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  • Album Artist Feature: Erica Dee

    MY DEBUT 9 THEORY ALBUM DROPS 12/9! Between now and then I am going to post a series of artist features for the amazing vocalists and emcees who have graced my record with featured performances, both to introduce you to who will be featured on the record, and also to introduce you to what those artists are all about and the story behind working together. For my first artist profile I would like to introduce you to:

    Erica Dee
    Erica Dee is a Canadian vocalist from B.C. with a distinct soulful, jazzy, killer voice. She is not only an awesome and seasoned vocalist, but she also is a legit emcee, DJ, and songwriter. I met Erica Dee through being in Inspired Flight, and we actually did a short West Coast tour where iF took Erica with us to be our female vocalist for the run. We also did a follow-up show opening for Thievery Corporation in San Diego and had her sing with us for that one as well. I really got to know Erica from doing those shows and being on the road a couple of weeks, and we had a great time singing, laughing, freestyling, and just being huge dorks the whole time. Her and I have spoken about collaborating on something ever since, and as I was creating my 9 Theory album I came up with a song called "Slow Drag" that I felt her vocal style would perfectly compliment. It barely worked out in our schedules to link up and record the song just before she left LA to move back to B.C. for a long time, and the track turned out way dope! Her vocals definitely work wonderfully with the song's vibe and melody, and I am excited to feature her on the album. Go check what Erica Dee is all about at http://www.missericadee.com/. You can also follow Erica Dee at:
    www.facebook.com/MCEricaDee
    www.twitter.com/MissEricaDee
    www.instagram.com/MissEricaDee

  • I have an album release date!

    I have an album release date!

    I could not be more excited to finally have an official release date set for my debut album, Against The Odds Of Entropy, which will be available on December 9th later this year.  It was never my intention for it to take this long to put out my debut 9 Theory album, but when it comes to making music, completely finishing songs and projects like an album, and getting things aligned right for a good release effort I find I'm dealing with something bigger than me and whatever my wants or intentions might be.  Even though I wanted this album out over a year ago I know that the timing to put it out now is right, and I can't wait for you to hear it and for me to see what comes next. 

    Also I want you to know that the past two years of me creating and developing 9 Theory have not only lead to this first album I'm about to release, but also to A LOT of other songs, beats, and remixes already in the works, many nearly finished.  On December 9th you're going to finally hear my album, but I want you to know it is just the tip of a giant iceberg of material I have been creating for two years.  Releasing it will be the start of a fun and fantastic journey, and I really appreciate you being on the ride with me.  Lets roll!

  • Tour Life

    Earlier this month I got to go on a 12-day tour of the Western United States opening for one of my dearest friends, Billy Galewood, aka Bushwalla.  I knew going into it that it was going to be a great and really fun journey, but it somehow far surpassed my expectations and was one of the funnest two-weeks I've ever had. 

    Let me start off by saying that touring is actually A LOT of hard work and NOT a giant party, living the "rockstar" wild life, at least at the DIY-grind level I have always experienced.  I imagine to do one's job well with the utmost professionalism and execution of awesome shows touring is never easy, even if you're a huge star.  You have to really keep your energy in tact, eat healthy, drink lots of water, rest properly, stay focused, and keep the vibes good to do the job right, which is show up and play awesome shows.  To even do a show though requires hours and hours of driving, unloading an obscene amount of gear, much of which is really heavy, then setting it all up on stage (there is a lot more to this when you do electronic music, and aren't just a DJ, than when you're just in a band with your one instrument and set up), then you have to set up your merch, and then after playing a show, meeting a bunch of people, and staying up pretty late you have to tear down, load everything into the van again (Tetris!), and then go to wherever you're staying for the night and again unload pretty much everything into the house or hotel so there is no risk of it getting stolen.  Then you wake up, Tetris everything into the van again, and repeat.  It's exhuasting, however I find the whole experience to be incredibly fun and inspiring! 

