Sometimes You Find Gold in the Ghetto … Division, That Is…

It isn’t often that great music reaches out to a community and is successful.  Ghetto Division, a label and production crew of young aspiring DJs from the South side of Chicago, who are changing the club scene around the world.  Ghetto Division hosts events that bring people of all ages together and creates a place for its young to call home.  They have had the privilege of hosting events at Smart Bar, the Metro and many other popular Chicago hot spots.  Ghetto Division has many loyal fans that come out to all their events and represent Chicago’s finest DJs.

Ghetto Division consists of DJs Charlie Glitch, M-Dok, Moonman, Rob Threezy, Rampage, Maddjazz, Lorenzo Vektor, D-51, Sigma and Louie Cue.  Ghetto Division has worked in production with Ghetto Division Records, Mad Decent, Nightshifters, Idiot House, and T & A.  Because of their ability in spinning all kinds of music, such as house, juke, ghettotech, bassline, heavy house, rave, dubstep, techno, Ghetto Division has been fortunate to reach many different crowds.  They have even had the experience of DJing events out of Chicago and the country; they have DJ’ed events in Belgium, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Netherlands, and Puerto Rico.

Ghetto Division first began in Hot Jams, a record store located in Chicago’s Archer Heights neighborhood.  The future Ghetto Division DJs would meet up and work on music all day, everyday in order to be at their best for local events hosted on weekends.  As time progressed, their tracks were gaining a lot of positive public attention.  Front man, Charlie Glitch knew they had great potential and didn’t want to lose track of any of the talent.  So Glitch decided they should become a crew.  The crew hoped that they would be recognized as a strong, versatile crew with a variety of musical influence and knowledge that completes their sound.

Ghetto Division’s DJ Charlie Glitch was born and raised in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.  DJ Glitch was first introduced to DJing at the age of 12 by his father who was also a house DJ too.   DJ Charlie Glitch was born the minute his father taught him how to put a record on a turntable and he never looked back.  Since then, Glitch started getting gigs at house parties, underground events, and even started producing with Hot Jams at the age of 19.

So far, Ghetto Division has had a positive effect on the community by bringing youth together at events and showing more than the traditional gang lifestyle that surrounds Chicago’s streets.  While many of the DJs agree that education is important, they also agree that when you are successful at something, like influencing the community, you can get hooked. But they do aspire to complete their educational careers.

Because of their positive influence, the DJs of Ghetto Division have said that the task of managing school and their music production can be a struggle.  Some of the DJs had to put their education on pause just to advance in the competing music world.  Sometimes when you’re gifted at what you do, you have to follow those dreams, and hope that it is the right decision.

Last summer, Ghetto Division lost one of its members, Jeff A. Maldonado a.k.a. J-Def.  On July 25, 2009, J-Def was tragically shot and killed, a day after his 19th birthday, in the Pilsen neighborhood.  J-Def, who was a student at Harold Washington College, was passionate about graffiti art and music.  J-Def did not stand for gang violence and it was unfortunate that gang violence lead to his death.  Ghetto Division learned from J-Def’s misfortune and turned it into a positive example for the Pilsen community to fight against gang violence.  Because of incidents like this, Ghetto Division makes sure they’re accessible to the youth in the community.

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/video?id=6935823

Even though a traditional education isn’t dominant within Ghetto Division, they still believe education is important.  They hold free DJ and production lessons for the community and stream a live radio show every Friday on restrictedradio.com from 4 PM to 10 PM.  Ghetto Division does this because they feel it is important to get the youth out of the streets and involved, since the South side of Chicago is notorious for violence.  As DJ Charlie Glitch says, “It’s important to get them involved in something they deem important, and why not have fun while learning?”

Ghetto Division is currently working on their label and planning tours.  Their upcoming tours range from around the country to Canada.  Eventually, they would like to do a world tour.  Ghetto Division is even working on opening a Ghetto Division store and maybe opening multiple recording studios.  Apart from that, they have been focusing on throwing events, working on new tracks, and gaining exposure.

