20 Watts

Mix Fix: “The Reward is More Money to Blow” by Hi-Tag by tjwell01

Hi-Tag is a new SU student DJ to look out for.

LISTEN: “The Reward is More Money to Blow” by Hi-Tag

It’s been well-known now for months that SU’s campus is becoming a hot-spot for student DJs/mash-up artists with prominent local names such as Big Mouth, Brandon Linn (of Mouth’s Cradle) and Devon James, and now it looks like the list is expanding with the emergence of Hi-Tag, a.k.a. Drew Taggart. The Bandier program sophomore hasn’t publicized his music until now, and honestly, it’s pretty damn good. “The Reward is More Money to Blow” is a great build-up jam with smart and creative hip-hop samples featuring Lil Wayne and Drake, but I feel a little ripped off in the end. Look out for this kid once he hones his skills and becomes a valiant competitor to the veterans I mentioned above.

–Jett Wells

Comments Off on Mix Fix: “The Reward is More Money to Blow” by Hi-Tag

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.


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.

Continue reading

Comments Off on Words of the Week: An interview with Aaron LaCrate

News of Note: The Hold Steady to play The Wescott by tjwell01

The Hold Steady are coming back to Syracuse for an encore.

PREVIEW: The Hold Steady’s MySpace

The Hold Steady are back. The Wescott just announced that the Hold Steady will play there on April 10 along with The Oranges. Tickets are available on Feb. 5.

The Hold Steady played at Syracuse University a couple years ago as part of that year’s Bandersnatch Series, and it turns out Syracuse left quite an impression. Of course, this isn’t exactly the same band, since Franz Nicolay left the band last month after five years. Nevertheless, this band wasn’t bred to disappoint.

Now with this concert set and Sleigh Bells confirmed yesterday, the stage is set for the second week of April to rock hard.

–Jett Wells

Scene Around Town: The Academy Is…, Hot Chelle Rae and Fazeshift at Syracuse University’s Bandersnatch Series by Irina Dvalidze
William Beckett of The Academy Is... at Syracuse University

William Beckett of The Academy Is... at Syracuse University

Chicago pop-punk favorite The Academy Is… made a stop at Syracuse University’s Schine Underground on Tuesday, Nov. 17. 20 Watts’ Alyssa Stone was on hand to catch some shots of the headliners, as well as openers Hot Chelle Rae and Fazeshift.

Want more?  Make sure to check out Irina Dvalidze’s lengthy philosophical interview with TAI frontman William Beckett and bassist Adam Siska.

MORE PHOTOS UNDER THE JUMP >> Continue reading

The Academy Is… at Syracuse University’s Bandersnatch Series: “We just want to make the album of our career. I guess that’s where we are right now.” by 20watts
William Beckett of The Academy Is... at Syracuse University

William Beckett of The Academy Is... at Syracuse University

It’s not often you find a band  that makes a tiny underground venue feel like massive arena.  But University Union found such a band in the second concert of its Bandersnatch series: Chicago pop-rockers The Academy Is… headlined an energetic and mesmerizing set on Tuesday night, backed by Hot Chelle Rae and local opener Fazeshift (see photos here).

20 Watts’ Irina Dvalidze sat down with frontman William Beckett and bassist Adam Siska before the show.  She knew they’d talk about fame and touring — but she also got a glimpse into the weirdly philosophical minds of these two well-adored musicians.

20 Watts: Could you describe your sound for those of our fans who are not really familiar with The Academy Is…?

Adam Siska: That’s probably my favorite question… no.

William Beckett: It’s impossible to describe your own sound, because what we think of our sound is not only what we have out right now, but what we want to be, what we are going to be, so its kind of hard to describe that. I would be weary of a band that can describe their sound right away, because it’s clear that they are going through something particularly that’s more planned out and calculated, contrived, as opposed to the band whose sound evolves naturally which I think our band does.

Continue reading

ISSUE 19 | The Lo Life: Low fidelity music is sweeping the campus — and the nation by 20watts

Devon Stewart rocks the Shaefer studios while working on his self-titled solo project

Lil Wayne. Kanye West. Maroon 5. Rascal Flatts. Music purists loathe them for at least one reason — Auto-Tune, a downloadable audio processor that corrects vocal and instrumental blunders in order to attain perfect pitch. By using this program, a producer can fill in a recorded performance’s holes, smooth its edges and polish its smudges.  Everyone must use this to attain musical nirvana, right? Negatory. In fact, musicians that admire large holes, adore peculiar edges, and worship pesky smudges are alive, well and plentiful. They are lo-fi artists.

Lo-fi is a shortened form of “low-fidelity,” fidelity meaning the extent to which an electronic device such as a radio or television can accurately reproduce a sound or an image. Taken literally, lo-fi can be defined as low-quality sound. Continue reading

20 Watts Issue 19 | November 2009 by 20watts


Artists in the Issue


Pop Art

The Ithaca Sound


Playlist copy