Posts Tagged ‘Independent music’

By Jacqueline Cassell
Blues, Rock, & Hip-Hop is an experiment of musical genre created by artists Andy Box & The Bunks. It combines elements of traditional blues, rock-n-roll, and hip-hop with the intent of creating an alternative sound that is both unique and familiar. Instrumentally, this project is true the four musicians in the band; every track has guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. Lyrically, the content is strong with Andy Box covering themes of love and loss to deeper messages of spirituality and the war on consciousness. Overall the sound is fun, smart, and edgy; a trip through the minds of four undoubtedly talented musicians.

When and where did you all meet? What was the ultimate deciding factor to create Andy Box & the Bunks? We met for the first time in 2013 at a show in Long Branch called “A Night like Woodstock” when AI was part of a hip-hop duo and the Bunks were playing one of their first shows. The Bunks bassist and I went to Monmouth University together and studied Music Industry. We were close friends throughout college and near the end of Senior Year I approached the band with the idea of creating a collaborative project; they were down right away! It was not long after that we all met up and started playing together that my duo partner gave up music and I was left alone. Luckily, the Bunks were excited to explore the experimental sound we had been jamming on and we set out to record something we could call our own. That’s how it all began.

What are your musical backgrounds like? What made you decide to mesh Blues, Rock, and Hip Hop together as one? My background in music, creatively speaking, was in hip-hop; my teenage years consisted of listening to every street record I could get my hands on; artist like Jadakiss, Jay-Z, Outkast, Lil Wayne, and Kid Cudi were huge influences. I loved recording and releasing mixtapes with my friends. I always had a love for the psychedelic blues rock of the late 60’s and 70’s, artists like Led Zeppelin, the Zombies, and of course the Beatles so when I heard the Bunks groovy style of blues rock I thought that we had an opportunity to create something I’ve never heard before. The Bunks have a rock n roll background; I mean these guys are about as rock n roll as you can get. They love everything from Jimi to the Black Keys, Jack White to Stone Temple Pilots and PLENTY more. When we realized we had similar tastes and musically we could create something fun and unique out of our collective talents, we set out on creating what we called Blues, Rock, & Hip-Hop.

Tell us a bit about your current release, Blues Rock Hip Hop Demo! What was the writing and recording process like? 4 out of these 5 songs I came to the Bunks with; I had the chord changes and song structures all mapped out. They took it and ran with them, breathing such great life into Ride Life, Indulge In the Pleasure, Changing Tides, an Daemons Make the Angels Real. What You Need was written by Jozcel and Jonzi; when they showed it to me I immediately came up with the chorus and we jammed on it over and over. It was magic. We met up and jammed on these songs A LOT before thinking about recording. We ended up recording in October with Stephen Kellner in North Jersey. The guy has a great set-up and is a really knowledge producer and musician. We cut all 5 records in two days.

Do you have any upcoming tour dates to celebrate this demo release? 

Yes and No. It is not exactly a “Tour” but we do have shows booked in NYC, North Jersey, and Central Jersey. We plan on doing a lot of open mics and pop-up performances in the coming weeks so if you’re in the city look out! Here is a List of the 3 shows booked so far:

Februrary 27th – Asbury Park Yacht Club – Asbury Park NJ

March 29th – The Bitter End – NYC

April 7th – The Court Tavern – New Brunswick NJ

If you had to describe your music to new listeners in three words, what would they be?

Blues, Rock, & Hip-Hop! HAHA But really….. Fun, Smart, and a little trippy.

Connect With Andy Box & The Bunks:


Haj was born and raised in Queens, NY to a family of Punjabi descent. This 80’s baby learned the meaning of hard work and loyalty growing up in the streets of NY. He’s always had a strong passion and love for music. His musical inspiration originates from his favorite emcee Nas. Haj’s latest release, the single “Whole World”, is one of those songs that become part of your life’s soundtrack. It’s catchy, uplifting and makes you want to groove along. It inspires warmth and a sense of well-being that can change your perspective in an instant.

HAJ-WORLDThis song appeals to any generation, race or creed. “Whole World” will touch your soul and trigger a visceral reaction in you. We need as much music of this nature as we can get to deal with this crazy world of ours. The music pulsates with regularity of wonderful heartbeats. Musically it kicks into gear with a quirky keyboard of sorts, using a repeating electric piano chord, while a sturdy snapping drum comes in, accompanied by Haj’s smooth sing-song voice declaring: “ I got the whole world in my hand and I know I can change it.”

