Friday, December 14, 2012

New Music and More!

Here's a quick little link drop to keep the masses satisfied!

In case you missed it (most of you did, which is a shame) a pretty famous rapper came through Staten Island last week with his band of merry lyricists. The creator of 2010's big hit, "I'm Awesome," was here with Cam Groves and the Educated Advocates. Check out some video I took of them!

This next video is by a good friend of mine who's just starting to get his music out. Shout out to Antonio Yhap. Here's his mixtape, Immature.

Of course, here's lovable local Backslashes & Bad Ideas. Check out their song Phoenix With an F.

December 21st the world is supposed to end, so go see a last show and check out End Of The World Christmas Brewhorsehorse @Dock Street! Oh yeah, and FigureHead and West of Dennis are going to be there! Here's the Facebook invite and a promo video.

Last but not least a show that is dear to my heart because I created it by some insane miracle and the power of giving...Hurricane Sandy Benefit & Christmas Party! F/T - EveryNightDrive, SpreadThe Rumor, Corrao Q, and More at Full Cup!

This show, December 23rd, is going to be great for so many reasons. #1 and most importantly we will be donating all proceeds to organizations that can help families affected by Hurricane Sandy, especially important during Christmas time. #2, my band was part of a music scene that more less died at the end of 2010, and now I've managed to recreate the "Superfriends" of my era. So to play with my best friends of music is very exciting. #3, EveryNight Drive is back together and the Corrao Q and Spread the Rumor have reassembled for one special night.

Throughout the night there will be raffles and giveaways as well as an after party! Here are some promo videos I made for the event.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pete's Lost Luggage Interview with Jon Marotte

First and formost, explain the name Pete's Lost Luggage. Is there a great story?
Sadly no, I would love to say that there was some hysterical story behind the name but it’s actually kind of lame. Pete was in Italy for a month doing God knows what, and he put a status on Facebook which I comment on saying “if you don’t write lyrics while you are out there I hope you lose your luggage.” Then one of us suggested we should call ourselves Pete’s Lost Luggage, which we all thought was kind of funny. Mostly we felt having a silly name, embodied our attitude about the band. We aren’t taking ourselves too serious and we felt a silly name would be fitting. So far some people like it some people don’t but that’s just the nature of everything in life.

At the core, what is this band and what are you looking to do as musicians?
Have fun! That’s the first thing we all said when we put this band of misfits together. For the most part we are old (if you consider 25 old) Jon (me) is 25 and the oldest member. But we’ve all been playing in bands for years. I had my first band when I was 15, so 10 years I’ve been playing locally. I disappeared for a few years because I didn’t like the way the scene was going but we will get into that later... So this band from day one was just about us having fun, playing the music we love, and not giving a shit what anyone else thought. I’ve heard people ask
why I still listen to or want to play Punk when punk's been dead for years. My answer has always been because I love it, the music is emotional, it’s aggressive yet can be calming and uplifting. So many emotions can be fit into a two minute song, and of course most important it’s fun. I always felt metal and hardcore (and I listen to a lot of metal and hardcore) was always too serious. Music is supposed to be fun, it’s like anything else in life, there’s a time to be serious and there’s a time to be silly. Sometimes you can be both at the same time. But for the most part it’s just about having fun, playing the music I grew up loving and still love to this day.

How do you feel the current state of punk rock is in the mainstream and locally?
I can only speak for myself on this one. For me personally it sucks, mainstream has always sucked, you had that good time period when bands like Blink 182, Green Day, Brand New got airplay but even then only a small group of people actually liked it. And I prefer my bands not being on the radio and/or not being too popular because it makes it more personal if that makes any sense. Locally the scene seems like it’s getting better. Like I said earlier I left the scene probably around 2006/2007 after my old band Holdaway/A Class of Their Own split. I didn’t like the direction it was going in, it got too hardcore. The music was still good, even though I am more partial to punk, but there where some good bands, The Broken, A Dozen Dying Roses, That Hideous Strength (which actually for the most part was the same people I was in Holdaway with, just a different guitarist and singer) but all the good punk bands broke up for faded away. 