    Touring is the total opposite of being in routine at home.  Every so often it is really important to break up this routine, and touring is such a rad way to do it.  Even though there is a sort of routine to touring of playing a show, travelling, playing a show, travelling, etc... you are experiencing new places, people, and adventures everyday from the moment you wake up till the moment you go to sleep each night.  In a way all of this makes the success of the shows irrelevant to the adventure and journey that touring is, rather the shows you play are just icing on the cake of an already cool travelling experience.  This tour I just did was especially great because Bushwalla is one of my closest friends, and our tour manager who came along, Ben Varela, is also awesome and we became good friends too.  We were also joined part-way by our homesquirrel, Luna, who helped with good vibes, good massages, and doing merch; we were a great 4-person crew.   If I had a dollar for every obscene and sexual joke that sounded like it came from a 7th-grader I would be ballin' out of control right now, makin' it rain son!  SO many laughs, so many jokes, so many serious, epic conversations about real shit, so much supporting each other, so many shared ideas, so many beautiful parts of the country we drove through, so much epic nature, so many wonderful cities, so much frisbee played, so many friends and family we got to visit along the way, so many new amazing people and new friends made, so many epic post-show hangs at awesome homes, nice restaurants, or late-night diners, so many inside jokes created and driven into the ground...  And of course so much rocking of venues, playing great music and having a blast doing it, and making new fans.  It was SUCH a good adventure for me.  There were too many awesome moments to get into, but I'll share a quick overview of some of my favorites:

    - Renaming almost every singer/songwriter we know from SD and LA with a really messed up, sexual sound-alike version of their name

    - Singing and jamming on Eagle Eye Cherry's "Save Tonight" for WAY too long with a really big group of amazing people the first night in Portland

    - Posing for some Moonscribe pictures late at night in Portland

    - Running into Gino, Justine, and Lena in Portland randomly!!

    - Late dinner at the worst Denny's I've ever been in after the Seattle show

    - Teeth-brushing twerking battle against Sarah Haywood in the hotel (I won)

    - Playing frisbee in the quad after our show at Idaho State University, then playing an epic game of ping-pong

    - The legendary Applebee's mission (preceded by me missing the freeway exit because of "see what ha' happened was..." (inside joke)).

    - Hiking alone in the middle of the night up the hill to "the pillars" at ISU under a near-full moon

    - The crowd and vibe at our Salt Lake City show

    - Pre-show dinner in Denver with my dad, aunt, uncle, and cousin as well as our touring crew

    - Driving through the Rockies in a rainstorm listening to Gramatik and Alt-J

    - Hanging and eating in Glenwood Springs in Colorado

    - Driving through Utah late at night under the full moon while listening to "Conversions" by Kruder & Dorfmeister

    - Post-show hang at Pedro's house in Scottsdale with sushi and swimming under the bright moon.

    - Putting Sun Breeze oil in my nostrils while burning incense and palo santo in the van, all at the same time (smells amazing)

    So those are just a few of the incredible memories I now have from the trip.  This was a big deal for me also to tour for the first time as 9 Theory rather than Inspired Flight.  It has been an arduous two-year journey to get my career as a solo artist back to where Inspired Flight had left off, and it feels really good to have grinded, not given up, and to have finally gotten to a point where I've done a proper tour again.  I can't wait for the next one, and I can't wait for them to get longer with bigger crowds and bigger venues.  I seriously can't wait to start rocking festivals again next year, and all that jazz.  This was the beginning of the 9 Theory journey, and it was fucking epic!  I'm so grateful to have been asked by Bushwalla to be the opener, and I can't wait for when him and I tour again.  See ya at a show!

  • What a day!

    Today has been pretty significant regarding my journey as 9 Theory with two big things happening, and  I suppose both are equally exciting in different ways.  First I released one of my favorite songs from my upcoming debut album.  The other is that the official announcement was made that I have been added to the Autonomous Music booking roster, which is really big for me!  And what's coolest of all is that the two things coincided together with perfect timing to make each more significant, and to make this a really special day. 

