Radio Personality, Frank Ski, Ending Tenure With V-103

Atlanta is known for it’s R&B and hip hop culture. Over the years, the city has become one of the five biggest music cities in the country. One of the front men and Atlanta icons behind the music scene, Frank Ski, formally announced this morning that he will be ending his fourteen-year tenure with radio station V-103—the People’s Station. Frank Ski moved here in 1998 to begin working with V-103, and in that time, he’s started a family, opened outside businesses, began charity organizations and much more. As a radio personality, Frank Ski has had some major carreer milestones with V-103—he had the last ever interview with Ms. Coretta Scott King and an interview with President Barack Obama during his term as Chicago Senator. Musically, he’s had interviews with both legendary performers Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder.

Frank Ski began his radio/music career before ending up in Atlanta. Notable is his popular classic hip hop song Doo Doo Brown from the 1980s. Ski will be missed in Atlanta, but assures the city that this is not goodbye, rather to be continued…very soon.

Jeffrey Preis


Diamond in the Rough

East West Jewelry

East West Jewelry brings one-of-a-kind gems from around the world to the South

The Zombie Apocalypse

The apocalypse is nigh! The zombie apocalypse, that is. With the advent of the third season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, zombie culture has taken over. Many people are taking part of this zombie movement—from indie to mainstream, the undead are ubiquitous. Bands like Atlanta’s Amsterdam Station are jamming to—and killing— Zombies (see video below), and even 5K races are joining in on the fun. The Run For Your Lives is a 5K obstacle race where you not only run against the clock, but from the “brain-hungry, virus-spreading zombies.” Zombies are inescapable now, and in the wake of All Hallow’s Eve, one must fear for his life—happy survival!

Jeffrey Preis

2012 CounterPoint Music + Arts Festival

CounterPoint Balloon

Two weekends ago on a sprawling horse farm outside Atlanta, tens of thousands of teenage and 20-something ravers gathered for the inaugural CounterPoint Music Fest. For a three-day festival boasting the biggest names in popular contemporary electronic music you’d be hard-pressed to find much news about it in the city—our proudly rock-centric scene pretended nothing of interest was going on the last weekend in September—and the folks aware of CounterPoint had nothing in the way of specifics about what, exactly, was going on down there. And nobody knew where the damn thing was being held in the first place.

First year fests are prone to logistical and infrastructure issues, and CounterPoint was hobbled, but thankfully not defeated, by both. An intense thunderstorm Friday afternoon temporarily closed the festival grounds, throwing off set times and causing some acts to cancel. This explained the unexpected traffic I encountered on my arrival, having skipped Thursday’s weak jamband-ish line up in favor of the weekend’s heavy hitters. Traffic gave me time to admire the Georgia countryside and creeping autumnal tones of the trees—CounterPoint’s producers did an excellent job with the location, a pleasant 40-minute drive southwest of the city. While waiting to enter the parking lot, the festival’s twitter informed me that I was missing indie favorite Washed Out, who didn’t have to delay his set after all. I felt like I was going to summer camp.

Getting searched took some time as the parking lot entrances appeared understaffed but when I finally parked and gathered my backpack, I stepped into thick mud. Mud and humidity were the principal annoyances of the weekend; the rolling hills made for great vantage points but sprawling mud pits webbed the lower-lying areas between concession areas and the Point and CounterPoint stages. The festival grounds formed a misshapen L, hinging at a hill topped by a lit CounterPoint sign. If substance consumption wore you out this was a great place for a nap as well as taking in the massive main-stage light shows. Across from the festival staples of amusement park rides and bizarre hippie wares, the Beat and Backbeat tents dominated the far end of the grounds with dubstep-heavy lineups for the true ravers.

