Kosha Dillz and Matisyahu. Photo credit by Ed Jansen
Indie Hip-Hop star Kosha Dillz has dropped a new video for his single ‘Dodging Bullets’ from his forthcoming new album What I Do All Day & Pickle, releasing July 15th. The track features Matisyahu, who also appears in the video. You can watch the clip at this link or below:
Kosha Dillz commented on the track:
“When Matis wrote the hook, it first sounded like ‘dodging bullets’ from war, but I soon learned it was a metaphor for personal relationships. For me, the song has come to represent so much more upon performing it. Every time we play it, it makes you feel different. That is powerful to me.”
Matisyahu also commented, explaining the meaning of the track, referring to “anti-Semitic attacks against Jews and Israelis by the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement.” Matisyahu was recently shot at as a result of his stance against BDS.
“This particular ‘bullet’ backfired on the BDS movement, as Jews and non-Jews spoke up about the injustice of the only publicly recognized Jew on the festival lineup being called out to promote a political agenda. The outcry from fans of all backgrounds grew loud enough that even the country of Spain itself denounced the festival for giving into the BDS movement, and as a result, the festival asked me to perform again.
“Approximently [one] hundred BDS ‘bullies’ created a pyramid of antagonism trying to block my view of the fans while waiving large Palestinian flags, continually giving me the middle finger, and throwing shoes at me all while holding signs reading insults like ‘Naziyahu,’”
Kosha Dillz is one of the newest faces to make waves within the music scene in 2015, and his DIY approach at spreading his name out to the masses has made inroads with fans on various levels. His unique blend of hip hop music fusing English, Hebrew and Spanish lyrics has caught the attention of many new fans along the way on Vans Warped Tour this summer.
His name got out through blogging on various music tech sites such as Hypebot, discussing his experiences with promoting at and for shows and tours. His outlook on how to spread the word about his music has caught the attention of many readers, who eventually transitioned into becoming a fan of his music and even coming to see his performance at one of the Warped Tour stops.
Kosha Dillz Live At Vans Warped Tour 2015
“I’m trying to stay active during this time on social media and stuff. I’m giving shout outs to other bands and just being part of it. That’s what I like about it – being part of the entire get up. They’ve got 70 bands on here. I meet a lot of kids who’re like ‘man you played? I didn’t know you played…I wish I saw you play. I want to get your music anyways.’ ”
“There are other kids that are like ‘I look up all the bands before I come.’ Other people are like ‘I come because it’s Warped Tour.’ It’s a good thing. It’s something that people go to and never look the bands up.”
Prior to Warped Tour, he performed at South By Southwest in Austin, TX, and he shared his experiences and his thoughts on the ins and outs of promoting within such a large event.
“Yeah South By Southwest – you play ten times for 20 people each time, or maybe 200, and another for 100. On this one you’re playing for 100 or 200, or you could be jumping on stage with a bunch of other people, free styling with other bands for 10 people. It’s the same thing except you’re on a bigger stage and you have your own tent and people you’re taking pictures with left and right. That’s such a really cool experience,” he said.
Back to Warped Tour, he adapted his past promotional tactics and his networking approaches and made it work with reaching unfamiliar attendees to checking out his music. Whether it was selling his CDs or simply talking to people about having his songs on a Warped Tour related CD compilation, he raised awareness of what he was doing and shared his experiences from this past summer.
“It’s been cool to tell people you’re on the Warped Tour compilation. I’m autographing those. It’s a nice experience to be like ‘yo…I’m on the CD that everyone’s buying!’ I’m one of the last tracks to finish it off. It’s kind of an honor that the song I made with the guy after….what’s going to happen after 60,000 views on YouTube and now it’s on 100,000 CDs that you’re going to sell. How cool is that? So I get to show people pictures of these shows and they’re stacked. The shows are huge. How grateful should I be? It’s like a second or third chance I never got.”
“The thing is, when I got the call to do Warped Tour, I didn’t expect to get the call. I was working hard and I could hope. I put one foot forward saying it’s only show time and time again if you work hard and do it DIY that something steps up and appears and disappears. It’s nice to hear a lot of people say we deserve it, but also it’s up to me if I seize the moment and take advantage of this. That’s what Kevin [Lyman] mentioned to us.”
