FIONA Interview Orlando musice
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Don’t Advertise Twice: FIONA’s Secrets to Flexin’

Harry Morall III (better known as FIONA) is an Orlando rapper, producer, DJ, Twitter lol factory, and one-half of weekly dance night Talk Yo Shit. Physically, he’s very intimidating at well over six feet tall, a mountain of a man. As a rapper, he fires confident lines over self-produced beats as depicted on his debut album, GOLDBABY. But those who know him through his online persona, know he’s actually funny as fuck and sweet as sugar. So of course, we met at the Central Florida State Fair to talk about his many successes and future plans. Enjoy.


FIONA Interview Orlando musice

matthew warhol: Well I’m glad we’re like, getting to talk. Because we haven’t really done that yet. It’s cool because I’ve been doing an interview every week for a while now and you’re one of the people I’ve really wanted to get because you do so much: you have the DJ stuff, you do your own music, you have events, a weekly event. So like… why? Why do you give to Orlando so much? What’s it mean to you?

FIONA: I mean… honestly, it was out of necessity. I was just bored and had to live here and there was nothing to do. I would go out, and there would be no good DJs. SO I was like “Fuck it, I’ll learn how to DJ.” And certain genres of music wouldn’t be coming through town, so I was like “Fuck it, I’ll start booking shows.” The lack of options forced me into it.

matthew warhol: When did you start?

FIONA: I started making music seriously around 2012 and then that kind of grew on its own with my rapper stuff. I wasn’t booking shows or producing, I was just rappin’ for fun — I used to make dumb shit — and people liked it. And then in 2014, Barbecue Bar closed. I used to go there all the time because I could get free alcohol, and obviously, I’m going to go to the free alcohol place. And so once the free alcohol place was closed, I wanted to do something still and everything downtown sucks. So, I started my own thing.

matthew warhol: Is that Talk Yo Shit?

FIONA: Yeah, that’s how Talk Yo Shit was born. Then I got with Jeremey (Grape La Flame) — he’s the other guy I started Talk Yo Shit with — and he works at The Beacham. The people that own The Beacham bought Barbecue Bar and turned it into Olde 64 or whatever. They really gave us the freedom to do, literally, whatever we wanted back there.

matthew warhol: How long has that been goin’ on now?

FIONA: Like two years.

matthew warhol: Of the every week thing?

FIONA: No. It started out as a monthly in The Social. Then it went from monthly to weekly, and I didn’t think the weekly would work. Because most weeklies around here don’t last. But it actually worked out because we were able to build a consistent following. People come to that thing [banging on the table] every, single, week. Most people who start weeklies are lucky to last a year, and we’re at two and we don’t even advertise. I’ve never made a flyer. I’ve never put up a poster. I’ve made Facebook events — that’s the extent.

matthew warhol: You don’t even do that anymore.

FIONA: Yeah, I stopped doing that because I didn’t need to. Because people kept showin’ up.

matthew warhol: Why?

FIONA Interview Orlando musice

FIONA: If you do something dope, word of mouth is going to always work — not just in music but in anything in life — if you have a good product you won’t have to advertise. People will advertise for you. If you go to a great restaurant and have a great dinner, the first thing you want to do is tell everyone about it. So if you’re putting on dope shit, people are like, “Yo, come check out Talk Yo Shit, blah, blah, blah.” And it was easy because we didn’t have any competition.

matthew warhol: I don’t think people want to book on Thursdays in a lot of places. People already know that half of their people aren’t going to be there because they’re going to be at Talk Yo Shit.

FIONA: We’re very fortunate to be in that situation.

matthew warhol: One thing that made me think about is an interview I did with Alexia, my girlfriend. And we were talking about her experience as a black woman and in the music scene, and a lot of time she’s the only black person there. And she feels alienated because of that. So I was asking her what events she would recommend to other people of color who often feel that, and the one she named right off the bat was Talk Yo Shit. And it really means a lot to her.

