Linus Stubbs, MindState, Nolens Volens | Buzz Blog
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Linus Stubbs, MindState, Nolens Volens



The City Weekly Music Awards' concerts have come and gone, and while many came and packed the venues we took over, I know full well some of you missed out on some badass shows. So as we tally up the final votes and get set for the closing party this Saturday at The Depot, let's go back and take a look at one of the shows you may have missed out on.

--- The Circle Lounge played host to two DJ's and a hip-hop duo this past Friday. Linus Stubbs kicked things off scratching his best works and left the crowd on the main floor wanting more. Followed up by MindState pushing out the finest rhymes and beats the hip-hop scene has to offer. And closing out was the techno punk himself, Andrew Glassett: aka Nolens Volens. The downside to the evening: the crowd wanted to hear Top 40 and wanted nothing to do with it. But in his rebellious spirit and punk roots, he flipped the crowd off and cranked the music on high until he was kicked out. (Incidentally, you all know the DJ never takes requests, right? They're not gonna play Black Eyed Peas just for you, they'll play whatever the hell they feel like.) Anyway, I took the opportunity to chat with all three acts from the night and took plenty of pictures for you to check out.

Linus Stubbs

Gavin: Hey Linus, first off, tell us a little about yourself.

Linus: Well, I grew up in Ogden and still live here. If I'm not working, I'm usually snowboarding and hanging out with family and good friends (I only like the good ones)! I've been making hip-hop beats since May of 2000.

Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Linus: Hands down, the person that got me started/interested in making beats would be my very good friend DJ Stef Boogie (formerly DJ Big Stefan). I used to see him DJing house parties in Ogden. I bootlegged his mixtape from one of my friends and played it constantly 'til the tape broke. After we were introduced and became good friends, I tagged along with him to gigs and parties helping him carry his records and turntables. One day I asked him, "Hey, can you teach me how to make beats?" So he helped me pick out some equipment and I've been hooked on making beats since. Some major influences for me would have to be: The Pharcyde, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang, Gangstarr, Madlib, J Dilla (RIP), and Pete Rock, just to name a few...

Gavin: How did you get involved working with others to record and produce tracks for albums?

Linus: I started uploading beats on Beat Society. This website was specifically designed to showcase beats from beatmakers for emcees to shop from. One week after I posted beats I sold my first to an emcee in Boston named Rume Kragha. When the website collapsed, I took the popular approach and started networking on MySpace, which helped me reach out to a lot more emcees locally and nationally. Lately I've relied on sites like blogs, Facebook, twitter and word-of-mouth.

Gavin: What was it like for you just starting out and honing your vocal and mixing skills?

Linus: Well, at the beginning I didn't really involve myself in recording vocals because I was just focused on making beats and sending them out to emcees. Most of the people I work with have their own studio or preference on how they record their vocals so I just leave the vocal recording to the artist.

Gavin: You've worked with about a dozen local musicians. Mindstate, Bad Apples, YZE and The Numbs just to name a few. What's it like for you having put your own touch on some of their work?

Linus: It's been great to be able to collaborate and provide beats to some of the best hip-hop artists in Utah. The Numbs, for example have been making music for a very long time so it's been an honor to work with emcees that have paid their dues. Every artist has their own style, so when they come to me asking for beats I try to give them a canvas that will accentuate their own style.

Gavin: What eventually persuaded you to do your own album?

I used to make beats late at night with my homie DJ Mynd (Josh Wangrud). We started a group together called Above The Clouds. We got to the point where we had made enough beats to compile them into an album. When his graphic design workload got too heavy, he stopped producing beats and I continued. I then chose to remix Nas' God's Son album. I called it 2nd Cousin Twice Removed and only printed 200 copies. After that I decided I wanted to put out an instrumental album (Panoramic) where the music didn't have to rely on an emcee to keep the attention of the listener. Music solely relying on the beats. 2nd Cousin and Panoramic can be found on my MySpace for free download.

Gavin: What was it like for you recording Panoramic, and did you prefer the DIY approach or did you wish you could have done a more professional touch on it?

Linus: When I was compiling beats for Panoramic I decided to incorporate different styles of beats, whether they being jazzy, funky, dark or boom bap. Not just focusing on one certain style, but portraying the whole picture. Hence the name. I prefer the DIY approach because personally I feel if a song sounds "over-produced" or "too professional" then it takes away from the feeling of the track. I want my beats to sound "dirty" such as having record static adding an extra element, giving the song an older or "vintage" feel.