The View from the Pond

The view from the pond

As mentioned above, CounterPoint swarmed with an eager, young crowd. The nebulous strains of electronic dance music (EDM) are dominating both pop and underground music at the moment, and this audience likes its beats harder and louder, its synth melodies brighter, and its light shows overwhelming. The traditional rock band dynamic has been swapped for a maximal sensory experience. You could count the number of guitarists over the weekend practically on one hand. And the bands on the bill—Toro Y Moi, Reptar, Zoogma, and Lotus, among others—effectively reproduce the sounds/textures of producers with laptops and synthesizers. For myself, it was refreshing to go to a festival that wasn’t filled with jamband noodling and retro blues revivalists.

Inside the Beat Tent

Inside the Beat Tent

The confusion over set times and cancellations allowed me to wander with no purpose other than absorbing the experience. Walking from the stages to the tents took a few minutes (my legs appreciated this after the seemingly endless walking at large festivals like Bonnaroo) and I arrived as Mimosa finished his heavy but generally nondistinct dubstep set. Plugging in laptops made for quick changes between acts, so the start of DJ trio Super Mash Bros.’ set caught me off guard. SMB blew threw a party-rocking set of electro remixes and mash-ups of popular tracks from the last two decades, the crowd jumping and waving flags in delight with each chorus they caught. The sound was straight out of every raucous party you went to in 2005.

I went back to the main stages in hopes of catching L.A. producer TokiMonsta but was pleasantly surprised when Crystal Castles came on—a group, like M83, hailing from the hipper indie rock scene. Having associated Crystal Castles with gothic 80s new wave and early 2000s trashy electroclash, it surprised me how easily they fit in with the rest of CounterPoint. The heavy, stomping rave elements of their sound really stood out and was lapped up appreciatively. Unfortunately, towards the end of Crystal Castle’s set I overheard that M83 had cancelled, meaning I had to kill the time by heading back to the tents.

Did I mention I’d been looking for the press area since my arrival? Three different staff members gave me conflicting directions while security had no idea at all where it was. I stumbled onto it tucked behind the Backbeat tent between checking out interchangeable sets from Feed Me, 3lau (pronounced “Blau”), and Excision; the glaring sameness of the artists resulted from both the narrow musical scope of the sets and their seeming inability to do anything dynamic with such maximal music. Each DJ immediately began at full steam, banging away with loud, squelching bass drops and never relenting until the end. Every so often a distorted pop chorus cut through the mix. Because it was fairly hidden behind the Beat tent, the Backbeat tent was only a third full each time I passed through, so the energy of 3lau’s tracks died immediately on impact. Ear fatigue made me feel older (I’m only 28) than simply being around kids screaming “more, More, MORE!!!” with each drop.

When I could no longer withstand the onslaught of bass I retired to the press tent to charge my phone and rest before the night’s headliner, Avicii. The Swedish DJ has exploded in popularity on the back of “Levels,” a hard house track with a stadium-sized chorus about feelings. Watching from the edge of a small pond while dancers splashed through, I couldn’t see Avicii himself amid the gigantic video screens playing in time with the music. Effervescent, poppy choruses dominated the set, approaching but somehow never fully crossing over into full-on cheese. The loudest roar of the night was saved for when the opening chords to “Levels” echoed across the field. The euphoric Etta James-sampling lyric “Sometimes I get a good feeling/ I get a feeling that I never, never, never had before….” had the crowd singing in unison. I couldn’t withhold a grin.

The Ferris Wheel

The Ferris Wheel

Saturday afternoon I arrived to a pleasantly different scene: minimal traffic into the lot, a quick search of the car, and hardened mud that made for easier traversing of the grounds. The humidity, however, had a much larger presence than the day before.

The vibe was more positive than Friday, with scantily clad ravers skipping and doing cartwheels across the grounds. Atlanta rap royalty Big Boi performed a high-energy selection of his deep catalogue on the Point Stage, skipping from solo tracks to Outkast classics and constantly reminding everybody that they were not just in the South, but Atlanta. Given how popular Outkast’s remain, and southern rap’s current prominence in the heavy step of EDM, I figured the crowd would be as amped as me to hear some real bounce music; everyone around me was dancing though not that engaged with Big Boi’s show. Their loss, I say.