When I started to going to local shows there where some f***ing awesome bands, Melmac, Sydney, Big Wheel, Miracle of ’86, Ripping Christ from the Cross, those are the bands I loved going to see. I remember going and playing shows at Dock there would be 200+ people there, all different types of people and different genres of bands would play it was awesome. Then the hardcore scene took over, and like I said there were good bands but the people sucked. That whole “crew” fad happed, where there were different hardcore crews and they would fight each other at shows. Moshing and jumping around where replaced with beating people up instead. I never got into that. I had a good friend of mine jumped at a show because the band whose shirt he was wearing backed a different crew and the other kids didn’t like them so they f***king jumped him. And he was like the nicest dude ever. It just got stupid, now a days the scene seems like it’s improving, there some good younger bands, Wester, Everything Ever, Process of Fusion, we’ve played with these guys and I dig them. We just need more venues on the Island 10-12 years ago there was a lot more places to play, Dock St, The Wave, The Caves, Martini Red, The Lane. Now there is Full Cup and I guess Dock St still. But the crowds need to be better, seems the days of 200 people at a local show are over, now your lucky if you play to 25, most people come see their friends band and leave, it’s sad.

You guys are definitely influenced by a lot of great bands from the 90s and early 2000s. Who do you guys most wish to sound like and what is unique to YOU guys alone?
Again I can only speak for myself on this one, and I wouldn’t say we try to sound like them, more influenced by. For me I’d say Lagwagon, Strung Out, Brand New, and NUFAN, any of the Fat Wreck, Lookout or Epitaph bands. That’s my style. That’s who I steal from, I mean am influenced by the most.

Tell us about your EP and the process of recording?
The E.P. has four songs and they are all awesome (laughs). The process was fun, recording was always one of my personal favorite parts of being in a band, finally hearing the songs you’ve worked of for so long become tangible. And when they come out even better then you imagined it’s a great feeling. But we have to give a lot of the credit to our buddy Joe Dell’Aquila of Exeter Studios who did the recording. He’s awesome, he does a
great job and it’s a lot of fun recording there.

What song do you feel is really a standout, and is your new music going to be in the same vein?
As far as I am concerned "Steve! Look Out for that Stingray" is the best thing I’ve ever written. It’s fast it’s catchy, Pete wrote a great hook for the chorus, and not to boast but, the outro is a work of art! I love that song. In regards to future stuff, for the most part it will have the same feel but we do want to mess around, be versatile, try things. Who knows, maybe one day we will put out a funk album instead of punk!

Rumor has it that Pete has a history of falling on stage. Is it safe to say he has a"substance" problem like all "real" bands? 
No, he just has really bad balance, and it’s like the old Chinese proverb says “man with poor balance, fall down a lot.”

If you had to make an all-star lineup of punk bands to do a show with, who do you choose?
Lagwagon, Descendants, No Use For A Name, Strung Out, Brand New, Lawrence Arms, Wilhem Scream.

What's in the immediate future for the band?
Writing songs for a full-length album, we hope to be in the studio sometime early 2013, and playing shows, got any we can play?

Anything else to add?
I’m sure there is more I could say but I don’t feel like typing anymore.

Check out my album review of Pete's Lost Luggage 

Listen to their album here

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Korey Costa (Formerly Carpe Diem) Interview

First and foremost, who are you, what do you do, and why should we care?
I am Korey Costa. I am an artist, performer, producer, and fan of all three. The one thing that I think that sets me apart from others who do what I do is the pure authenticity of what I create. I write my songs, produce the music, record it all myself, mix and master the final product and release/promote it independently. I've had others help me in the process, mainly with show booking, but I think my biggest accolade itself as a 16 year old kid is being able to do all of this.

