pulled up the calendar for Wednesday dates and threw the imaginary
dart at The Urban Lounge's show this week. But as I grow older
and my eyesight starts to leave me like an ex, I looked at the
following week's show. I went and found out it was a
totally different show with three different acts. Not
wanting to be a jerk (even though I'm a jerk anyway, but not that big
of a jerk) I stayed anyway and covered it because that night was
a hip-hop show, and I hadn't been to one in a while. I was not
disappointed, and actually very thankful I caught this show instead.
Probably won't be as thankful when my vision is so blurry that it
appears like I'm looking through a stained window, but let's move
With DJ LaMont, DJ Cee playing tunes throughout the night, we got to see rapper Padrino and his brother Pablo Patron (special shout out to on stage dancer Talido and guest performer Mz. Malicious), ska-hop band Scenic Byway, and the self described "hip-hop funkrock jazz" sound of Funk & Gonzo. I took some pictures and chatted with all three acts.
Pablo Patron and Padrino
Gavin: Bit of a small crowd on hand tonight, what did you think of it?
Padrino: You know sir, any crowd, is a crowd. So even if there's ten people, I'm still gonna rock it like there's thousands.
Patron: It's all about the music. Whoever's there, you gotta make them hear it, regardless of who's out there. A thousand people, five people, doesn't matter it's still a show.
Gavin: Cool. Tell us a little about yourselves and how you started performing.
Padrino: I've always had the dream about rapping. One day my girlfriend was like “if you had a dream, if you had one thing you could do and you had money, what would you do?” And I said I wanna be a rapper. She'd seen me in the karaoke bars, but that's ain't nothing. She was all like “yeah, okay, you're a rapper, whatever, that's a good dream” So all of a sudden I started writing some stuff, and she asked how you go about perusing that. I got online and I went looking for a producer out in L.A. I found one but he was rapping then and he was getting produced by this other guy named Elliot Waldhorn from E5 Studios. I took a trip out to Los Angeles and hit up the San Fernando Valley and clicked up with him. He liked my tone, actually. He said pick two beats out, take them home with you, send me some money if you wanna do it. That's where we're at.
Patron: And I've always looked up to him as my brother and as an artist. As far back as I can remember he always used to rap. He got me into it and started me off asking if I wanted to be his hype man, and I was all like “yeah! That's how Flavor Falv got his hype!” So I' decided to do that until his album drops and then we'll start work on mine.
Gavin: Sweet. What's your opinion on the local scene here in Salt Lake City?
Padrino: We are just starting to blow up, you know. There's a lot of people out there trying to do their things/ There's a lot of guys still stuck on the “gangster rap” if you wanna call it that, and it's not gonna make it anymore. You really have to come out real and define yourself as an artist. You can't just talk about 24's and smokin' blunts and chains, no, you can't do that anymore. This is reality and people wanna hear reality, they don't want to compare themselves to a song you've written.
Gavin: You gotta have something that has more of an attachment is what you're saying.
Padrino: That is correct sir. Something has to be catchy and catch the people's eye because all that stuff's been done. You look at 50 Cent and Kanye West, who sold more albums in that little thing they had? Kanye West did because he's real.
Patron: My opinion on the scene is there are a lot of people out there who have the potential to follow their dreams, but they don't have the money to do it or the exposure to get on the radio. You can't go to a DJ from U92 and hand them a CD that's just been burned, they don't accept that. But there's a lot of good artists out here who can make it regardless of whether they're doing gangster rap or hip-hop. But that's just a genre, what Padrino's doing with his music is he's expanding the genre, you can't even label his music because he does everything. He performed for Bone back in February and had a live band called Divine Right and it was just nuts, it was that good.
Gavin: What artists influenced you?
Padrino: I listen to a lot of stuff, but artists that really influenced me... The Beatles. They were artists, truly artists. Even though there was drugs involved and everything, they were truly artists. That's one of my biggest inspirations there. A lot of my Latin flavor comes from my parents listening to the Spanish music, and you can really hear the influence in my music. Rappers, it goes back. I live N.W.A, but I'm not a gangster rapper. Easy-E, Dr. Dre, they're the ones who brought it all up. But then again, you got Young MC, Rappers Delight, Run DMC. They all paved the way and I love them to death. But most influential is the Beatles.
Patron: Same for me, I got into the Beatles at a young age too. And call it what you will, taking drugs and expanding your mind, but that really did it for them, But most of all I got a little bit of that West Coast flavor from E40, Mac Dre, Easy-E. Back in 1995 2Pac was big for me.