I then camped out at the Beat tent for Zeds Dead, a dubstep production duo I was told “to not fucking miss!!!” by a guy in a Gumbi suit. I was prepared for more of the same wobble-bass drop-wobble programming from the day before, and the opening remix of 90s hard electro act Prodigy confirmed my fears, when they thankfully swerved into an opening set of (of course) bass-heavy, percussive house music—a sound that didn’t get much play at the fest despite it being equally favored in mainstream club sounds at the moment. Forty minutes into Zeds’ set the tempo was sufficiently raised for them to begin “dropping bombs,” each track more bone-rattling than the last. I made my exit to camp out for Steve Angello and Skrillex, the night’s main stage headliners.

Another Swede who favors pounding progressive house beats with choruses made for arenas, Steve Angello typifies the obnoxious fist-pumping music everybody associates with Jersey Shore club nights. Like the Jersey Shore itself, the U.S. hasn’t decided whether to fully embrace, ironically embrace, or outright reject the swaggering, lowbrow cheesiness of the music. Angello was also roundly criticized a few years back for not even mixing during his DJ sets, preferring to smoke cigarettes and bathe in the crowd’s adulation over a preprogrammed set. With these issues in mind, I was very interested in seeing him perform. Somehow Angello made Avicii’s set seem restrained, as tonight the intensity never abated and the lights were brighter and pulsing harder. Angello himself was a domineering presence, continually speaking over the music about how “beautiful” the crowd was and, at one point, having everybody jump up at the climax of a beat. Every time I looked he was in a crucifixion pose, cigarette dangling from his mouth. Huge blasts of confetti showered the crowd with a frequency I thought diminished the novelty, but the crowd didn’t care. The music—and performance—was certainly focused on complete crowd involvement, but to me it had neither the personality nor heart of Avicii.

Finally it was time for Skrillex. At just 24 years old, Sonny Moore has blindsided the EDM world (and music industry as whole) the way any upstart act does: forcing a new sound into the youth’s ears and not giving a damn about it. His music is truly divisive (check the “Seniors react to Skrillex” YouTube)—a screeching, squelching, stomping beast that completely overtook the skeletal, cavernous dubstep that came before it, and defined the sound in the U.S. in the process. All weekend festival-goers talked excitedly about how wild his live show is, how much it would “rage,” and so on. A five minute countdown began after Angello left the stage; the crowd surged around me in anticipation. At 2 minutes an ominous bass rumbled through the air. At 00:00 the chords of “Right In” tore out of the speakers and we were off; Skrillex’s elfin figure leapt up behind the video screens with a toss of black hair. The crowd’s roar was practically deafening.

Even without diehards in attendance its obvious that Moore garnered his reputation primarily through live show. The “drops” were indeed intense—the music galloped to a climax, sucked into silence with a filter sweep, a pause, then BOOM. It felt like a punch to the gut, but somehow an enjoyable one. Most surprising to me was how, even at its most distorted, Skrillex’s music was audibly connected to his predecessors’ dubstep. The skanking halftime and low-end wobble of dub reggae was more prominent than the other DJs at Counterpoint. Early on Skrillex played his single featuring Damien Marley, “Make It Bun Dem,” followed by a clever remix of Avicii’s “Levels” that had the crowd dancing—or stomping, as it looked to me—in ecstasy. It truly sounded like the past and future of music had collided. To the kids around me, faces lit by the neon lights and lasers of Skrillex’s live show, mouths agape, they obviously agreed. Fireworks marked a triumphant end to his set and, for me, the festival. The kids are having their fun, whether we like their music or not.

For more exclusive pictures from Eide’s CounterPoint coverage

Atlanta Indie Fest 2012: Cousin Dan Interview

By E.J. Ogle

Cousin Dan, fresh from Destin, Florida where he’d played the previous night, was on his homemade stage belting out sleazy auto-tune funk for a group of roughly thirty early birds at Atlanta Indie Fest. By “early” I mean 5:30pm, when the sun wasn’t close to setting and beamed through the windows of Terminal West’s balcony onto the stage and floor. But it didn’t matter to audience, who latched onto Dan’s every move even without the copious smoke machines and lasers that define the Cousin Dan live experience. It’s the music and sheer stage presence that’s made a fan out of practically everyone that sees him. After his much-too-short set I pulled Daniel Scoggins aside for a quick chat about what’s next for the man and his must-see live show. Also, feel free to call his codpiece a God-piece.

