Q&A with Don, winner of Rainy Dawg’s Birthday Battle

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Last week’s battle of the bands brought four groups head-to-head for a chance to perform at Rainy Dawg Radio’s 14th annual Birthday Fest. Don, a future bounce group, came out on top and opened for Kero Kero Bonito on Tuesday.

The band includes lead vocalist Stefán Kubeja, bass player and vocalist Phinehas Nyang’Oro, drummer Bobby Jimmi, synth player Daniel Salka, and keyboardist Ori Levari. Stefán, Daniel, and Ori are all UW students.

I interviewed Don before the show on Tuesday about how they got started, how their jazz backgrounds influence their current work, and what’s next. Some responses have been shortened for clarity.

How did you get started?

Stefán: Originally it was just Daniel and me. We used to just play music together. Then we went through a big series of lineup changes until we met Phinehas. Phinehas stuck with us, and Phinehas introduced us to Bobby Jimmi, because they knew each other from playing in jams. We played a gig, and we felt like it worked, so we just stuck together. Ori was actually a replacement because Daniel couldn’t make Battle of the Bands, so we called him. And now he’s officially in the band. This is his second gig with us.

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How did it feel to play your first show with Don at the Birthday Battle?

Ori: It was great. It was fun. I’ve always wanted to play this kind of music, and it’s cool to have that opportunity. I play a lot of jazz, which is fun in its own right, but hip-hop is pretty cool.

Stefán: Everyone has a jazz background except for me and Bobby Jimmi. So we take a lot of influence from the Seattle jazz scene.

What was it like switching from jazz to this style of music?

Ori: It’s cool to have jazz influences in my playing, at least for this group. I think it lends itself really well to having jazz influences. But I see them as being pretty similar, to be honest. It didn’t seem like a very big jump.

Phinehas: I’m from North Carolina, so I was already doing stuff like this in high school. I moved to France, so they weren’t doing this type of hip hop. I’m just happy to be in Seattle, where they’re giving me a little bit of what I used to do back home.

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How did it feel to win Birthday Battle?

Stefán: It was cool. Everyone was sitting there, and we were all watching the numbers go up. Phinehas was like, ‘Yes!’ when we got a vote, and then when we got passed, he was like, ‘No!’ They ended up having people vote on the way out, so by the time we got informed that we won, it was just us and the people running the event. So we got to have our own little celebration. We’re psyched.

What are you looking forward to about tonight?

Stefán: I think there are a lot of people who saw us perform at the battle and are excited to see us tonight. I’m excited to have some fun and perform in front of the people who really like us.

Phinehas: I just want to be thankful for being able to play this music in front of an audience. I hope that I can give them something of satisfaction.

Bobby Jimmi: I get my energy from the crowd. If they’re dead, I’m going to be dead.

Ori: I’m just excited to play for a full house. It should have good energy.

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How do you balance being a UW student and being in a band?

Stefán: People say it’s hard, but it’s not really that hard. I can speak for all of us when I say that, beyond school, what we do is music. We just make time for it. Maybe we don’t go to parties or we don’t chill with frats. Instead, we’re doing music. I don’t find it to be that difficult. I find it to be kind of natural. It’s like work and play.

What’s next for you guys?

Stefán: We’re in the studio right now, recording our debut, which is coming out June 1. We hope to do a West Coast tour come August. Beyond that, who knows. After this show, just having more fun, doing everything we can. Being grateful, being thankful. Sharing energy, receiving energy.

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Katie Anastas

Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

14th Birthday Fest

Rainy Dawg Radio is turning 14 so we are celebrating with not one, but TWO shows in the Ethnic Cultural Theatre!

by Pari Gabriel

Night 1, Tuesday April 18th:

Kero Kero Bonito

Mark Redito

& the winner of our Birthday Battle of the Bands!


Night 2, Wednesday April 19th:

Injury Reserve

Milo (Rapsmith)

Stas THEE Boss


Tickets for each show will be $7 for UW students/staff/faculty and $13 for the general public. The shows are all ages. Tickets can be purchased here, and be sure to RSVP on Facebook!