Gavin: What did you think of the public reaction to it after its release?

Linus: After I released it I started receiving quite a few inquiries from emcees nationwide and from other countries such as Canada and Europe. Panoramic received a feature on a fairly popular Hip-Hop instrumental blog called And I guess I can't leave out that City Weekly gave me a four star review. Thanks!

Gavin: Last year you joined up with Taskrok to make Urban Life Of The Suburbanites. How was that experience for you, and what did you think of the hype it got afterward?

Linus: Working with such a skilled and clever emcee like Taskrok has been very rewarding. When I send him a beat I never worry because I know the final product will be quality. When we started working on Urban Life we sorta came up with a rough concept at first. Then the tracks just started to fall in place. I won't forget the time I first gave him a beat. I let him choose some beats from my library. I drove back to Ogden from his house in South Salt Lake. By the time I got home, he had the entire track written, recorded and waiting in my email inbox. This track is featured on the album and it's called "Twist Of Hate". The feedback we have received from this album has been good! It seems like everyone has their own favorite track which tells me we incorporated a lot of variety. I'm proud to say we have a song for everyone on this album.

Gavin: What new projects have you got going on at the moment, both yourself and other contributions?

Linus: Well, I've been pretty busy. Current projects include a Numbs/Linus album. Moon Blazers/Linus album (a hip-hop group from California). Another Task & Linus album is in the works as well as an album from my new group called MultiVersal including me, Taskrok and Philthy Phil. I'm also sharing production on an instrumental mixtape with DJ Handsome Hands, as well as contributing beats to a long list of emcees. Pat Maine, The Smash Brothas, MC Pigpen, Yze, Mindstate, Ill Poet, Animal Nation (Canada), plus a lot more.

Gavin: Down the road are you looking more at being a solo artist or focus more on producing?

Linus: At the moment I'm just trying to make as much music as I can. Eventually I'd like to work more with well-established, well-known emcees. But right now I need to focus on all the projects I have on my plate right now.

Gavin: Going state-wide for a bit, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Linus: Utah has a lot of talent when it comes to music in general. The Hip-Hop scene was hurting for awhile but I think in recent years it has made a turn for the better. People are starting to respect the grind that they see others doing. Ego's were getting in the way. We all just need to stay humble. We are all doing this for the love of music!

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it bigger or better?

Linus: We just need to keep respecting each other's grind. We need to show support simply by giving each other encouragement and help promote other artists, not just ourselves.

Gavin: Aside your own projects, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

Linus: I'd probably have to say MindState, The Smash Brothas and Pat Maine. As far as DJ's go, DJ Juggy, DJ Erockalypze, DJ Dao and DJ Handsome Hands. Oh, and I can't forget about Brisk Oner. He's probably the most talented DJ/Producer in Utah right now.

Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio these days and how its affecting local artists?

Linus: Roots Rawka from KRCL's Friday Night Fallout Show has been one of the biggest contributors for Utah hip-hop. I also need to give mention to DJ Dao for including local artists on his Saturday Night Street Mix on U92. Community radio is a great tool for us artists to get our music heard. It helps us get recognized as well as helping out with album sales.

Gavin: What's your take on file sharing these days and how it affects you as a musician?

Linus: Personally file sharing has helped me grow my name by simply getting my music out. If people haven't heard of you, then most likely they aren't gonna pay for you music since they have no idea what you sound like.

Gavin: What can we expect from you over the rest of the year?

Linus: Hopefully good beats and production with all my current under-going projects, albums and any other tracks that I contribute to. You might be able to catch me and Task doing some local shows and I also DJ for The Smash Brothas every now and then. I've got a few albums coming out this year so stay tuned!

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

Linus: Urban Life Of The Suburbanites is available on ITunes. Taskrok, Philthy Phil and I have been working on some great stuff for our MultiVersal project coming soon. Be on the lookout for the Numbs/Linus album, the Moon Blazers/Linus album. The new Smash Brothas album. And please support the "Alive & Well Tour" launching this spring! Thanks for all the support everyone!

MindState (Dusk & Honna)

Gavin: Hey guys, first off, tell us a little about yourselves.