In Chicago, they can be seen DJing at Smart Bar and the Metro.  On May 7th they will be at the Abbey Pub, on June 19th they will be at the Congress Theatre, and July 2nd they will be performing along with many other popular artists, at Soldier Field.

If you’d like to follow Ghetto Division or get involved, check out these sites for more information:

http://www.ghettodivision.com

http://www.twitter.com/ghettodivision

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ghetto-Division/110151579702?ref=ts

http://www.myspace.com/ghettodivision

http://www.soundcloud.com/ghettodivision

http://restrictedradio.com/

http://www.myspace.com/490710563

Isaura M. Salinas

Just Within My Grasp: Lauren of Lily Monroe

In order to live your life to the fullest, you have to follow your dreams and your heart.  Growing up, I was taught how important it is to have faith and not let obstacles keep me from achieving my goals, no matter how big they may seem. My parents always told my sister and me that we could be anything we wanted. Looking back, I see why they were so adamant on us pursuing our dreams. They missed opportunities in their own lives because they didn’t have faith. Now they both work jobs they don’t enjoy, but they have always been confident that my sister and I will accomplish great things in life and most importantly to enjoy every minute of it. As a senior majoring in Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago, I’m balancing the practical life of school with my dream of being a musician, and my parents couldn’t be prouder.

Lauren of Lily Monroe

I sing in a group called Lily Monroe with my older sister Christien Cain, who is a UIC graduate with a B.A. in Criminal Justice. The group was officially formed in 2008; however, we’ve sung together our whole lives. It is hard to classify what genre we fit into, but R&B would be the easiest way to put it. Some of the influences for our sound are Michael Jackson, Janelle Monaé, Led Zeppelin, Amy Winehouse, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, St. Lunatics, Trey Songz, Drake, and Kanye West, just to name a few. Christien and I are both classically trained violinists, so the ways in which we structure our vocals are similar to the various parts in a traditional orchestral arrangement. Each song is performed with intricate vocal arrangements that often lead listeners to believe that Lily Monroe is only one voice instead of two. We pride ourselves in having such a tight harmony.

We’ve performed at various open mics throughout Chicago, but we didn’t start recording until recently. It started with us doing a few hooks (choruses) here and there and eventually we started working with another aspiring Chicago musician, Boogy. After doing two hooks on songs for one of his mix tapes, he agreed to help us start putting together a professional demo. Up until that point, the only recordings of us singing were videos on YouTube.

The process of recording is still a small issue. Boogy and I are both full-time students, while my sister works full-time in the corporate world. Our schedules are hectic, so trying to find time to record, perform, study, write papers, and remembering to sleep gets hard. Finding the balance between passion and priorities takes practice. For us, it is not rare to be leaving the studio at 2 a.m., just in time to get a moment’s rest for an 8 a.m. class the following morning, or having ideas for a new song running through your mind, while trying to focus on a 12 page paper that’s due by midnight.

My tuition costs almost $5,000 a semester, but it costs me nothing to record. Because of this, school has been my number one priority.  It gets tough when there is movement with my music career because I am tempted to put school on hold to see where music will take me.  At the same time, there’s a fear of never coming back to school, and I’ve come too far in my college career to quit and let all the stress, headaches, and papers be for nothing. Given the economy today and the hard work it takes to become famous as a musician, I know there is going to be a lot of hard work in my near future, but I am putting my best foot forward for both, regardless.

Christien and Lauren of Lily Monroe

Fall 2010 is slated to be my last semester at UIC. I have been working through this spring semester with the comforting thought that I am almost done with my degree. About a month ago, we received word that Umbrella Music Association is interested in signing my sister and me as artists, as well as songwriters. While this is an independent label, it still is a big step into Lily Monroe’s future.  It shows that other people are willing to take a gamble on us and that other people have faith in what we’re trying to do. We are also about to shoot a video for our leading single, “Nerdy Boy,” and start performing again at larger venues throughout Chicago with our U.M.A. family. U.M.A. also has a radio show on 88.9 every Saturday from 8pm-10pm, showcasing all of the talent on the label. With all of this happening towards the end of my semester, it’s hard to focus on schoolwork. 

