Getting the Low Down on “Low End Landscape” EP With SOSAY

Aaron Keysor Sosay–or So$ay, as he goes by artistically–is a Santa Cruz producer and DJ who knows what he wants. After releasing a string of singles, last week he dropped his debut EP, Low End Landscape. While So$ay is steeped in bass culture, Low End finds the artist exploring a wide range–or landscape, if you will, hehe–of music and sounds. Hip hop, glitch hop, and more make up the auditory view that rides the boarder between catchy and introspective.  We were able to get an email interview with him about  who he is, how he came to make  Low End Landscape,  and what we can look forward to from him in the near future.

 

How long have you been making music and what influenced you to start? 

SO$AY: I have always had a passion for music and I consider myself to have pretty good taste when it comes to track selection. One thing I love about performing onstage is having the being able to cultivate the vibe and take the crowd on a journey of sorts. You gotta be able to read the energy of the crowd and figure out on the fly which way to steer the music. A “choose your own adventure” type of thing.  I have always had a vision of what I wanted to create, but  DJing was much harder than I thought it would be, especially without using what I call a safety net. That refers to auto sync or others means to have the computer do the beat matching for you. I never use this. It’s kind of like this: There are two tightrope walkers, each with their own tightrope stretched across the Grand Canyon. One has a safety net underneath them; the other has no net and would surely die if they fall.  They both make it across. Which one is the more impressive feat? That’s how I feel about DJing.  Being that there are so many out there, I didn’t want to be “just another DJ”. I wanted to set myself apart so I thought it was important to make my own tunes. It’s fairly easy to make a beat, but it’s incredibly difficult to make a full track that’s good. That’s what I’ve been trying to do now for about the last 4.5 years.

How long have you lived in Santa Cruz and how has the city or scene affected your music
I’ve lived in SC for about 8 years total. When I was younger I lived here for about 4 years but this time around 6-7 moved away for a while but ended up moving back. It’s a helluva town. Expensive , but a helluva town. A Beautiful environment and chill vibe without the hustle and bustle of the city is really conducive to making music. That might be one of the reasons why there are a lot of producers that live here.
 As far as I can tell, “Low End Landscape” appears to be your first, multiple track EP, despite dropping many singles. What made you decide to drop an EP this time? 
I think it’s just the natural progression in the evolution of an artist. It requires a couple things – a little bit more vision to see the EP as a whole work instead of just individual components. It brings it all together as a finished product that delivers a representation of what Sosay is about and sounds like. I also use it as a tool of sorts to launch myself and my music career. More exposure equals more chances to be in front of–or in– the ears of peeps who are dig my style. Hopefully turn a couple heads along the way too. That’s the goal anyway. Half the battle is getting heard. Not just heard, but being heard by the right people .
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 What does “Low End Landscape” mean to you? 
In a visual sense, I kind of view it – like low end implies there’s bass- the low end of the frequency.  But the low end landscape I view as I’m your tour guide through this dark grimy wasteland – landscape like a patchwork of different terrains. I feel this EP is pretty diverse yet has cohesion overall. Its not just a playlist. It has an overall vibe which is important to portray without a neon blinking sign. The Low End Landscape is an alternate dimension that’s kind of menacing – Mordor meets the Matrix with some Salvador Dali-esqu imagery. It takes you on a journey but instead of using a visual medium, it uses an auditory one.
The EP has a wide mix of hip hop samples, glitch hop, bass and more. Was that a conscious decision or just the product of messing around in the studio? What is your writing process like?
+I kind of go where the track takes me. I have a general idea of what I want to do and take an element that I like and just go with that. I usually I start with the drums because it is the foundation of the track and you have to have that solid before you go forward. Trying to do something else first and then come back to the drums is kind of challenging because they are the blueprint and the concrete. So if the drums suck, the track will suck .
If you could collaborate with one artist, who would it be and why? 
Just one artist? That’s kind of a tough one… In the history of all mankind, I would probably say, just for the outrageousness of it, I’d probably work with Beethoven or someone like that because it would be just so crazy. But for the more realistic modern take from my era some of the producers I look up to like J Dilla, Dr Dre, any of those super elite producers – and from the electronic community, Lorn, Eprom, or Mr. Carmack,
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What’s been your favorite club gig? Your favorite festival show you’ve played?
One that stands out is one of my first ones actually. It was at the Bordello. For those that don’t know, the Bordello is this old Winchester mystery type house speakeasy sort of thing with legendary underground parties- Shout out to Christian ! This was one of the first time I ever slayed a dance floor. It was out of control. People were dripping from the ceiling. I had more people in the room I was playing in than the headliner in the other room.
AS far as festivals go, I’d say this year at Raindance . I got a 530 am time slot, which at first I was a little nervous about because it could go two different ways-The vibe could still be hyphy with the people still in party mode so you play bangers and such, or it could go the other way and be super chill and mellow as people are winding down. It ended up being perfect. A bit of both and it was a beautiful morning. The whole squad was there so that made it even more special. Definitely one of my most fun sets ever where I was really able to curate the vibe.
Who are you currently listening to?
 Well I’m always digging for new tunes for DJ sets but I don’t always like to listen to the shit I play because it gets a bit monotonous. I tend to get sick of the tracks after a while if I’m listening to them when I’m driving, practicing for shows, and working. But some of my favorites right now are Ivy Lab, Schoolboy Q, Eprom, Hucci, Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, Mr. Carmack, and always go back to the classics of hip hop and gangsta rap circa 1992 – 2005.
Name one artist that makes your ears bleed. 
 I try and stay positive and not knock others’ art, but if I have to pick something, it would have to be whack rappers. I can’t stand whack rappers. It’s astonishing that these dudes get to such a level of notoriety when they are straight garbage. If Tupac and biggie were alive today they would eat these fools alive.
With 2016 coming to a close, what do you have in store for us in 2017? 
I’ve got a couple more shows before bringing 2016 to a close. Trap City @ 1015 Folsom on 11.11 is gonna be big. Ending the year with a show in Salt Lake City with the homie, VNDMG, on the Dec. 23rd. It’s become a bit of a tradition and shit always pops off. In 2017 expect to hear a ton of new music, more collaboration, and another solo EP by years end. There’s a HIGH NOON EP or compilation in the works. I’ve already got some festival bookings for the summer. I’ll have a track on the new Shadow Trix compilation as well as the upcoming WE GOT THIS compilation, which should be dropping soon. It looks to be a big year and I can’t wait!
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ICEKREAM – “SQUEEZE ME”

