3 - Sides

2009

“1000 Fold” is a song produced by Computer Jay. He’s from Moogador. “A Room With a Fallen Angel” features Whitney Minson who also appears on “Pot Luck” (from FREE MUSIC!!!). The main tracks on “No Way” were recorded years ago in Washington, D.C. and now the updated version has found the lovely and talented Jenny O. upon the harmony hand side.

L, M, N, O, P - Sides

2009

This collection of b-sides spans the five years since I left a group, THE SPARK (below). “Fonky Shit” is produced by the same guy, PESKY, who produced THE WORK album (below). A couple of these tunes appear as partial snippets on the mixtape, YA’LL SOME TURKEYS (below). Some tracks, like “Charlemagne” and “Roll the Thunder,” I performed live in D.C., New York and Los Angeles for several years. Manny Bernardo, who is currently writing and arranging string and piano sections for the forthcoming SPIRIT ANIMAL record, rips the guitar solo on “Too Much.”


Vultures

2007

At the beginning of 2007, PEOPLE-FOOD undertook what we hoped would be a great moment for the L.A. and national underground art scenes. We began to install a play, Sarah Kane’s “Phaedra’s Love,” in a downtown warehouse, turning the entire space into a theater/gallery where all of the art work used in the production was original (no set pieces) and for sale. Daniel Stessen had conjured this grand vision over time. Brendan Lott from San Francisco and Sam Bassett from New York were among the artists supplying pieces. I wrote this score for the play, Vultures, with delicate guest appearances from Stessen’s one-time roomate, Chris Garneau. I got to try new things and release some older music I had been waiting to fit onto a record (“Death of a Boy,” “Run!” and “Big Thing, Small Thing”). With people in town buzzing about the play and casting well underway, we received word that we’d been denied the rights to the text, an extremely rare occurance, on account of being young, hip and American.


My Brightest Diamond
"Dragonfly (Remix)"

2007

MY BRIGHTEST DIAMOND (Shara Worden) and I first met through her husband James who at the time was the assistant to my attorney in New York. After Shara visited Los Angeles and we recorded “Bang Bang” (below) she started to put together a remix album called Tear It Down. In an attempt to stretch the idea of what constitutes a remix, I recorded vocal harmonies to go along with the IDM-style electronic production and blippy keyboard elements.

 


The Gray Kid + My Brightest Diamond
"Bang Bang"

2007

Shara was visiting Los Angeles on tour. She opened her set with a Nina Simone cover playing only electric guitar. Bad as ass. The next day we recorded this tune. The idea was to do a vocal mashup, taking different parts of somehow-related songs (in this case: Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Bang”; B-52s “Love Shack”; and Nas “Verbal Intercourse”) to make a completely new. DJ mash-ups (two pre-recorded songs fit together) were becoming hugely popular, so this was done in the same vein only with recorded vocals instead of samples. “Bang Bang” became a benchmark of my solo live set. I screamed Karen O.’s parts into a canary yellow, rotatry phone.

 


The Pilgrimage: Ya’ll Some Turkeys

2006

It took a bunch of people to get this mixtape out. Brandon Gross on the timely inspiration. DJ MI$TER BE$T on the ones and twos. Weity on the timewarp design wizardry. People-Food on the video flyer. What’s great about this record is how short it is (28 minutes), despite having 17 songs. It really taps you on the balls. Some of the songs that are only snippets appear on L, M, N, O, P-Sides (above) in their entirety.

Kool Keith
"Al Green (Remix)"

2006

This track was part of a remix album for Kool Keith’s The Return of Doctor Octagon. Other remixers included Mike Relm, Her Space Holiday, Kid Loco and Nick Catchdubs.

...5, 6, 7, 8

2006

The first recordings for this album date back to January of 2003 after I left THE SPARK (below). Two of the first four songs I wrote as solo Gray Kid, “Lonely Love” and “$$$Clip,” ended up on the record. It was an exciting time, experimenting with more singing and being able to include many more influences in the sound of the music since I was working alone. I finished most of the material by the beginning of 2005 but continued writing new things and seeing what would fit and how it would be released all the way through my move to L.A. that August. “One Question” was the last song completed, and the first song I recorded on the West Coast.

