Friday, February 18, 2011

The Record Shop

Remember those days of walking in a record shop and you actually spent time in there picking out the latest cd of your favorite artist. The ambience of being in a record store filled with people digging through records looking for some great music. Those days are basically gone,waiting in lines when a new album dropped, gone. Now days you can buy an entire album on the internet without leaving your home while avoiding all the crowds and crazy commotion going on. I use to like those days when my favorite record came out, but for me, it was walking to the neighborhood spot to grab those bootleg cassettes that would cost $5 bucks or so. Those tapes were so fake that it wouldn't even have the entire record on there, and the quality would suck like crazy. I remember when I was able to start working  and I was able to afford the real quality tapes! Those were the days. "Tower Records" Rest In Peace.

Technology has taken over like never before. " Hint" "Itunes" has shut down all the reasons to make it out to a record store formally known as "Tower Records" "Virgin Records" The idea of buying a single song for 99 cents and having the option to preview songs from a whole album has been pretty bad for the music business. ( Great For the consumers)
Record producers such as myself has had a hard time selling records because the internet has built a database where it's way too easy to download songs for  free and the sharing rate between friends saying," oh I can give you that album"  has been moving at a scary rapid pace. Those days of hanging with your friends and listening to your favorite album and asking to borrow it, or your other option was to go out and buy your own copy are long gone.
Now you can simply download an album to a flash drive, and burn it to a cd, or download a program such as lime wire.
Something Napster started, before it was quickly shut down from the once then strong record company business!

Talk about making a life from this music biz!

All that to introduce my feeling of this record shop that was brought to my attention while being on a short tour in Los Angeles,California.
Amoeba Records, an Independent Record shop that resides in La and has two other homes which resides in Berkley California and San Francisco. I know I'm a little late and most of you know about  this shop, but I always rode past this store during countless visits to La and never once paid any attention to it.
Being on tour with Bilal and visiting the shop for promo purposes helped me see something that I was missing.
Walking in a record store and looking all around checking out old and new albums, with loads of cassette tapes and vinyl's, all over the place. Even DVD'S and VHS tapes. Old and New!
I couldn't believe the feeling it gave me and the size of the store was way too overwhelming for me to comprehend.

The sections were amazing, if you wanted strings, or jazz music, it was there, folk music, you name it.

One feature in which I thought was attractive was it's large connection to Independent music and labels.

The support is beyond cool! Carrying all these great independent artist that you can't find in the lone "FYE" record shop.
The hope of releasing your own record and a store such as Amoeba will not only carry it, but promote it and offer in store performances along with the package.
Pretty good job Amoeba! I was walking around in the store checking out cd's and felt like a little kid again in a candy store.
Reading through album credits and checking out who produced what is always enjoying while listening to a cd. Better feeling then downloading the credits to a pdf form to check out who did what.
When I inquired about the record store, I was surprised to find that the store only has three locations as I stated before in the blog. Only three? California is cool for keeping record shops with such prestige. I enjoyed myself and if you were, you would have a great time picking through all your favorite records that you once loved but couldn't find anymore. Amoeba has got it covered, I've seen it with my own eyes.

Bilal had an in store performance in all three records shops this past fall, and it gave me a good feeling.
People still love to come out and support good good music. 
With no disrespect to FYE, it just didn't feel the same as walking into Amoeba, it was a very cool atsmospere and it had a calming relaxing feel to it. While you're shopping in FYE, your in a hurry to buy things such as a Itunes card with money on it to download songs, and buy a set of headphones, or posters for your child. Everything that has nothing to do with music. In Amoeba, people are in there for the pure art of music!
Record digging, everything goes in there. I was pretty impressed as I've heard so many great things about this place.

I encourage you to take a trip there if your ever in Hollywood La.

By the way, you can get a wax copy of Airtight's Revenge there too! Check it folks.

Back to the studio I go, and some gym time, the last few days have been beautiful out and jogging and running ball was a good thing for me.
Well, I gotta go, this Trey songs making love video is driving me crazy. LOL

Later peeps, enjoy and stay healthy.


