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Bank of Sounds Feature :Dee Wallz

When I first heard this track (2018) on hype machine. My curiosity stirred from the intro of ‘PlayStation'( a sample is taken from one of the most iconic game systems start-up theme ever) I have listened to this track at least 80 times since finding it on hype machine..

*The inspiration for the track came following a break up with an ex-girlfriend and Dee went into his studio, let all the creativity and emotions pour out and the result was this.

I’ve been listening to a few of Dee’s tracks over the past year. I particularly relate to his introspective approach to his lyrics and subtle wry humour.

I decided to get in touch( and after many months of sorting out how we would go about doing it ). I’m so grateful for Dee’s patience in helping me gain the courage to do my first feature interview on my blog.

So who are you?

I’m Dee Wallz one of the best up and coming rappers lol

Yeah man, I love your optimistic attitude. You do have a great flow and rhythm, and a distinct voice that has developed over the last 2 years.

How old are you? ( little ice breaker haha)

I’m pretty old now lol I’m 22

Yeah, you are so old. You come across as rather driven and focused for someone in their 20’s. No offence Though one source I found claims that you were 25 in 2017! )

*To clarify Dee is 27 & still young.*

Where are you from originally?

I’m originally from Memphis, TN but I’m living in the great city of Houston Tx .

What put you on the music path?

I actually started writing with my cousin Jarvis in Mississippi, I did it for fun but I really became dedicated to it in my hometown of Memphis, at the age of 13. And I’ve been writing ever since.

That’s pretty cool. Memphis is a hub for musical talent. So many great artists like Wendy Rene, Aretha Franklin come from Memphis. Its a place with an intense political history. And it’s where civil rights activist Martin Luther King was assassinated. You have that MLK track. It is a place where many iconic artists such as Louie Armstrong have gone to perform and been well received and perhaps been inspired by politics. You rap with so much depth & soul. There is nothing ugly about your rapping style.

Why do you continue to do music?

To me it’s therapeutic for me whether talking about my life experiences and/or it allows to express my creativity with my wittiness and wordplay.

Who do you look up to in the industry?

I definitely look up to guys like Jay Z and Nas, I love their growth, being just great artist (s). And now seeing how successful they are in other business ventures inspires me.

What influences your music?

My musical influences are from all over the place. From J Cole, Nas, Lil Wayne, T.i, MF DOOM, Big KRIT Jay Electronica, Jay Z, Elzhi, Royce da 5’9 and Phonte are the few that come to mind. Basically all of the top tier lyricists.

Have you ever released an album/or intend to?

Not yet but very soon so stay tuned. Right now I’m just releasing singles.

watch this space!

I know you’ve done a few collaborations with other music artists. It’s a great way to get into the industry.

I’ve collaborated with one of the dopest females rappers out of Cali by the name of MaCita on a remix of my song “Sorry, I Don’t Know You” and I’ve collaborated with my boy out of Memphis Capo Montana and my guy from New Orleans, King Studio Best.

Who do you believe would buy/listen to your music?

I believe my music has widespread appeal. So I think I’ll connect with all races, ages, genders and everyone around the world of different cultures. I’ve actually had my music streamed in 16 countries. So I truly believe that.

That’s cool. I too truly believe that music transcends language. It is the one common unifier and music brings people together.

What newspapers, magazines, tv shows, trade papers, or blogs have you been featured in?

I have been featured in The Word is Bond, EAR MILK which is two of my favourite blogs and I hope to be featured in a lot more.

Why should people care about you and your music(it’s a cutthroat industry to get in to)?

I feel like I give my story and life experiences in music but also provide comic relief with my punchlines. Or sometimes I’ll have my moments of doing both.

Yeah, I do appreciate being humoured when I listen to hip hop. It’s a great skill to have especially when you are rapping about serious issues.

What genres of music do you like to perform in?

Primarily rap & hip-hop but I’m for sure down to collab with musicians of other genres.

I think it’s vital to our creative growth to push ourselves out of our comfort zones in music or whatever we do

One track that comes to mind that demonstrates your versatility as an artist is Fuck Mozart ‘track. It demonstrates (to me) you aren’t afraid to experiment and push the boundaries of your usual style of music while still retaining the essence of who Dee Wallz -the artist is. Your strength is in your flawless vocals. You have a distinctive sound.

Do you write your own music?

Of course, I consider myself a lyricist so I feel like that’s a must.

What do you do in your free time?

I’m a be honest music is my life (lol ), if I’m not doing it .I’m thinking about doing it or how I further my status in music.

What are your other hobbies though?

I would say the gym and video games. Those two are great stress relievers, and it helps just give me a restart before I pick up the pen and pad again.