FIONA: We definitely did that on purpose. Making something diverse doesn’t mean white people can’t come or don’t come. It’s truly diverse. We have this idea in America that diversity is ten white people and a black guy, and that’s not real diversity. So we wanted to do something that everyone would enjoy. I don’t have to advertise that. It’s the style.

FIONA Interview Orlando musice

matthew warhol: Is that why you think it’s been able to stick around? A lot of weekly events are too niche or the people there are elitist.

FIONA: There’s a whole lotta DJs, and it’s not just an Orlando thing, that have a certain attitude towards certain crowds or music. I’ll play anything and I think that being able to mix it all together is part of why you can have such a diverse crowd — if I’m going from Kodak Black to Fergie, from Boogie to Britney Spears, Sheryl Crowe to frickin’ Three Six Mafia. I try to cover all bases, but still, find a way to keep it funk. Because funk is a genre, but it’s also a feeling.

matthew warhol: I think that — going from Sheryl Crow to Three Six Mafia — is such a you thing. If a random DJ played that it wouldn’t work, but because it’s you people are like, “It’s Harry playing this!”

FIONA: I guess so. And I guess it’s cool.

matthew warhol: You have a brand. It’s like with your Twitter stuff too.

FIONA: It wasn’t even intentional. I just talk a lot of shit. And the thing about Twitter is that it is a battle to see who can say the most outrageous thing. You gotta have the hottest take of all the takes.

matthew warhol: Have there been any Twitter moments that stood out for you?

FIONA Interview Orlando musice

FIONA: There were two moments. One, I made this random joke one night about Syrian refugees. I was like, don’t worry about getting kicked out of the country, they’ve been trying to kick black people out of the country for years. But I said it in a real funny way. I went to sleep and when I woke up it was retweeted like 40,000 times. Which is fine, but then it started blowing up on Muslim Twitter. And I didn’t even know there was a Muslim Twitter. Then it got all the way to Syria, and I got messages from actual Syrians who were tweeting me from bombed out buildings and shit. And they were like, “Oh, I fucks with you.” Oh, and this was back when I first got Twitter, like 2009. And back then, I feel like celebrities were more active. One day, I was trolling Lily Allen and she was going on about how people who pirate her music are the scum of the earth. I took a screenshot of me bootlegging her album and sent it to her. And she went off on me. I was in troll mode. And then a week later, I read the news, “Lily Allen Retiring From the Music Industry,” because too many people are pirating her stuff. And that was my achievement of the century. That was pretty cool.

matthew warhol: Going into the music side of stuff, why did you decide to change your rap name from Mr. 3 to FIONA?

FIONA: I made a lot of music under the Mr. 3 name that doesn’t represent where I’m at in my life right now. It just really isn’t the aesthetic I’m going for now. I appreciate that — it’s where I learned how to make music — but I really wasn’t taking it seriously while I was doing that. And I almost feel bad because people still like that shit. But I made most of that stuff as a joke between me and my friends. Also, I was really jackin’ for beats at that time so all the shit I was rapping on isn’t necessarily cleared or approved. Now I produce for myself, but then I didn’t know how to.

matthew warhol: So now that you’re taking it more seriously, what does that mean? What’s the goal?

FIONA: I mean, I don’t even know if there’s a specific goal. One of the main things that I’m about is I want to do as much as I can by myself. I’ve had management before. I’ve been with a record label before. And I learned a lot, but what I really learned is that I can do it myself. There’s nothing that a manager can do for me that I can’t do for myself. I’m also a perfectionist, so I don’t want something to mess up and it be on somebody else. I’d rather it be on me. I have a law degree too. So there’s not a contract that I can’t read and not know what’s on it. Hell, I could write the contract, ya know? My point is that I want to be a one-man-band. That’s why I learned how to produce and engineer and DJ. I didn’t know how to do any of that two, three years ago.

matthew warhol: And GOLDBABY is a pretty decent chunk of time that it was made over, right?

FIONA: It took about a year to make. I didn’t just make it in one sitting.

matthew warhol: There was a lot of different sounds on that. Was that a conscious effort? Because to me when you said that this is the first time you were producing … I don’t want to say play, but you wanted to try everything?

