Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Switzerland!!

Switzerland.  March 9th 2:07am  Random thought. There's something about a man wearing a pair of Uggs that will never sit right with me. But hey. That's just me. I know they're really comfortable and all but............... SWITZERLAND!!!!!!! God is good. I always feel so blessed when I take these trips. On one hand, I've been doing music professionally for 27 years, but on the REAL hand, there's nothing one can do to earn Gods blessings or favor. It's a blessing I'm telling you.  I'll give you one better. There was a time that I'd take these trips and hate coming home to my neighborhood. From the shootings, stolen cars, to the drugs that seemed to be part of the fabric of where I lived. Coming home back then was truly depressing. But Gods favor has allowed me to see a day that............ I think you see where I'm driving at.  Anyway, SWITZERLAND!!!!!!!!!  March 9th 4:31am  My trip was uneventful so far. But the club staff and the owner of Aubrey were so sweet. When I arrived they allowed me to come to the club/restaurant and order anything I wanted from the menu. Unlimited drinks. Some of the workers and staff remembered me from the last time I was here. I really liked that. It was sweet. The bartender remembered me. It made my heart smile. So I ate and went back to my hotel to sleep. I got up around 8:30 and went back to the club which is across the street. I parlayed with the folks until it was time for me to rock.  I went on around midnight. There was a young guy(21 years old) who wanted to hear all Blaze old stuff. That was sweet. I played a song or two, but I've learned that it's better to mix it up. To be so young, he had an old school mentality. He wanted to hear vinyl and classics. I used to be the same way. But I learned to find the good in most genres of music. There is definitely some value in all genres. Soulful House music is usually spiritual. The lyrics and overall feeling can sometimes be mistaken for Gospel. But techno, and please please listen to what I'm about to say you soulful house lovers, techno can be MEDITATIONAL!!!!  I find that good techno has a MEDITATIONAL value in it. The sounds can be ambient and enveloping. The repetition gives it a mind relaxing quality. I plan to cleverly sneak one such record in my sets. I'm all for trying new things. I'm supposed to meet with Kiko Navarro tomorrow. We're going to talk about the possibilities. That would be awesome. I have a healthy respect for him. He's been successful at doing harder sounds for a while. I'd like to hear what we come up with.  I started a little earlier than 12:30.  I started my set with Black Coffee's "Crazy." Something nice and neutral. But I played some of my new experimental stuff, some HoneySweet, and other Honeycomb gems that are coming out. The crowd dug it!!!!!!!!! That was cool.  One song was playing and a DJ asked what it was. That's the ultimate compliment.  Did I ever mention that I'm working on a solo project?? This is probably going to be one of the most complex things I've ever done. There's so many musical sides that I'm into. Kenny Dope and I have more joints that we want to finish. But then there's Kiko who wants to explore a more Techy side. I have my own Jazzier Soul, and not to mention some fusion. Kev Dot Kruz gave me an R&B House Joint that's killing. PiranhaHead wrote a gem that I stole from him. Jose Carretas gave me a record that I love. So you see there are so many different sounds that I want to tackle. How do you do it all? Not to mention that I want to do a monthly party. Trippy ain't it? Alright. I'm going to sleep. Talk with you in a few..  1:17pm  I'm rested. Would have appreciated more pillows(*in my best divan voice.) but I'm rested. Today I'm supposed to rock in another town called Basel. The last time I played there the crowd was young and wanted to hear harder house. The promoter, who played before me, played for maybe 5 people. And when I got on the club was empty. Tonight is the sequel. Oh boy!! LOL.  1:28pm  I've been working on the Honeysweet project for a while and I'm getting closer to the end. Here's the thing, the project is Hot. These guys are equivalent to Santana, War, Brainstorm, or Rufus. But still can fit under the house music umbrella. Most of the songs are instrumental, but I'm thinking of adding lyrics. Why not, right? I'd have to really get on it fast if I'm going to do lyrics. I have some artist that are new to our scene that I will expose on this project. Mona Bodé, Sage Youngblood, and Diamond Dancer, who we know, are contributing their spoken word talents to the project. Even Gloria has expressed interest in possibly doing a spoken word song. Gloria!! I know right?!?!? But she's been into poetry for a long time. I think she and plenty others got turned off when the poetry scene became saturated with poets that tried to emulate the same style as the poets of the 60's. Everybody got super deep, and had tortured souls. Anyway, it'll be nice to see what she comes up with.  Random thought.. "Everything must change" is a very true statement. It's almost cold. But it's the truth. Another statement that is even heavier to me is "Nothing stays the same." That's true for a lot of things that we as humans don't care to accept. For instance, it's true for marriage, our children, our paths, friendships, careers, even our spiritual lives don't remain the same.  As recent as 20 years ago we've seen major changes in the world with the Internet, and cell phones. The older generations sometimes resent the younger generations because they didn't have the same opportunities. That goes for most professions.  Walt Frazier, and Bernard King were both all star basketball players in the 70's. But Lebron James' diamond earrings are probably worth more than the salary that Walt and Bernard were making.  Joe Namath, who in his day, was one of the NFL's best quarterbacks. But Michael Vick made more money in one contract than Joe did in his entire career.  The same goes in the music industry. Technology has made it easy for just about anyone to do music. Nowadays, anybody with a laptop can make music and release it.  