Tuesday, August 17, 2010

PDP REC: Steady Business.

Continuing our series of press-you-missed, here's an article from the June 2, 2010 issue of the Providence Phoenix spotlighting the recent works of PDP's Reason and Falside:

"Poorly Drawn People has some new members, and a new way of doing biz."

Earlier this year, acclaimed hip-hop collective Poorly Drawn People announced (via PoorlyDrawnPeople.com) the birth of Poorly Drawn Recordings, a home base for PDP pioneers Storm Davis, Dox, and Reason, as well as producer extraordinaire Falside, a key free agent pickup for the PDP ensemble. The February blog post gave some insight on the newfound, streamlined approach under the PDP REC umbrella: "We've managed to go our entire existence without signing to or establishing an actual record label . . . We've done pretty well as a 'collective,' a team with a revolving roster that carried the same flag onto the field every game.

"Same house, just got some new furniture."

PDP REC is accruing talent outside state lines, having signed Maryland-based duo Educated Consumers as well as providing support for longtime cohort Entity, who relocated to the D.C. area. Indeed, business has been steady at PDP HQ in '10, with Falside cranking out must-have mixtapes on a quarterly basis and the recent release of the critically-acclaimed Landlords & Lullabies by veteran PDP wordsmith Reason.

Esteemed producer Falside just turned 21 but has already garnered the respect of some serious indie-rap luminaries, particularly with his latest mixtape, Dollars Make Change. C-Rayz Walz drops two quality tracks, "Catching the Strange" and "Hall of Game," while Pacewon and El Da Sensei tear up "Too Many MCs." Termanology and Vast Aire also appear, and the standout closing track "Too Much" features Boston-based rhymer Slaine of La Coka Nostra fame. The Dollars mixtape is available for free download at Falside.com; while you're there, be sure to look up his previous releases, namely the Meet n Veggies EP with Boston turntablist DJ Emoh Betta (of the Deck Demons) and the '09 "seasonal beat tapes" Cold Feat and Bugs In Ya' Teef. "I've just recorded a record with Jeru the Damaja," reads a Falside tweet from last weekend. Not too shabby, considering Falside was barely five years old when Jeru the Damaja dropped The Sun Rises In the East (Jesus, we're getting old).

Andrew Martin, local journalist and co-founder of the rap authority PotHolesInMyBlog.com, acknowledged Fal's enviable skills behind the boards: "Falside's production is just too damn good to not want him to take over, or at least be a major part of the game."

Falside produced seven of the 14 tracks on Reason's Landlords & Lullabies, with quality production help from ESH the Monolith of Labeless Illtelligence and PDP's Dox. Landlords is the official follow-up to his 2006 solo debut Gemini Slang (the recent Stalker Stories mixtape is also up for grabs free of charge); he was also an integral voice on Poorly Drawn People's Nothing Stays Gold, Shoot for the Stars, Hit the Ceiling, and Motion Not Emotion.

Landlords & Lullabies boasts more of Reason's slick quips and punchlines, necessitating the aural double-take when zipping through bars on "Girls with Cameras" and the new single "I Don't Want to Build," but Reason sounds more coolly confident on Landlords, and the opening four cuts are some of Reason's finest yet. Falside's funky percussion escorts Reason on the opener "Apocalyptic Sunrise," ESH loops drunken saloon piano on "Release," Storm Davis and Reason address trust fund "starving artists" on "Designer Kids," and "Paid Bills" (which debuted on The Ocean State Sampler, a free download available at PotHolesInMyBlog.com) proves why Falside and Reason make a nice tandem. No filler (or nonsense skits) here, as the latter-half cuts hold their own, from the funky Dox-produced jam "The Touch" to the new single "I Don't Want to Build," addressing wannabe "genre-hopping" Internet emcees. And a nominee for double entendre of the year goes to ESH on "Distracted": "Deep in a hole like Courtney Love on Ketamine."

