7 Questions in Heaven with KILLSTREAK

7 Questions Killstreak

My first introduction into the world of KILLSTREAK was at a secret santa party in December 2012. Our mutual friend Kait (hey gurl) had given me “Tony-he’s 19 and a rapper in a group called Killstreak.” Gifts were exchanged at the party, facebook friendships were forged, and new music was introduced, as KILLSTREAK had just released a song with local slam poet/hip hop artist Guante titled “Collateral Damage.”

 

I was really impressed with Tony’s lyrical content and youthful yet old soul passion and intelligence that bleeds from his music. Granted I was only 5 years older than him at the time, but still-it’s rare to meet a 19 year old (or any teen/20 something for that matter) with any kind of direction and certainty in their life, let alone confidence and drive for their art. It’s a powerful and unassuming vibe for real, and that’s what makes their music and performances so philosophically ballin’.

Tony and his KILLSTREAK partner/producer/pal, ICETEP, released their first full-length album this summer titled “Janus.” (You can read a solid review about it here and buy it here). They are definitely gonna be two guys to keep an eye on in the music scene over the next few years, together and independently. Check out what this Minneapolis hip-hop wunderkind duo has to say about the origin of their fantastic name, Yeezus, sex in college and Carly Rae Jepsen.

1. How long have you, Tony the Scribe and ICETEP, been making music individually? When did you realize you vibed musically, thus birthing Killstreak?

T: I’ve been rapping for about 6 or 7 years, although I’ve been making music my whole life. ICETEP started out playing the piano at age 5 and has been making beats for about 3 years. We first realized we meshed musically about 2 years ago when we were reintroduced by a mutual friend. At first we didn’t really like each other’s shit, but we grew together and gained a mutual respect. 2 years later, we have an album out and are best friends. It’s funny how things work out.

2. Killstreak is a rad name. I picture a quaint streak of blood on the floor after a methodical Dexter-like kill or something. What was the inspiration behind naming yourselves Killstreak? And what is a Janus?

I: For a long time we couldn’t decide on a group name, one day we were chatting and one of us suggested “KILLSTREAK” as a joke, because we both mutually decided that it was a dumb name for a rap group. Flash forward a couple of days and we both sort of independently decided it was the perfect name. It’s less like a streak of “quaint” blood and more of like that blood straight out of “The Shining” just a massive tidal wave. (T: It’s also a play on the nerdiness of our personalities, because it’s a video gaming term. We thought it fit us well to have something nerdy and intimidating) A “Janus” is the Roman god of Duality, Entryways, Beginnings and Entryways. It was a fitting name for the album though, because it represents a time in our lives where we both were changing from one artistic space to another, as well as representing the overt duality we intended for the general theme of the artistic content of the album.

3. There’s a lot of passion and thought in your lyrics, which is hella cool. What topic gets you fired up the most, to the point where you have to run home from a party/bar mitzvah/the middle of class and start writing immediately?

T: Disillusionment with society. Also, watching how people act when they want to have sex with other people, because a lot of people act really different when they really want to have sex with someone. And just interpersonal interaction in general– that kinda stuff is mad interesting to me; I’m a sociology major and a huge extrovert so I’m continually fascinated by how people interact in group settings.

4.You played a show in my bedroom last month. Do you plan on playing anymore bedroom shows, basement shows or house shows this summer (besides, you know, the shows you play in actual venues)? What are your thoughts on house shows vs venue shows?

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I: Yo fam I love bedroom shows, I wish we could play more, but usually people have really small bedrooms, and I’m not about me and Tony being the third and fourth wheel of a good time. This summer we unfortunately do not have any underground shows on the horizon, but we do have a couple of legit shows that are still being organized. That being said, from the house parties I’ve played, in my experience I’d rather just play in an actual venue, because people go to shows at venues with the explicit purpose of (usually) seeing an artist or a band. It’s not like I don’t like hanging out with drunk people, but I feel venues have determined drunk people. We’ll probably end up playing lots of underground shows in the spring just because T has a house in nor cal, and I am about that life.

