The Conduit is a podcast featuring candid conversations between professional musicians and music biz veterans who give you the unvarnished truth about being an artist in the music business today. Hosted by L.A. musician, producer, DJ and writer Dan Ubick aka Constantine “Connie” Price, The Conduit is real talk, no posturing. Learn from top music veterans as they talk honestly about their struggles and experiences and share with you their wisdom and knowledge. The Conduit is a co-production between Crewest Studio and DanUbe Productions, The Conduit will inspire, educate, entertain and empower up-and-comers pursuing their musical dreams. Follow today!
Gringo and The Man Ride Again - Not Real Art
We are back again with the Not Real Art podcast and today’s show is a special one because Sourdough and ManOne finally got the chance to sit back and shoot the breeze together. The two OGs are back with another installment of Gringo and the Man! Have you guessed who the Gringo is yet? The vibe is always electric when these two get together and today’s show is no different. You’ll hear our hosts talk about everything from UFO sightings to the evils of Neoliberalism and everything in between. We kick the show off with some definitions (because you know we are all about the formalities here). ManOne lets us know exactly what a Gringo is and Sourdough tells us why he is happy to don the term with pride. We talk about why Humboldt University should have a blunt as a mascot, how badass Navy SEALS are, and what to expect from The Matrix Resurrections. ManOne also shares a bunch of hilarious travel stories involving nude beaches in Dubrovnik and bouncers putting drunken macho men to sleep in London. So for all this and more, join Gringo and The Man today!
Key Points From This Episode:
The roots of the word ‘Gringo’ and why Sourdough is proud to wear the label.
ManOne talks about his trip to Northern California; Bigfoot culture and a lack of diversity.
·What the mascots at Humboldt University should look like considering how much weed people smoke there.
Jokes about trying unsuccessfully to get quality cell phone footage of Bigfoot and aliens.
Updates in the tech sphere; what is happening with Blackberry, Apple, and Samsung devices.
How gimmicky some updates are and how sad it is that people lap them up.
Whether it is wise to be an early adopter and how our hosts approach buying new phones.
Spyware that is spreading in Apple devices and the need to update one’s technology.
How the giant tech firms defy Capitalism in its true sense.
The unfairness of a new bank account auditing rule that bypasses billionaires.
Thoughts on corruption across the board and how broken the American system is.
What the new Matrix film might be like and how good the trailer for The Rescue is.
How extreme the cave rescue that The Rescue documents was
ManOne’s experiences in Dubrovnik finding albino crabs in a cave he explored.
Stories about Navy SEAL training and the killing machines the U.S. government is able to create.
A time where ManOne was in London and saw a bouncer quell an aggressive drunk guy.
Thoughts on why big guys always want to fight and prove who is tougher.
For more info, visit: https://notrealart.com/gringo-and-the-man-2
Sy Smith: The Life of an Artistic Chameleon
“Publishing and performing rights are constantly in flux, and I find myself constantly having to keep up with that stuff.” — https://twitter.com/Syberspace?ref_src=twsrc%255Egoogle%257Ctwcamp%255Eserp%257Ctwgr%255Eauthor (@Syberspace) [0:42:48]A true artistic chameleon, today’s guest, Sy Smith, is a renowned songwriter, session singer, and actor. She has provided backup vocals to legendary artists like Whitney Houston and Sheila E and has also released five of her own critically-acclaimed albums. You may have also seen her on Ally McBeal, where she had a recurring role on the hit show.
From an early age, Sy was immersed in culture. From visiting museums to going to the theater to reading and writing, she understood the value of creativity in her life and the world. As travel has always been an integral part of her life, Sy has always been inspired by her surroundings and has been creatively fed by whichever environment she has been in. Whether it was go-go in Washington or hip hop in New York, Sy soaked it all up!