Originality is essential to any art, but in the EDM world, it’s everything. If you sound like one of the other thousands of artists producing on their laptop, you’re not going to get very far in your career. A DJ and producer has to be confident in their sound and give no fucks about what is currently happening in the music scene. They have to hold onto their ideas, and love themselves first. And that’s exactly what IceKream does on his new track, “Squeeze Me.”

soundsnobz

Two days ago,  IceKream, the mysterious half of SoundSnobz (the other half would be the very public Troyboi) dropped his latest track on Soundcloud and it already has over 38.5k  plays and 3,000 likes. Needless to say, this original anthem is picking up steam and it’s easy to see why. His jazzy house beats and chill vibes carry the track to levels of love. Like you’re being bear hugged by some blue jazz. After it’s done you just want to give Icekream a big. . .ol. . .squeeze and that ain’t no euphoric jive.

 

DJ TRIPP – STRANGER HEATHENS

What’s better than two awesome things coming together to create perfection? Peanut Butter and Jelly. Whiskey and Coke. Gatorade and hangovers. Ok, maybe that last one works but not in the context I meant. Whatever. Here’s another thing to add to the list of amazing combinations: Stranger Things and Twenty-One Pilots brought to us by the Bay Area’s own, DJ Tripp.

For those who never came back from that last acid trip over the festival season, Stranger Things is the take-off hit Netflix series. Set in the 1980’s the show follows a group of one-day-will-rule-the-tech-world middle school nerds who are trying to find their friend, Will, after he mysteriously disappears. Along with his friends, Will’s mother–played by Winona Ryder–is the only other person who also believes he is alive and joins the hunt. The series chases the viewer into a forest of twists and turns as a strange girl named Eleven shows up followed by Men in Black figures.

