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Feature: Staghorns on music, Mental health & creativity


Staghorns a part of  the metropolitan  sound of  music  subculture in Tel aviv talking about Mental health , creative outlets, life and his music ventures.

I’ve been sitting on Staghorns for a couple of months – another great Soundcloud discovery. I connected body, mind and soul with Tel Aviv native-born Staghorns -Shlomi’s track -Outfluence.
The track’s title is the opposite of influence listening to this track conjures colours, soft textures, a breezy summer house tune. It is playful. ‘Outfluence’ and a couple of his other tracks ‘Uneasy Dave’ and another track yet to be released take you on a journey into the very heart of Tel Aviv’s thriving electronic dance music culture.

Staghorns music is inviting the world to enjoy the sounds of Tel Aviv’s music subculture: the message seems to be about Freedom. His sound is infectious without the unwanted side effects of living in a COVID 19 World. Staghorns other tracks are typically optimistic, he experiments with ambient sounds and swings right over the sensual acid synth sounds of electronic dance music.

I love the track Outfluence – it has so much energy and bounces.

Hello Staghorns! Thank you so much for doing this Feature. Firstly I want to say I love the new video for your track ‘Outfluence’. Can you tell me more about how it came about?

 

A page   LoDisco makes videos for hobbies and wanted to make a video and I appreciate it very much.

(LoDisco  promotes upcoming artists in the LoFi disco and LoFi House scene  -Join channel on LoDisco

How did the name Staghorns come about?

Okay, my family name is Zvi (pronounced Tzvi) which is a stand for Stag and a Staghorn is a very interesting plant.

(Okay I’m going to have to look that one up. I am such a geek haha! )

Me too -lol

What if anything inspired your track and your music?

My interest comes from my own trying to make sense of life and living, through the game of parallel sound channels, learning through a playful process.

When/What made you start playing music?

When I was young, I had a Yamaha PSR e413, which is an entry-level keyboard, it had some cool sounds on it and I learned how to record songs into it.

What genres of music do you like to perform in?

House music

What kind of people connect with you and your music?

Most of the people I know feel open with me, and they also feel open with my music, even though some of them are not familiar with electronic music.

What quote/sentence would you say best describes you and your music?

Looping the loops

Going back to ‘OutFluence’ I was drawn to the Alan Watts-esque sample 

Actually in Outfluence I sampled a Psychiatric from YouTube who talks about how to handle with anxiety. but maybe he cited Alan Watt? I don’t know. 

Who are your influences in music? And why?

Tiga, Four Tet, Booka Shade – They came through my mind when I thought “wow I want to make something like this!” while listening to them.

When you think/see the two words Creativity & mental health what 3 words come to mind for each one.

Creativity – Art, Sex, Ideas
Mental Health – Anxiety, Depression, Addiction

How does being creative help you?

Being creative helps me express myself.

What are your experiences or views with on mental health issues and the music & entertainment industry?

Music can be something to lean on, especially if you create it yourself…mmm I’ve been struggling with anxiety all my life, 10 months ago I decided to take care of it seriously.

Have you had negative experiences in your life that drew you to a creative outlet like music? And if so how did exploring your creativity help you?

Sometimes when I have bad dreams it affects the mood of my next creation.

(I think I can relate. When a person’s Mental Health becomes unwell -for myself it feels like I’m under the Influence of my Illnesses. Your track ‘OutFluence’ is the opposite of how I would describe the symptoms of Mental Health -isolation, fear, etc.)

Is there a bigger message you are trying to send out and what is your message?

The bigger message is an oldie but a goodie…
Telling my story as a legitimate one and hoping the effect is contagious…

It is a crazy world we live in. What is life like for people living in Tel-Aviv with COVID?

It’s hard to see the city shut down during lockdown, especially after you experience how vivid Tel Aviv is.

Are you trying to do something or create awareness with your music career or hobby?

it’s a work in progress.
I’m figuring out what is in the core of my creative process.
Basically, I’m trying to make myself feel more “at home” in the world.

What is the weirdest job you have had?