My plan has always been to work on my degree until something happens with music. With summer quickly approaching and plans being made for how to market Lily Monroe, I’m watching my dream unfold before my eyes. The closer I get to graduation, the more unsure I am about what types of careers I will pursue to bring me happiness. The safe bet is starting to seem risky and my outlandish dream is becoming more of a practical reality. Either way, I will get my degree next fall and continue on towards reaching my dream.

-Lauren Cain

Download your copy of Nerdy Boy free today!

Also, visit Lily Monroe on MySpace!

Advice from a Veteran: A Conversation with Rooney’s Robert Schwartzman

Schwartzman onstage at a recent show. Photo courtesy of Rooney-Band.com.

Although he hails from the West Coast, not the Midwest, Robert Schwartzman began his music career where many of our featured musicians do: in school. As lead singer of the SoCal power-pop band Rooney, he’s spent the past decade balancing several different gigs – college, acting (The Princess Diaries), singing, and songwriting.

Unlike many of our featured musicians, he’s a member of one of Hollywood’s most famous families: the son of actress Talia Shire (Rocky), the brother of actor/musician Jason Schwartzman (Phantom Planet, Coconut Records), Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew, and Nicolas Cage’s cousin, to name a few. The band hit its first big break in 2004, guest-starring on an episode of The OC.

Needless to say, Rooney has avoided some of the financial setbacks facing most college musicians, but Schwartzman and his band mates have worked hard to get to where they are today. He recently took some time out while promoting Rooney’s new album, Eureka, to answer a few of our questions about college, life decisions, and the business of music.

Rooney came together when you were still a student. How did you balance schoolwork and music?

Well, my high school academic life struggled more from starting a band than my college years.  Rooney started [when I was in high school]. It was definitely a distraction and affected my grades.  Not just any grades – it was my junior and senior years, so they were the grades that count!  I was accepted to Eugene Lang College at the New School in New York City.  I wanted to be in a big city and I had friends out there.  I was always writing and demo-ing songs, so I brought all my equipment to college. I also played in a band in New York called Dopo Yume with some friends.… I actually did pretty well in college despite my “passion distraction.”

From left: keyboard player Louie Stephens, guitarist Taylor Locke, Schwartzman, and drummer Ned Brower. Photo courtesy of Rooney-Band.com.

Although I moved, Rooney stayed together, and I flew home once a month to perform in LA.  I spent most of my time at Eugene Lang writing songs in my dorm room.  I sent new demos home to my band mates, and they learned the songs while I was away.  We were able to work up new material from across the country.

You left college early, though, right? What happened after that?

I broke the news to my mom that I was leaving school and heading back to L.A. to pursue my musical career, a decision she still disagrees with. I’m not sure it was the right decision, [but Rooney] got signed a few months after I left school and found a manager and made our first album in the summer of 2002.  It all happened pretty quickly once I left college, but we had already put in the years prior to that and had a good buzz in LA – a big city with many labels.  We were lucky at that time, to get a good deal and label support.

Did school help you in any way with music?

Learning is always important, no matter what you choose to do with your life.  It always helps to know more and to bring new ideas into your life and creative self.  I wanted to go to school to study subjects that I had an interest in and to connect them to my writing.  I wanted to meet new people and have new life experiences.  Living in a new city and being exposed to interesting subjects and people was very inspiring.  I also wanted to make my parents happy.

What kinds of classes did you take?

I studied philosophy, media, and journalism, but I took a music business class at UCLA once I got back to LA.  I needed some background info on the business I was entering.  The first thing I learned and still remember is, “What is the first thing on every executive’s mind?  Keep your job!”  And it’s so true … it’s not about the music or helping artists you work with. It’s every man or woman for him or herself.

