Interview with Rip [Podcast]

Rip‘ is a Madison-based musician, DJ, producer, and filmmaker who seems to thrive when he’s hard at work. As a five-time winner at the Madison Hip Hop Awards, Rip has gained both local and national recognition for the music he makes, including his many followers on YouTube who love his danceable pop tunes. Rip has some exciting movie and music-related projects to share with us, along with insights about hip-hop in Madison, Facebook craziness, and connecting with fans.

Here’s a transcript of our interview, along with the Soundcloud link below for your listening pleasure.

Making of a SelloutWho: Rip; interviewed by Kayla Liederbach
What: Rip talks about his projects, the Madison scene, his Facebook break, and wild cinematography
Where: Murfie HQ, Madison, WI
When: Thursday, August 20th, 2015
How: Recorded by Kayla Liederbach

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 


K: So right now I have DJ Rip here at the Murfie office, big welcome Rip.

R: I appreciate you having me, I always love doing interviews with you, it’s always a fun time.

K: Yes, and me and Rip, we go way back, just to fill everyone in. Like maybe six years?

R: Has it been that long?

K: Well I worked at Blue Velvet for five years, during college and a little bit after, which is a martini place in downtown Madison. Are you still DJing there?

R: Yeah I am, but you’re making me sound old now! Oh man, seriously time has been flying by since I came to Madison, it’s crazy.

K: You’re from Chicago area originally, right?

R: I grew up in the Chicagoland area, mainly Waukegan the majority of my childhood. I moved to Madison about, maybe if you wanna be technical, I made the official move in 2010, but I was hanging out here a few years before that.

K: How has the past year or so been for you in Madison? It’s finally summer now, maybe you get to go outside a bit more?

R: You know what, especially coming into today, it’s starting to get into fall now. I feel like the summer flew by. Honestly I’ve been so busy, I haven’t had time to enjoy the summer to be honest. It’s kind of sad, but…

K: Those creative types. So you recently produced a song for the Latin singer Rochelle, tell me a bit about that—it seemed like your career has gone full circle, since you used to listen to her.

R: Yeah, I don’t know how many people are familiar with Rochelle, but she was big in the 90s, especially in Chicago where I’m from. She had a song in the 90s called “Prayin’ for an Angel”, and I was a huge fan. She actually has a manger from Waukegan, where I’m from. So kind of just being intertwined from the same inner circle, he reached out to me. He’s been trying to get me to produce things for a while. And I just produced a song for her on her new album, so that was kind of crazy because I grew up being a fan of hers, and then producing something for her was cool.

K: And you’re also a director, and have made really great-looking videos. Tell me a bit about the feature length movie you’re working on.

R: I’m actually working on two movies right now. I just started a new one, and it’s still in the pre-production phase. I’m actually going to go work on it tonight after we’re done here. I teamed up with a local writer and director, because I’m not sure if a lot of people know I produce and direct all my music videos for my music. So I kind of got into this love and passion for filmmaking, and I’m working on a feature length film now with a local writer/director. And we just teamed up. He’s a great writer, great storyteller, and a great director. And he kind of brings something to the table that I lack, or don’t really have a burning desire for, which is the writing aspect of things. And I bring the creative aspect to the table that he lacks, which is the cinematography and the camerawork, and filmmaking process and everything. It’s crazy because he and I are like one in the same almost, you know what I mean? We have the same drive, same determination, same passion, same views, outlooks and beliefs on a lot of things, and it’s just kind of crazy that we’re two similar guys and we just teamed up. We’ve been working on this movie for two months now, and it’s all locally filmed, directed, produced right here in Madison. And we’ve had a lot of hurdles, but we’re still dealing with it, and the driven people we are, we’re not going to let it stop us or slow us down.

K: That’s awesome, so you’re staying busy. And it seems like you’re always churning out fresh video content. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for a video, cinematically?

R: I’d have to say, when we were right on King Street in front of the courthouse, in my “Supernatural” music video. It’s probably my most notable piece of work. There was a 3D modeled rendered car that was coming at me, and I smash it, and it goes flying over my head. So it’s like this visual effect that I think was pretty dope. The best thing I’ve done so far, music video wise.