Gavin: What's your opinion on the current trends in rap and hip-hop, both good and bad?
Padrino: It's changing for sure. People are looking for something they can talk about and say “I've been there.” I mean, the way I;m dressed tonight, I may look a little thugish, but I'll go up on that stage wearing a Dodgers jacket and a cowboy hat looking like I just got over the border. It doesn't matter nowadays, everything going around and is starting to mix together. Just like races, music's getting to be the same.
Patron: I know there's a big urban influence in rap, and I know the dress has a lot to do with it. But I think as artists, you could throw somebody up there that raps real good and raps about gangster stuff, but then you look at them and they're dressed preppy and you automatically think this guy hasn't been through anything, he hasn't experienced the streets. But it's just a trend, people like to dress in different ways, we've been influenced in a lot of ways, it' just becomes a big impact now. I mean for example, I got some pinstripe trunks with my pants pegged, that's 80's right there! I was influenced by the 80's. I may have only spent five years in it but that was enough for me and that's the trend I grew up with.
Gavin: What's your feelings on the current state of the music industry?
Padrino: The only big record company around now is Atlantic Records and they're staying strong. But it's really going bad because of the downloads, you got Apple's iTunes, people are just downloading music. And it's getting to be where us as rappers have to give our music to them and they're going to pay us off what the commercials and ads make, because music's pretty much going to be free. But you know what, I think there's still people out there who want the CD. There will always be someone out there who will say “I want that CD! I want something I can put in my car instead of my iPod.”
Gavin: So while we're on the subject, you don't really approve of file sharing, or do you believe there's a certain boundary to it?
Patron: I think music is made to be enjoyed and made to get get your word out there. So I don't really care about the money, as long as I get my word out there. If you wanna pay for the music, if you wanna put money in my pockets, go right ahead. That's just an incentive.
Gavin: What's your current plans for your album?
Padrino: I have an album in the process right now. It's nine songs in, I'm going back to L.A. Next week to go finish it off with twelve songs. It's going to be called The Baptism. Padrino means Godfather, and I 'm going to be baptizing people to a whole new sound, people are going be like “where did this guy come from?” They're already asking this here in Salt Lake, I just started doing shows about a year and a half ago and people asking where I came from. And I just say I came out of the woodwork.
Gavin: Any local acts you guys wanna recommend?
Padrino: S.E.M. Give him a shoutout and for opening up for Bone. Funk & Gonzo.
Patron: Funk & Gonzo, they're something else. They're going to be something to look for, you watch out. Also, Divine Right, they're having a CD release party here this weekend over at Mo's, they'll be something to look for. Mz. Malicious and the Sick Lake clique, they've been doing it forever.
Scenic Byway (Tyler “Nevrrmind” Reese, Kiel “Hammertime” Palmer, Nick “Boos Boss” Romer, Dave “Genetics” Richeson)
Gavin: Small crowd tonight, what did you think of it?
Dave: I think regardless of the audience, we have our music down. When the people come out and support, it doesn't really matter, we're just having fun and kinda treat it like a jam session.
Nick: Yeah, we still get up there and have fun. We'd do the same thing in our basement so it doesn't matter how many people are out here jamming to us.
Gavin: Tell us a little about yourselves and how you came together and started performing.
Tyler: I've been doing beats and rapping for quite a while on my own, and me Dave would always freestyle and get together on session. We started making songs together and we were kinda thinking we have a friend who play trumpet, so we called up Nick. And then we thought Kiel plays the drums so we called him up and started jamming.
Dave: We all went to high school together out at Davis High. My and Kiel were seniors and these two were sophomores.
Nick: Yeah, we were younger, but we were kinda in the same group. We just kind of collaborated and always talked about getting together and doing stuff, and we randomly got a gig together three days before we played our first show with Sweatshop Union. We came up with about five songs and played our first show together and it was the worst thing we'd ever done. But that's how we came together there.
Dave: I was a student at SLCC, and I saw a flier for a rock the mic competition. And it said $500 for the winner. I talked to Tyler and said we should just go for it, took in stuff we just wrote down. We went up there and you couldn't have any instrumentals, we just had our buddy beat-box it, people were calling us The Beatsie Boys up there. We just got up there and did our thing and it just motivated us. Nick, the whole night was like “Man, I wish I would have brought my horn!” And the next night we just jammed.
