Tag Archives: Underexposed

Underexposed!…DEAD PANDA – Interview

Dead Panda make dark, dub-influenced electronica so it’s only natural that they would hail from than Los Angeles – a city more commonly associated with Hollywood, beach culture and rock music. Totalling five personnel – Mary, Saint Brendan, Box-Car-Los, Amy and Eric – the band released debut LP Million Dollar Gun back in 2005. As they’re no strangers to playing either the Roxy or the Viper Rooms – two L.A. clubs that are internationally renowned and not always for the right reasons – the Monkey thought they might have a few tales to tell if the right questions were posed. Here’s what they had to say:
Monkeyboxing (MB): If Million Dollar Gun was released in 2005 how long have you guys been together – in fact how did you get together come to that?
Mary: The mayhem was spawned in Long Beach, California.
Brendan: The first thing we did was record the EP. It was re-mixed and mastered and re-released in 2007. We’ve been playing out for a couple years.
Carlos: Who can really tell? Time is of no importance.
MB: What is a Million Dollar Gun by the way?
Brendan: Million Dollar Gun is about a frame-up, an innocent person convicted of something they did not do. The gun is a symbol of ‘the system’.
Mary: There is salvation in the story.
Carlos: It is the fate of mankind.
MB: I notice you list Massive Attack and Portishead among your influences – interesting because both bands are from Bristol (UK) where monkeyboxing.com is based…but the Monkey has also been to L.A. and wonders how a band came to be making claustrophobic, stoned beats in the sunny epicentre of U.S. rock music?
Amy: Wear your shades and don’t listen to the radio.
Carlos: Each of us has spent extensive time outside of the realm.
Brendan: Influences – what we listen to and what we partake in. I crave a low and slow sound I thrive in psychedelic grooves. Nobody in L.A. sounds like us, which suits me just fine.
MB: L.A. has long been associated with the debauched and weird in music – I’m thinking The Doors, Jane’s Addiction – that sort of thing – what is the most debauched and weird thing that’s ever happened at a Dead Panda gig?
Mary: It’s a toss between sex going on in the audience or two words – Eagle Eye!
Amy: Some guy making out with a speaker that was pumping out beats.
Brendan: We played at Good Hurt on 04/20, then stood in the middle of Venice Blvd. and burned one. Sometimes we smoke in elevators. Hell, we smoke everywhere!
MB: Monkeyboxing did a background check on you guys – you’re on urbandictionary.com but not wikipedia…Care to comment?
Mary: Wow! I wasn’t aware.
Amy: Because Wikipedia is uptight.
Brendan: There is some sort of prejudice regarding the name.
MB: What you got in the pipeline in the way of tours, releases, that sort of thing?
Mary: We are currently working on a new album. We are looking into touring overseas this year. We are also looking forward to working with David J. from BauHaus on a few tracks.
MB: The voice you sampled on Kaper really sounds like Ted Bundy…
Brendan: That’s a cop calling my house, looking for me.
Mary: Bad cookie!
Eric: Hey, how does the Monkey know what Ted Bundy sounds like?
MB: Haha – that’s easy – Jane’s Addiction sampled him on Ted, Just Admit It – I’m more worried about why the LAPD are employing an undead serial killer. Ahem – anyway – the last word is yours anything you’d like to say?
Mary: Demand Genuine Dead Panda.
Carlos: Purple Monkey Dishwasher.
Amy: Thanks for the time. I’ve never been to the UK (would love to go) but my words are! I’ll take that for now 🙂