 

The Work - The Work

2005

This is the rap music’s rap music. 90s East Coast production by PESKY (Ben Peskowitz) influenced by DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Diamond D…all of the early big dogs. Ben grew up in Brooklyn and Maryland. I went to kindergarten with his younger brother, Josh. I wasn’t performing these songs when I began playing solo shows as The Gray Kid in New York because it seemed important to explain and present one particular idea (...product). The hope was to get signed big and then spring all of the other projects on the label, already complete, and ready to distribute. But you can’t, always get, what you wa-ant.

 

The Hard Tomorrows - 5 Songs

2004

THE HARD TOMORROWS are one of those groups that really burns your insides to reminisce about. They were a local, indie super-group, some of the sickest musicians from our area (D.C. Metro) and some of the most exciting players to watch in D.C. in the early 2000s. We all knew each other over the course of several years before they formed a group. Their revolving cast of substitutes and replacements (including Manny Bernardo, who is now arranging string and piano sections for the forthcoming SPIRIT ANIMAL record) was just as impressive. Rob Pierangeli, from our group LATRISTIC (below), was the singer and PAUL MICHEL (also below) played bass. I mixed 5 Songs on Polk home stereo speakers that were in the living room. The studio was in the kitchen. I had to spin around and roll my chair closer to tell what it really sounded like. The band broke up twice after playing dozens of sold out shows and fighting over wether or not it was cool to try to succeed.

 

Paul Michel - Ayuda

2004

Before PAUL MICHEL and I lived together in a one-bedroom apartment called The Mugroom, where Ayuda was completed, I lived on 16th and U St. in a tiny studio with beautiful hardwood floors. You could use the desktop computer from the bed in that place it was so crammed. Paul half-left a band called The Out Cirtcuit to concentrate on Ayuda and soon signed with Magic Bullet Records, an outfit based in Alexandria, VA. They released his two subsequent albums. Once I was solo at the beginning of 2003, The Mugroom saw its share of collaborations between Paul and I, most notably on “Lonely Love” (from ...5, 6, 7, 8) where you can hear Paul’s epic, pulsating bass line throughout.

 

Cannibal Ox
"Fuzz"

2003

The Cold Vein by CANNIBAL OX was the ruling underground rap record of the early 90s in the company I kept. The uber-new school brand of heavy that El-P put down and the combination of knowledge and intense personality that Vast Aire and Vordul Megala offered was unmatched. Sharkey, the co-producer in our group THE SPARK, had signed a solo producer deal with Babygrande Records and got some rad guests involved. I had this buzzy track I was working on, and we decided to work on it together for his album. I had a German, sherbert orange keyboard at the time (Waldorf XTK) which made for some classic “Fuzz.” We sampled all kinds of other sounds, including an Aphex Twin drum kit at 3:09…

 

The Gray Kid
"Table of Contents"

2003

The first solo Gray Kid song.

The Spark - Mixed Demos

2002

At the end of my senior year of college I received a phone call from a guy named Casey Hollingsworth, aka Zooks. I had met him playing basketball in Maryland the previous summer when someone told me his group, The Crownsayers, was signed to a big record deal on Elektra. That year, they had finished their record, only to have their lead singer lose his mind and their label put them on the shelf. They asked if I wanted to join and replace him, to start a new band, THE SPARK. Soon thereafter we were in LA having our demo mixed by Mickey P. (Beck, Ladytron, Peaches). On “We Can Party” you can hear the bass sounds of Justin Mendal-Johnson (aka JMJ), bass player for countless superstars including Beck, Air, Tori Amos and Gnarls Barkley.

 

LATRISTIC -Intro

2001

My real introduction to the D.C. music scene came in the summer of 2001, after graduating from college, with the completion of Intro-. A high school friend and long-time singer/guitarist, Rob Pierangeli (of THE HARD TOMORROWS, above), drove 2 ½ hours every other weekend that entire school year so that we could record an album in my apartment at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. We called the band LATRISTIC. We wanted to combine electronic production with rock-song writing. We were on to something, and tried as well as we could from our 22-year-old bedrooms to reach out to labels. Then Kid A came out and we thought, “Ooohhhhhhhhhh.”