Your name was Carpe Diem, now you are going with your actual name, why the change, and how is "Seizing the day" a way of living your life?
The phrase 'carpe diem' has always held value to me, and I've attempted to live life by these ideas. Every day is another opportunity to absorb and become better. A time came when I believed the phrase held enough meaning to me to actually brand and recreate myself under the moniker. Although I've seen a lot of success since the name change last January, I've come to a realization that the phrase as an artist name is somewhat generic and doesn't represent me. To fully represent myself, I am changing again (for the last time), to the name my parents gave me. The concept of DIEm, notice the 'DIE', is the figurative death of the Carpe Diem character. This was not done to abandon anything I have made in the past, but to move forward without the restrictions of portraying a character. Basically I am giving myself more personal and creative freedom.

As a young rapper coming up in the game, do you feel you are at an advantage or disadvantage?
There are constant ups and downs to being a rapper as young as I am. On the bright side, I have years ahead of me to perfect my craft and find success. For example, I've opened for artists that could be considered famous and I'm still a high school student. The position that I'm in and the time I still have left definitely makes me feel comfortable as I pursue this as a career. Also, being in school with so many people my age gives me a large audience to promote myself. Of course, there are conflicts too. The most obvious one being finding shows to play. Many shows are 18+ or even 21+ and although I've been able to find people to make an exception, this is a roadblock. There is also the main criticisms I've received, which are about my lack of experience and the higher tones of my voice.

Do you ever get hated on for being a teenager or do you find it easy to earn your respect by being good?
Yes and yes. I don't often get pointed out by others regarding my age, but I'm very familiar with the odd face expressions I receive when I first step in a venue or on stage. And this does not come as a surprise.. I would probably be doing the same thing if I weren't in this spot. However, I've fortunately been able to turn most of those faces into impressed or even smiling and earn the respect of those people by just displaying what I am best at.

How long have you been rapping and who are your primary influences in music?
I've been writing raps since 2008, which was my 7th grade school year. At the time I was simply experimenting, I wasn't any good and also wasn't very informed on rap music. I can't help but to admit that Eminem was the reason I began to give it a shot. Once I became more interested, I looked to artists such as Jay-Z and Kanye for inspiration. More recently, my primary influences have been artists such as Joey Bada$$ and the entire Progressive Era, Black Hippy (Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolBoy Q, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock), Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. My inspirations have been more locally focused, specifically the Brooklyn hip-hop scene and the culture of it. This includes Pro Era as I said, Lakutis, Kool A.D. and Heems, Ratking, and other alternative hip-hop acts. I find inspiration from several genres but these are my core influences.

You perform a lot at the Stanhope House. Is that your "home court" and do you get a lot of local support from your town?
The Stanhope House could definitely be considered a "home court" to me. I actually referred to it as my second home during a recent show. If I've kept count correctly I've performed at the Stanhope House nine times in the last eight months. My biggest shows, opening for Mac Lethal last May and then Kool A.D. in August, were in Stanhope. As I attempt to expand as an artist, I'll always return to the Stanhope House whenever they invite me. I love it there. I get a tremendous amount of local support. From my family to the select kids in my school to the regular Stanhope House goers among others, I've been blessed to sell tickets for every show I've had, seem some local success in mixtape uploads and YouTube video views. I have a solid local fan base that has definitely helped me jump start my music career.

Tell us a little bit about "Yancey" and what do you feel is your strongest track on the mixtape?
The idea to make a J. Dilla-produced mixtape actually came from a trip with two friends of mine to the Princeton Record Exchange. While I was there, I purchase Biggie's debut album and Lucas With The Lid Off and when I saw J. Dilla's instrumental compilations Donuts, I knew I had to get myself one. By the time I had gotten home that night, I had already written two songs off the tape, "Geek Down" and "Thunder." The strongest track on the mixtape is "WAFFLES," which features fellow local rapper and a good friend of mine Shameless Plug. This closes the tape nicely with the best verse that I wrote for the project.