It sounds like your time at college really broadened your horizons. Did you ever consider leaving your California music projects behind and pursuing another career entirely?

I thought about focusing on acting and starting a new music life in NYC, but I missed my band mates and I missed the musical life that I started in high school.

What is your advice to college students who might just play in a band part-time but want to make it a career after graduation?

Well, [this is] the reason I said I’m not so sure it was a good idea that I left Eugene Lang for Rooney.  I don’t believe in regrets. I think we have to own the decisions we make and learn from them … not waste time regretting them … although it’s hard to let go of certain things.  I’ve seen so many bands nowadays that are having success right out of college or having success while at college and continuing it as a post-grad pop career.  I’m lucky to have met great musicians that I share things in common with at a young age, but I wonder what my life would be like had I stayed in school and met new musicians there … [if I had] let go of Rooney.

Taking a break from recording Eureka. Photo courtesy of Rooney-Band.com.

What do you think would have been different?

I would have been older, maybe less eager to jump into bed with the first girl I saw.  Maybe I would have taken more risks and been more protective of certain decisions.  I’m really not sure what my life would be like had I stayed in school, but I do miss having had a real college education.  I do what I can and I work hard at what I do.  I try to ask as many questions as I can to wise people in the music business.  I can truly say that I’ve learned through experience.  But, hey, there’s always time for school, right?

Right. Now, about the new album: what can longtime fans expect to hear that makes it different from your past work?

People say [Eureka] sounds more mature, which I agree with.  It’s a step in the right direction for us – not only as an album, but how we made the album and how we’re releasing it.  It was made in my home studio, and it’s coming out on our own label [California Dreaming Records].  It’s how we’ve been wanting to do things and how we did things years ago, and now we have the opportunity [again].  It was only a matter of time.  The album is honest and exciting and it sonically defeats all our previous albums.  We produced and engineered this album, so it’s really exciting to have gotten a solid result … in my garage.  The album is diverse, and it shows the different things we do as a band.  We all have different musical interests, some more similar than others.  Eureka sounds like Rooney, but the songs are better and we’ve grown in many ways.

Since you’re an expert, what unsigned or up-and-coming bands do you think  we should check out?

Castledoor.  Miles Fisher.  The Bridges. [My side project]  SOLOBOB!

Thanks for taking a few minutes to talk to us.  Any final thoughts for your White City fans?

Love Chicago!!! Best music fans around!!! All I can say is I love playing in Chicago, and it’s always a highlight on tour.

Kayla Zimmerman


Eureka is out June 8, and Rooney will play the House of Blues with Hanson on August 13 (tickets are $30 and can be purchased at Ticketmaster).

Connect with the band on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, and Rooney-Band.com, and follow Robert at his personal Twitter page.

Pure Pop for ‘No’ People

Swordfish playing at The Fat Bean Coffee House in Naperville, IL

Transitioning from high school to college can be the make it or break it point for most bands, as well as friends. Mike Pickerl, Kiel Anderson, Jason Vandenboss, and Carlos Trejo met in high school and have been making music together ever since. Swordfish is the name of their current project with Mike on guitar and vocals, Kiel on bass, Jason Vandenboss on guitar and vocals, and Carlos Trejo on drums.

Kiel, Mike, and Carlos hang out even when they are not practicing and playing shows, but they don’t see Jason that often outside of the band. Kiel says, “Jason works at Whole Foods, and I really like the bath salts there … so sometimes I see him there.” Mike says, “It’s hard enough to find three other people you like, let alone three other people who can play instruments.” The guys have been collaborating together for about six years now, so it’s probably safe to say they have found a group of people that work.

Why did they choose the name Swordfish? Kiel says, “Because it doesn’t really matter.” Mike adds that Kiel has a big pillow in the shape of a swordfish that was an inspiration for the name.

