Thursday, September 05, 2013

Interview: DJ Charlie - Love & Hip Hop

DJ Charlie is one of the hardest working DJ's in Austin. The guy is everywhere. You'll catch him DJ'ing for many of the shows around town to holding it down at several weekly events like at Plush. His love and approach to his art and his craft really shine through as you talk to him. You can even tell by his choice of venue for this interview; the restaurant, Ramen Tatsu-ya, run by one of his idols, DJ Tats.

The DJ Charlie story is very much an intertwining of love and Hip Hop, not unlike Common's "I Used To Love H.E.R." At times you wonder, if he's chasing the girl or if he's chasing Hip Hop. I guess he's chasing both.

The Sirens Come Calling

The beginning of the story reads like a typical guy chases girl story only with a DJ twist. The steps to victory seem all so simple, yet as everyone knows, the execution would prove much more difficult. The game plan goes like this: girl likes DJ's, get into DJ'ing then get girl, score. And so, the journey starts and we find our heroine at Guitar Center buying a DJ box set with all of his hard earned cash.

DJ Charlie never did get the girl, but he did immediately fall in love with DJ'ing. A pivotal moment in his growth came at 14 years old when DJ Charlie ventured out to a rave. And where he stood hypnotized at the turntables listening to drum and bass. Over the next several years, he would amass a collection of hundreds of drum and bass records.

The high school years would be a mix of partying and childhood indiscretions. On one such occasion, while DJ'ing at a house party, the cops show up and bust the party. After his parents were called to pick him up at 4 in the morning, on the ride home, DJ Charlie springs out of the car to run away from the certain beating that would have surely come from his father. And as if by fate, the sounds of drum and bass called to him like sirens from a near by house. With a knock on the door and an introduction that was sure to have sounded shady, DJ Charlie finds his first DJ friend and mentor, B1 of Sonar DnB at Plush.

Finding Love and Hip Hop

As fate would have it, another girl would become the obsession of DJ Charlie. Only this time, he would get the girl and she would be his first love. This new love would expand his knowledge of Hip Hop, introducing him to old school Hip Hop like Atmosphere, Aesop Rock, Immortal Technique, A Tribe Called Quest and Black Star. This next chapter would see the birth of Hip Hop in DJ Charlie.

As DJ Charlie starts taking the business of music more seriously, he would start to make a name for himself by teaming up with Kydd of the LNS Crew. The partnership would result in tours Pac Div, Curren$y and even Public Enemy. However, even with all the trials and tribulations during these shows, DJ Charlie will tell you that he finally grew hair on his balls when he was invited into the Table Manners Crew by DJ Digg of HOTT Bookings. And that's because of the respect and reverence DJ Charlie has for DJ Tats and the TMC establishment.

So after finding love and Hip Hop, what does the future hold for our knight in shining armor? No one knows for sure. What is certain is that DJ Charlie will try his best to infect your minds with some dope ass music.

The moment you play a track that you don't love. You're no longer doing what you love.
You're doing a job. You just clocked in. - DJ Charlie

More info:

Table Manners Crew (TMC) -

Friday, August 02, 2013

Interview: Magna Carda - At the Crossroads of Serendipity and Magic

Magna Carda, the Austin Hip-Hop band, has come upon the scene seemingly out of nowhere with their first single “Inviting You”. And if you thought the band’s name was a genius-ly crafted marketing stunt to coincide with Jay-Z’s recently released Magna Carta, you aren’t the only one. And that’s not the only magically serendipitous moments in the formation of the band, Magna Carda, composed of Megz Kelli (Rapper), Dougie Do (Producer), Eric Nikolaides (Guitar), Quentin Walker (Bass) and Joe Layton (Drums).

Let’s rewind several years back to the St. Edwards’ campus when a chance introduction between two artists, Megz Kelli and Dougie Do met. The flippant meeting was quickly brushed off as just another person met in the travels of life. At the time, both were still experimenting and discovering their own artistic styles. But as fate would have it, Megz and Dougie Do would meet again and realize that their unique styles could be molded into something unique unto itself. Early on, there was always a desire to form a band. However, for Megz and Dougie Do, the attempts at forming their own band would prove to be difficult. 

But those frustrations would lead to two duo projects, Creature Creative and The Shoe String Theory. We see in Creature Creative the early experimentation by Dougie Do with sampling. And we witness in Megz, the voice of a young woman discovering a canvas to paint on with her pent-up emotions. From Creature Creative, here is Red Bottom Chronicles.

A year will go by before the duo will drop their next project. The Shoe String Theory would be a coming out party of sorts for the duo. Megz’s sound would grow to be inspired by neo-soul and her father’s gospel background. The poetry she brings in Shoe String Theory flows with a womanly strength. The ying to the yang, Dougie Do discovers the confidence of a man who’s lived around the world and influenced by sounds from bossa nova to electronic. You also see the influence of Jazz, which came from Dougie Do’s grandfather who was also a DJ in the Airforce. One of my favorite, here is Feel Good from Shoe String Theory.

The current chapter would be the formation of Magna Carda. After witnessing one of the legends, Mos Def at Emo’s with a full band, the gears and inspiration would be set in motion. I was also at the concert and remember that night well. Not only did you witness one of the greats, Austin was treated to greats of our own, LNS Crew, Riders Against the Storm, Crew 54 and Bavu Blakes. It was indeed magical.

They say serendipity is being at the right place at the right time. And the formation of Magna Carda is quite a serendipitous story. What else would you call finding your bass player disguised as the A/C maintenance guy by the name of Quentin Walker? How about finding your drummer, Joe Layton, while performing due to a last minute cancellation at the KVRX live show? Who just happens to be the son of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s drummer, Chris Layton. And then the cherry on top, you throw into the mix, Eric Nikolaides from America’s Got Talent from another one of Austin’s dynamic duo, Eric and Olivia.

At the crossroads of serendipity and magic, Magna Carda is "Inviting You".

More info:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Interview: Cory Kendrix - Realize Your Ignorance Before Committing

They say life's a journey. While that may be true, many of us go through life with blinders on. We're constrained by our own fears, insecurities and trapped by dogma. When you meet Cory Kendrix, a member of the Austin hip-hop group, LNS Crew, you quickly realize that he is a nonconformist and the shackles of society do not pertain to him. In the soon to be released EP, “Ignorance”, Cory wants people to take those blinders off and be more aware of their own ignorance.

The life story of Cory Kendrix starts off in Oregon and at the young age of 11, he moved to Austin, TX. Soon after, Cory started working and developing his skills as an artist. He would blend his west coast influences with the unique Austin culture and sound that would become Cory’s self reflective smoker friendly sound. The time he spent working on his craft and art would lead to lifelong friendships and would eventually turn into the local powerhouse, LNS Crew.

The Cory Kendrix solo discography starts with a project called “The UnMixTape” and the most recent work, “Free Beer.” His historical works show a very introspective artist touching on such topics as relationships, drug use and coping with mental distress. The story of a man coming of age and figuring out life and the world around him is reflected in these earlier works.

“Ignorance”, the title of the soon to be released third solo project by Cory, in his own words will be very “ignorant”, very “ratchet” and more club friendly. “Ignorance” is the next step in the evolution of Cory as an artists and as a human being. The project will be a collection of his learnings about the artist lifestyle, the highs and lows and a warning of the pitfalls to avoid.

The first single, “Hold It In”, features fellow Austin artist Sertified along with Worldwide of San Antonio. The mellow trap production of Scott Pace gives the song a smooth house party feel which fits the strong collaboration between the three. Listen to the first single, “Hold It In” off of “Ignorance”.

In the past year, Cory along with LNS Crew, have been on a whirlwind tour across the country from California, NY, Atlanta and Texas. As part of the LNS Crew, Cory performed in LA with Chuck D of Public Enemy and other hip-hop legends on the HipHopGods Tour. (Cory wanted to give a huge shout out to Redbull and the Redbull team for putting the LNS Crew on.) And just recently, LNS Crew was announced as part of Fun Fun Fun Fest in November.

For the new EP, “Ignorance”, the planning for tours are already in the works, so be on the lookout for those. In the near future, you can catch Cory on Sunday, July 21st.

More info:

Cory Kendrix -
Sertified -
Worldwide -
LNS Crew -

Hold It In (SoundCloud) -
The UnMixTape (Bandcamp) -
Free Beer (Bandcamp) -