VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 3
Included In This Issue:
About Your Writer: Adam E. Smith
Adam E. Smith is a music enthusiast and journalist living in Delray Beach, Florida. His progressive writing endeavors have been featured in publications ranging from The NewTimes Broward/Palm Beach to South Florida magazines Barcode and WeMerge. Employing a hands on approach to building a narrative, Adam can be found haunting local music venues and festivals in the state of Florida and abroad. To contact him directly please send all questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Know Your AURA: Vote to Aura 2012!
Vote to Aura 2012 is a fan choice contest that pits eleven of the best up-and-coming bands against each other for a chance to perform at the 3rd Annual AURA Music & Arts Festival. After hitting capacity with the second installment of AURA last year, the only option this year was for us to bring you a bigger and better event. With that in mind, we have worked to build the strongest lineup to date. In addition to that, there will also be new interactive activities planned that start even before you arrive.
The people do have a voice, and we proudly announce your chance to become a part of making the last artist addition to the AURA lineup. This is your opportunity to see your favorite new band showcase their talent on the stages at Forever Florida Ranch. Voting is open now and can be cast until December 28th, 2011 at 5:00 PM EST. Good luck to all the artists!
Follow the link on Facebook to vote your favorite artist to AURA! http://www.facebook.com/AuraMusicEvents?v=app_126231547426086
Artist Spotlight: An Interview With ArtOfficial
| South Florida-based Sun Sentinal writer Dan Sweeney recently described ArtOfficial's latest album release Vitamins and Minerals as, "the best thing to come out of the South Florida hip-hop scene in years." Given the region's music climate that boasts power players on their way to household names, this is a bold claim that is backed up by a consensual truth. Sonically, the quintet from Miami brings polished instrumentals that transgress New Orleans horns, gritty pianos, technical bass jumps and two-step beats that are independently impressive. Emcees Logics and Newsense spray their vocals onto the fusion-funk canvas and paint narratives of life, love and universal truths. |
For music connoisseurs that encourage equal opportunity genre use, the welcomed switch from rap harmonization over throwback hip-hop to full band jazz breakdowns in a single song, is appealing and encouraged. This is no accident. ArtOfficial is the product of two bands melding their influences and experience to take off running in the direction of building a rap sheet as the best showmen in the Magic City. The guys' efforts have gained attention of hip-hop heroes KRS-One and Pharoah Monch, both of which they've shared the stage with, and have had videos featured on the Roots' Okay Player site. They even spit among rap royalty when opening up for Wu-Tang Clan. Early successes have given the guys the platform to perfect their art, and their status as a must-see act for the dance party-inclined is official. Logics took some time to talk about the new album, live band hip-hop and where ArtOfficial is heading.
You guys just released your latest studio effort, Vitamins & Minerals, in November. On the title track, the jazz hook repeats "vitamins and minerals, this here's how we livin' though." What is the significance of the album title in a cosmic sense?
We left the album title open for interpretation. I like when a listener comes to their own conclusion. Sometimes what people come up with is more interesting than any meaning we apply to it. Everyone in the band has their own personal definition.. I can guarantee that. To me, Vitamins & Minerals symbolizes a completeness. By that I mean that we completely submerged ourselves in this project and in turn provided something complete for people to enjoy. Hopefully something timeless. Something they can relate to and a counter-balance to all the sonic-high-fructose-corn-syrup.
You have a few collaborations on Vitamins & Minerals with Miami musicians like Mayday's Wrekonize and even the Miami Symphonic Strings. How influential is the Miami music scene in crafting your style and overall approach to music?
We're lucky to have good resources a phone call away. Vitamins & Minerals is a Miami record - no doubt about it. It might not have the familiar sounds of a Miami record, but Miami is evolving so fast these days that it's getting harder to pigeon hole us. The Miami spirit is definitely in there though. Being crafty, working with what you have around you, and melding sounds, cultures and genres, that is all in this record.
Your approach to hip-hop is instrumentally nontraditional with a meld of jazz, funk and fusion. When in the studio, how does this affect the writing process? For example, does the beat come first or do the lyrics form and you fit the instrumental to those hooks and verses?