I was an Escape Room operator

(Haha! Funny & cool too. That is ironic in the sense that Anxiety is about escaping form what we are trying to feel as opposed to embrace our fears and conquer our goals.

Your new track ‘ Uneasy Dave’ (Big Momma’s House Records) has a great acid sound to it. It’s an intriguing title.

Uneasy Dave is a pun
It’s like Uneasy Day

but Uneasy Dave stands for a character who feels uneasy and shy. if you hear the first 2 seconds of the track, you’ll hear a “heh…” a sound of discomfort

(The first words that came to my mind when I heard the track is that is creative, innovative, sensual – the title seems to tie in with the anxiety and mental health issues yourself and many other people can find deliberating to live with at times…)  

 

 

Are you trying to do something or create awareness with your music career or hobby?

 

it’s a work in progress.

I’m figuring out what is in the core of my creative process. 

Basically, I’m trying to make myself feel more “at home” in the world.

(I think I can relate.In my opinion when my Mental Health becomes unwell – it feels like I’m under the Influence of my Illnesses. Your track ‘Outfluence’ is the opposite of how I would describe the symptoms of Mental Health-isolation, fear & other symptoms people can find debilitating to live with at times)

(It has been fun and pleasure collaborating with you and finding out something about Israel’s electronic house scene and I appreciate you opening up about your own Mental health issues and how creativity has helped you embrace and improve your Mental Wellbeing).

FOLLOW STAGHORN

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Afro Futurism & Ras G

‘Dub -verb, to make space – COLDCUT A-Z

Remember this track?

When I first heard and watched this video I knew I had come across something cosmic. Something bigger & more striking to any other the song or video I can recall watching at that time. I loved the colours  & surreal animation.

This was my first introduction to  Afro-Futurism music- the black man’s perspective of science in the future.

Listen up! Lose one sense to finely tune another sense. Time to rely on imagination & see what visuals come up. It’s strange how certain sounds can bring up emotions to identify. I find it harder to identify emotions without a visual. Another post for another time.

This was on my first introduction to Ras G & the Afrikan space program.

I was intrigued by Africa’s space program. Do they have one?

Yes, they do.

More than I thought

South Africa & Nigeria are the few countries who have an actual Afronaut.  Yes,  there are afronauts.

Edward Makuka Nkoloso Initiated a space program involving a lady and two cats travelling to the moon

Sadly, he did not raise the £7 million to achieve his dream.

I have a dream – Martin Luther King.

Not even  Martin’s homies believed that they would ever have a civil right to be a black human being.

Dreams are only goals with no structure.

Knowledge and education and an open mind led to a group of thoughts to come together, united by challenging their beliefs about who they were & what they wanted. THINK TANK often turns into a WAR TANK

We don’t look agree with slavery, do we?

Slaves accepted that they couldn’t achieve what was not even a dream.

Add in a spark of hope and Edwards space program involving sending

two cats to Mars shows me- a man using the tools he has. Logistics are subject to change.

I definitely recommend checking out his Back on the planet album too. (2009)

Though to be honest, I didn’t warm to the entire album initially. I had to get in the zone ( haha!)

I had an invitation to textural soundscapes that put me out of my comfort zone.  Change?  Never!

Open your ears 

open your mind philosophy 

Let’s take a trip somewhere

 You are not in control.

This thought-

Instructions: Just, let go

Led me to listen again & again.

I  admire Ras G’s execution of pushing the boundaries of the sound of all his cultural roots.

The Cosmic vocal samples maintain the essence of Soul & Hip-hop. He creates extraterrestrial sounds revelling in traditional Dub & reggae.

I feel this album is a triumph in not defining itself anything than an exploration of the space between what we hear & what I believe

It is a musical philosophy.  The core idea demonstrates the scattering soundscape of the global communities of Africa.

Ras G adapts the essence of ‘ never forgetting to understand our roots & to grow, breathe new life into old traditions.

Invent new traditions.  Be playful.

I think to the know the future you need to know where you come from.
To have self-identity  -exploration evolves from the seed of History.

Science creates miracles & monsters created by man. People over the history of our lifetime have done atrocious acts in the name of Acquisition of power & wealth. The cost is humanity.

The cost is a barren crop.