FIONA Interview Orlando musice

FIONA: I guess so, but it’s also a reflection of my taste. I have a wide variety of taste. So there’s a lot of different sounds that I wanted to play with.

matthew warhol: Going forward, do you think you’ll music will always have a lot of different sounds?

FIONA: I can see myself doing an album where I have a theme or something like that, but I’ll always remain diverse, just because my influences are diverse. The more sounds you make, the more original your shit can sound, the more people you can appeal to. So I’m not trying to limit myself because, low-key, I’m trying to make a couple bucks, ya know? I’m not one of those people who are anti-popular. I want the mainstream to pay me, fuck yeah! Got me fucked up!

matthew warhol: So what does the future look like?

FIONA: I mean, this DJ thing is taking legs I didn’t expect. I was doing it as a side thing just to keep my name in the streets without having to rap. I don’t like doing a lot of rap shows because I put a lot of effort into them and it’s hard to get a band together.

FIONA Interview Orlando musice

matthew warhol: So what’s been opening up?

FIONA: Not much that I want to divulge right now because I don’t want to jinx anything, but I have plans to make the step to the next level and start monetizing. I wanted to make sure I was good enough to monetize. I wanted to make sure that when I made that leap that I wasn’t just good enough to do this, that I was better than most of my peers. First, I wanted to make an album 100% by myself.

matthew warhol: What do you think of Orlando rap?

FIONA: I feel like the problem isn’t the talent, it’s the city, as far as how the city embraces and cultivates local music versus other cities. If you go to places like Atlanta, Miami, LA to a degree, Chicago, there are much more opportunities for local musicians to make a living off being a local musician.

matthew warhol: Is that just because it’s a bigger market?

FIONA: Not even. If you go to Chicago, there are local rappers that make a fuckload of money just on their side of town. You can get famous in your neighborhood and have enough to eat. There’s no local rapper making that on a local show.

matthew warhol: So how does that happen? I feel like a lot of people use Orlando as a platform city to then go somewhere bigger, but how do we become a city like that?

FIONA: There’s two ways. If all those people that left, stayed, this place would pop. But you’re asking those people to sacrifice their careers trying to build something from the ground up. What would also need to happen, is you need an investment into the arts from either the city or a philanthropist. You’ll need some rich people with some fuckin’ money to invest in the city and give local musicians a platform — not just at the Bahama Breeze. And once you create that culture and constantly have quality experiences, people will come. A lot of people find it hard to bring crowds out here and honestly, it’s not the people; it’s the product you’re putting out there. A lot of guys are lazy and don’t put effort into it and wonder why people don’t show up.

matthew warhol: So what is that effort then?

FIONA: The effort isn’t in the advertising. It’s in the music, the atmosphere, the performance, the little details, separating yourself from the rank and file. Making yourself your own, individual artist. As I said before, if your product is good you don’t have to advertise. So my goal, any artist or business person’s goal, is that you announce that you’re doing something and that’s it. You’re on some fucking Beyonce shit, dropping the album and selling a million copies in the first 22-minutes. If you advertise with your product, you won’t have to advertise twice.

FIONA Interview Orlando musice

TEDD.GIF – ‘Finder EP’

In 2016, TEDD.GIF released bags of music and established himself as one of Orlando’s top rappers. His most notable project of the year was Lil Mixtape, his take on the turn-up, commercial sound that’s flooded the airwaves as of late –exclusively  produced by Lanlord Collectin.

Finder, a three-song EP strung together in a single track, is TEDD’s most experimental, cohesive release to date. (It’s also probably my favorite.) The sonics blend melty and harsh production seemlessly. And our man is doing what he does best, showing his confidence and desire to go against the grain. Because Lil Mixtape proved he can execute the current sound, now TEDD.GIF is showing more of his own colors. I can’t wait to hear what he and Lanlord cook up for Lil Mixtape 2, out later this season. 

READ OUR INTERVIEW W/ TEDD.GIF.