Dusk: I rap, make beats, and outside of music I stay busy doing art. Mostly drawing flyers, the occasional t-shirt design, and painting canvas.

Honna: I'm the DJ. I'm an Electrical Engineering student and run a turntablism/scratch music website, Tablist.

Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Dusk: I was always really into all kinds of music growing up.

Honna: Music was always on growin' up. As far as choosing to DJ, I was fascinated with the turntable. Also hearing groups like Run DMC, Public Enemy and Beastie Boys, have scratching on their songs certainly played a part.

How did the two of you end up meeting, and what pushed you to form MindState?

Dusk: We're brothers and we've always more or less ran with the same friends. The group came together naturally that way.

Honna: Yup.

Gavin: Considering the diversity in our hip-hop community, what's it like for the two of you performing as an MC/DJ duo?

Dusk: I've had a really positive experience doing hip-hop. A lot the groups that really inspired me followed that same blueprint, so having an MC & DJ was what a hip-hop group was supposed to be.

Honna: Lots of good times. The MC & DJ combo is time tested.

Gavin: What was it like first recording the Six Song Slump Buster EP? And what difficulties did you encounter along the way?

Dusk: Recording that was a lot of fun. We've always been big on doing things DIY style.

Honna: That one was recorded in my old apartment. It was fun. I learned a lot during the process.

Gavin: How did you decide to go with P48 as a label?

Honna: P48 is less of a record label and more of an inside joke. Strangely over the years it has become both less and more than the sum of it's parts.

Gavin: What did you think of the public reaction to it when it came out?

Dusk: It was a very limited release early in our career, but It was met with a lot of positive responses.

Gavin: Was it easier going in to make Call The Cops after that EP, or did that present new challenges?

Dusk: Call The Cops was fun because it was our first time recording in an actual studio. It felt like a luxury after recording our previous three discs in a bedroom.

Honna: The quality from the studio was much better. On the other hand my creative process for recording scratches and scratch songs is too slow for the studio.

Gavin: That full length pretty much put you in the public eye and blew up locally. What's your take on the attention that got in our music scene?

Dusk: We got a lot of support once the album dropped. Our CD release party was one of my favorite shows ever.

Honna: The album was a lot of work, it was cool to see people react to it. The CD release show was insane, so much energy from the crowd.

Gavin: You recently put out the Black Lungs EP this past month. What persuaded you to give it out for free?

Dusk: We had all these songs recorded that we'd just kind of been sitting on, with no immediate plan to release them. Call The Cops dropped in '07 so decided a free digital release was a good way to break the dry spell.

Honna: And a good way to try to get more people to hear it.

Gavin: You're both headed out on tour this March, what have you got planned for that trip and who you going with?

Dusk: Gotta give it up to PigPen, Pat Maine, & YZE on that. It's the “Alive & Well Tour”, 25-30 cities getting a dose of Utah hip-hop this spring. Dumb Luck is part of the tour also. We want people to know we're making just as much noise as any other part of the country.

Honna: Be sure to keep your eye on the tour.

Gavin: Going state-wide for a bit, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Dusk: Utah has a great local music scene, there is a lot of talent here, but there isn't always enough support. Remember the more you support others, the more support you'll get in return.

Honna: There is quite a bit of variety, lots of people that are good at what they do. Between work and school I don't get to check as many shows as I'd like.

Is there anything you believe could be done to make it bigger or better?

Dusk: Promote yourself! Put out flyers, use social networking sites, what ever you need to do so people know you're doing something worthwhile. I'll never know why groups bother to book a show and not advertise it and then complain about no one being there.

Honna: Perhaps if there were more shows with groups in a different genres of music would help.

Gavin: Aside yourselves, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

Dusk: Everyone on the “Alive & Well Tour” are really doing good things. There are a couple of younger MC's coming up that I like. Malevolent MC and Burnell Washington. Keep an eye on them.

Honna: Task & Linus, Odetta, Starmy, BCT.

Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio these days and how its affecting local artists?

Dusk: KRCL has been supportive of MindState. I think it's great they give locals a platform to be heard on the airwaves. Big up to “The Fallout” show, Circus Brown, Honey Gehring, and all the other hosts playing local music!

Honna: It's a good way to discover music you might not have heard otherwise. Big up Circus Brown & Roots Rawka!

Gavin: What's your take on file sharing these days and how it affects you as a musician?

