A Band That Knows Where the Money Comes From
Chester French isn’t your typical rock band. Singer D.A. Wallach and multi-instrumentalist Max Drummey met as freshmen at Harvard, where lanky, longhaired Drummey majored in social anthropology and twee, preppy Wallach graduated as the top student in the school’s African-American Studies program. In the video for their best-known song, “She Loves Everybody,” a pretty girl punches the stuffing out of the two helpless weaklings, leaving them bloody-nosed among their broken guitars and drums. Wallach and Drummey, who eschew leather and spandex for bowties and croquet mallets, were signed to Interscope Records just as they graduated two years ago. An album released in April, “Love The Future”, has made the duo upcoming stars, albeit not superstars. But besides the fans drawn to their music, Chester French have amassed a following by spending hours a day networking online. Should you encounter the band on Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Digg, Twitter or any of the other social sites where they’ve set up shop, you’ll be encouraged to sign up at chesterfrench.com as a V.I.P. for the band’s concierge service. What you might not realize is you’re adding yourself to a database at Salesforce.com.
Wallach told me in a phone call from the band’s current tour that he and Drummey aren’t kidding that they see their fans, not themselves, as the V.I.P.’s. “Traditional record labels looked at music listeners as fans who were supposed to get in line to get an autograph,” he said. That worked, in Wallach’s view, when radio and TV were dominated by a few supersize broadcasters. “When the Beatles played ‘The Ed Sullivan Show,’ seven million people saw it,” he said. “But today, there’s no channel available that will deliver that size an audience. In this day and age, it’s about having a relationship with the people who listen to us. The relationship with someone who likes our music is much more of a conversation than it would have been, even in the ’90s.” Instead of giving interviews to reporters or dropping by radio stations, Wallach spends most of his time online, going through an average 100 to 200 e-mail messages a day. “We respond to every single e-mail we get,” he said. “I do an hour in the morning and an hour at night.
Former NERD, Man Of Style & Substance
From his humble beginnings as a scribe on Wreckx-N-Effect’s 1992 hit “Rump Shaker,” Pharrell moved up in the world to become a household name with NERD and a coveted music producer (who may or may not be dating Rihanna, apparently). He represents an entire generation of entrepreneurial, stylish men who are enjoying great success (he the most so) in the music/fashion arenas, as well as exemplary cross-over successes who continue to reinvent themselves on an almost daily basis.
The inaugural trailblazers list recognizes men from a wide range of professions–they are linked only by their ability to live the life of a made man. This year’s honorees include: hip-hop legend Pharrell Williams, Gossip Girl creator Josh Schwartz, pork-belly impresario David Chang, Avatar leading man Sam Worthington, and Charlie Villanueva, the first NBA player to talk to fans on Twitter during a game. MadeMan.com and Break Media Recognized 2009’s Best and Brightest on July 29th Bash in New York. In a world full of quasi-celebrities, short-lived Internet sensations, and one-hit wonders, some men still stand out as true leaders in their fields, and they deserve to be honored. Break Media and MadeMan.com, the ultimate online men’s lifestyle destination, have selected a list of 50 men who exemplify the image of a made man, and are fit to be called trailblazers. The motto of MadeMan.com, “Wit, Wisdom, and Women,” will be on full display in New York on July 29th when MadeMan hosts an exclusive invitation-only party honoring this year’s trailblazers. The full list of names and more information on the party can be found at mademan.com.
Klue.com: Do you think your friends Nigo and Pharrell have sold out to big brands like Louis Vuitton?
Verbal: Street doesn’t have to connotate a low price range. When I first saw Pharrell, he was wearing a trucker hat when it wasn’t even in. He had on a Billabong T-shirt. I don’t think a lot of hip-hop artists at that time really wore Billabong. Maybe it’s cool in Virginia, where he’s from, but it transcends cultural borders. Nigo just started out pressing T-shirts at home. I don’t think he thought it’d blow up. About the Louis Vuitton thing, I think they’re just trying to take it to the next level because these big brands are interested in what they’ve been neglecting for many years. Pharrell, Nigo and Kanye are trying to go there and change high fashion. I wouldn’t say it’s selling out. They’re trying to change it from the bottom up.
Teyana Taylor broke down and cried after reading positive comments written about her in the blogosphere. The 18-year-old Harlem native became increasingly emotional while scrolling through various posts from her fans. “I’m not sad ya’ll,” she said wiping the tears from her face. “It’s tears of joy.” While reading remarks ranging from “I love you Teyana,” to “You are such an inspiration,” Taylor got so emotional that she could barely speak. “The reason why this is so special to me is because I go on blogs and I read the comments and the mean things that people [write] about me every single day. This might seem little to everybody else but this is really big to me. I never seen comments like this before. I’ve never really seen a whole bunch of people come together and support me.”
