A Tale of Two Roadies: The Maiden Voyage

I can’t believe I quit my job for this.

After 4 blown tires, 8 dead car batteries, 2 lost side panels, a broken generator, smashed A/C, a faulty alternator, and busted spirits, I can say with confidence this road trip was one of the best experiences in my life.

Our adventure begins back in Austin with our new toy, a 1984 GMC RTS II bus. Yes, an old city transit bus, capable of storing and transporting a hefty Bassboss speaker rig. Derek and I had high hopes for our unnamed love child. She was an instinctive and impulsive purchase from a friend leaving the country, a detail to which I should have paid closer attention. This raggedy bus had been hollowed out and kept in seemingly good condition, and we had hopes of one day turning it into our very own Feral Artists tour bus. A lofty goal, but still attainable.

We set sail on our maiden voyage to Tyler, Tx for a glow and foam rave. We needed to provide 2 ZV28’s, 4 BZERO’s, and 4 high top speakers with all the necessary amps and cabling, really heavy things. The itinerary was simple. We depart Thursday for Hot Springs, Arkansas to visit Derek’s parents and work on the bus, then we drive Saturday to Tyler for the gig, then we finally drive home. Simple enough.

Our spirits were high, even with a late start leaving Austin, and our first pit stop at Buc-ee’s was just 2 miles ahead…Suddenly, a huge BAM goes off. We start to lose speed, and my heart sank. I knew what had happened, but i refused to acknowledge my fears. While still on I-35 We pull over into the exit lane.. In the darkness I see a cluster-fuck of shrapnel and rubber, two blown tires.I couldn’t believe it. We frantically started calling tire shops at 10PM, but no one seems to have these ancient city-bus tires. Finally, a cop arrives, calls us a tow, and after a few hours we get towed off the highway thru the exit ramp and get dumped 200 feet from our original spot. I knew the bill would be large, but i had a near heart attack when Derek told me $1,440. Thanks to Derek’s resilience, we haggled down to $960. We decided to wait until morning to find our tires, so we began to wander the dark highway in search of the bus’s side panels which had been lost in the tire rupture. After a half mile walk, we found it shattered and in pieces. Just another half mile down the road we see a lone ‘W’ and we quickly reverted to survival mode. We needed sustenance, shelter, and most importantly, alcohol. The time in now 1:40am and there were only 20 minutes left to find our oasis. Alas! A bar was only 2 miles away! We quickly get our whataburger, call an Uber, and make it to the bar at 1:55am. We order 4 drinks at once and kept them coming till they kicked us out. That was easily one of the best beers we’ve ever had after such a horrendous evening. We got dropped off at the bus and prepared for a rough nights sleep. With a lone couch for Derek, I slept between the two front tire wheel wells on a deflated air mattress. Our generator had no juice from the dead battery bank, so I made do with what I had. The rumbling of semi trucks 100 feet away put us to sleep, and we forgot our problems until morning.

7AM came quickly. Upon further research, we found some old semi truck tires that would make suitable substitutes. After a quick $600 tire change and a hasty jump-start we were back on the road! I talked to an insurance agent and found that we could possibly get reimbursed for our tow and some other expenses, great. Our spirits were revived as we buzzed back down the highway. I look up and noticed we’ve traveled another 60 miles. I thought to myself we made it as far as we did last night before we blew the tires. Before i could finish my thought another BAM crushes my soul. Where most people would scream and rage, I sat there blankly staring at the two blown tires on the other side of the bus. Another shattered panel and another $600 tire change. Luckily, we had been sighted by the local tire shop so we were back on the road within an hour or two. We continued through Dallas when our blinkers and lights start acting up. Our batteries were dying and they could no longer power our turn signals. We knew we had to change the batteries out, so we set course for a shop. Just 10 miles out, Derek stands from the drivers seat to stretch and triggers the bus to shut off. The bus dies along with the batteries. We were forced to Uber to the shop, and bust out another $300 for four new batteries. By now, as the one in charge of finances, I just start adding up these costs and think of how we are going to make it out of this trip with our wallets in tact.

