Kosha Dillz On Networking On The Road

Kosha Dillz Live At Vans Warped Tour 2015

Kosha Dillz Live At Vans Warped Tour 2015

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

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.

Kosha Dillz. Photo Credit: Amelia Burns (via Facebook)

Kosha Dillz. Photo Credit: Amelia Burns (via Facebook)

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.

kosha dillz 2

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.

By Rei Nishimoto

MC Lars Talks Dragon Blood Music Video

mc lars warped 2015

Bay Area champion of post punk laptop rap MC Lars is about to drop his latest album The Zombie Dinosaur LP on October 6, 2015 via Horris Records, and spent the summer performing his latest single titled ‘Dragon Blood.’ Based on his favorite television show Game of Thrones, he talked about his latest video.

This season got weird…I won’t spoil anything. You know what I like about it? I’m such a literature nerd. I love the Shakespearian stuff. We’re trying to make it metal,” he said.

mc lars dragonblood

He spoke about the storyline behind the video, including how he incorporated his favorite character from the series into his theme about good versus evil.

Her name is Chell Stephen. She’s a friend of the director’s. The whole album is this theme of the underdog surviving, and that’s why I like Game of Thrones. You don’t know who’s going to survive and it’s good versus evil but good doesn’t always triumph. I like the character Daenerys [Targaryen] because she’s always trying to do good. That’s like her tragic flaw.

We wanted to do a video about a woman in an office who gets fired and comes back to kick butt. The problem was I was rapping in a female perspective but I didn’t want to dress up as a girl necessarily, so we got this talented woman who’s clenched blonde and looks like her to learn this song. So the concept was revenge and post feminism – the modern feminism, the sexy heroine.

mc lars dragonblood khaleesi

Despite the strong female character, MC Lars himself took the fall and got beat up towards the end of the video, but got to throw down doing a dance with Stephen’s character at the very end of the video.

The theme was each level she kicks the butt of each house. I was the symbol for the white corporate oppressor capitalist boss when she punches me in the nuts is like smashing the patriarchy. So it’s like symbolism. It’s maybe very literal but I’m the zombie character. In Game of Thrones, they have these things called the White Walkers, which are like the scariest zombies. So the idea was I wanted to be in the video somehow. I wasn’t going to star in it.

Max [Isaacson] & Morgan [Faust] from BroSis are a director team that I’ve known for a while. They’re great. They knocked it out of the park.

Aside from music videos, MC Lars had an app of his own in develop but potential developers could get in on helping him reach new fans within the mobile world.

Yeah man. If anyone’s reading and wants to help me develop an app, hit me up. Lars@MCLars.com.

When I was in LA, I was working at USC in the computer science department on an app, but it didn’t pass the prototype stage. We had three months to do it. It came out dope. It was like a Guitar Hero where you click on a rhyme. It would have to be good though. I wouldn’t want to put out something that’s bad.

By Rei Nishimoto

Zombies and Dinosaurs Everywhere- MC Lars

MC Lars. Photo Credit: Nick Karp.

MC Lars. Photo Credit: Nick Karp.

The oddity subgenre of nerdcore was once again represented at this year’s Vans Warped Tour, as Bay Area native MC Lars has made his way to bring his upbeat style of rhyming that a new breed a fans have grown to appreciate, as he is about to drop his latest album The Zombie Dinosaur LP.

He is excited to be taking part of this tour once again and shows immediately how excited he is to be part of this tour. “This is my third full summer. I always come to see it. Shout out to Kevin Lyman. One of the things is awesome is his nephew Evan is a big supporter. So that helps. Any time I get asked to do it, if I can I’d do it. There’s nothing like it and it’s so crazy. This year’s there’s so many new artists. It’s so weird to be like ‘oh yeah I’ve been doing this since 2011.’ It’s dope.

mc lars warped 2015

On previous Warped Tours, he has collaborated with Weerd Science, the hip hop side project of Coheed and Cambria drummer Josh Eppard. The two of them had collaborated on recordings in the past and he shared his thoughts on his earlier years on the tour with him.