During his time on the Warped Tour, he got to experience a lot of new artists he was previously unfamiliar with and bonded with those he knew from before. He shared some of his personal discoveries amongst his touring mates.
“Family Force 5 I think it is. They’re cool. I met them. Trace [Cyrus] from Metro Station – he’s a really humble dude. I like that they’re on the grind. Palisades – they’re my homies. They’re really dope. They’re from New Jersey. There’s a lot of New Jersey people. Candy Hearts are my friends. My homegirl Mariel [Loveland] – she’s dope. Le Castle Vania on the Beatport Stage, MC Lars, Koo Koo Kanga Roo – check them out. They’re amazing. Born Cages – I watched them play. New Beat Fund – they’re on Red Bull Records.”
“Riff Raff and Mod Sun are totally different. I love them both separately. I love their branding. I love the way they present their music, the colors and everything. There’s so much more. We live in LA. When’s the last time you’ve hung out with someone everyday for two months? I’m basically living with a bunch of people. I’ve never done that.”
Being an indie artist in modern times can be quite the adventure, as learning how to win over an audience becomes a challenge. For New Jersey (now Los Angeles based) indie rapper Kosha Dillz, he spent this past summer on the Vans Warped Tour and expanded is networking base in front of a new audience he has spent the past few years building up.
So how has the Warped Tour treated him? “So far so good – it’s a cliché answer but after yesterday we’re learning a lot every day. This is the third show and it went really well. We got a nice set and we’re alternating our sets too so everyone’s getting a different experience.”
“We’re learning how to promote ourselves. It’s a different beast out here. It’s not like anything I’ve ever done. I’m grateful for that but also I’m a novice here. I may be experienced at what I do but out here I’m a newbie and it’s nice to learn a lot. I love learning,” he said.
Kosha Dillz Live At Vans Warped Tour 2015
Dillz originates from Edison, NJ and was born to Israeli immigrants. While his musical origins began in rap battles in New York City, he gradually incorporated his Jewish roots into his music and slowly shaped his sound into something a bit outside of the norm in the hip hop world.
“I grew up in New Jersey so not New York. People think it’s New York. I grew up rapping in New York starting up. I would drive up to the city or take a train. I did mostly sports, like wrestling and soccer. [I] wrestled in college, then I had a big stint with drugs, addiction, jails, institutions, and then came hip hop and became a hip hop a mania. It was a hardcore hip hop and underground hip hop festivals in the Czech Republic and Eastern Europe, and winning rap battles in the rap battle scene. I was finding success late. We didn’t have social media when I was seventeen. It was a whole another world.”
Kosha Dillz Live At Vans Warped Tour 2015
Rapping in English, Spanish and Hebrew is something that sets Dillz apart from the pack. Fusing his cultural roots with his surroundings in New York and New Jersey has inspired him to create his music in a way to introduce listeners into his unique yet eclectic world.
“I really try to embrace the culture part. I understand that I’m very different to people, so I say let me do something special. Let me try to do something different that no one else is doing and be dope. You can do different stuff like standing on your head, but I don’t think that’s dope. If you are making an amazing song that’s completely different from everyone else, so I was the rapper in Hebrew and Spanish – I was known for that. It sort of has a street hip hop flow, and freestyle at all shows keeps it like who knows what’s going to happen and create that space and energy. I think you have to do that when not everyone knows you. It’s show and prove out here. You have to tell them you’re dope and let them know what’s up.”
Dillz has made a career of releasing his own music through Murs’ label Murs 316 and is running a Kickstarter campaign for his forthcoming album.
“The rapper Murs helped put out my last album (Awkward In a Good Way) digitally. I just did a Kickstarter for my new project called What I Do All Day and Pickle. It’s kind of a spoof on Velvet Underground and Nico.”
“The songs I’m performing are from Awkward in a Good Way, my album with Murs. It has Murs and Gangsta Boo (of Three 6 Mafia) on there, and I also have some tracks from Varsity Blues. It’s called “Varsity Blues.” I’ve got “What I Do All Day,” which features Flint Flossy from Turquoise Jeep, a real big YouTube sensation. I have a lot of songs with vocals on them, like singers experimenting with R & B. Just creating music and getting it out there.”
