Published in Onboard Magazine, November 2010
Four more freshly laid album reviews, some of which were inspired by this month's audio pro, Nicolas Droz - Hip-hop connoisseur and all-round music aficionado.
Filewile – Blueskywell - Mouthwatering
With Nico turning us on to these guys, we thought we’d give them a heads up right here. Filewile are Swiss, which perhaps explains why this duo from the capital city of Bern are not as known as they ought to be. With his fi ne-tuned ear Droz not only has an appreciation for leftfield tunes, but also respects vocalist Dejot and DJ Dustbowl’s business attitude. The duo defi es the normal music business model by taking their laptops and mobile sound-system to the streets and blasting out their electro hip-hop, modern dub-reggae and funky beats to passers by. Originally starting out as just DJs, collaborations with musicians has meant they’ve slowly evolved into a real band. After two years of production, their latest release, Blueskywell, delivers a poppier sound with more vocals, and – most importantly – more improvised live gigs.
Don Cash – Freshy Fresh – Urbnet
You’ll do well to guess which genre section of your local record store Freshy Fresh will end up in. Sounding a bit like a cross between Pulbic Enemy’s Flavor Flav and Gossip’s Beth Ditto, Toronto native Don Cash enjoyed more success in Europe than at home for a long time, building his reputation around mixing electro beats with hip-hop. Undoubtedly a little unsettling on first listen, Don Cash seamlessly works his way into your head and before you know it he’s taking over. Highlights include the opening grime track Rock That, the strange and minimalists Mad About You and the post-punk number In Berlin. Yet this eclectic collection of tracks somehow sits together quite coherently thanks to the excellent production.
Tiken Jah Fakoly – African Revolution – Barclay
African Revolution created a fair amount of hype for a reggae LP when it was released last September. And it’s good to see, as the long-time committed Ivory Coast reggae artist is also someone who’s done great things for the local music scene around him. Thanks to his studio in Bamako, Mali, he’s helped a good number of artists get their work out, making the most of his international reputation to give back to his roots. But to come back to African Revolution, Tiken delivers a raw, yet researched reggae sound mixed with traditional African elements and that addresses the acute lack of political awareness in Africa amongst younger generations. Concert ticket proceeds from his most recent worldwide tour will go towards building new schools in Africa.
The Coral – Butterfly House – Deltasonic/Cooperative Music
Released this year, Butterfly House is the sixth album from the Liverpool indie quintet. Their first release since the somewhat lacklustre 2007 Roots And Echoes, the new album took two years to write and, despite being down a guitarist, the hard work has paid off with another solid album. This time produced by John Leckie (Radiohead, Stone Roses), highlight tracks include More Than A Lover, psychedelic single 1000 Years, folky title track Butterfly House and the upbeat, firey North Parade.
Audio Pro: Nicolas Droz
Droz’s fondness for music – and hip-hop in particular – has always played a big part in his career, from the time of La Boucherie in Avoriaz (an event which he himself launched with his friends from the 7TB4 crew), right through to his latest Homies videos. As Nico says “Music has the power to take you right back to certain periods in your life". And we decided to go back in time with him!
How did you get into music at the start – or for that matter hip-hop?
It was really through skateboard videos. You’d hear a good track on a certain pro’s section and then you’d go check out the whole album.
Do you still listen to your favourite bands from back in the day?
For sure! There are some songs that are just timeless. I still listen to Notorious, Gangstarr, 2 Pac… Or for those that are still living, Nas and Snoop Dogg.
How did you get to know the French rap crew NTM?
Kool Shen and a good crew from Paris came to Avoriaz in 1995 to try their hand at snowboarding and we got to meet them through the shop Street Trash. They were totally into snowboarding and we were totally into their music, and our friendship just went from there really. We just kept in touch since then. Joey and Naughty J showed up at the time when we were putting together the fi rst Boucherie events in 1998, and they soon caught the bug too. At the time we wanted to create an event that represented us: in another words an event that covered snow, skate, music and friends. Hip-hop has always played an important part in skateboarding and the videos we watched so it felt really cool to bring together the best of the French rap scene at the time, bands like IV My People and BOSS.
Who do you listen to today?
Still a lot of hip-hop, but also some rock and electro stuff.
Do you still find the time to DJ every once in a while?
Occasionally at parties that mates have organised, but not as much as I used to…
Is there one song in particular that reminds you of your first snowboard trips? A song that screams, “Let’s go shred"?
No, not really. Every new season offers up a new selection of good tunes. What you end up listening to also depends on the people you travel with.
Do you listen to music when you’re actually riding?
No, I find my sense of balance is inhibited if I have headphones on. I need to hear what’s going on around me. However, I’ll often amp up to music just before I head out or watch a video part to motivate me, and then I’ll have the song going on in my head for the rest of the day. Otherwise I always enjoy hitting up snowparks or riding at events that have a good sound system going on.
Here’s a challenge for you, can you list all the songs you’ve had as video parts over the years?
Tales Of The Crypt: Magnum Evolution. Three Ring Circus: Curtis Mayfi eld Move On Up. 1999: NTM For My People and Je Vise Juste remix. Represent: De La Soul Keepin’ The Faith. POP: Dj Sebb. MORE: Daft Punk Aerodynamics. Homies 1: Jofo Fly Thangs and No Love. Homies 2: Jofo Kitty Cat.
Were you often able to chose or at least influence the choice of song?
Most of the time it wasn’t a problem; the guys I worked with had good taste. But it can quickly be a source of tension if the rider and editor want different things. Or worse still, when there are two editors that can’t make up their minds! I think Justin and Brusti still argue over my video part in ‘More’ to Daft Punk’s Aerodynamics. Justin felt like it was too clubby and commercial, while Brusti appreciated the real value of having that kind of track in a snowboard flick.
Any ideas for your next video part?
Funkdoobiest Rock On!
Any good new bands you’ve recently discovered?
Filewile Number One Kid.
Sponsors : ride Snowboards, binding, boots and outerwear, von Zipper, Nixon, rockstar energy drink, Ifound, eastpak, avoriaz, Kr3w, Supra.
LE NICO DROZ TOP 10:
Group Home ‘Living Proof’
The Game ‘Hate It Or Love It’
Funkdoobiest ‘Rock On’
Concrete Mob ‘Boiling Point’
OC ‘My World’
Mobb Deep ‘Shook Ones Part. II’
Souls Of Mischief ‘Tour Stories’
Souls Of Mischief ‘93 Til Infi nity’
Oxmo Puccino ‘Qui Peut Le Nier’
Bob Marley & Guru ‘Johnny Was’