TEDD.GIF WHOSE MANS VIDEO

TEDD.GIF Drops “WHOSE MANS” Video

A combination of glitchy VHS tapes and flashing colors, TEDD.GIF’s latest video is disorientating, fitting for the sloshed performance by the ORL MC. TEDD confidently slurs through one of the tightest hooks off Lil Mixtape, as LANLORD comes through with a slick beat. The whole joint sounds like it was filtered through some thick codeine. (When the beat stops then reverse, I’m like “oohh.”)

This video is raw. Footage of hazy, party-filled nights, no sleep, no fuckboys allowed. matthew warhol even makes a tiny appearance. S/O Retro Neon Records, TEDD.GIF, LANLORD, Jawl Nini, and Charles Wheatle for putting together another dope piece of art.

READ OUR FEATURE ON TEDD.GIF

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“You Can’t Control The Internet” : A Night with TEDD.GIF (interview + photo journal)

I’m standing outside of a two story apartment building, knocking on the door every 15-sceonds. An off-white sedan pulls up to the house and starts beeping at me. I dismiss it and continue knocking. Finally, a figure emerges, tells me his uber is here, and invites me to come with him.

Confused but willing, I ask, “You’re Ted, right?”

As I step into the backseat of this uber—captained by a 60-year-old grey-haired woman who’s discussing the status of her sickly 86-year-old mother with a hospital worker—my suspicions are verified. This isn’t just an interview with ORL rapper TEDD.GIF; it’s a story. Enjoy. 

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I mention I came from a photo shoot with local photographer Liv Jonse at Stardust Video & Coffee. “Liv was actually the one who gave me the name ‘TEDD.GF’ … at Stardust. She said my whole image should be based around The Internet.”

TVW: You’ve had mixtapes before, released on Soundcloud. With Lil Mixtape, there’s more hype around it; the image is tighter. What’s the difference between that and the rest of your work that’s come out so far?

T: This project is one of the more fun projects to me. You know, Lanlord Collectin produced the whole shit. He recorded it all. We did it all at his house. The direction of it was all organic. I didn’t have to think to much. Everything we did, we were just hanging out. It naturally came together. 

If you check out the projects I’ve done, with most I work with one producer specifically because I like to catch a vibe and get chemistry. You know what I mean? We build a relationship. So, Lil Mixtape is me and Lanlord. And this is actually going to be a series because like, I love working with Lanlord. He’s one of my best friends now.

And Harryson – he’s my manager and shit – he told me to make some shit that you feel like is really going to connect with the people. “Give the people what they want.”

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Tedd seems confident and comfortable around everyone. He took our uber driver into Golden Krust to explain Caribbean food to her.
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The 23-year-old emcee was at UCF pursuing a degree in graphic design but felt limited by the heavily controlled assignments. In one particular class, he was told by the professor that he couldn’t pass but kept going because he still wanted to grow. That was until the professor banned him from the classroom.

TVW: What do the people want?

T: With this project, I had a theme in my head. It’s kinda like The Qlone Wars. I was hanging out with my friends, and all of the music they were making, I was making my own version of certain tracks. I’d spit shit out in my own way. Maybe I’d listen to a track and be like, “I’m inspired by this. I’m going to make a track like this.”

TVW: Who were some of those inspirations?

I was listening to a lot of SoundCloud rap. Made in Tokyo. I fuck with him.  Lanlord, he’s a DJ as well, so he plays a lot of music like that. So I was listening to a lot of new shit. We throw an event like every week or every other week, so I feel like it’s just influenced by the vibe of us and our friends n’ shit. 

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On making a name for yourself online: “You can’t control The Internet, that’s the scariest thing about it.”

TVW: So like most of the lyrics, are they off the dome? It seems like it’s about the energy, like you said. 

T: Most of the shit was really off the top of the head. But in the moment, we’d play music and I’d have an instant, a certain feeling like “this is it.” I’d have a concept and boom, we’d lay it down.