What's the best piece of advice you've gotten from other emcees you've worked with?
I've honestly gotten so much advice that it's hard to specify. I've been told to stay the way I am and keep it real and things like that which always keep me going. Recently at a Hurricane Sandy Benefit show in Ledgewood, a rapper who went under the name Truth told me "stay conscious," which is relevant to the direction my music is going in.

Biggest rockstar moment, and biggest felt like a failure moment in music?
My biggest rockstar moment has to be the show I had with Kool A.D. and his affiliates. The entire night was an experience for me. I got to meet some big names in the game, and names that have gotten big since then. Fat Tony and Fat Cruz, Chaz Van Queen, a whole bunch of talent coming from those guys. They were really cool to me and showed me mutual respect and that was dope. My biggest feeling of failure must've been this one tape that I put out in June of 2011. It was the second project I had ever released so I knew how to make a mixtape that my friends and fans would like. It was titled Musickness, those who have it can listen to it but otherwise I've deleted every link to the tape. I was in a lame state of mind and got caught up doing some stupid things with some kids my age and that showed in the lacking of creativity. Since that time I've been very strict with myself so that I don't put out anything that isn't to the best of my abilities.

Where do you see yourself in the next couple of years and what are some short time goals?
In the next couple of years, I see myself continuing to create music, most likely with the same methods and recording process. The independent route is still my goal, hopefully being able to expand my audience to be able to book shows throughout the tri-state area and maybe one day further. I'm just taking this a day at a time and keeping my artistic integrity; staying focused and not letting the daily routine put me in a daze. But some short time goals at the moment are receiving good reviews off this DIEm video, creating another all original project to release next year, finding new spots to do some performances and continuing to improve myself musically and personally.

Top 5 best rappers dead or alive?
This is always the hardest question to answer. These don't necessarily reflect my favorites right now and I'd have trouble putting them in order, but the top 5 greatest rappers of all time in my opinion are Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Eminem, Andre 3000 and Jay-Z.

Anything else to add or promote?
Watch the DIEm video with an open mind, it has a underlying theme which can actually be very powerful once understood. I have a show this Sunday at the Canvas Clash in Boonton, NJ for anybody interested. Shout out to reckless, fans of mine who read this, all my local artists, cyberpunk realism 2013. And I'm out!

Download the mixtape -

Yes Yes Yalls' Shameless Plug Interview

First and foremost, who are you and what do you do?
I am legend. My name is Shameless Plug. I am a singer and an emcee. I make music with a DJ and various producers. We're called The Yes Yes Yalls.

Yes Yes Yall is obviously a classic hip-hop line. Shameless Plug seems to have some of that old school flavor in it too. How'd you come up with that name as an emcee and were there others?
One day I thought it would be a clever name so I just ran with it. Before that I called myself Al Sharp for a little while. It was the name of a song by The Beta Band that had a special significance to me. Then I briefly changed my name to Apathy until I realized there was already another act with that name. A dope one too. I found out years later that there was another Al Sharp as well. Hell, there may even be another Shameless Plug. I have no idea.

What is something that is only unique to your group, and what sets you guys apart from others?
What we make tends to land somewhere between Justin Timberlake and Atmosphere. I can't really think of anyone else who sounds like that. If you can, please let me know because it sounds like something I'd enjoy.

You guys have had a chance to play a number of festivals and big shows. Which one stands out the most in your mind, and what was that overall experience like?
You would think it would be one of the bigger ones, but it was actually just a recent gig in our hometown area upon the release of our latest album. Just something that night. I can't even explain why. It just felt better than any other time spent on stage before.

