Thursday, October 2, 2014

"Creative Differences" Release Party//Behind the Scenes and The Future

Hey AllOne Family!

     Incredibly, this week marks two months since my most recent project was released!  "Creative Differences (A Split)", an EP with my fellow friend and lyricist Owen, "D.o.drent" that was produced by talented UK producer Tony Mahoney.  The digital release was July 29th and the physical album release party was August 2nd, and I will get to the release party in a little bit. It was breathtaking!  I'm happy to report that the album has thankfully been received with warm praise and people seem to be connecting with the material and remarking on the new direction of singing and subject choice on the album in it's favor.  I intended it to be a very direct project and Owen and I worked very hard to combine our utmost emotional sincerity with our most ambitious intellectual efforts to create something wholly genuine, challenging and connective.  I feel we succeeding in blending our styles and working over Tony Mahoney's production (he has definitely become one of my favorite producers over the last few years) in mood and intent.  We pressed a small run and sold out of it, moving more albums in the first month than any previous album I've released...so thank you for that immense support!  I've talked quite a bit on the trip to Rhode Island and Massachusetts to stay with Owen and write and recording this album and you can read those memoirs on the process here if you are interested: 
If you haven't yet watched the grim and dramatic poem-film for my spoken word piece "Termagant" on the second song of the album "Walking Nightmare" by my talented film making friends Kristine Clifford and Daniel Pritchard ...please do!  It is a very dark film but they came up with some great ideas alongside my visions and advising and I'm really proud with out it came out.  Eerie and effective film making..

Creative Differences Behind The Scenes video series
Though we are getting chronologically out of order, while we're on the topic of videos, I'd like to draw your attention to this series of six interview/song snippet videos that were shot and edited by Sean Ageman of Washed Up Media!  The day after the release show, before Owen left to return home, he and I met up with Sean and shot these insightful explanatory interviews of each of the songs on the split, which he then impressively edited and serial released them every Monday for six weeks following after the show.  They offer some background information into the logistic and creative process behind each of the songs.  I've compiled them into a "BEHIND THE SCENES PLAYLIST"....please enjoy them here, feel free to like, comment, share and subscribe to these videos as well as to the Washed Up Media Youtube!

Creative Differences (A Split) release show weekend
     The release show weekend was a success!  Owen came down to Long Island for his first time on August 2nd (the day of the show at Velvet Lounge in the north shore town of East Setauket after work I picked him up.  He jumped into my car with wide eyed harried tales of his dizzying experience in smokey precarious Jenga grid that is New York City.  We ate at a kosher deli, an expensive but interesting experiment, where we drew the attention of many of the staff by taking out our pile of pre-ordered CDs and signing them while we waited for food to save time.  We even ended up selling a copy just based on that!  We went to Velvet Lounge to set up and meet people.  
Flyer for the show by ArchAngelGraphicDesign

     A bit on the venue and Line-up decision:  Over the past few years I've had absolutely incredible musical, poetic, social and improvisational experiences at the open mics on Wednesdays and jams on Sundays (not to mention just attending other people's shows on Fridays and Saturdays) and I've met many treasured people through this art, music and social mecca of the north shore.  Over the course of this year I've performed several really incredible concerts that I'd put up among the best of the year, as well as the most astounding and inspiring of my career!  Something about the place...its got the social atmosphere of a bar without the negative stigma that I tend to associate with bars, it encourages and attracts a vibrant creative energy within people and around them.  Very obviously I felt this was the perfect place to draw friends to celebrate this exciting event and new project, as well as a place that I really wanted Owen to experience this environment.     I should also mention the line-up was incredible!  My friends KNife, Miggs and Freak Tha Monsta were on tour touring KNife's new project "ICONOCLAST" that I'm featured on...so check that out!  Some of you may remember them performing at Comiskey park with Last Of The Horsemen and The ContraVerse July 2013, they killed it and so when they needed a place to play, I thought it'd be a perfect way to draw a crowd and have a big celebration by making it the release show.  I needed another local group and it seemed an obvious and mutually agreeable choice to bring on my friends Mark and Ed who make up one of my favorite Long Island hip-hop groups; Kill The Inventors!

