• Watch: ‘Avengers’ Composer Brian Tyler Talks Film Scoring and DJing

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    Award-winning film composer and conductor Brian Tyler a.k.a. Madsonik has not only scored blockbuster hits, but he has also made a name for himself as a DJ/producer. In addition to composing for films like Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: The Dark World, and Furious 7, Tyler has also collaborated with artists like Wiz Khalifa, Rae Sremmurd, Ty Dolla $ign, and Kill The Noise.

    In a video by software maker Output, Tyler shows off his home studio and reveals his creative process for scoring films, which includes using his DJ skills (skip to the 6:50 mark).

    Watch above.

    Related: DJ Premier on Producing Gang Starr’s ‘Mass Appeal’

  • DJ Premier on Producing Gang Starr’s ‘Mass Appeal’

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    Following last week’s look at D’Angelo’s “Devil’s Pie,” DJ Premier has returned to explain the story behind Gang Starr’s “Mass Appeal” on Off the Record. The track inspired the name of media company, Mass Appeal, which produces the series.

    Premo discusses how he and the late Guru came up with the idea for the song, including how it was intended to be anti-radio. Ironically, it became Gang Starr’s highest-charting single, peaking at No. 67 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1994.

    “We were really making fun of radio, and it became our biggest radio hit,” Premo says in the video.

    Watch Off the Record above.

    Related: DJ Premier on Producing D’Angelo’s ‘Devil’s Pie’

  • Watch DJ Vice and Entrepreneur Chris ‘Drama’ Pfaff Go on a Taco Run

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    DJ/producer Vice recently caught up with entrepreneur Chris “Drama” Pfaff for a new episode of Electric Taco.

    The Ohio native, who is the founder and CEO of streetwear line Young & Reckless, originally moved to Los Angeles at the age of 18 to become a professional skateboarder. In the video, Drama discusses his progression from fracturing his skull skateboarding and struggling as a music producer, to becoming a successful entrepreneur. He also talks about his weekly podcast: Short Story Long.

    Watch above to see him and Vice catch up as they make their way to TacosWay in Hollywood.

    Related: Watch DJ Vice and George Lopez Go on a Taco Run

    Posted in Videos
  • DJ Premier on Producing D’Angelo’s ‘Devil’s Pie’

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    D’Angelo produced every track on his Grammy-winning album, Voodoo, except for two, “Devil’s Pie” and “Untitled (How Does It Feel).” The former, which served as the project’s lead single, was produced with DJ Premier.

    On Mass Appeal’s new episode of Off the Record, Premo recounts how the track came to fruition and its recording session, which J Dilla and Alchemist attended.

    Watch the video above.

    Related: Watch DJ Premier’s Tiny Desk Performance and Genius Interview

  • Meet DJ Severe, the Official DJ for the Dodgers

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    DJ Severe
    DJ Severe at Dogers Stadium in Los Angeles. (Photo source: Instagram)

    Los Angeles’ DJ Severe is proof that hard work and persistence pays off. In 2009, the veteran party rocker began DJing at the Dugout Club at Dodger Stadium. Eventually, he worked his way up to being the team’s in-game DJ. Now, eight years later, Severe is energizing the Dodgers and their fans as they battle the Houston Astros in the World Series. He also serves as the official DJ for the Ontario Reign hockey team.

    We spoke with Severe about his job and asked him to share his World Series playlist with us.

    How did you become the Dodgers’ DJ?

    In 2009, a friend of mine who managed the Dugout Club at Dodger Stadium brought me in to spin during the playoffs. Other venues had heard of me and wanted to use me instead of the DJ they had been using who was becoming a pre-Madonna. At the time the DJ was allowed one parking space, but he wanted two and a raise. I made it happen with one parking space and a trailer for four setups and four DJs. Eventually, this led to me working with the Dodgers at premiere events. Soon after, I was spinning at the Dodgers Christmas party and an individual who later became my boss asked me to email him the typical DJ airhorn sound. When I shot him the email, I asked if there were any openings. He said: “As a matter of fact, we’re looking for a DJ for all the home games. Are you interested?” I said “no doubt.” I interviewed and beat out all the other applicants because I was familiar with the Dodgers fans, having spun at all the events from the Dugout Club to the upper deck. And I was a real DJ, not just someone who plays music. They wanted a non-stadium sound, and eight years later I’m still here and in the World Series.