    I found out a couple weeks ago that I would be added to the Autonomous booking roster and thought it would be great to put out my song, "The Piece That Fits (feat. Killah Priest)," along with when they would add me to their site and announce it.  They asked if I had a blog lined up to premier it and I thought, oh shit... I don't!  I've spent the past couple of weeks trying to get a blog to care and premier it and found out that that can be quite challenging.  What's awesome though is that I didn't give up and ended up getting a cool music blog called Earmilk to premier it; I've got to give a BIG thanks to Kiku Shinfuku of Earmilk for blogging the song!  I'm so excited to share this track with people because it has so many elements to it that I love, and that I think perfectly sum up what 9 Theory is all about at its core, which is combining a lot of different elements and genre vibes in a way that works.  I love that the song has a strong beat and vibe, but is more on the downtempo side.  The elements are mostly electronic and the drums are programmed, but there is a juxtaposition to that of beautiful organic violins (played by the amazing Ilya Goldberg of Emancipator), and harp (played by the epic Kelsea Rae Little).  Then I sing over it in a way and melody that is very reminiscent to me of Radiohead, who are one of my favorite influences.  Then to top it all off Killah Priest, the SUPER talented and deep/spiritual MC from the Wu-Tang fam, raps an incredible verse over it.  Somehow all of these elements come together in a wonderful way that works quite well, and I just love this song.  It also was an honor to work with Killah Priest finally.  I first met him outside after a Wu-Tang show at 4th & B in San Diego a few years ago, and I handed him an Inspired Flight CD, told him Rugged Monk and Inspectah Deck worked on it, and said we would be interested in maybe having him rap over something sometime.  He was super down, gave me his info, and said to hit him up.  Fast forward a few years later and the stars aligned, the right song showed up for his voice and vibe, and it ended up being a wonderful collaboration for my new 9 Theory project.  Funny how life works sometimes... And indeed patience is a virtue! 

     

    Getting added to the Autonomous roster is so awesome because having a legitimate booking agent as an independent artist on the total DIY grind is HUGE.  Being with the booking agency Madison House in Inspired Flight was why we ever got to open for people like Bonobo, Thievery Corporation, Beats Antique, Emanciaptor, and so on, and play music festivals like Coachella, Ligthning In A Bottle, Camp Bisco, Electric Forest, etc...  Hopefully I'll be back on that kind of a grind sooner than later now that I have aligned with Autonomous!  I'm excited because I have watched Autonomous help grow the careers of a number of their artists over the past few years, I love many of the artists they represent, my style of music makes a lot of sense for their roster, and the people I so far know who own and work for Autonomous fucking rock.  I've felt for awhile in my gut that I should be booked by them, and now I will be.  Funny how life works sometimes... 

    What lies ahead remains to be seen, but I'm grinding hard on my end and I am excited about what the future may have in store.  And no matter what happens, today was awesome.  What a day!

  • The crumbling difference between wrong and right...

    Last weekend I did somethng WAY out of my routine, which was go with a couple of buddies, Lance and Logan, to an RV park 30 miles north of Santa Barbara in a giant RV and just kick it for the weekend.  The place is called Ocean Mesa, and it is really cool and we had a blast!  Logan and I were both sleeping in the main front part of the RV for the weekend, and as we were going to bed Saturday night we started talking about music, specifically awesome ballady songs that are kind of sad but super beautiful, and it made me think of the Counting Crows.  Despite personally making a lot of music that is very inspired by hip-hop and electronica with phat beats as the backbone, my taste in music is extremeley eclectic, and Counting Crows are one of my favorite bands I have ever gotten into.  So I thought of them and told Logan something that I haven't shared with too many people before (for no reason in particular), but that I think is pretty badass.  My grandma actually writes all of Adam Duritz's lyrics!  Just kidding... One of the best Counting Crows albums is their debut release, titled August and Everything After.  I really love this whole album, but there is one song in particular from it called "Raining In Baltimore" that really moved and influenced me in a way few songs ever have.  When I was starting to get into Counting Crows, back in 11th or 12th grade of high school, I had a phase where every single night for somewhere between 1-2 months I would put "Raining In Baltimore" on repeat when I went to bed and lay there with the lights off in my room and just get lost in that song; usually I'd let it play between 2-3 times.  I seriously did this every night with only that song for weeks, and I have never done that with another song, not even close.  On a side note I always have had this silly kind of fantasy that someday I would meet a girl who actually did the same thing with the same song and we would be soul mates and marry each other and it would be awesome :)  But anywho, it was an incredible intimacy I had with this song for so long, and I told Logan about this, and he pulled it up on his phone and played the whole thing on speakerphone, and we quietly held space for the entire song and zoned out on it just like I used to; it was really great. 

    Logan wasn't too familiar with Counting Crows so I kind of filled him in on why I like them so much, which has a lot to do with how good the songwriting is, and how emotive of a singer Adam Duritz is, and how fucking epic his lyrics are.  To give him the perfect example of the amazing lyricism I quoted the first lines of their song, "Round Here," which is the first track on their first album, and I actually think this is one of the greatest song lyrics every written by anybody.  Just think, how amazing is it to have the first lines of the first song on your first album, your introduction to the world, be:

    "Step out the front door like a ghost into the fog where no one notices the contrast of white on white, and in between the moon and you angels get a better view of the crumbling difference between wrong and right." 