He admits that events like Warped Tour have pushed him to work harder to reach new fans on every step of his adventure. Every step of the way has helped him shape his approach on how to reach new fans.
“I was addicted to the hustle and the DIY nature of things and the personal interaction. I was always good at that. So on Warped Tour, I did a tent called Bring It Back. It was a hip hop tent and all elements of hip hop, breaking, graffiti, DJing, MCing, and dance. They’d stop people and start a show. Then you’d get a big crowd and making it look good for photos and everyone would get nuts. Next thing you know people are watching it. People enjoy watching the others that are working hard to get where they are.”
“On this tour, on the set it’s another beast because the heroes are the person that is travelling, passing out the fliers and helping others. In no other culture is there anything where people are like ‘I’ll help you get stuff out of the trunk’ or ‘do everything for free’ so people can hear my music. The platform has been created to reach over a half a million people of likewise weirdos that’s gonna be like ‘yeah!’ Does this world exist? It does exist. It’s Warped Tour. It’s all different kinds of music – Eminem, Yelawolf…Katy Perry, Rancid, Green Day…so many different kinds of acts. At least on the hip hop reign, I’m filling in big shoes and I’m doing pretty good. So far so good and it’s only gonna get better as we go on.”
Dillz learned how that a family oriented environment like Warped Tour has helped him reach new fans. The ethic behind helping one another has rubbed off on his in a positive way
“It’s a very family oriented thing. It’s a great example for regular music because it should be family oriented – Like I support you because I want to support you. Ideally you would support me too. You can do whatever you want but this is spoken for so of course you’re supporting other people.”
“One thing I’m doing is I’m leaving my promotional stuff around by the bands. I want to make sure the bands know when to come see me. Getting the respect I deserve on the musical level – people know me for the hustle but not everyone for my music. This is a great time for them to hear my music. That’s what I’m really so happy about because to be given a proper opportunity for promotion – this is it.”
He admits that punk rock was something he was also somewhat exposed to at an early age as well. “The first show I ever went to was sort of punk rock. It was punk rock. I was going to say a New Jersey hardcore show. Our neighbor was in the band. I headbanged until my neck got so sore. I remember it. I only remembered that story on this tour.”
“Then I did hip hop starting at 17 and performing. Now I’m rocking all over the hip hop, the rock, [and] indie rock. I really graduated from pop. I really love pop music. I’m trying to write a hit song. I would love that everyone loved a hit song that people like. So that’s cool.”
Lastly, Kosha Dillz shared his interaction with metal and punk with his music. While his sound leans more towards hip hop, he is open to collaborating with other artists.
“I did a remix over GWAR once. Years ago I rapped over GWAR. If anyone wants to work with me and say ‘hey man…let me get you on this’…I’m just grateful people step to me and ask me. If it interests anybody or if anyone out there is listening…it doesn’t matter if they’re small or big…I like anything that’s dope. I would like to do something with Knuckle Puck or Man Overboard because they’re from New Jersey.”
Another year has arrived for the Vans Warped Tour full of anticipation and excitement to hit the summertime across North America. This year’s edition maintains their tradition of youth oriented angst filled music (or whatever the kids call it these days) and carving a path for the next batch of rising stars on the scene. Thanks to photographer Kevin Estrada for shooting these two dates of Warped tour for Ghost Cult!
The main stages (Shark and Unicorn) showcased the main attractions on the tour, ranging from the pop punk acts (The Wonder Years) to the screamo/emo (Pierce The Veil, Blessthefall) to the crossover half melodic and half aggro (We Came As Romans) to the harder sounding (August Burns Red) managed to keep the kids bouncing around in the crowd and rarely laying low.
Tour veterans Motion City Soundtrack made their brief California run appearance, showing the crowd how things are done on this tour. Metro Station (featuring Trace Cyrus, son of country performer Billy Ray Cyrus), melodic punk act Man Overboard, and hardcore outfit Fit For A King all set the pace for the day with their respective sounds while keeping the crowd engaged.
The main acts on these stages won over the crowd throughout the day. Memphis May Fire got the crowd into a high with their half heavy yet melodic styling that struck a nerve with them; Attila, led by their enigmatic frontman Chris “Fronz” Fronzak and his guitar crunching yet Eninem-esque “meth” suit bouncing along with the crowd; Black Veil Brides and their legions of die hard fan base singing along to every word; and Miss May I and their modern metallic sound that got the crowd worked up later on in the day.
