07.30.12Interview with Mpho Muthubi

Mpho is a new friend of mine. Already, I have had with him some of the most inspiring conversations I have ever known. He is a brilliant and selfless human being. He gives of himself to the world unconditionally. 

I'm really excited how this interview turned out. Mpho really answered some questions. Really great stuff.

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06.24.12FreeBear Bringing Live Music Back To The Sink

FreeBear performs every Thursday at the Sink on the Hill in Boulder. 10pm-1pm

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01.19.12Swaager Article - THiCK CHiCK

Saturday night was jam-packed full of booty shaking all around the state of Colorado. The second night of STS9’s sold-out show at Fillmore Auditorium might have been the highlight event, unless of course you were in the Vail Valley. If you were in any way, shape, or form like we were that night, then you would know that the only cure for the Broncos crushing loss to the Patriots was to head over to Agave to catch some of the best up-and-coming Colorado musicians. The sold-out show featured the ever popular Robotic Pirate Monkey, THiCK CHiCK (comprised of Tucker Wilde, Hunter Phillips, and Charlie Meyer), and Vail local, Teddy Huxxtable (check out our interview with him here).

If THiCK CHiCK’s name would suggest anything, one would assume that these guys are two goofballs who know how to have a good laugh. Well don’t assume anything; these guys take life way too seriously and were boring as shit to interview…just playing. Check out our conversation with them below to gain some insight on their love for Tebow, their hate for the Patriots, and what their goals are for 2012.

After a drunken bus ride from Vail Village to the sold-out Agave in Avon, we were immediately greeted with the sounds of Teddy Huxxtable. A fresh face on the EDM scene, he is quickly making a name for himself in the Vail Valley – opening for such acts as Eliot Lipp (a Swaager favorite) as well as GRiZ a couple weeks ago (read our review here).

Aside from our whacky interview with THiCK CHiCK, the highlight of the night was their actual performance. THiCK CHiCK, much like many other EDM acts such as Pretty Lights, Eliot Lipp, and Emancipator, are incorporating ACTUAL instruments as part of their live sets. Tonight, we had the pleasure of listening to Danny Meyer join the trio – a kid who literally approached the group with eight pages of written music and offered his services to play along side them. This was their first live performance together and the sax made for an incredible addition as the four musicians played harmoniously together.

To close the night out, Robotic Pirate Monkey, aka Matt Berryhill, Matt Flesher, and Andrew Hathaway, put the icing on the cake by performing an incredible set that had the mixed crowd of snowboarders and skiers dancing and shaking. The three members complement each other wonderfully and it is evident by the nights’ performance that their live act is nearing perfection.


SWAAGER: You guys are from Massachusetts. Are you guys are hardcore Patriots fans? How do you feel about Tebow?

Thick Chick: I’ve a lot of respect for Tebow as an athlete, but at the same time, where’s your God now [laughs]? He’s just the man. If you’re a quarterback in the NFL, you’re the man. He’s slamming the hottest shorty right now. Well, apparently not slamming because he’s really religious, but probably copping dome.

Swaager: So as a musician, do you look up to Tebow for being the man?

Thick Chick: No, no, no. See, that’s where you’re wrong. Tebow looks up to us. He likes God… and Thick Chick kind of is God [laughs].

Swaager: You guys just put out a new album, how do you feel about it?

Thick Chick: Great, really well. We’re trying to release more music, more often and recently locked down sound engineers, which will really help us with mastering that kind of thing. There are so many DJ’s in Colorado, what sets you apart is playing all your own music. That’s why RPM is killing it right now – the people who produce are really a step ahead. That’s why we’re so proud of all of our music because it’s all produced by us.

Swaager: That’s awesome, so you think Colorado has its own distinguished music scene, or is it like this all around the nation?

Thick Chick: I think Colorado is a mecca. Denver has a dubstep scene unlike any other, but Boulder is the same kind of deal, just a little more mature. Everybody knows what they like and they’re going to go to shows that they like and they’re not going to go to shows that they don’t like. As opposed to our friends out on the East Coast, there aren’t a lot of big shows like this. Their outlets are house DJs and dubstep Djs at bars. In Boulder, you have to go to Conor O’Neill’s to hear live music. They’re a real refreshing spot.

SWAAGER: So tell us, where do you see EDM heading in the future?