Improvisation, Crowd Interaction, High Energy Performances...
Thankfully...the release show went even better than I'd expected, in fact, the turnout was so good that it started to unfortunately work against itself where people couldn't fit inside and had to stay out in the patio area! At the beginning of the show I started up a "freestyle raffle" where attendees, for a dollar, could write down a word or topic on a piece of paper and their name on the other and put it in a jar.  Before D.o.drent and my set, the first person (who ended up being a good friend, Ariel) to have their topic called up won a copy of the split EP, and CDs from Miggs and KNife as well!  We then passed the mic around between all the emcees in the show and traded off topics out of the hat to improvise over, it was hilarious, lighthearted and impressive what everyone was able to come up with given some crazy suggestions!  Miggs, Knife and Freak Tha Monsta
     Miggs, KNife and Freak Tha Monsta put on an incredible combined set that utilized thought provoking lyricism, fun brag raps, high energy with interactive elements and just crazy writing and endurance overall.  They did a capella moments of political pieces, call and response interaction with the crowd, bounced back and forth verses and rhymes with one another on stage. One thing that really struck me about the guys was how sincere they were about connecting with the crowd.  Before they went up, KNife even asked for my advice for what kind of material I thought the audience was going to be most impacted by or interested in hearing.  It was a thoughtful and humble question, and it was clear they wanted to do more than impress people and sell merchandise, they wanted to make a genuinely successfully entertaining show for those that they were grateful were present to hear them. They won the crowd over quickly and had a great performance that a lot of people were talking about weeks after!  If these guys are coming to your town...book a show with them..you won't regret it, and if they aren't coming to your town... try to arrange for them to!  
Kill The Inventors
     Kill The Inventors went up and changed the vibe over to grooving beats with Mark Biviano's live bass and Hi-Q's samples and beat production.  Hi-Q (Eddie) has high velocity, well constructed rhymes with interesting concepts (he has one song called "Ahead Of The Curve (Joke's on you)" written from the perspective of The Joker about the symbiotic relationship he has with Batman) and he deftly and comfortably performs his densely woven rhyme patterns over the simple but effective instrumentation.  They remain one of my favorite hip-hop acts on the Island and I can't wait for them to put out a follow up album to 2013's Chernobyl EP!  This performance lead to the discussion of me possibly rapping over one of the instrumentals on their forthcoming beat-tape...so I'll keep you informed about that!  If you can catch one of their shows, I highly recommend it!

     After we opened the set with the aforementioned freestyle collective moment which I'd hoped would loosen the crowd up, warm Owen and I up and gather people around, we started performing "Creative Differences" and things got wild from there!  Our set was to be the first time that Owen performed this far outside of his home state and also the largest feature event he'd performed.  It was the first time we had performed the Split EP in it's entirety, we were debuting "Cause & Effect" that night as well, closing the night with it!  We both performed a handful of solo songs,  some of them we backed each other up and did sort of hype-man duties.  Of course, we performed all of our songs together, there was a remarkable silent moment when the entire crowd was hushed while I closed "Walking Nightmare" with the "Termagant" poem a capella.
      People participated with a lot of call and response parts of the songs, some people knew the songs from the split and many were blessedly familiar with my back-catalog and were boastfully and generously singing/rapping the lyrics along with us!  Owen brought a really strong and passionate energy, it's been remarked by many people that his tendency toward a more aggressive style (undoubtedly brought in by his hard core music influences) is a good juxtaposition to my energy, whether it be in performance or recordings.  We played off each other well, walked into the crowd, stood on stools, removed clothing, sang, rapped, recited poetry, and overall CONNECTED with people.

There were very few mishaps and very many beautiful moments had.  It was my first time performing such a large set with a fellow lyricist and it was a really cool and unique experience, Owen and I were able to feed off of one another a lot.  It was certainly a learning experience for me!  Even luckier, Washed Up Media's Sean Ageman was there taking incredible photos of the event throughout our performance with a professionalism that allowed us to be ourselves and yet got really incredible close up shots capturing this powerful night.  Before the event, in between sets and after the show we spoke with people, made new friends and caught up with old ones!  An hour and a half later our set was over, our voices were hoarse, and we were sweaty and smiling.  Many people responded really positively to the performance and we sold nearly half of the stock of the albums at the show. We ended up staying there until four in the morning hanging out, talking with people inside and outside of the venue, freestyling over some beats provided by DJ Kaution as well as  live music by the outrageously talented I Am Tim // Coalition band.  Exhausted, Owen and I having very little sleep in the past 24 hours, we eventually retired.  Sunday morning we got breakfast at one of my favorite breakfast spots called Tic Toc cafe in St. James, meeting with my friend Brittany and energizing our sleep-deprived bodies with coffee and food before we had the aforementioned meet-up with Sean to film the Creative Differences Behind The Scenes videos.
     All in all, the weekend was an incredible celebration of the new project and experience with releasing and sharing it.  The Split was a difficult project to put together logistically at times but based on people's description of their experience with it and their opinion of it, I feel really justified and rewarded in pushing through the obstacles that came along the way.  It has been another experiment in my ever-fluxing creative journey and I feel very successfully rewarded by the outcome.  I am very fortunate to have the friendships, the material, and the benefit of the lessons that were forged and presented to me during the process of this EP and releasing it as well!  Thank you to everyone who came to the show, who bought the album, who hugged us and sang and rapped with us and alongside us, asking for our signatures and our advice and for giving us your love.  We only hope to earn it and return it tenfold!

And the future brings? (A Performance Hiatus, New Album and Debut Book!)
I will take a brief moment to address that for the first time in four years I'm taking a lamentable but necessarily indefinite performance hiatus to complete the writing/rehearsing/recording and releasing of my magnum opus, an experimental narrative-based album called "Rapologues".  In conjunction with this musical, literary and illustrated release, I plan to publish and release my debut collection of short stories called "Water Coolers and Camp Fires".  I will be using this blog and my various pages to keep you audio-visually updated on my "wood shedding" process! I couldn't ask for a better performance memory or album experience than those I've reflected on here, to leave off on before I recede behind the creative curtain so thank you! 
Your support is otherworldly, and yet keeps me grounded down to earth!
With love,
-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo