Tag Archives: RJD2

Track of the Day: RJD2–The Glow (Flosstradamus remix)

7 Jan


We’ve been posting our tracks of the day really irregularly lately, huh? Anyway … I got a beautiful surprise in my inbox yesterday from my old pal (and by “pal”, I mean “musician I interviewed once“) RJD2. He’s giving away an EP of remixes of his single “The Glow”, from 2010’s The Colossus. And I chose the best/longest one to share with you.

RJD2–The Glow (Flosstradamus remix)

Here’s the video with the original version of “The Glow”:

Verdict: The original is laid-back and smooth, the perfect song to drive around to (or drive an RCA car around to). It’s also got a great message about greed underneath . Flosstradamus made it more suitable for a club setting without going crazy with synthesizers or loops. They kept with the chill mood of RJ’s version but stepped it up a notch. It’s enough to keep me dancing all night, or at least for a full seven minutes.

Sunday Morning Afternoon Coming Down: Breakfast with RJD2

14 Nov

By Jesseca Bagherpour

Preface: I was supposed to speak to RJD2 after his Fun Fun Fun Fest set on Saturday night. But my fate was not in my own hands, as I didn’t have my own car and everyone I was there with was ready to go immediately after the music stopped. As we were leaving Waterloo Park, he was just beginning to break down the stage, which is no short task due to his extensive DJ equipment. With a heavy heart, I decided to accept that it wasn’t going to happen.

Then, as we were merging onto I-35, heading for South Austin, I got a text message from RJ (not because we’re pals, but because I had sent him a message earlier in the evening). He asked if I was still up for an interview, and when I told him I’d already left he immediately offered to meet me for breakfast, even though he had to be ready by 10:15 for a flight back home to Philly. That was my first indication of how friendly and personable he is.

RJD2, aka Ramble John Krohn, has been a DJ for 17 years with a solo recording career that has lasted for eight. His songs have appeared in so many movies, commercials and TV shows that a complete list would be overwhelming, although I can say without a doubt that Mad Men is my favorite.

He has produced records for several noteworthy rappers, including Copywrite, DOOM and Aceyalone. And he recently established a label, RJ’s Electrical Connections, on which he re-released a handful of his albums, mixes and EPs as well as releasing his latest album, The Colossus. Did I mention that he’s also his own tour manager? The man is busy.

Despite his hectic schedule and a late night playing at Fun Fun Fun Fest, RJ sat down with me last Sunday at Austin’s Kerbey Lane, on Guadalupe, to eat some tacos and chat.  Continue reading

Jesseca’s Fun Fun Fun Fest Recap

12 Nov


Fun Fun Fun Fest is always a crazy time, and this year was no exception. In fact, it was crazier in some regards this year than last year. I found myself running around like a mad woman trying to see all the bands I wanted to and getting interviews, as well as spending time with my friends who didn’t have backstage access (and others who weren’t at the fest). This year’s recap is a lot more succinct than last year’s. I’ve listed the bands (and novelty acts) I saw and a brief (or not so brief) take on their performance.

Friday

The Apples in Stereo

The set was very short, which may have been why it also seemed to lack a lot of heart and power. Rob said they were all here from another planet to rock us, but it didn’t feel that way. This was my first time seeing them and I’d been waiting for a while, so I was utterly disappointed.

Chris Hardwick

I was also looking forward to seeing Chris Hardwick, but he kind of bombed. He wasn’t getting a lot of audience feedback, which probably affected his performance. He also went for too much crude, cheap humor (which means a lot coming from me). Seriously, I love a good dick joke as much as the next guy. But tossing around the word “dick” does not automatically make a joke funny.

Weird Al

This was one of the most exciting performances of the fest, and one of the best I’ve ever seen. And as much fun as I thought it would be to see Weird Al, I didn’t realize how captivating it would be. There were times when I thought I couldn’t take any more Weird Al, but he always reeled me back in. He is a true showman who went through more songs and costume changes than any band I’ve seen. As I said after his set, since James Brown died Weird Al is the hardest working man in showbusiness.

Saturday

Devin the Dude

Devin was going before I made it in to the fest because of a late night and subsequent late lunch and arrival. But I could hear him from the street, and what I heard was awesome. I wish I’d seen his set.