Our formula is pretty loose. Sometimes the lyrics come first, sometimes a keyboard riff, or a programmed drum loop. Newsense and I come from a hip-hop background. The rest of the band comes from a jazz and funk background. We don't necessarily plan to smash genres together, it just happens from everyone playing off their strengths. Over the years we've gotten more adventurous, so our sound will keep evolving.
Having a live backing band gives you an advantage over emcees with just a DJ, as it gives you the freedom to control tension and release. Beyond that, what else sets ArtOfficial apart in the live setting?
I'm always on stage looking out, so it's hard for me to pinpoint what attracts outsiders looking in. I think what catches people is our sound - hearing raps on top of a funk and jazz band with rock band-like energy, sounding unforced - that's what stops people. There's a lot of improv on stage too. Just having the label of "hip-hop band" sets us apart.
How did you meet artist Luis Toledo?
The internet. I spent tons of time researching, looking for something exceptional and representative of ArtOfficial and Vitamins & Minerals. Luis' work is amazing. I can't say much more. He has incredible vision and the talent to execute it.
Collaborations between artists and musicians seem to be more important than ever before. His art represents themes of life, identity and reality. Did you choose his work because this represents your approach to music as well?
The particular piece we chose for Vitamins & Minerals spoke to me on a subconscious level. I'd be lying if I said I could describe why. The piece just felt right. The colors felt right. Chaotic elements perfectly put together. In some twisted way, that's us.
How do you expect your brand of live instrumental hip-hop to be received at a festival heavily represented by jambands and live-electronic acts?
With open arms of course! Lucky for us, jam band lovers are pretty open-minded. They want to have fun, vibe off the energy and appreciate the musicianship. Check, check and check!
Other than producing innovative hip-hop and tearing up stages, what can we expect from the ArtOfficial camp leading up to AURA Music & Arts Festival in March?
Producing innovative hip-hop and tearing up stages is kind of our forte. We're always working on putting out new visuals, new sounds and of course, going city to city. Life of a vagabond.
Local Love: Green Sunshine
|The art of genre blending is a perfectionist game and requires music IQ and overt creativity beyond the standard requirements from any musician. Traditional funk, rock and hip-hop combine in perfect harmony with the diverse septet Green Sunshine. Throw in a horn element, thick bass bombs, smooth rap presentation, and you have the formula that sets Green Sunshine apart from their live band hip-hop counterparts. Resident Tampa Emcees Motown Tea, Reason and (Optimus) Rhyme define the lyrical front with soulful vocal breakdowns and uplifting rap verses that fit, and accent, the groove progressions. |
Feel good party anthems and dance hall kick starters are what Green Sunshine specialize in. Coming off the release of their first full-length album in October, the funksters have been promoting the tracks off From A Planet With A Green Sun at major music events like Bear Creek Music & Arts Festival, Orange Blossom Jamboree, Jambando and will help Florida music fans bring in the new year with a slot at the highly anticipated Bond-Fire Music Festival before bringing the hippy-hop boogie to AURA.
On The Radar: The Fritz
Taking form in 2007, The Fritz has been building a band sound that combines funk and rock improvisation with hints of jazz, live electronic and world music. Screaming guitars, soulful vocals, bouncing organ tones and concentrated grooves create a desirable earful. Their efforts and unique approach have afforded them well-deserved success in the South East as they relentlessly tour and recruit a fan base.
A strategic relocation to the music hub of Asheville, NC resulted in a partnership with The Macro-Management Group. From there, a snowball effect of milestones took form with a residency at Modaddy's Bar, featurs on radio stations like WNCW 88.7 and touring through Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Adding to their festival appearance experience, The Fritz earned a spot on the eclectic lineup for the Blackwater Music Festival this year.
Right now, the guys somehow manage to find the time to write new music and will be recording a new album in Florida a month before they tear it up at AURA. That album will be released during the summer just in time for festival season.
WHERE CAN YOU SEE OUR FEATURED BANDS?
ArtOfficial On Tour
Green Sunshine On Tour
The Fritz On Tour
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
AURA Music & Arts Festival Newsletter Volume 1 Issue 3
The third issue of the AURA Music & Arts Festival newsletter that I have been writing. This issue features ArtOfficial, Green Sunshine and The Fritz, and a feature on the Vote to AURA fan selection content.