Augmented Reality Is Here To Take Over: An Interview With Fermatta Digital

Augmented Reality Is Here To Take Over: An Interview With Fermatta Digital

By: Seamus Fay

Simply put, augmented reality, or AR, is a clear glimpse into what the future of marketing and visuals in the music world are on their way to becoming. This mind-bending technology has graced its way into our lives in ways that we may not even have realized so far, and even in the Massachusetts music scene, we experienced a taste of the AR world with the following animation of Caliph and Jefe Replay’s anthemic offering, “The Mood”.

With this rapidly-growing field of technology on the rise right now, we spoke to the good people over at Fermatta Digital about how the Caliph animation came together, the role of AR in the music world, and the future/potential of such impressive new ways of packaging music.

Read our conversation below.



What role will AR play in the music industry in the future?

Augmented Reality blurs the lines between physical and digital worlds, providing a transformative, new medium for creatives to express themselves. From a music industry standpoint, we at Fermatta see a tremendous opportunity for musicians and labels to harness the power of AR to create innovative experiences to between artist and fan. This can come in many forms such as immersive lenses to bring a music video or album “to life”, applications that enhance live shows, merchandise, album covers, show posters,  and experiences. AR can be a disruptive force in marketing and branding, especially as companies such as Snapchat lower the barrier to creation and deployment. One of the most exciting parts of this is that we are in early stages of AR and it’s up to creatives of where they want to take it.

An interesting hypothesis we have is that AR will strengthen the emotional bonds between fans and artists, which then turns into digital engagement and financial support. It’s well known in the music industry that live shows are still the best form of marketing – this is largely because of the undeniable emotional connection that fans develop with artists once they’ve seen them perform live. Being in the same room and seeing the artist as human beings turn fans into avid supporters and drives their online habits such as streams, sales, and engagement on social media. AR can play a similar role, but at scale – allowing the artist to be “with” fans anywhere, at any time. For example, placing an avatar of the artist in a fan’s environment to sing, dance, or talk, or creating a portal that allows fans to enter a new environment with the artist. The more time spent “together” between fan and artist, the stronger the bond.

Where has the impact of AR been seen in the music industry already?

AR is slowly emerging with early adopters within the music industry. In the context of Snap lenses, we recently launched an immersive portal on Snapchat for Powers Pleasant, Joey Bada$$ and A$AP Ferg to promote their latest single: “Pull Up”, bringing the JMP-directed video to life in AR (shout-out to JMP who is also from Boston). We have seen this spread very organically with fans on social uploading videos of them using and interacting with the portal wherever they are. You can check that out here.

We are also seeing new ARSnap face lenses to support new singles. Post Malone released one in support of his new album (here), LSD (Labrinth, Sia, Diplo) released one in support of their new single (here), and The Chainsmokers released avatar based lens (here). A$AP Rocky released an AR component in his mobile application “Yammy Vision” in promotion of his new album Testing (here). Finally, Eminem released an AR application that allows his fans to experience his live shows differently (here).

How did this collaboration with Caliph come together?

Caliph: Music has always been a means of communication beyond any language that can reach people with little to no limits and technology has a very similar reach in many ways. I being an immigrant, DACA recipient and an artist feel like it’s my responsibility to use these means of communication to bring people together, change the narrative and stigmas put on our communities and teach people to love themselves. The mood is an example of that for me. It has always been my goal with that song to improve and lighten the listener’s mood no matter what they are going through. In activism, it is important to know when to back down from constantly fighting to focus on helping those you are fighting for cope with their issues. Whether it’s a break from reality with an enigmatic and euphoric song or even an AR lens that takes you to the beach no matter where you are. In this case, the goal was to achieve both and it turned out to be really cool. It also allowed me, someone who can’t leave the country, to virtually travel beyond my legal means and that was very dope. I was just dancing in the Dominican Republic. & Dubai the other day. That’s amazing. I’m excited about the future and what we will bring to the table as we continue to push beyond limits with the advancements of technology and our music.