    How does DJing at a sporting event differ from DJing at a club or bar?

    The biggest difference is knowing your sport and your freedoms from management. You need to know how to walk the line safely and slowly work your sound in. All your music content has to be squeaky clean and fit the flow of the game. There’s probably just as many requests, but they’re based on the weather and what people think are the most simplistic tracks as possible. When the team sucks, you can’t always keep the energy or heads nodding. I believe you need intelligible lyrics, horns, and a bottom beat that forces you to nod no matter what type of music it is.

    Do you change your approach during the playoffs?

    Only to freshen things up with new tracks. I try to not overuse songs from artists like Bruno Mars. Sometimes I have 10 games in a row so it can get pretty repetitive if I’m not careful. But if it works, it works.

    What are some of your go-to tracks?

    This year they’ve been Kendrick Lamar‘s “Humble.” and “DNA“, DJ Khaled, Rihanna, and Bryson Tiller‘s “Wild Thoughts,” all the Calvin Harris tracks (“Feels” is my favorite track of the year), and a few hidden tracks like Big Daddy’sBooty Sweat,” Roulsen’s “Rumble,” and Timmy Trumpet and Savage‘s “Freaks.” Also West Coast hip-hop and ’90s tracks.

    Do you get requests from players?

    All the time. I’m pretty hands-on as opposed to DJs from the past who had no contact with the players. I know them all and spend two days in the spring chopping it up with them about music. They make their own selections, but they ask for my opinion.

    What’s your process for adding new tracks to your playlist?

    I look for tracks that thump and have good house energy, not the fist-pumping songs that take too long to rise. Also, tracks that aren’t too in-your-face, something with a nice beat and horns.

    What is the toughest part about being a DJ for a professional sports team?

    Knowing your audience and what will work without making it about you and your favorite music or what’s hot. Most tracks don’t work in sports, especially baseball. It’s a super sensitive sport with a lot of tradition.

    Severe’s World Series playlist

    2Pac ft. Dr. Dre & Roger Troutman – California Love
    50 Cent – If I Can’t
    50 Cent – In Da Club
    A Tribe Called Quest – Bonita Applebum
    A Tribe Called Quest – 1nce Again
    Ape Drums ft. Dougie F – Go Crazy
    Beatnuts ft. Big Punisher & Cuban Link – Off The Books
    Big Daddy’s – Booty Sweat
    Bingo Players – No. 1 Disco
    Calvin Harris ft. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, & Big Sean – Feels
    Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, & Nate Dogg – The Next Episode
    Deorro ft. Elvis Crespo – Bailar
    Fitz and The Tantrums – HandClap
    Jason Derulo – Get Ugly
    Kendrick Lamar – DNA
    Kendrick Lamar – ELEMENT.
    Kendrick Lamar – Humble.
    Nas – Made You Look
    Calvin Harris ft. Ne-Yo – Let’s Go
    Party Favor ft. Keno – Wiggle Wop
    Skee-Lo – I Wish
    Steve Aoki, Chris Lake, & Tujamo – Boneless
    The Notorious B.I.G. – Going Back To Cali
    The Notorious B.I.G. – Who Shot Ya?
    The Pharcyde – Passin’ Me By
    The Pharcyde – Runnin’
    Timmy Trumpet ft. Savage – Freaks
    Tinie Tempah ft. Zara Larsson – Girls Like
    Ummet Oscan – Raise Your Hands Up
    Vince Staples ft. Juicy J – Big Fish
    Volume 10 – Pistol Grip Pump

    #Ballout AF @dodgers #kershaw

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    Follow DJ Severe on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

    Related: DJcity’s Most Downloaded Tracks of Oct. 2017

    Posted in DJ Culture, Tracks
  • London On Da Track: Transitioning From Producer to Artist

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    London On Da Track
    London On Da Track performs at LIV in Miami. (Photo source: RCA Records)

    In August, Atlanta hip-hop producer London Holmes, a.k.a. London On Da Track, signed to RCA Records as an artist. He became the latest hip-hop producer to sign with a major label as an artist, joining the ranks of DJ Khaled, Mike WiLL Made-It, and Metro Boomin.