Dead Panda – Myspace

Underexposed!…INNEREYEFULL – Free downloads and interview

Andy Kent – a.k.a. Innereyefull has been exploring the outer reaches of downtempo beatmaking for some time now. Inspired by the kings of old-school hip-hop, funk and dub he’s been blending his influences into tripped-out digital psychedelia just ripe for sound-tracking your next herbal-fuelled mind-excursion – if you catch the Monkey’s drift and two Innereyefull E.P.’s are currently available for download totally free!:
Haunted E.P
Jus’ Believin E.P
…so now you too can hitch a lift on Andy’s magic carpet ride! Monkeyboxing has long been overdue for a chat with the man himself – here’s what he had to say when we finally hooked up:
Monkeyboxing (MB): Tell us a bit about how long you’ve been making music and what got you into it in the first place
Innereyefull (IEF): I’ve been making music for over 20 years now, I got into scratching after seeing a video in the early 80’s of Grandmaster Flash in his kitchen mixing and scratching on 3 decks and I was hooked! And I got into making music through my brother who is a bass player, he had an old ARP AXXE keyboard which made some splendid sounds, we use to jam with my cousin who played drums and make a right noise!! From there on I just wanted to make music and in 1989 I moved from London to Wiltshire where I continued to make music. In December 1994 I was in a studio with a mate doing some tracks under the name Transmit Zero, it was sorta breakbeat stuff with scratching of course, anyway a band he knew heard me scratching and asked me to put some stuff over some tracks they had recorded and a month later I was doing a gig with them in the Fleece and Firkin in Bristol which was wicked! I then joined the band and we did loads of gigs all up and down the country and had a mental time for a few years! After that I decided to do my own thing and explore what I could create with my ideas and that’s where Innereyefull came about.
MB: I thought I read somewhere that you had a previous incarnation in some sort of hip-hop crew – would you care to confirm or deny this?
IEF: Mmm……well I grew up in London and on the estate I lived on me and some mates had a hip hop crew. I used to make beats on a tape deck doing pause loops stylee. Man – it took ages getting a 3 minute drum loop, we would then go breakdance on a huge piece of cardboard which we spray painted, and rap over my beats which were banging out on an old school boombox (haha…what a word!). We didn’t really last long as our breakdancing wasn’t really any good so I stuck to making the beats instead.
MB: What equipment do you use for production?
IEFI use a Mac G4 running Logic and plenty of VST plugins, TC Electronics M300 rack fx, Akai S2800 sampler, Roland & Yamaha midi keyboards, Makie mixing desk, Technics & DJ mixer, Wharfedale Diamond Pro studio monitors, bass guitar, electric guitar & acoustic guitar plus I have a massive sample library I’ve built up over the last 20 years and plenty of imagination!
MB: Have you got any plans to collaborate with vocalists or rappers and is there anyone you’d really like to work with?
IEF: I’ve been working on a project under a different name with a friend of mine who plays guitar, keys and vocals, we hope to get some of this stuff out there in the future. I’m also gonna be working with another vocalist in the new year which should be pretty special if it comes off and I’d love to work with a rapper – it would bring a new element to the Innereyefull sound. As for who I’d really like to work with…well anyone who fits with my sound and keeps it real.
MB: Other than that, what’s next for you in the world of musical performance and production?
IEF: Well I have played live but not for a few years and I’d love to take my sound out and do a live Innereyefull set in the future, it’s a great buzz!!! As for production, just to keep moving forward and doing more collabs and digging for more dirty breaks!
MB: ‘Trip-hop’ got to be a dirty word back in the 90s. Where do you stand on the usage of the phrase ;-)?
IEF: I honestly can’t remember it being a dirty word, I don’t really get caught up in the politics of genres, I just keep doing what I’m doing and that’s what matters.
MB: True dat! The last word is yours. Anything you want to say?
IEF: Yeah……”Get an earfull of this!”

Innereyeful – Myspace

Underexposed!…D.J.H + Hip-Hopper From Birth EP – free download exclusive and interview

As Darren Joseph Horgan points out – having the initials D.J.H. meant it was more a case of when rather than if he would wind up as a DJ and, as it turns out, he’s been one since the early 80s – indeed since the early days of hip-hop. Regional DMC mixing finalist, winner of Radio 1’s Fresh Start To The Week, former member of the Nhamzone posse – there’s no doubt he’s in it for the props not the cash box and is a true vinyl warrior. If you want to check his skills on the lightning samplers of death you need go no further than his Hip-Hopper From Birth EP. It’s an instrumental four-tracker packed with samples culled from esoteric sources and fat funk breaks and the fact that it’s downloadable in high quality 320 kbps mp3 on this site is a monkeyboxing.com exclusive! The EP is flames throughout but two tracks stand out in particular: Interstellar Hip-Hop (Download here) – a tripped-out groove centred around the sort of farty old-school synth bass used by the Dust Brothers on the Beasties’ Shake Your Rump and Hip-Hopper From Birth (Download here) – an in-your-face breaks-fest featuring some pyrotechnical scratching that will have you reaching for your beanie, Pumas and a mat. Plus, of course, there’s If Only We Had Ears (Download here) and Listen To The Beat (Download here). Have a read of what happened when D.J.H. caught up with the Monkey:

Monkeyboxing (MB): Exactly how long have you been rocking the wheels of steel?
D.J.H: Well I don’t really wanna give me age away but it’s over 23 years since I got my first pair of 1210’s on HP while still at school! I remember going to get a pair of silver 1200’s because that was the only colour there was at the time and the bloke in the shop said he had just got the first batch of black 1210’s in the country and to come in. So I took those away and never looked back and they are still running strong to this day.
MB: Who do you admire most in the worlds of turntablism and production?
D.J.H: My God that’s really impossible to answer as there’s so many great artists out there and I listen to a wide range of music but I will name a few. As for DJ’S – the main ones that were my era were Cash Money, Jazzy Jeff, and D.J.Cheese. When Cash Money brought out Scratchin’ to the Funk it blew me away. Jazzy Jeff on A Touch Of Jazz that record was ahead of its time and D.J.Cheese with King Kut – awesome! Also Marley Marl for his pioneering production on countless hip hop records,,,The Bomb Squad!!! Rick Rubin, Pete Rock,,,Large Pro – and that’s only the tip of the old-school/ mid-school iceberg.. Love D.J Format’s tracks, he’s got the breaks for sure, also F.S.O.L. – I love their production – the ISDN album is incredible…I love Radiohead – now their production is wicked. Also Qbert – that man is from another planet what a DJ,,,the list could go on and on….
MB: The EP is quality – have you thought about working with any MCs recently?
D.J.H: Thanks for that I’m glad you like it. To be truly honest not really, I’m not in any real contact with any MC’s. I have a lot of very good beat-making friends (ha-ha!) some who do start rapping after a few beers and the local herb. We are always hitting each other with demos and ideas for feedback on tracks, I have a lot of vocal samples in my tracks which are all taken from vinyl which I gather up on my digging trips so they’re my MC’S in a way. Really there’s always a message in there somewhere but that’s not to say it won’t happen because you never know what’s around the corner.
MB: If you could work with any MC you liked – who would it be and why?
D.J.H: It would have to be Rakim,.,that man’s flow is to die for…follow the Leader!
MB: Haha – yeah can’t disagree with that! Tell us about the new website breaksthehabit.com?
D.J.H: Yeah been really slow on this as web stuff is not really my bag. I just spend my time doing beats and working on production skills – but it will be ready for Jan. 09 hopefully. I will be uploading lots of tracks for download, also instrumentals for MCs to rhyme over and send back to me with their rhymes on and then post the best couple on the site. I have a lot of ideas but don’t wanna give too much away but you will be the first to know when it’s ready – getting my finger out on this one for sure!!!
MB: I heard you practice Chinese Boxing – what kind? And is it a match for Monkey style?
D.J.H: Ahh yes! it could be! I have practiced Tiger style and Crane,,,and Chinese kickboxing. It’s really good for keeping your SP1200 beats healthy!
MB: Glad to hear it – the last word is yours though – anything you want to say?
D.J.H: Just to say I still have some 12″ EP’s left and they are free! You just need to pay the postage. I have converted the mastered DATS from the EP studio session to mp3 for download as the tracks you hear on the myspace page are unmastered so they will be available soon…..but also keep supporting vinyl it must never die! Peace out..DJH

DJH -Myspace

Underexposed!…ANDY TAYLOR – Interview

If you haven’t heard Pray (Andy’s ridiculously euphoric funk anthem with vocals from Louisa Rox), do me a favour – click on this link and have a listen to it on Andy’s Myspace player – you might have to scroll down a bit. When you get back to this feature – let me know if you can think of a reason why this man is still unsigned.

