Some months ago, I was interviewed by the Rhythm Natives for a feature that went up on their website, and asked how I felt about the resurgence of independent music. I responded by saying that it really wasn't a resurgence, it was more like people paying obvious attention to it. That's because mainstream music has become redundant - in airplay, in lyrics, in sound. So we are forced to be creative whether it be in seeking, making, or providing music. That's what DJ Concise of Vibes N' Stuff (VNS) Radio did. Almost exactly a year ago, he launched an internet radio station that focuses on what mainstream radio is not. It's diverse, global, eclectic. It showcases your not so party DJs, and features guests that most of us are "sleeping" on. It makes a stamp on this independent culture that is constantly rising.
Where is VNS based out of?
Out of Walnut, as we broadcast live at our studio overground bomb shelter known as "CSI".
Who makes up the team that is VNS?
Me: I do production on the show as well as set the tone as far as music and segments go. I also do a lot of behind the scenes like controlling camera angles, doing sound checks, updating the equipment and creating the VNS studio you see live on air. I'm just a lover of music. There's just so much out there to be heard and shared and I just love creating a platform where people can hear stuff they've never heard. I've been djing on and off for about 15 years now and I've been doing radio for about 4. I enjoy all types of rhythms and sounds and to me it's all about diversity.
Idea: Right hand man. He's been with me since the beginning. Also known as the Hip Hop Librarian/Ideapedia/Selector. This cat knows a little bit of everything and his music knowledge goes deep especially in the genre of New Orleans funk and jazz related music. He helps out interviews, bookings, and keeps the show flowing with his knowledge in many topics.
Enzo: DJ. He is our liason to the outside for the show. Also does bookings for VNS at parties and is more of a behind the scenes person dealing with VNS operations related to sponsorship.
Just Pudge: DJ/Graphics Point Man. Just Pudge does a lot of graphics for us and also serves as liason to potential sponsors on the outside like clothing companies and music websites (i.e. Mixcrate). He is working with Mixcrate right now to get VNS on track with them as a cohesive team.
DJ Ab-loon: DJ/Splicer. Ab cuts up or "splices" videos for us that we use as commercials on VNS. He also has famous his "DJ AB-LOON DANCE" that we have made popular on the show.
DJ Eri: Newest resident DJ and Scratch Cam aficianado. She's just a really dope DJ with diverse styles and she also joins Ab-loon on our Scratch Cam segments.
Kyrs: Kyrs is also our newest resident and provides interesting commentary on our breaks. Helps out with the the "PLUG SEGMENT" on the show and is also involved in booking and recommendations on the show.
Intern Ashley: Our final newest resident also provides intriguing commentary and she also does reviews on clubs, restaurants, and music she had a chance to experience that week.
How did you come up with the name Vibes & Stuff? (A Tribe Called Quest?)
My favorite hip hop group of all time is A Tribe Called Quest. "Vibes & Stuff" was my favorite cut off their Low End Theory album because of it's jazzy undertones and lyrical delivery. I did name it after that song and because the phrase "Vibes & Stuff", to me, represents every facet of diversity in this language we call music.
What is your show format? Do guests have to cater to this format or they spin whatever they want?
The music format of the show is mainly diversity and being eclectic. What makes our show unique is that we allow DJs and artists to come to the show and play music they may not be able to play on the outside. VNS allows musical freedom. One set you might hear some disco and house while 2 or 3 songs later you'll hear latin and afrobeat rhythms. We try to play music no one has heard before and because we do we are able to open up the listener's ears and mind as well as our own to an array of eclectic music. Guests can spin whatever they want but we usually try to tell them not to spin any radio music. (Some people call it TOP 40). For the most part, the guest we book on the show are guests we book for a reason and that reason is because we already know how deep their crates go.
You've had a lot of guests (both DJs and artists) in this first year on air. Can you name a few?
We've had a lot of artists come through. Close to 100 in a year. All of these artists in some way have been inspirations to us musically and have taught us a lot about life and sound with each episode. Just to name a few: Boombox Crew, RRS Feed, Glenn Red, Rick Wren, Soul Sessions Family, Joe Bataan, Bobby Soul, Jeremy Soul, Wiseacre, Jazzercise Crew, Bodega Crew, Marlon Fuentes, and One Man Jazz. The list is endless. Go to www.vnsradio.com to check out past and future guests.
On your show, you ask all of your guests, "Who would you like to open for or perform with living or dead, any artist?" I now ask that same question to you.
This might be a long list. HA!
Fania All Stars
Cut Chemist, DJ Shadow, Melo D, and J-Rocc doing 8 turntables
Fela Kuti and Tony Allen playing alongside Souljazz Orchestra and Antibalas
New Mastersounds jamming with James Brown
How important is it to check out events where fellow DJs and future guests are playing? How many times in the week do you go out and check out these events?
I think it is very important to go out and support events we plug on the show because it shows mutual respect and love for artists out there grinding it out in this culture. At the same time, it gives us insight on the guest as part of research so we know what to expect when the guest comes to the show. There is only so much you can know about a person by reading their bio but to truly understand their style, taste, and musical weaponry, one should go to their respective parties and listen.
We try to go out as much as we can and check out events our guests are doing. We recently started bringing little video cameras to the event so we can take footage at the party. We then take that footage and edit and splice it so we can show it as a commercial on the show so people who have never been to these events can see what they're missing. This also is a give and take in that we are helping each other out by showing them we support them and vice versa.
Biggest accomplishment in the last year?
Biggest accomplishment would have to be the overall transformation and production of VNS. What started out as a show in literally the kitchen of my apt has blossomed into a full fledged, legit studio. It took a long time to have everything evolve but it has and we are truly blessed by all the compliments we get when people walk in the studio. Another accomplishment is the amount of listeners we are able to reach to on a weekly and without them we wouldn't be here today so to all you people reading this and who tune in...THANK YOU!
Where do you want to be for the 2nd anniversary?
For the next anniversary, we hope to be moved in to another studio and we hope to be on maybe a Sirius or XM Radio account. We do have a lot of things planned but we're going to enjoy this one and hope the next 365 days takes us on an even higher plateau. As long as we can play music for people then we're happy.
VNS Radio streams live on Sundays from 5p - 9p PST on: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/vibes-and-stuff. Congratulations to the entire VNS family on one year of successfully shifting the paradigm. Music is their passion, and it's evident on a weekly basis. Get hip!