, which I look forward to hearing too!

Pond – “Sweep Me Off My Feet”

I’ve been listening to My Bloody Valentine’s 2013 album MBV a lot recently, suits my hazy incense-burning morning vibes perfectly:

Also revisiting Sonic Youth’s classic Daydream Nation:

I caught two great live shows this month – the first being Fantastic Negrito (hot off the heels of winning a grammy) playing at La Maroquinerie, and then seeing the man Alex Cameron (such a dude!) play at Point Éphémère on the canal.

Eating & Drinking

Living right by ‘SoPi’ (South Pigalle) I really am spoilt for nice places to eat and drink. At a friend’s recommendation I recently sampled Terre et Sel on the Rue Condorcet – such delicious wine and food! I cannot now recommend it myself enough. Yummy red wine and burrata below:

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As mentioned above, one of my very favourite local spots Les Ptits Gros is a true gem – the food is great and the happy hour is splendid. Here is me and my homie Mekael (a dope photographer who visited this month from Los Angeles) enjoying the €5 champagne:

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Another delicious place to eat outside of Pigalle is Nanashi – Parisian Bento – I’ve visited and rate both the restaurants in the 3rd and 10th arrondissements. And for cafe vibes there is the delightful cafe/flower shop Peonies in the 10th arrondissement. My buddies after lots of caffeine and chat outside Peonies:

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For partying I’ve had some fun nights out at Le Fou on Rue du Sentier (a very good Old Fashioned), and Le Pigalle Country Club, in (you guessed it!) Pigalle! Getting ready action shot:

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*Birthday babe Jennette in Le Sans Souci*

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*View at dusk from the Sacre Coeur*

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Soul Clap in Paris

February 18, 2017

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Back in October I had the pleasure of kicking it with the Soul Clap guys, Eli and Charles, in Paris on the day of the release of their self-titled album Soul Clap. We chopped it up about the album’s recording sessions down at George Clinton’s studio in Florida, favourite French records and artists like Daft Punk and Air, and personal music memories that influenced their creative direction. The interview was conducted at the Hotel Amour in Pigalle (one of my favourite local spots), in the comfort of the most pimped out hotel room I’ve ever set foot in – the entire ceiling was covered in motorised disco balls (see the picture above)!

Check out the full Wax Poetics feature with the video for their single “Synthesiser Girlfriend” here.

I had a great time chatting to Eli and Charles, such nice dudes. Afterwards we rolled to their show at Nuit Fauves, a neat club on the River Seine, and my buddy DJ/producer Jamurai from London happened to be in Paris and came through. All round good vibes and memories!

Peep the interview below…

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Tell me about the recording sessions for Soul Clap. What was the atmosphere like?

Eli (a.k.a. Elyte): The original recording session was down there [at George Clinton’s studio] in Tallahassee, Florida.  We went down there not expecting anything, at the very least we would get to see the vaults of all the tapes of a lot of the P-Funk stuff, and just maybe we could meet George Clinton. So we just went in there and got loose and started jamming the two of us, and getting to know the musicians down there. Then all of a sudden George showed up and said “bust the studio,” and we just carried on working on music. We got the hang out with him there and played him a bunch of stuff.

Charles: Obviously leading up to that P-Funk had been a big influence for us. We played him a piece of music we had already worked on using Ableton that was little samples of Funkadelic songs, lots and lots of samples. His ears really perked up then because he could hear the original ideas re-contextualised. I think that showed him that we weren’t just a couple of chumps [both laugh]; that we knew the music.

 

Do you feel like you learned a lot working with him? If so was there anything in particular? 

C: We learned a tremendous amount working with George Clinton. Just the inspiration and confidence of having a titan like him say “hey, that’s cool what you guys are doing.” And I noticed being around him that he really responds well to people who are confident in themselves and have their own thing going on. I think that’s a beautiful thing to put forward.

E: Also the way he works in the studio was almost like how a producer works on a computer. You see how the recording process used to be, having to pull all these musicians together to play the parts that were in his head and guiding it to become a piece of music. It’s much easier now where you can do all those parts separately, but that’s still how he thinks. He teaches each person what he’s hearing and then records, so that was really a learning process seeing how he works.