Fermatta: Augmented Reality is still a new, somewhat foreign concept for the mainstream consumer. We were really interested in working with an artist that was forward thinking and saw the potential implications of AR even if the infrastructure is not fully materialized. Also, on a basic level, we wanted to partner with someone who made dope, meaningful music, because, at the end of the day, all of this is somewhat meaningless if the music isn’t there. Caliph checked all the boxes with the added bonus of being from the Boston area. “The Mood” is super catchy, and the perfect summer song. Beyond just the music though we were inspired by Caliph’s involvement in the community and politically, empowering marginalized and immigrant communities. We really thought it was a natural fit, and we are inspired to help Caliph spread his mission far and wide, so stay tuned for some more projects in the intersection of technology, music, and activism.

What does the process of creating something like this look like?

For a Snap portal lens like this, our process is pretty straight-forward. It typically starts with an open-ended brainstorm session where we all get together and bounce around ideas; if the goal is to enhance a music video or song, there is typically more structure given there is an environment or scene to pull from creatively. From there we see what is technically feasible given constraints (such as Snap file size limit), and build iteratively. Throughout the process, we have active, open dialogue with the artist and their team in order to ensure that we are bringing their vision to life.


Embrace the future and connect with Fermatta Digital on:

Twitter

Instagram

An Interview With RAMS

An Interview With RAMS

By: Seamus Fay

To make music and to be a creative, in general, is to make a promise of dedication; dedication to constantly improving one’s line of work and dedication to never compromise artistic vision. Few artists within the Boston music community exemplify this trait as well as RAMS. Whether it be writing songs, making clothes, or directing visuals, he always seems to have his hand on projects that work towards the end goal of improving as an artist, and in this way, it only follows that RAMS has grown into one of the most polished, sophisticated artistic minds in the area.

He’s been a noteworthy figure in Boston dating all the way back to the very roots of the current scene, and we here at Graduation Music had the opportunity to talk to the Dorchester native about a variety of topics pertaining to his hometown, JMP, “Diablo”, NSFW, Cam’ron, and much more. Read our conversation below.


Where are you originally from?

I’m from Boston – Dorchester. Columbia Road, to be specific. My family is from New Orleans and I used to live down there when I was super young for a short period.

What was your childhood like and where did music first come into the picture?

My childhood was pretty similar to anyone who grew up in the hood with a single mother, I think. I just always remember my mother constantly feeding me knowledge and creating such a great home environment – sometimes it didn’t feel like we were fucked up and I’m super grateful for that. Music has always been around me because of her as well, since forever.

What artists were you influenced by as a kid and why?

I would say I was influenced a lot by artists like Sade, Erykah Badu, Luther Vandross, etc. That stuff pretty much came from my mother, but one day my sister had given me all her old CDs so I started to really get into Tupac, 112, Nas & artists like that. I also went to a school with a lot of Hispanics so I was super into reggaeton too.

How did Diablo come together and what does that project mean to you? How about ‘Fear & Loathing’?

DIABLO came together pretty organically. I like to put out conceptual projects rather than singles all the time. That project means a lot to me. Everything I make is like a child of mine.

Fear & Loathing holds a special place in my heart because I feel like that was sorta the blueprint of my overall sound. [It] showed myself and others that you can make more out-of-the-box stuff. People from all over tell me how much they love that project. I love inspiring people in any way I can.

What did it mean to you seeing the Diablo Racing Club shirt in Vogue?

Shout Out to my brother Rah. It was dope! It was just some street style shit but it was still dope to me. Like damn, we did that, lol!

What is your creative process when writing treatments or making music?

Well, first things first, I have to be in my zone. I don’t have an exact process, believe it or not. My mind is just super random so things usually pop up randomly then I just make sure to get it out. Sometimes its hard to force myself to create if the right energy isn’t there.

Lately, we have seen you doing a lot of work with JMP. When did you first meet him and how has your working relationship evolved and come together?

I met JMP in like 2012. That’s my brother so I wouldn’t say we really have a working relationship. It’s definitely more of a friendship first. I appreciate him a lot for giving me the opportunity to showcase my creativity in other fields. I look up to all my friends. They all inspire me more than they know.

How did the Cam’Ron opportunity come about? How did it feel seeing your name on a music video from such a cultural icon?

Well, actually that was kinda random. I had just written like 3 Playboi Carti videos at the time (they didn’t get made) and told one of my close friends, Pat. Pat was working at the label that Killa is on, and was like “Oh shit Rams, I didn’t know you were writing videos! Wanna write one for Cam?” And of course, I said fuck yea. That’s the first video that I did that came out and it was Cam’ron. That’s so crazy to me. 