Throughout the song Haj describes the emotion of brotherly love and making the world a better place – not as a far-fetched theoretical concept, but as a real living entity that has a physical nature, and through which happiness could easily reached. He sings: “Change started from the bottom, just think about it. Pyramids weren’t built from the top.” And then he further explains: “First love yourself, then love another.” And firmly concludes the concept with: “Raise your mind, raise your voice. Change the world like only you can.”

HAJ-PROFILEWhat is most impressive is the nature of this song’s possibly massive cultural impact. While trendy songs have always come and gone in the past, even ones that had a positive message to them, it’s been a very long time since a song that represented pop music in a musically meaningful and sophisticated nature has such a positive source of inspiration. I remember Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, coming from a similar place of peace, but with different connotations.

Mood-enhancing, but with a stripped down musical production, Haj as deliberately created a soundscape which allows the lyrics to be clearly upfront and not lost in a surplus of sound or trapped in a bunch of rambling and ranting rap verses. Haj has kept things simple and uncluttered, allowing the song’s message to arrive in a timely manner.  I think if everyone listened to this song and truly followed its example, one day, all around the world, everything would change in an instant!


Keith Pro

The dance pop genre is full of artists putting music out there every day.  Much of it is self produced in their bedroom and unfortunately will never see the light of day with the low quality production.  The genre is a tough one to crack and the artist that goes out and finds the right people to partner with has a huge advantage.  Bernie Journey is well aware of this and has made the right connections.

Bernie Journey

Born as Bernard David Journey in Cleveland, Ohio, he took in all the power of rock n’ roll being honored in his backyard and let it influence his musical development.  Bernie Journey dove into meeting the right people and showing them he had the chops to have them produce his sound.  His very first recordings and EP were made with the help of music producer Joe Vulpis who is known for his work with Lady Gaga.

The connections continue and Bernie Journey has now released his latest song “Patience With My Heart” on J2 Records.  A single is never enough when you have the right friends.  Bernie released an EP with 7 different distinct versions of the song.  Featured on the release are 3 club friendly dance remixes by Wayne Numan (Cher, Madonna). The original version was produced by Peter Litvin along with an alternative version of the original, featuring Argentinian saxophonist Hendrick Valera. Rounding out the single EP are the “Chilledelic Mix” with more of an urban groove and “On Island Time” version which has a lounge feel to it.

Every one has its own feel but they will all get you up and dancing by the chorus.  There is a sensual element to the song that works perfectly for this Valentine’s Day season.  There is passion, lust and a groove.  Take a listen and buy the EP at:


iTunes –
Amazon –


Valley Of Kings are a very soulful Rock band from the heartland of East Sussex, made up of frontman songwriter and producer Dar.Ra, Aiden Purdey and Rory Purdey, and recently witnessed that music still holds the power to reach people beyond words after creating music workshops in a Dementia care home in East Sussex recently.  It was surprising to see how the residents responded to hearing music and how it triggered off past memories which brought happiness and laughter to the residents.

Dar.Ra has graced the UK national charts and dance charts with two top 40’s and two number one dance records with acts signed to EMI, BMG, Festival Records (Australia) plus remixed legends like Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Tears 4 Fears, Urban Harmonix ft Rachel Brown (Faithless, Groove Armada) and many others along the way.  His first solo album Soul Hours released in 2010 made album of the week of Spain’s Heart FM as well as receiving support from BBC Radio, playing to over 1 million people on an air live show.

The Purdey brothers add soul to the unit, and they have a huge amount of musical DNA in their blood being related to the late great John Martyn OBE who had a 40 year career, and worked with some of the greats from Eric Clapton to Dave Gilmore.

Valley Of Kings

The boys got the band together after finding out they loved the same records and began playing shows in the South East. They wrote an album in 6 months, booked into Neil Costello’s (Paul Macartney/Stevie Wonder) studio and recorded the whole thing in 8 hours. The boys wanted to go back to the way records were made back in the days of the one take and release it mode.

They recorded their debut EP Midnight and found something interesting happened when Dar.Ra was doing his music workshop in a Dementia care home.

Music has a natural power to go beyond words, people with dementia hold key memories which can be triggered by certain songs which can stimulate the mind, releasing endorphins which can lift a person’s spirit, when nothing else can.

‘While playing certain songs it’s an amazing thing to see someone go from staring into space to seeing a smile break out on their face, and suddenly they want to move their body and play along to the music, it is like witnessing magic happen’.

After playing a set of tracks one of the staff put on the Midnight Live EP, the response from the residents was to play along to it, while others where tapping their feet, which was the most wonderful experience to see, after all words had failed, but music made the difference.