 

I interviewed Shock G 3 years ago, and he described it like there was before working with George, and after working with George, that his life was better after. I’m just curious if that’s a common experience? [All laugh]

C: I think Shock G said it right. I can totally understand that. It’s like there was an unknown, but now there’s an experience and a known, and we’re carrying it forward. So that’s a beautiful thing, and why the album is so magical. You get a sense that we’ve accomplished what we set out to try to create musically. That’s why this is a self-titled album. In many ways a new beginning I think.

E: All those years finally paid off.

 

Do you find you go through phases where you get a little obsessed with certain types of music or certain artists?

E: Definitely. I would say right now, hip-hop is finally exciting again. It’s been super exciting for me, starting with Kendrick’s album [To Pimp A Butterfly]. Plus that whole explosion of exciting jazz and funk coming from L.A.. Kaytranada, he’s working with this guy Mick Jenkins, then Chance the Rapper is doing all this exciting stuff too. It feels like hip-hop is in an exciting musical place again. The first time since I was a kid, which is so cool.

C: I’ve been listening to a wide variety of things, but I guess artists that jump out are Little Dragon, Death Grips, and we saw Herbie Hancock in concert a few weeks ago.

E: We’ve been listening to all the Herbie Hancock we can.

 

Do you ever notice a difference in the different cities you play, in that the crowd has a different feel? Or does it tend to be a similar vibe at most of your parties? 

E: I think our parties bring an eclectic crowd to them because we play a range of music, but we’re based in dance music and house music. There’s a big difference from the U.S. to Europe, and the the U.K. to Europe is another thing. We’ve been touring for 6 or 7 years, so you really get to know a country. We always try to bring a general funkiness to the equation, which I don’t think necessarily always happens at a lot of these dance clubs. So that brings us a universal family of freaks.

C: I like that [both laugh].

 

Being that we’re here in Paris, do you have any favourite French records, producers, or artists?

C: We’re Serge Gainsbourg fans.

E: Daft Punk, obviously. Homework is one of the best albums ever. Charlotte Gainsbourg too had some really awesome stuff. I recently found out Tony Allen played on a couple of her albums, which is amazing. I think he lives here now, so he’s done a lot of work with French musicians including Charlotte Gainsbourg. Also gotta shout out Air, so good, and I.Q., one of our favourite house producers.

C: Breakbot too.

E: Phil Weeks. Another great house producer from here.

C: Just going back to Daft Punk, all the amazing French stuff, that really left an impact on us as disco house ravers in the nineties.

 

Did you ever listen to an African disco guy from the seventies called Jo Bisso? He did a lot of stuff here in Paris. The record label was Disques Espérance. A friend gave me a record of his and I’m trying to find out more about him. It’s very cool, definitely worth checking out. 

C: Sounds really familiar.

E: You know what deserves a shout out is this compilation series called Source Lab, which was actually one of the first house CDs I ever bought. I had been into acid jazz and kind of stumbled upon it, and it was just really dope french house, trip-hop, and acid jazz. The house music jumped out at me.

C: How did we forget? Dimitri from Paris!

E: Oh the best!

C: Duh.

E: Definitely the king of the edits.

 

Do you remember what the first records that you bought were?

E: My dad’s really into jazz so I started going with him to a place called Stereo Jack’s in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I’m from. I started buying stuff that I was into, that was when I got really into John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders. But soon after that I found hip-hop and started buying hip-hop records, then house and jungle.

C: First record that I owned? Jeez that’s a tough question. It was probably digging in a used record shop, but I can’t really remember. I do remember it was drum & bass and jungle that pulled me in the electronic direction. I was listening to LTJ Bukem and Goldie in my headphones in high school and going to the record store. A guy named Francis Englehardt, who many people probably know from Dope Jams in New York, I remember he gave me a bunch of Ganga Kru records, so like DJ Hype and DJ Zinc. Those were some of the first records I clearly remember. Plus walking into Satellite Records. That’s sort of before I even realised I was into house music.

E: I actually really clearly remember going to a record fair, when I realised I wanted to buy records, and bought a record by a group called Krush – I thought it was DJ Krush – but it was actually some electro stuff…

C: Was it breakdance music?