Now based in Glasgow, DJ and musician Andy Taylor’s soulful breakbeat collaborations with singer Louisa Rox (like the recent Pray and spanking new tracks Society and Purple) are pure fire. Some of his stuff has appeared on Refo Recordings releases and his track Jah Mambo was featured on BBC Radio 6’s Craig Charles Soul & Funk Show. Andy’s also been Djing for around 10 years and regularly plays sets that feature classic funk, hip-hop, breaks and …ahem…house. Monkeyboxing caught up with Andy to have a few words:

Monkeyboxing (MB): You’ve got a fine ear for danceable breaks and a catchy hooks – who would you say are your biggest musical inspirations?
Andy Taylor (AP): As a musician JB’s are probably the biggest influence. I got into them during the whole Acid Jazz thing that kicked off in the 90’s, there was a classic funk night in Chester that we used to go to and dance to that sort of thing. The DJ probably used to play about 4 or 5 JB’s tunes a night! I was also hanging out with people at college in Manchester learning a lot about breaks and where they came from. The JB’s are probably the king of live bands, being run and conducted by James Brown probably helps! From a production perspective, I would say that I’m probably influenced by a lot of different stuff such as Pharcyde, Mr Scruff, Pepe Braddock, Bunny Lee, Ninja Tune, Plaid, Parliament/Funkadelic, and Recloose. I could probably go on as I have such broad tastes but these are the ones I thought of off the top of my head. I think I might review my Myspace influence section and simplify it a little!
MB: You and Louisa make a great team – how did you hook up with her?
AT: I met Louisa through my mate Barry Jackson who now runs Refo Recordings. It was 2002 and we had been jamming in the studio playing some of his house stuff with a view to doing some sort of live project with electric bass. Louisa was over doing some housey “Oohs” and “Aahs” for one of his tunes. We kept in touch. When I was writing Pray I was originally going to do an instrumental track but I was struggling for some sort of focus in it. So I called up Louisa and she laid down some vocal tracks. It sounded great so we’ve been working together on and off ever since.
MB: How’s recent label interest been?
AT: Wouldn’t want to talk too much about any label interest as these things are all a bit up the air. There has been some interest in the past and there is some interest at the moment. If nothing gets sorted then the fickle finger of fate is slowly pointing towards releasing it myself. I’m not keen on this due to the fact that I have no means of funding it at all.
MB: We’ve talked before on formats – are you a vinyl die-hard – have you even considered Serato or laptop Djing?
AT: I haven’t had a go with Serato but it looks like a great idea. I still play a lot of old funk records at the moment so Serato would probably be a great idea for me, because as far as I know I could switch between vinyl and digital during my sets. A lot of dance music is still quite disposable so it sometimes seems a bit of a waste buying it on vinyl if you’ll only play it for 6 months. I do still enjoy buying new 45’s, but maybe I’ll get it in the future once I have a better laptop.
MB: What’s next with you? Is there an EP or LP in the works?
AT: The only release on the horizon is a jazz house release called Balance on Midwest Hustle Music. This should be out in December. I’ve pretty much
stopped producing house for now. Although I’ve enjoyed house music over the
years it is very much a labour for me to do these days. There is nothing else planned at the moment.
MB: In your DJ sets you like to ‘house’ the clubbers now and then – I know we’ve chatted about that before too but now it’s time to defend yourself in public! What’s the fascination with house music?
AT: House music…I’m basically into a lot of different music. House music for me is just a progression of disco and can be as soulful, funky, and jazzy as you like. It is a good bridge for a number of different styles. A lot of acts such as the Jungle Brothers and DJ Spinna have done it too so it’s not that far removed from hip hop. I have been into funk and hip hop for years since the days of Acid Jazz etc. I got into house and detroit techno when I was about 19. When I got to Glasgow I went through a bit of a drum n bass phase, then back to house, breaks and techno. During this time I still listened to funk and hip hop a lot. Over the past 2 years have really gone back to my funk and breaks roots (I am sure now that this isn’t just another phase!). I still like all the music I have listened to and bought over the years (I’ve even got some indie records!). But house music is something that always comes back to me from time to time. Most of my breaks tunes are structured the same as house tunes. I can’t handle a whole night of it and I am very picky about what house tracks I play, but it often works to finish a set with a few soulful classics or new stuff.
MB: I respect a man who can justify himself! The last word is yours. Anything you want to say?
AT: Cheesecake is great.