Me and Cam had a long convo on set and he basically said that he fucked with me and what I’m tryna do. After hearing that, it was lit. I made sure to put a lot of people from Boston in it too, just cause. So yea, shout out Cam, Pat, & Cinematic Records.

Why did you relocate from Boston to New York? How do the two cities compare?

Cause I needed a change. I was doing the same things over and over again. Kind of felt trapped. And it’s so easy to have done everything in Boston. Sometimes you need new land to conquer, and they are just two very different cities. The comparisons would take all day. Love both cities but Boston will always be home. 4L.

Being around when Boston’s “new” music scene was first forming, what are your thoughts on the way it has grown and the success of artists like Cousin Stizz and Michael Christmas, for example?

We were the cool, new, young faces so it gave the city a brand new energy. We still need a lot of help in the city. Years of hidden racism and venues not wanting anything to do with hip-hop acts have really hurt the music scene for young black kids that are trying to get into music and that needs to change. I hate it. We have a long way to go.

With that being said, there are a lot of kids doing dope shit and taking things into their own hands, and I love seeing that. Stizz and Xmas popping off is great cause now the doors open. More importantly, they are able to provide more for their families and where we come from – that’s what matters the most.

What can fans expect from you and the NSFW family in 2018?

Everything. We are just gonna start hitting people over the head with great art. Keeping it raw, real, and genuine. I have visuals and videos I’ve directed coming out soon, too. I’m dropping an EP called CHOKE very soon. Then the next album, Fear & Loathing 2.


Connect with RAMS on:

Twitter

Instagram

SoundCloud

NSFW

An Interview With Mizzie Cash

An Interview With Mizzie Cash

By: Seamus Fay

Staking claim to a spot in Boston’s rapidly-growing music community is no simple feat right now, and yet, by way of genuine hard work, a knack for crafting hits, and of course, an abundance of raw talent, Mizzie Cash has done so in an effortless manner. As one of the youngest talents coming out of the area, age seems to be ineffective in intimidating or limiting his ability – just one of the many factors that set him apart from the crowd without ever doing so in an ingenuine way.

Adding to this, Cash’s honest accounts of life and relentless professions of hustling are nothing to walk right over, as every verse is built on the foundation of uncompromised honesty. His flows and infectious choices of production only help out this cause, and deservedly so, Mizzie Cash might just be the next big name out of Boston for all of these reasons and more.

That being said, we here at Graduation Music had to get him on the site for an interview on Mizzie’s upbringing, Boston, his age, life goals, and much more. Read the conversation below.


Which part of Boston are you originally from and what was your childhood like?

[I’m from] Mattapan. My childhood was different, my mother raised me with help of my grandparents who lived in Milton.

How has growing up in Boston influenced your music, especially with the city’s current status as having a lesser known rap community?

I listen to a lot of Boston artists, currently. The streets have a culture, just no industry. My uncles rapped, my cousins, and etc, so Boston rap always been a thing to me.

I feel like we have our own sound, own lingo, and more. If you’re listening to the real artists, you’re gonna realize easily.

At what age did you become interested in music, and how / when did you start making music yourself?

8 to 9 years old. I started recording music very young, making my own studio with my lil cousin but it didn’t last too long. I always wrote music, though.

I just started making music in a serious mode ever since my bros got locked up, so about 2 years.

Your style seems to hold a heavy focus on the real-life situations that you face as well as the desire to get out of some of those situations and make it out of Boston. How do you go about turning your real life events into songs? What is the creative process like?

I try to make music for me and my friends, originally. Most of my raps are just memories or what I’m going through, but I make sure I don’t go too deep because I’m going through shit right now I can’t talk about & I probably won’t rap about until years later.

Who do you look up to as an artist?

I don’t look up to anyone, I’m only influenced by 2Pac, though, if that makes sense.

Currently, you’re one of the youngest artists coming out of the area in rap. How old are you and do you feel that your age affects your music at all?

I feel like Mass needs the youth – we gonna really speak what’s going on out here. Every other city got that youngin to speak for the youth.

What is your favorite movie?

Life, Blue Hill Ave, and Menace II Society.

DJ Nick has premiered a few of your releases. How did you originally link up with him and when did you two start working together?

