Black Milk Talks Fever, Detroit and More Ahead of a Headline HI-FI Performance

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Do317 and My Old Kentucky Blog sat down with Curtis Eugene Cross, better known as “Black Milk,” ahead of his headline performance at HI-FI Indy in Fountain Square. We talked about the rapper, songwriter and producer’s current tour, new album and his musical influences. Check out the interview below:

Do317: How has the tour been going?

Black Milk: It’s been great man, ‘cuz I’ve known these guys for 10 years. We’ve been touring together off and on the whole time, so it’s great to work with people that you feel chemistry with over the years and we all speak the same language musically. So, it’s great because of that.

Do317: If I’m not mistaken on Fever (new album) you worked with 3 of the biggest drummers on the planet – Questlove, Chris Daddy Day and Daru on the album – how were they different in style, the way they worked, so on and so forth; what did they each bring to the table?

Black Milk: Chris Daddy, he played percussion on two tracks off our latest: ‘Laugh Now Cry Later’ and ‘Drown.’ Daru, he played drums on ‘True Lies,’ played a little bit of drums on a song called ‘2 Would Try,’ and he played on the intro. Whatever the name of the first song is, I can’t think of it right now. Oh yeah, ‘unVEeil.’ And Questlove, no, he didn’t play anything for the album.

You build relationships over a period of time. I’ve known Daru for a long time, since like 2008, that was one of the first times I met him, so he’s played on some of my earlier stuff. I’ve been kicking with Chris a lot lately, for the last couple years since I moved to LA, you know, he lived out there as well. It’s just one of those things, having the right relationships and friendships, and when it’s time to work and if you need them to come play on some stuff, they come through. And if they need me to come through, I’ll play or do anything, whatever they’re working on I’ll return the favor.

Do317: How does Fever differ/compare to past releases and what was the thought process when you first started getting the inspiration for this album?

Black Milk: The initial thought process was to try to make like a feel-good album. Because compared to my previous albums, my last couple albums, were a little more dark or on the darker side. So, I wanted to make more bright sounds and colors and choral progressions, which I feel like I kind of did for the most part. What I’ve been saying in a lot of interviews, when I start making an album, during writing time, a lot of stuff is happening, the country has a lot of social issues from politics to stuff that’s happening in the world in general, and it kind of affected my writing process a little bit. To give somewhat of a perspective of how I feel about a lot of stuff that’s happening in this era. So, in the contrast of the lyrics being a little more heavy, but the production happy, more of a feel-good vibe to it. That’s how I thought it would feel, basically tie the records into living in the era, or living in the time where the temperature feels like it’s really high, where everybody feels like they’re on edge, just uptight about a lot of things that are going on right now.

Black Milk – Fever (Full album)

Do317: You’ve worked with such names as Jack White, Quest, Black Thought, Robert Glasper, Dwele so on and so forth. What do you learn as both a musician and a producer from people like that? How has it affected the way you work?

Black Milk: Oh man. More so, I’m humbled that they even want to do something with me because you look at all of those guys. It’s like anybody that’s a trained musician or has a knack in comprehension of music theory, that’s like so dope, that’s something I really don’t have. I, mean, I understand theory a little bit, but not on that level. You know, I wasn’t taught or didn’t go to school to have formal training or anything like that. When I get in the studio, I get a chance to work with people that are on that level, and like I said it’s an honor. I can be doing something from a hip-hop standpoint or a beat standpoint that they dig. Looking at them as like actual musicians, it’s just cool. That’s all I can really say. I’m jjust honored.

Do317: What were some of the most important things you learned from J. Dilla?

Black Milk: I did a few records with Dilla, off and on. He used to come around to the studio that I used to work at during the beginning stages of my production and career. It would have been great to sit down with him for one-on-one, but mostly everything I’ve learned about production and music in general has just been ears. It’s really just listening hard to what I like and what I love, and trying to figure out how to capture those feelings.

Do317: How did growing up in Detroit affect your music?

Black Milk: Being an artist and a musician, I wouldn’t want to be from anywhere else. I feel like I’m from a place that I feel has the richest music history in the world. When you grow up in that environment and tradition, you feel like you have that legacy, and that’s pretty exciting. You feel good to do something to hopefully be associated with someone great that came before you. So, yeah, I love that I’m from Detroit. I love that I’m from the scene, not only just for the hip-hop or the soul stuff, but there’s so much great music, from the electronic scene, to the rock scene, to all of that. Not only the hip-hop scene. It’s just dope, man. I take pride.

Do317: Put together your wish list of musicians you’d love to work with in the future.

Black Milk: Man… Who haven’t I worked with yet? It would be dope to work with a person like Cory Henry, he’s just a super dope musician. I really enjoy what he does. Sharkey [Isaiah Sharkey], crazy guitarist, he plays with D’Angelo’s band. MonoNeon would be another one, he’s an incredible bassist.

For more information on Black Milk, visit his website http://blackmilk.biz/.

Video Session : Bob Log III at Sun King Brewery

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MOKB Presents teamed up with our best buds at Sun King Brewery to bring in Bob Log III, before his show at The HI-FI, to give us an impromptu balloon-poppin’, beer-guzzlin’ private session.

Shake The Boot

Look At That

Pabst Blue Ribbon session with Red Wanting Blue at Do317 Lounge

There’s much to be admired in any act of longevity. When longevity comes in the humble pursuit of happiness in a volatile industry known to lift up one buzzed-about, celebrated act after another – before deriding it and calling it a sellout as it’s chewed up and spit out – to achieve longevity is absolute cause for celebration. Such volatility is the unforgiving nature of the music industry over the course of any given month, let alone each of the dozen months in a given year for a span of more than sixteen years.