Anarchy Championship Wrestling

My boyfriend made me go to this. I felt like I lost several IQ points after I watched about 15 minutes of it. But I can still see the appeal, I guess. I think it’s supposed to be a way for hipsters and punks to “ironically” enjoy wrestling.

Slick Rick

I have to say, Slick Rick seemed to have just come to the fest for a paycheck. The set (or what I could stand to watch of it) felt like watching a bad Slick Rick impersonator. He didn’t even slide on his eye patch until right before he got on stage. But he was wearing about 500 lbs. of bling and it was still pretty cool to be in his presence.

Ariel Pink

I feel awful for not catching Ariel Pink’s entire set. I was restless at this point and only caught a few songs. What I heard was pretty solid, and I was told later that this was one of his best live sets. I’m going to have to finally catch him live when he comes back to DFW because after hearing his latest album and talking to him for a few minutes, I’m now a fan.

Monotonix

I can’t really say I “saw” this band because they were surrounded by a throng of people during their entire set. But what I heard was spectacular, even if it did sort of sound like one long song. And the lead singer is a total mental case (in the best possible sense).

Os Mutantes

This was hands down the best performance of the fest. Even though the band has a different configuration from the original (which is understandable since they disbanded in 1978 and didn’t play again until 2006), the songs still sound just as beautiful and tight as before. And Sergio Dias is one of the most joyful front men I’ve had the privilege of seeing live. As one of my friends said, it was like seeing The Beatles live. It was a truly mind blowing experience.

Big Freedia

As fun of an entertainer as “The Queen of New Orleans bounce” is, I can only watch so many people bounce their asses in front of me before I have to walk away.

The Dwarves

This band was every bit as kickass as I thought they would be. They’re raw but technically tight and lead singer Blag Dahlia was every bit as perverted as I expected. Sadly, HeWhoCannotBeNamed was not nude with a lucha libre mask on nor was he even donning a jockstrap. Instead, they brought out a chick in a bikini and mask saying he had gotten a sex change. It was a bit of a cop-out, but maybe Transmission requested that they tame down their act.

Delorean

Typical hipster fare. I only stayed for half a song. I can see how it’s fun to dance to, but I had to move on.

Man Man

Jaime is crazy about Man Man, and now I know why. I didn’t catch the full set, but what I heard was pretty awesome.

Gwar

Gwar is basically a novelty act–grown men in costumes spewing fake blood and pus. But they are technically gifted and I have no problem with good, loud punk. But Dirty Projectors were playing at the same time so I only caught part of one song before I had to leave for the other, superior band.

Dirty Projectors

This was my first time seeing Dirty Projectors after being a fan for years now (ever since a close friend gave me a mixtape including one of their full albums on one side) and they did not disappoint. Dave Longstreth’s vocals and guitar skills are inspiring, and Amber, Angel and Haley were like three beautiful sirens. I was entranced by this set more than any other.

MGMT

Before Congratulations came out, I don’t think I respected MGMT enough as artists. But after hearing that album and now having seen them perform live, I get it. Their lyrics and music are mature and thought out, as well as just plain cool. And they have a knack for paying homage to the legendary musicians who influence them without sounding derivative. They’re also easy on the eyes, which doesn’t hurt …

RJD2

I knew I had to catch this set because I have missed RJ every time he’s in DFW and because I was supposed to interview him after (I ended up interviewing him the next morning, and I will post that interview on Sunday). RJ understands the importance of putting on an interesting show during a DJ set and he did just that. His music is great enough to stand on its own, but he enhances it with what he calls “parlor tricks” (i.e. playing the Donkey Kong theme while wearing Mario and Donkey Kong hand puppets) and film playing on a projector screen.

Bad Religion

Apparently Bad Religion had some sound issues early in their set, but by the time I caught them everything was fixed. As my brother mentioned before, Saturday marked their 30th Anniversary. I wish all bands could be so tight and sound so fresh after three solid decades.

Sunday

Jean Grae

I almost missed Jean Grae’s set because we were running later than usual, but luckily so was she. She had just started as I was walking towards the media entrance. While the set started off strong, upholding her reputation as a great female MC, it sort of petered out halfway through so I left to go find my cohorts. (It still beat seeing Slick Rick though.)