FALSIDE.COM | MYSPACE.COM/REASON | Hit up PoorlyDrawnPeople.com for info on all past, present, and future PDP REC releases

Peep the article by Chris Conti in its original context here.

Jay Berndt: On The Outside, Looking In

Jay Berndt is an ex-metal singer turned country-Americana-style crooner that resides in Providence, RI. I've known him for 20 years, and watched as he went from playing Faith No More covers to playing huge festival stages to forming one outstanding band to another, dipping into offshoots of many genres along the way. He even made a pit stop in hip hop, in a way.

Jay's voice is the one you hear sparring with mine on "Ten After Three" on the Kegstand Poetry album. We've also got a new track in the works called "A******* I*****" for the urban-legendary pseudo-project Robot Rock & Necktie Blues, an illusion of sound that you've heard too much about already. I was blessed to open up on the last reunion show ever (to date) of Kilgore (Smudge), the band that put Jay on the musical map for many.

Jay is prepping his first solo album for release on North Carolina-based indie label Rusty Knuckles Records. Below he details how one goes from a heavy-metal screamer to a country vocalist in one not-so-easy decade. His reasoning is pretty similar to why I chose to become a rapper rather than fronting a rock band: its all about what you can say where. It's a good read. Read it.

Well folks, its time to introduce you to a good friend of mine by the name of Jay Berndt. Needless to Jay has been there and done that with his musical career playing with folks as far and wide as Ozzy, Slayer, Clutch, Fear Factory and many more. But that just wasn't him and now in act 2 of his career, Jay has been doing the Country and Americana side of things for quite some time now. We are stoked to be releasing his new album this fall, so stay tuned of updates from Jay Berndt and that deep baritone of his, which is going to be broadcasting world wide in just a short time. Also, we will be hearing more from Jay in his blog posts on the Rusty Knuckles Blog about what he has going on with his tunes.

This is the question I have been asked numerous times over the years, and it’s not exactly an easy thing to answer in a just a few sentences…..

So five hundred years ago, in the early 90’s, I sang for a metal band called Kilgore. That in itself is ironic because I never really liked heavy metal music when I was growing up (although I did come to love it later on). I was a born and bred Rhode Island kid living in Southern California in the early 1980’s and man, I did not fit in. I was a plaid flannel shirt and corduroy jeans kind of kid and everyone else was surf shorts and t-shirts. I had a funny accent (Yooz guyz), I was taller than everyone else in my class, and I was absolutely horrible at sports. I was pretty much ridiculed everyday because I just didn’t fit in. At twelve, I had no friends, I was completely alone, angry, and depressed.

Now I had grown up on my father’s record collection; Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, The Beach Boys, Little Richard, the Beatles, Carl Perkins, The Who, Cream, The Rolling Stones… But I was beginning to rebel and wanted something to piss off my parents. I loved AC/DC but that didn’t cut it because my old man liked them too. So, what social group of misfits is perfect for angry rebellious youths? Metal!! Plus this was 1984, the height of British heavy metal, but honestly…. I just didn’t like it. Although I thought the music was really cool, I would listen to those Bruce Dickenson or Ronnie James Dio lyrics, and I’d just laugh. All those songs about dragons and witchcraft just sounded so goofy to me. I just couldn’t get into it.

So I was even outcast from the outcasts. I ended up joining the school marching band, learned how to play drums and eventually I did find some friends. One of them introduced me to The Ramones, The Sex Pistols and The Clash. It was exactly what I was looking for. Angry lyrics channeled over simple rock-n-roll. I fell in love with punk, became kind of obsessed with it and that opened the door to hardcore. Black Flag, Minor Threat, The Misfits and Bad Brains were my soundtrack to junior high and high school and each of those bands became huge musical influences on me.

Years later, I moved back to Rhode Island and met the guys who would make up Kilgore while I was attending high school. When we first started, we played thrash, which to me didn’t sound all that different than hardcore except with shitty vocals. So I thought it would be cool to mix my own version of Henry Rollins meets Glen Danzig to their version of thrash, and Kilgore was born. After we graduated, we played tons of shows, put out demos, got ourselves a following, and somehow got ourselves a record contract with Warner Bros.