Dusk: I don't sweat that. At this point, anything that gives us another way to get heard is more important than the money.

Honna: Its a good way to spread music. It's cool when people buy music, but things are changing.

Gavin: What can we expect from you guys over the rest of the year?

Dusk: Another digital release and a vinyl release is on the way too.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

Dusk: Check out MindState Music, Patiri Photography, Uprok/4th Street Records, the "Alive & Well Tour", The Urban Lounge, and Peach Boutique.

Honna: If your into turntablism / scratch music check out Go support your local record stores, Uprok/4th St, SlowTrain.

Nolens Volens

Gavin: Hey Andrew, how have things been since we last chatted?

Andrew: The last time we chatted was under unfortunate circumstances. Several thousand dollars of equipment had been stolen from our house. It was a very sad time, but the experience has led to many great things. It's been a total rebirth as an electronic musician as all of my old tools were sudden taken from me. I started picking up instruments again, sampling them, and have been amazed by the results. My music now is the best I have ever produced. None of it wouldn't have been possible without the freedom and rebirth wrought from circumstance.

Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Andrew: I grew up in a family that valued rigorous classical music training. I started playing the violin at six and was influenced by Bach and Mozart. When I was around ten or eleven, I discovered Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto No. 1 and it changed my life forever. Imagine a chubby little boy laying down in the back of a camper trailer in the mountains of Idaho, enraptured by the emotional violin playing of Henryk Szeryng. While my brothers and dad were looking for that giant non-typical buck, I was wandering around a multi-colored forest listening to Rachmoninov's Piano Concertos, Mozart's Requiem, as well as the piano compositions of Liszt and Chopin. I have never felt more magic in my entire life. That was the moment that I fell in love with music and would never look back.

Gavin: How did the idea come about to do Nolens Volens?

Andrew: I have always been amazed by human nature and collective taste. The duality of sound fascinates me. It can be extremely pleasurable or equally painful. My attempt is to contradict pop music convergence while riding the line between pleasure and pain. The Nolens Volens idea has also evolved towards the world of collaboration and the recycling of sound.

Gavin: What's it like for you composing a particular piece, and then turning that around for a live performance?

Andrew: Early on I was very influenced by abstract expressionist painters. My first three albums were created in a very similar technique. Everything I recorded was the first take and minimally manipulated in post production. In my latest efforts I have taken the opposite approach. The composition process happens very quickly and comes together, sometimes, in a matter of days. As an electronic musician, I have the challenge of presenting a more engaging live performance. My audience isn't coming to see a self-indulgent virtuoso performance, so I have to be very aware of the experience. That could be visual art or video projections I manipulate on stage while reworking the music on the fly or even a stage performance with a cast, lines and stage direction. Anything, as long as it coveys the nature of the work. I've performed on stage as a musician over 400 times and I've grown weary of the format: players strumming guitars and pounding on drum to a group of people. I'm more interested in exploring new avenues that are, hopefully, more thought provoking.

Gavin: Do you prefer making the albums in the DIY approach, or do you wish you could polish it up in a studio?

Andrew: Like many artists, I am the product of my limitations. One of the best things about being a touring musician is that I have access to many professional engineers. Europe is obsessed with great live sound, and sound checks sometimes take hours. On several occasions, I asked if I could plug a recording device into the board and get samples of everything. Most of drums on the last self-titled album were taken from Uzi & Ari recording sessions at a tape studio The Echo Lab in Dallas, Texas . The album was finished at Blake Henderson's studio in San Francisco. The longer I work at music, the more time I spend in actual studios.

Gavin: You're also one of the few local performers who does remixes of their own work. What made you decide to take the work you did before and re-release it as something new?

Andrew: When approaching a remix, I scour the track and highlight a particular emotion or rhythmic element. Music is undeniably complex and in my analysis of a song, I choose very small elements that I feel should be brought forward and explored. I've never had a bad experience remixing a song because I spend so much time in making sure that it is engaging. I spend twice as much time on a remix than I do on an original track. My latest album,
Nv//nN (released 2/12/10 at Circle Lounge) is an entire album remix of my self-titled album that I released last year. Dave Madden, aka nonnon, provided several of the beats and Jonathan Higley, aka //, helped produce and engineer it. I feel it is my best work and was produced in a matter of weeks.

Gavin: Speaking of, last year you recorded and produced the self-titled album. What was the process like in creating that one, and what did you think of the reaction to its release?

