TROPO Interview

TROPO is a live band with electronic tendencies, fusing a mastery of synths with skillful live violin and layered beats. Anthony John d’Almeida, a friend of plug.dj and hardcore user, recently went to Lightning in a Bottle and had the awesome opportunity to sit down with Tyson and Grant Leonard, the founding brothers of TROPO, which we now present to you in all its glory. Be sure to explore their raw yet ethereal tracks on their Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Spotify, and iTunes! And read Anthony’s LIB recaps here and here if you missed them back in June!

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AJD: Tell me about your style and inspirations. How did this project come together?

TROPO: We’re really influenced by the electronic and DJ scene, but we’re live musicians–we don’t come from a DJ pedigree. We’re brothers and have been playing music together since we were kids. We learned violin together, and we’re just reflecting what’s happening in music. I find a lot of inspiration in DJs because they’re taking an already created form and producing an atmosphere. We’ve dabbled in a lot of styles, and don’t really try to go genre-specific. We’re just writing. Just making music. We used to be more instrumental, but we’re starting to bring in more vocals.

That’s just how things have been progressing. I think we have a positive message. At something like Lightning in a Bottle, there’s a spark in that special moment–you never know when that’s going to happen. Being live musicians, the audience affects us a lot. It’s a symbiotic relationship.

1656225_10152671203383782_1198777498_nAJD: As much as people love electronic music today, audiences really respond when live instrumentation is used in an electronic set. How do you feel about this rise in interactivity and instrumentation–or lack thereof?

TROPO: We’re really into the electronic scene, but tired of folks that aren’t really doing anything interactive. A lot of my friends say they don’t care–they’re there to dance. We actually do care what producers are doing live, even if its just controlling one aspect of a track. I still respect the quality of some of these producers and what they’re doing with music whether or not their doing something interactive. However, we enjoy seeing something other than somebody up there dancing.

Technologically, we’re in a place now where a lot of things are possible as far as interactivity, but you have to be willing to go out on a limb. If you program your whole set all the way through and you just twist a knob or two, you can’t connect and respond to the audience in the same way.

AJD: What’s you opinion of the state of electronic music and the music industry in general?

TROPO: We all know the music industry of the past is dead. The industry now is mostly musicians helping musicians. There are fewer middlemen–the festival people directly to the artists; the artists directly to the fans. There’s less of this star power–it’s all about the music and the experience.

AJD: Have you been to LIB before?

TROPO: We’ve been coming to LIB for several years, setting up our own camp in the beginning. A few years ago, we were able to play in the Temple of Consciousness. Last year we played the Grand Artique.

AJD: And this year you’re on the Main Stage!

TROPO: Yeah! It’s always been a dream to play here. Lightning in a Bottle has been a pretty big influence. Some of these artists are from outside this community, and LIB is showcasing variety. Half of these artists, though, were brought up in this scene. They were born in this, and I feel like we were too. From going to these transformational festivals like LIB and Burning Man, we continue to grow with the artists and the audience.

1533904_10152629982498782_1415109615_nAJD: How do you run the show technically-speaking?

TROPO: We use Ableton Live. We used to have all this analogue stuff but we’ve starting parsing things down. We got rid of monitors, amps, and outboard gear, and now everything you hear is going through Ableton and mixed with live drums.

AJD: What’s on the horizon for TROPO?

TROPO: More festivals, more touring. We’re also in discussions about our next release focusing on more vocal tunes, with some really banging band versions of them. So far all our CDs are are live–no overdubs. We just play the CD from beginning to end and release it. We’re doing this new record now, and talking to a great producer and sound engineer, Keith Olsen. We’ve been thinking about releasing our new tracks to a variety of remix producers to put out a well-rounded dance EP. We’ve always been a live band, but we love the club scene, too.

Announcing Email+Password Login

You have heard about Profile Pages along with Friends & Positive Vibes. Here is one more super awesome feature we know many of you are excited to hear about, Improved Login!

Email + Password

At long last, we are introducing email + password login so you can login without a social media account along with providing you faster account recovery.

Google + Twitter Login

When creating the new login system, we considered all of the options that would provide the easiest account recovery, so you can get to playing and listening to your music faster.

In the best interest of our community, anyone currently using Google and Twitter login can transfer to email+password and/or a Facebook login. Google and Twitter will no longer be supported on the site.