While the main stage had their moments going on, there were a number of side stage acts making noise of their own. The Monster Stage housed their own brand of chaos throughout the day, as Senses Fail, Being As An Ocean, Beartooth, Mallory Knox and The Amity Affliction all got the pit crew throwing down alongside each band and rarely letting down. The harder driving acts such as hardcore outfit Hundredth had the pit kids going in effect, while veteran Canadian post hardcore act Silverstein had their mix of longtime fans as well as newbies who both showed their appreciation for the band. Australian metallic hardcore outfit I Killed The Prom Queen appeared to be bass player less, but that didn’t stop them from bringing out their At The Gates meets hardcore stomp to these fans. British metalcore act While She Sleeps briefly were down a singer (ie visa problems kept frontman Lawrence Taylor making a late start on the tour) but friends pitched in to lend a helping hand and fans didn’t even notice. Plus Escape The Fate closed out the evening with their eclectic brand of punk meets screamo meets modern metal that got the late comers their last bit of a sweat.
On the other stages, indie hip hop acts MC Lars gave a lesson in nerdcore with rhymes about video games and Game of Thrones (ie his latest single “Dragon Blood), while Kosha Dillz brought out his East Coast blend of Spanish, English and Hebrew rhymes; and electro-DJ-performance duo mystery men Drama Club put on an interesting performance that combined part Blue Man Group-esque percussive moments with part electronica meets EDM moments and spontaneous bursts of energy that kept the interested crowd on its feet.
The Journeys Stages found Juliette Sims and Night Riots wowing the crowd with their high energy sets, while hotly tipped electro pop outfit PVRIS became one of the much talked about acts on the tour and their set did not disappoint. Hip hop act Riff Raff put on quite the entertaining show on this stage, with his colorful summertime dress and animated raps to get the crowd bouncing along.
New York alternative rockers The Karma Killers stood out amongst the vast number of acts performing on the Ernie Ball Stage, with their fresh take on classic pop-punk, rock, and alternative rock with an energetic stage show. While they are newly signed to Island/Def Jam and new to the scene, they showed that they could one day end up on one of the larger stages in the new future.
The Acoustic Basement easily became an area largely for shade against the sun, but while most of the acts attracted stragglers throughout the day, Canadian singer-songwriter Saywecanfly and Brian Marquis were two of the acts who attracted a decent sized crowd throughout the day. Saywecanfly attracted a packed tent and entertained the audience with his emotion filled lyrics that got his largely female audience awaiting with anticipation.
Overall, this year’s edition featured a good mix of repeat acts moving up to larger stages, as well as a number of fresh faces to the scene. It is a positive sign to see new acts on the rise at a time when the music industry is struggling to attract new acts to the public. Hopefully someone is paying attention to this tour to see that there is a new generation of artists on the rise.