Thick Chick: That’s an interesting question. I think electronic music in general has nowhere to go, but up. We, as in people our age that are into music, give or take ten years; we are just the beginning. There is a lot more to be had. It’s an interesting place right now because there is so much going on in the electronic world right now, everybody is trying to fuse with live music while keeping it electronic. In the past ten years, electronic music has become the mainstream music. It’s crazy. I’ve seen Skrillex and Knife Party in commercials. It’s an incredible thing. What we’re trying to do primarily… number one: appease the crowd, appease our friends who really love this kind of music and number two: keep progressing, keep incorporating live music and our roots into everything we do. We want to make our sound better by incorporating live instruments because I think they makes our sound better by tenfold.

SWAAGER: Has it been difficult incorporating drummers and saxophone players into your sound?

Thick Chick: Drumming was pretty easy. Tonight we played with Danny Meyer – our drummer Charlie couldn’t make it. We practiced with Charlie twice a week for three or four months, but he came in learned all of our tracks and he killed it. He knows exactly where we’re going with our music and it was tough for him because he was hopping in on a project we had already started. We didn’t know how it was going to go, but it went pretty well. In fact, electronic music is produced on computer programs and is so on beat that a drummer can easily hop in; they know when the drops are going to happen, everything in time.

SWAAGER: What about incorporating the saxophone into your sound?

Thick Chick: Saxophone, I’d never met this kid before that came and played with us and he was incredible. He came to our show with seven or eight pages printed out of our music in actual musical notation; it was incredible. He’s an educated saxophone player, meaning he went to school for actual saxophone or jazz music, he’s super talented and super devoted. He was referenced to us by a friend, we spoke to him on the phone, sent him a track list and music, we’d never practiced in the studio with him or anything like that, this was literally first time we’d played with him. He listened to our tracks, put it all out on a musical staff and learned it like nothing else. We’re definitely going to have him back. We’ll definitely play with him at the Snowball Music Festival.

SWAAGER: Is that the direction you’d like to take your music more towards – live instruments?

Thick Chick: We think it sounds good, incorporating live music into our sound. It really fills up our sound, which is needed. We’re still pretty much amateur producers, but we’re still doing it. We’re learning new things everyday, but with the live musicians our sound is fuller and we really like that effect a lot. We don’t want to over do it, that’s not our intention. We brought in the drummer because we thought that would add a live human aspect that would be more natural that people could relate to more easily in a show. Whenever we make tracks, we always try to throw instruments from the horn family into it. That’s one of our favorite things to do. Once we brought the drummer on we were like, hell, why not try it with a saxophone player? Which is awesome.

SWAAGER: There are so many DJs out there who play remixes, but when they bring out live musicians, the crowd just falls in love with the show even more.

Thick Chick: To see the saxophone player play note for note, we gave him our set as a music file. He didn’t see any of the actual notes, he just figured it out himself. We were just blown away. Just to see that was so refreshing.

SWAAGER: Do you think for Snowball Music Festival you will bring out live instruments for your show?

Thick Chick: Without a doubt. Minimum, worst-case scenario, it will just be our drummer, Charlie. We’ll see, we haven’t even started our relationship with the saxophone player, this is just the beginning.

SWAAGER: How old are you?

Thick Chick: Twenty-three.

SWAAGER: The further you go into electronic music, the more you’re hearing pieces and samples of older generations of music on the scene today. Do you feel that you incorporate diverse musical genres into your sound?

Thick Chick: Oh yeah, sampling is half our attraction to techno music. The fact that you can take a heavy bass line and then you throw in a beautiful voice like Ella Fitzgerald or Aretha Franklin, put it in the same key with heavy ass kick drum and dominant synth and wow, it’s beautiful music.

SWAAGER: That’s awesome though. We really appreciate you guys. Young people, making it work, especially pulling out a crowd like this. It’s amazing. You clearly love what you do; this is your life. What more could you ask for?

Thick Chick: It’s the best. It’s been a great ride and we’re only going up from here. We’ll see where it takes us.

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08.24.11Anne Herbst's Denver Post Article

Great video. Prairie Dogs. Red Rocks. Anne is Awesome.

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07.28.11Ron Miles Interview

This is an interview that I did last year with Ron Miles. I finally finished transcribing, editing, and posting it. The interview covers Ornette Coleman, Public Enemy, playing with Bill Frisell, and much more. Hope you enjoy. 

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05.30.11Praire Dogs

An article about me and prairie dogs and practicing. Very fun. Video at the link.

The saxophone stylings of Danny Meyer have entertained a diverse sampling of audiences from music students to jazz aficionados in upscale bars to novice audiences seated for house concerts to prairie dogs perched on their burrows.