Nurture Life
Mother nature

This album is or dedication to the Afro-futurism genre.

“The womb is The Stargate of Humanity,” he says. “Stargate Music is a record that I livicated to the Womb-man … to the Vagina, The Stargate from which beings emanate life on this planet. I gathered these sound pieces and presented them as a reflection of the life cycle of beings on this planet.”
RAS G AND THE AFRIKAN SPACE PROGRAM ‎– BACK ON THE PLANET (2017

Ras G is an abstract thinker. I’m closer to understanding what he is doing with music- genres & sub-genres. I’m surprised & impressed.  I suggest listening to this album & getting a new perspective.

What’s the worst that can happen?
You don’t like it?
You find out something new about life?
Or yourself?

Los Angeles based music producer Ras G ( Gregory shorter Junior) & the African space program passed away on 06/08/2109. The is a cause of death is not fully know

He travelled in his mind & I had an invite. Stream of consciousness is my preferred style of travelling.

What is afro-futurism in music culture?

Afrofuturism: reimagining science and the future from a black perspective. … In the way that film noir functions as a genre, or jazz as a musical style, Afrofuturism are a philosophy that can be simultaneously obvious and vague in its identity, bounded and porous in its edges.

The Guardian

Once I started researching into Ras G & Afro-Futurism I’m immersed in researching it outside of music too.

An intriguing article to read is CULTURE: Afrofuturism reimagining science & the future from a black perspective

A few well-known Afrofuturism artists are

I love this statement below because life is colourful -Black & White shades, not hues.

Music can make you engage & think.

Afro-futurism is evidently more than a style or genre of music it is an ideology. It has been noted that Afro-futurism dismissed and challenged the idea that all things futuristic are white or even black.

The album is abstract & challenging without being overly nostalgic.
There are often many moments when the soundscape or rhythm propels my emotions to flit between the past & the future. The journey is Marvel -esque.

Black Panther!

Creativists I need you!

I'm looking to gauge interest from creative people who live/ work or spend time being creative in U.K., Yorkshire and globally) to be a part of a project called 'The Creativists Hour'

Up until now I've focused on mini music reviews and interviewing Musicians - the majority of the talent I've reached out and who've reciprocated are not from the U.K.

I focused on gaining confidence by writing (unusual) music reviews and "hounding'" people to do a Feature for my blog.

I knew this was a huge risk to my blog and readers because I was trying something new. I was willing to lose certain readers or win them over.

My angle on doing these reviews and Features included finding artists who aren't afraid about talking about mental health - their or other peoples or even sharing personal experiences- the good, the bad. -the ugly?

My experience writing features showed more readership engagement with people open to talking about themselves and their mental health issues without feeling it would compromise their aspirations/career.

 The next part of this project is to extend my (unusual) reviews, research/interview people from the entertainment and arts industry
writers
  • poets
  • songwriters
  • artists
  • performers
  • singers
  • musicians
  • Scriptwriters for radio/film or stage
  • animation artists  and organisations who support local talent in Halifax and the U.K.  & globally)
The AIMS of this project 
  •   Share authentic and relatable stories and personal narratives to readers to inspire them, to see that being creative is not something that has to be measured by success   /money/experience or fans.
  • Focus on the  community closer to my current home in Yorkshire  and on the U.K.  creative scene
  • Keep promoting artists and creative people from across the globe.

 Interview/Chat to individuals about:

  1. How,Why and What led them to have chosen their creative outlets, hobbies or careers.
  2. understanding how using their creative outlets benefited/Improved their life in a holistic sense: Mental health, physical health, social lifestyle, values, perspectives, challenges, moments of achievement 
  3. How have their creative outlets led to negative experiences and how they overcome them/ intend to.  The Outcome for asking people to share this is: Inspire people & be real.
  4. What creativity means to an individual 
  5. How (if at all) has their community helped or hindered their creative passions.
  6. How can they encourage or signpost other local community members to feel inspired/ confident to get involved with their community and creative arts scene to express themselves? I believe even the most "successful &  talented people have moments of doubt. 

