Introducing The Maya Spectra Part III: Donald Peña Jr by Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

For the past few weeks at Anima Artist Management, we have been slowly introducing to you one of the most eclectic musical trios around. In “Introducing The Spectra,” the Anima Blog has taken the time to get a true taste of what it takes to bring three creative minds together.

In the third and final installment of the series, we will be introducing Donald Peña Jr, guitar player and former “B-Boy.” Unlike most musicians who started their craft young, Donald discovered his love of “B-Boying” or breakdancing through his friends and cousins. From hearing the music of James Brown, Erykah Badu, A Tribe Called Quest, and a slew of 90s Hip Hop, Donald began his relationship with music in a very different way than most instrumentalists.

 

At the age of 17 and still practicing his passion in dance, brother and musical partner Julian Peña received a guitar for his birthday. After dabbling with Julian’s guitar, Donald began to slowly foster what would later become a serious interest in the instrument. As we read in the last installment, Julian would eventually trade the guitar in for drumsticks.

After graduating in high school in 2003, Donald began studying Psychology, while also attempting to invent his own method of playing guitar. After seeing Julian’s progress with learning an instrument through traditional methods, he would later change his own style to help him reach his full potential.

Due to this experience as a B-Boy, Donald took the rhythm and elements he learned through his former passion and incorporated it instrumentally with the guitar. Later, he would begin to tune into more progressive rock, as well as garnering more inspiration for the guitar.

After dropping out of school, Donald began playing the guitar almost constantly, finding ways to develop his craft and turning it into something great.

Artists like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Bill Evans gave Donald inspiration through their playing styles, as well as specific training in the realm of jazz guitar.

Donald’s contributions to The Maya Spectra are not unlike what his other two counterparts wish to accomplish. While the band includes many global sounds, Donald makes it a point to avoid appropriation of culture, and only bring appreciation and acknowledgement to those genres. A melody for Donald can start as easily as sequencing a sound on a guitar, while also mentioning the slow and thoughtful process that the trio can go through in developing their sound.

Refined ideas are the name, and creating a balanced artistic synergy from jamming are the game. Donald’s unconventional musical journey from B-Boying to learning jazz elements on guitar offers a unique perspective to The Maya Spectra. From his own words, working with the group is like opening a “hodge-podge of artistic vessels and conduits” that come together in essential moments.

We want to thank The Maya Spectra for allowing us to detail their journey’s up to this point, and thank the readers for tuning in every few weeks for the skinny on how their music comes together.

Stay tuned for their full-length upcoming LP, as well as tuning into their last release, Music Box E.P. available on Bandcamp

Donald Peña Jr

The Maya Spectra 

Arietta Releases Introspective "Turn Of Fate" (Summer Liquid Mix) by Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

Inspiration can become reality at the tip of a hat, or sometimes can much slower and arduous process. In drum + bass maven Arietta’s case, a rush of emotion and looking back over one’s shoulder can create enough material for a new DJ mix. If you’ve been keeping up with the mistress behind the boards, Arietta’s style and recent tracks have evolved to a point where most artists hope to venture sonically.

Arietta gets intensely introspective and personal with her newly released 40 minute mix she unexpectedly stayed up, on a singular night making. Almost like a personal “greatest hits” of life, the artist herself compiled every track she felt the need to “let go” of in the past year, and completely analyze what has transpired in the current stage of her life. In her own words, she believes the only way to reconcile her emotions with these tracks was to do a proper farewell in an unplanned mix.

 

The “Turn of Fate” Summer Liquid Mix is Arietta on the raw, and certainly contains emotional brevity for any listener who has followed her work. Unlike her usual meticulous stylings, this mix highlights an impromptu attitude that contains imperfections that only contribute to the humanity of the set. Arietta’s approach to this mix comes off as a much more ambient and softer side that isn’t always found in her “harder” sets.

“Turn of Fate” marks an important moment in her catalog as the present meets the past, and is a proper send-off to everything that has culminated into her career up to this point. As chaotic as the sounds can get, Arietta is the anchor holding the mixes together and truly delivers a set with history and soul.

Check out the mix through the link above.

Johnlukeirl Releases Psychotic Mix and Experimental Minimalist Track by Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

 

For the past few weeks, Anima’s own Johnlukeirl has been busy in the studio crafting some juicy riffs. Known for his eclectic style of combining not-oft-heard sounds with heavy Juke elements, these two new tracks capture the controlled chaos he is known for.