Oh, and did I mention the monster from a parallel universe that eats people? Yeah, there’s that too.

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Keeping with the kitsch 80’s theme, the soundtrack to Stranger Things is a tasty soup of hits from the decade and original synth music.

DJ Tripp–who is the resident DJ for 80’s and 90’s night at the Blue Lagoon in Santa Cruz every Thursday and Friday night and DJs Bootie at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco every Saturday–has quite the ear for music. While listening to the latest Twenty-One Pilots song, “Heathens”–written for the Suicide Squad soundtrack–he noticed it sounded eerily similar to the theme music for the Netflix cult hit. When he realized they were even in the same key, he set to work and created this fun remix.

I’ve been blasting it all morning while trying to figure out just wtf happened to Barbara.

 

 

AABO – ALMOST DOESN’T COUNT

Long Live 90’s R&B! So says Aabo. Or, at least, he subliminally says in his latest track, an updated and remixed version of Brandy’s “Almost Doesn’t Count.”  The San Francisco DJ and member of world-funk collective, Afromassive dropped his latest track on Monday and it digs deep.

Aabo does Brandy’s vocals justice by keeping them on the track. Her soulful cry for a love she realizes will never go anywhere delivers the feels in all the right places. But while the original, 1998 track caries a twinge of hope through the music–even if things can’t get better, Brandy realizes she is an independent woman who doesn’t need a man–Aabo’s remix kills the dreamer’s dream.

While that might sound harsh, I actually love his vision of this track as a down-and-out, the world is painted in a depressing hue of blue. It’s slower. It’s mournful. It’s tragic. And it would go perfectly for that time of night when everyone in the club is winding down and trying to find some sort of deeper connection with that gyrating body in front of them.

Just remember: everybody knows, almost doesn’t count. And never be afraid to let go.

GETTER – WAT THE FRICK

Tanner Petulla–otherwise known as the artist Getter–has been having a great 2016. The San Jose born, turned Los Angeles, producer has been signed to Skrillex’s OWSLA label for about a year and has released a slew of music. Earlier this year he released the Radical Dude! EP and produced Underground Underdog by Pouya along with $uicideboy$, Radical $uicide, both slamming bodies of work on their own accord. Not to mention the numerous singles, remixes and guest appearances he’s done throughout the year. On top of all that, last month the prolific artist released a high-budget, high-resolution, beautiful and creepy video for “Forget It,” featuring Santa Cruz born artist, TREE.

 

Never one to wait on the sidelines, Getter recently dropped his latest original track, “Wat the Frick,” a 4.5 minute journey back to his dubstep roots. But this is no ordinary bass fest. Getter combines the wompiness of dubstep with high energy and happy, Tetris-like melodies for a track as bizarre and colorful as the track’s art.

 

After a few listens, it’s plain to see the song’s title is spot on.
Keep checking back to see the latest happenings with Getter as the year is only half-way over and it’s sure to bring a helluva lot more from this rising producer. 

 

SIMPSONWAVE

Tell me if you’ve heard this one: Simpsonwave. Yup, that’s right. The iconic, decades long-running cartoon show now has its own musical genre.

 

Combining clips from the series with chillwave and vaporwave beats to bring you the best soundtrack of the summer. After 10 minutes of meditating with these bad boys, you’ll feel like Lisa when she found Buddhism. Think about it: what’s better than smoking a bone in the sun with mellow beats washing over you to quintessential Simpsons moments?

When the movement began, nobody was sure if it was a joke, one-time thing or the beginning of something bigger. But after a little while, artists like FrankJavCee, Lucien Huges, Lilo XG and BlankBanshee have continued to push the genre quicker than Homer can scarf donuts.

Set the volume on high, grab a Duff and relax with your favorite disfunctional family from the 90’s.

 

 

 

 

AABO – “WORK WORK WORK” COVER FEAT. LAFA TAYLOR

Can’t stop, won’t stop. Basically, that’s exactly what Rihanna’s “Work” track has been doing since it was dropped earlier this year. Anyone with working hearing  knows you can’t go to a club, turn on a radio, or search the net without hearing at least the original version, let alone the plethora of remixes.