In today’s episode, Sy offers us a look into her journey. We hear about her childhood, when she knew she wanted to be a performer, and how she got her start as a vocalist. Sy shares what her experience at Howard was like and talks about the opportunity that changed her life by bringing her out to L.A. Our conversation also touches on the ever-evolving topic of performing rights, how Sy has adapted to the pandemic, the importance of being flexible as an artist, and why you should create opportunities that showcase your value. Tune in to hear it all!
Key Points From This Sy Smith Episode:• What growing up in DC was like and Sy’s experience of being raised by her village.
• Different places Sy was exposed to music and her formal and informal musical education.
• How traveling around the country showed Sy different regional hip hop.
• The role that Sy’s mother and father played in exposing her to culture.
• The incredible beginnings of Sy’s vocalist journey.
• Some of the biggest challenges Sy faced when she started singing in choirs.
• The special place that the Kennedy Center has in Sy’s heart.
• When Sy started singing more contemporary music.
• The moment that Sy knew she wanted to be a singer and performer.
• Sy’s experience of going to Howard, an HBCU.
• The opportunity Sy got that led her to move to Los Angeles.
• What happened when Sy got signed by Hollywood Records, where there were not many other Black artists.
• There are constantly developments when it comes to publishing and performing rights.
• When Sy left Hollywood Records and what followed for her afterward.
• How the pandemic forced Sy out of her comfort zone and the incredible results this led to.
• The importance of being flexible as an artist.
• Difficulties Sy has when she has to record and produce her own music.
• The gratitude that Sy feels for having had time to slow down and do the work she wanted to do.
• Voiceover and songwriting work Sy did for a video game, Saints Row.
• How Sy prepares for auditions and her advice for other aspiring singers.
• The importance of creating roles for yourself, according to Sy.
• A look into Sy’s marriage and what it is like being married to another creative.
“Traveling was always a part of my life.” — https://twitter.com/Syberspace?ref_src=twsrc%255Egoogle%257Ctwcamp%255Eserp%257Ctwgr%255Eauthor (@Syberspace) [0:03:65]“Singing is such an intimate thing.” — https://twitter.com/Syberspace?ref_src=twsrc%255Egoogle%257Ctwcamp%255Eserp%257Ctwgr%255Eauthor (@Syberspace) [0:24:43]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:http://sysmith.com/ (Sy Smith)https://www.instagram.com/syberspace/?hl=en (Sy Smith on Instagram)https://www.npr.org/2020/02/19/807294633/gogo-becomes-the-official-music-of-washington-d-c ('Go-Go Becomes The Official Music Of Washington, D.C')https://www.kennedy-center.org/ (The J
Fitz & The Tantrums: Joe Karnes and Jeremy Ruzumna
As musicians, finding the balance between wanting to evolve and experiment, and making the music your fans know you for is difficult. Soul pop masterminds Fitz and the Tantrums have managed to produce incredibly diverse records while maintaining, and even growing, their dedicated fanbase. Today's guests, Joe Karnes and Jeremy Ruzumna are key members of the chart-topping group.
While they are mostly known for being in Fitz and the Tantrums, both Joe and Jeremy have had long musical journeys. Joe found success with the glam rock band Imperial Drag, who opened for Alanis Morissette's Little Jagged Pill tour. Jeremy found success as a keyboard player and songwriter for the legendary Macy Gray and raked in many accolades for his co-writing work.
In today's episode, we hear about Joe and Jeremy's musical journeys and what their lives were like before joining Fitz and the Tantrums. We talk about the challenges that come with trying to find your style and why it is more important to know who you are rather than trying to be everything. This is not easy because you want to create and make a living, but if you stick to your guns, you will find your niche. Our wide-ranging conversation also touches on the importance of having a good work ethic and being professional, what it takes to balance touring and family life, what to look out for when signing record deals or advances, and the value of being kind to fellow musicians. Not only are Joe and Jeremy gifted musicians, but they are incredible human beings, so be sure to tune in today!
Key Points From This Fitz + The Tantrums Episode:• Hear about how Jeremy first became interested in music.
• The role that Joe's family played in introducing him and getting him interested in music.