Being from NJ, how did Hurricane Sandy affect you personally, and how do you think music can play a vital role in the healing process?
Thankfully I don't live in the part(s) of the state that suffered the worst damage. We were without power for about a week and a lot of trees were knocked down but that's about it. Nothing compared to what other people went through and are still going through. As far as music goes, I recently helped organize a benefit show with a friend of mine that had a whole bunch of acts get together and perform to raise money for those who needed it. I dunno how vital it all can be, but when you have folks like Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel doing the same kind of thing, it definitely makes a dent.

Tell us about your newest album, and what are some tracks to look out for?
Our newest album is called 9000 and you should just look out for the whole thing. You can hear it all and download it for free at

What's the dopest rhyme you've ever written?
That's for the listener to decide. Sure I have my personal favorites but mostly for sentimental reasons. Stuff that meant the most to me tends to outweigh stuff with better punchlines.

Biggest rockstar moment, biggest failure moment since being in Yes Yes Yalls?
I was added to some tour a few years back and we played a show in the middle of nowhere in Kansas. The crowd there treated me like I was some damn celebrity. It was unreal. As far as failures go, they happen on a daily basis. [Haha.]

Who would be your dream collaboration? (artist and producer)
Thom Yorke. Rick Rubin.

Top 5 greatest emcees dead or alive?
Andre 3000, Rakim, Black Thought, Slick Rick and Bob Dylan.

What's the the immediate future for the group and what direction would you like to see the group go in?
The immediate future is a couple side projects I've been working on. One is a mixtape where I sing and rap over television theme songs. The other is a collaboration with my good friend John Blake. Some straight up hip-hop type stuff. We're calling ourselves The Nayno. As for what direction I'd like to see The Yes Yes Yalls go in, that kinda changes on the daily recently. It could end up more of what we've been doing with the producer/DJ/emcee thing. It could end up a full band that goes somewhere completely different. It could be more electronic type stuff. I have no idea at this point. Whatever feels right when it comes time to work on the next album is just what we're gonna roll with.

Anything else to add?
Plenty. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fairday Skyline 'My Empire' EP Review

Fairday Skyline is a local Staten Island band consisting of:

Kyle Blaine Corman - Vocals
Matt Kessler - Guitar
Patrick Granton - Guitar/ Backing Vocals
Michael Koltosky - Bass/ Backing Vocals
Manny Mavrakis - Drums/ Screams

I know a couple of the members of this band very well from them being members of various other S.I bands. Glad they found a home together in a band that seems to be going places.

Their EP, My Empire, which to my understanding has not been released (SNEAK PEEK!), is the first studio compilation by Fairday Skyline, so here we go!

The album opens up with an instrumental called "With Glad Tidings." I really like the track, it's almost like the score for the intro of a film and is kind of ominous as it goes into the first track. A perfect intro that leads right into the ripping chords of "Waiting For Someone."

"Waiting For Someone" is a solid start to the album. Kyle's harmonies over the chorus are great and are complimented nicely with Manny's screams. The track has just enough instrumentation in it and features a gritty instrumental part into a softer lull before picking up into the final chorus.

Artwork by Nick Pisani
Next up is "Who Decides," and I'm deciding it's the catchiest song on the EP (sorry, I had to). The chorus is almost like an anthem to adolescence and the whole music scene. It's an awesome story to paint a picture in song, as we all know somebody that can relate. This would be the most worthy radio single on the album. Just like the first track, there's a slower bridge that leads into an almost break down like rendition of the chorus.

"Spreading the Disease" feels like a heavy acoustic song in the beginning, if that makes sense. Mike's bass-line throughout the song is great, and the music is the most dynamic on the album. There's a lot of nice guitar and drum parts. Overall, just a really good song that has something for everyone whether they are looking to just jam or vibe out. Also, around the 3:50 mark there's a pretty cool humming bridge which allows Kyle to get in at showing his talents off.