    I wish there was an emoticon for my head exploding, because I would put a bunch of them here right now.  The artistry and imagery of those lyrics is really something, and I couldn't help after sharing these with Logan but think about how stark the contrast is between approaching music with this desire for creating powerful, beautiful art versus singing about the club or shaking your ass or some other wack shit that you hear more often than not these days in the mainstream.  By the way, "Round Here" was a radio hit, which I think is pretty cool!  Times have changed.

    One other thing I'd like to share about Counting Crows, and the song "Round Here" in particular, is that they were part of another of the most powerful music moments I've ever experienced in my life so far.  In either 2002 or 2003 (wow, I can't remember which right now!) I did a 3-month backpacking trip through Europe with my girlfriend at the time, Riva.  My memory is that during that trip I somehow began exposing her to Counting Crows and telling her all the reasons I loved them so much, and she started listening to them a lot and began falling in love with their music too in a big way on that trip.  One night we were in Riomaggiore, a very special little town in Cinque Terre, Italy, and we were ending our day by just chilling in our private aparment we had managed to rent there.  I remember we were laying on the bed and I was showing her the August and Everything After album, I think for her first time, but there was only one set of headphones that could be used at a time.  I put on the song "Round Here" and leaned in so I could kind of hear the song faintly through the headphone bleed while she got to really zone out on the song and hear it all awesome.  I don't know what about that specific moment made this happen, but as the song was playing I was so into it and the emotion of it that it actually made me cry even though I was hearing just super shitty headphone bleed of it.  How crazy is that?!  But that is how powerful that song can be, and it was a really special thing that I will never forget. 

    Anyway, there is not much point to this blog other than just sharing with you how much I love Counting Crows and Adam Duritz, and the song "Raining In Baltimore."  If you have never actually heard their albums and gotten familiar with their material I highly reccomend them, especially the first three albums.  Of course Counting Crows are not for everyone, as no band is, but they are one of the best at what they do for sure.  I'm gonna go now and try to write some lyrics as epic as "Round Here."  Wish me luck!

  • I’m baaaaaaaack! (creepy voice)

    Man, I can’t believe how long it has been since my last blog I’ve written, which I feel is a little wack. My intention has always been to regularly post new blog updates, both for fans who would be interested, and even more so for myself to just have an outlet to somewhat journal my thoughts. For whatever reason I haven’t been compelled to actually write one though, despite having thought about it many times, until now. I suppose the main reason, if there even is one, is that I have been so focused on music creation and the making and completion of my debut 9 Theory album that it has majorly detracted from being in the right mental space to focus on blogs too. I want this to be the start now to blogging consistently; it feels good to actually live by the attitude of walk the walk instead of talk the talk. Or as Talib Kweli so perfectly put it on his Reflection Eternal album he made with DJ Hi-Tek, “Quit all the yappin, lets make it happen.” That is one of my favorite quotes ever by anybody, and words to live by if you ask me. If I may digress even more, I also just thought to share one of my other favorite life quotes that came from hip-hop. “Get in where you fit in…” Its pretty hilarious that this came from Too Short, and is followed by his signature, “bitch!” But in many different ways/contexts I think that motto is gold.

    Anyways, back to not quoting raps… SO much has happened since I last blogged 10 months ago! I went to Lightning In A Bottle music festival, met some epic people there who I am now close to and have beautiful relationships with, I went to Burning Man for my first time ever (for 10 days) with my friend Ilya and met even more incredible people who are now part of a beautiful extended community, and I got to play three different 9 Theory sets out there! One that was booked the day-of was me actually getting to perform on the Abraxas dragon art car on Saturday night as it drove from its camp to the burning of the man, and as the DJ after me was taking longer than expected to get set up I actually got to keep playing as the burn was beginning. If you’ve never been to Burning Man this probably doesn’t mean anything. If you have been you know how insanely epic that part of the week is; perhaps the burning of the man and the hour or two afterwards is the biggest/craziest, most awesome party that happens on planet Earth of the entire year every year, and that is by no means an exaggeration. The whole Burning Man experience I had, especially from meeting and connecting with everybody I did at Camp Sage where I stayed (Camp Sage! What what!!), had a very strong positive impact on my whole mental attitude and vibe, which equipped me to really move on from the whole challenging year that preceded it into the new wonderful chapter of my life that I have been living since it; the timing of Burning Man was perfect for me in my life to help with the transitioning I needed and was experiencing.

