Exclusive Interview & EP Premiere: Rehes Gets Down With Drummer/Producer Daru Jones

Just on the heels of countless showcases at SXSW (he was the drummer for everybody and their mama), Brooklyn-based drummer and producer Daru Jones was recently out in San Francisco for a Camp Lo and Digable Planets show. In addition to breaking several drumsticks and eating up all the fish tacos the Bay had to offer, Daru sat down with me on a stoop in the Mission District to talk a bit about keepin it hip-hop and church all at the same time.

Following the video, treat yourself to an exclusive Giant Step premiere: a free download of Daru’s promo EP entitled “So Good” featuring Swedish soul singer Kissey Asplund. The project is part of a monthly series Daru is doing to get the word out about what he calls “RUSIC” music (think soul-hop).

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Daru Jones feat. Kissey Asplund “So Good” PD EP (download)

“My mission was to challenge myself by releasing one RUSIC project per month, to showcase indie artists in coordination with the RUSIC sound. Each project has a different theme in order to showcase my diversity, and convey a message, regardless of the form or genre.” — Daru Jones

twitter.com/DaruJones
twitter.com/KisseyAsplund | Kissey Asplund Myspace
twitter.com/rehes

Seher Sikandar is a Bay Area-based photographer and writer who covers music, art, and lifestyle events. Check out her work at rehescreative.com.

We Bay We Boogie is a regular Giant Step column featuring artist interviews and profiles by Seher Sikandar.

Interview with The Foreign Exchange

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By Seher Sikandar

The Foreign Exchange (Nicolay and Phonte of Little Brother) play Yoshi’s SF with a full band at midnight on Saturday, September 12th.  Wait, what?  Yeah – midnight, y’all – for a special “Beyond Jazz Music Series.”  You can get tickets for $25 at Yoshi’s website.

In preparation for the show, I got the guys to sit down with me for about half an hour to answer some of my favorite questions.  Phonte talks about how he wishes he was Theo from The Cosby show, why he is the boss of himself, and spying on his kids.  Nicolay shares college dropout fantasies, stories of his mama’s records, and simple kidnapping best practices.  More on that in un momento.

Their debut, Connected, was a uniquely melodic hip-hop record.  It introduced me to one of my favorite female vocalists, Yahzarah (former background singer for Erykah Badu) – homegirl gets it in.  She will stomp yo ass out with those pipes, forreal forreal.

Judging from their sophomore release, Leave It All Behind, being formulaic clearly isn’t part of the plan, though.  The follow-up work steps away a bit from the group’s hip-hop roots and trades it in for a haunting soul sound sprinkled with ambient and house vibes where Phonte decided to sing more than rap. Electro-soul space cadet and DC-based songstress, Muhsinah, was the first lady for this album.  Tingles up and down your spine type isht right there.

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Video Interview With Teedra Moses

By Seher Sikandar

Giant Step Contributor, Seher Sikandar interviews soul singer Teedra Moses with a special surprise guest at the mid-way point.

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Teedra performed at Yoshi’s SF last week and just before the show I got to catch up with her for a bit backstage. Yes, I asked her about where she’s been and about her upcoming project. But these days I’m really into just asking artists about themselves, their thoughts, their interests – so I hit her with some of my randoms.

Teedra talks about her favorite feeling to personify, a dream besides music, what was the first song to personally touch her, and all kindsa fun ish you probably haven’t heard in another interview.
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Van Hunt Interview

vanhuntBy Seher Sikandar

If you haven’t heard of Van Hunt, consider this your official warning: you will be perpetually whack if you don’t get on – right – now.  Now.  This funkaholic is performing live at Yoshi’s Oakland this Thursday, August 20th at 8pm only.  Tickets are $18 at Yoshi’s website.

“There’s no greater happiness than to be able to be yourself and pay your bills,” says Van after what he calls a “tumultuous two-and-a-half years” following his parting with Blue Note in 2007 (which took over his former label of about 5 years, Capitol Records).

And now he’s reemerging.  Waist deep in a new project he hopes to release in February 2010, Van describes his mental spaces for creating this record as having an ‘extreme range with lots of up’s and down’s.’

“It’s a vast project; I can’t imagine needing to make another record after it.”  Kind of a big deal.  But!  To hold us over in between what seems to be a monumental project, Van just independently released a free compilation of demos, acoustics, and b-sides titled, Use in Case of Emergency.  Featuring work recorded between 1997 and 2005, it’s kinda the ish – and his original cut of “Hot Stage Lights” (called “Man of the Year”), I have to say – is sorta amazing.

It’s clear this man is a true artist at heart – first and foremost and without a doubt – so it doesn’t come as surprise when he says the album won’t be released unless it’s done completely right.  ‘Doing it right’ this time around includes having a live band help with the tracks (instead of Van playing all the instruments like he usually does) – and that costs money.

I spent half an hour catching up with Van and getting a little peek into his world – all the way from his five-year-old, to records he’s bought, to what keeps him waking up in the morning.

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