• Some of the earliest bands Jeremy and Joe played in and what they learned in these formative years.
• Joe's experience of being in Imperial Drag, his first band that was signed by a record label.
• How Jeremy came to work with Macy Gray, how this relationship worked, and what Joe learned from this.
• What Joe's life looked like after Imperial Drag broke up, before starting Fitz and the Tantrums.
• Being in a band has its challenges and rewards.
• Jeremy's life and career path after he stopped working with Macy Gray.
• The importance of defining your own style rather than trying to be a jack of all trades.
• How Jeremy met John Wicks, the drummer of Fitz and the Tantrums.
• The chemistry that everyone had when Fitz and the Tantrums came together.
• Why Fitz and the Tantrums do not necessarily think about how a piece will translate to a live performance when they are recording.
• How the band has approached recording with their last three records.
• As humans, we like to categorize things, so when bands change their style, it throws fans off.
• Fitz and the Tantrums have managed to evolve while still keeping a devoted fanbase.
• Who is currently in the band's crew and the roles everyone plays.
• Joe and Jeremy's tips on how to navigate publishing deals and what musicians should be looking out for.
• Why you should generally be cautious about advances in the music business.
• What Joe and Jeremy have learned about how to treat opening acts.
• The importance of making people feel as comfortable as possible.
• Some important lessons that you learn from opening for many different bands.
• Why Chris Seefried was chosen as Picking up the Pieces’ producer.
• The experience of performing on late night T.V.
• How and why Fitz and the Tantrums moved from Dangerbird to Elektra Records.
• What has to happen in order to create a hit single.
• Paying respects to Fitz and the Tantrums’ saxophonist, James King.
• How Joe and Jeremy balance family life and touring.
• When you come back from touring, you have to ease back into your family.
“If you believe in what you're doing, you've got to
Peanut Butter Wolf: Founding Stones Throw Records
“It's important to get your stuff heard by industry people but it's equally, if not more important, to find fans who have made it doing the stuff you're doing.” — Chris Manak [0:25:19]Founding a record label is no easy feat and making it not only survive but thrive for over 20 years is truly awe-inspiring. Stones Throw Records is one of the most prominent independent record labels, having helped develop artists like Madlib, J Dilla, MF Doom, and Anderson Paak, to name a few. Chris Manak, AKA Peanut Butter Wolf, is the Founder of this prolific label, and he joins us on the show today. Along with being at the helm of Stones Throw, Chris is also a DJ and producer.
Having been exposed to a range of music early in his life, Chris has always had an appreciation for many genres. Many of his young memories have music woven into them, and it is clear these moments cemented Chris's passion. Along the way, he has also been lucky enough to have some positive influences who have been generous with sharing what they have, and Chris now approaches sharing in this same fashion.
“Making beats and making tracks was what really got me out of [mourning Charizma's death]. It was my therapy more than anything.” — Chris Manak [0:33:08]In this episode, Chris talks about his musical journey and how he went from saving his lunch money to buy records to where he is today. We hear about his formative relationship with rapper Charizma, and the immense impact that his death had on Chris. After his passing, Chris left music behind for some time, only to return to work through the pain. We also talk about where the idea to start Stones Throw came from, how to stay enthusiastic about music when it is your job, and why streaming, in many cases, is helping rather than hindering labels.
Key Points From This Peanut Butter Wolf Episode:What Chris's life was like growing up and his first musical influences and inspiration.
Some of the first records and albums Chris remembers getting.
How Chris started collecting 12 inches in fifth grade.
An older person in Chris's life who introduced him to a lot of music.
What Chris was doing before he started working with Charizma.
How Chris met Charizma, and the relationship they had.
The story of how Chris and Charizma started working together.
The importance of having fans who have accomplished what you hope to achieve.
How Chris and Charizma's manager helped them after they got signed.
Hear how Charizma died and the impact that this had on Chris.
The role that music played in helping Chris deal with Charizma's death.
Some of the first gigs that Chris and Charizma played.
