Interview: Black Violin Returns to SXSW


Black Violin – “Virtuoso”: SXSW Music 2013 from SXSW on Vimeo.

When Wil B and Kev Marcus of Black Violin hit the stage, it’s an unusual sight in the contemporary music scene that demands attention. The classically trained violinists appear more Biggie than Beethoven as they blend their skills with hip-hop, R&B, and pop music. Last year’s appearance at SXSW, including opening for Dave Grohl’s keynote speech as seen above, caught the industry’s attention, and now they return once again with violins and bows in hand (full schedule below).

Giant Step caught up with Wil B before their trip to Austin.

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Interview + New Release: 5 Questions with Sidewalk Chalk


Sidewalk Chalk releases the new album, Leaves, today and hit the road over the weekend on their North American tour. We dropped five questions to Charlie Coffeen (keys) on the day of his hometown release show in Chicago. New Yorkers will have a second chance to see the 8-piece in action on Thursday night at Brooklyn’s Cameo Gallery. Details here and enter to win tickets here. A full list of tour dates are here.

Your new album, Leaves, drops today. Can you tell our readers what they can expect to hear?

Leaves is raw. We’re pushing our limits with sound, emotions, our writing…all of it. The album marks the evolution of not only our music, but us as people.

An MC, a vocalist, keys, bass, drums, horns, and even a tap dancer, how did Sidewalk Chalk come to be?

Sidewalk Chalk formed in Chicago and was born at Columbia College. As we added the pieces, everything seemed to fall into place. The group formed out of everyone’s individual love for music and creating, and wanting to put those elements together to create something.

What artists do you find influence your sound, whether they are legends from the past or contemporary artists?

There is so much J Dilla influence in the rhythm section. He changed the way we hear music and hear rhythms. Otherwise, there are a lot of D’angelo’s Voodoo-esque production elements on the new album. We’re influenced by so much music that’s coming out right now – Snarky Puppy, Robert Glasper, Hiatus Kaiyote, Janelle Monae…all of that stuff.

You are about cross North America on a tour. We imagine that being a group of 8 people, traveling can be quite a task. What is the road situation like?

We just got a new ride (a converted school bus) so we will have more space on this tour than any of the others. We make it work. We all hang out and kick it, but it’s obvious when somebody needs some room to chill, read, be by themselves, and everybody appreciates that.

What have been some of your favorite cities or venues to play and which shows are you most looking forward to playing on this current run?

There are a few spots that we absolutely love playing every time we go – Lincoln (Nebraska), St. Louis, Nashville, Cincinnati, Fort Wayne (Indiana). They’re always so live. We’re hitting a ton of new cities on this tour, mainly in Canada and the Northwest, so we’re really excited to get up there and rock for them.

Purchase Leaves on iTunes / Amazon / Google Play.

New Mix: Gilles Peterson – Time Out NY Mix + East Village Radio Interview on Oct 23


The week is finally here! Gilles Peterson is blessing NYC with another special appearance this Thursday, and before he does, he’s setting us up with plenty of treats per usual. Today, Time Out NY released an upbeat. groovy mix by Gilles, which can be streamed in its entirety below.

Also, tomorrow, October 23, catch Gilles for an interview on East Village Radio. Tune in at 4PM!

And while you’re at it, cozy up to our interview with Gilles in case you missed it!

Get the lowdown on this Thursday’s party with Gilles and get your affairs sorted to make sure you’re present – you’re going to need to be there – seriously.

Event Details
Gilles Peterson Live
Thursday, October 25

Tickets: $20
Purchase tickets

Le Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker Street
New York, NY

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Interview: Gilles Peterson Talks With Nas On The Worldwide Show 7/26


The week’s edition of the Worldwide Show with Gilles Peterson features New York’s hip hop originator Nas in conversation. He discusses his tenth album, Life Is Good, and the passing of fellow Beastie Boy’s MCA. Nas also clues us into one of his favorite lyricist, who is surprisingly someone outside of hip hop. You’ll have to listen to find out but we’ll give you a hint: their initials are BD.

Stream Gilles’ latest show and more below.

Part 1

Part 2

Listen in Jukebox

More Info & Track list

Gilles’ most recent shows:

GPWW: 07/19/2012 Worldwide Family Mixtape w/ Toshio

GPWW: 07/12/2012 Worldwide Family Mixtape w/ Koreless

GPWW: 07/06/2012 Worldwide Family Mixtape w/ Alex Barck


Interview: Jose James on Blue Note Signing & 5/11 NYC Show


In anticipation of his show at Le Poisson Rouge (NYC) tomorrow and his recent signing to Blue Note, we caught up with the heart-melting José James to get the latest on some very exciting developments. After hearing more about what Jose has to say about No Beginning, No End as well as the LPR show – we’re just about losing it with excitement!

Details for the show are below. Also, enter our contest to win tickets to tomorrow’s show.

Giant Step: Congratulations on signing with Blue Note! How does it feel?

Jose James: It feels fantastic – it’s a dream come true. Blue Note is everyone’s favorite classic jazz label and it’s exciting to bring something fresh to the legacy.

GS: What can we expect on the new album? And what excites you most about this new project?

JJ: First of all, the new album features Pino Palladino – the legend! Truly an honor to work with him. Chris “Daddy” Dave, Robert Glapser, Hindi Zahra, Richard Spaven, Emily King – it’s a stellar cast. It’s a mix of soul, R&B, gospel, jazz, and singer-songwriter. It’s truly a deeper look into who I am as an artist, outside of just jazz. I co-wrote with many of the artists above, as well as Fink and Amp Fiddler. I feel this is a definitive album for me and so far my best work. It’s been two years in the making! Sonically it’s way ahead of my other albums and I have engineers Brian Bender and Russ Elevado to thank for that.

GS: When can we hear No Beginning, No End – when does it drop?!

JJ: Well I just signed, so now we’re doing photoshoots and planning videos. Definitely will drop some new music this fall – stay tuned at for updates! In the meantime, I’m showcasing new material in my live shows and will start touring worldwide.

GS: What can folks look forward to at this show?

JJ: I got Taylor McFerrin with me – he’s so amazing. Emily King special guest, and a fantastic band: Takuya Kuroda on trumpet, Andy Hunter trombone, Samora Pinderhughes keys, Ben Williams bass, and Nate Smith on drums. We keep it funky and real soulful!

GS: Any other special news you’re able to share with Giant Step fans?

JJ: Look out for remixes and vinyl – this is the album you’ve been waiting for.

Event Details
José James with Special Guests, plus Taylor McFerrin

Friday, May 11, 2012
Doors 7pm

(Le) Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker Street
New York, NY

Tickets: $15 advance / $20 door
Purchase tickets

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