The battery swap was quick and we were able to get back on the road. We hit the 60 mile mark again and my anxiety rose just waiting to hear the blast from underneath. After more smooth sailing, it occurred to me that our technical difficulties were behind us. We made it to Hot Springs late Friday night and had a peaceful, warming evening with Derek’s parents.

I was glad we made the extra trip, despite our troubles and all, because this was the one part of the trip that kept Derek motivated to push forward. We stayed up late sharing stories of Derek’s delinquent past as his dad loaded bowls and his mom filled my chalice with white Zin. I felt at home, just as he did. We only had these few hours together as well as an hour for breakfast before we had to hit the road again to make our gig. After leaving Hot Springs an hour late, we were in a race against time to make it before 5pm. Of course, the bus can’t exceed 60MPH, so we had the pedal to the floor praying we don’t get sidelined again.

We arrived in Tyler just 20 minutes before the show starts and rush to set up. The volunteers for The Electric Rabbit company we’re great. We unloaded and plugged in by 5:30 and everything was functioning properly. I must apologize here to the opening DJs who’s set was cut short because we were late. I know the feeling all to well of having my set cut short due to production tardiness. The bus was pulled around to the side of the outside stage with the A/C running and i was finally able to relax. The party carried on as we made new friends and discussed the future of the bus with our artists, Steez. We crashed for the night in the bus until the sweltering heat forced us to get back to work.

Hungover and tired, we came to the realization that someone had stolen Derek’s phone. An unspeakable, subhuman act that was the cherry on top of this whole adventure. He traced it to Nacagdoches, Tx, about 70 miles away. Some scumbag stole his phone in the early morning and took off with it. That was the last straw, so I let Derek have his pity party in the bus. He laid back down and silently cried himself back to sleep while i gathered our cabling and moved speakers around to load back into the bus. The time had come to head back home after loading up. We said goodby to the crew and headed for Austin. We made it all the way back to Temple, the first city we broke down in, and stopped for a quick snack. Only 60 more miles till Mecca. Then, as if by some joke from a higher power, the bus refuses to start. The engine wouldn’t turn over, meaning the batteries and alternator weren’t getting along. We lay waste to another $400 buying new batteries and I could feel my debit card on fire. We swapped out the batteries, but it still wouldn’t turn on. The frustration was unreal and just before i ran into the middle of the highway, Derek noticed the bus is still in drive. We put it back in neutral and she starts right up. I rejoiced at the thought of just being home and putting this endeavor behind us, regardless of the thousands spent on this trip.

We finally returned home and our adventure was over. The maiden voyage was complete, and needless to say, it was a dumper fire of epic proportions. However, looking back a week later, after it was all said and done, I have to say these are the events that make a person as tough as nails. Like a boxer who is endearingly berated by his trainer, we had been beaten to the point of abandoning the bus in a ditch. This was the type of trip that makes every other obstacle just a speed bump on our journey to success. Im glad we had these issues on our maiden voyage because nothing else will compare to my disparaged soul on the side of the freeway trying to cope with the unfolding events. And hey, even if it does get worse, I know that I’ll be able to overcome it. I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I will always make it back home regardless of how many upper-cuts life throws at my face. The art of being able to pick yourself up, dust off the “woe as me” feelings, and get back on the road to your destination cannot be taught nor read. It has to be experienced. Those experiences will toughen your mental callouses so that any road block in the future becomes a stick in the road, ready to be crushed on your journey forward.

I now know for certain that Grindhouse, our Feral Agency, and everyone involved in our organization will find success in what they put their minds to. I have utmost confidence in our ability to grind our way to the top of the Austin music scene and make waves in our community as we aggressively take over Texas with our thunderous sound rig and unbelievably-talented line of producers. The Feral Tour is coming. A venue which Grindhouse can call “Our Grind House” is coming. A studio space for our artists to call home is coming. Grindhouse is coming in for the kill. Be ready.

