Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Saturday, December 24, 2011
I originally did this interview with Serius Jones a while back for my homeboys at Keep Ya Swag, so now I present you with an english language version of my interview with former Disturb Tha Peace rapper and jack of all trades Serius Jones.
KeepYaSwag: Serius, you have a new album dropping next month?
Serius Jones: Yes sir, on thanksgiving, Serius Business 2. Basically it is a culmination of some greatness. I’ve really been cheffin’ this one up, putting my heart and soul into this. For maybe about the last year now theres been a large array of features and producers on here, but I think the meat of the sandwich is that this album is about where I am at right now in life. I think people are going to relate to it on a deeper level than a lot of the music that we’ve been digesting lately.
KYS:You released a new song -“Angry Birds” the other day…
SJ:Yeah, I didn’t even really release it, I just put it on youtube and in a couple hours it was up to a half thousand views. By the time I actually drop it, it should be in the millions, I think. It was really just a shout out to the creators of that game (Angry Birds). I really didn’t know about it, but one of my producers, JRockwell put me up on that game and showed me the beat he made. I thought it would be a clever way to flip it, because I do know a lot of angry birds. So it just worked out really well.
KYS:You do this all independently, no publicist, no label?
SJ:No I am completely independent. I’m not on a label, I don’t even have a manager. I’m actually shopping around, seeing who is the best, the most qualified. I do need professional representation just because the brand that I built is bigger than I can control by myself sometimes. I'm definitely looking for the right situation. I do so much on my own, music, videos, movies, mixtapes, freestyles, tours, but it’s at the stage where I really need someone who can elevate my game. I need someone to get me to the right boardrooms that I belong in.
KYS: So you essentially turned Serius Jones from a battle rapper to a brand on your own with social media?
SJ: Yeah, pretty much the game has turned into that. These are the days where you can be a self-contained unit, but you do need some level of machine, whether its financially or a stamp that qualifies you to take you to the next level, to actually move your project, get you some radio play, the things that take an artist to the next level.
KYS: You mentioned films, are you planning on making any more films since Life is Serius (the film)?
SJ: Oh Yeah! I got a new movie I’m making called “The Club.” I can’t really explain it, but shit is going to be crazy. It about the club, it’s going to be fucking hilarious. If you are into the nightlife, you are going to able to relate to every nook and cranny of it. I got my boy, JD Williams (the Wire), Jack Thriller, a bunch of real actors and comedians in it. It’s going to be monumental for me, not as a rapper, but in the film industry. I’m trying to treat the film aspect of Serius Jones as film and nothing to do with the fact that I am Serius Jones the rapper.
KYS: How did the collaboration with First Million Beats (Luche from Co’Sang and Geeno Beats) come about? What was it like working with foreign producers?
SJ: Those guys are my dudes, they’re really good dudes. I met them on tour, I was in Europe touring and everywhere I went I would ask where the studios were at, who the producers were. I shot a couple videos over there. Its cool, everywhere I went, I worked on something. I want to do a whole album called the “Euro Tour.” It’ll be on Itunes soon. I don’t really know how to not work, ya know? I feel funny if I’m not doing something productive. Anyway, the guys from First Million are my guys, they were real cool, down for the cause. They ended up coming to New York and we kicked it. Very talented dudes, there is so much talent across the world and I’ve been blessed to have found so much of it.
KYS: Mr. Jones, do you have any closing statements?
SJ: First of all, thank you for the opportunity. I want to thank everyone that’s been rocking with me and everyone who isn’t, give me the chance to show you who I am. I’ve been climbing up the mountain for a long time and now its time to plant the flag in the ground.
Friday, December 9, 2011
Check it out on page 10.
Friday, December 2, 2011
Monda: What would be the scientific purpose of killing it?
Antonio Monda, Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach
An article I did with journalist, author, filmmaker, critic, socialite, host, actor -Mr. Antonio Monda for L'Italo-Americano.
Anthony Mastroianni 11/27/11 Antonio Monda Interview
The 41st parallel is the imaginary line that connects New York City to Naples, Italy. The 41esimo Parallelo also happens to be the name of the Napoli Film Festival’s American counterpart. The mission is to cross the paths of Naples and New York through film. Italian journalist, professor, author, director, critic, you name it, renaissance man Antonio Monda curates the 41st Parallelo along with fellow countryman Davide Azzolini. Monda has been referred to in the New York Times as “arguably the most well-connected New York cultural figure you’ve never heard of,” and its no surprise that he has his hand in bringing together the tales of Neapolitan culture to it’s seemingly unlikely twin city. With the 41st Parallelo opening this week, we got the chance to catch up with Mr. Monda and talk about this year’s upcoming film festival.
L’Italo-Americano: This week marks the 8th edition of the 41st Parallelo Film Festival if I am correct. How did the 41st Parallelo begin?
Antonio Monda: It started as an idea by Davide Azzolini, however it was an idea to tie together two cites: New York and Napoli. New York and Naples as you know are on the same parallel. They are similar cities in that they are melting pots. They are harbors, both great cities with a long histories. Naples, of course has a much longer history. New York is the city of today, while Naples is one of the eternal cities. The idea is to bring Neapolitan culture or something related to the Mediterranean to New York City.
L’Italo-Americano: Though Parallelo is a part of the Napoli Film Festival, you are showing more than strictly Neapolitan culture?