Don’t worry! There will be a simple walkthrough to transfer your account from Google and Twitter to either email+password or Facebook login. All of the really catchy playlists you have made, and all of your account information will be transferred when you convert from your Google/Twitter login to your new login method.

Improved Account Recovery

With email+password and Facebook login, account recovery will be available to every community member without having to email support first. If you forget your password, you will have the option to receive an email to reset it.

Check back on our blog for the announcement of our launch date!

The Geek x Vrv Interview

We recently had the pleasure of asking a few questions to The Geek x Vrv, a groovy electronic duo from France. Axel (The Geek) and Vincent (Vrv) have been rising names on the electronic music scene, performing with artists we all know and love like Gramatik, Pretty Lights, GRiZ and Dillon Francis. Their eclectic style is derived from soul, funk, hip-hop, jazz, and electronic influences. If you haven’t already, take a listen to these guys. It’s well worth it! Interview by plug.dj member Ash.

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Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions! Could you guys introduce yourself?

GxV: We are Axel Rondeau (25) & Vincent Teoule (21) aka The Geek x Vrv. We live in Paris and began producing music together one year ago.

Glad to meet you guys! The electronic/hip-hop scene has been dipping into mainstream lately with viral releases from major artists like Tha Trickaz, Pretty Lights, and Emancipator among others. What advice do you have for up & coming artists trying to break into this music scene?

GxV: Just do what you love, don’t follow the movement, take the time to create something new and fresh, and try to capture the emotion perfectly with your heart.

1Definitely a lot of truth about having your own musical-identity. At what point did you know this was the style of music you wanted to create?

GxV: Hmm… We don’t really know. We love hip-hop and electronic music, so we try to mix these styles together to create something new and fresh.

You guys have definitely done that. We’re really loving your Nostalgia EP off Otodayo Records. The “Reclaim Your Mind” sample from Terence McKenna really helped make that track so amazing. Could you tell us a little about your creative process and the roles samples play in it? 

GxV: Thanks man, glad to hear this. We are fans of Terence McKenna and we wanted to get a message across, so we used a sample of his and mixed it in with our track, which worked out perfectly, I guess.

2We’re also really enjoying the BTOS VOL.3! It was a great follow-up to the other two, and we’re always eager for more! Would you be able to introduce the plug.dj community to your BTOS releases? 

GxV: So, the BTOS series are compilations with our best instrumental hip hop made over a week, sometimes even less. It’s the ideal album for studying, chilling with friends, walking, skating or just to take a listen and enjoy.

How has it felt to play with artists like Gramatik, Pretty Lights, and Dillon Francis at some of the coolest venues around the world?

GxV: It’s been awesome because these guys are really talented and humble. They’ve given us advice about our music and it was really cool to meet them. We were like “Oh my god they are here!” just like little kids would say. Pretty Lights was amazing with us, that guy is really talented and he gave us some love on the mic before his show.

How would you describe your music in one sentence? 

GxV: It’s a mix between hip-hop & electronic music that some people call “Hip Hop Electro Soul.”

Without a doubt, your style of music is one of the most refreshing and enjoyable styles to listen to. We can’t help but imagine all the good times your music has led you to. Do you have any crazy stories about the fun times you’ve had through The Geek x Vrv?

GxV: Haha, there have been a lot, man. When we’re looking for samples, sometimes we’ll end up listening to some real creepy music, and sometimes we’ll have fans that want to steal our jackets.

You guys have been pumping out great tunes consistently and have given almost of all of them as a free download. Is there any reason for this? We’d happily support your releases and careers, although we do really appreciate the free DLs! 

GxV: For us, it’s important that the music is free for everyone on Earth. All people need love, and what is the perfect thing for that? Music! So share the music, spread the love.

That’s a perfect response. It’d be hard not to share feel-good music like yours. Do you have a favorite track of yours? We’re in love with “The Way of Love,” by the way!

GxV: Top 3: “Nostalgia,” “It’s Because” and  “Great Pleasure.”

3What do you think lies ahead for the future of The Geek x Vrv?

GxV: We are working on a new EP right now, but we can’t tell where and when it will be released.

We’re definitely excited, regardless. The plug.dj community has fans of yours from all over the world! Are there any upcoming shows a few of us may be able to drop by?

