5 Questions with Rags #41 - Stickybuds

A master of all things funky and groovy, Stickybuds has that thing that I value most in a great DJ - the ability to do all of the things well. Straight-ahead funky breaks, drum ‘n’ bass, glitch-hop, big reggae vibes – Sticky’s got you covered. And it’s all delivered with such blatant skill and love for the craft that it’s pretty impossible to ignore. The legendary Shambhala Music Festival is a good barometer for where your talents are as a DJ. It’s a festival of incredibly discerning ears and Stickybuds has been front and centre for 12 years and counting. Rarely does my crew plan to be at Stickybuds annual destruction of Fractal Forest, but every year, there we are, getting our ears dominated by the mighty dude. If you started your electronic listening diet anywhere around the Canadian west coast, you probably have had Stickybuds as part of your listening diet, and your musical taste is probably healthier for it.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing the homey live, Hallowe’en weekend is a good time to get your funky spook on. I can attest to the absolute delightfulness that was last year’s "Breaks-O-Ween" in Vancouver.

As always, keep up with all the good sounds over at ye olde Soundcloud and all other things Stickybuds at the Facebook.

1. What was the first album you remember buying with your own money?

The first albums I bought with my own money were through Colombia House CD mail service out of some magazine, I believe I was in grade 6... (1996/1997-ish) The ones I remember that stuck out were, Wu-Tang Clan - 36 Chambers, Rage Against The Machine - Evil Empire, Collective Soul - Self Titled and Offspring - Smash.

I still actually love all these albums to this day, and I think I still have them all in a CD pile in storage somewhere. They are all great songwriters and musicians in their own right. I think I connect the most with RATM's album now. When I was 14 or whatever when I bought them I liked the anger in their music, and I'd sing the words, but I didn't understand what the songs were about. Now that I'm 32, and have been around the world a few times and pay attention to the global atmosphere, police brutality and decay of our rights and freedoms through corrupt governments and those who control them, I get and connect with their songs much more.  

2. Have you ever seen or felt a ghost or ghost-like presence?

Nope.

3. Can you think of a book or movie that had a genuine effect on the way you saw the world?

I read George Orwell's "1984" when I was in High school. It kind of stuck with me, and it's a real shame that it was a fictional book that turned out to be non-fiction.

4. When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Having trouble remembering things I've done for the first time, but I went Scuba Diving for the first time on one of my Australia tours 2 years ago in Cairns, it was awesome. 

5. Immortality…Ever think about it? Do you think you’d enjoy it? What’s the one completely ridiculous project you’d complete if you had unlimited time?

I don't think I'd like to live forever, but It would be cool if I could live for a few hundred years, maybe we'll even get there the way things are going. I would try and learn how to play every instrument I could imagine. 

6. The Guest Question comes from Victoria producer/performer BOUSADA… You just found out that you have 24 hours to live starting right now. How do you spend your last day on planet earth?

I'd spend the whole day with the people I love the most, and hopefully they wouldn't know I was about to die so it wouldn't be sad. 

5 Questions with Rags #40 - BOUSADA

If you've been taking in music on and around Vancouver Island in the last year you've probably encountered the smooth tsunami that is BOUSADA. Homie has been near-inescapable over the last little while, hitting festivals, supporting huge acts like Katchafire and headlining his own shows. Dude's brand of silky-smooth grooves, thoughtful and warmly delivered lyrics, and an unyieldingly positive stage presence is an addictive formula that keeps ears peaked and waiting for more. His shows are seriously joyful dance parties, built to help the audience forget everything but the groove. If you haven't got Bousada into your regularly listening diet yet, you might want to start rethinking some of your decisions.

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1. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?

I think that it may have been Blink-182 Enema of the State. It might have been a different album but that's the first one I remember getting into.

When's the last time you listened to Enema of the State. What songs were even on there?

I have no idea. “What's My Age Again?” “Adam's Song.” I do go back and listen to some Blink-182 because they just got back together to play some shows and...uhhh...<laughs> Their live sound is terrible too. Their such terrible singers, but that album was pretty good.

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#festivalseason - Ragslandia: Rifflandia gets groovier than ever.

Every year in Victoria, Rifflandia is the highlight of the music calendar. Bringing hundreds of artists from different genres and aesthetics, Rifflandia has established itself as a celebration of music like nothing else in the area. This year's Rifflandia had me excited like past years haven't. I'm all about groove and this year the pool was deep, overflowing with hip-hop and electronic tastiness I'm constantly on the lookout for. Here are just a few of the highlights I was lucky enough to get into my ears this year.

Jurassic 5, De La Soul and the importance of world-class Djs.