True, it’s important to have other interests. Its a tough industry to be in and looking after your physical and mental health is vital to staying focused. Yeah, I can see how committed you are and how hard you train using different voice technique reflected in the tracks I’ve listened to

What are you trying to do in the industry?

I’m trying to make the biggest impact I can while being me and making the music I genuinely want to make.

What do you want to be known for/known as?

One of the greatest

ūüėÄ baht of course. A G.O.A.T. Indeed.
Make the best of Life. Make it count.

What do you hope to get out of your involvement in the music industry?

To create a lasting legacy and hopefully influence the general(?)in a positive way

 

What is your favourite quote?

It takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. I feel like I’m currently at 9,999

*A quote from the author of ‘how to achieve mastery in whatever a person does in life, by Malcolm Gladwell. It is a classic perfectionist quote. in my humble opinion.

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

Introspective, Catchy and Witty

What kind of music do you listen to?

I know everyone says this but- all kinds (lol )but primarily hip-hop if I’m being honest…

What are your 3 favourite songs ?

  1. 1.J. Cole-Simba

  2. Lil Wayne- I’m Me
  3. Nas- It Aint Hard To Tell

How does music affect your mood?

It can literally change my mood in an instant. That’s why if I’m feeling down I like to listen to something from my childhood to lift my spirit.

Nothing wrong with indulging in a moment of nostalgia. Music has a way of putting me in a different mindstate.

What is your perspective on the current state of the industry?

I love it, we’re in a state of independence and self-empowerment. I also feel like there is a balance musically.

I agree that music artists have more opportunities to self promote on different music platforms and access to information on the internet has made it easier for some ways to get your music out to the public.

What do you think will help the industry survive/what do you think the industry needs in order to thrive?

I think just embrace artist genuinely wanting to be themselves and not change them and jus accentuate what talent they already have.

Yeah, I agree that we should work hard to stay true to ourselves as well as being inspired or influenced by different artists/sources.

What are you currently working on?

Right now I’m just dropping songs at a steady pace and perfecting my craft more and more as I go so stay tuned…….. (quoted in 2018)

This track is interesting too

What inspired it?

It wasn’t anything too deep. I just wanted something more upbeat and fun (lol). I like to try new things with my creativity.

Thank you, for taking the time to do a feature. You have been so cool, helpful and it’s been a pleasure collaborating with you.

Dee Wallz’ last released track was this classical hip hop , his with lyrics full of passion and a still waters deep soul soundscape .

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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‚Äôs first wave of worldwide exposure, Cornelius ‚ÄúTraxman‚ÄĚ Ferguson has proven to be the hardest rocking ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď ‚ÄúTone Deaf‚ÄĚ is like a pulsating sine wave turned into funky morse code, ‚ÄúWhop Line‚ÄĚ is a piercing wobble sent howling and wiggling onto the dancefloor. Tracks like ‚ÄúGone Girl‚ÄĚ are a more familiar return to tweaking classic pop songs, but his stuttering work ‚Äď presumably his quick fingers on an MPC ‚Äď 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

Nina Simone

“The worst thing about that kind of prejudice… is that while you feel hurt and angry and all the rest of it, it feeds you self-doubt. You start thinking, perhaps I am not good enough” -NINA SIMONE –

I never knew why I connected so much with this woman’s voice and songs so much, until now.

We seemingly have nothing in common- she was a trained classical pianist, jazz and soul singer, and a proud African  American lady, actively a  part of the  American civil rights movement.

She hung out Martin Luther King! She was born in the 1930’s.

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I , on the other hand, was born and grew up in South Africa. I am white. I was born in the early 1980s when the apartheid regime was crumbling.

 

Recently, I watched the documentary about her life on Netflix and I identified with this ¬†wild spirit within her. ¬†A spirit demanding justice. She was a ¬†person who had a name but couldn’t truly own it.

There is a song she sings  РAINT GOT NO -I GOT LIFE (she is simply mesmerizing to watch)

 

The song ends with her singing

“I am my freedom. I got my freedom.”

That is my connection to her. ¬†For a long time I wasn’t accepted,I may well have been another skin color.

In fact- ¬†in post-apartheid. -early 90’s -I spent most of my teens taking drugs with the colored or black ¬†and Indian community ( they identify themselves with these terms in South Africa btw ) and increasing less ¬†time with white people.

At various points in Nina’s life she felt like she had lost her mind.

 

I nearly became mad.

In fact I am sure I did.

Many times.

I   nearly died -countless times  too.

I was forced out of South Africa because my mother couldn’t stand by and watch me die.

It took 17 years to get  to the person I am today.