Continue reading Interview with Rip [Podcast]

Album Review: “Déjà Vu” by Giorgio Moroder

Deja Vu

Déjà Vu
Released: June 16th, 2015
Reviewed by Erik Wermuth
Rating: 2/5

The art for the Italian producer Giorgio Moroder’s new album Déjà Vu is an absolutely brilliant piece of marketing. It features the shape of Moroder’s signature handlebar mustache under a pair of retro sunglasses against a blazing neon pink background. The image taken together with the title is a clear invitation to remember his heyday in the early Eighties when he was producing major disco hits and classic scores for films like Flashdance, Scarface, and Top Gun. The picture, with its segmented, stylized face and visor also subtly invokes the famous masks of Daft Punk, whose 2013 album Random Access Memories was largely responsible for Moroder’s return to the public eye after a 30-year hiatus from releasing original music under his own name. He donated his voice and story to their track “Giorgio by Moroder” which really exemplifies Daft Punk’s ability to inject raw human emotion into the cold technique of electronic music. The album cover for Déjà Vu (not to mention its title) invites the listener to recall this bygone era. When Déjà Vu came up on my queue I fully expected an affectionate throwback album in the recent tradition of bands like Kavinsky and Chromeo. Who better to play on nostalgia for a lost decade than one of the originators of its now-classic sound? For my money, “Take My Breath Away” from the Top Gun soundtrack (interestingly, the song in his career of which Giorgio has stated he is the most proud) is one of the most intensely Eighties songs I can think of.

There are bigger disappointments in life than great marketing for a sub-par product, but none that sting quite like it.

To be clear, I don’t think that Déjà Vu is a bad piece of technical work. At all. Throughout the album one thing that remains eminently clear is that Moroder is a seasoned professional. Something is definitely gained here listening in a higher quality. Every song (and I mean every song) is locked down tighter than Tom Cruise’s jeans in Top Gun. The sound pops fully and consistently also much like Tom Cruise’s jeans in Top Gun. Unlike the Top Gun jeans, which contributed in their full and consistent tightness (uncomfortably so, in places) to the undeniable humanity of the character, the result for Déjà Vu is not the humanity of an artist, but the cold, airless distance of an advertising professional. From the tired piano chord-progressions to the pandering of the wub-wub basslines to the attempted guitar throwbacks to that early electronic sound, the work as a whole fails to convey any emotion whatsoever. Track titles like “Don’t Let Go”, “Right Here, Right Now”, and “Back and Forth” should convey just how little creative thought went into this album. It’s form without substance. It’s disco without cocaine. It’s Daft Punk if it turned out that they weren’t human after all.

There are some moments where the insufferably boring zero-risk attitude gives way to something more honestly felt. Charli XCX delivers an emotional vocal performance on “Diamonds” despite unimaginative production and (never thought that I’d be caught dead saying this) Britney Spears stole the show with her feature on “Tom’s Diner”. Her massively electronically altered voice fit the simple, haunting backtrack remarkably well. The only real bright spot for Moroder himself was the track “74 is the New 24”. It features far-and-away the best songwriting in the album as it’s the only song to feature any kind of personal involvement from the artist. Moroder was 74 at the time of the album’s release and obviously struggling with the idea of being one of the godfathers of electronic music still contributing to the scene decades later—the combination of faultless production and thematic elements beyond the disco power trio of Sex/Dancing, Love/Heartbreak, and Money/Drugs make “74 is the New 24” a pleasurable and thought-provoking listen. An entire album of tracks like it would have been a rare treasure.

Simply put, Déjà Vu completely fails to deliver on the aesthetic promise of its title and cover. Instead of a vibrant tribute to the feel of a lost decade with the tools of the present, the listener is presented with song after song full of all the clichés of contemporary pop and none of its inventiveness. The result is static and stale and the only nostalgia I’m feeling is for a time before I heard most of these tracks. I give Déjà Vu a disappointed 2/5.

VOTE: 2015 Murfie Listener’s Choice Awards

If you’re like us at the office… then maybe you enjoy the excitement of the GRAMMYs, but you think the nominees aren’t really THE best out of all the music out there. Obviously a lot of it has to do with what’s mainstream, what’s played on commercial radio, and things like that.

The Murfie staffers discussed this a bit, and we came up with our own list of nominees and categories. We have a broad range of musical taste here and totally pride ourselves on exploring what’s not popular, without denying the popular stuff that’s rightfully good.

Now, you, the people, can choose the winners in our 2015 Murfie Listener’s Choice Awards! Voting ends on Thursday, February 5th at noon—one vote per person, please! We’ll let you know who the winners are before the GRAMMYs air on Sunday February 8th!

