20 Watts


ISSUE 20 | Q&A: 20 Watts Interviews Jim Farman, Founder of Bonnaroo by 20watts
February 21, 2010, 10:13 pm
Filed under: Interviews, Issue 20, Issue 20 Interviews | Tags: ,

Spectators have flocked in droves to Bonnaroo Music and Arts festival for most of the past decade

Part of 20 Watts’ Best of the Decade Coverage!
PREVIEW: VISIT Bonnaroo’s Website

Superfly Productions began with a group of college friends producing shows from their Tulane University dorm rooms. Twelve years later, the company is celebrating the eight-year anniversary of its Bonnaroo Music Festival, now one of the largest festivals in the country and the place where bands like My Morning Jacket and Kings of Leon got their start.

Superfly co-founder Rick Farman isn’t content basking in his accomplishments. He’s looking forward to the next ten years.

20 Watts: How did Bonnaroo gets its start, and what was the inspiration for it?

Rick Farman: A lot of different types of events, everything from the New Orleans Jazz Heritage Festival to a lot of the big festivals in Europe Continue reading

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ISSUE 20 | Q&A: 20 Watts Interviews Kid Sister by 20watts
February 21, 2010, 10:13 pm
Filed under: Interviews, Issue 20, Issue 20 Interviews | Tags: ,

20 Watts interviews rising hip-hop artist Kid Sister

Part of 20 Watts’ Best of the Decade Coverage!
PREVIEW: VISIT Kid Sister’s MySpace

Who You Calling ‘Kid Sister’?

Melisa Young says she’s the future of hip-hop — A-Trak and Kanye West agree.

Her hip-hop pedigree is virtually unassailable. The 29-year-old Chicago-born emcee also known as Kid Sister is sister to Josh “J2K” Young of DJ duo Flosstradamus, girlfriend to A-Trak and a good friend of Kanye West. In fact, Kanye appeared on her de­but, along with Estelle, Cee-Lo and a host of top-shelf producers.

She may just be the hottest young thing in hip-hop, and she’s changing the game as she goes. 20 Watts interviewed her.

20 Watts: First off, congratulations on your debut album Ultraviolet (Nov. 17). How does it feel?

Melisa Young: Really crazy, because it’s been a long time coming. Continue reading

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Words of the Week: An interview with Aaron LaCrate by tjwell01

Aaron LaCrate, a big-time DJ/hip-hop mogul, is an SU Alum.

Each Monday, 20 Watts is poised to feature a new exclusive artist interview! Here we present our WORDS OF THE WEEK!

PREVIEW: Aaron LaCrate’s MySpace and his website.

LISTEN TO HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE INTERVIEW:

From the age of 10, Aaron LaCrate has been a prolific music talent from the streets of Baltimore and went onto launching his record label and clothing line, while also collaborating with Jay-Z, Lily Allen, The Cool Kids, Gorillaz and Mark Ronson–oh, and I did mention he went to Syracuse University? He’s been a secret famous alum until now, and the stories of his DJ days at SU are eerily familiar and fascinating. After rising to the top of the underground DJ/hip-hop scene, the fellow orange wanted to reach out to share his story.

20 Watts: Talk a little bit about being a young DJ in Baltimore when you were a kid…

Aaron LaCrate: It was great. It was nothing like it is now. There were no DJs back then, there were these electronic stores that sold records, stereo equipment and car stereos, so for me I had to assemble a mobile sound system. I had to go to the Goodwills and the flea markets, whichever way, I had the two different turn tables. It was really exciting back then because it was uncharted territory. There was no way to learn how to mix, no way to learn how to do anything, but to go on your own journey and find people that would like you enough to share that information with you. It was almost a very subculture thing. It was a testament to your personality and your character to how far you would get, in a lot of ways.

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Words of the Week: An Interview with Semi Precious Weapons by tjwell01

Semi Precious Weapons' Justin Tranter says they are "a filthy rock band."

Each Monday, 20 Watts is poised to feature a new, exclusive artist interview! Here we present our WORDS OF THE WEEK!
PREVIEW: Semi Precious Weapons’ MySpace
LISTEN TO HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE INTERVIEW:

Led by filthy rock n’ roll purist Justin Tranter, Semi Precious Weapons, are the gritty opener act touring with Lady Gaga on her Monster Ball Tour, but don’t be fooled–these guys are quite the showmen themselves. They keep it simple: they want to party, and they want you to have fun, and they do it in high heels. They started out like your average rock band, but the road they took to get to where they are now is anything but average. Keep a look out for their debut LP You Love You at the end of March.

20 Watts: Describe your band’s overall attitude and style.

Justin Trantor: The overall attitude is to make balls-to-the-wall rock n’ roll that kicks ass, and is really fun. We want people to have fun, to party, we want people to get laid. I think that’s what the whole point of rock n’ roll should be, and another important part is danger, excitement, and kids’ parents should be mad at them for listening to us–all of those good things. Obviously we also get the glam label thrown at us, and I think that’s just because I wear high heels, but there’s definitely a lot of worse things to be called than glam.

20W: Some people say you’re like the glam version of The Sex Pistols. Ever heard that before?

JT: I think my favorite quote was that we’re like The Sex Pistols if they came out of the Warhol scene. I think that’s our favorite description of our band ever.

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Words of the Week: An Interview with The Silent League by 20watts

20 Watts talked to The Silent League this week about their new album and why they make great music. Check back here for new interviews every Monday!

PREVIEW: VISIT The Silent League’s MySpace
READ: COVERAGE of The Silent League’s set at the Westcott this past Saturday!
READ: REVIEW of The Silent League’s latest album But You’ve Always Been the Caretaker
Each Monday, 20 Watts is poised to feature a new, exclusive artist interview! Here we present our WORDS OF THE WEEK!

20 Watts was given the opportunity to sit down with the members of The Silent League after their set at Westcott Theater this weekend. The interview was held in the second floor of Westcott Theater on a few comfortable couches with the six band members relaxing, throwing back some beer and wiping the sweat from their foreheads after an energetic live show. Here’s what we talked about.

20 Watts: We’re here with the Silent League. This is Eric Vilas-Boas interviewing. You guys have just released your third album, how does that feel, how is it different from your first two?

Justin Russo: I feel like our first two albums were sort of just building up steam, figuring things out as we went along. This one we’ve done our best to pre-plan and get everything into place. I’m pretty happy with the way the album came out. Everything’s been going great so far, so yeah, I’m pretty stoked.

20 Watts: How is the third album constructed compared to your first two? How was it different? Continue reading



20 Watts Interviews The Joy Formidable by tjwell01

British indie artist Ritzy (center) and the boys just broke into the U.S.

PREVEW: The Joy Formidable’s MySpace

WATCH: The Joy Formidable perform at Pianos in New York City on 20 Watts Video

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW:

The Joy Formidable are straight out of North Wales and just played their first shows in the U.S. a couple weeks ago at Pianos and Terminal 5 in New York City. On the eve of releasing their debut LP, the British indie trio aren’t signed and fund all of their own operations even though they have the sound of a pop-rock powerhouse. Ritzy, the lead singer and adorable blonde, says its about staying loyal to the fan base. Things might just be only heating up for Ritzy and the boys as they ponder the future.

20W: So where are you now?

Ritzy: We’re in London finishing our debut record.

20W: You’ve got quite a bit of touring ahead too, right?

Ritzy: We do. We’re going to York with The Temper Trap, and we’re got our own U.K. tour in March as well. So, yeah, we’re pumped.

20W: I know you’re from North Wales. What’s it like being an aspiring musician out there?

Ritzy: It’s very isolated. It’s very rural. It’s good place to go and write, be creative and lose your self. On the gigging front, it’s a little bit difficult, but it’s getting better.

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Q&A: 20 Watts Interviews Sleigh Bells by tjwell01

Derek Miller (left) from red-hot new band Sleigh Bells checks in with 20 Watts to talk about producing the debut LP and how the odd couple made the perfect match.

PREVIEW: Sleigh Bells’ MySpace and live performance on Pitchfork TV

Major breakout electronic/heavy-metal/hip-hop duo, Sleigh Bells, a.k.a. Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller, lit up over night after they performed at this year’s CMJ Festival in New York City. Krauss loves pop and Miller loves heavy rock, but somehow and someway, Sleigh Bells became one of this year’s hottest bands and made our “The Five.” While the band is on hiatus recording their LP and tucking away from the shows, Miller spared some time to chat it up with 20 Watts about the new album and adjusting to the suddenly high expectations.

20W: I hear you produced the EP. Do you plan on producing the LP by yourself?

DM: I plan on doing about 90 percent of it on my own, but will likely bring in a co-producer here and there to help me when necessary. Shane Stoneback will be engineering, and the bulk of the record will be made at his studio, Treefort.

20W: How do you go about fusing your metal influences with Alexis’ pop taste?

DM: Well we are both huge pop music fans, whatever that means these days. Alexis is really into soul. early rhythm and blues, while I tend to go for slicker, punchier records from the last two or three decades. The heaviness is something that is less in my ears and more in my blood.

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