LIT8 is a welcome return to form as energetic, pounding percussion fades in and out with a slew of samples in this 28:18 - length mix. What makes this track especially exciting, is the careful balance between chaos and melody. Mixed with organic sounds only a Hollywood sound engineer could access, Johnlukeirl solidifies LIT8 into his catalog. By the end of the mix, you are treated to a hyphy set of sounds that make you question how all those sounds came together.

Next on the menu, Johnlukeirl has a little experiment called “Holly - Demo 1949 (JOHNLUKEIRL Battle Remix). After being exposed to a plethora of sound in the first track we featured, Holly is a musical test in minimalism that delivers just enough punch, reminiscient of a Sega Genesis game soundtrack. Holly takes you to the next level as you sit back and absorb a bare-bones mix that contains more surprises than you might think.

Check out the links above and listen to both of the tracks now!

 

JOHNLUKEIRL

Anima Potpourri Party Playlist by Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

 

Once a week we will be posting lists of tunes we think should be on your everyday playlist. We will be showcasing all artists, from those right at home in Anima, to everything from the popular to obscure. Check out the links below for a blast of fresh air:

Arietta - In The Air (WYGHT Remix) 

Sonofawhatsherface - Transcendent

Leandro De Silva & Gary Chaos - Cafe (Jack of Diamonds ReRub)

Reflectis Indexia Featuring Judy Garland - Promise Land / Get Happy

GRiZ & Big Gigantic - Good Times Roll (Ephwurd Remix

Jam out to these five tracks as a meager appetizer, and stay tuned for next week when we lay ten new tracks that you absolutely need on your everyday playlists. 

RESIST VOL 2: In the Air with Arietta is OUT! by Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

In the second installment of Anima Artist Management’s releases otherwise known as The RESIST Project, Arietta presents her powerhouse collection of tracks for her E.P. dedicated to the troubling acts of discrimination in all forms, all around the globe. The “In the Air” E.P. will feature a slew of accomplished artists ranging from those at home with Anima and some exciting surprise appearances.

Although Arietta is known for her meticulous musings in the world of Drum and Bass, Binary Hertz and WYGHT from Anima will be delivering some of their best work yet from the world of house, and dark techno. Surprising guest appearances on the E.P. show WB x MB flexing their seasoned Dubstep gains, while other guest spots occupied by the diverse multi-genre Jersey Trap maven Matalo and full-time bassist aficionado, Kaveh Rastegar, who shares credits with the likes of Sia, John Legend, Kneebody, and his own entire merits that keep the virtuoso-vibes flowing. 

Don’t worry on missing out on your usual Drum and Bass fix, because almost every track contains left-over stylings from Arietta herself. Each artist is giving their take on a musically complex piece of work that visits each of the genres mentioned above. While the term “discrimination” may have a tone of generality, the RESIST Project is using this E.P to highlight a topic very close to Arietta’s heart, and to bring focus to minority groups, individuals, and life stories that have ever stood in the face of adversity; be that race, sexuality, gender-identity, religious, or minority status.

“In the Air,” as a work for music stands for something bigger, and the RESIST Project is encouraging you to stand up to those who disparage others based on the elements above. If we can “resist” the elements of oppression that pit us against each-other globally, we can come together as a stronger community, and take one step closer to living side-by-side. 

Check out the new E.P. on Soundcloud and get your own copy on Beatport!

 

Introducing The Maya Spectra Part II: Julian Peña by Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

 

 

In the second installment of our “Meet The Maya Spectra” series, we are taking the time to introduce the next mastermind of sound, partly responsible for the vibes and production behind the trio: Julian Peña. Like most budding musicians, his fascination with music came at an early age, singing and air drumming along to his favorite songs and beats, eventually picking up the violin in second grade. Upon reaching the age of 11, Julian egged his parents on for drum or guitar lessons, and hung up the violin for the drum sticks. While carrying a background in the genre of jazz  during his youth, Julian simultaneously began covering classic rock songs and delved into the genre of progressive rock with his brother, Donnie.

On terms of his contributions to The Maya Spectra, Julian Peña displays his own eclectic background within his own means of production, as well as a plethora of cultural, educational, and personal experiences that have shaped his style and world-view. As someone who brings the best of his musical experiences forward when contributing his work to the band, Julian brings his original love of Hip Hop, R&B, progressive rock, and experience with Jazz to incorporate a variety of sounds and inspiration mixed with what he has heard on a global scale. As a musician, Julian stresses how lucky he has been to have had instructors who have fostered the importance of being well-rounded and exposed to many different kinds of sounds.