    London, who’s 26, has been on the scene since 2011. His breakout came in 2014 when he produced a string of anthems: Tyga‘s “Hookah” featuring Young Thug, T.I.‘s “About the Money” featuring Young Thug, and Rich Gang‘s “Lifestyle” featuring Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan. All three charted on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 85, 42, and 16, respectively.

    In 2015 and 2016, London produced two more Billboard Hot 100 singles: Young Thug’s “Check” and Drake‘s “Sneakin‘” featuring 21 Savage. In 2017, when he announced his signing to RCA, London dropped his debut single “No Flag” featuring Nicki Minaj, 21 Savage, and Offset. The track, which marked London’s first collab with Nicki and Offset, became one of DJcity’s most downloaded songs of September.

    London has also been performing live, in which he both DJs and raps. He played at the Hard Summer festival in August and kicked off his “No Flag” tour in September. His next stop is at Los Angeles’ influential Control party at Avalon on Friday (Oct. 27).

    We spoke with London about his transition from producer to artist and asked him a couple questions about DJing.

    In a recent interview with Billboard, you said that you signed with RCA because they believe in your vision. What is it?

    My vision is to put together dope collaborations and show my versatility as a producer and artist. I don’t want people to think I can only do hip-hop or work with a certain type of artist. RCA believed in my vision to take it to the next level, so that’s what we’re doing!

    What are the challenges of transitioning from producer to artist?

    I wouldn’t say it’s a challenge, but now having full creative control is something different that I’m not used to. Sometimes as a producer, I’m not sure if a record will ever be used, but when I’m the artist, I can sign off on the vocals, artwork, the entire vision to make sure it’s what I want it to be.

    Has your background as a producer influenced you as a DJ?

    Definitely. I think it helps with blending the sounds and the transitions when I’m DJing.

    Has DJing changed the way you produce?

    I’ve only been DJing for a few months and this is my first club tour as a DJ, so I’m taking it all in and finding different ways to get the crowd hyped.

    You DJ and rap during your performances. How do you balance the two?

    It’s all about reading the crowd. If they are vibing with something, I’ll keep it in one lane and then transition to something else. I usually start by playing some of the hip-hop tracks I’ve produced and then transition to EDM just to change it up. My set has a lot of different moods to it, so it’s really where the crowd takes it.

    I really like using Pioneer DJ’s CDJ-2000NXS2 with Serato DJ. It helps me stay creative and able to have my entire library of music with me at all times. There are times when I have to DJ with no laptop; my next choice would be rekordbox.

    Do you take a different approach when you play for dance and electronic crowds?

    I try to play a little bit of something for everyone. I have to play some of my classics like “About the Money” or “Lifestyle” to remind people what I’ve done, but I also try to mix it with what’s hot and current. Whenever I play my new single, “No Flag” featuring Nicki Minaj, 21 Savage, and Offset, it goes off! I love seeing that. My goal is always to keep the energy up and make sure everyone in the club has a good time. The vision is always the same: give them one hell of a show. But dance and EDM crowds are explosive, fun and unpredictable. They give an incredible energy.

    Follow London On Da Track on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

    Related: Watch London On Da Track Explain How He Produced ‘No Flag’ Feat. Nicki Minaj, 21 Savage, and Offset

  • The Stereotypes’ Jerm Beats Shares Inspiring Weight Loss Journey

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    Before producing hit singles for artists like the Far East Movement and Bruno Mars, Jerm Beats had a different passion: eating. Unfortunately, his love for food led him to become obese, causing a concerned friend to reach out to him out about his weight.

    That’s when Jerm, whose real name is Jeremy Reeves, knew he had to change. So he set off on an inspiring life-changing journey, all while working as a member of The Stereotypes production trio.

    The Stereotypes are best known for their collaborations with the Far East Movement. The Grammy-winning crew has also worked with the likes of Justin Bieber, Usher, Ne-Yo, and Mary J. Blige. In 2016, they produced Bruno Mars’ hit singles “24K Magic” and “That’s What I Like.”