Mike describes the sound of Swordfish as, “Indian neo pop…. No.. but really it’s garage pop- rock with more than just guitars.” Sometimes the band uses organs or other unconventional instruments to add a little something extra. “It gets ‘dancey,’” Kiel says about some of their new songs. The songs on Swordfish’s first EP definitely falls into the garage pop-rock category and could easily be compared to well known bands like Weezer and The Strokes.

Aside from the danciness, the band keeps it pretty low-key while they are all busy with school and work. Mike says that all the craziness happened in their previous band, “Swordfish is sort of our rehab band.” The guys are just trying to work around each other’s schedules and spend as much time making music as they can. Every member of the band is currently in college. Mike goes to College of DuPage and is “killing time,” Kiel goes to Loyola, Carlos is studying art at UIC, and Jason is at the University of Aurora studying to be an English teacher.

Mike sees music as his main priority. He and the other band members differ

Mike of Swordfish at The Fat Bean

 on their views for future success with Swordfish. Mike has higher hopes in terms of relative success and says he just doesn’t want to get a real job, while Kiel doesn’t have a desire for Swordfish to become successful. While discussing their future as a band Mike asks, “Is this a list of all our hopes and dreams? I’d like a girlfriend. That would be cool. But I wouldn’t let it interfere with my music.” Hear that ladies?

These days the band is taking things as they come and practicing twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays, to tighten up their sound. Right now their practice space is in Kiel’s basement and doubles as a room for his cats. Kiel says, “Sometimes the cats come in to use the litter box so when they come down we have to mute our instruments.” Mike adds, “Sometimes we scare the shit out of them…”

To give the cats a little space, Swordfish is currently working on turning Kiel’s bedroom into a practice room. Kiel and Mike both spend a lot of their free time writing new songs for the band. Kiel has a goal of writing one song a week, even if it’s “crappy.” Mike is trying to stop writing fifteen minute songs and scale down to somewhere under the 5 minute mark. Don’t let this scare you away from checking out Swordfish, the 6 songs on their EP, “Pure Pop for ‘No’ People,” are all under 5 minutes.

The future of the band is currently unknown, but the guys plan on making music together for as long as they can. Mike hopes to start playing shows more frequently again, but Kiel prefers to keep it in the practice space and says it’s too much anxiety to set up equipment and play shows. Most of their past shows took place in smaller settings such as coffee houses throughout Chicago and the suburbs.

Mike would like to take things with Swordfish more seriously and says that he does have a tendency to set his hopes too high. In response to that Kiel says, “I don’t think I’ve ever had a hope in my life.”

The cover of Swordfish's EP "Pure Pop for 'No' People"- art by Mike Pickerl

You can get your hands on Swordfish’s first EP “Pure Pop for ‘No’ People” by contacting the band at: ATTN: Swordfish, 503 S. President St. Wheaton, IL 60187. It includes 6 songs, Life is a Wonderful Thing, 1st Impressions, Felix Hoffman, Pop Song, (You’ve got a) Face for the Radio, and An Arm of the Sea at the Mouth of the River.

-Jennifer Priestley

The Royal Journey in Music and Fashion

Recently, young female artists such as Feist, Jenny Lewis and Norah Jones

Megan Royal 3/15/2010

have been making a significant name for themselves in the creative arts. Megan Royal is following their path.  As she takes her seat on the piano bench, she takes a deep breath and allows her fingers to take over the music. Music and the arts are not just a passion for Royal, they are her entire life. She says, “I wake up in the morning and I am either singing, playing, or designing from sun up to sun down. I love expressing myself.”

Royal, who studies fashion design at the Art Institute of Chicago, uses her talents and knowledge of the piano as a form of release when it comes to her clothing design. She explains, “It’s strange. When I’m stressed or having a meltdown with the amount of work I have to do, I play. My mind just completely wanders and everything that worried me before just seems petty, I guess.” Royal didn’t choose music as her major because she couldn’t imagine having it forced upon her.  She says that music should be fun and not a chore.