Sixteen-plus years: That’s how long it has been since the perpetually under-the-radar, but intensely adored, rock and roll engine that is Red Wanting Blue formed in Athens, Ohio. Red Wanting Blue certainly aren’t the first band to plug-in and blast away night after night with wheels ceaselessly spinning from town to town in nondescript clubs, bars and rooms for years on end to cultivate a devoted following, but they surely are one worth championing.

Singer-songwriter Scott Terry, Mark McCullough (bass, vocals), Greg Rahm (keys, guitars, organ, vocals) Eric Hall Jr. (guitars, lap steel, mandolin, banjo, vocals) and Dean Anshutz (drums, percussion, glockenspiel) do, in fact, have a devoted following, to say the least. From college town to college town throughout the Midwest, the perseverant Ohio rockers laid a foundation for what would become a groundswell of support that has solidified not just a worthwhile career or a successful band, but an entire lifestyle bigger than themselves that is built on faith, paid back with interest in loyalty, and dripping with pride.

That’s not to say there haven’t been considerable setbacks in the journey; odds are Terry and his bandmates can vouch that the only journeys worth taking are the ones with roadblocks, detours, breakdowns and U-turns. They’ve survived lineup shake-ups (an irreconcilable rift between Terry and original RWB guitarist and collaborator Brian Epp was a turning point), a seemingly endless string of albums without label interest, the ubiquitous mental and physical toll of relentless touring, and sixteen-plus years of evaporating industry trends that could (and have) filled entire tomes – not to mention the explosion of internet culture, the digital age, Napster, iTunes, the rise of the blogosphere and anything else that has registered as even a speck of a drip in the turbulent waters of millennial and post-millennial pop-rock music. Hell, read enough music features these days, and you’ll be resigned to ignorance or outright denial if you believe guitars and and rock n’roll music as a whole weren’t stamped with a non-negotiable death certificate years ago.

(more…)

Video: Lily & Madeleine Perform “Back To The River” : Live at the Do317 Lounge

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We know a good thing when we hear it, and now Lily & Madeleine are the talk of Indianapolis.  After one look and listen at this gorgeous video, you’ll soon agree, and they’ll likely be the talk of far beyond.

It’s not often that any artist, local or not, enjoys this type of rise from obscurity.  Since the digital release of their EP  the sister duo is already receiving critical acclaim, Death +Taxes asserts, “It’s not just that their songs are instantly compelling and arranged and produced with impeccable taste, but that they project a wizened soulfulness that’s almost preternatural coming from a couple of high-schoolers. The pathos in their EP closer ‘Things I’ll Later Lose’ is stunning,” while local alt-weekly, NUVO heralds, “Primed for great things…they’ve got the support of powerful locals behind them and great raw material. Their delicate, strummed folk melodies and clear vocal harmonies are intimate and simple.”

Lily & Madeleine will release their album, The Weight of the Globe, through Asthmatic Kitty Records on June 11.

Lily & Madeleine will play an all ages show at Old National Centre in Indianapolis on June 8.  Tickets available here for $15


Lily & Madeleine Perform “Back To The River” live at The Do317 Lounge on February 9 (featuring Shannon Hayden)

Watch more live sessions from the Do317 Lounge here.

Video Session : Blitzen Trapper in the Pabst Blue Ribbon Do317 Lounge

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Before their show at Old National Centre, Portland’s Blitzen Trapper stopped by the Do317 Lounge for a great PBR Session featuring a couple of our favorite tunes.  We had a packed house that day for what turned out to be on of our best Lounge Sessions yet.

View the full photo set here (Photos by Jeff DuPont)

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Pabst Blue Ribbon session with Joe Pug at the Do317 Lounge

Here at MyOldKentuckyBlog.com we like to stick our grubby little paws into a lot of projects. We’ve opened the
Do317.com Lounge
this year, and are doing lots of great shows and sessions with our friends at Pabst Blue Ribbon.

On a cold November Sunday in Indianapolis, family and friends huddled together in Fountain Square for a very special PBR / Do317 Lounge Session featuring Joe Pug and Denison Witmer. These Joe Pug videos are so amazing, we just could not wait to post them. We will have some equally amazing Denison Witmer videos up for you very shortly! Want to attend one of these amazing sessions? Follow @do317 on Twitter, and you just might just find yourself in the front row of our next session.

Pabst Blue Ribbon Session : The Wood Brothers at the Do317 Lounge

Here at MyOldKentuckyBlog.com we like to stick our grubby little paws into a lot of projects. We’ve opened the
Do317.com Lounge
this year, and are doing lots of great shows and sessions with our friends at Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Chris and Oliver Wood create some unbelievable harmonies together, something common among sibling duos. These guys have been making and recording music for over 20 years, but have been working collaboratively for about 7 years.

During the time the brothers weren’t together, they had a few musical endeavors of their own. Chris Wood created the instrumental group of the 90s, Medeski Martin & Wood, after studying at the New England Conservatory of Music for bass performance. Oliver formed the band, King Johnson, with friend, Chris Long, and keyboardist, John Medeski, whom he met while attending UC Santa Cruz. Oliver toured with King Johnson for 12 years and helped release six albums over the span.

In 2004, at a family reunion, of all places, Oliver and Chris took an opportunity to play together, and that’s when the magic began! Whether it was the brotherly bond between them, or the perfect mixture of folk and jazz that made it work, they’ve collaborated to make some great tunes. The Wood Brothers create music that is true to their roots while incorporating influences from their earlier musical careers. Check out our Pabst Blue Ribbon session with The Wood Brothers.