5. Main musical influences on your music and art, GO!

T: Kanye West, Doomtree, Linkin Park, Rustie, Flying Lotus, and giant robot anime. Bam.

6:  If you could collaborate with any artist outside of the hip-hop genre, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

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I: I’d really love to do a whole album with Kanye West actually, I know a lot of people are divided over Yeezus, but I still really fucks with him both as a rapper and as a producer. I guess I’m more interested in just hanging out with him in the studio than anything, like seeing what his process is like and what not. If Kanye wasn’t available though, prolly Flocka. Dude goes IN when he’s in the studio. BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BRRRRRRIIIIICCCCKKKKKKK SQQQUUUUUAAAADDDDDDDDDDD. (video context: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvJDiZwGGd4)

7: Who’s your favorite guilty pleasure artist and/or what’s an embarrassing song you LOVE?

T: I love Party in The USA. And Call Me Maybe. Anybody who doesn’t like Carly Rae Jepsen can eat a bag of dicks. Straight up.
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Listen: GRRRL PRTY “Wegula” is HOTTT

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Sophia Eris, Manchita and Lizzo from GRRRL PRTY Image via Facebook

This is the most bumpin’ tune I’ve heard come out of Minneapolis in a while! Can this be a summer jam on the radio stations? LOVE IT. Lizzo, Sophia Eris and Manchita, who are all local musico phenoms who constantly work on a BUNCH of different projects, comprise this new group amazingly titled GRRRL PRTY (vowels are SO last season). Their debut release is a single titled “Wegula”. I’m taking a stab in the dark and guessing ‘wegula” is a lil wordplay on people in bars/parking lots/literally anywhere trying to act superior or simply being a rude dude by claiming a “regular” status. If not, then they’ve added a word to the English language and we should be awaiting Webster Dictionary official status any day now.

Their video above is part of a series called “Lights and a Backdrop” (check out season 1 and season 2) ingeniously crafted by a production company called Evil Ice Cream Pictures. It’s a really cool series that has local musicians perform their tracks in front of-WHAT!- lights and a backdrop. It’s simple and a great way to showcase and spread the word about local talent. Cuz there’s a shit ton of local talent in MPLS/STP. Seriously. Everyone is in a band. It’s amazing.

In case you didn’t know, girl groups are fuckin IN in the MPLS scene. Lizzo and Sophia are also in an R&B girl trio called The Chalice with Claire de Lune. They’ve had a bunch of buzz and success this year. More power to the ladies. It’s refreshing! Plus girl groups were due for a pop culture resurgence anyways. There’s just something about a bunch of women tellin’ it like it is that gets everyone excited. Strong talent, strong opinions, strong style. FUCK. YEAH.

 

 

Fashion: Morality Crisis album release show was HOTTTTT

The Morality Crisis album release show (with Enabler, Nerves, Hardcore Crayons and SVOBODA) for their latest release “Boats” at the Triple Rock last night was AWESOME. Drum sticks were movin’ like that pencil trick from 4th grade and the energy was VIBRANT AS A MUTHAFUCK. Not only is Morality Crisis one of the KOOLEST bands in Minneapolis, but they have some fuckin’ STYLIN fans. Everyone looked rad as fuck. I can’t remember half the names because we got TURNT UP, most of the shoes are cut out bc I don’t know what I’m doing and the pics are blurry, late night iphone snaps. BUT FUCK IT, CUZ Y’ALL ARE HOT. Here are some of my fave looks from the nite.