Andy Taylor – Myspace

Louisa Rox – Myspace

Underexposed! – AWKWARD – Interview

MC, DJ, producer, part time graffiti artist, member of the Vertebrae crew and organiser of the Bristol B Boy/ Girl convention, Awkward has opened for (among others) such luminaries as Roots Manuva, Prince Paul and Rahzel. His Atomic Lock LP – available for free download HERE is packed with his signature crisp rhymes and staccato electro beats and the new GrandPrize LP Not In The Same Room is in the offing with a welter of guest spots from the underground including Awol One, Rheteric and Chrome (Def Tex). In the meantime he’s been cooking up remixes for everyone from Crunc Tesla to Radiohead. Is it possible that Awkward is the busiest man in Bristol hip-hop? It occurred to the Monkey that this might be a good starting point for an interview:

Monkeyboxing (MB): Are you the busiest man in Bristol (or even UK hip-hop) and if you aren’t – who is?
Awkward (A): I feel busy but I don’t tend to notice it! Yeah I guess so, there’s a lot of busy hip hoppers in this country…get busy!
MB: There’s so much talent in Bristol on the hip-hop scene – how come it seems to keep getting passed over?
A: I’m not sure. I think it has something to do with music trends, apathy and lack of confidence. I’ve seen a lot of people get knocked back by false promises, lack of money etc. I guess it’s all about pushing yourself, the ‘industry’ is very competitive and fickle. I try to ignore all of this and make music for the fun and energy.
MB: What’s next for you?
A: Well since releasing my LP Atomic Lock (for free) I’ve been playing with a band called The Vertebrae Band with Ben One and Rogue…it’s an extension of a collective I’m a part of called Vertebrae. Aside from that I’ve been knee deep in music-making on a project under the name of Grandprize. I started it November 2007 and its 3/4 done. It features either friends of mine or people I’ve been introduced to or cold-called to ask if they could be a part. I’m very pleased with what’s made so far, there’s a few cut and paste videos I’ve put together for it as well, it’s been lots of fun. I’m just beginning to throw a few things out there on this project, mainly through U.S. based hip-hop culture blog Grandgood.com. They’ve been very supportive.
MB: Who or what is your tip for the next big thing in hip-hop – I heard you like your Korean stuff?
A Ha ha! Well,Korean b-boys anyway…they are killing it on the world stage at the moment! They just came second in the UK B-Boy Champs last week. I really like music that breaks rules and pushes boundaries. I listen to anything from Deerhoof, The Mars Volta, Why?, Parliament/Funkadelic, Busdriver, Electronic Funk, weird rock stuff, music from the Project Blowed, a lot of music from Los Angeles, lots of Bristol Bass music..ha ha..there you go, Bristol Bass!
MB: Where did you get your name – it can’t be a reference to your personality surely – with all the stuff you get up to I would have thought you’d need to be good at negotiation and compromise in some respects?
A: Well…I was called Vinyl Matt for years…from about ‘90 till 1996. I thought it was too corny and because my musical approach has always been left of centre I changed it to Awkward…I also liked how the letters rolled in a tag so that was it!
MB: I know you’re down with three of the four skills – but what about breakdancing – how’s your toprock and your downrock?
A: Weird but dope! I had to cool it 3 years back when I rolled my neck head-spinning. It messed up my mobility for a while…not a lot of fun! I was injured and had to wait for my balance to come back. I’ve been doing it for about 10 years now and am a co-founder of Bristol’s Physical Jerks crew alongside Stepchild, Wilkie, Ressia, Smurf,La and Ooze Des!
MB: The last word is yours – kick it!
A: Stop all war and change ‘the system’!

As a Brucie bonus to leave you with – here’s the Awkward video for Saying Nathen with Douchebaggalo…

Awkward – Myspace

Grandprize – Myspace