Click the “Vote” button after each category to save your vote.

[Click “Continue reading” to view all categories]

Continue reading VOTE: 2015 Murfie Listener’s Choice Awards

2015 GRAMMY nominees!

The Recording Academy recently announced the 2015 GRAMMY nominees! It’s interesting to see what music rises to the surface when countless recordings are released every year. You can find the full list of nominees on the GRAMMY website, but here’s an overview of some of the most popular album-related categories.

Have you heard any of these albums? Who do you think will win?! Let us know in the comments.

Album of the Year

Beck – Morning Phase
Beyoncé – Beyoncé
Ed Sheeran – X
Sam Smith – In the Lonely Hour
Pharrell Williams – Girl

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – Cheek to Cheek
Annie Lennox – Nostalgia
Barry Manilow – Night Songs
Johnny Mathis – Sending You a Little Christmas
Barbara Streisand & Various Artists – Partners

Best Pop Vocal Album

Coldplay – Ghost Stories
Miley Cyrus – Bangerz
Ariana Grande – My Everything
Katy Perry – Prism
Ed Sheeran – X
Sam Smith – In the Lonely Hour

Best Dance/Electronic Album

Aphex Twin – Syro
Deadmau5 – While (1<2)
Little Dragon – Nabuma Rubberband
Royksopp & Robyn – Do it Again
Mat Zo – Damage Control

Best Rock Album

Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams
Beck – Morning Phase
The Black Keys – Turn Blue
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Hypnotic Eye
U2 – Songs of Innocence

Best Alternative Music Album

Alt-J – This is All Yours
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Cage the Elephant – Melophobia
St. Vincent – St. Vincent
Jack White – Lazaretto

Best Urban Contemporary Album

Jhené Aiko – Sail Out
Beyoncé – Beyoncé
Chris Brown – X
Mali Music – Mali is…
Pharrell Williams – Girl

Best Rap Album

Continue reading 2015 GRAMMY nominees!

Album Preview: “Mandatory Fun” by Weird Al Yankovic

Mandatory FunAlbum
Mandatory Fun

Artist
Weird Al Yankovic

Release Date
Tuesday, July 15

Label
RCA

Pre-order Link
Pre-order album

Preview
Very few artists are able to successfully splice comedy into music, yet Weird Al Yankovic has enjoyed a prolific career spanning over three decades. From his humble beginnings with comedy radio in the late 1970’s, Weird Al has established himself as the uncontested King of Pop Parody.

Michael Jackson even worseWeird Al has sold over 12 million albums and has won 3 Grammy Awards. He is a cultural chameleon: The 1980s saw Weird Al portraying comical caricatures of Michael Jackson and Devo. The 1990s brought iconic parodies of Nirvana and Coolio. Recently, Weird Al earned his first Top-Ten Billboard album with his 2006 release Straight Outta Lynwood

Weird Al - Off the Deep EndThe release of Mandatory Fun has been shrouded in mystery. Weird Al himself began to release mysterious images and teaser trailers only last month. Al commented on his own Facebook page, “A lot of people have been wondering when I’m going to release the lead single for “Mandatory Fun.” Well, here’s the thing… there IS no “lead single” for my new album. I’ll be releasing 12 “singles” all at once on July 15 – so you can decide for YOURSELF which songs are the hits!”

The Essential Weird AlAdditionally, Weird Al plans to release no less than 8 new music videos to promote the album. It seems safe to say that Mandatory Fun will be a massively entertaining and extremely listenable satire on today’s pop music.

Pre-order Mandatory Fun today on Murfie, and get it in your collection on July 15th! Each CD comes with unlimited streaming (Web, iOS, Android, Sonos) and downloads in mp3, aac, FLAC and ALAC. 

#FreeFriday

Nothing sounds quite as good as a giveaway.

On Murfie, we’ve got tons of albums in the marketplace (literally—tons!), just hangin’ out, waiting to be bought and listened to. We thought we’d give these lil’ fellas a quicker chance to be enjoyed—as they’re supposed to be—by giving them away to one lucky winner each week!

Introducing…#FreeFriday!