GxV : Our US Tour is expected to start in February 2015, and we’ll be playing shows around Europe throughout 2014.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us! Best of luck!

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Be sure to check out BTOS Volume 3 below and also their FacebookSoundcloud and Twitter pages!

Roskilde Festival in Denmark

Major plug.dj member JinKx recently went to Roskilde Festival in  and has a great recap about his time there. 

I went to Roskilde Festival, which is a 100% non-profit festival. All profit goes to support initiatives benefitting children and young people and to support humanitarian and cultural work. The festival itself consists of 32,000 volunteers and over 100,000 partygoers. This year there were about 166 bands on eight different stages. (Click here for an overview of the stages)

Everything started off with me and some of my friends getting in line for the grand opening, which consisted of about 50,000 people who all wanted to be let into the camping area at 6 p.m. When the time comes and the doors open, you have to run as fast as possible and try to secure yourself a good spot.

I spent most of the warm-up period chilling in “Street City,” which is an urban-inspired area with BMX and Skateboard facilities. Most bands that played on the stage here were either hip hop, trap or punk. Since I am an awful skater, I spent most of the time there listening to music and speaking to all the people who chose to sit beside me on the couch I had found.

Untitled3During the daytime there were all sorts of competitions going on, like a BMX Bowl, Ramp Freestyle event, Graffiti activity and even a Twerk competition involving Twerk-offs. When the evening period struck, live bands (mostly hip hop) would enter the scene and make all the BMX/Skateboard facilities into a party scene.

OutKast opened the real festival with mixed results. The bass was simply too heavy and distorted the lyrics and the rest of the sound. However, they did manage to save much of the concert with hits like “Ms. Jackson,” “Hey Ya,” and “Roses.” OutKast was followed by The Rolling Stones, who performed an amazing set with high energy regardless of their age.

Nevertheless, these two concerts had nothing extraordinary compared to the two concerts that I felt were the best of the festival. The first of the two was Pusha T. He and his crew delivered from the start of the show to the end. Most of his set came from his his new album, My Name Is My Name, but there were some oldies and also some Clipse tracks. With Pusha T’s stellar flow and sound, he clearly kept the party going on the Avalon stage, with hands waving in the crowd repeatedly.

Untitled4The other performance, and possibly one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to, was Major Lazer.

Their set was insane right from the very first second. Clothes were being thrown everywhere, everyone was jumping. On the stage you had three women twerking like their life depended on it. Diplo then began throwing flags and Major Lazer-themed dollar bills into the crowd.

Untitled6Midway through the show, a guy from the audience got picked to come up on the stage to thereafter get his hand and legs bound and partake in a bizarre form of twerk-torture. The music was constantly playing with songs being rewound to hit the drop multiple times, and of course the crowd reacted by losing themselves in mosh pits, wall of deaths, circle pits and dancing till their feet bled. Towards the end of the show, Diplo stopped the music and entered a plastic ball that he then crowd surfed with.

Apart from all the concerts, people in other camps had contests over who could throw the bigger party with their highly expensive custom-made mobile sound systems.

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This was my first time at Roskilde festival, but definitely not my last! The mood amongst the crowd was amazing. Luckily, the weather was great and the beers were cold. Overall, this festival was breathtaking, a great experience and just plain fun!

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Announcing Friends and Positive Vibes!

So you read about our last post on Profile Pages, username changes, and Special Characters. Well that’s just the beginning of what we have planned! We are super excited to tell you about Friends and Positive Vibes.

tl;dr

Friends and Positive Vibes are two awesome improvements to the Fan system and will open up lots of great future functionality and reward positive behavior!

Friends are a cool new way to connect with the people that you already love to hangout with on plug.dj (and all the awesome people you will meet). People will request to be your friend, and you can choose to accept those requests. The Friends feature will be released shortly after launch, and paves the way for new related features like private chat and some other cool stuff we have planned for the future.

Positive Vibes are a brand new way to encourage positivity on the site and praise community members that are making plug better everyday. You will unlock Positive Vibes after spending time on the site.  Give vibes to others to acknowledge how much they rock.

Together, Friends and Positive Vibes will be replacing the old and antiquated Fan system.

We can’t wait to show you these new features. Check back in a few days for our next feature post!

traduction française!

Aqui está a tradução em Português