Luckily, she gets to mix fun with schoolwork on a daily basis. According to Royal, the greatest thing about attending her school is that everybody has an appreciation for the arts. During classes, students are able to collaborate musically with one another. Not many college students are offered opportunities such as this where they are constantly being exposed to other musicians and encouraged to play with one another – especially when they aren’t even music majors.

Royal and her first teacher, Will Smith

Royal began playing at the very young age of three. “My parents had enrolled my older sister in lessons at the time. During one of her lessons, I was in the living room watching the very first episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I remember Will Smith’s character was playing ‘Fur Elise’ and I walked over to the piano and played the notes without really realizing what I was doing. My parents freaked out, dropped my sister from piano lessons, and enrolled me the next day. I guess you can say Will Smith taught me how to play the piano.” Royal continued with her lessons, but she quit after the age of thirteen. She explained that after so many years, there really isn’t much more knowledge that your teacher can provide you. Playing the piano takes a lot of dedication and practice, like most instruments. Since Royal is typically a solo artist, it can be tough to stay on top of her craft because she only has herself to keep her motivated.

Royal finds that coming up with creative new pieces of her own have helped hold her interest in the piano.  Old influences like Mozart and newer influences such as Ben Folds have helped Royal to create a modern, yet classic sound to her pieces.  It can be challenging to create a modern sound on the piano in order to grab an audience because the piano is such a well-known instrument, especially when played solo. “My sound is an accompaniment of the old, classical styles that I grew up playing. They’re simply beautiful. But the best part [of the piano] is you can bust out a sequence of jazzy or rock, and it just flows so well.”

Currently, you can hear Royal’s unique spin on classical piano at well-known Chicago locations such as Schubas Tavern, Abbey Pub, Gallery Cabaret and many independent coffee houses. What’s next for the Royal? She explains that she can’t imagine her life or her future without music in it.    After graduating in the winter of 2010, her plans consist of moving out of Chicago in order to experience new challenges. “My dream would be to move to New York, get a job designing immediately, meet other music lovers, form a band like Broken Social Scene…I want to do it all!”

-Laura Green

His Name is DJ Scend, Not DJ Send Off

Chicago’s Stephan Steciw, a.k.a. DJ Scend, grew up surrounded with many musical influences. His father is a musician and introduced him to instruments at an early age.  His own style of DJing covers hip-hop and house, both old and new, while still maintaining a unique Chicago beat.  Thanks to social networking sites and CRB Radio (Chitown Record Bangers), DJ Scend is able to quickly get his music out to his fans.  Chitown Record Bangers Radio is a big part of DJ Scend’s musical career.  He mixes there every Wednesday from 6 to 8 pm and fans can listen live to DJ Scend mix a dope fresh style of the old with the new. He smoothly mixes in ol’ school hits like 2Pac’s, I get around, with recent tracks from today’s artists like Kanye West.  He can be seen spinning live at Sopo Lounge (3418 N. Southport Ave.), Junior’s (2058 W. Cermak Rd.), Bon-V (1100 W. Randolph St.) and many other Chicago nightclubs.  DJ Scend’s hip-house mixes truly represent the Chicago urban music scene. DJ Scend took some time out to talk to me about CRB Radio and his other ventures, and here’s what he had to say:

How did you get into your DJ career?

I got into music at the age of 5.  I started on the piano and then moved to guitar. When I turned 18, I bought my first set of turntables.  My father is a musician and I grew up around a studio environment, so it was easy for me to choose music as my ultimate career goal.

Getting started in the music business can be challenging.  How did you attain exposure and new fans?

A lot of my recent exposure has come from my weekly mixshow that I host and run for CRB Radio (www.crbradio.com).  CRB stands for Chitown Record Bangers, and our goal as musicians is to give people a constant stream of music that is different and also familiar.