On #FreeFriday, one of our Murfie staffers will give you the rundown about a cool album in our marketplace. For a chance to win the album, all you gotta do is read the post, then share on social media at least one of these ways (the more you share, the better your chance):

  • Share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #FreeFriday (visibility settings on public)
  • Retweet one of the #FreeFriday tweets we send via @murfiemusic
  • Share our #FreeFriday Facebook post (in a public post)

Enough with the nitty gritty details. Now on to the free album we’re featuring!

the shins - chutes too narrowChutes too Narrow (The Shins, 2003)

Are you a lover of great indie rock? I’m talking about the fun, undeniably poppy, sing-along kind of indie rock, with just the proper amount of introspective lyrics and deep textured sounds. If that sounds right to you, then your collection will not be complete without Chutes too Narrow by The Shins.

James Mercer, lead singer and songwriter of the Shins and frontman of the newer indie rock outfit Broken Bells, is one of the best lyric writers that I’ve ever heard. His songs are saturated with imagery, and are mercilessly honest about the way people are. The songs on this album flow together quite well—the track list gives you plenty of opportunity to groove along with the hooky, melodic upbeat tunes, mixed with enough downtime during the more subtle songs. This album contains some of The Shins’ most popular and recognizable songs, but since every song is so different and unique, you’ll never get bored.

Share this post in one of the ways listed above, and I’ll let you know if you’re the winner on Monday! Best of luck!


Kayla Liederbach
@djkaylakush

Kayla manages social media and customer support at Murfie. You can hear her on the radio hosting U DUB, the reggae show, Wednesdays on WSUM. She enjoys hosting the Murfie podcast, cooking, traveling, going to concerts, and snuggling with kittycats.


Interview with Amy Ray

One of my favorite Murfie podcasts is the Amy Ray podcast. Not only did I have a great chat with her in the basement of The Frequency, surrounded by walls that are covered in thousands of band stickers, paintings, and initials, but I stuck around for her show—and it was rockin’! We even got her song “Glow” on video!

Here’s a transcript of that podcast from May 2012. Read on!

INTRO: This is Kayla here, with your Murfie podcast. I’m pleased to say that I got to meet Amy Ray when she came to town. You probably know her as part of the Indigo Girls, the award-winning folk-rock duo from Georgia. Now, she has a solo career to go alongside that, and a rockin’ new album called Lung of Love. Here’s a clip from the chat that we had before her show at The Frequency.

[MUSIC: “Glow” by Amy Ray]

Kayla: So I’m talking to Amy Ray right now, at The Frequency in downtown Madison. Welcome to Madison, first of all.

Amy: Thanks, I always love bein’ in Madison—always, always.

Kayla: Awesome. So you’re here debuting your new CD—you’re on tour for that. And for the past ten years, about, you’ve been going solo; so what’s that like after two decades with the Indigo Girls?

Amy: Well actually, I still do both, so it’s like, I started going solo around 2000 and just interspersing it with Indigo Girls stuff. And so, I mean, at first, it was kind of crazy because we Indigos were playing kind of big places and then when I started doing solo, I started just doing small clubs like The Frequency—which I’m still doing. So, it was kind of at first like I adjusted, and just learned how to— We drive ourselves, you know, fix my own amp, fix my guitars, you know, whatever needs to be done. And so, for me it’s like kind of, extremely DIY [laughs], is what it is, and Indigo Girls are extremely the other way. So, it’s like this great sort of thing that I just go back and forth between, and it gives me perspective on both things.

Kayla: Awesome. So, is it different putting out music nowadays, compared to the earlier days when you got started?

Amy: Yeah, ‘cause when we started, it was still, like, ’85. I mean, we started in ’80, but we were putting out music starting in ’85, and we were just out of high school. And we were doing cassettes—like how you made your friend mix tapes, we would make our little cassettes of our songs, and we did like a little vinyl single, and a little vinyl EP, and LP. Yeah, and college radio was a really big deal then, so that’s what you wanted: you wanted to get on college radio—and you still do, but now it’s harder. And um, you just had like a network—like in each city, you sort of had this network: you had the record store, the indie art paper, the college radio station, and the venue, and you tried to get all those things to kind of stick together. And that’s still what you should do, but like the difference now is that we have so many great tools—Facebook and Twitter and all these things—and ways to record music, and ways to get music out there, and everything’s cheaper. It’s either like, a really great thing, or it can be a really bad thing, but I think personally I like to look at it as a really great thing, cause I think it’s like tools that we can use to sort of get music out there, and cross-pollinate more, and share with our friends, and have music take its place as more of a community thing.

Continue reading Interview with Amy Ray