 

I should be dead. ¬†I guess life has bigger plans for me. ¬†It is not for lack of me trying every possible way to kill myself by my hand or another’s..

I have always wanted my freedom to be me in my body  and mind and be comfortable in it.

In my search for Freedom I even became like some feral creature to get it.  I  could say I only imitated what I saw other people do.

Its’s strange how other people are quick to judge. They don’t seem to see that they do the same things to cope.

 Oh,how they just took .

Boys

Girls

Men

Women

People just took  from me what was useful to them  and discarded me like a used condom. Making sure there was no evidence to be found that linked them with the theft of my own creativity and soul.

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People took a lot from Nina – she left the U.S.A. for many years to find her mind and peace.

One of my favorite sayings I always tend to tell people is

“I’m a person with good intentions”

“My actions and heart come from a good place .”

I think I must have picked it up from the lyrics in the song¬†¬†‘DON’T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD

“I’m just a soul whose intentions are good – Oh lord please don’t let me be misunderstood”

I’ve often ¬†felt misunderstood.

 I have made one hell of a journey.

So these days if someone misunderstands what I say, I have to pretty much cut them off and be direct and tell them  that they have misunderstood or not heard or misinterpreted what I am saying .

 

To have soul, you have to be free.

Completely free of your mind and body -you mustn’t covert away any part of you , you must reveal your soul to the entire world.

People will either get you or they won’t but that becomes their problem not mine or yours.

There must be no shame in revealing your soul to the world.

Your story.

Your journey.

Nina ¬†was diagnosed with Bipolar in the 80’s ¬†and I guess she felt displaced.

Bipolar,huh ?

Displaced ?

Now I know that world well.

 

I felt displaced in so many situations in my life. I did actually do something  Nina did  (at a point in her life)-

I  turned inwards on myself.

I couldn’t win the political game of ¬†“normal” social life. ¬† I never fit in one social group or culture.

I stood out for all to see.

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I didn’t fit. Yet, I felt comfortable in more than one place or with one type of people simultaneously.

I didn’t want to have to choose just one set of people to be around. I tried to conform but my soul rebelled

I struggled when I was growing up.

Not being able to fit into one box  came  high levels  of recklessness on my part. I  was probably the first person in my social group who displayed crazy- off her head signs.

It was awful because I was only 13-17 years old.

You could be a certain type of crazy but not my kind of crazy.

People backed up the fuck away…

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Never mind that later many of my peers would have had more life experience and with that , they had gained a few extra pounds of  experiencing the not so great hand life deals us at times.

There would come a time when many I knew would have  to deal with  whatever  it decides to throw at you. Whenever it chooses to do so.

 Maybe a few of them went

“Oh,now I get it.”

I took on adult responsibilities from a young age.

I didn’t ¬†fucking want them.

So it then ¬†became a political inquest into my soul…

My soul fled from me – leaped out of my heart, got lost in my head , ran- in search of the nearest exit.

It found that exit in a secret tunnel at the furthest part of my unconscious.   It did a backflip out and  over the balcony of my  mind, landed on its feet and made for the ocean.

It went into hiding , to the deepest part of the ocean. A place it knew it could surrender to without protest. It could go with the current and not be examined for doing something as natural as just being its nature and of nature.

 

I searched to reclaim mine back  for years.

Soul can’t be questioned it must be ¬†felt.

Nina felt stigma,

I felt stigma,

Many feel stigma.

She connected to so many because ¬†she wasn’t afraid to share her humanness and be her and speak up for ‘her kind’.

She inspires me to carry on  speaking out for people who still suffer inequality with their mental health issues. I will never stop using my voice and writing to break down stigma and prejudice and ignorance.

There are four songs I want to  share that she sang.

 The only way she knew how to help change and shape the world she lived in -was to get political with her music. It killed her singing  career and nearly killed her.

I can’t help but see Nina as such a positive role model for all genders, race, sexuality, age and faiths.

STRANGE FRUIT-   The first greatest protest song. Originally sung by Billie Holliday -another idol of mine

 

GODDAMN MISSISSIPI –read about the meaning behind the song

TO BE YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK – be proud!

This leads me to tell all your Jazz lovers out there that today is Sunday  ( again?)and I kind of accepted to do a challenge.

INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY EVENT is on 7th May.

THIS EVENT IS ABOUT CELEBRATING THIS DAY TOGETHER AND SHARING OUR EXPERIENCES

WANT TO JOIN IN  ON FACEBOOK?  HERE YOU GO.

 

If you can, I recommend watching the ‘WHAT HAPPENED, NINA? ‘ ‘ DOCUMENTARY ON NETFLIX

CHECK OUT THE TRAILER