As an individual, Julian is still learning to balance the precarious juggling act of being a producer, mixer, and drummer within the band. While drumming may be a more natural fit for him, the man himself is incorporating everything that he understands musically to hone his skills fervently to push out the most polished musical products, and push out sounds that rival the mixing of authentic world-drum sounds, and modern drum machines.

On terms of working with his bandmates, brother Donald “Donnie” Peña, and vocalist/friend Janel Blanco, Julian stresses the power of the trio itself, and is careful not to take too much credit. As mentioned in the last edition of the series, much of Maya Spectra’s never-heard-before production stylings come from a collection of musical experiences, global sounds, and their own human experience that stems from them acting as a cohesive trio. In finding their inspiration through various traditional jamming sessions not normally found in the electronic community, they are able to bring their carefully crafted ideas together until they find that specific sound they are truly looking for. In a way, this diversity of sound is molding what the trio coins as, “Omnigenre.”

Although you may know that The Maya Spectra will be releasing a full-length LP in the near future, you can check out their older sounds through their Music Box E.P. available on Bandcamp. This E.P. touches on many of the sounds that Julian and the gang have explored, but also don’t forget to stay tuned for new material; like a snowflake, The Maya Spectra’s sound is constantly evolving.

 

Julian Peña

The Maya Spectra 

Introducing The Maya Spectra Part I: Janel Blanco by Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

Photography by Dino Webb

Photography by Dino Webb

The Maya Spectra are the newest trio on the scene bringing unconventional sounds to the world of electronic. While a portion of their inspiration comes from their multicultural and urban backgrounds, all three members of the band are musical powerhouses who bring their training, as well as their creative camaraderie, completely “gung-ho” compared to their counterparts in the scene. In this series of Anima Artist Management’s blog faithful to everything electronic, we are giving you the skinny on each member of The Maya Spectra, and hopefully giving you a little more insight on how the band comes together as a creative big-bang.

What makes The Maya Spectra unique as a group, is not only their dedication in achieving the most fine-tuned product of their music, but also regularly “jamming” as a traditional band to throw ideas around, and develop their “off-the-cuff” ideas. In this edition of the series, you’ll get a quick profile on Janel Blanco, the woman behind the voice who has served as the trio’s vocalist.

Right off the bat, Janel’s penchant for “going with the flow,” and embracing what her voice provides made her a fit for the group from the very start. As a musician and vocalist, Janel got her foundations from her performance-art-orientated mother and father, who possessed backgrounds from the street culture of Hip-Hop, being immersed in the genre of R+B, and her mother’s own world of dance, being part of a B-Boy crew. Janel followed in her parents footsteps and embraced a plethora of her cultural background to shape the diverse artist she is today.

Upon going to school in Santa Fe and meeting Julian and Donald Pena, all three of them were exposed to sounds they had never heard before, and sound-structures that were indeed unfamiliar to what we know as the electronic music industry. In developing her unique vocal style, Janel emphasizes she is “not a powerhouse,” but someone who “takes it as it comes.” On terms of developing her vocal style, she feels that being in The Maya Spectra has helped her express her style from a plethora of life experience that she can interpret in the form of sound and song.

Janel has been instrumental in providing vocals for the group, and can be heard in their “Music Box E.P.” with full-force. One thing we mentioned that The Maya Spectra comes together spectacularly as, is their ability to work together as a trio. Janel see’s her voice as “always changing,” and is more than happy to be laying down vocals for a group that not only lets her reach the range of her vocal expression, but also make her own contribution to The Maya Spectra’s “Omnigenre” movement. The careful quality to Janel’s mindset aides herself in learning more about her own inner workings; in being open to the sounds her voice may produce naturally, she is on the cutting edge of developing riffs, chords, and slick ideas on the fly to make some of their best tunes. Don’t mistake her entire game for improv, for although sometimes her best ideas can arrive by accident, she feels her ideas arrive best as well through premeditated vibrations.

With the wonderful stylings of Janel in-mind, The Maya Spectra has big plans for a full-length album coming up, and in the mean-time, check out a sample of their awesome tunes from their music video for Music Box.

 

 

Janel Blanco

The Maya Spectra

State Of The Union 2017: Building the Future of Electronic by Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

While we as fans may think the initial boom of everything electronic has zoomed past us seven to eight years ago, 2017 has proved to not only be a controversial year in global politics, but one in which multiple mediums are blurring their lines; crossing the divide in which things like music, politics, and everything we knew as sanctimonious, are currently being demolished by both our own means, and the means of others. Although these changes in our lives (without naming specific presidents, musical artists, and other controversial figures) are proving themselves to be both terrifying and exciting, there exists a very clear cultural power vacuum that not even our own president can inhabit. This cultural power vacuum (similar to the sort of terminology associated with the world of politics) may seem empty for the time being, but figuratively represents something bigger than all of us.