Andrew: My albums are always very personal to me, but this one was the most obvious in its scope. For years I have drifted away from my family, and I decided to try and bring myself closer to them by creating a song for each family member. My hope was that I could recreate each person in sound and somehow feel close to them that way. It was my attempt at being heartfelt, an exploration into why I felt such a distance from them. The project failed miserably in some respects. The album ended up being more exploitative and fake, and became a projection of how insecure I feel about being heartfelt. It actually took me further away from them, to the point that I felt embarrassed to show them what I had done. In other ways, the project was a huge success because it made me realize that touching people physically will always be more effective than trying to touch them emotionally. It also made me realize that in order to be close to someone or some group, you often have to sacrifice your own comfort. Art is never the solution for healing relationships because it is always one sided.

Gavin: Coming up in April you've got the
DATA/BOOTY release. Tell us a bit about that album.

Andrew: The genre of Booty House began in the late 90s when a few independent producers started making mixtapes for strippers. I discovered DJ Funk a few years back and became strangely infatuated with what he was doing. Booty House is painfully simple, but has a very specific purpose. I began writing beats with my own specific purpose in mind. For years I have struggled with the portrayal of women in the media and how they are reduced to mounds of flesh and desire. DATA/BOOTY was created as a reaction to this portrayal and has an accompanying visual component. The purpose of the DATA/BOOTY visual project is to examine a segment of exhibitionistic lust purveyors and to bring the typically anonymous voyeuristic experience into a public display through the eye of a technologically bent lens. We hope to showcase the fragmentation of modern sexuality through media excess and its dehumanization of the female form. All media presented on display will be of women who have either photographed or video taped themselves.

Gavin: Let's go more local. What are your thoughts on our music scene, both good and bad?

Andrew: Making music in any confined space is exciting. You're allowed to test and push limits with fearlessness. This isolation produces some really interesting personalities and interesting ideas about art and music. I really like how positive musicians are towards each other and how they work together even if their music is very different. Isolation is also the hardest part about the music scene in Salt Lake. It becomes difficult to put your all into a project when it seems no one cares. It may seem lonely, but someone always cares.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it bigger or better?

Andrew: Salt Lake is barely a city, and there are only so many resources for the music scene. I feel like Salt Lake shouldn't worry so much about having a thriving scene, but more concerned about producing music that is solid and timeless. I think there needs to be more interesting places to perform that aren't in a club or a converted garage.

Gavin: Aside the bands and projects you're involved with, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

Andrew: My current favorite local band is Dead Explorers Club. He is an electronic musician who has taken the time and energy to perform electronic music live, with analog instruments. My favorite producer has been nonnon for years now, and will continue to be for years to come. His compositions are unlike anything I have ever heard. I'm also a big fan of Palace of Buddies, Birthquake and Ether.

Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio these days and how its affecting local artists?

Andrew: Radio is a tricky subject. We live in an age of video, and radio is continually being pushed out the back door.

Gavin: What's your take on file sharing these days and how it affects you as a musician?

Andrew: Musicians have never really made that much money selling records. To make any money as a musician, you have to be an engineer, mastering technician, producer, or spend countless hours on the road. I'm a huge advocate of file sharing. It is great way of getting unfiltered information and I believe it is the future of all media ventures. The debate about intellectual property is one rooted in human identity. As we become more and more connected through technology, our identities will meld together to produce something that is not possessed by one, but by many. One of my goals is to have an ongoing network of music and files that are continually manipulated by a large group of people. If there were enough people involved in one project, say several million, the value of that project would rise above the current system and become something new and exciting. The most successful organizations are those that learn how to adapt and utilize new technology.

Gavin: What can we expect from you over the rest of the year?

Andrew: May 1
st is the release of DATA/BOOTY at Urban Lounge, and then // will release his first album near the end of May at Kilby Court. I am planning on taking several months off to continue writing a book about food identity in America. I also plan on moving to Berlin for a few months to collaborate with German artists and build up our labels' repertoire.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

Andrew: Jonathan, Dave, and I have just started a label called MSSV. Our goal is to promote collaboration with artists from around the world and recycle and remix releases until they can no longer be used. We already have several releases and free mixtapes on the site that anyone can download, remix, and share. There's also a DropBox, so if you've got an original track or a remix of a MSSV release, you can upload and share it with us.