I do a lot of self promotion as well.  I’m constantly on Twitter and Facebook doing the geeky internet ‘thing’ with posting mixes and recordings of my radio mixshow to help get my sound out there.  I also do street work when I can, as far as putting up posters and flyers and just trying to support events whenever I can.

I imagine it is a rush being in front of a crowd.  What is it you like most about your DJ career?

The biggest thing I love about being a DJ is when someone approaches me at the end of the night at the end of my set and says “I want to thank you for helping me forget everything tonight.  Your set made me appreciate music all over again.” That right there is the biggest payout I can ask for.  I’ve gotten that [reaction] numerous times and that’s what keeps pushing me to stay on top of my own game.  No money can compare.

That’s great.  How do you contribute to music and the community?

I would like to think that I contribute to music by helping expose some styles and genres of music that most might not be used to hearing.  I like to play all types of music and like to ‘break records’ whenever I have the chance to do so…I try to involve myself in local art shows to help bring the community together under the umbrella of music.

Spin it ScendThis style of music is rapidly gaining a large fan following. What advice do you have for newcomers who are faced with the choice of getting a degree or following their passions? Does getting an education fit in your musical career?

Since I never finished college, the biggest positive I gained from school was meeting all the different people.  In the end, all those different people end up choosing different career paths that somehow, [in] someway [I get lucky and they] end up coming back [in my life] with something I can network with –whether it’s [with] a designer, marketing director, or another musician, we all find a way to trade each other’s skills to benefit and support one another.

Did the time you spent in school help out with your career choice?

School can definitely help out from a business standpoint.  Every artist needs to be business savvy because we are all marketing ourselves on a constant basis.  School may not be able to teach you creativity or artistic integrity, but it can definitely help you out with how to approach the music industry as a whole.

What influenced you to choose the style of music you work with?

I started as a hip-hop DJ.  I only played underground and old school hip-hop.  I started realizing that to make a name and gain exposure; I would need to play other styles of hip-hop.  I started getting into more of the radio music and mixing that up with underground.

I then got into the house music scene heavily.  A lot of people I work with currently [had] met me as a ‘house’ DJ.  I started trying to bridge the gap for myself by learning to mix both genres.  After being given my own mix show for CRB Radio, almost 2 years ago, I was almost forced to constantly keep a fresh style and sound.  It helped me greatly because I would dig for all sorts of different music.  To me it’s not about a genre, it’s about a sound.  If it’s good, it’s good…end of story.

Are you currently working on other projects beside the weekly Mixshow on CRB Radio?

I’m doing some production now and I’m also working on bringing Chicago MC’s on my show to ‘rep’ Chicago music.

DJ Scend spins every Wednesday on CRB live, Friday’s at Sopo Lounge,

Thursdays at the Wicker Well from 9 to 2, and Saturdays at Tini Martini’s main room.

Isaura Salinas

For the 411 on upcoming events for DJ Scend, check these sites out:

http://www.crbradio.com

http://www.mediafire.com/mrscend

http://www.youtube.com/djscend1

http://twitter.com/djscend

They Call Him Boogy

23-year-old Boogy

With hip-hop taking a turn, seemingly for the worst, it’s refreshing to see artists staying true to the blueprint of hip-hop. While schooling other rappers on the microphone, 23-year-old Boogy is also a full-time college student. For some, finding a balance between school and music can be a difficult task, but Boogy handles the two with ease. His lyrics demand an active listener but still manage to be colorfully playful. Boogy is patiently perfecting his craft hoping to become the pride and joy of Chicago’s hip-hop scene.

What school are you attending and what are you studying?

I attend South Suburban College in South Holland IL. I am currently studying business management, with the hopes of one day becoming an agent or manager.

How were you introduced to music? What about music attracted you?