Do you remember the years of 2008 to 2010 in music? Even if you don’t remember exact dates, these were the formative years in what most of us either rejoiced or reviled with the term: “EDM.” Many will tell you this rebranding of American Rave Culture not only took America and the world by storm (in which that storm has not yet settled), but it managed to drive the industry in two directions: one in which the American mainstream and larger companies wanted to consolidate rave culture for a more palpable and homogeneous audience that brings these genres to the mainstream, and one that wanted to retain the creative control over their work and continue the growth of their cultural platform without the semantics of a mainstream crowd. It’s a double-edged sword for most: many artists in the industry wish to hit the mainstream like their forefathers who founded the boom, but don’t wish to fall into the trap of the mainstream audience that have the chance of compromising their creative journey and message.

For the sake of argument, please do not misunderstand me: of course there are more than two factions in the industry at this time. Nothing is as clear as black and white, but for the sake of backstory and archivism, this is the most succinct way to sum up a history that has not been written. What does the state of the industry have to do with the state of our global consciousness, namingly, this “power vacuum?”

We are currently reaching a tipping point, as it has been almost nine to ten years since this boom occurred. As any history major can tell you, a decline is almost inevitable after a surge of increased popularity and revenue, and this progression of sorts has became worrying to the intellectuals and the artists of the industry. While we are in no danger of losing the output level of our music, and the rate of new artists are flooding the gates at record rate, there has been ultimately no progression in the “rhetoric” since during, and before this boom of EDM up until this point.

For example, while consistency has always been a trademark in the Arizona scene, no written history yet exists for an ultimately important part of our culture. This schism detailed above also clashes with the mainstream, who almost wishes to reject the former ideals of raving and even documenting these older experiences due to the non-mainstream-friendly ideals of drug abuse, partying, and informal gatherings.

Not to mention that the mainstream has also decidedly nominated genres such as house, dubstep, and more progressive genres as “acceptable,” yet smaller sub-genres are still working hard to make an impact due to this industry’s favor. In turn, this schism has blustered the original unity of the “rave culture” sentiment, just as much as it has blown up in the face of mainstream record executives. Those who once encouraged growth of the budding industry, but refused to accept the past of where it came from, as well as important artists from sub-genres that are shaping the industry, or have already made their mark.

The result of these ideals clashing are not the direct result of this cultural power vacuum, and I want to make it very clear that while this piece may seem to favor a non-mainstream rhetoric, claiming one side would be just as much poison to the movement as the poisons I am pointing out. In order to destroy this absence of cultural progression, we as fans, as well as artists, need to feel responsible for what we have created. The boom of the electronic music industry was not simply the magic “waving-of-a-wand” from music executives, it didn’t happen in just one word or step that a singular artist had chosen: this movement was built on the blood, sweat, and tears of artists, admirers, and fighters alike who not only wanted to share the love of their craft with those on the outside, but to remind everyone why we do this, and why we won’t cease even after the familiar passage of time takes its course.

We love the parties, we love the extracurriculars, and most importantly, we love the music; but just like the music we fostered up to this point into something great, we must continue to show care for this great beast of a genre we have created, and open all avenues. These styles of music are not just for the downtrodden, for the kids who can afford the V.I.P. packages, and not just for everyone who knows their way around sound-equipment; this “boom” is not just about the music, but an expression of whether we have the power to give it a sense of permanence. Yet, where is the permanence without the intellectual expression? This pieces serves as a plea not just for everyone who even enjoys the occasional drop in a very poppy piece, but is most importantly a plea for you: the same “you” that felt just as affected by the music before all this took place years ago, and the same “you” that is reading this piece today.

I will end this piece in informing you that this is not a state of panic, but a simple “state of the union.”. Those who say there is nothing wrong with this industry are dead wrong, but those who say there are nothing right are the exact sort of poison. The problems don’t lie within the music or image, but the lack of leash we do not possess on this “beast,” and the continuing intellectual negligence that has the potential to spearhead the death of the electronic boom.