A User’s Guide to One Step Program


One Step Program, a riveting Austin music producer and eccentric animation specialist, is carving a space in the recesses of 90’s nostalgia and bringing it to the forefront of the downtown ATX (Austin TX) music scene.  His unorthodox projection of subjective chaos manifests itself in an electro-hip-hop vibe paralleled by none.  While one foot is in the underground sounds of East Coast, West Coast Hip Hop from his formative years, the other foot is in the creative space of the new age which allows for the inventive conglomerations in which OSP has come to express.

Sharing his work on his two major platforms, Soundcloud and YouTube, OSP channels a poetic cynicism as his skills in the studio are matched by the vocal talent he has refined from his year as a Hip-Hop rapper.  With that chapter of his life far behind him, OSP has since devoted his artistic abilities to the unparalleled sounds of a mind so distant from the norms of which a casual audience may expect.  With no adherence to a single genre, each track is a sample of the pure creation that flows intricately through his fingertips, paralleled with his own track-specific recipe of sonic-wave virtual animations.  As the music touches you in ways you wouldn’t imagine, the videos he formulates are just as well.  Though, chaotic in its very nature, One Step Program’s output is bound by no means of audience expectation and thus it breeds limitless freedom of production.

That voice at the back of most people’s head demanding conformity for the sake of success and recognition is seemingly non-existent to One Step Program.  A single listen to one of his funkier tunes, I See the World Through my Selfies, and suddenly it becomes crystal clear that there is little noise between what goes on in his head and how the music comes out. This creates a special bond between the artist and listener because there is no performing act in the sense of a catered sound. Rather, the music and animations are imperatively made as a window to an idea far greater than the face value of a solitary sound.

Weeks go into each video animation on top of the already complex garage-style mixing of which steadily leaks from the bizarre collective pooling from one of OSP’s ears across to the other.   Having started with digitally-chaotic video animations as a means to portray his music, these videos have developed into a necessary element of the music.  Like a cold beer and a cigarette (or vape), the two aspects of intelligent design drastically complement each other.  Think about a windows 98 desktop. If that’s too much for you, use what you know from that same aesthetic culture and imagine a plethora of random clips without any pertinent context or meaning, then, throw those thoughts against a forever-morphing mess of color and pixel migration.

One Step Program, in the very name, the name suggests a similar feel that the artist is about.  The name refers to common rehab efforts and self-help programs.  Though rehab has very little to do with the artist, that same sarcastic despair of concept is true to the dry humor and crisp melancholy in the lyrics from track to track.

Keep an eye out for One Step Program in local venues, for he cannot be missed. Though it is never clear what the future holds, this man will be bringing the past with him, giving funky insight into the sounds of his own world to the weirdest city in Texas.

 

Glass Cannon: Transparent on their latest EP release, Strange Toes

Glass Cannon Strange Toes EP Album cover

 


 

Out on the arid plains of  West Texas, Glass Cannon is harmonizing the next spiritual awakening into an essence of ethereal frequencies seldom heard by man, woman, or child. The audacious trio, having just released their latest Strange Toes EP on Wump Collective Label only days ago, is well beyond the realms of complex logical reasoning, and thus, they leave us with the concentrate of a collaborative concept solitarily translatable through music.  Yeah, it’s like that.

Artists use the word “produce” very lightly in their endeavors of music creation, alas, the mere word “production” pitifully underestimates the rock-y psychedelic chaos and order of Glass Cannon’s output.  Having backgrounds in Metal, Blues, and West Texas rock, Kasey Chesnutt (drummer/producer) and Elias Salaz (guitarist/producer) meticulously weave tribal sounds of the world and radical guitar riffs into a concise interstellar stew of self-reflection, inducing a much needed existential analysis.

Lately, Glass Cannon have found themselves wrapping these righteous rhythms around Dubstep samples. Though, with the immeasurable depth of layers, it is difficult to pay attention to any singular facet at once. Simply brilliant!

Drifting along the high ground in the folds of their tracks, are the other-worldly vocals of the dreamy Holly Harper.  Where the mind wanders in the midst of Glass Cannon’s mystical melodies, it also finds purpose within the timely lyrics, grounded in the heart of the track.  The chemistry between the two creates a juxtaposed friction in which you’ll still find yourself craving when the Texas electronic scene grows stale, as it does at times.