You’ve performed with your current live set-up for a few years now. What about performing as a one-man-band with all the equipment on your outfit?

“Actually I think that’d take away from the show. When you have to control everything you’re so focused on that that you can’t really perform. I like to get into it for people. I mean I try to do as much as I can live. You see producers behind laptops just twisting knobs, but I want to do something that makes folks go ‘What the fuck is this?’…I want to blow minds.”

So the Cousin Dan project as a whole is still evolving, right?

“I think I’m at a pretty good spot…I’ve written a lot of new songs and left myself a lot of room to go anywhere with it. I know my stage show is ‘funny,’ but I’m not a joke band. I’m a better songwriter—more lyrical and a more mature version of what you see now. I’ve got ballads coming…power ballads, you know.”

Any plans for expanding the stage set-up, visually?

“I’m trying to build a Cousin Dan sign with neon lights that I can control behind me.”

Do you want to stay solo or bring on other folks?

“I’m planning on doing an all-live Cousin Dan Band at some point…four or five people, who knows, plus some back-up singers. But I’m not ready for it yet and what I’m doing works for me. At some point it’d be cool though—I’m curious to see how it would all work out.”

Would the band play in costume?

“They could all be dressed the same and I’d have my usual outfit or they could be individual characters, who knows? Cousin Dan’s Spandex Army?”

The Suitable Man

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2012 ONE MusicFest Recap

Last weekend, the Eidé Magazine crew spent the day at ONE MusicFest, now in its third year and at a new venue— the Masquerade Music Park. I’d heard about the single-day festival in years past, though I never seemed to meet folks that actually attended. Thus I was particularly interested in checking out how a festival touting its “innovative infusion of diversity” actually ran, and who the hell was going to it in the first place.

The line-up this year offered more than enough reasons for casual fans to brave the near-oppressive Atlanta humidity: local favorite Bosco, rising Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T., global genre-bender and indie darling Santigold — making her Atlanta debut, no less — and a round-robin finale featuring the Legends of Hip-Hop: Doug E. Fresh, MC Lyte, Big Daddy Kane, and Slick Rick. So yeah, ONE MusicFest gets high marks for diversity (some new school, some old school) but not eclecticism. Ultimately this works in the favor of a single-stage festival. The crowd was neither dominated by a particular crowd nor fractured between fundamentally opposed groups (rap kids vs. metal kids), so thankfully the festival avoided the lamentable “everybody catches one act then ignores the hell out of the next or heckles them mercilessly” phenomenon that too often plagues “diverse” line-ups.

The front lot of the Masquerade was turned into a food-truck court featuring a coma-inducing low-country boil that was totally worth $20 at the end of the night. Throughout the day, the court functioned as a nice respite from lounging in the grass of the Music Park, featuring local DJs including Speakerfoxxx and Dibiase spinning all the BBQ-appropriate hip-hop you could want. Unfortunately I just missed Marsha Ambrosius by lingering here, but from all accounts her set was excellent.

We made it into the Music Park to find an appreciative crowd vibing out to Bosco, who’s never appeared the slightest bit hesitant in commanding the stage every time I’ve seen her perform, and this afternoon was no different. She didn’t deserve her slot because she won a contest — she deserved to perform because she is one of the finest, pure, young talents Atlanta has produced in some time. She claimed Savannah as her base at the end of her set, but I think of her as ATL all the way.