Folks shopping for music while waiting for Bilal's instore performance.
Music Everywhere!
The counter
Bilal And Mike performs
I told you this place was huge.
another view
That's Pretty cool.
Listening station.
The record shop from outside.
The crowd checking out the music

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Back again after a long absence but when your living out your dreams and your on the move, something will lack behind. Sorry it had to be my blog! I am vowing to do better by it and keep you guys in the know and I'll just come right out with it. I've been thinking about shutting it down after not blogging for a month, but I figure this is my avenue to keeping in touch with folks who support my music and myself, so I figured, let me stay on the grind and keep things going and so here I am.
It's been a minute since I've written anything, and I have a little rust so excuse this blog today folks. 
Just yesterday we've celebrated a calendar day of Valentines Day and I had the pleasure to be working In Atlanta for a gig with Bilal. It was a cool turnout while we  had fun playing and cracking jokes on stage because we were pulling out songs we haven't performed in ages since the new album "Airtights Revenge dropped. Songs like When Will You Call, Love Poems, All For Love, Make Me Over. The crowd had a good time, Bilal always entertains folks, and we have fun playing our music we've made over the years.
I must say the weather was pretty nice, having so much coldness and snow here in Philly, it's always good to go down south and enjoy some good weather. I also get to see friends that i haven't seen in awhile, one in particular a Philly Native who resides in Atlanta and just so happens to be a drummer, one of my Favorites! Lil John Roberts.
This guy has really paved the pathway for drummers all over, he's a Philly hero and now since I've been playing professionally, He's always been in my corner supporting me and being a cool friend. , It's always refreshing to hear him play and the advice he gave me during those beginning days were priceless. If you ever wanted to catch up with John and see him do his thing, you can listen and watch him on the Monique Live show on Bet. He's the house band drummer there. If you have a moment, click here to check his discography.

I went into one of my favorite drummer faze's, I guess my next blog might very well be my favorite drummers.

Being around talented people is always a inspiring thing. 

Back to the studio making music and getting myself ready for training in the gym and back to doing things you can do without being sick, having a cold and still try and keep up with your daily routine never works, your immune system shuts down and you can't do anything but rest and eventually you'll be back in form. For me it was hard because I had so much work to do, I even did sessions still sick, sneezing all over the place but I had to get it done. I took a walk to get my daughter from school and just that quick 10 minutes of walking I felt really exhausted !!  I took my gym gear with me thinking I was gonna workout and it turned out to be a bad idea. If your sick and you feel a little better, chances are you still have a ways to go. Guess I figured it out the hard way.

I'll be back to my regular routine, running, lifting at the gym, and long hours at the studio making music. It makes a total difference being healthy, your body operates and your not counting on your immune system to fight off the germs.
Ahhhhh….. to be in good health. 

This young producer from Atlanta ask me a question on twitter and hopefully he's reading, I figure more producers and young inspiring artist is reading and they could maybe benefit from the same question.

What tips would you give a young producer?

Good question.
I would say that investing in your sound would be a start. Purchase some top of the line equipment, because quality recordings can take you a long way. Things such as a good interface. Apogee ensemble is a good piece to work with, it's professional and the sound that it puts out is amazing! Ask Anybody.
Another thing i would say is try to be consistent with your music, create your sound, stick with it, and always be ahead of the curve with your sounds. Never be out of date with your sounds.
Lastly, Try to make music that feels good and that's true to yourself. Don't play yourself out trying to do something that your not. Stay in your lane and make music how you see fit. Play the game, but don't let it play you out!

Im out folks, catch you guys soon.

Bilal and Corey Bernhard Before a show. Corey's A dope player on the keys!
Our hotel in Atlanta, Pretty cool
Messing with my camera a little, could be a screen saver.
This Guy Mike Severson, this guy has been apart of the Bilal camp for years now, we call him Mike Star! Great great guitar player and friend, he's all into P90X now.
While in Atlanta, the band took a scroll to one of our favorite spots to eat
R Thomas Grille, French toast to die for!
There it is, RThomas, Notice it says Late Night!
Chris and Corey took a moment to talk with the birds!
They all were doing it!
I couldn't believe this scene in Atlanta, Borders closing?? Sad day.
This Caught my eye walking back to the hotel.