To get you pumped up, we made a Soundcloud playlist featuring the artists, and if you want to post about the event, we made a short link for the show: http://bit.ly/14thbday

See you all there for some good times 😎

LOVE YOU

CONCERT REVIEW – Chance the Rapper: Family Matters

Celebrating the release of Surf and touring with his group The Social Experiment, Chance the Rapper performed on November 19th at The Paramount with his opener D.R.A.M. The sold-out crowd went crazy when the lights dimmed. Everyone knew just what was coming, and when chance got on stage the party started.

It was amazing that Chance’s performance was just as much about his personality and showmanship as it was the crowd’s. Everyone was singing along to his songs off of the mixtape 10 Day with the same dedication as his better-known songs off of his full albums, Acid Rap and Surf.

With the crowd backing him, Chance really let the crowd get to know him as a person, taking breaks in between songs for personal dialogues. You could tell he was more than a little excited to try and shake the foundations of the Paramount, and with his crowd conversations and boundless energy, he definitely did so.

With slower songs like “Paranoia” and “Long Time” (during which Donnie Trumpet showcased his trumpet-playing expertise) to feel Chance’s emotion, as well as his bangers “Cocoa-Butter Kisses” and “Sunday Candy” to feed the energy of the crowd, the show quickly turned into something akin to a family gathering. We all know Chance, but it felt like Chance knew the crowd,too.

Chance and the Social Experiment are natural performers, and if they weren’t on your “to-see list”, they should be now.

Kobe Ryan is a first-time blogger for Rainy Dawg and a regular DJ for Rainy Dawg Radio–listen to his show, The Album Hour, every Friday from 9-11pm!

Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Show Preview: Destroyer at the Neptune – TONIGHT (10/16)

This Friday brings a recent discovery for me to the nearby Neptune Theater. Destroyer, fronted by Dan Bejar of the Canadian indie band The New Pornographers, will be bringing his unique voice to fill the rafters of the local theater. 

Poison Season is a showcase for a variety of lush instrumentals behind Bejar’s often imploring and questioning vocals. Ranging from golden trumpets to strings, sax, piano, flute, (yes, flute) and your standard guitar and bass, I am sure his live show will sound as beautiful live as they do on record, if not more so.

And while you’re at it, watch his amusing and oddly fitting stop-motion video for ‘Times Square’. It’s not what you would expect!

Opening will be Frog Eyes, with doors at 8 and the show starting at 9. Get your tickets here if you haven’t yet.

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DJ Holmes

Rainy Dawg Turns 12: Isaiah Rashad @ Birthday Fest

Rainy Dawg Radio is throwing a tantrum! After 12 years of feeling brought down by the man, we’re ready for our final years of pre-teen excellence. THIS FRIDAY, our favorite bands are setting up shop in Sylvan Grove to celebrate our terrible twelfth birthday (we’re soooo old)!

If you haven’t already, you can RSVP via our facebook event! There you can find updates before and during the show, including posts about food, fun and free swag. For example:

 

 

If phantasmagorical frybread isn’t enough, there will also be music! Lots of music… including:

Isaiah Rashad

Wampire

One Above Below None

Naked Giants (RDR Birthday Battle winner!)

Easy Eating by Naked Giants

SNUFF REDUX

Toy Kingdom EP by Snuff Redux

Richie Dagger’s Crime

Collection of Singles 2012-2014 by Richie Dagger’s Crime

While you’re listening, our favorite clubs and organizations will be there as well:

1. Live Painting by UW Hip Hop Student Association!

2. Merch and more for sale by CTPAK Records!

and of course…

3. FIRE Native American street tacos by Off The Rez!

So come check it out on FRIDAY MAY 15th • 5–10pm

Where? SYLVAN GROVE THEATER

How much? FREE!!!

Rainy Dawg Radio, Arts & Entertainment and ASUW are happy to have such fantastic performers present on our behalf

xo come party

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DJ Desman