Caliph – “Green Faces”

By: Shamus Hill

Following what has been more than a year long hiatus with respect to releasing new music, New Bedford’s Caliph makes his return as he recruits Obeatz to unleash his new single “Green Faces”.

While many listeners may initially be drawn towards the sound of his music alone, it’s what Caliph speaks on, and stands for, that has helped him amass a deep-rooted following. “Green Faces” circulates around the struggles of striving towards one’s goals while being an immigrant in the United States. This theme has been prevalent within a large portion of Caliph’s discography, and for rightful reasons, as the African-born artist has been a defying the odds for his entire life. No matter the set of circumstances, Caliph has persisted through the shadows and come out an extremely formidable human being. This was perfectly represented in 2018 when he won a Grammy for his role in American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom, which was composed entirely of artists that were DACA recipients. When listening to Caliph’s music, that what you hear — the voice of hope. He’s continually been outspoken against social issues, and has made it a personal mission of his to become a voice for the disenfranchised.

Possessing a lengthy resume that’s full of some truly staggering accomplishments, there’s no better example of perseverance than Caliph, especially on his latest single “Green Faces”.

Listen to “Green Faces” below:

CLICK HERE TO STREAM “GREEN FACES” ON ALL MAJOR STREAMING PLATFORMS

PHOTO ABOVE BY DAVI DE AZEVEDO

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

The Top 50 New England Songs of 2017

By: Seamus Fay

Looking back, 2017 was a year of immense growth for New England and specifically Massachusetts’ budding music scene. We were fortunate enough to see the rise of many new talents as well as watch some of the more established artists prosper in their own ways, and frankly, it was inspiring to us to see the work that the artists, the producers, the photographers, the graphic designers, the mixers, the managers, etc. have been putting in. Without all of these people playing their respective roles, our scene wouldn’t be where it is today.

Having said that, we here at Graduation Music collaborated with Fresh Out The Mint to compile a list of the “Top 50 New England Songs of 2017” (in our humble opinion). Below is the playlist of all the tracks – enjoy!

Thank you sincerely to everyone for supporting us throughout 2017 and making our first full year as a blog a successful one. We greatly appreciate all the love and can’t wait to show you what we have in store for 2018.  

  • Young Seuss – “123”
  • Big Leano – “Broke” [Prod. Tee-WaTT]
  • Vintage Lee – “Bless You” [Prod. Jew Paidro]
  • Millyz – “Lessons” [Prod. Achillies]
  • VALLEY – “Atari” [Prod. Stoop Kid]
  • Caliph & Jefe Replay – “The Mood” [Prod. Obeatz]
  • MyCompiledThoughts – “Romeo and Juliet”
  • Cousin Stizz – “Lambo”
  • DJ Lucas – “Doubt”
  • Lonny X – “Believe It” [Prod. Gravez]
  • Juxi – “Leave Me Alone” [Prod. Banbwoi]
  • Jiggz – “Excuses” [Prod. digitLIX]
  • KREW$ – “Dog Days” [Prod. DMND]
  • RAMS – “Disease!” [Prod. Maka]
  • Rothstein – “Jaded” ft. Supa Bwe [Prod. Shepard]
  • Patrick Michel – “Perfect” [Prod. GrandCruu]
  • Alejandro Blanco – “Give It To Her” [Prod. TFresh & SSB]
  • Jefe Replay – “Stay Ugly” [Prod. Humbeats]
  • Mizzie Cash – “Maneuvering” [Prod. Rob $urreal]
  • Lord Felix – “Power” ft. Marvelous Stefan [Prod. LoLoTheGod]
  • Plad Fine$$e – “Cheese” [Prod. 4oTo Roles]
  • Maye Star – “Adjacent” ft. CH!LD [Prod. Sevnth]
  • WHYTRI – “XURWIFI (Remix) ft. Lily Rayne [Prod. Cecil]
  • Stripes iii – “Henny Down” [Prod. K.C.B.]
  • Khary – “1-800-IDGAF” [Prod. Cloud Atrium]
  • SuperSmashBroz – “Replay Interlude” ft. Jefe Replay [Prod. LDG]
  • Michael Christmas – “Not The Only One” ft. Tobi Lou [Prod. Durkin]
  • $ean Wire – “Moonlight” [Prod. Tropicana Bwoy]
  • Pistola – “Jokes On You” [Prod. Stoop Kid]
  • CAVE – “Who’s Next” [Prod. Maka]
  • Maka & Durkin – “Waterworld”
  • Gio Dee – “Buzz Lightyear” [Prod. MLVN]
  • Humbeats – “Monday” ft. Austin Fair & TeaMarrr
  • StupidGenius – “Palm Trees” ft. Capito [Prod. Lil Rich & Gruca]
  • Garrett Merk – “Simple” [Prod. Frace]
  • Danny Diamonds – “Can’t Talk”
  • Gogo – “Cocaina”
  • Polo $ummers – “$ad Boi” [Prod. WaVe GoD]
  • SuperSmashBroz – “Still” ft. Big Leano & Vintage Lee [Prod. Tee-WaTT]
  • Haasan Barclay – “Live For You”
  • CHE – “Thii”
  • Avenue – “Ain’t Shit Funny” (Remix) ft. Prano, Millyz, Le$, Al-Doe & Chase N Cashe
  • Donald Grunge – “Shade” [Prod. Maka]
  • Boogie Da God – “Get Well Soon” ft. Jefe Replay
  • Marvelous Stefan – “Double Tap!” ft. Saint Lyor [Prod. Trevor Powers]
  • Black EL – “Another Dose” [Prod. Durkin]
  • $wooli – “Rainy Days” ft. Rachel Aiello
  • Rosewood Bape – “Miss Me” [Prod. Kin Rich]
  • TeaMarrr – “The One” [Prod. Ky Thompson & Keith Bell]
  • Michael Christmas – “Top Turnbuckle” ft. OG Swaggerdick