How I aim to achieve this:

Interview individuals/groups/organisations on social media/emails/Skype/face to face recorded interviews /meetings/gigs etc.. and then use my blog as a medium to merge our agendas.

Why my blog?

I love music and I love writing and I love people with a story to tell.
This gives interested participants/people both a platform and voice to promote their talent and own agenda.

It's my blog and my risk. It might be a success or need tweaking.

I enjoy changing things up. Writing out of my comfort zone.

My agenda is to use this project as a platform to pass on other peoples experiences in the Arts/entertainment industry to the reader by being real and be comfortable talking about mental health -good and bad.

Giving people resources, ideas, self-confidence, inspiration and hope that they can also be creative & challenge the definition of creativity.

Use my blog as a data storing place where I can record my research/findings/photos/transcripts of interviews

Spread the word on what is creative talent/opportunities there are in, West Yorkshire , the U.K. and around the globe.

Email if you want to take part

FEATURE: Corky Traxman Strong

This was my first feature interview. I asked for this interview and boy, did I get it. I was unprepared, I didn’t record it & I spoke a lot. It was a huge learning curve for me about how to prepare for future live interviews.

Cornelius Ferguson (Corky Traxman) can talk-a lot. He is opinionated, emotional, passionate & open.

Step one- How not to interview someone successfully

I dropped Corky a message about finishing ‘the feature’ & then whilst putting my washing in the laundry, my mobile rang, I  was unprepared ( no recorder, no pen and a Mr Ferguson on the other line who talks a lot and fast ).

I panicked.

Corky straight away called me out saying, ‘ You tripping’ ( yeah cos I’m unprepared).

Who is Corky Traxman strong?

Corky was born & raised in West Chicago. He’s a self-made D.J. /Music producer & manages a  record label He is a  Dad to five children & grandpa to two grandchildren.

What  Corky says about the origins of the Chicago music scene

He spoke about the Warehouse, this was the first after-hours party venue to stay open after 3 a.m. in the early ’80s.

Corky explained how the Chicago warehouse club was where Corky  ‘got a flavour ‘for house music. This was the place where his passion and dedication to the music kicked off. Corky describes it as

One of the finest places to go to.

We touched upon how the disco music produced in the late ’70s/early 80’s started to lose its appeal. And when house music first put down its roots in Chicago, Corky described how it wasn’t 100% well-received for various reasons. Chicago music wasn’t going anywhere.

In Corky’s words

When you try to kill something, it goes underground & comes back harder

Corky went to explain that he didn’t   ‘vibe ‘ with the whole disco scene. When he was  13 years old, Corky described  his influences

as the kind of  nu-wave music that Frankie Knuckles  started playing  (early 80’s )

This was a time when the LGBT COMMUNITY  were being discriminated against.

It was diverse (for example) my uncles girlfriends brother was openly gay in the early 80’s  and they used go to the warehouse records. We had Spanish Harlem.

Around that time Corky described how he was  ‘blessed ‘ to be in a position to fly back & forth from Chicago & New York. He was able to embrace both scenes.

When I  asked if Corky had ever embraced the drug scene

I’ve never done ecstasy.As a kid, I didn’t experience or witness big parties. It was 1981 (I was 8 years old). Then when I hit 13 years old I became the curious DJ I met up with D.J. Slick Rick ‘Da’ master ( the American music producer )  & Steve Point Dexter and through dance mania (records) in 1984, I got a taste for the party scene.

Corky was signed up to the dance mania label  ( founded by Jesse James in 1985) who signed up many pioneers of the  Chicago house music scene.

In 1987 the door opened and I met up with  Slick Rick ‘Da’ master And a body down the projects called D.J. Funk…and we hung out at the  House of Jammin Gerald (and) he did something we’d  never seen before.

He used a cassette machine to make a beat machine (ie  a mixtape by hand ) the  Chicago acid soul track  ‘No way back’ (by Adonis) became a  huge classic  UK hit .

 

Corky also lists the  HOTMIX 5 DJ TEAM  as creative influences.  HOT MIX 5 was  Chicago house music first commercial success in terms of radio airtime.

STEP 2 How  to interview someone  unsuccessfully

Digressing and cramming too much in.

