TeamSupreme Vol. 106

artworks-000077274036-18ul4y-t500x500

I had the honor of curating and mixing this week’s TeamSupreme cypher, so I spent the majority of last night listening to over 100 remixes of Super Moon! It was truly inspiring to hear so many different artists’ perspectives of the stems I provided, and I had a very difficult time narrowing down the selections for the mix. THANK YOU so much to everyone who participated this week <3

 

And the original:

Couch-Surfing, Beatmaking, and Label-Launching in Los Angeles

K Town

Earlier this month, I was blessed with the opportunity to spend some time in my favorite city in the world, so here’s a little recap of my adventure:

 

• Unspeakable Launch Party •

2014 has been a crazy-busy year thus far: in addition to churning out as much new music as possible, I’ve been scheming and dreaming about starting an all-female label, so it was incredibly rewarding to see the planning and hard work finally come to fruition at the Unspeakable Records Launch Party on April 6th. Kronika, G.L.A.M., Shiva, Eden Hagos, Cat 500, Girl Is Tough, and Youngmin Joo all shared some fantastic music with us that evening, and Adeline Newmann supplied stunning live visuals throughout the entire night. That being said, the positive vibes from the crowd were really what made the label-launch an unforgettable event, and it was great to have the support from our brothers of TeamSupreme, Soulection, Alpha Pup, and Delicious Vinyl in the building.

 

Unspeakable Launch Party

Even though the night went fairly smoothly, I don’t think I was fully aware of what I was getting myself into when it came to running an event of my own. I’ve played plenty of shows in the past, and also had the privilege of watching Daddy Kev (OG master of underground shows in Los Angeles) run Low End Theory from soundcheck to breakdown countless times, but this was my first time handling the responsibilities of promoting, stage managing, and hosting all by myself. Some of the lessons I learned:

  • Don’t be so damn nice and accommodating when it comes to making sure the artists show up for soundcheck and stay on schedule. Being on time is EVERYTHING!
  • Have an assistant stage manager to help out with transitions, and make sure everyone has all the gear that they need (especially the goddamn cables) before the show starts.
  • Set up a merch table, because running around the crowd with a box of tapes isn’t really the most efficient or effective way of distributing them.
  • Have someone else emcee for the night, because no one else in the world can be as uncomfortably awkward on the mic and kill the energy quite like I can :)
  • And the biggest lesson of all: I can’t do this alone! It’s time to let go of some control and start delegating responsibilities so that I don’t go completely insane.

Despite the craziness, I had an AMAZING time with these ladies, and I can’t wait to start throwing shows on a more regular basis. It was truly special for me to have a night that’s entirely run by strong, talented women who all share a passion for good music.

da ladiez

 

• Docs & Shoots •

The next day, I met up with Kevin Kloecker, filmmaker-extraordinaire, to do some shooting for a documentary he’s making about me and the Unspeakable movement. He and his talented buddies Matthew Greiner, Dan Carr, and Aman Singh created my last music video (For Rama), so I was happy to have him follow me around for the week and talk about my experience as a “female producer” thus far. We’re hoping to use the film to win some grants for music videos and other creative projects in the future $$$

yung Kevin

I also decided it was time to get some new press photos taken, so my pal Christine Yuan hooked it up with a casual shoot around her crib before we grabbed lunch at SunCafe. Unlike most photographers I’ve worked with in the past, she took the time to shoot film instead of just digital, which I really appreciated. It’s so much more interesting to capture real light (not just 0′s and 1′s) and have a more honest, un-edited representation of the moment.

dot x christine yuan

 

• Beats •

Among the handful of places I stayed that week, my all-time favorite spot to crash is at the home of Kenny Segal (TeamSupreme, Hellfyre Club, Project Blowed, Keep The Feel, The Kleeners… damn Kenny how do you keep up with all these crews/projects?!). We managed to bang out some last-minute beats for Vol. 104 (TeamSupreme’s two-year anniversary tape), and our good buddy/TeamSupreme collaborator Mike Parvizi came through later that evening to lay down some bass while I tracked spacey vocals on Kenny’s beats.

 

The studio in Kenny’s house is overflowing with analogue treasures and rare gear, so it’s only natural that it has become one of the unofficial headquarters of TeamSupreme (and of Kenny’s numerous other collaborators/crews). Besides that, no one is f*cking with Kenny’s cooking skills, so where there is good food, good music, good friends, and a good studio dog, there is Dot.

teamsupreme at low end theory

Which leads me to my next topic…

• Dot’s Guide to Couch Surfing •

It’s important to keep some modern-day etiquette in mind when practicing the art of couch-surfing, so here’s a list of Do’s and Dont’s to get you through your stay:

DO respect their space. It doesn’t matter how wasted, high, or out-of-your-mind you are — there’s never an excuse to trash someone else’s home and expect them to clean up after you. If you really need a maid, then maybe you should open up your wallet and get a room elsewhere.

DON’T show up empty-handed. It’s just common-courtesy to bring along food, drinks, or some greens to show your appreciation. Maybe even take them out for a meal — after all, they’re saving you the expense of a hotel room (or from sleeping in your car), so the least you can do is throw down a few dollars as a thank-you.