An Interview With DumDrumz

By: Seamus Fay

Sure, he may not be from Boston, but Florida-based producer DumDrumz has undoubtedly made his impact felt in the city’s budding rap scene with production credits on tracks like “No Bells”, “Gain Green”, “Super Bowl”, and more. Utilizing hypnotic sounds and downright intoxicating melodies, this promising talent has proven himself as a force to be reckoned with on the boards, establishing seamless chemistry with any artist he works with and never failing to craft a hit together when needed.

Just yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with DumDrumz about his upbringing, his work on Suffolk County, Florida, and more. You can check out what he had to say below.


So to start things off, where are you originally from?

I’m from Miami, FL; Carol City to be specific. It’s a surrounding neighborhood in the city of Miami Gardens.

Growing up in Florida, what role did music play in your life and how do you feel about the local scene?

Growing up, music was always around me. My background is Jamaican and I was literally always surrounded by music. My Father would play music all the time growing up especially on Sunday’s when we would clean up. Then is where I got my musical creativity. He would always Mix Music and it sparked my interest in how Music should sit in a certain pocket.. at least what I think it should sound like. I always listened to Reggae, R&B, and a bit of rap, which I didn’t really get into heavy until about middle school.

The local music scene, well Miami, for the most part, is, in my opinion,  the most diverse place for music. We have so much talent here to create a sound, but at the same time, it is a lot of pride here that doesn’t make it easy for people to blow up. It takes a lot of work. It’s not like the Atlanta scene how they have their own sound. Miami is literally like a mixing pot of talent and I know one day everyone can come together and create a sound like no other. I’m hoping to become a legend with that one day.

img_1342

When did you take that love of music from your dad and turn it into producing?

I started producing around 12 years old. It progressed into high school. I was familiar with certain softwares and things like that. When I got into high school I used to sell ringtones with my friends and people thought I was really good at mixing songs. So, I thought to myself, I should just really start making beats. I had TV production for a couple years so every now and then I would finish my work and then sneak into a room and make beats on garage band. That was it from there.

When you attended Florida A & M, what did you study? How did you balance producing and school?

I attended Florida A&M in 2009. I studied Health Science in a concentration with physical therapy. I ended up going back to school after I graduated though.

Balancing producing was difficult. I always had six classes, plus I worked. To be honest, sometimes I look back and realized I was like a machine. I would work, go to class, study, do homework, and always at the end of the night make 3-5 beats. It was the desire that made it possible. Desire with anything makes whatever focus you have possible.

How did you end up turning this hard work into breakout opportunities with Stizz on Suffolk County? How did you two first link and when did you decide to work together?