 Corky’s views on American politics

From a hood perspective, Trump doesn’t concern us .What he is doing to us-He’s not doing anything to us that hasn’t already been done.

Corky’s opinion of Obama when he was  in the White House

FUCK OBAMA! He did something for the American minorities. There were no tangibles.

Tangibles (elaborate please)?

Black people want 465 years of free labour.

How do you imagine that could be achieved?

(LAUGHS) I don’t know yet-grass roots campaigns ?  (the minorities) need to hold their own nuts. Black people do not want to harm children & babies .

For more information on this HUGE topic check out  HOLD YOUR OWN NUTS campaign.

Can you tell  me what your view is about mental health & the music/creative industry?

People need to perk up. People need to be heard. I go through it.

When I asked him  to speak about the track he  did title ‘DEPRESSION’

yeah, it was just how I felt. It reminds me of this kid from Phoenix who said something compelling. He said he was going through something. Something real serious, like he wanted to commit suicide. It’s serious. I got him to work with me on my footwork on-air project and it seemed to help him.

What other roles have you had in or out of the music industry?

I’ve recently founded my own music label (2018)

When I asked Corky how his label came about

He’s  a Robert

( phone signal bugged out at that moment)

He’s a distributor in Germany-you’re really picking my brains…

(To clarify Corky Traxman Strong runs Chicago factory music record label with Dance manias very own, Steve point Dexter).

COOL FACT: Steve point Dexter’s dad used to drum for jazz /piano composer Duke Ellington-he’s most well known is, ‘ It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing.

I tried to cajole Corky into talking about Mr AAARFF?

I can’t . Mr AAARFF is my cat that helps me make decisions. I can’t comment without him being here.

(Corky becomes unusually quieter)

Okay, so Why did you start a music label?

(Laughs) Freedom ( incredulous) I can make my own choices.

DURR (to myself)

Because you’ve transcended so many different genres of music-what kind of people listen to your music today?

I dunno. Ordinary people. You don’t need to be part white or part black or (you can be) even transgender ,y know?

Where would you say your biggest fan base is?

Asia. Japan and Asia It’s not primarily just juke and footwork I play. They even love their reggae

Moving onto your work with TEK LIFE (congratulations for hitting the ROLLING STONE TOP 20 EDM ALBUMS FOR 2017) and the whole footwork movement

For more information about TEK LIFE & Corky’s involvement, you can find more details TEK LIFE

Tek Life

(Follow up) FEATURE: CORKY TRAXMAN STRONG

Cornelius Ferguson (Corky Traxman Strong)  became one of the co-founders of (deceased) D.J. Rashed and D.J. Spinn and the  Teklife crew which lead him to infuse the juke and the footwork subculture revival with his personal, old school Chicago house and acid sound.

Footwork juke dance -is a huge revival back from the ’90s composed of mainly using Samplers, drum machine Roland TR-808, synthesizer, and a sequencer to get people dancing at 160 BPM. It’s infectious to watch and try out the moves yourself.

Be ready to feel like you are dancing on lit coals.TEK LIFE

His long extensive career in the music industry means he has a huge fan base in Japan, France, Britain.

His album came 3rd in   The Rolling Stones 20 BEST EDM & ELECTRONIC music Albums( 2017) called TRAXMAN TEKVISION

Of all the Chicago footwork architects from the frenetic genre’s first wave of worldwide exposure, Cornelius “Traxman” Ferguson has proven to be the hardest rocking – the most willing to make mincemeat of heavy metal riffs. His fifth-or-so album explores a new type of harshness thanks to tweaking the minimalist textures of vintage electronic music – “Tone Deaf” is like a pulsating sine wave turned into funky morse code, “Whop Line” is a piercing wobble sent howling and wiggling onto the dancefloor. Tracks like “Gone Girl” are a more familiar return to tweaking classic pop songs, but his stuttering work – presumably his quick fingers on an MPC – leaves busted-sounding glitches and skip

(Rolling Stones)

His latest album has just dropped. Support music artists and get his DillaZ EP from Bandcamp.

Check out his acid house mix too.

Soundcloud

MYSPACE