E: Yeah [grinning]. And I didn’t really get it at the time, but I still have the record. I will always keep that one. [laughs]

 

It’s funny when you talk about DJ Hype and all the drum & bass – it takes me back – you know how when you are a teenager and music just makes you feel really cool? I went through a break-beat / drum & bass phase. [all laugh]

C: Yes! Still does today. There were a couple of kids in high-school that were older than me that were definitely junglists, I just remember them outside smoking cigarettes with big caffeine pants on. I was like “what’s going on? These guys are cool as hell!”

 

That inspired you?

C: Yeah. In America we had jungle sky, liquid sky, and DJ Soul Slinger. That was really cool music, to this day still, This Is Jungle Sky, Volume 2.

 

That’s cool. I find it can be hit and miss when you go back and return to music, sometimes it really was as good as you thought it was, and sometimes it’s not. So it’s nice when you can say: “this really was quality.”

C: Yeah. That stuff was the most futuristic, forward-thinking music.

 

Anything else you want to say about your new record?

C: Should probably mention crewlove.us – our collaborative crew website. We have a subscription based service where people can go and get all of the music, there are lots of perks there for members.

E: Crew love is true love.

Real Talk with Jansport J & Fatlip

January 29, 2017

LIP

When we filmed the Jansport J interview In the Court of the Covina King at Delicious Vinyl HQ in July, I was lucky enough to grab some time with Fatlip to chat with him and ‘Sport for Wax Poetics about music-making, clearing expectations during the creative process, and the early days of Pharcyde …

Enjoy!

Biggups again to the homie Mekael Dawson for filming the interview, Jordan Lockett for hooking it up, and Delicious Vinyl for hosting! I also edited this video :)

In the Court of the Covina King

January 29, 2017

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Back in July I caught up with my friend Jansport J for Wax Poetics at the Delicious Vinyl headquarters on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. At the time of the interview ‘Sport was deep in the creative process, the “wilderness” as he coins it, of producing p h a r a o h : his raw, 27-tracks long, NYC-inspired, aural tour de force.

Peep the interview to see ‘Sport talk about his musical journey and influences, working with both major and independent labels and legends such as Snoop Dogg, and the timeless quality of the soul music he samples…

p h a r a o h was released January 27th via blackwhitegoldville music/Fat Beats Distribution.

Find it on iTunes here and Bandcamp/Cassette here

Biggups to Mekael Dawson for filming, the homie Jordan Lockett for hooking it up, and Delicious Vinyl for hosting! This is also the first video edit I’ve done myself .. :)

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Sitting in the Park … with Dan the Automator

January 4, 2017

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Back in the summer when I was bopping around California I had the honour of meeting Dan Nakamura, a.k.a. Dan the Automator, in his hometown of San Francisco. Dan is one of those producers who is behind such a varied array of great music, I’ve often felt as though I am constantly discovering that he has played a part in hit records – it was only in conversation with Dan that I learned he produced two albums for Kasabian (dudes from my hometown!).

I interviewed Dan for Wax Poetics at the top of Dolores Park on a beautiful and rather windy day, and chopped it up about the music he loved growing up, the Bay Area scene, working with artists like Kool Keith and Del the Funky Homosapien, porno music, and much, much more … Enjoy!

You can also check it out on Wax Poetics here!

Mega props to Zhubin Rahbar and Paul Keller for filming the interview, and to Matt ‘Matman’ Smith for painstakingly editing it to be so fresh and informative! :)

New York 2016

September 4, 2016

Back in June I was lucky enough to spend a week exploring and hustling in New York. I stayed with my wonderful friend Heather in her beautiful apartment in the West Village and had a rather magical time. How can you not fall in love with NYC?

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I flew to New York from Los Angeles with a connection at Raleigh-Durham in North Carolina. It’s funny to think of all the places we go through but never really go to. It makes me think of those times in life, periods of transition where the focus is on the future rather than the present. Just passing through.

That said, I do love killing time in airports. It’s like a carte blanche to pause, reflect and window-gaze. Plus I’ve made some of my best friends through chance airport encounters (Lauren and Jesse I’m looking at you ;) ).