Antonio Monda: Not only that. We started from that (Naples related film), but we have other stuff to relate to the Mediterranean area, to all of Europe. In particular, this year we have an homage to Dino DeLaurentiis, a legendary producer who was born in Naples, actually outside of Naples. We have a film by Raffaello Matarazzo, which was very successful in the 50’s, and a selection of shorts that Davide personally curated.
L’Italo-Americano: Why Dino DeLaurentiis in particular?
Antonio Monda: Dino DeLaurentiis was by far the greatest Italian producer. He made legendary films such as La Strada or Nights of Cabiria, but also great American films like Serpico and King Kong. He discovered talents like Jessica Lange and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He passed away when he was 92, two years ago and we decided to pay homage to him with a celebration of one of his greatest films La Grande Guerra.
L’Italo-Americano: Can you tell us about O’ Mast and SchermoNapoli, the other films being screened at the festival. They are collections of short films by Neapolitan contemporaries?
Antonio Monda: Yes, to be honest I haven’t seen them, but knowing Davide I am positive of the quality if them.
L’Italo-Americano: Would a film like Gomorrah ever be screened at your festival and do you think films such as the aforementioned Gomorrah negatively depict Naples too much as opposed to promoting its vast culture?
Antonio Monda: We try to screen films that were either never released here (the United States) or classics. Gomorrah was released two years ago and hugely successful. I am a huge fan of the film, but there would be no reason to screen it again, though I want to go on record that I am a huge fan of the film and the book.
There are a lot of pictures of Naples. I’m not denying that there are problems of the city. From the camorra to the garbage situation, there are a lot of huge problems. At the same time, Naples is not only one of the most beautiful, but one of the most vital cities in the world and I think that this should be emphasized. One of the things that we try to do with the festival is to try to emphasize this element.
L’Italo-Americano: Do you see any other parallels between Naples and New York, besides the imaginary line that connects the two?
Antonio Monda: Yes, the melting pots, the harbors, the parallel, but they are both cities that welcome whoever comes to them. They are made for foreigners, everyone feels at home after one minute in both cities.
L’Italo-Americano: You played a role in Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic, do you see any bridge between Italian and American cinema?
Antonio Monda: No, I did play a little role in his film and I want to say that the film was shot entirely in Italy. My scenes were shot in Naples, but that is just a strange coincident. But, honestly, the beauty of Wes’s film is that it is by an American who is in love with Europe and the culture, but he is American, from Texas and brings his own elements of that culture to the film.
L’Italo-Americano: You also run and host literary discussions with world famous authors called Le Conversazioni. Are there any more of these projects coming up in the near future?
Antonio Monda: The next project will be on May 8th at the Morgan Library. I still don’t have the guests, we will announce the guests in a few weeks, but I can anticipate the theme, which will be “politically incorrect.”
41st Parallelo opens this week in New York City
November 28th 6pm – SchermoNapoli
A collection of shorts by Neapolitan filmmakers
November 29th 8:15pm – La Grande Guerra
A classic Mario Monicelli film produced by Dino DeLaurentiis
November 30th 6pm – O’ Mast
A documentary on the sartorial arts
December 1st 6pm – Catene
A classic film by Raffeallo Matarazzo starring Amedeo Nazzari
Check Casa Italiana, 41st Parallelo’s partners website for additional details.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
I just reviewed homeboy Adam Bernard's brand new E-Book -Muscle for Your Hustle. Check it.
B-Lister Adam Bernard’s A+, debut E-book –Muscle for Your Hustle provides independent artists with the recipe needed for success. Though not every recipe will come out like a Giada DeLaurentiis dish, Mr. Bernard supplies you with all the ingredients called for. Being a pop culture journalist and host of a radio show he has watched artists mount successful careers while others fall flat. As Bernard indicates, the successes and failures of independent artists don’t have as much to do with talent, but instead revolves around the steps the musician makes to get there. Though written specifically as an advice book for up and coming artists, it can easily applied to anyone looking to further their brand and personal reputation. As a musician and aspiring journalist myself, Muscle for Your Hustle makes for a very inspirational and helpful read.
The secrets of marketing oneself are all inside the book. Some artists sell themselves short, while others try to sell themselves for too much. There is a huge difference between making it known that you exist and being obnoxious about your existence. Much of his book can be attributed to common sense that doesn’t seem to very common anymore.
Muscle for Your Hustle is divided into three sections; promoting, performing and people skills. It is shocking how many DIY artists don’t use their common sense or reflect on their tactics objectively in order to better exhibit themselves as something that you actually want to listen to. It covers everything, from the seemingly forgotten about sampler album and the best social media techniques, to how to turn a crowd into loyal followers, to the basic understanding of how to deal with other human beings. The latter should not even have to be mentioned, but it there are a plethora of musicians that take interaction with media and fans for granted. As an independent artist, you do not want ignore press members that want to expose you, let alone insult them. Bernardo tells a tale of an artist who during a showcase went as far as trash talking him on account of not being able to stick around for his set. This particular rapper began name-dropping some of hip-hop’s brand names, then decided that it was appropriate to, in front of all the other artists of the showcase, blurt out that he was the most important rapper of the show. Muscle points how such obvious faux pas’ can be avoided and even result in future listeners. Instead, this gentleman became an example of what not to do.
The point is Bernard knows what makes and breaks the future of an independent artist, making Muscle for Your Hustle a great and inexpensive buy for anyone looking make way in a world where DIY musicians are a dime a dozen. For the 99 cents that it costs, you can potentially be one in a million instead of part of the aforementioned dime a dozen crowd. Get it boy boy.
You can check Muscle for Your Hustle at Lulu.com
And check Adam's blog Adam's World for good measure.