My man Josh [Eppard] – he’s back in Coheed and Cambria. We’re thinking about doing more stuff together. That was really fun working with him because he’s such a great rapper, a great lyricist and a good guy. He’s crazy but I think all brilliant artists are crazy. Did you hear his Red Light Juliet II? Check it out. It’s great.

I think Warped Tour showed the Coheed guys he’d gotten his life back together. This tour’s so hard that if you could do it, it’s symbolic.”

Sticking to subjects ranging from video games and pop culture than the hard streets, MC Lars has lit up crowds over the years with his much talked about style fusing his vast knowledge of pop culture and literature with his laptop style hip hop. He talks about his upcoming album.

The record is called the Zombie Dinosaur LP and it comes out October 6th. So it’s kind of like the mythical beast, dragons, [and] dinosaurs. The album has a lot of mythological references. I’ve been at this since 2003. I’ve seen the whole world change. I’m still lucky I get to do this. I feel like the Zombie Dinosaurs are like the dragon. I relate to that.

mc lars the zombie dinosaur lp

Creating a style he calls “post-punk laptop rap,” he began in the Northern California pop punk circuit where he started performing his style of music. While his style was not always embraced at first, he found that over time, laptops became an integral part of a live band’s sound, whether they liked it or not.

Yeah I was early in the laptop game. I opened for the Dead Milkmen back in the day and the fans were like ‘yo! You can’t have a laptop on stage! That’s not punk!’ Now there’s not one band that doesn’t have samples at Warped Tour. It’s a prominent part of the set. It’s kind of weird. I called it post punk laptop rap, which now sounds like an antiquated genre but I still own it. It’s fun.

Another aspect behind MC Lars is that since his early days, he has released all of his music through his own label Horris Records, aside from distribution help in select overseas territories. While many have been swayed over time by bigger labels to sign, he has done things his way.

That’s a great question and I really appreciate you asking and saying that. My story’s kind of different. I played in punk and hardcore bands in the 90s. I went to college and studied English and I was able to go to the UK for an Oxford program to study Shakesphere. I’d always done rap to open for my punk band, but I met a bunch of indie and punk bands over there that I became friends with that led to finding a really cool manager and all of these things happening. It all came from being friendly and being like ‘yo I’d like to work with you and the fact that in 2003 or 2004, doing ironic smart nerdy rap was still a novelty. YouTube hadn’t killed off that whole thing. I was able to do it without a label and I was a big proponent of giving my stuff away for free, which I still am. Now everyone does that and with streaming you kind of have to give away your music.

I was on the forefront of that being that I uploaded my stuff on torrent sites to get download ratios to get beat programs. I see it having longevity as a DIY artist. It’s a four piece thing – great records, good touring, a piece of mind and your social media. You can’t let your social media take over everything. You need to make that 25% of your time. I kind of had balance. I’ve been lucky but I’ve also worked very hard. I can’t believe that this is my fourth record.

I’ve had labels distribute my stuff and get on board and help me spread the word, but I’ve never been signed to a label. I see so many artists who did sign to labels, some did very well but most of them have day jobs now. They didn’t sell that 500,000 they needed to sell, which in this genre of hip hop, punk and post hardcore, that’s a hard number to hit. It’s an adventure. You’ve probably seen a lot of bands on their way up and their way down. Labels can be great but most of the time it doesn’t work.

As the summer progresses, MC Lars will be staying busy by dropping another single and he is excited by the outcome from being on this tour.

Later this summer, my song ‘TriForce’ comes out, which is about growing up under the metaphor of Zelda. It’s all footage from my tour with MC Chris last year. Then I have three or four more videos coming out.

I’m really excited to have this album finally come out. I’ve been working on this for a year and a half. It’s really good. The ‘Dragon Blood’ song we’re playing this summer. We’re spreading the word.