Andrew
Andrew
I was really drunk when I talked to her. SWEET LOOK CUTE MYSTERY GIRL
I was really drunk when I talked to her. SWEET LOOK CUTE MYSTERY GIRL

 

Tess
Tess

 

Kool Dude
Kool Dude
Luann + Shelby
Luann + Shelby
Nick + Wyatt
Nick + Wyatt
Sarah wearing a color! Hooray!
Sarah wearing a color! Hooray!
Christ, muthafuckin' drummer of Morality Crisis
Christ, muthafuckin’ drummer of Morality Crisis
David + Rachel
David + Rachel
PAIGE (!!!)
PAIGE (!!!)
studded vests are IN. also too drunk to get his name
studded vests are IN. also too drunk to get his name

 

Mike
Mike
Kyle
Kyle

 

Jimi is the coolest
Jimi is the coolest
HALEYYYY
HALEYYYY
Kate's backside was all the rage in the ladies bathroom
Kate’s backside was all the rage in the ladies bathroom
amazing earrings!!!! again too drunk to get the name
amazing earrings GF / again too drunk to get the name
ANOTHER STYLIN DUDE
ANOTHER STYLIN DUDE
DENIM BABY
DENIM BABY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch this now: Gramma’s Boyfriend “I Have This Feeling & Shugar Crash”

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This is Gramma’s Boyfriend (best band name ever, right?!) The lead singer is Haley Bonar, who in my opinion is the coolest fucking chick in the Twin Cities area, possibly the nation. I’ve never seen her live solo or with Gramma’s Boyfriend because I’ve been hustlin, busy or broke. But I have seen a lot of her videos online and talked about her drunk with girlfriends. Consensus: this bitch can ROCK. “I Have This Feeling” sounds like a song right out of Clueless during the scene where Cher is throwin shade at all the gross high school boys. The music video for the song is also super fun. A+.

Her vocal style is amazing, her dancing is the shit and the music is fucking awesome. But not only is she kicking ass in her side-project punk/new wave jam Gramma’s Boyfriend, she’s released a ton of music solo as Haley Bonar. I haven’t listened as much to her solo music yet as I was first introduced to her in GB, but I’ve seen a few performances online and they are solid af too. There’s a lot of electricity in this woman. I like how she’s weird. It’s so fucking rad. Definitely an inspirational woman in the local music scene. HB + Gramma’s Boyfriend are must sees in Minneapolis. “I NEED TO SEE GRAMMA’S BOYFRIEND LIVE” should be the only thing you’re thinking this summer. Plus maybe “I should get laid by a hot and respectful individual.” New summer goals y’all.

Check out Gramma’s Boyfriend’s live video performance of “We R Ctrl” below. It’s insanely cool.

Also take a listen to her solo tunes here. Totally totally totally worth it. Luv her!!!

Listen: Har Mar Superstar’s “Lady, You Shot Me”

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Har Mar Superstar is a local Minneapolis craycrayawesome performer who has been around the block a few times. He now lives in Brooklyn AND is touring + promoting his new album “Bye Bye 17” like a madman. I just started getting into him from seeing him at my internship’s launch party at the end of March. He showed up after 3 AM at the Sound Gallery and played an impromptu set with who I’m assuming was his band from his show earlier that night. Or they were his really talented friends. Anyways, I LOVE his new single. It’s soulful, really well produced and a refreshing new retro sound to hear on the radio. The video just dropped and it’s got a lil soulful style to it as well. CHECK HIM OUT FO REAL.

Music: New Order live and my problems with live electronic music

First of all, New Order is one of my favorite and most influential bands of all time. I’m an electro-pop artist (Dennis) and a DJ, and “Bizarre Love Triangle” is one of my favorite songs of all time. ALL TIME. This song is fucking beautiful. This band is fucking beautiful. BUT.

As an an electronic artist myself, it is incredibly difficult to translate the emotion and excitement of electronic music into a live performance setting. As I watched New Order perform one of my fave songs on Jimmy Kimmel Live, I was completely underwhelmed and saddened due to the lack of electronic musical stage translation. New-Order-256e4

I think the lead singer, Bernard Summer, was great vocally; he sounded just like the record did nearly 30 years ago. However, the guy standing in the back of stage perhaps playing a drum machine is the reason this performance wasn’t as good as it could have been. Plus these people are old now. There is something so hard about watching old rock bands perform. I really hate to say it and even admit it to you and myself because these bands are idyllic. But their bodies have grown old. So much of being an alluring artist is a sexual appeal of some sort. Their spirit has changed too. Not worse or better, but different, which naturally causes their performance art to change.