    Shortly after the burn I went to another music festival called Symbiosis Gathering, and actually volunteered to work artist relations at it. I can easily say the greatest “job” I have ever had was hanging out all night keeping watch over the backstage artist area behind the Cove Stage, and also driving artists on a golf cart to and from the camping area to their sets on the festival grounds, meeting dozens of awesome people, and connecting with them each as we spent 10-20 minutes zipping around in what I could best describe as a real-life Mario Kart video game. I also camped with my good friends Ilya, Sophia, Doug, Jenn, and Zach at this festival, who were all at the Burning Man Camp Sage with me. There were also many other Camp Sagers at this festival who we met and chilled with, and to have this “reunion” of sorts only a month after the burn was amazing. Also, as if the festival couldn’t get any cooler, I had brought my gear with me and ended up getting to play a renegade set at the little group of domes my friends set up, so technically I did end up playing a music festival in 2013 ; ) Thanks again for that Lux!

    I spent the rest of last year putting in a lot of work on my 9 Theory album, and also on developing the live show to get better and better. December ended up being especially epic because my youngest brother Zach, also known as Zigzilla when he raps, and his wife, Chiemi, had their first child on December 2nd! He is the most beautiful baby boy and his name is Kaito! My family and I went to Arcata for the Christmas holidays where they live, and got to meet him at only three weeks old. Shortly before that trip though I had my own solo adventure playing a show in Nevada City, CA at a really cool spot called Haven Underground, where I opened for my bro Ilya Goldberg (same dude I went to Burning Man with and Symbiosis Gathering). It was SO fun, and that town is super magical! I had no idea, but Nevada City is not only the best-preserved historical gold-mining town in California, but it also is an international hub of a crazy amount of incredible artists and badass people. The day after our show Ilya and I, and his friend Adam, all ended up at this beautiful home where I met Isis, the hostess with the mostest! We kicked it there all day into the late night and met many amazing people. Then the next day we stayed at our friend Lynx’s place and laughed and jammed for hours into the night; two acoustic guitars, violin, and vocals. I hadn’t jammed like that in a long time, and it was so rad, especially having Ilya add violin to it because he is a master of the instrument. Also Lynx has such a beautiful voice, and we made some really good improvised music. There was actually a really special moment for me that night I want to share. I was jamming with Ilya and Lynx, and another artist/singer was there named Dakini Star, and also her sister, and they are both big Inspired Flight fans it turns out. Somehow I was asked to play “I Won’t Let You Down,” which is my favorite iF song. I quickly re-figured out how to play all the chords and then I played and sang the song on just an acoustic guitar, and when it came to the chorus all of a sudden they all joined in with me, all three girls and I think maybe even Ilya too, and they all have beautiful voices, and they all knew the song and are fans of it, and I was just kind of blown away; it was a little emotional for me in a really beautiful way. They sang every chorus with me until I finished the song, and nothing like that moment has ever happened before or since with me playing one of my songs, it was such a wonderful blip in space and time!

    After Nevada City I went to Arcata for the holidays, and my last night there before coming back home I got to play a 9 Theory show up there at The Jambalaya with my brother rapping with me. Then when I got home from all of that I got to close out 2013 by opening a big show for Emancipator and Ana Sia at The Observatory OC. It was my first 9 Theory show in front of that many people and it went really well, and was so amazing for me to close out the year with that when it started with me grinding on beginning this whole 9 Theory thing, and opening for Wax Tailor actually in January. Pretty epic bookend shows huh?! Some other highlights since my last blog entry were doing a hike with my family into the back country of the Trinity Alps for a few days, I have been hanging out a lot with a girl who is super fun and awesome, and I also have been making lots of good music I am really excited about. As I type this now I am extremely close to finishing recording and mixing my debut 9 Theory album! I also have about three albums of dope music in the works so once this album comes out it will mark the beginning of a lot of output by 9 Theory that hopefully will never stop, nor be too long between new releases. I’m so excited! Lots of music coming soon! 9 Theory is about to do its thang, and I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!