Nick: At Monk's I always jammed and one night I talked to the sound guy drunkenly and asked what it would take to get a show, and he randomly set up a show before we were really a band. We had a show but we didn't even have a name, we didn't have any songs, but we had a show date so we thought we better come up with something. So that's how it started and we've just been making music from there.
Gavin: What artists that influenced you all?
Tyler: MC's... Eli is a rapper who I owe to that. As far as beats goes, you can name everyone from A-Z, we mix it all up from everything we listen to. We have a bit of tehcno and dancing involved, but then we try to switch it up and throw a little jazz and piano into it.
Dave: I listen to such a wide variety of music, I have such a hard time picking a favorite band. I listen to everything from punk to jazz to hip-hop to funk to whatever comes my way. I listen to whatever's good.
Nick: I listen to stuff from Naz and Jay-Z to the to Ranconteurs and Helio Sequence, Radiohead.
Gavin: What's your opinion of the local scene?
Dave: Well, it is what it is. I think a lot of it is the same. People are reflecting their own interpretations in life and just talking about the kind of stuff they've lived through. That's what we're doing but it's different. I think there's room to improve. Even in the past year and a half I've been seeing shows, there's been a big increase in people who come out and support. Some bads we've performed with, two years ago they wouldn't have even come here, they would have marked that off their tours. And now they've come here four or five times this year already. It's definitely getting better.
Gavin: What's your opinion of the current trends going on right now?
Tyler: Hip-hop wise, it all sucks right now. There's a few good ones, but I'm not much of a U92 guy. I hear some good things on X96 here and there, but not too big on the trends right now.
Dave: Naz said it the best, hip-hop is dead. There's kids growing up listening to what they think is hip-hop but it's not. It's not even rap, it's something else. It's crunk-rap.
Nick: I think there's a misconception too. I'm not all about telling people “hey, I'm a rapper.” If they've never heard us, they're going to have this conception of “oh, I saw on the VH1 the white rapper show. You're just somebody who's trying to be something he's not.” Those people don't fucking know me. But yeah, I don't listen to radio. If I don't have a CD in I'll listen to X96 or scan through the channels, but I'm rarely impressed.
Gavin: What are your thoughts on the music industry right now?
Tyler: It's kinda just, who you know now. Radio is not really based on talent in my eyes now. It's kinda just who you know and what big names you know.
Gavin: What are your thoughts on file sharing? I know you don't have an album at the moment, probably use MySpace to get your music out. What's your opinion on that?
Nick: To me it's hard to have a conception of that. I had a completely different view of it when I wasn't in this group, now I'm to the point where if people are listening to our stuff from California to New York and there's a way for them to get it, that makes me pumped. We started this not making anything, so it's not a big deal. But you can't really give a definite answer to that because if it gets to the point where you're not relying on anything else but this to be your career, then it gets that way to where you want people to listen to it but I want to make a living on what I'm doing. It's just all up to interpretation on different groups and people.
Kiel: It open up a lot of media for people. My feeling as an artists is that you want as many people you can to hear it, it's not about people paying money to hear it, it's all about getting it out there. That's all that matters.
Gavin: Give us some details on the album you're working on.
Tyler: We're working with False Sound Productions. It's a steady process, but we're defiantly chipping away at it and it'll be a quality product when it comes out and be worth the wait.
Kiel: It's an underground studio too, he's never put out anything mainstream before. So we're sticking with the underground and it's totally laid back approach and we've worked well with it because it's just so low-key. It's not stressful at all. I think that'll be good with the album.
Gavin: Any local artists you guys recommend?
Tyler: Funk & Gonzo.
Nick: Carols Conway, they were good, great reggae.
Dave: Jessica Something Jewish is awesome.
Funk & Gonzo (Justin, Eric, Jeremy, Dallas, Matt)
Gavin: Small crowd tonight, what did you think of the audience?
Eric: They were good bands. (All laugh) But nah, it's cool. We get what we can out. We usually get some heads out but it's a Wednesday night. We do what we can.
Dallas: They screamed and had a good time.
Matt: That's all that's important.
Gavin: Tell us a little about yourselves and how you came together.
Eric: Well Dallas and the Jeremy were in a couple of different bands, and me and Justin were rocking out together, and we kind of collided one time. And Matt came along with his bongo and we started rockin'.
Dallas: I met Eric up in a coffee shop just lucky one of those days and I was like “man, this guy's got some flows!” Sounded like he knew what he was talking about with his inspirations, so we just started jammin. Been together about two years now, it's been a good run.