Major lessons Chris learned from performing with Charizma.
How Chris came to work with Kool Keith.
Where Chris first got the idea to start a record label.
Balancing musical tastes and trying to stay afloat as a label head.
What it takes to run a label and some of the people on the Stones Throw Records team.
How Stones Throw came to be a fully-kitted-out label.
The biggest challenge that comes with running a record label.
The decision to create the Stones Throw Records vinyl bar.
Gratitude Chris feels for being around great music.
What being a new father has been like for Chris.
How Chris started using video in his performances.
Chris's take on streaming services and why he supports these services.
Why Chris feels like streaming helped save his label in some ways.
Experiences where handshake deals have gone wrong in the past.
Chris's top record label and producer picks.
“As a label, we split our profits 50/50 with the artists, and we're transparent with our accounting.” — Chris Manak [1:15:36]“I think streaming helped save our label in certain ways.” — Chris Manak [1:16:19]Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:https://www.stonesthrow.com/artist/pbwolf/ (Chris)
https://www.stonesthrow.com/ (Stones Throw Records)
https://www.instagram.com/anderson._paak/?hl=en (Anderson .Paak)
Jack "WildChild" Brown and Miles Brown: Family, Funk, and Creative Excellence
“I was never like all these acting kids, who take everything so seriously, if I came out the audition room I just stopped focussing on the audition, I was just on to the next fun thing of the day.” — https://twitter.com/MilesBrown (@MilesBrown) [0:41:45]We have a pair of extra special guests on today's show! First off, founding member of cult-favorite hip hop group Lootpack, rapper and father, Jack "Wildchild" Brown, who is joins us alongside his son, actor, dancer, rapper, and star of the hit TV show Black-ish, Miles Brown! We get to have a fascinating chat with these two amazing creators and performers, about their roots in Oxnard, growing up with music and art, and the winding journey of life.
Miles and Jack take us through the exciting trajectory that Miles has been on, appearing on Ellen and landing a role on Black-ish in 2014, the amazing run the show has been up until this point with its eighth and final season, the music both of our guests have been recently working on, and so much more. With such warm, open personalities and so much talent and hard work, there is little wonder why the family has experienced this kind of progress and success.
This conversation stands as a testament to ideas of creative excellence and the power of family, with the connections between Jack's work and the energy and enthusiasm that Miles now embodies being so apparent. Miles tells us all about what he is currently inspired by, some of the best moments of his young career, and why he continues to broaden his range of skills and interests. We also have a very important conversation about the greatest rappers of all time, towards the end of the episode, so make sure to stay tuned for that!
Key Points From This Jack and Miles Brown Episode:• The earliest influences and inspirations that Jack remembers in his home growing up.
• Miles' memories of music in his childhood and what sparked his interest at a young age.
• The immediate connection that Miles felt to funk, through dance.
• Comparing life in LA to home in Oxnard, and the familiarity that grew through Miles' acting work.
• The decision to homeschool and the communal benefits that the family experienced.
• Thoughts and concerns that Jack had with Miles going down the path of a life in entertainment.
• Visiting Venice Beach after watching Breakin', meeting Mr. Animation, and taking part in his performance!
• How Miles got booked to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres show while filming on the street.
• Miles' experience and memories of performing on Ellen at such a young age.
• How the dancing work that Miles was doing transitioned into more acting roles.
• The amazing time that Miles has had working on Black-ish over eight seasons!
• Getting recognized, building a creative reputation that people respect, while ignoring celebrity status.
• The feedback that Miles and Jack have received about Black-ish and how its audience connects with it.
• The technical side of life in show business; legal considerations, management, and more.
• Preparation and practice that Miles has put in to up his dancing game.
• Delving into Miles' character on Black-ish and the family connection to the name 'Jack Johnson'.
• Miles' reflections on working on the film Boy Genius and how movie work compares to other projects.
• The recent forays Miles has made into music and the inspiration behind recording his own album.
• Things on the horizon that have Miles excited right now; the final season of Black-ish, music, and film production!