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 ~Runway reverie~

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~Red Eye View~

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~Greeted on arrival with champagne and a long-overdue catch-up~

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~The street I stayed on, the prettiest part of town~

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~West Village Selfies~

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~The Highline~

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An absolute highlight of my trip was getting to chill with Prince Paul and chop it up for Wax Poetics! We filmed a little interview on somebody’s stoop in Greenwich Village, and in keeping with tradition grabbed pizza afterwards on Bleecker Street :)

~Outtakes~

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 ~Wax Po Interview~

~Cymande playing Summer Stage in Central Park!~

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~I’ll never forget hearing “Willy’s Headache” live <3~

~Washington Square Park~

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One day I made it out to Brooklyn to visit the homie Andre Torres at the Genius HQ in Gowanus, and while over in BK hit up The Wythe Hotel to enjoy that famous view across to Manhattan…

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~No-no-no-Notorious!~

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~First time at The Lincoln Center seeing Swan Lake~

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~Soaking up some sun by the SoHo House pool on my last day~

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~Flying JFK 2 LAX a la Gang Starr~

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Talk Stoop with Prince Paul

July 30, 2016

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Last month I got to catch up with my favourite hip-hop producer, the one and only Prince Paul in Manhattan’s West Village. If you had told seventeen-year-old me this, I probably would have died.

There’s a certain risk that comes with meeting one’s heroes, we’re all just human after all, but Paul is one of those dudes who’s even cooler than you imagine. Super hilarious (that’s hardly a surprise) and super modest, despite having produced some of the greatest hip-hop joints there are.

We chatted about his upcoming projects – new groups Brookzill! and SuperBlack, as well as a new solo album – recording with De La and Gravediggaz back in the day, exchanging snail mail with Daddy-O, making movies, and life lessons learned along the way …

You can also check it out on Wax Poetics here!

Mega props to Zhubin Rahbar for filming the interview, and to Matt ‘Matman’ Smith for editing it to look so fresh! :)

De La Soul Stakes Is High 20th Anniversary Mixtape

July 15, 2016

Earlier this month, De La Soul’s fourth studio album Stakes Is High celebrated it’s twentieth birthday. To mark the occasion – you guessed it – my buddy Chris Read pulled together a sweet mixtape of original sample material, remixes, and album tracks. This one took me on a real trip down memory lane! Read my write up and peep the mix below …

Originally posted on Wax Poetics here.

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When I first heard Stakes Is High, I was in…Brighton, on the U.K.’s South Coast. My father lived there at the time, and as a teenager building up her record collection, I would make the most out of my trips to visit him by also visiting the city’s various record spots such as The Wax Factor and Rarekind. It was at Resident Records in the North Laines that I picked up De La Soul’s Stakes Is High and upon my first listen, before I scoured the liner notes, I knew that something was different.

Where were the playful skits? Where were the endless gags? I found myself staring out the window feeling pensive rather than chuckling and dancing around my room.

And as it turned out, the record, released July 2, 1996, marked a pivotal moment for the Long Island trio. Parting ways with their long-time collaborator Prince Paul, the genius behind 3 Feet High & Rising’s seminal use of sampling, the album was the first to be produced mostly by the group themselves and has a rather more mature feel. Trugoy recently described the experience of producing the record themselves as an “empowering […] learning process,” as previously they had relied upon the guidance of external producers. One notable exception to this is of course the Jay Dee produced title track “Stakes Is High,” but for Maseo, Posdnuos, and Trugoy to take greater control and reflect the mood-shift of a rap group three albums deep was the perfect move after 1993’s Buhloone Mindstate.

De La Soul had spoken out before about social issues (“Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa”) and the state of rap music (“Who Do U Worship”), but this time they were shouting about it with, as the title suggests, a more serious tone and higher sense of urgency, which can be heard on tracks like “The Bizzness.” Despite having less commercial success at the time, the powerful, jazz-fuelled album was met with positive reviews and is now regarded as a classic of it’s era.

To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Stakes Is High, our friend Chris Read has crafted a mixtape of album tracks, remixes, and original sample material.

Listen up and enjoy!