(But then again you can watch modern day Stevie Nicks perform and she still has the passion necessary to keep an audience interested. It’s all a crapshoot.)

I’m not sure how many live DJ sets any of you readers (thank you for reading, i heart you so much) have ever been to. But they are fucking BO-RING. This has nothing to do with the fact that many DJs are SUPER talented DJs and know how to mix some insane, genius-level beats. It has to do with live show translation: it is simply not exciting as an audience member to watch anyone push buttons. (Exception: DJs mixing and pressing buttons for a dance room setting. As openers for other bands DJs tend to always run stale because nobody is drunk and dancing to openers, especially if the set is lacking visual excitement)

This is where electronic bands get into trouble. A drum machine is awesome, but you can’t FEEL a drum machine like you can feel a live drum kit. It gives the audience a mandatory heart beat to the pulse of your music that can’t be recreated through speakers.

Demands of the Modern Audience

Having been to a ton of shows throughout my life and most recently in the Minneapolis area, stage performance is a big part of why many shows are so underwhelming. Where is the creative lighting? Projectors of slideshows put together by the band to represent their aesthetic and therefore their performance art? Anything to keep the audience intrigued?

I don’t know if many artists have gotten the memo, but consumers/audiences are demanding as fuck in this modern age. They want all their senses taken care of. Being a musician isn’t just about making music anymore. You’ve got to give the audience something good to look at, something to feel, something to be, something to strive for. ladygaga-1

Why do you think pop stars dress so wild? That’s how they get attention. Being successful is about how much attention you’re getting. Good, bad; it doesn’t matter. And if that means you have to wear a piece of shit on your face so all the blogs are linking back to poor style choice *AND* your song, so be it. That’s how you get famous. That’s the world we live in now, and it’s not changing anytime soon.

Consumers want to be sold a lifestyle (Ke$ha, The Strokes, Lil Wayne, LMFAO etc.), and if your band- new or old- isn’t able to sell that, then sorry! That’s why you see so many pop stars and celebrities selling fragrances or clothing lines (not to mention the fact that music doesn’t make nearly the kind of money it used to): it’s all about the lifestyle brand. Buy this and be like this person. Buy this and you will be accepted by this group of society. Maybe it sucks, but whatever. That’s life. That’s entertainment. A lot of things suck more than pop artists slingin’ perfume. Its the most cliché shit ever, but LEARN THE FUCKING GAME ALREADY. *drops keyboard and walks off stage*

 

Download this track “In for the Kill” by Dennis

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Shit’s gettin ice cold baby. Image via dennismpls.bandcamp.com

 

This is the music project I’ve been working on for a year! Here is the first single, “In for the Kill”. It’s about fucking someone who is empty and kinda dead inside. Which we’ve all probably dealt with. It’s a surprisingly protective feeling though. You just want to make them feel alive despite their own wishes not to be. (And then you get over it because ain’t nobody got time for that!)

Here is the link to the Dennis bandcamp page in case you want to hear the whole EP. Bedroom made electropop from the midwest. Get wild.

 

 

Minneapolis: Citibank Cancels Foreclosure Auction of Minneapolis Mom’s Home

There’s power in the people, fighting the good fight. Some good news in a world of bad. A mother’s home was saved by protesting and getting Citibank to commit to loan modification. It seems lame to thank Citibank, because taking peoples’ homes away after giving out a bunch of terrible-idea loans over the past decade seems like a wholly dick move, and it is. Thankfully someone with half a brain over there in the banking industry did the right thing in letting this woman pay back the loan instead of taking her house.

Click the link to read the whole story below. YAY!!!

11th Hour Victory!:Citibank Cancels Foreclosure Auction of Minneapolis Mom’s Home; Commits to Loan Modification With Reduced Payments | Occupy Homes MN.