Matt: Eric had a good mother who taught him notes on a piano, and I feel like that's the reason he's able to hit those notes and sing very well. Dallas and Jeremy come from Sandy, and the rest of us come from Bountiful, and that's a long stretch but out alike minds and alike inspirations and styles come together and we make an awesome sound.
Gavin: Who would you say are your top influences?
Eric: 311, for sure. I'd go hip-hop, but I'm gonna throw in Modest Mouse, Aesop Rock, Blackalicious, and Sublime.
Matt: And I'd say our open mind to music is our inspiration, we don't really block out any kind of genre. We like to listen to everything.
Dallas: Keep it real with the rock style, for sure we rock out. Hip-Hop-Rock Jazz-Funk.
Matt: Or, my favorite saying, Hip-Hop Funkrock-Jazz! In your face!
Gavin: What's your opinion of the local scene, both good and bad?
Eric: The good part is there's a lot of love. We have some of the same kids show up to every show, and we play a lot of shows. And they're happy to come. And the bad part of the scene is that it's hard to get everyone in the same spot. We have a lot of different genres, we got a Bountiful and Sandy crowd, but it's hard to get heads to all the shows.
Matt: Not only that but we play so many shows, it's hard to get our fans to all come to one show because we play so many.
Dallas: And that's the case when you're rockin' the local scene you're going to start spreading it thin. But the good thing is the local scene is blowing up, there's lots and lots of people moving in here. We're noticing a lot more people out to the shows. Tonight was not such a good example, but again it's a Wednesday night and we had a good turnout and that;'s what it's all about. The hip-hop vibe in Salt Lake City is damn good.
Eric: It's on the wire, it's definitely on the up-and-up.
Matt: I feel like a lot of bars like the Urban Lounge and a lot of bars in Salt Lake City have for a long time been about heavy metal or the metal genre. And it's definitely going from that genre to hip-hop in downtown.
Gavin: What's your opinions on the current trends in music right now?
Eric: “Yeaahhhh! Oooooo-Kay!” That's what I think of the Top 40 right now.
Gavin: So it sucks is what you're saying.
Dallas: It's solely produced, you don't see a lot of the human imprint on the music nowadays. A lot of it's computer made and generated, they figured out the logarithms and equations and got it all laid out and it's the same thing over and over again. And Salt Lake City is starting to grow a heartbeat to where it's starting to say “let's bring it out, let's do this, let's keep it real!”
Matt: We are the metronomes.
Gavin: With that said, your opinions on the industry in general?
Eric: What we really gotta do is figure out a new way to do it because what's been done has been done. And done and done and done. It's all about the live show now, that's where we're going to have to sell our albums, because if it's on the internet then that's for free.
Matt: What's done is done and it's up to bands like us to bring it up from the underground.
Dallas: Especially for guys who haven't done all that science and they're all about the footwork, putting your shoulder to the wheel and pushing your stuff as hard as you can. How people that you care about this and that it's really important to you and that catches on through the music and the crowd, creating that hype.
Matt: We work fulltime jobs and rock fulltime as a band. Takes a lot of work to have a dayjob and have a nightjob.
Gavin: So what's your opinion on file sharing?
Dallas: As far as the internet goes, it's there so obviously we're going to have to work with it. As long as they're doing it, let's roll with it and have as much downloading as possible. For us, if you've heard it and you hate it, whatever. At least you've heard it, you know what I'm saying. As many people as we can inspire from our stuff, that's worth it.
Eric: Exactly. Get our stuff out there. But I'm saying just come to the show next time because we'll rock your face. Go ahead and do it, rock the MySpace, get it any way you can is what I say. We want to be heard and that's what it's all about.
Matt: And that's what it's all about. This music comes from our hearts, it's not about making a dollar, we're very underground and very to the point about who we are and what we're doing. And if that message can get out, that's what we're about. Sharing the love, bringing people together and having a good time. Entertainment, music, love.
Gavin: What are your plans with an album?
Eric: We have a demo out. We're selling it so we can get something better out for people to hear. We're playing a lot of show right now so we can put the work into making sound good.
Gavin: Final question, any local acts you wanna recommend?
Eric: Divine Right, Self Expression Music for sure, Three Reasons.
Dallas: Three Reasons for sure.
Matt: I just met a band from Salt Lake City called Frysauce. And they call themselves that because they wanted to be straight-up Utah. They're pretty good.