In 1995, we were on the road, playing a tour that would drop us off in California, where we’d be recording our first record called “Blue Collar Solitude”. One day in the van, our sound man Mike Aruda and I were talking about music. He asked me what were the most punk rock lyrics I ever heard. I think I may have quoted The Clash or something off of “Damaged” by Black Flag. He said bullshit, and asked if I wanted to hear the most punk rock lyric of all time. He plopped some headphones on me and hit play on the Walkman. I heard “Well I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die…” and it was like I was hit with a bolt of lightning. It was absolutely the most punk rock thing I ever heard and it was recorded by a sharecropper’s son from Dyess, Arkansas in 1955.

I played that tape over and over again. I remember when we got to Los Angeles; I went to a record store and bought “I Walk the Line” on vinyl, which was a Columbia album Cash recorded in 1964 that contained a bunch of remakes of the early Sun recordings. I got that and the “Live at Folsom Prison” album and I think I actually wore the records out. It was just so simple. Great voice, simple arrangements, great storytelling… It all just spoke to me. It sounded like all the 50’s rock-n-roll from my dad’s record collection. I then picked up Hank Williams, Waylon, Willie, and Merle Haggard. It was like discovering a musical world I knew nothing about. I had always stayed away from country because all I knew was “Rhinestone Cowboy” and Hee Haw. But this was the real deal.

Many years later, after Kilgore was no more, I hadn’t really progressed with my country music listening, other than the few artists I just mentioned. I had read “Cash” by Johnny Cash after it was named dropped in the High Fidelity movie and I found it to be really spiritually moving. I had picked up all those amazing American/Rick Rubin albums, and loved them all. Then all of a sudden… Cash was gone.

It really affected me. I felt like I lost an old friend or like I had when I lost my grandfather. I was really depressed. To get me out of my slump, my wife, a few of our friends and I decided to check out a Johnny Cash tribute show at a local Providence bar. We had been talking about it for days and we were getting excited. When the band got onstage, they were really cooking. The rhythm section was tight and the telecaster player had the boom-chicka. I was pretty impressed. Then the singer stepped to the mic…… and out came this thin, nasal voice. Then I got angry. We all got angry. We got angrier with every song, so went to another bar to bitch about the band. My wife said “You know you should start a country band.” I told her she was nuts. I knew nothing about writing a country song. But I kept thinking about it. I picked up all the guys Cash had named; The Louvin Brother, Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, George Jones, Sons of Pioneers….. I got obsessed again. I picked up more and more.

I had started playing music again around that time (2003), just a rock-n-roll band with some friends from work. I was having the hardest time trying to write lyrics. All I had ever known with Kilgore was writing about my anger and having it veiled in classic literature references. But the more I thought about it, with country music, I sure could tell some crazy stories about certain events in my past. I picked up my guitar, and it all came pouring out. A lot of those crazy road stories made it into those early songs. It felt natural, like it was something that I was supposed to do.

Over the last few years, I put together a couple of really great country bands, The Revival Preachers and The Brimstone Assembly, and we made a few recordings. I’m really proud of the music I made with them. All those guys (and gal) are great musicians as well as really great people. We really had a lot of fun. People from my past were pretty shocked to hear that I was playing country music. I’d always get “Uh, how the hell did that happen?” Like I said, it’s not exactly an easy story. Then again, nothing in my life is an easy story. I’d like to say I never looked back, but I did.

We did a two show Kilgore reunion in 2007, and I joined a metal band called Bloodwitch in 2008. It was kind of like putting on an old pair of boots. Really comfortable, at first, but there’s a reason you bought new boots. I had a great time and the music was awesome, but it just didn’t feel like me anymore.