Landlord is a beast too. We work a certain way where we get shit done pretty fast. There’s like seven tracks on there. It’s not a lot, but those are the ones. We had a couple more. They might come out later, but they just didn’t fit. I didn’t want to give out too much because of people’s attention spans, nowadays. People just eat shit up, you know what I mean? 

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s/o to Harryson for setting this whole thing up.
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Fuck paying $7 to stand in a parking lot.

TVW: Features? Anybody else on there?

T: Yeah there’s a couple, not too many. It was on some gang shit. The people that I was really fucking with. I got Nick Prosper from Dark World. I got a track called “Sobriety Test” featuring RAELY, Young $ino, DeadMonBernz…

TVW: Yes! Yo, I love him. I’ve been fucking with his SoundCloud shit for a while. 

T: Word. I’ll definitely link y’all up n’ shit. 

TVW: He’s got some real connects on that art shit. 

T: Naw, for sure. That’s how it is too. I do lots of other shit besides the music. I’ve built a lot of relationships that don’t have anything to do with music. You can branch out with other shit. 

TVW: Nobody is doing one thing. 

T: There are no excuses. All you really need is a laptop. That’s all you really need.

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On local DJ collective TMD: “TMD is so pure. TMD is lit”
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Tedd is the music guy. He controls the aux chord almost the entire night.

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TVW: Question I wanted to ask you, so you opened for Sales, right? Why can you open for Sales? Like, Why does that work? Because that shouldn’t work.

T: I was actually surprised they wanted me to be on the show. You know, it was sold out and shit. I guess, you know, music is going in a lot of different directions. There’s a lot of culture being mixed together. There’s a lot of people coming together and I guess they wanted to show that. To expose people to something there not used to. And it was dope. People really enjoyed the set. And I’m really appreciative of them considering me for that. I actually have some music coming out with J SHIH from SALES.

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We end up at a house party full of local DJs and MCs. Everybody is hella cool.

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I gave this girl a fake number. s/o to my gf.

TVW: The reason I think it works is because your music stretches beyond hip hop, into electronic and even ambient music. Is that because you listen to a lot of that?

T: Honestly, yeah. When i graduated high school in 2012, I was listening to a lot of electronic music because it was different. I used to write a lot of songs to those songs, low key. A lot of the songs the I write to certain beats, I put on a different type a beat. That didn’t happen with Lanlord. Because we were just creating these songs on the spot. 

But, like I said I’ve been listening to electronic music for a while. I didn’t even listen to much rap at one point. I try to branch out. I need ideas. And like rap nowadays, a lot of the shit is repetitive so it’s hard to get inspiration. 

Tedd.gif Interview Photos

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Every party is a chance to network. He’s constantly pushing his brand.

TVW: So who have you been fucking with both in and out of the rap world.

T: I like different shit. Where you kind of question it, but the shit’s fire. You can’t really say anything. This is shit that somebody else couldn’t pull off, but they’re pulling it off. 

TVW: Is that what you want to be too?

T: I feel like my shits different. I feel like a lot of the shit I say gets overlooked. Like, I’ll say a certain line and people don’t get what it means, don’t understand the reference. But I feel like people are starting to wake up.

I’m very in tune with everything that’s going on in the underground.

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Tedd came up to me every 20 minutes to give me dap. “That’s how you know I really fuck with you.”

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“Most n***** end because they end weak.”

TVW: Is there a certain place that’s coming up?

T: Florida is definitely running shit right now, too many artists.

TVW: who do people need to know about?

T: TEDD.GIF. *laughs* There’s too many to name. I feel like I’d be leaving people out.

TVW: Follow him on SoundCloud! See what he’s listening too.

T: I actually don’t like too much on my TEDD.GIF SoundCloud, but I have a secret SoundCloud called xx80spy. I also do uploads to YouTube, very low key. I like to curate shit, have little things that people can follow-up on and find cool shit. 

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Two days later, Tedd holds a ‘Lil Mixtape’ listening party at Studio 18.

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TVW: What you mean? What’s going on YouTube?

T: I can show you, bro. This is one of my channels, it’s called xx80spy. I just started this project a couple months ago. I got 21 Savage on here, SKI MASK, Pollari, Nessly. 