Can’t stop, won’t stop also seems to be the motto of long collaboration duo, Aabo and Lafa Taylor. The two recently released the a Feel EP earlier this year, along with a 3 hour freestyle on Aabo’s Soundcloud, last month.

Today, the team dropped their  own remix of “Work,” although “cover” might be a better label. Not only does it feature Lafa Taylor on vocals, but Aabo’s version takes a grinding club beat and lightens it up to an atmospheric level. Much more ambient than the original, Aabo  shakes things up by ending the track with a soft, jazzy guitar that sounds more like baby-making music than a corporate radio hit.

If all that isn’t enough, Taylor is getting ready to play Northern Nights in roughly 3 weeks, but only after he does the FREE EUPHORIC show at the Catalyst–in Santa Cruz, Ca–on July 2. With Aabo only 70 miles away, fans just might be in for a collaborating treat.

Just make sure you get the night off and don’t have to work, work, work.

 

 

 

WIWEK – LIVE AT ULTRA MIAMI 2016, OWSLA STAGE

Even though today marks the first, official, day of summer, every music lover knows the summer festival season has already been in full-swing. Unfortunately, not everyone can jump in a van and hit every beat-dropping experience on the circuit.

Luckily, the internet has your back.

Skrillex’s label, OWSLA, recently posted the ENTIRE, hour long, Wiwek set from last March’s, Ultra Music Fest in Miami. Since 2013, the Dutch artist has been dropping singles and remixes that span the electronic genres, dubbing his sound, “jungle terror.” Last February he announced he was signing to OWSLA and dropped his debut EP,  The Free And Rebellious.

His Ultra Music Fest set displays the quirky Netherlander’s eclectic tastes with a number of bangin’ tracks that are not for the faint of heart. Hell, they aren’t even for the casual electronic listener. Wiwek is for the true believers that breakdown in orgasmic dancing and spiritual ecstasy when the music–or the drugs– hit.

You have been warned.

 

https://soundcloud.com/wiwek

LAFA TAYLOR – LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE 2016 RECAP VIDEO

In case you haven’t noticed, Los Angeles based producer and rapper, Lafa Taylor, has been murdering the music scene lately. Earlier this month he dropped not one, but TWO collaborations he’s featured on. One with major acts Beats Antique (“Killer Bee”)  and the other with a producer who got his start in Santa Cruz,  Bassnectar (“Speakerbox”). This comes after a string of constant touring and playing some of the year’s biggest festivals, like Serenity Gathering, Envision and Lightning In a Bottle.

For those who might’ve missed it due to poor decision making, Lafa just dropped a LIB 2016 Recap video, produced by Michael Daniel. Featuring the Starro remix of his and Aabo’s song, “Run To Me,” the two minute feature transcends the festival’s feelings of community and love.

Wide, aerial drone footage sweeps across the screen, landing on Taylor’s set that’s clearly a party for the audience and performers. Dancers, back-up singers and a stage full of fans, Lafa’s energy is clearly contagious as slow-motion shots capture the sea of smiles. Look closely and you might even see a familiar face or three.

Make sure to catch Lafa Taylor in July at the Catalyst Club in Santa Cruz and at the Northern Nights Music Festival in Cooks Valley between Humboldt and Mendocino Counties.

 

OLIVER TREE – SOULMOTHER, I LOVE YOU (FEAT. GETTER)

H-O-L-Y SHIT. Oliver Tree–the Santa Cruz artist formerly known just as Tree– is K-I-L-L-I-N-G it!!!! A homegrown musician who expanded his creativity on darkly dreamy lyrics and odd sounds found in the strangest of places is fresh off a song collaboration and video–“Forget It”–with Bay Area DJ, Getter. Then, two days ago, the college-age, now Los Angelino, artist drops another introspective and banging track. “Soulmother, I Love You,” of course, featuring Getter.

The track features familiar Tree sounds–distant voices, introspective lyrics–combined with faster beats and more layers than he has stacked in the past. It’s a return to his electronic roots with the age and experience of someone who knows what their doing. Don’t believe me? Give it a couple of plays and try picking out all the different sounds. At under 3 minutes, Tree keeps the punk ethic while growing within his art.

We can’t wait to see what he does next.