My parents were both really musical people. My pops played drums and was into all types of music. I was always drawn to music. I have always been attracted to the soul of music. I believe every genre of music has its own soul, which is why music really is the universal language. When I was younger I was very concerned with having my parents think I was cool, so I was really into whatever they would listen to. My mom was a child of the ‘70s and a woman of the ‘80s and early ‘90s. Anything pop or R&B she was on top of. Everything from Anita Baker to Salt-n-Pepa, my O.G. was rockin’ to. My Pops is why I’m so well rounded when it comes to music. He always listened to everything. Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Pac, Santana, Eric Clapton, Queen, Bob Marley, everything! He really got me into rock and funk the most.

Since you were introduced to such a wide variety of music growing up, what instruments do you play or interest you the most?

Since I was young, I’ve always been interested in the drums. When I would be in church I would just zone out and have visions of me spazzin’ on the drum set right in the middle of service. I never got my own set, but I did learn how to play, even got to play in church a few times. I also learned how to play guitar in 8th grade, but I forgot all that shit by now.

So, you go by “Boogy.” Where does this name come from?

I had this older cousin name Keith, I would only see him during holidays but I always liked kickin’ it with him cuz’ he smoked weed and always had dope rap to listen to. One day we were rocking to an old Big Daddy Kane tape and he was shocked I knew it. He was like, “Oh you like that shit, huh lil’ cuz? Look at T-Boogy over there jammin’ like he know ‘bout this.” Everybody laughed and kept calling me that since then.

Your music doesn’t sound like any of the commercial rap that floods the airways. Where do you get your inspiration?

The city and life really influences my music. The complexity of the average life gives an artist a lifetime worth of material. I grew up in the city and the suburbs, which help mold my music in a very major way. When you witness the highest of highs and the lowest of lows you look at the world through a different scope. You have an understanding of why. A lot more than a person who only knows one perspective. It allows me to have a genuine appeal in all of my music, no matter what I’m talking about.

What artists have influenced you?

I’m influenced by so many artists. Any artist that I listen to I try to add an element of them in my music because I strongly believe putting all of those random influences together make me an original. My favorite rapper is Jay-Z. I feel like he has done better and is unlike any one else ever. Huge fan of Biggie, Nas, Pac, Jadakiss, Outkast, Joe Budden, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, and tons more. I’m also a huge R&B fan. I love classics like Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson,Isaac Hayes, Isley Brothers, Stevie Wonder, George Clinton, Anita Baker, Mary J, Aaliyah, Erykah Badu,Jill Scott, Marsha Ambrosius.

Cell Blok (left) and Boogy (Right) performing

I’m into some rock and reggae also. Depends on my mood. But I take all of that and pour it into my music.

Seeing all of your influences really helps explain your sound. There are a lot of old-school undertones in your music, yet it’s still very catchy and relevant to today. How would you describe your sound?
My sound is intelligent street thought, meets classy stuntin,’ meets mood-provoking music.

How do you think school affects your music career?

Besides giving me time to write, it really doesn’t. Every now and then I will hear something in class that I may want to throw in a song, but it is very rare.

Gives you time to write? How so? Do you write during class?

You damn right I write in class. 85% of school is bullshit. They overcharge us to take a bunch of bullshit classes that teach us shit we will never use in life. So I learn what I need to learn to pass the tests, but most of my class time is spent writing.

How does school influence, if at all, your music?

None whatsoever.

How do you balance time between your music career and you schoolwork?

I get the B.S. of school out of the way as quickly as possible. The more time I have to dedicate to my craft, the better. But I also realize school is something that I have to do, so I do it.

What are your plans after graduation?

Go forward in building our music label and studio.

Aspiring rapper, Boogy

That’s excellent. Are you currently performing anywhere?

 
All over the city if I can. I’m always searching for more venues just to get my face out there and rock with the people. I have performed at many open mics throughout the city and suburbs.

Are there any musical projects coming up?

I’m currently working on three mix tapes. Schwing!, Grow Up, and Marijuana Music 2.

Download a free copy of Marijuana Music today!

-Lauren Cain