The music industry has taken some near death blows since the internet and the Pop Idol shows and this has changed the way people respect music and musicians, so to see music being felt by people with no agendas restores any doubt in the power of music. It goes beyond chart success and back to the reason why music is so essential to the human soul.

The Valley of Kings create a hybrid of Rock, Soul, and Reggae, mixed with a high energy that makes the Live show well worth having a look at which you can do by coming down to Printers Playhouse Eastbourne where they will be headlining on the 16th Jan with support from up and coming mod influenced band The Gallery’s from Kent who recently supported Secret Affair.

The EP Midnight Live is out in Jan 2016 on Kusha Deep Recordsor more info contact

For more info contact Andy Purdey – 01323 833989


House Of Guilty Pleasures


Katrell The Phenomenal is back with another blazing hip-hop track, entitled “Bea’s Lude II”, built upon a R&B production by Tone Jonez, who also sings the amazingly soulful hook, while the recording and engineering was handled by DoomGotBeats. This track is everything that today’s music is missing. It’s well-written, beautifully crafted and timeless. Katrell has always kept his artistic integrity in every single or album he has released in his career. “Bea’s Lude II” is an incredible master stroke of pure musical genius. Katrell The Phenomenal has infused a much needed jolt of hope into R&B and Hip-hop blended music with this stellar track.

Upcoming project

Melodically plush, “Bea’s Lude II” is so smooth that I almost slipped into a pure hypnosis listening to this incredible track. It is soulful and superior to most anything else on the radio right now. Katrell The Phenomenal has an incredible grasp on what his sound should feel like. My admiration for his music may make my opinion slightly biased towards his releases, but everyone that listens to him cannot deny the fact that he is gifted at what he does. Katrell has grown musically within his long career and the growth has made him a better artist because of it. The song is poignant and touching with a beat and rhythmic style that makes you want to listen to it over and over again.

If you can appreciate mature hip-hop with quality beats, a sophisticated sound, and inventive lyrics, then you need this “Bea’s Lude II” in your life. I sincerely appreciate this track because I love the depth and growth that this man is showing. Hip Hop should be about progression of expression. There’s more to life than running the streets, hustling in the streets, etc. Katrell The Phenomenal’slife has evolved and naturally his lyrics reflects that. Katrell truly displays why he is one of the best underground lyricists in the game; check out the lyricism, wordplay, rhymes, what and how he raps it, the wit and flawless flow). He also shows on “Bea’s Lude II” that he’s one of the best at picking producers for tracks that excellently match his flow.

Katrell The Phenomenal

If you are a fan of any Katrell The Phenomenal single or album, you will enjoy this track. It does a nice job of recreating and collaborating classic R&B with hip-hop. The production is top quality as always and Katrell does his job by showing off his charismatic flow and lyrical mastery. He once again shows that he can create classic songs that anyone would like.

About: Katrell Antonio Platt aka Katrell The Phenomenal, the eldest son of a member of the NC A&T University Alumni / Marching Band and band director, was born in Mount Vernon, New York but as an infant was relocated to, and raised in Mullins, South Carolina. Surrounded by family and music, this is where his concrete work ethic was instilled and the “adapt to overcome” foundation began, as well as some of his darkest times of life. Raised in a single parent home and pretty tight knit community, Katrell gives the biggest credit to the greater ancestors of his family, that he had the honor to encounter.


Randy Ichinose is a 22 year-old Italian musician. He released his first shoegaze E.P. “All Pilots at the Ready” in 2013 and in February 2016 he released his first L.P. “C’Est la Vie”. Randy is from a region of Italy where both Italian and French are official languages so his song are written in both these languages. Randy is a strict vegan and vegan activist since 2012, Randy sings and plays all of the instruments in his songs.

“C’Est la Vie”, contains a rich mixture of styles and emotions, varying from quieter, reflective numbers (such as 055 (feat. Chris Holoyda) and C’Est La Dose Qui Fait Le Poison) to mid-tempo power pop (Jusqu’à ce que Chaque Cage Soit ) to full on rock (Jason GideonIl Cuore (feat. Milouze Gondek) and Esto Gaza). The one constant is that the songwriting and performances are consistently excellent.  There are some rock anthems on here that just blow the doors off of anything that came out since the era of post grunge sound-alike bands.