Living in Texas, Glass Cannon conjure a lot of their psychedelic-acoustic inspiration from jam-band shows they have seen, live, all over the state.  For those of you who have never experienced Texas, the local band scene is a thriving niche that Texans relish from town to town.  Glass Cannon has taken extraordinary advantage of ‘jam band’ opportunities and turned them into fuel for the vigorous groove that drives the traditional rock sound behind their songs.  This same inspiration lends to the ironic fact that their ‘wonky’ sound, as they describe it, is something they are trying to introduce and spread across the entire Texas electronic scene.

While Glass Cannon is a definitely a niche sound, they cannot be restrained by one single genre.

Genres have no application to Glass Cannon, so much as a partial vibe in only given moments of their music. However, they do have a goal for a general theme and that in itself is, ‘wonky’.  Make no mistake as this general theme is no limitation to Glass Cannon’s capacities as rhythmic engineers, rather, that their music is non-traditional.  Others might say that Glass Cannon is past the labels we may try to adhere to them.  Given that, you should be gob smacked to know that the fresh release of Strange Toes EP is a year behind their current state of musical affairs.

No secrets need to be unraveled here, though after heavy indulgence of their latest EP, the music that they have in the works for the future, hinting at possible Drum n’ Bass sounds, should do no less than rip the quaint sanity right out of your coddled skull, and explode it into the spatial vacuum of your own immediate vicinity.  Find a safe place and light some sage because the spiritual intensity that lives within Strange Toes EP is a precursor to an era of Glass Cannon that just might move us into the next evolutionary trials of human aspiration.

Glass Cannon is stretching their arms all over Texas as they are talking about a possible tour in the future.  With Wump Collective behind them, Glass Cannon truly wishes to peel open the hearts, minds, and souls of their fan base and future listeners. They want to encourage others to explore what they have, not only inside but on the outside as well. There is whole world out there being uncovered and repainted with colors of ingenuity and original design.  Part of this starts with Strange Toes EP, and the rest is more-so up to your therapist!  If you want to know what the future holds, fire away with Glass Cannon because they will surely continue to blast introspective shrapnel across your cognitive space… man.

Austin Answers Houston Disaster with Bass and Love: 12th Planet and Friends

This Summer, Austin proved its love, deeply and proudly, as the great hearts of our electronic community raised over $7500 toward the Houston relief fund.  12th Planet got manic behind the decks at Vulcan Gas Company with support from Bailo, Grime Tribe, Bird Peterson, and special guest, Crizzly.  Together these talented artists brought the house down in the most endearing of ways.  Complimenting this selflessness, the Austin electronic community appeared in droves to support the Houston people as desperation climbs each and every day.

The masses came and packed Vulcan Gas Company to the brim.  It was truly a night that embodied the profound care and humanity we all share together.  The power of love greatly transcended the taboo of raging on a week night as the beautiful souls of bass and rhythm collectively danced the night away in a manner that only a fan of heavy electronic tunes may understand.

 Like a close family, the stage was a busy conglomerate of cheerful souls performing their pieces together, seamlessly.  Answering these coordinators of jest and jive were the savage creatures of the night- the loving workers of the day, together an unstoppable momentum for good.

Sweating and raging the night away in a timely-choreographed procession of neck-breaking headbanging, the dance floor was writhing. It was a prophetic exchange between selector and audience.  The whole establishment was pounding from top to bottom with all of those wishing to administer love to our fellow Texans in dire need of all the help they can get. And that’s exactly what they did. The air carried a sentimentality beyond the saturated commercialism so often curated at local electronic events.  Alas, this fateful Wednesday, financial gain was the last thing on anyone’s minds.

The walls echoed a previous era of clubbing, lost in the midst of a since-grown lust for revenue.  The DJs were not only a paid component of the evening, no, they were a warm complement to crowd and Austin culture that sought to better our society by performing and dancing equally and with equal intentions at heart.  As most shows are an experience, they have an underlying flavor of commercial gain, however that was not the case this particular evening.