Yes, prairie dogs.

That shirtless man of mystery
Musician Danny Meyer takes one of his regular outdoor saxophone practice sessions on open space alongside Pearl Parkway in Boulder on Monday. ( PAUL AIKEN )
seen blowing his horn in prairie dog fields east of downtown Boulder on warm afternoons is none other than 26-year-old Meyer. While he says he's not playing for the burrowing rodents alone, they make a good audience.

"I'm playing because it's a lot of work to be a musician, and it's nice to practice outside," Meyer said. "But I like that there are prairie dogs there."

Meyer said he heard that prairie dogs can get to know people and make different sounds associated with specific people. And although it has taken the furry spectators some time to get to know Meyer -- who frequently strolls their fields with no shirt, dark sunglasses and saxophone in tow -- he said he seems to have finally become familiar to them.

"I've been noticing that they seem to run away less," he said.

Meyer said he can't be sure the prairie dogs are actually listening to and enjoying his playing. But one can hope.

"I hope I'm not bothering them," Meyer said, adding that they seem to be at least somewhat interested in jazz. "At least they haven't done anything rude."

Meyer, a Boulder native, has been playing the saxophone since age 10, and he has performed across the United States alongside noted musicians like Theo Peoples, who sang in the Motown group The Temptations, and John Popper of the band Blues Traveler.

Meyer graduated from the University of Colorado School of Music and now teaches at the Parlando School for the Arts in Boulder, Boulder Country Day School, Justice High School and the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts.

And he performs regularly -- and not just for small animals in fields along the side of the road. He has a house concert series on tap in June and will play at Colorado College in Colorado Springs on June 14. Meyer said he practices four to six hours a day, and two years ago, he missed the entire summer because of his musical dedication.

"So I tried to find a place outside, and I found that place over on Pearl" Street, Meyer said.

He can be seen playing, often shirtless, in the field on the south side of Pearl Street just west of its intersection with 55th Street on any given sunny afternoon.

"No one has told me that I'm bothering anybody," he said. "So I just go and practice."

But rumor has spread about the mysterious saxophonist who entertains prairie dogs in an "only-in-Boulder" sort of way.

"People do stop and listen," he said. "And every once in a while, people will want to take a picture of me."

Meyer said he never realized the perception his public playing might create.

"But it occurred to me that I do walk by a busy street," he said, adding that the rumors about his affection for prairie dogs are "hilarious."

"I guess I should wear a shirt," he said.

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03.31.11Great Article about Carmen Sandim

Go Carmen.

01.26.11New Performance Dates added

Dates with Carmen Sandim feat. Ron Miles
Dates with Art Lande's Funko Moderno
Dates playing my music.
Oh my.

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09.18.10New Video and Recordings

I have a youtube channel now. It's full of videos. Check it out at the link. 
Also, some new (old) recordings in the listening section. These are recordings from 2008 that I've been meaning to put up for a while (Etude for Improvisation 1 by Pause and Pause by Pause. Have a nice day. ~ Danny

07.28.10Recordings from July 20th at Dazzle

I've posted two recordings from my July 20th Show at Dazzle with Kent McLagan and Chris Lee - Really Yellow Blues and Boulder Goose. You can find them in the listening area.

06.08.10Etudes for Improvisation!

Etudes for Improvisation are finally starting to go up. You can find them in Projects. The fancy ones took a long time to make, so I hope you enjoy them.

06.07.10New Music...

Some new tracks in the listening area.

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05.30.10Lelah Simon gets a great review from Canada!

Yeah! Canada knows what's up.
This a really nice review of the record I made with Lelah's band last year.

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12.01.09Sebastion Albu - Musca Volitans

I'm on Sebastian Albu's new record, Musca Volitans.

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07.21.09Lelah Simon gets reviewed in the Examiner.

Go Lelah.

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07.20.09Lelah Simon - Third Week of April...

...has been released. It's beautiful. It's too cool for school. It makes a great Christmas gift every month of the year. Check it out. 

Lelah Simon (bass), Paul Romaine (drums), Chris Mosley (guitar, vocals), Danny Mayer (tenor sax) and Carmen Sandim (keyboards) . 

“She is what the early Nineties buzz would have dubbed a “young jazz lion(ess).” – Linda Gruno, Denver Examiner

'Simon captures that sparkle of early spring with nearly all of her original compositions, especially "Morning, Sunshine" and "Lily of the Valley."' - Jon Solomon, Westword