That was through my manager Scoobz, shout out to him for that.

What are three of your life goals?

  1. Make it in rap
  2. Use rap to have a voice in the world
  3. Change the world

Lastly, what can fans expect from Mizzie Cash in the near future?

Expect for me to go harder because honestly, I didn’t even start yet.


Connect with Mizzie Cash on:

Twitter 

Instagram

SoundCloud

Vintage Lee Joins NBA 2KTV For A New Interview

Vintage Lee Joins NBA 2KTV For A New Interview

By: Seamus Fay

Last summer was home to a number of huge wins for Boston, two of which took place on the soundtrack of the brand new NBA 2K game, where Vintage Lee’s “Hennythings Possible” and Cousin Stizz’s “Living Like Khaled” made the cut. Today, following this legendary placement, Vintage Lee joins 2KTV for a brand new interview alongside the host, Rachel A. DeMita.

During their conversation, the two speak on Boston, Kyrie Irving, Lee’s favorite Celtics player of all time, her origins as an artist, and much, much more. For any fans of either Lee herself or Boston sports as a whole, this is a must-watch, so be sure to click play at the link below and get ready for new Vintage Lee music on the way later this year!

An Interview With Twayne The Kidd

An Interview With Twayne The Kidd

By: Seamus Fay

You may know him from one of his famed KIDD.FM exclusives, you may know him from one of his two placements on Big Leano’s latest project, Packula, or you may just know him from his widely-respected stature within Boston’s budding community of talent. Regardless of how you heard the name Twayne The Kidd, however, there’s no denying that he’s getting ready to take things to the next level in 2018. Between a relentless balance of work ethic and natural talent, the opportunities are sure to present themselves in a short matter of time, and deservedly so.

We here at Graduation Music have been keeping track of Twayne The Kidd for almost a year now, and considering the abundance of potential that he holds, it only made sense for us to get him on the site for an interview. That being said, we spoke to him recently about topics ranging from his upbringing to making a movie soundtrack, and everything in between.

You can read the interview below.


Where did grow up? What was your childhood like?

I grew up in New London, a small town in Southeastern Connecticut. I lived there until 7th grade then I transferred schools to live with my dad in Groton.

When did you first connect with music and what artists inspired you early on?

I have always been a creative since I was 8 years old. I had an IBM Thinkpad from my grandma and I used to record my raps through Windows Sound Recorder. I was heavily influenced by The Low End Theory album from ATCQ, it was all that I would listen to on my PSP. I started making more raps in 8th grade and started releasing music under the name “Amusers.” I found Fruity Loops Studio 9 on YouTube one day and I downloaded a demo and tried it out. I learned how to sample and it was a wrap after that! I’ve been using FL Studio ever since.

Top 3 producers of all time?

Kanye West, Pharrell, CardoGotWings.

Where do you look to for inspiration when making beats?

I try to play video games from my childhood like SSX 3 or Sonic Heroes to feel nostalgia. I do this to capture that feeling people are familiar with, but I try to add a modern touch to it. Primarily the reason why I use the Capcom jingle in most of my beats.

If you could go back and create your own soundtrack for one movie, what movie would it be and why?

Above The Rim! I feel like a Twayne The Kidd soundtrack would sound crazy on it because I would make a killer theme song for Bishop.

What is your DAW of choice and why?

FL Studio 12. The step sequencer is easy and quick to get my ideas down.

When/how did you meet Big Leano and how did your two placements on Packula come together?

3A.M. I tagged Tee-WaTT on one of my beats I posted on Twitter. He followed me and then hit me up about working with Big Leano. He gave me his email and then I just sent some beats back and forth. Leano replied back to me each time and then eventually gave me his number. I sent him the beat for “Two” and “Talk Show” over the summer and he hit me back with the records right away.

What is your proudest accomplishment in music so far and why?

Getting linked up with my manager Maine. I’m happy to finally have representation and others who believe in me. I’ve been laughed at and doubted for making music since I started, so I’m happy everyone can see my vision.

Lastly, what can fans expect from Twayne The Kidd in 2018?

Collab project with Big Leano, more KIDD.FM exclusives, and major placements soon!