Best Coast

I don’t want to waste too much time talking about Best Coast because they are completely uninteresting live, mostly thanks to lead singer Bethany Cosentino (along with lazily written material). I thought I liked this band, but after what seemed like a 30-minute sound check and then a dull start I changed my mind.

The Bronx

I quickly abandoned Best Coast for The Bronx and I didn’t regret it. Powerful, loud punk was the perfect antidote to generic, anemic, “grunge” drivel.

Polvo

Although they’re part of one of my favorite labels, I’d never heard of Polvo before. I gave them a listen before the fest and I liked what I heard. However, their music seems better suited for listening at home and while driving than live. While they played each song perfectly, their performance lacked a little something and it made me lose interest.

Deerhunter

Like Polvo, Deerhunter sounds amazing on recordings. They are stellar musicians and I don’t want to knock them in any way. But, as I told a couple of friends, their music seems better suited to lying in bed and zoning out. Watching them live made me restless and ready for The Hold Steady. And I don’t even like The Hold Steady.

High on Fire

I didn’t hear even a full song by this metal act, but what I could hear from the yellow stage was killer. And wandering back to listen to them for a few seconds at a time helped me stay awake during Deerhunter’s set.

Alamo Drafthouse Air Sex Contest

This was sad and creepy. The intro from host Terp2it was confusing and nauseating. And the only competitors I caught were guys on stage alone doing things that most women would not find appealing.

The Hold Steady

I have never liked The Hold Steady. It’s not that I think they’re bad. I recognize that they’re good musicians. But something about their bar rock sound and “Party!” attitude bugs me. But I decided to give them a shot, since so many people I know are crazy about them. “Wait until you see them live”, they said. Well, I saw them live. And I still don’t like them. As Nic (aka my older brother) already mentioned, I kept calling them dad rock. And that’s mostly due to lead singer Craig Finn. He looks like someone’s nerdy dad/science teacher. And his mannerisms annoy the shit out of me. As a fan of GBV (a much older band that loves drinking and partying and has a former teacher as lead singer), it seems hypocritical of me to hate The Hold Steady for the reasons I mentioned. But I don’t care.

Suicidal Tendencies

This band kicked the piss out of The Hold Steady, and I knew they would. Their guitar skills almost literally made my mind explode. And they had almost too much raw power and testosterone for me to take. But, alas, after a while their songs felt repetitive and Mike Muir got a little too talk-y (well, I guess it was scream-y) and I had to walk away.

The Descendents

This was definitely the highlight of the night for me. I wish I had been 15 when The Descendents first hit the punk scene (rather than … not being born), when I got into them, or even when I saw them at the fest. I think the show would have had more of an impact on me. As it was, I could appreciate their music and the fact that, after taking a six-year hiatus, they played like they had never stopped. They even compelled me to mosh … for about five minutes … then I got claustrophobic and had to escape the smelly, sweaty throng.

Mastadon

I had no idea what to expect from this band, but they managed to draw my attention away from The Descendents (partially because they were so damn loud that I could almost hear them from the orange stage, where the other band was playing). These guys are some of the most brilliant musicians I’ve ever witnessed, and they move between various genres without even blinking. Most of what I heard Sunday was bone-crushing metal. I’d love to see these guys play a two-hour set.

A-Trak

Sometimes I kick myself for saying, “I don’t even know who that is. Pass” about a band, musician or DJ. This time, I at least caught part of the DJ’s live set rather than hearing how great it was later. As exhausted and restless as I was, A-Trak compelled me to dance and wowed me with his superhuman scratching skills.

Fun Fun Fun Fest: Saturday Picks

3 Nov

It’s almost time for us to hit the trenches once again and cover that gem of Austin music festivals: Fun Fun Fun Fest. But before we head off and take on the grueling task of watching hours of incredible live shows and interviewing scores of talented bands (or at least five, probably), we wanted to give you our picks for the fest.

For Saturday’s picks (some of whom, unfortunately, have overlapping sets), I decided to go a different route. I posted videos of the bands performing live. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video has to be worth a million or so. That, and I didn’t feel like writing 12 blurbs …

–Jess

Woven Bones

Valient Thorr

Slick Rick

Os Mutantes

The Gories

The Dwarves

The Vandals

Dirty Projectors

Gwar

(Oops … This isn’t live, but it’s the real reason I want to see them live)

Bad Religion

MGMT

RJD2