DO stay somewhere that has a working water-heater. I love you Matt, but that freezing cold shower was not how I wanted to sober up after Low End Theory the previous night (although it worked pretty well).

DON’T invite other people over if your host isn’t trying to turn up — it’s not your house (except I totally broke this rule on accident… sorry Kenny!!).

DO return the favor and give your friends a place to crash the next time they’re in your neck of the woods <3

 

• Low End Theory •

LET

I wrapped up my LA adventure by playing a set at Low End Theory on my last evening in town. It’s truly the best night in LA to hear cutting-edge music, and there’s no place else that I would feel safe enough to test out brand new material and sing some freshly-written songs. I’m a pretty shy person in general, but the energy and support from everyone that night (especially from my friends and TeamSupreme family) brought me out of my shell and helped me to let go of some insecurities that have been holding me back lately. I can’t wait to take it even further at my next show, and fully give in to the performance with this new sense of confidence.

dot low end theory

Huge thank-you to anyone who has been to one of my shows or supported my music in some way — you guys give me the courage to share my creations and to keep doing what I do, so for that I’m forever grateful <3

dot by christine yuan

Connecting the Dots

I recently did an interview with Kososuru (a creative collective based in Oslo) and talked a bit about my musical background, influences, and future plans for my new label, Unspeakable Records. I also curated this little playlist of some favorite tunes (both old and new) from my TeamSupreme family. Enjoy!

 

You’ve started your own label Unspeakable records,  a label dedicated to releasing music produced by women. Why? What are your future plans for the label?

Most electronic music (and music production in general) is still very much a boys’ club, so I wanted to create a platform for female artists to promote their music in a way that focuses on the quality of their work instead of their image. It’s not about excluding men — I love their music too! The purpose of Unspeakable Records is to bring women together to create something greater than what we would individually be capable of. Many aspects of our society encourage competition amongst women, but we can achieve so much more if we join forces and support one another (both creatively and socially). While I definitely want to release work from individual artists, the emphasis of the label is placed more on collaborations, compilations, split EPs/LPs, and so fourth. A lot of the artists I’d like to work with are already signed to other great independent labels (myself included), so my goal isn’t to try and swoop them from their current projects. Instead, I aim to use Unspeakable Records as grounds for collaborative projects and networking. I also intend to throw events on a more regular basis, and eventually expand to include visual artists for various projects/installations/performances.

unspeakable_digitalartwork

 Tell us a little bit of Unspeakable Vol 1.

‘Unspeakable Volume One’ is a compilation of 14 different female artists from around the world — some I know personally, and others I “met” through internet music communities.

 Why are you releasing it on tape?

It was important to me to release our music on a physical format, and tapes are relatively inexpensive to produce and sound fantastic! Unless you have a crazy cool analogue setup, most of us are creating this music on our computers, so after hours and hours of hard work, all you’re really left with is a bunch of 0′s and 1′s. While sharing your music on the internet is extremely powerful in its own right, I think it’s far more rewarding to have something that’s tangible and analogue!

1966883_630170987052937_581835150_n

What are your three most influential records (of all timeeee) and why did they have an impact on you?

It’s so hard to pick just three, but here goes:

Sonnymoon – ‘Sonnymoon’ — The beat production is stellar, but I’m really drawn to this record because of the ease of expression, clarity, and presence in Anna’s voice. She’s so honest, unapologetic, and very much in-tune with everything she communicates. I remember when she collaborated with DJ Nobody on his last record and recorded all of the vocals in only two takes!

Björk – ‘Post’ — Björk is one of my idols and all-time favorite artists. Again, I’m attracted to her work because of her honesty and truthfulness — she is able to get her own ego out of the way and allow something greater to be channelled through her.

Can – ‘Future Days’ — not only are the keyboards and euphoric backgrounds absolutely stunning, but this record came into my life through a very special person and will always remind me of him.

What made you start making music and what led you into electronic music production?

I’ve been drawn to music ever since I was a little girl — I don’t come from a very musical family per se, but I begged my parents to let me take piano lessons when I was about 6 years old, and continued my studies in classical music through college. My dad also introduced me to a lot of jazz and blues, and I had some great friends in high school and college who turned me on to hip hop, R&B, rock, psych, folk (basically all of the good stuff that expanded my palette beyond the sterile world of classical music). I started taking voice lessons when I was in middle school, and eventually ended up at Chapman University’s Conservatory of Music as a vocal performance major. About halfway through the program, I realized I was far more inspired by my theory classes and writing my own music instead of performing other people’s work, so I decided to switch my major to music composition. I also took a music technology course with Steve Nalepa, who introduced me to the world of music production and suggested that I apply for an internship at Alpha Pup Records in Los Angeles. From there, I began going to Low End Theory regularly, and was profoundly inspired by the different styles of music that I heard each week, so I started making beats in my dorm room. And now here I am!

241942_10150918629480047_935682585_o

If you could go anywhere in the world to play a show, where would it be and why?

I’d love to play in either Berlin or Helsinki — I’m part German and part Finnish, so it would be incredible to share my music in the countries where my family is from. I’m also dying to play in Tokyo! I’ve never been before, but it seems like such an inspiring city and I have a feeling I’d love it there :)