Connect with Twayne The Kidd on:

SoundCloud

Instagram

Twitter

TrakTrain

An Interview With Stripes III

An Interview With Stripes III

By: Seamus Fay

I vividly remember my first interaction with the name Stripes III. It was directly after the release of his debut EP, Baby Flame, and once hearing such a cohesive, artful approach to music, I quickly realized this was an artist that I simply had to keep an eye on. And now, just over 7 months removed from this first impression, Stripes has done nothing but work to fulfill the potential shown so early in his career, making his whole city proud and beginning his inevitable rise to the top.

Aside from this, as you may have heard, Pusha T recently stumbled upon Stripes’ music and contacted him via social media. Following up throughout the past few weeks, the Boston native has been in talks with the likes of Pusha himself, Steven Victor, and more, in hopes of reaching a deal in the very near future. Considering these recent events as well as the ample supply of talent that this rising star holds, Graduation Music figured there would be no better time to connect with Stripes to figure out how his career in music came together.

That being said, enjoy our interview with Stipes III below!


Where are you originally from and what was your childhood like?

I’m originally from Sandusky, Ohio. We ain’t got shit but an amusement park and water slides, lol.

Growing up, what artists were you listening to that inspired you to make music yourself?

From a baby until like 6, I only resonated with Michael Jackson forreal. That basically transitioned into R&B until about the age of 10, then once I heard Lil Wayne I left Earth.

Where does the name “Stripes III” come from?

The name “Stripes III” comes from my second home: Boston, MA – Grove Hall, to be exact. But you know like the “3 for the stripes” throwback Boston slang, I guess it’s an Adidas thing.

Lyrically, you tend to translate your life experiences into verses. How has living in Boston influenced your music?

Thanks, and Boston basically made me learn how to rap like “yo yo uh check it” lol – boom bap shit. I believe that’s essential to the culture, but more than anything I’m influenced by my niggas. I love my brothers.

Describe your sound to someone who has never heard your music before.

I pretty much sound like I’m on fire in the booth, like literally. I be in there blowing n shit, lol… super saucy, super slutty at times, but it also makes you feel something. I’m always open to growth, though. Gotta stay fresh, ya dig.

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 11.09.39 PM.png

Describe the process of making your Baby Flame EP. How did that project come about?

The whole Baby Flame EP was like 5-track click bait, lol. Super fun, pink vibes showcasing my range of talent n shit. But it’s offline now, I’ll be putting those songs back out soon.

In the past, you have released two remixes of songs from Frank Ocean’s Blonde. What does that album mean to you and how does it inspire you?

It’s crazy because I lowkey remixed all the tracks on Blonde in 2 days just so I could have a real first listen, like in detail. Shit’s so beautiful.

What Boston artists inspire you?

Lowkey the artists that inspire me from Boston are Teamarrr, OG DOMO, cWave$, Boogie Da God, Chi, Alejandro Blanco, Bully, Maka, Tony Bodega, Pistola, Bouve (Booty Bae), and so many more. Can’t even get into all the wild producers and videographers, but those are just some of my favorite musicians off top. BIA’s my all time favorite, though, lol. Grammy family, respect it! <333

What are your top three dream collaborations?

Dylan, Dylan, Dylan.

Lastly, what can fans expect from Stripes III in the rest of 2018?

A full-fledged fire, lol. But forreal, I don’t exactly know at the moment. I’m just going with the flow, trusting my journey and where it leads me. Recently been in connection with Pusha T, too. He has shown nothing but love, man, kinda taking me under the wing in a way and introducing me to a lot of his people. You know, setting me up for the win, lol.


Connect with Stripes III on:

Spotify Releases Vintage Lee “FLOW Freestyle”

Spotify Releases Vintage Lee “FLOW Freestyle”

By: Seamus Fay

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Spotify has been putting together a series of FLOW freestyles from some of our favorite female artists. On that list, of course, is none other than the Roxbury pimp herself, Vintage Lee. In the video posted by the Spotify Twitter below, Lee jumps in for a quick freestyle, making sure to communicate her unmistakable charisma and seamless flows, bar after bar. You can watch it below.

In other news, Vintage Lee was also just featured on Fact Mag with a new interview discussing her musical origins, Boston origins, aspirations for the future, personality, some gems about branding herself, and much more. Show some love to the rising star by reading the article here.

“When people bump my music, I want them to think of just getting your bag. Or if you’re in your feelings, hop out your feelings, go get it, feel motivated.”