Part of the delay on the release of this piece has been the need to let things lay fallow in my mind for a bit, to see how they stick with me when I’m no longer a prisoner of the moment. Since some of the Rifflandia smoke has cleared from my mind, I can still say that Jurassic 5’s Rifflandia set was one of the finest sets of music I’ve ever seen. I assume this is the standard festival set they’ve been playing since their reunion a couple of summers ago, and why would it be anything different? Everything the group did was so well-done, so on point. “Concrete Schoolyard” (Complete with kazoo interlude), “Freedom,” “Jurass Finish First,” “Quality Control,” the whole set was hit after hit. Their Four-MCs-As-One, synchronized rap thing was as fresh as ever – as lively and crisp as any of the songs’ recorded counterparts.

Even more impressive than the four MCs and their interchangeable raps were the beats, the music, delivered with the utmost imagination and dexterity by two of the great DJs in hip-hop, DJ Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist. DJ desk, turntable-guitar, vest of music (I don’t know a better way to describe this)...This wasn’t just two DJs laying beats for rappers. The show wouldn’t have worked the same without them.

A similar thing happened a couple of nights before when De La Soul took the stage at the Phillips Backyard stage. Pos and Dave could get an crowd amped on their own, for sure, but the amount of attention Maseo commands behind the decks while his cohorts are doing their thing out front is kind of staggering. Throughout the trio’s stellar set, Maseo proved once again that he’s a real director of the party, the man all the energy flows through. Dude can rap something nice too. I was more than thrilled when he stepped out from behind the wheels to take Redman’s place during “Oooh,” a personal favourite of mine. It’s just further proof as to how important the DJ is the landscape of hip-hop, even when you have world class MCs there rock the party.

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5 Questions with Rags #39 - The Russ Liquid Test

In the build-up to Shambhala this past year, there was no act I was more excited to check out than the Russ Liquid Test. For about as long as I've been into electronic Russ Liquid's name has been a mark of quality – groovy, funky quality. The idea of seeing his musical vision through the prism of a live act at Shambhala, one of the great venues on Earth to see live music, had my ear-pussy soaked with anticipation. The power trio – Liquid, guitarist Andrew Block and drummer Nick Mercadel – battled through early sound problems (With some timely help from Miss Erica Dee) and delivered one of my favourite sets of the weekend. Even better, soon after I arrived home from the Farm, still abuzz with all the great music, the trio released their first official single, “FNK FWD” (feat. Steve Swatkins), a wonderful glitchy dose of bright, lively funk. It's a perfect night-starter or pick-me-up on a shitty day. Even luckier than getting this into my eyes, I managed to meet up with the Russ Liquid Test at Shambhala to get them down with the 5 Questions, in which we discuss Stevie Wonder, the beautiful tragedy that is Mardis Gras and the some of the guys' most positive school memories.

Keep abreast of things Russ Liquid over on the ol' Facebook and Twitter.

And, more importantly, keep up on the musical happenings over on Soundcloud.

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1. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?

Andrew Block: Doggystyle. Actually, I bought two at the same time. Doggystyle and Aerosmith Get A Grip.

And which one do you listen to more today?

AB: Doggystyle. At the time though, Aerosmith, actually.

Russ Liquid: The Beatles The White Album.

Favourite track?

RL: Oh man, there's so many of them. I like “Savoy Truffle.”

Nick Mercadel: It was a Stevie Wonder record. I don't know which one it was but I know my first purchase was a Stevie Wonder record in an actual brick & mortar store.

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#festivalseason - Just when you think you're done, RIFFLANDIA is there to pull you back in.

Festival season just won't end. Every year it seems a little longer and every year on the Canadian west coast, Rifflandia is there to usher out the jam-packed nights of summer with four days of ridiculously diverse musicians. This year's lineup is a feast of groovy selections spanning the rowdy (Wolf Parade, Keys & Krates), the soulful (Khari Wendell McClelland, Chance Lovett & The Broken Hearted), the weird (Prozzak, Bomba Estero), the moody (Grossbuster) and everything in between. It's an exhaustingly huge list of performers and looking at it may induce panic. To help ease the burden of research here are just a few of the many acts I'm hoping to check out over this, one of the finest weekends of music the west coast has to offer, right in the heart of my beloved hometown of Victoria, BC.

Get your single-day and full-fest passes here!

DJ Kwe

A few months ago, I didn't know a thing about DJ Kwe. I picked her name randomly off of a list of writing subjects for the Rifflandia festival guide and started my research. Immediately I was drawn to the idea of a female, aboriginal DJ (I later came to find she's half Irish, further adding to the multicultural allure), as both of those traits are something I have very little experience absorbing into my ears when it comes to my DJ music, and like any good music fan, I'm always looking for new avenues and perspectives. Turns out Kwe is doing some of the most original work around the West Coast right now. Her audio stories are unlike anything you've ever heard, built from the ground up, incorporating music, words and the sounds of nature. As she expands her repertoire into original music production and all-vinyl Djing, DJ Kwe promises to deliver something you're not going to hear anywhere else right now. 

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