Teyana Taylor – From A Planet Called Harlem (2009)
Producers & Guests: Hit Boy, The Neptunes, Jazze Pha, Bangladesh, Mad Scientist, Kelis, Frost, Shondre, Six Sense…
- Color Me Pink
- Young Girl feat. Eve
- Traffic Stop (Hit Boy)
- Google Me (Jazze Pha)
- Complicated (Hit Boy)
- Switch It Up (Neptunes)
- Good Enough
- Naah Mean
- Rock Star (Jazze Pha)
- I Feel Alive (Spinnin’) feat. Pharrell (Neptunes)
- Kisser (Neptunes)
Okay, i know we’re all sick of all those Clipse interviews where they talk the same stuff again and again but this one is a good one, well they talk again about everything we already know but it’s a funny interview, check it out. Thanks To Skitzo.
Update: July 31st
„A blogger friend of mine contacted RT’s management to get the facts on the song. I’m not sure if it was Neil or not but he was told that the song was old and would not be on the album. He later removed the song from his site. He put up the explanation on his website and twitter site but I doubt any of the other sites care enough to correct it. They are not embarrassed by the song, they just don’t like anyone thinking it’s the first single or a new recording. They also think Scott Storch was the one to leak it. Some of the links have been removed but once something hits the net, you can never get it back.“ Thanks To Cynic27.
Update: July 27th
Robin Thicke is currently working on his 4th Studio Album which is due end of the year and a new Thicke track just leaked called “Dirty It Up” produced by Scott Storch, pretty nice tune sounds unfinished though and its good to see Storch back producing.
Robin Thicke – Dirty It Up (Scott Storch)
Robin Thicke – 4th Studio Album (2009)
Producers & Guests: Jeffrey Bahsker, The Surf Club, The Neptunes, Swizz Beatz…
Virginia duo The Clipse are known just as well for their cocaine affiliation as they are for their clever rhymes about the street life and what to do with all that money. However I just got word this morning that the two may be checking into Detox or already have. Of course I’m talking about the long awaited mythical Detox album from Dr. Dre. The album is said to be near completion after a decade and the finishing touches are now being put on it.
The Clipse I’m hearing were called in last weekend and instantly agreed to be a part of the project, writing for Dre. Other people known to be working on Detox are of course Eminem, 50 Cent, and others such as Jay-Z, and even Kanye West. I’m not sure I even care about this album anymore. I’m just waiting for it to drop, if it ever will and that’s it. in any case though this is definitely a good look for The Clipse. These two deserve any kind of shine they get so congrats to them.
You know that Avery Storm’s first solo album is going to be interesting when, prior to its September release, some of his recent efforts include one of the few remixes of Jay-Z’s “Death of Autotune” off the Jiggaman’s soon-to-be-heard, Blueprint 3. Avery is among a handful of producers who somehow got his hands on the instrumental, then overlaid vocals. His remixing talent is just a taste of what’s to come, though. Avery recently played me a batch of new material off his new album, Shotgun Love, at Quad Studios in New York. The songs are filled with the kind of beats ideal for summertime blasting from cars and clubs both. The songs are hot, and Nelly seems to think so too. After all, Shotgun Love is being released on the rapper’s Derrty Entertainment label with a slew of guest producers and artists. Pharrell backs him too—not so bad to have two heavyweights already in your corner.
Avery is still figuring out the album’s sequence; he has a mere 300 tracks to choose from. “The way I’m going to narrow it down is what is most accurate to me at the moment and most true. But I’m pretty much already there and know what it’s going to be—about 13 songs in total.” Avery played me the album’s single, “Not Like My Girl,” featuring rapper Rick Ross with The Runners producing, plus “Terrified” featuring Jadakiss, “My Life”, “Mistakes”, and the album’s namesake intro “Shotgun Love.” “Terrified” is my personal favorite; it’s heavy, and hearing it for the first time in a soundproof studio at highest possible volume with Avery singing along was certainly an experience.
Avery Storm & Pharrell
60 Rappers In 60 Days
The VA boys are making the album you’ve been dreaming about. The Clipse are ready to get what they deserve. After years of being acknowledged as hip hop’s most lyrical duo, the brothers Thornton want more. Til The Casket Drops (Re-Up Gang/Columbia), their third album (on their third record label), drops this summer and they’re taking calculated steps to make sure they win big critically—and commercially. VIBE caught up with Terrence “Pusha T” Thornton, 32, and Gene “Malice” Thornton, 36, to talk about how they’ll sneak in those slick rhymes, when the rap game got real, and why your favorite song isn’t on their radar.
VIBE: The Neptunes handled most of the production on your last two albums—what’s changed?
Pusha T: I think that this album was just about growth and catering to the fans. I think that a lot of people wanted to hear us on other production. I think that was the biggest thing. I think people love the Clipse but [we’d] always hear, “Yo, we wanna hear y’all on such and such and so and so.” And it’s a growing point for the Clipse. It was like, Damn, let’s venture out and make every part of this album an event. There’s a couple features on the album that aren’t just family-oriented. We worked with different producers. Everything just needs to be different and eventful.
V:It sounds like you’re tight-lipped about who you’re working with. Can you let a couple secrets out of the bag on the production end?
P: On the production end you got Sean C & LV…DJ Khalil…Swizz Beatz. You got The Neptunes. You got Nottz. On the feature tip, we got Cam’Ron. We got Kanye West. That’s what’s etched in stone as of right now.
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