I’m somewhere different now. I had the worst time trying to write metal lyrics in my thirties. I’m not an angry twenty-something anymore. I don’t have that chip on my shoulder and something to prove. Overall, I’m a pretty happy guy now. I have a great job, an amazing wife, three awesome dogs, and a good home in a quiet neighborhood with a two car garage….Hard to bitch about taxes and your mortgage over a metal song. But it sure can make a goddamn great country song.

This article can be found in its original context at the Rusty Knuckles blogspot here.

Listen to Jay Berndt on myspace? Click Here

Monday, August 16, 2010

Falside: Action Bronson.

Queens, NY wordsmith Action Bronson released his new video today for the Falside-produced song, "Imported Goods." Check it out and tell Falside what you think over on his Facebook page.

To make this even more SD-related than simply his PDP membership, I will slyly mention that a new batch of 8 beats were delivered for me by Falside this past week, some destined for our joint project called B******** R*****' & C****** T******, which will reach your ears, well, probably never. 7 tracks are in the can already. So, given the inevitable absence of any actual product, just think of the possibilities. With song titles like "W*** R** F** M***** P*******", its better in your imagination anyway.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Brzowski: Snappy Dresser.

Friend-of-SD Brzowski is an emcee representing Portland, ME, with a sound that defies accurate description. It really is one of those styles that requires actual live listening to understand or appreciate.

I've long maintained that he's playing for the wrong crowds, and that if he would just divorce himself from his love of hip hop culture (or whatever it is that makes him continue to rock for rap crowds that seem to have to strain to understand his sound), he could make some serious noise (both literal and figurative) in any number of perpendicular genres. But 'nuff respect for continuing to beat the path of the hip hop road warrior, and since I'm listening already and he seems happy, well, it would seem things are all good.

Check the video above to hear some of Brzowski's live throwdowns, and nod approvingly as you see him rock one of the second generation Storm Davis 'Kegstand Poet' t-shirts. That's love and support right there. You can feel free to do the same at the PDP Online Store.

One of these days, you'll hear Brzowski appear on a PDP posse cut that began recording about 3 years ago. But for now, for more Brzo, check out his MySpace and Facebook pages, or visit his record label, Milled Pavement Records.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Reason: AboveGround Magazine Interview.

As we continue to bubble under the surface, slowly constructing the next monsterpieces to be unleashed from the catacombs deep 'neath the basement of the PDP Mansion, we figured we'd take this downtime to post up some old press that we missed over the past few months.

Here's an interview with Reason done by the fine folks at AboveGround Magazine:

Reason is a member of the Rhode Island-based independent hip-hop collective, Poorly Drawn People. He recently dropped his sophomore album Landlords & Lullabies, which is the follow-up to his acclaimed debut album, Gemini Slang. With his time between albums, Reason traveled the East coast and beyond with the PDP crew in support of their collaborative projects, Motion Not Emotion and Shoot For The Stars, Hit The Ceiling. Reason has worked with underground artists such as Drumat!c, Lazerbeak (of Doomtree), Phillip Drummond and fellow PDP-members Falside, Storm Davis and Dox.

We hooked up with Reason for this week’s First 5. Check it out!

1. Tell us something no one knows about you.

I’m a hypocrite but only on the weekends. I also document any spelling, grammatical, punctuation or print errors I come across in anything I read. I’ve got 3 notebooks dedicated to it.

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

People should give back to my music but if they have to take something away hopefully it’s a little less self hatred. Also, an understanding that yes, your friends and their friends, are better rappers than Reason.

3. What is one of your biggest regrets?

Deciding to take rap music seriously.

4. What’s one of your greatest hip-hop memories?

Seeing RUN DMC live! No, that never happened. I’ve never seen them live. My greatest hip-hop memory or memories are probably when it wasn’t cool to be a part of hip-hop. Those were fun times.

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Hopefully not here but who knows. I’ll probably still be making music and still paying rent. If that doesn’t pan out perhaps I’ll open a bar with someone else’s money… Dream big kiddies.

To purchase Reason’s releases visit his MySpace page. To purchase albums from Poorly Drawn People visit their website.