Years ago, being a DJ meant that you paid dues. You went to the record store and was educated on the music. The record store was almost like a classroom. You earned the title DJ. Thoren turntables(the standard before Technics 1200's) were not so easy to mix records on.  Back then, not only did one learn the music well enough to program it, but one had to learn how to blend a record with another. And another thing that made it difficult is that the records themselves were recorded differently. There were a lot if records that had live musicians. A live drummer can't keep time like a computerized drummer. A live drummer will fluctuate. And the DJ would have to blend in the next record seamlessly. It wasn't easy.  But today.......... It's as easy as the pushing of a button. Literally. And these new DJ's are traveling around the world on not even half of the talent of the older DJ's. Making money that the older DJ could not fathom. The crowds have changed. Soulful House was once the top style of house music. The WMC was once a soulful house thing. Major radio once played Soulful House all over the world. Years ago when Bobby Brown was at the TOP of his game, Blaze opened up for him at the Wembley arena in the UK. Soulful House was really something. But NOTHING STAYS THE SAME.  For me it's better to embrace the new and the old. Embrace Soulful and tech. If I got into tech would that mean that I'm less down? Does our anger toward the new and different reflect our inability to do(DJ, produce, write, or sing) other styles of music? I'm almost a little sick of hearing about what used to be. I was there. Been doing it since 84'. I've earned the right to say what I'm saying. I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to embrace it all. I'm not going to be one thing. I'm telling you all right now that you will CERTAINLY be hearing some Tech, Jazz, Electronic, R&B, Fusion, Ambient, Hard House, Funk, and maybe some hip hop styled music from me.  Why are we so afraid of change?? And just so you know, I've not always felt this way. I used to be narrow minded and selfish when it came to Soulful House. I used to frown on change, new talent, and other styles of house. But I've matured and learned that we NEED these things in order to survive. We actually need the Martinez Brothers. I know that they're young, but that's exactly what we need in our scene. YOUTH!!  Ummm. I stayed on that too long.   8:30pm  Junior B came right on time. I'm in his BMW being driven to dinner. Feels good. I'm ordering steak. Yay!!!!! Random thought. This Italian guy kissed me on my cheek last night and said "BRAVO." At the end of the night I saw him again. And he thanked me for a great set and kissed my cheek again. Am I gay now?  9:58pm  I'm at the "Block House" restaurant. It's a Steak House. PERFECT!!!  The Caesar salad was sooo good. The bread was made on the premises. Just waiting on my steak.   11:39pm  Well I'm here. The name of this spot is Excellent. I'm seeing a lot of young kids in their 20's. Maybe it's me and my age insecurity. But I immediately started thinking to myself, "what do you have that's hard?"  Sad ain't it? Why can't I feel confident about the vocal stuff? I'll try to play around with a little of both. Maybe I can turn these kids on to some Peven, Monique, or Honeycomb stuff. We'll see.   11:49pm  The DJ is now playing Darryl D'Bonneau. There is hope. You see this is why I need a spot. A nice monthly intimate spot. Someplace where I can create an environment to build my own sound.   March 11th 1:02 am  I'm about to go on. I hope this works out. LOL!  3:06 am  OK. I confess. I played slightly harder than usual. Out of 100 records, 2 of them were vocals. I'm exaggerating but you see where I'm driving at. Question. Does this mean I'm selling out? LOL... Does this mean that now that I've opened up to different styles of house, I'm less down? I want you to be honest with me when you respond. I remember how we treated Dave Cole, not that I'm comparing myself to him. But he tried to tell me when he was alive that there is more to this thing than what we're doing. He said it to me personally. And showed the world when he did C&C Music Factory. I'm not saying that I'm following his footsteps. But he was right.   4:24 am  In my hotel room. The night was successful. I'm feeling like I'm onto something. Goodnight.   8:15pm  I had a relaxed day. Heinz(one of the DJ's at Aubrey club), Vera and their beautiful son Marvin took me to the Lake. I saw a little bit of Old Switzerland. I had some Mickey D's and eventually got back to the hotel.  I was taken aback at 4 year old, Marvins maturity. There certainly is a culture difference between the way Americans and Europeans raise their children. I don't think they baby their children. Vera spoke to him like he was a little adult. He was brilliant. That was interesting.   March 12th 8:47 am  I'm here on the plane. And I gotta say, I had a great time. As I was entering the gate guess who I ran into? Anané Vega and Anto Coghe from Nulu records. That felt really nice. I felt like a "cat", you know what I mean? Like a real traveling musician. Bumping into other respected cats in Switzerland. You hear stories like that a lot in the grown up world of music all of the time. "Yea I ran into Diddy when I was in Prague..." and so on. I'm proud of Anané. I've watched her go from being a pretty woman that sings to her own entrepreneur. you have to hand it to someone who makes things happen.  Speaking of making things happen, I'm going to really switch gears musically. I'm sure I sound like a broken record. But I'm going home with such inspiration. My brother Moses is going to help me move my studio from where it is to my basement. It's really on now!!!!! Oooooooo. Just wait. LOL!!! That's all I have for now. Oh wait.... Random thought. What producer do you know or have heard of, that strikes you as the most die hard soulful cat in the business? I mean the type of producer that "ain't gone do that radio bs for nobody!" You have that person in your head? Now.. Say Lady GaGa or Nicki Minaj approached that person with $15,000 to do a commercial sounding mix with a guaranteed mix on the next single. Do you think that person would decline? Without naming anyone, let's not start a fight here, just answer the question. Yes or No. What would you do?