Artwork by Leon Nockolds

Track list:

1. De La Soul – ‘Intro’
2. Milt Jackson & The Ray Brown Big Band – ‘Enchanted Lady’ (sampled in ‘Dinninit’)
3. De La Soul – ‘Dinninit’
4. Jan Hammer Group – ‘Peaceful Sundown’ (sampled in ‘Dog Eat Dog’)
5. De La Soul – ‘Dog Eat Dog’
6. Aretha Franklin – It Only Happens (When I Look At You) (sampled in ‘Long Island Degrees’)
7. De La Soul – ‘Long Island Degrees’
8. Craig Mack – ‘Get Down’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘The Bizness’)
9. De La Soul feat Common – ‘The Bizness’
10. Commodores – ‘High on Sunshine’ (sampled in ‘Sunshine’)
11. De La Soul – ‘Sunshine’
12. Bayete – ‘Free Angela’ (sampled in ‘Sunshine’)
13. Ahmad Jamal – ‘Swahililand’ (sampled in ‘Stakes is High’)
14. De La Soul – ‘Stakes is High’ 
15. De La Soul – ‘Stakes Is High (Jay Dee Remix)’
16. James Brown – ‘Mind Power’ (sampled in ‘Stakes is High’)
17. De La Soul feat Mos Def & Truth Enola – ‘Stakes is High (Remix)’
18. Walter Wanderley – ‘Summer Samba’ (sampled in ‘Supa Emcees’)
19. Jimmy Spicer – ‘Adventures of Super Rhyme’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘Supa Emcees’)
20. Doug E Fresh & Slick Rick – La Di Da Di [Extract] (sampled in ‘Supa Emcees’)
21. De La Soul – ‘Supa Emcees’
22. Wilson Pickett – Get Me Back On Time, Engine #9 [Extract] (sampled in ‘Supa Emcees’)
23. De La Soul feat Mos Def – ‘Big Brother Beat’
24. Kurtis Blow – ‘These Are the Breaks’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘The Brakes’)
25. De La Soul – ‘The Brakes’
26. James Brown – Funky Drummer [Loop] (sampled in ‘Betta Listen’)27. De La Soul – ‘Betta Listen’
28. Jeff Beck – ‘Come Dancing’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘Down Syndrome’)
29. James Brown – ‘Talkin Loud & Sayin Nothing’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘Down Syndrome’)
30. De La Soul – ‘Down Syndrome’
31. De La Soul feat Truth Enola – ‘Pony Ride’
32. Lou Donaldson – ‘Who’s Making Love’ (sampled in ‘Wonce Again Long Island’)
33. De La Soul – ‘Wonce Again Long Island’
34. Malcolm McLaren – ‘Hobo Scratch’ (sampled in ‘Baby Baby Baby Baby Ooh Baby’)
35. De La Soul feat Jazzyfatnastees – ‘Baby Baby Baby Baby Ooh Baby’
36. Chico Hamilton – ‘A Rose for Booker’ (sampled in ‘4 More’)
37. Jungle Brothers – ‘Jimmy Bonus Beat’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘4 More’)
38. De La Soul feat Zhane – ‘4 More’

LA Daze

May 29, 2016

Palm trees in the wind and pizza by the slice. Catching up with old friends under cloudy skies. Writing by blue swimming pools and pink sunsets behind the hills of Hollywood. Oh Los Angeles, since getting to you earlier this month, time has been flying by too fast.  I’m feeling very lucky to be spending time with some of my favourite people out here, because conversing and laughing with like-minded souls is the best.

~Stunning views from The Getty~

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Music-wise, I’ve been listening to my very talented friends Nanna B and Jansport J, as well as a little Neil Young :)

I’ve loved helping out at some Delicious Vinyl events while in town, including the WAX record fair at Capitol Records and Boom Yard LA at Delicious Pizza.

~Me selling merch at Boom Yard LA @ Delicious Pizza~

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 ~Capitol Records~

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~Limited Edition Ol’ Dirty Bastard Vinyl~

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A couple of weeks ago I enrolled at Studio4 LA, James Franco’s film and acting school here, so have been taking some classes over in North Hollywood. I also attended a really awesome ‘Intuitive Actor’ workshop at SoHo with Todd Savvas at SoHo House, and have been dabbling in a real mix of yoga classes out here. After meeting the gorgeous Millana Snow in West Hollywood, I attended a poolside yoga class with Serene Social at the Standard Hotel on Sunset. A friend also introduced me to Black Market Yoga in Hollywood (where you can flow to Tom Waits!), and most recently I’ve been hitting up the Y7 Studio on Melrose for their hip-hop scored vinyasa classes.

~Chillin’ by the pool post-yoga~

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~Santa Monica Sunset~

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