I'm rather stoked to introduce to you an act that many of you may never heard of, but probably will in the future. Mild Davis.
Did you grow up in Hampton Roads? If so, what cities?
1. yup. i grew up in Newport News . When I graduated from Warwick in 98, I moved to Chapel Hill to go to school at UNC and have been down here for ten years, working for an indie record label for past five years. I loved it there and I've still got lots of friends and family in the area. I still get back up that way a few times a year to get my fix of VA.
Describe your music to someone who has never heard it.
2. my music is meant to be fun and to mesh together bits and pieces of all the different kinds of music i love. I listen to lots of indie rock, dance musc, downtempo and hip hop and i like to include elements from all of those into my songs. i think the mixing of textures gives my music a unique feel. putting together elements of live production andsequenced tracks is my attempt to push the boundaries of what can be called hip hop. i'm also lucky enough to have a wealth of talented musicians as friends and working with them offers me a chance to dabble in new genres and new soundscapes.
But there is always that undercurrent of Mild Davis in all the tracks. I like my drums crisp, my samples well chopped, my bass slow and low and my keys light and fluffy.
What's the writing process for your music? Do the lyrics come first? Does the music come first? Who does what?
3.the writing process differs with every track. I do lots of remixes for bands and mc's and i always try to strip out what i think are the best parts of the song and build the rest from scratch. When it comes to original songs, i tend to find a sample or a melody that works as a foundation and then i build the drums to suit the feel of the track. In collaborations with other artists, I like to work in tandum to build a song that reflects both of our personalities. i think you can tell when artists are into each other's music and are able to come together to build something new and vibrant.
Do you have an albums / demos / merch / releases available to purchase? Where can you buy them?
4. i'm in the finishing stages of wrapping up my first proper LP that will be titled, COTTON CANDY CLOUDS AND LEMONDROP LIGHTNING. it will be 12 original tracks and will feature guest appearances from Astronautalis, Josh Nowlan of the band Cities, Juan Huevos, Gut Lightning, MC Gouki from Tokyo and a handful of other guest musicians. the record will be a co-release between my crew, Extensive Enterprise , and Brooklyn-based label, Black Box Mixtapes. There are a handful of Mild Davis remixes on iTunes, including tracks i've done for The Aples in Stereo, North Elementary, The Holy Sons and Cities. Also i have one release available on iTunes called SQUARE WON. it's a mixtape that i made in 2005 and features original remixes of tracks by pharoah monche, little brother, the pharcyde, aesop rock and several others.
What is your most crazy show story? (Any naked women running around? Drunk bar fights?)
5. as a studio producer, i've just recently decided to take the mild davis show on the road. i'm in the works of putting together a live set of all new, original material. it will feature me doing my thing with an akai mpd32, a keyboard, at technic 1200 and a mixer, a few loop pedals and a laptop. if all goes well, it should end up being an experience like seeing a bastard mix of dj shadow and girl talk. i'll be banging out drums and stabs on the mpd, scratching on the 1200 and looping sounds to build tracks. you can expect lots of layers, dope beats and samples that will get the crowd shaking their ass.
How much do you think hype affects the public perception of what good music is?
6. lets face it, hype is the name of the game. people look to blogs, radio stations and magazines as trendsetters. the right image and degree of hype can be the difference in a project that goes national or never leaves home. honestly, i think the artists that achieve that degree of fame so quickly miss out on the experience of building their name in an organic way through hard work and making contacts. it's been my experience that artists who are conscious of their image and work to craft it in a specific way are the ones who tend to last the longest and have the most promising careers. we would all love to have a great review in pitchfork or get spun on KEXP, but i don't think that is the key to success.
getting caught up in the hype machine may help you get noticed, but if you don't have an original sound and a style that fans can relate to, it won't matter a bit. music fans are smart and they can smell a phony a mile away. i can name a thousand bands and artists that have enjoyed the full glow of indie hype but ended up as flashes in the pan. your 15 minutes don't last as long as they used to. i think that the rise of mixtapes and eps have helped artists bridge the gap between albums and, in some cases, even boosted their profile in the interim. think lil wayne or clipse. those cats are masters of hype.
How would you like to see the local music scene change? (venues, fans, other bands)
7. i'm pretty spoiled to live in Chapel Hill which has a long thriving music scene. we're lucky enought to have a handful of great venues that cater to all levels of artists. the cat's cradle is about an 800 cap and brings big name acts to town. in addition, we have the Local 506, which brings in great mid-level bands and the nightlight which showcases small, but great shows in a used book/record store. so, despite if you are into popular artists or obscure bands, you can always find a show to suit your fancy. we also have a great local music scene. you can't throw a rock in chapel hill and not hit someone who is in a band. we have everything from indie rock to hip hop and all stops in between. what makes it even better is that the bands mix and match for live shows.
it's not uncommon to see an mc opening for a metal band or some other quirky mix of sounds. the local scene is a big part of why i live here. i'm lucky, and i know it.
What's up for the band in 2008? ( a tour, album?)
8. like i said, i have COTTON CANDY CLOUDS & LEMONDROP LIGHTNING coming out early next year and i'm getting ready to start playing live. other than that, i'm really excited to be in the opening phases of getting our crew up and running. we're called extensive enterprises (www.extensiveent.net) and the group consists of juan huevos (www.myspace.com/juanhuevos) and production duo gut lightning (www.myspace.com/gutlightning). we're almost done with the website and we'll be providing the fans with tons of free music and mixtapes. the idea is to help each other get the word out about our music and help build the local hip hop scene in chapel hill.
