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.
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.
• 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 $$$
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.
• 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.
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 •
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.
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