TVW: Speaking of 21, I saw him and Lil Yachty on XXL Freshman Class. Yachty was talking about that he’s all about positivity. He wants to make people feel good. And how 21 is on the opposite side of that spectrum. You know like, murder music. Where do you fall on the spectrum?

T: I think I’d be closer to Lil Yachty. I like to make music people can have fun too. Even though certain songs are inspired by negative things or I feel like I’m releasing anger, but this project is not that. The Lil Mixtape project is more positive.

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“Imma let the music speak for itself.”
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LANLORD COLLECTIN X TEDD.GIF

TVW: Would you say it’s your biggest, most official thing to date? 

T: Yeah, it does feel like that. There’s some songs on there where I tried a lot of new shit. Honestly, I haven’t even heard the final version of the project. I’m just waiting for it come out tomorrow so I can listen to it just like everybody else.

Tedd.gif Interview Photos

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TVW: What’s next?

T: A lot more music. Lil Mixtape, it feels like the past because it’s already been created. I’m trying to do a video for like every song. More mixtapes. I’m actually working on an EP now. 

Tedd.gif Interview Photos

Table For Three – “What You Gonna Do?” (video)

Table For Three are an Orlando hip hop group composed of Sean Shakespeare, TKO, and Jamar X. They’ve just dropped a video for “What You Gonna Do?,” a cut from their self-titled 2014 EP. It features the three MCs spitting technically sound bars over a snappy boom bap beat, all while parading through a house party. (Keep a close eye on these extras, you might see someone you know.) The simplistic bass line that guides the rhymes is hot, while the flow, as described by Sean, is “ice cold.” Director/editor Juan Ordonez captures each verse in one continuous shot, then manipulates the footage to look all Yo! MTV Raps. Enjoy.

Like ziplocks of fresh crop just copped,
tip top hip hop, heads nod non stop, jump stomp

a$ap rocky – “lsd”

This song is soothing madness. It’s a surprise, but a good one. I don’t really consider myself a huge A$AP Rocky fan. I thought I knew what he was about. And I thought he didn’t sing. Apparently, he can. On “LSD,” Rocky lulls over a bright pysch-synth beat. The song slightly echoes Drake’s “Hold On We’re Going Home,” but is a little less direct in its harmonies. Its credibility is also much higher. Three minutes in, the song is split by Rock; a heavy verse that rips through a new, minimal beat. Rock has said that this verse is actually part of another new track “Excuse Me,” but it really shouldn’t be. Given the “LSD’s” trip rap aesthetic, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear a remix featuring Rocky’s longtime collaborators, Flatbush Zombies.

And Jesus, this video. Co-Directors Rocky and Dexter Navy – who’s shot fashion brands (Billionaire Boys Club, Dime Piece) and magazines (i-D, WAD) – create a dazzling world of textures and light. I think this song, along with this video, could help A$AP Rocky reach a whole new level of popularity, while retaining artistic value. He may have also made The Song of the Summer. I’m excited about him now. You should be to.

A$AP Rocky’s sophomore album At.Long.Last.A$AP. is expected “sometime soon.”

She ain’t a stranger to this city life
I introduce her to this hippy life
We make love under the pretty lights, LSD

just some songs (3/1)

Hey everyone! I wanted to start off by making excuses for the large gaps between posts. I’ve been really busy getting things going for our first show, “WE ARE ANIMALS.” It’s happening on 3/21 at The Space and features some of my favorite Orlando acts: Pasty Cline, Pathos, Pathos, Tiger Fawn and Witch Kings. There will be a full post announcing it soon, but you can find out more info and RSVP on the event page. It’s going to be rad and we’ve got a lot planned. In the next three weeks, I’ll be highlighting the music of the scheduled bands, maybe even throw in some video or a photo shoot. We’ll see.

Here are some songs I found while looking meandering Soundcloud. The genres vary, so if you don’t like one just go to the next sound, just skip it. We’re writing raw tonight. Enjoy.