The following track kind of feels like a throwback in music to me. "Down to Earth" has an interesting sound that I can't put my finger on. At times the guitars and their tuning remind me of something out of the early 90s or even 80s but the vocalization is more dare I say Senses Fail-ish Alternative/Nu Metal like Shinedown. I'm very confused but in a good way, nice job guys! And finally the song displays some of Manny's deep growls!

The last track, "Maynard Fights Fan," is the most different on My Empire. The verse kicks in with an almost jazzy like guitar part interlaced with Kyle's singing and Manny's screams. It's very cool to say the least. We also see the bands catchphrase come in during the chorus, "We Are Terrifying." The second verse is musically like the first, but a lot heavier. Guitarists Matt and Patrick do a splendid job on this song going back in fourth between sounds and the song becomes almost genre bending. The heaviest part of the EP comes at the end of this song, providing a great way to go out.

Fairday Skyline has a signature sound and way they create songs. They seem always have an intro to the song that changes as the vocals come in, and they have a quieted down bridge and/or solo instrument section. The production and instrumentation is great. Kyle's vocals are well done and well layered. Manny's screams are on point and piercing. My only complaint is that he be featured more, but that's my preference for heavier stuff. A great first effort by the band, I encourage you all to get yourself a copy of My Empire!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Freestyle Fam Review of 'Undisputed: Revenge of the Fallen Tracks - EP'

Freestyle Fam, Freestyle Fam, Freestyle Fam...where do I begin.

Freestlye Fam is made up of one part nasty sound of the streets emcee (Quest the Wordsmith) and one part metaphor slinging rapid fire lyricist (Redeemed).

This duo is deadly on the microphone and I challenge any emcee to step up their rhyme game and hop in the cypher with these guys.

I'm privileged to call these guys my friends, and even more privileged to introduce you to their sphere of influence God inspired message in their music.

Undisputed: Revenge of the Fallen Tracks was dropped on August 18th of this year and showcases five superbly written and performed tracks.

The first track "Undisputed" kicks in heavy with the drums as Quest lays down a slick verse attacking the rap game and representing what he's about and what Freestyle Fam is about over the chorus. Then Redeemed kicks in with an intense verse focusing on his crew's skill for taking down the average rapper and challenging everyone else to step up.

"Where Do We Go" brings down the tempo and gets serious as Quest talks about negative opinions towards his music and his craft and how he is sick of judgment coming from people who's thoughts don't matter. In his world the only person who matters is God. Redeemed touches on the monotony of what rappers on the radio spit and how it's manufactured and fake. He urges them to try and walk in his shoes.
"License to Rhyme" opens with the chorus whispered and a dope sample. For the first and only time we see Redeemed open up a rhyme. After his verse the chorus comes back stronger with female vocals singing on what is real hip-hop. Quest then flows in smoothly and drops knowledge per usual with an impeccable flow. The track is a good little mid interlude for the album.

The next track is the softest of the bunch with the beautiful piano and hummed vocal layers throughout.  "Sad Memories" aims to hit the heart as Quest goes through the motions of a person trying to find himself in the grand scheme of life. Redeemed questions his inspiration in music as he struggles to deal with saving souls and his gift of rap as a tool to minister his message of forgiveness, love, and salvation while others supposedly doing the same fail.

The last song on the EP, brings the noise back and this time with a special guest, Rkitect. "Savages" lives up to its namesake and delivers the most brutal of punchlines and metaphors as the main purpose of the song is to just swag out and make the listeners pay attention. "I'm a rhymin' man/I write with an iron hand/With a diaphragm hot enough to melt Iron Man in a frying pan." Yeah...about that. Everyone on this track brings it and takes this song to another level.

Overall Freestyle Fam released a solid EP. This is their third release and second EP, but for me it also marks progress. The Fam added a little bit of full song structure and full beats into their repertoire. Their first mixtape,  Lyrical Onslaught, was just that, killer rhymes and words but at times lacking a solid overall song/single. They are there. Keep it coming!

Get the album here -

Remember to keep checking the site for their First&15 series of songs!