Warped has taught me that being positive and working hard has concrete results. So props to this whole festival – I’m stoked to keep coming back.

By Rei Nishimoto

Vans Warped Tour 2015 – Pomona Fairgrounds and Seaside Park at Ventura Fairgrounds

Warped-2015-lineup

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.

August Burns Red,   photo © Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com

August Burns Red, photo © Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com

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.

Atilla, photo © Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com

Atilla, photo © Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com

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.

The Amity Affliction, photo © Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com

The Amity Affliction, photo © Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com

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.

Neck Deep, photo © Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com

Neck Deep, photo © Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com

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.

Pvrvis, photo © Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com

Pvris, photo © Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com

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.

Set it Off,  photo©Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com

Set it Off, photo©Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com

 

 

 

Tat,  photo©Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com

Tat, photo©Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com

We Came As Romans,  photo©Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com

We Came As Romans, photo©Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com

Miss May I,  photo©Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com

Miss May I, photo©Kevin Estrada / kevinestrada.com

 

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WORDS BY REI NISHIMOTO

PHOTOS BY KEVIN ESTRADA 

Music Video: MC Lars – Dragon Blood

MC Lars. Photo Credit: Nick Karp.

MC Lars. Photo Credit: Nick Karp.

Nerdcore rapper MC Lars is streaming his brand new music video “Dragon Blood,” based on HBO’s massively popular series Games Of Thrones’ character Daenarys Targaryen (played by actress Emilia Clarke) and off his forthcoming album to be released later in 2015. Stream it below.

He will be appearing on this summer’s Vans Warped Tour.

mc lars dragonblood

mc lars dragonblood khaleesi

Skindred, Cancer Bats, etc Confirmed For Hit The Deck Festival

hit the deck 2015

Hit The Deck Festival has confirmed its lineup for the 2015 edition, which is happening in Bristol (UK) on April 25, 2015 and Nottingham (UK) on April 26, 2015.

Skindred
While She Sleeps
Cancer Bats
A Great Big Pile Of Leaves
Allusondrugs
Ashes
As It Is
Bad Sign
Black Peaks
Brawlers
Calabrese
City Of Ships
Dead!
Dead Harts
Decade
Devil Sold His Soul
The Early November
Frnkiero AndThe Cellabration
Hacktivist
Hundredth
Idiom
John Coffey
JPNSGRLS
Junius
MC Lars
Oathbreaker
Oceans Ate Alaska
Rolo Tomassi
The Swellers
Tellison
Thomas Nicholas Band
Tim Vantol
When We Were Wolves
The Xcerts
You Blew It!
Zoax

hit the deck fest 2015

Senses Fail, Miss May I, etc Confirmed For Vans Warped Tour 2015

vans warped tour logo

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)

Attila, Memphis May Fire, Miss May I Rumored For Vans Warped Tour 2015

vans warped tour logo

A recent advertisement from the August 7th Portland, OR stop of the 2015 Vans Warped Tour hinted a few more possible artists who have yet to be announced. Those artists in question include:

Attila
Memphis May Fire
Miss May I
Never Shout Never
Pierce The Veil
We Came As Romans
Beartooth
Senses Fail
Drama Club
False Puppet
Julie Vera
Knuckle Puck
Svetlanas

Prior to this leak, the newest additions include:
Silverstein
Mallory Knox
Man Overboard
Citizen
Carousel Kings (07/14-08/08)

Artists announced to date for the festival include:
Asking Alexandria
Black Veil Brides
Blessthefall
Hundredth
I Killed The Prom Queen
’68
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
Emarosa (06/19-07/12)
New Years Day
Set It Off
Kenneths
MC Lars
The Karma Killers
Mod Sun
Bebe Rexha
PUP (07/01-07/29)
Youth In Revolt
Juliet Sims
Koo Koo Kanga Roo
Metro Station
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