What local bands and artists do you recommend?
9. local music! we are super lucky to have a wealth of great bands in the area. right now, here are my current faves.
JUAN HUEVOS - this guys is a fucking rock star. he's an mc whose has been at it for over a decade and just keeps getting better. he rides that line between the worlds of indie hip hop and indie rock. his shows are a who's who of the local music scene and he always packs it out. he's got the flow and the swagger of a big name rapper, but balances that with songs that everyone can relate to about girl problems, hangovers, mondays and all the trappings of daily life. but he makes it sound fresh.
COLOSSUS - if you're a fan of having your face melted, check these dudes out. they play metal, remniscent of iron maiden, and come correct with three guitars up front. most bands are lucky to have one guitar player that can shred. these guys have three. plus, they couldn't be nicer guys. in a perfect world, these guys would play every night. thankfully for my hearing, they don't.
KERBLOKI - these guys are a staple of the chapel hill music scene, and for good reason. they feature two mc's, mike and jb, and live bass and guitar. it's like these guys invented the party. every show is a damn barnstormer. i dare you not to have a good time when these guys play live. i've known them for years and the first remix i ever did was for their song, "paradise." on top of that, they just finished their new lp which was produced by local legend brian paulson who has done records with beck and slint. i can't name another band that sounds like these guys, and that is hard to say these days. so fresh!
GUT LIGHTNING - ok, i know two of these are part of the EE crew, but there is a reason i work with these guys. because they're dope. gut lightning is a duo of t.jerk and fader. they mix vintage samples and scratching and make instrumental hip hop that makes me so jealous i can't stand it. every time these guys do a new track, it stays in my cd player for at least a week. as solo artists, they both could stand strong on their own, but when the get together and activate like the wonder twins, you better watch out because they're about as good as it gets. plus, fader may be the only person i've ever met that has as much affinity for the movie 'the goonies' as i do. classic shit!
What are your favorite venues to play at? How would you like to see the available venues to change when booking shows? (better sound / lights/ pay/ promotions)
10. i hate to pick favorites, but the local 506 would have to be my choice. thank god for that place. so many bands i love would pass right by chapel hill if it weren't for the 506. glenn that runs the place is an amazing wealth of music knowledge and does a great job of booking all kinds of acts to come play. plus shows are relatively cheap there and they always have ice cold pbr! they just revamped the soundsystem and it sounds great. overall, it's just a classic rock club. unfortunately, those are getting harder and harder to come by lately. like i said earlier, we really do have a venue for everyone in this town. they all have their pros and cons, but i'd be proud to frequent any of them.
How do you market your music to the public? What seems to work best for you for letting people know about your shows? (Myspace/ the paper / word of mouth)
11. marketing in the digital age is a whole new ballgame. the internet has opened a whole new realm of ways for bands to spread their music and reach fans all around the world.
i know people shit on myspace, but it's been an amazingly useful resource and it's free. building email lists, via fanbase.com, is also a great way to keep your fans in the loop with live show updates, new music and news. radio and local press are also a great, if traditional, ways to spread the word too. instead of focusing on the stuffy daily paper, it's a great idea to seek out smaller zines, college papers and other media outlets. also, even most big radio stations will have an hour a week dedicated to live music. people do tune in there to check out what's going on around town and to find out about new artists. plus, getting in good with a handful of dedicated and motivated bloggers is a great way to get out there too. offer them exclusive tracks for download or tour announcements and it becomes a win/win situation. i just always aim to be creative and try to remember that it's all about the fans. treat them right and they do the same for you.
What is your current favorite song?
12. 'these are the best days of your life' by astronautalis. if you don't know this dude, crawl out of the cave, shave your beard, and buy his new record. it may change your life. this song is off an ep that he put out a couple of years back and i just rediscovered this track and can't stop listening. and, he'll be at the local 506 on 10/29 with kerbloki and juan huevos. i told you that place is awesome. but, seriously, go make astrounautalis your friend (www.myspace.com/astronautalis). you can thank me later.
Last CD bought, downloaded or stole?
13. i'm not going to lie. i download like blackbeard. but, if i give it more than a few spins, i'll pony up the cash and go buy it. i actually just picked up 'tha carter iii' from weezy. i figure i'm helping him buy another bentley or just contributing to the 'make it rain' fund.
Quote us your favorite song lyrics. (please include who it is by)
14. 'spit yo game, talk yo shit, grab yo gat, call yo clique' by biggie. need i say more? i didn't think so.
What came first, the music or the misery? Explain
15. misery? no way. i love music. always have. i don't create from a sad place. the last thing i want to do when i'm in a bad mood is make music. i go in the studio to make songs that i like and hope other people would like. i take pride in how far i've come from my early work and hearing that progression just makes me want to make more music.
music makes me happy, makes me think about the world and makes me excited to hear what's next. it's almost an addiciton. add to that the fact that some of my favorite musicians are my best friends and that makes my attachment to music that much stronger. misery? nah. i'll leave that for the mopey folk singers. it's kind of their thing any way, right?
What do you think of what MC7C does? How would you make it better? Have you been to any of our events?
16. i think you guys do a great job of helping to expose new music to fans. we all love a site where you can go and find out about some new sounds that you would otherwise never have heard about. i just wish there were more sites like this, honestly. thanks for taking your time to help musicians like myself get a little shine.