Bosco was followed in what seemed like mere minutes by Big K.R.I.T., which underscored the attention One MusicFest payed to timeliness: the flow between acts was efficient and never felt like DJ Jaycee had to kill unnecessary amounts of time while the stage was set-up. The crowd up front had filled in a bit with obvious fans, if not diehards, and curious onlookers when K.R.I.T. burst onto the stage following a short set of Southern rap classics everybody bounced to appreciatively. His extensive back-catalogue of mixtapes favors syrupy, low-slung bounce made for riding slow to, but K.R.I.T.’s stage presence made the songs explode with a rowdiness that effectively quadrupled the energy of the crowd. The old-schoolers in attendance were truly blown away.

The energy was flipped again once Brooklyn’s Santigold came on. I was expecting the crowd to have been overrun with MJQ club kids and general indie pop fans, which of course there were a few, but the only noticeable change was females now outnumbering males 3 to 1 in the front. More high marks for ONE MusicFest. Hipsters, hip-hoppers and soul sisters, young and old, were practically writhing in anticipation. When her band, then her dancers, then finally the petite Santigold herself hit the stage, the awesomeness of her live show washed over the audience in waves. Everybody was processing what exactly was happening on stage with the outfits and choreography (and horse, at one point) that the applause for the opening was somewhat dampened. I won’t describe everything that happened during the hour-long set, but watch her performance at Jay-Z’s Made In America Festival from the next day for an idea of what went down in Atlanta. Even while dealing with repeated sound issues stemming from a faulty microphone, Santigold had us all in the palm of her hand.

The Legends of Hip-Hop set felt like a cleanser following the craziness of Santigold’s performance, or did so for the remaining younger audience members like myself, who consider the golden era of rap to be sometime starting in 1993 and ending around 1998. For the middle-age set, however, the quick interplay between the MCs was as hard as any Waka Flocka show. Don’t think I’m being slight to the night’s finale — Slick Rick and MC Lyte in particular seemed ready to battle any younger rappers and had more swagger to boot. Personally I was hoping for Rick to perform his verse off Outkast’s “Da Art of Storytellin’ (Pt. 1)”, but you can’t expect everything after a phenomenal day of music. Atlanta can only hope for ONE MusicFest to build on its strength of presenting diverse (but not completely random) line-ups in big spaces that feel intimate. It’s worth sweating all day for.

Get Ready for Indie Fest

By Edmon Ogle
The Fifth Annual Atlanta Indie Fest is this weekend, packing all the independent hip-hop (plus some soul and electro-pop) folks could possibly want into one insane line-up over two days. And no, it’s not all backpacking boom-bap. Seriously, the 2012 roster provides an excellent capsule of the various strands/sounds of the underground in the internet 2.0 era. From syrupy trap music to twerking club bangers aimed squarely at crossing over, it’s all here and its swag is weird. Make a point of catching these key artists:

Mach Five
Turn Up Juice (ft. Gangsta Boo)
Yes, we owe the existence of the Atlanta Indie Fest in the first place to this local duo, but this home-grown banger is undeniably hot. Minimalist Diplo-inspired production with a chorus made for the club and a guest verse from fellow Indie Fest performer Gangsta Boo.

Chippy Nonstop
Kicked Out Da Club
A Bay Area-based Kreayshawn acolyte spitting over your basic hyphy/Rack City beat. Resist the easy urge to hate, look past the image and admit this would be fun as hell to hear at the club. Catch her set so you can tell your people you saw her before she went viral.

Tuki Carter
Green Backs
The tattoo artist for Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang crew makes quality smoker’s rap as his other job. With verses this strong no wonder he got the co-sign.

Dell Harris
A local MC who favors the bassy, electro-tinged beats foreign producers have been making and sending back to the states for years; party tracks by and for the MJQ set.

Osiris Of the East
The Miami rapper-producer is headlining Sunday for a reason: his style is harder, darker, and spacier than everybody else. Not wildly adolescent like Tyler the Creator or cultivating his fashionista cred like A$AP Rocky, SGP has carved an ominous, weird niche for himself drawing equally on Houston screwed music, lo-fi noise and afro-futurism, if you’ll believe it. No wonder he’s signed to the high-brow British label 4AD. Be ready for a real rowdy, sweaty crowd during his set.