    Reeves has now shared his incredible story on an episode of Barbell Brigade’s Dominate Humbly series. The series highlights the stories of influential people in weightlifting.

    The Sacramento native discusses his struggles with eating, the moment he decided to change, and how he got into bodybuilding. He also gives a tour of his studio.

    Watch above.

    Related: How Chance The Rapper’s Manager Reimagined the Music Business

  • How Chance The Rapper’s Manager Reimagined the Music Business

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    Chance The Rapper and Pat Corcoran
    Chance The Rapper and Pat “The Manager” Corcoran at. (Photo source: Instagram)

    The rise of Chancelor Johnathan Bennett, a.k.a. Chance The Rapper, is an incredible story. Without a record label or publishing deal, the Chicago native has become one of the most popular rappers in the world. His last full-length release, Coloring Book, became the first streaming-only album to win a Grammy and chart on the Billboard 200.

    But, like many groundbreaking artists, Chance has a savvy and ambitious manager working behind the scenes. In a recent interview with Complex, Pat “The Manager” Corcoran provided a detailed account of how he got the job and helped steer the rapper to success. The conversation is full of valuable insights into the music industry — and life.

    On the influence of his parents:

    “Most kids grow up with idols like Michael Jordan or are like Kanye West. For me when I grew up, my parents were my idols. My dad was always just incredible. The first thing I remember him teaching me about was reputation. … My dad would always drill into us like, your reputation is everything,’you know. It’s what proceeds you and it’s what people are gonna know about you after you’re gone.”

    On his management style:

    “I wasn’t in the position or in the role of saying like, yes or no to people [at label meetings]. It was more of like just being there for Chance and helping him filter this … [I’m] a guy who’s like, ‘yeah, I got your back, but at the end of the day I want you to make a decision for you, what’s right for you and your family …”

    On not being signed to a label or publisher:

    “There wasn’t really one conversation that I can recall where we just said ‘we’re not gonna do it’ or he said ‘I’m not gonna do it.’ It was just sort of the unspoken conclusion, like, this is not gonna work for us. We’re feeling this roll already. We don’t need the help of a major label.”

    On their decision to release Coloring Book exclusively on Apple Music:

    “We spoke with everyone: Tidal, SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Music, even smaller streaming services like Audiomack. It was sort of like taking meetings as a high school all-star athlete and going to different colleges and seeing who’s gonna care about us the most and who’s going to help put us in the right position to win and succeed and have a great career in the majors. At the end of the day we went with the company that believed in Chance most … it wasn’t about the money. It was about the people inside that building …”

    His advice to others:

    “I didn’t know shit about [the music industry], and to be able to do and experience the things that I’ve done and experienced in this short amount of time in the game has been incredible. I just hope what more people do what calls them. Who knows what can happen.”

    Watch the full conversation below.

    Related: Brasstracks Discuss How They Produced Chance the Rapper’s ‘No Problem’

  • Watch DJ Vice and George Lopez Go on a Taco Run

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    DJ/producer Vice is back with a new episode of his Electric Taco series, this time featuring comedian and actor George Lopez. The Los Angeles native discussed the early days of his career in comedy, taking up golf, and his friendship with Prince. He also shared some life advice.

    Watch as the two catch up and make their way to Lopez’s restaurant Chingon Kitchen in Highland, California.

    Related: Watch Vice and Rapper Kyle Go on a Taco Run

    Posted in Videos
  • Watch: A-Trak Reflects on His Career and Performs a Routine at Serato

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    A-Trak
    A-Trak at Coney Art Walls in New York City. (Photo Credit: Mel D. Cole)

    Following the success of his Goldie Awards DJ and producer battle in September, A-Trak sat down with Serato to reflect on his career. The Fool’s Gold chief also performed a routine using his single “Believe” featuring Quavo and Lil Yachty.

    The seven-part interview series is broken down into the following topics:

    – Starting off as a turntablist
    – When he learned how to rock parties
    – How he discovered Serato
    – Where he gets his inspiration from
    – Why he improvises his sets
    – His evolution as a producer
    – Why he launched the Goldie Awards

    Watch the interview series and routine below.

    Related: Watch A-Trak Explain How He Produced ‘Believe’ Feat. Lil Yachty and Quavo