With tickets sold at bare-minimum price and the promise of an unforgettable night, it wasn’t hard to believe the unending affection and respect that each person had for one another as the mutual understanding of a beneficial cause united everyone under sounds that mere mortals should only hear in their worst nightmares and wildest dreams.  Such is the case with Austin’s growing riddim scene, not to mention the legendary sounds put out time and time again by theworld’s beloved 12th Planet.  Back-to-back, the lads twisted, chopped, and faded the night onward into a righteous oblivion, leaving it all on the field in a high-octane display of ecstasy and passion.

Ending the night, a calculated $7500 was raised by none other than the beautiful patrons of Austin’s local electronic community, growing in size and friendship each and every day.

It is no secret the special bond shared by everyone who attended that evening and all of those whose thoughts were with Houston that night.  The future is determined by efforts and action.  To no one’s surprise, Austin answered in many ways to the travesty of Houston’s current devastation, this event was only one of them. What an event it was!

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Houston and its neighboring towns as we hold tight and stay vigilant to help those in need.  This event will forever reflect the virtues we hold close to us as fellow humans in the State of Texas.

Texas EDM: Let there be Blaize!

 


 

Hitting the scene in Texas this Fall, packing his arsenal with steadfast weapons of rhythm and bass is Blaize, otherwise known as Texas native, Austin Moses. Bursting from the sprawling woodwork of San Antonio, Moses is about to boast his latest work as his originality poses an even greater threat to the stagnant waters of the beloved Texas electronic scene than anyone else in his position.  Allow yourself the pleasure of indulging this mastermind of the works with his latest Faded EP, one song at a time on select dates in the next month!

As the culture of electronic music is so wonderfully rich in various tones and feelings through and through, you’ll find very quickly that Blaize has a very keen grasp of the whole pallet.  Anyone could swear each song was produced by separate artists, however those thoughts quickly vanish as an underlying theme of poetic intelligence becomes clearer and clearer with each song.  It is truly a journey with this artist.

Inspired by his roots of hip-hop, Austin Moses decided he would incorporate the rhythm and flow into his music as he sought to master the various bass genres, mid-tempo, riddim, trap, dubstep, you name it. And, well, lo and behold he’s done it! There is no mystery behind his growing traction throughout Texas and not only in San Antonio.  His sound will be widely adopted by the rest of the country as this beloved state pioneers Moses into the ears and minds of our hopeful and joyous youth!

Go Hard!

Already released is his first track of the EP, Everything, which is available for free download on his Soundcloud, signed with KNA Records. The track is an excellent precedent to the beasts in chains, waiting to be unleashed upon the masses!  Speaking of the Masses, catch Blaize this Fall for Foam Wonderland in San Antonio where he will be playing with the internationally praised artists- Deorro, and Breathe Carolina!

As for the release dates, Faded EP will be coming out, track by track, consecutively every week.  If you’ve never heard Blaize before, you’re making a mistake as his being is truly embedded with his music as he realized earlier on that instead of pleasing everyone with a variety of genres, you must please yourself.

He states,

“I realized I’m not doing this for everyone else. I’m doing it for me. That’s when I started making music with no boundaries.”

As the weeks fly by, this timeless philosophy will ring true, heavily, as his bangers will drip into the grimy, bass coffee pot on these select dates…


September 11th – Ganja (Opulence Records)

September 18th – Fade (Riddim Cartel)

September 25th – Big Daddy (Recall Records)

October 2nd – Infinity (Blaize)

Foam Wonderland! – September 30th


 

This month will be ripe with anticipation for a lot of things, school, sports, and music.  As Blaize is representing Texas EDM with flying colors, it would be simply traitorous to miss the obscene sounds this man has planned for everyone.  Get your squads and waters ready, because your local clubs are going to be shaking at their very foundations as your openers and local talent will find that the peaks of their sets may just be a Blaize anthem, peaking through the dance floor, and rightfully so!