The Vans Warped Tour announced eight more artists at the kickoff party at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, CA this past Tuesday, April 7, 2015. The acts confirmed include:
Senses Fail Miss May I H2O (08/07-08/08) Knuckle Puck The Bunny The Bear (07/26-08/08) Kaya Stewart (07/15-08/08) TAT (06/19-07/01) Macy Kate (07/02-07/04, 07/06)
They joined previously confirmed acts:
Asking Alexandria Black Veil Brides Attila August Burns Red Memphis May Fire We Came As Romans Blessthefall Hundredth I Killed The Prom Queen ’68 Beartooth Sirens And Sailors (07/14-08/08) Slaves (07-14-08/08) The Amity Affliction Neck Deep Palisades Fit For A King Crossfaith Rotting Out Escape The Fate Being As An Ocean Silverstein Mallory Knox Drama Club False Puppet (07/23-08/08) A+ Dropouts (06/19-07/03) Man Overboard Citizen Carousel Kings (07/14-08/08) Emarosa (06/19-07/12) New Years Day Set It Off Kenneths MC Lars The Ascot Royals (07/01-07/08) Rivers Monroe (07/04-07/21) Svetlanas (07/29-08/08) The Karma Killers Mod Sun Bebe Rexha PUP (07/01-07/29) Youth In Revolt Juliet Sims Koo Koo Kanga Roo Metro Station Never Shout Never Night Argent (06/20-06/28, 08/01-08/08) Riff Raff Candy Hearts BoyMeetsWorld Ho99o9 Major League Motion City Soundtrack (06/19-06/21) While She Sleeps Hands Like Houses Le Castle Vania Have Mercy Our Last Night ChrisB PVRIS Alvarez Kings Moose Blood New Beat Fund Jule Vera Seaway This Wild Life The Dirty Nil Born Cages The Wonder Years Icon For Hire Baby Baby Matchbook Romance (06/19-07/11) The Relapse Symphony (06/19-07/12) Black Boots M4Sonic As It Is Night Riots Transit Beautiful Bodies Splitbreed Handguns Kosha Dillz Alive Like Me Family Force 5 Lee Corey Oswald Trophy Eyes ‘Acoustic Basement Stage‘: Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties American Opera Brian Marquis Buttons Grey Gordon Koji Meghann Wright Onward, etc. PVRIS (dates TBD) SayWeCanFly Speak Low If You Speak Love (07/09-07/14) Transit ‘Comedy Tent‘: Grant Cotter Beth Stelling (06/19-06/26) Chase Bernstein (06/27-07/12) Dave Ross (07/01-07/12) Eli Olsberg Eric Schwartz (07/26-08/08) Sammy Obeid (06/19-06/28) Sandy Danto (07/26-08/08)
The Vans Warped Tour 2015 has unveiled its first batch of acts, and Neck Deep, Palisades, Front Porch Deep, Handguns, and Kosha Dillz will be part of the tour. More bands will be announced over the next few months. A revised itinerary for the tour has been released:
Jun 19: Pomona Fairplex – Pomona, CA Jun 20: Shoreline Ampitheatre – Mountain View, CA Jun 21: Seaside Park /Ventura County Fairgrounds – Ventura, CA Jun 23: Quail Run Park – Mesa, AZ Jun 24: Isleta Amphitheater – Albuquerque, NM Jun 25: Remington Park – Oklahoma City, OK Jun 26: Reliant Park – Houston, TX Jun 27: Gexa Energy Pavillion – Dallas, TX Jun 28: AT&T Center – San Antonio, TX Jul 01: Tennessee State Fair Grounds – Nashville, TN Jul 02: Aaron’s Amphitheatre – Atlanta, GA Jul 03: Vinoy Park – St.Petersburg, FL Jul 04: Cruzan Amphitheatre – West Palm Beach, FL Jul 05: Tinker Field – Orlando, FL Jul 07: PNC Music Pavilion – Charlotte, NC Jul 08: Farm Bureau Live – Virginia Beach, VA Jul 09: First Niagara Pavilion – Pittsburgh, PA Jul 10: Susquehanna Bank Center – Camden, NJ Jul 11: Nikon at Jones Beach Theater – Wantagh, NY Jul 12: Xfinity Theatre – Hartford, CT Jul 14: Xfinity Center – Mansfield, MA Jul 15: Darien Lake Performing Arts Center – Darien Center, NY Jul 16: Riverbend Music Center – Cincinnati, OH Jul 17: Molson Canadian Amphitheatre – Toronto, ON Jul 18: Merriweather Post Pavilion – Columbia, MD Jul 19: PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel, NJ Jul 21: Toyota Pavilion – Scranton, PA Jul 23: Blossom Music Center – Cuyahoga Falls, OH Jul 24: The Palace Of Auburn Hills – Detroit, MI Jul 25: First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre – Chicago, IL Jul 26: Canerbury Park – Shakopee, MN Jul 27: Verizon Wireless Amphitheater – St. Louis, MO Jul 28: Marcus Amphitheater – Milwaukee, WI Jul 29: Klipsch Music Center – Indianapolis, IN Jul 30: Cricket Wireless Amphitheater – Bonner Springs, KS Aug 01: Utah State Fairpark – Salt Lake City, UT Aug 02: The Pepsi Center – Denver, CO Aug 05: Qualcomm Stadium – San Diego, CA Aug 07: Portland Expo Center – Portland, OR Aug 08: White River Amphitheater – Auburn, WA