Amoeblog

Amoeblog Interview With True Skool's Ren The Vinyl Archaeologist

Posted by Billyjam, December 17, 2014 11:13pm | Post a Comment
Ren The Vinyl Archaeologist has long been part and parcel of the fabric that makes up the Bay Area's vibrant hip-hop scene - even though he's not originally from California. An East Coast transplant, with a stop en route to Cali in Colorado, Ren is not only a skilled DJ with two decades of turntable experience coupled with a deep diverse knowledge of music, but he is also a revered club/concert promoter whose True Skool parties are legendary. Additionally, via his online magazine / newsletter True Skool website and its affiliated social network links - notably Twitter and Facebook, he provides a unique and invaluable source of information on Bay Area hip-hop and nightlife happenings as well as general hip-hop news and cultural/political updates - all of which demonstrate how well connected and passionate the man born Renoir Salgado is about hip-hop culture and the Bay Area at large. In addition to his own productions Ren is also in big demand at other folks' events too such opening for Wu-Tang Clan at Ruby Skye in San Francisco (photo above) in 2007, or over the summer at the Amoeba Music sponsored Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) at where he was among the carefully chosen curators and also a guest lecturer. Then last month at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' (YBCA) cool retro hip-hop event Clas/sick Hip-Hop: 1993 Edition he was an integral part of the two-day event when, among other things, he curated/DJ'ed the official CD mix of event - an excellent mix of hip-hop music from the year of '93. This week I caught up with the always busy Ren to ask him about True Skool - its history, ongoing projects, and future plans. 


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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with DJ A-Trak

Posted by Amoebite, October 15, 2014 06:02pm | Post a Comment

A-Trak

From label executive to GRAMMY nominated producer to lifestyle icon, A-Trak rocks many hats. Literally. Most people in the pop culture world might only know him as Kanye West's personal tour DJ, but that is only one small piece to the multifaceted Alain Macklovitch. At the age of 15, A-Trak became the youngest (and the first Canadian) to win the coveted DMC World DJ Championship title. He holds the distinction of being the first DJ to win all three major DJ competitions (DMC, ITF and Vestax), and was the first to win five World Championships. He's basically the Michael Jordan of the DJ world.

Over the years A-Trak has toured extensively with Kanye West and has lent his skills to the likes of Jay-Z, Common, Lupe Fiasco and Drake. In 2007, he founded the Fool's Gold label and helped launch the careers of Kid Sister, Danny Brown and Kid Cudi. He also developed and published music notation for scratching. Today he's hailed as a go-to tastemaker and collaborates with major brands, lending his image to ad campaigns for Adidas, Grey Goose and Cadillac. 

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Five Year Anniversary of Passing of Pioneering DJ Grand Master Roc Raida

Posted by Billyjam, September 19, 2014 12:04pm | Post a Comment
On this date, September 19th, five years ago the hip-hop world was shocked to learn the tragic news that super-talented DJ Grand Master Roc Raida had died from cardiac arrest at age 37. The totally unexpected death, following a week of being hospitalized, was due to medical complications relating to an accident that the DJ encountered a few weeks previously while training in the contact combat self-defense system known as Krav Maga. Later today on my weekly hip-hop radio show on WFMU I will be honoring the legacy of the DMC world champion DJ who most got to know via his membership of the X-Men/X-Ecutioners but who, over his illustrious prolific career, worked with a wide array of artists that included MF Grimm, Big Pun, Pink, Linkin Park, Jungle Brothers, Nelly, Opio, The Beatnuts, Mike Patton, and Dilated Peoples.

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Sunday Spins DJ Series Begins June 1 With Allah-Las' Miles Michaud

Posted by Billy Gil, May 30, 2014 10:10am | Post a Comment
Miles Michaud
Miles Michaud of Allah-Las

Amoeba Hollywood’s Sunday Spins DJ series in June will begin this Sunday with Miles Michaud, the frontman for hazy L.A. garage-rockers Allah-Las. He’ll be spinning at the store starting at 5 p.m. The June series is curated by our friends at LA Record and takes place every Sunday in June at 5 p.m.

Michaud’s set is a perfect introduction to the new series—he and other members of Allah-Las got their start working at Amoeba Hollywood, so it’s a homecoming of sorts. The band’s excellent, self-titled debut is out now on Innovative Leisure. Check out my interview with the band here.

Here’s their video for “Tell Me What’s On Your Mind,” taken from Allah-Las:

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Shing02 + DJ $HIN's New Icon Series Dedicated to the Technics SL-1200 Turntable

Posted by Billyjam, May 21, 2013 08:21am | Post a Comment
"I think it's beautiful that we all contributed to this cultural movement of hip-hop, though some unwillingly, from the engineers to the marketing guys to the DJs, that's how instruments change history when they're taken out of the original context.. Just like how the Hammond organ was designed for church music and Leslie speakers came along to jazz things up, or when distortion was introduced to the electric guitar, and so on. The invention of mixing breaks and scratching transformed the idea of music as we know it, and it owed a great deal to Technics SL-1200s, which was only meant to be a high-end record player for audiophiles." - That's DJ/producer/musician and occasional contributor to the Amoeblog Shing02 talking to me recently on his clearly passionate feelings towards the Technics SL-1200 turntable and its importance to DJ and hip-hop culture. His admiration for the Technics turntable is so great that, along with fellow  SL-1200 fanatic DJ $HIN, Shing02 recently unveiled the webpage Wheels of Steel: Technics SL-1200 series folder icons dedicated exclusively to that  beloved DJ instrument that a few years ago, to the shock of many DJs, ceased being manufactured.

As both a fan and practitioner of hip-hop Shing02 says that he cannot but hold deep respect and love for the Technics SL-1200. It was this feeling of awe for the turntable as to why he and DJ $HIN decided to set up the the icon series dedicated to "one of the most impressive runs in modern design achievements." The icons in the image above were each assembled from dozens of pictures found online, and reflect every model upgrade including function, buttons, lights, and finish. The website also outlines the history of the model which began back in 1970 when Japan's Matsushita Electric (later to become Panasonic Corp.) introduced direct-drive turntables (SP-10), updating and upgrading the model throughout that decade. It was in 1972 when they introduced the SL-1200 MK1. The website notes how the 1210 series was the European counterpart to the 1200s as well as how the company continued to manufacture many direct drive models before the MK2 in 1979 which would go on to become "the de facto industry standard." The following three decades of models resulted in only minor alterations in design. The very last model would be the MK6 Technics SL-1200 model in 2008. Two years later, in October 2010, the company ceased all production of the beloved turntable. Below is my conversation with Shing02 about the turntable and the new icon series whose future updates will include interviews with some retired Technics engineers.

Amoeblog: What made you guys decide to do this icon series dedicated to the 1200's?

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