The world is going under massive changes even upon the publication of this piece, and if I had to leave you with a few thoughts, I sincerely hope that you, the artist will still make music that is true to your heart, that you, the music executive will be open-minded to the industry’s constant changes; that you, the old-school raver will support your new-age counterparts even if they don’t mirror the exact image of what brought you up from the past, and lastly, you, the fan, who keeps the music alive with your listening sessions at 3 A.M. in your bedroom, understands the implications of carrying a culture on our backs, and is more than willing to fight to keep the work we have tirelessly crafted out of love, alive.

Johnlukeirl Joins the Anima Collective by candelaria alvarado

By Logan Rasmussen

For John Luke, AKA Johnlukeirl, his artistic growth has not only been arriving to the scene in full-speed, but has been taking no prisoners with his eclectic approach to Juke-inspired beats and eclectic stylings that attack every bit of the audience's senses. From transitioning from his former moniker (DJ Clap), Johnlukeirl is joining Anima Artist Management’s collective roster as an almost-unclassifiable artist packed with a rainforest of sound.  His more popular works like “Achieve Ur Dreamz” and the Vandalism EP (released on electronic mastermind, Daedelus' Magical Properties Label), and his recent mix for Dublab are not only known for their influences that derive from the past of electronic to the present, but capture a sort of controlled chaos only found by an artist that truly knows the soul of their style. At the height of his creativity, he not only takes clever riffs mixed with seldom-used sound-effects to make an aurally engaging interactive experience for his audiences, but displays the humanity in himself and his own inspirations from tracks that have meticulous detail.

What’s next for an artist who definitely knows what he wants from behind the boards? Johnlukeirl released a very special mix for us entitled “No Loitering;” this not only captures his paradox-style of self-contained chaos, but combines a multiple slew of stylings that paint an instrumental story of how his artistry has evolved up to this point.

In joining forces with Anima Artist Management, Johnlukeirl will now have the broad reach to bring on board the oldest ravers to newcomers of the genre to his movement. With his own sense of rebellion from genre norms, “No Loitering” will be just the beginning of a synth-tastic battle against the status-quo, and the placemark for the crucial part of the development of Johnlukeirl’s distinct sound. Check out his Soundcloud for the bombastic track itself, and feel the vibrations of “No Loitering” that will not only shock you with its offbeat stylings, but tie you in with its no-holds-barred approach.

WYGHT Is Going To “Bring It” With A Cause by candelaria alvarado

By Logan Rasmussen

From behind the boards, techno-maven, WYGHT is no stranger to crafting meticulously dark grooves that aren’t always as foreboding as they seem. Although he received his birthright in Phoenix, many of his production techniques have taken quite a bit of notes and inspiration from the Denver scene. 

Those familiar with his craft will ultimately recognize his naturally dark surroundings in the production, but what catches the listener’s ear are the groovy jungle-flanging bass that adds rays of sunshine to the denser beats. “Bring It” gives way to WYGHT’s musical philosophy of no abandon; We can always take the time to enjoy a fat, well-rounded track like this one, but “Bring It” was chosen for a higher purpose: WYGHT’s brand new track has been hand-selected to join the “Resist” project.

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The “RESIST” Project will showcase not only WYGHT’s “Bring It,” but also feature remixes and artist collaborations between artists like Binary Hertz, Arietta, Donald Glaude, Webang x Mister Black, and Laffit Rivas that showcase the need for political awareness in the electronic music community. While we are all about the party, Anima Artist Management is once again going against the traditional grain to release a series of E.P.’s, all focused on relevant global topics important to the artists.

Facing the first release in the series, “Bring It” will contain remixes with Arietta, Binary Hertz, and Laffit Rivas, and will be released in honor of the victims of terrorism, and all of who have affected by it. WYGHT believes this is the best track to release to the project as an E.P., for it is an “in-your-face” track that is almost inviting us as civilians to rise up against the rising tide of terror and violence.

There is no question that terrorism has many causes and effects, but WYGHT’s beliefs center around the fact that we are all members of this planet, and have a significant responsibility for tolerance, lack of submission, and a freedom of expression. Many acts of terror are caused by religious differences, political climates, and public outcry, but WYGHT is dedicating this E.P. to all those who have suffered under the harsh conditions these acts have provided. “Bring It” will bring awareness to challenge those who spread the hate, and displays all the strengths we need to provide peace. WYGHT’s song may be fire on the dancefloor, but it will be a piece of the bigger puzzle through the release’s intention, as well as further inspiring and educating the activist in all of us when the neon lights go black. 

Check out WYGHT’s “Bring It” E.P. which will not only be available on Beatport on Friday, April 21st, but also Bandcamp, where the proceeds will go to each charity mentioned on the official Bandcamp page.