• Jack's album that is coming out in November 2021, and the events that led up to creating it.
• The highly disputed discussion over the top 5 MCs between Miles and Jack!
• Other music that Jack and Miles are into beyond the obvious hip hop favorites.
• The entrepreneurs in film and music that continue to inspire Miles and Jack.
“The funk, that was actually the first genre of music that I actually starte
DJ Nu-Mark: Two Turntables and a Drum Machine
“The sense of wonderment is what keeps me alive in this business.” — https://twitter.com/djnumark (@DJNUMARK) [0:12:25]DJ Nu-Mark has carved out an amazing niche for himself in the LA music scene and beyond, from his groundbreaking work with the world-famous group Jurassic 5, to his recent work in television and film, to creating popular sample packs, and his viral video series Zodiac Tracks, the journey has been surprising, fun-filled, and successful. This success stands as a great argument for what is possible with a solid work ethic, good ears, and people skills!
In today's conversation, we get to hear about the life that DJ Nu-Mark has built for himself and his constant dedication to wonderment and excitement. He talks about how putting all his eggs in the music basket was the thing that worked for him, and spills the beans on how to keep an audience engaged and maintain relevancy.
From the earliest days, DJing at house parties in the '80s, to hearing beats by an unknown Kanye West, Nu-Mark has seen a lot of things come and go. He talks about the drumming that laid a foundation for his musical sensibilities, and how he applied these to the new technologies afforded to DJs, cutting and scratching his way to record deals. Our guest has continued to have adventures and explore new horizons, and his open-hearted attitude is an inspiration to anyone wanting to express themselves!
Key Points From This DJ Nu-mark Episode:• Nu-Mark's early memories of music growing up; Persian records, classic rock 'n roll, and discovering rap.
• Starting a record collection and the most meaningful early purchases that Nu-Mark made.
• Drum machines and turntables; the blueprint for a future that Nu-Mark carved out.
• How Nu-Mark went about building his scratching skills on the turntables and mixer.
• Bringing lessons from drumming and the school band into turntable performances.
• Rocking house parties and how this naturally led to working with MCs and meeting Jurassic 5.
• The beat-making process; drums machines, samplers, and the different combinations of gear that Nu-Mark used.
• Memories of the Good Life Cafe, and the important relationships that were formed during that time.
• The combination of amazing rhythms, humor, and dedication; the ingredients that made Jurassic 5.
• Getting the music heard, starting an indie label, and finding distribution for the first EP.
• Touring and moving into the UK market before gaining proper recognition back home.
• The time it takes to find your inner voice and make the art that you really believe in.
• Legal sides of the music business and how Nu-Mark and J5 found a great lawyer!
• Collaborating and sharing writing credits while learning and building.
• Nu-Mark's path to making music specifically for the film and TV industry.
• How to go about getting music placed in film and video games.
• The preparation and performance of Nu-Mark's Zodiac Track series.
• Branding, merchandising, and social media; Nu-Mark's relaxed approach to this part of his work.
• Nu-Mark's favorite producers through the ages, who inspires him, and who he still wants to work with.
“I bought a drum machine before i bought turntables.” — https://twitter.com/djnumark (@DJNUMARK) [0:10:20] “My organization skills became paramount at a very early age.” — https://twitter.com/djnumark (@DJNUMARK) [0:23:58]“I learned about finesse, I learned about the psychology of DJing.” — https://twitter.com/djnumark (@DJNUMARK) [0:24:28]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
https://djnu-mark.com/ (DJ Nu-Mark)
https://www.discogs.com/artist/17477-Jurassic-5 (Jurassic 5)
https://www.cutchemist.com/ (Cut Chemist)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioSids07hBI (Zodiac Killah)
https://hiphopwired.com/2734/the-good-life-l-a-hip-hops-untold-story/ (The Good Life Cafe)
https://bodegasync.com/ (Bodega Sync)
https://www.quincyjones.com/ (Quincy Jones)