The album artwork

The songs flow and the structures are cohesive, but you won’t find any pretentiousness in this – just some of the most gorgeous, emotional, dynamics-laden and rocking music ever made. This album sweeps you away with its grand rhythmic crescendos and Randy Ichinosepowerful, echoed and emotive vocals. The best part of this album though, is the songwriting, which is the most difficult thing to appreciate in popular music. No tricks, no slick studio stuff, just good music.

An amazing use of guitar textures and sonic landscaping makes “C’Est la Vie” one of the most interesting rock albums of the year so far. It takes a couple of listens to appreciate all the songs, but some will stand out during the first listen. There are killer riffs and lots of electric guitar mastery, but no masturbatory solos, as Randy does not spend any time being arty, pretentious and showing off. Sudden musical shifts from meandering melodic to flat-out rocking, vivid synthetic properties, soaring choruses, and an overall love for crafting multi-layered guitar music are put on display here.

Few bands can write something as convincingly crossover, vintage, grunge, emo and shoegaze as this, on one album. Randy Ichinose’s voice is so expressive and versatile, alternately tough and tender. He can go from sweetly sensitive to bitterly venomous in two seconds flat. Generally, the guitars churn relentlessly like machinery, but they sometimes flutter around like strange butterflies, once in a while jangling, and occasionally screaming in overload. “C’Est la Vie”represents Randy Ichinose’s pinnacle (thus far), especially in terms of achieving his rocking atmospheric sound as well as writing some of his best songs.




February’s set to get a big surprise. So, what surprise should people expect out of the rest of the month? A surprise for the music community, of course. Top online music production companySongCat will release advice videos so good, even Taylor Swift’s musical director trusts it. Amid the good advice, SongCat received some good news of its own. The company’s recent client satisfaction survey revealed positive results and its growth will approach 50 percent throughout the rest of this year.


In an age where online resources help get people off the ground, SongCat’s importance shines. SongCat, best known as an online song demo and music production studio, regularly publishes videos about different topics related to music. Back in October, SongCat announced their intentions to publish the series on a monthly basis. The monthly releases make SongCat’s series perfect for those who need advice about, well, anything to do with music.

But that’s not the only reason.

The series provides free video advice to upcoming musicians. Getting such advice for free means everything to newbies. Many of these videos feature advice you usually can’t get free. SongCat’s topics include performing, songwriting and legal matters in the music industry.

January’s edition revealed some essential tips for first timers heading to the recording studio. Within the video, SongCat advised upcoming artists what to expect when they’re planning to record in a studio for the first time. Of course, SongCat also took the opportunity to announce February’s edition.

The topic? Songwriting collaboration agreements.

Top entertainment lawyer Wallace Collins is set to present February’s edition. A regular Billboard Magazine contributor, Collins has also been featured in New York Post, The New York Times and Daily News. He’s also provided legal assistance for Madonna’s, Justin Timberlake’s and, yes, Taylor Swift’s musical directors.


So… SongCat’s experiencing exceptional growth. The company’s Client Satisfaction Survey results revealed information about its overall quality and growth.

The recent survey showed all respondents said they ‘would recommend SongCat to their friends and co-workers.’ They’re also pretty happy with SongCat’s overall service quality. Eighty percent of clients also said their SongCat experience was ‘better than their experience at other production companies.’ Twenty percent of the remaining client’s said their services ‘were pretty much the same as what they experienced with competitors.’

SongCat’s CEO Chris Erhardt naturally commented about the results. After presenting the results, Erhardt said:

‘Our Spring 2015 survey showed clients requested more variety for musical genres and vocals. SongCat is a strong production company for Pop projects, but not so much in other genres. Our company’s worked very hard and trained our musicians while recruiting new talent. Thanks to that, we’re more capable of producing music in any commercial genre. But I’m delighted our clients remain happy with our current services, even for Country, Folk and Rock music projects.’


The company promises a lot for 2016. So, what should people expect from SongCat this year?

Exceptional growth, of course. SongCat’s growth rate hit 48 percent by 2015’s fourth quarter. SongCatalso looks to improve their existing services. The company relaunched their website this month. The update introduced improved performance, web security and user friendliness to their site.

So, to close, here are Chris Erhardt’s comments about his expectations for SongCat in 2016:

‘Clients would like to get more involved in the production process from start to finish. Now, we’re constantly working to make sure it’s possible for those who want to do so. Our clients challenged us to expand our available music genres last May. We succeeded and are now capable of producing anything from Pop to Rock to Country and more. Our new challenge is different—it involves engineering a highly technical web feature. SongCat’s accepted the challenge. We’re confident SongCat users will gain more options for their music projects in the upcoming year.’