To be honest I was actually about to just call it quits on music for a while and focus on building my life. I had all my equipment ready to be sold on Craigslist. I guess I was fed up with my lack of patience to not be heard. Something told me just to relax and wait. So one day in my last semester of school – I don’t know how I ended up finding his music video on YouTube – but I saw the “Shoutout” video and heard Obeatz’ production on it and I was amazed. I must have played that song 100 times that same day. Then, I just found his twitter and hit him up.

I told him I loved the track and that I wanted to send him some beats. I must have sent like 20 beats or so, most that I thought were okay. The ones he picked were the ones everyone loved and the ones I disliked the most, funny how life works. From there that was it. Just built that relationship. Besides music, he’s one of the most solid guys I know.

Did you know anything about the Boston scene that was being built up at the time? If not, how did you view Boston as an outsider?

I actually didn’t know about the Boston music scene until I heard his music, then I ventured and listened to Michael Christmas. I felt like Boston was going to be on the come up. I knew that for a fact. Outside looking in it seemed like the whole city as a whole supporter each other. That’s something that I thought was real positive. Most places don’t show support. I still need to go up there.

A few other frequent collaborators of yours are Tee-WaTT, M. Ali, Obeatz, and Lil Rich. How did you link with them and begin working together?

Right after I sent those beats to Stizz, it wasn’t that long before I reached out to them via Twitter. I thought wow, these guys sounds are on another level. Again, building another relationship. Those are my guys for real. They push me to make better sounds. Tee-Watt, M. Ali, Lil Rich, and Obeatz are real solid guys that I met through my journey so far.

What’s one story you can share from the creation of Suffolk County that fans may not know?

I was finishing a physics 2 exam and I was stressed. I had my computer on me because I was studying before. I felt like I didn’t do well on my exam so I drove home, pulled up into my complex, and sat in my car. I didn’t feel like going inside because I was beefing with my roommates. I pulled out my computer and sat in my car. I opened up FL studio (that was my DAW at the time), made a simple drum pattern. Then I made another drum pattern. I must have played the drum pattern for 15 minutes. I wanted something with a mystic type sound, so I searched through sounds and bass lines. 10 minutes later, I had no bells. I was going to trash that.

What advice do you have for young producers?

Be yourself and never doubt yourself. Remain genuine – people can see when you have an agenda or not. If you’re not in it to be a legend then you’re in the wrong business. Be patient, but still put energy behind your work. You can do anything you put your focus towards.

What’s your DAW of choice and why?

Ableton. I left FL studio then went to Native Instruments Maschine for a couple years. It was a little slow for me.

Ableton seems to fit me. Sound quality is amazing and it’s a little unorthodox like my mind sometimes, so it just fits. I’ve been on Ableton the past five years. Still so much to learn, but I recommend everyone gives Ableton a try at least once.

With the current climate of producers in rap today and their struggles, what do you have to say about receiving credit for your work and what the roles of producers are in both music and culture at the moment?

Producers now are at an all-time high. I feel like it’s easier to get into music. It seems like everyone is a producer nowadays. For some, it could seem frustrating, especially the ones who have been trying to break a barrier to get knee deep in the game. I used to get frustrated, but it’s all in the game. Things take time and even with the credit that I received I know I still have to push a little further to get heard. I’m humbled, but I’m striving for platinum status. I’m already platinum is what I tell myself every morning when I wake up.

I don’t feel people realize how important producers are. We are the building blocks to artists and if you’re respected enough, an artist can go far. Producers are also trying to find a lane for themselves just like artists now to make a living and to be equal on the same platform as artists.

I respect all the young producers, just stick with it, make a lane for yourself, and ask yourself, “what are you in it for?”

img_1345.JPG

Lastly, what can we expect from DumDrumz in 2018?

Trying to create another lane with some joint projects with artists I’ve been building with. Looking to develop a project for myself. Been working on the idea all year so it will come into next year. I don’t like to speak on these things, but next year should be good to me. I feel like next year is my turn.

Thank you to DumDrumz for the interview – it has been an inspiration to watch your success as of yet and I wish you the best of luck moving forward. Here’s to a bright future.

***All photography via @kenirish***


Connect with DumDrumz on:

SoundCloud

Twitter

Instagram