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Building Life Skills by Building Beats
 

Brandon Bennett

Workshop Leader

 
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Brandon is a Bronx-born poet and music producer. Under the alias "Eleven Twenty", he blurs the lines between gritty hip hop drops, and the smooth bounce of more recent trap production.

Cat Martino

Workshop Leader

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Raised in the urban sprawl of Brooklyn, Stranger Cat—the electro pop project from Cat Martino —was born out of a respite in the wilderness. As most stories go, she was seeking a noiseless place for musing, but found instead a sentient beast stalking through the woods, be it animal, alien, or deity; she memorized its sound.

The frequent collaborator with Sufjan Stevens, Son Lux, The Shins, Sharon Van Etten and others, released Stranger Cat's debut album In The Wilderness on Joyful Noise Records, a soulful collection of art pop songs. Marked my Martino's velvet croon, signature vocal looping, and driven by a production style that is both electronic and organic, Stranger Cat delivers intricate, soulful, and dark R&B pop. NPR cites it "Pairs high-energy production with soaring vocals that sound like a dare to be free", while Noisey says it "Hangs in a starry galaxy alongside Bat For Lashes, Kate Bush, Chew Lips, and Purity Ring".

In 2012, Cat retreated from Brooklyn to spend the winter in the Sierra Foothills, writing and recording new songs. In snowed-in seclusion, simple melodies or beats morphed into walls of sound, sequenced in patterns of many-layered complexity. Often a cat would come to the sliding glass door to listen, meowing to be let in. When it appeared daily she called it Stranger Cat, and observed its alien supernatural powers, as she’d heard tell of the Foothills’ long history of UFO sightings and ghost haunts. One day she let Stranger Cat in. The plump feline ate all the kitty food and left.

Whether playing solo, or with a rotating cast of accomplices, Martino concocts a mesmerizing set of sound embraced by a voice at once fractured and full of strength, creating an aurally and visually vivid and energetic performance, making live loops onstage using voice, synths, and drum machines. All of this is to serve the song - dark, sexy, soulful, playful and dream-like - that might just make you let yourself go and dance a little bit.

Chaz Van Queen

Workshop Leader

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Chazmere, born Chaz Van Queen, is a Bronx-based artist, songwriter, producer, and teacher, depending on who you ask. With influences spanning from Pharrell to Death Grips, Chazmere has developed a loyal following uptown and across New York City. He has played venues such as Brooklyn Bowl, Webster Hall, and the Highline Ballroom, as well as performing at Sofar Sounds NYC. Chazmere has also played in Boston, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Paris, London, and Barcelona, working alongside the likes of Talib Kweli, Pro Era, Homeboy Sandman, and Das Racist.

Eddie Lu

Workshop Leader

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Eddie Lu (Grants Lead/Programming Assistant) has a year of experience teaching digital music production, DJing, and breakdancing for Building Beats and Urban Arts Partnership and graduated in 2015 from Columbia University with a BA in Comparative Literature and Society. He is currently developing an electronic and hip hop music international exchange program that brings together musicians from various countries for collaborations in technology, sound design, and music composition. He has provided administrative consultation for various small community arts organizations such as music museum ventures, recording studios, and hip hop dance companies. His aim is to increase meaningful cultural exchange on a global scale through the study and creation of popular music.

Gonzalo Silva

Workshop Leader

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Gonzalo Silva is a well traveled uber-versatile DJ, Producer, and Instructor. Hailing from Union City, New Jersey, he is a member of the renowned Jersey Club/Dance Music label and DJ crew Brick Bandits. He is also co-founder of the flourishing record label and multi-city party collective Thread Imprint. His genre bending style draws inspiration from his deep Latin heritage and an urban upbringing that involved various cultures. Armed with a huge library, immense musical knowledge and keen sense of his audience, he rocks crowds at every event.

 

Harold Simmons

 

Workshop Leader

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Music artist and entertainer FYÜTCH was born in Gary, IN in 1988, where he won the city wide speech contest at age 8. His family moved to Nashville in 1996. By high school, he started a jazz hip hop band called The Legendary Biscuits and Gravy Band. They were a hometown favorite and began touring regionally. He attended Belmont University and began a solo career under the moniker Future, but changed his name to FYÜTCH in 2012 to avoid confusion with the Atlanta rapper. His debut album Mr. Flattop was sponsored by Vibe Magazine.  In 2015 FYÜTCH moved to New York City and began competing as a battle rapper, winning several competitions. He started a weekly web show called Fyütchology that went viral and was featured on MTV.  His most recent album Freakazoid with Boba Sweat produced the single “Catch Me Cruisin’” that was featured on Spotify’s Fresh Finds playlist.

Henry Spicer

Workshop Leader

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Henry is a Rapper/Songwriter/Producer from Harlem, New York. In June 2011 Cruz formed Young Swagg Nation and with them released the Young Swagg Nation mixtape "The Inaguration" and his two solo mixtapes "The Takeoff Vol. 1" and "When Fate Meets Destiny". On September 6th 2012 Cruz released his EP "Ambitious Intro" On April 26th, 2013 Stone released his 2nd EP "24 Hours".

Malak Williams

Workshop Leader

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Malak is a DJ, Producer, and Dancer with a passion for social justice and hip hop culture.

Marcus Rosario

Workshop Leader

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Marcus Aurelius Rosario aka Mawkus is a radio host, DJ, producer and music educator who thrives on making the world a better place through music. Originally from California, he's a part of Singapore-based label collective Darker Than Wax, co-hosting a weekly program on Brooklyn's The Lot Radio as well as a monthly program produced at Red Bull Studios NY. When he's not in the classroom teaching the youth how to produce or DJ, music supervising short films, or making radio, you can usually find him DJ'ing in and around NYC and Brooklyn. 

Jess Dilday

Workshop Leader

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PlayPlay (NYC/NC, Knightwerk) combines their penchant for percussion and bass with nostalgic hip-hop and rave samples in both their DJ sets & original music production. Their music is inspired by what they grew up listening to - namely namely industrial, jock jams, 90s club anthems, booty & acid house, jungle & breakbeat hardcore. Using a combination of samples and hardware synthesizers to create everything from unearthly basslines to high-octane acid/industrial sounds, PlayPlay makes energetic music that is both familiar and hard to pin down. In January, they debuted their EP release “It’s Only 3am” on Knightwerk Records, and have several more releases forthcoming in 2018.

PlayPlay is also a music scholar and activist interested in local music scenes, dance floor dynamics, queer theory, and media studies. They have been teaching DJ’ing and music production for several years, most recently through the UNC-Chapel Hill Music Department and Building Beats. With a particular investment in mentoring women and gender non-conforming DJs / producers, PlayPlay has held workshops at festivals such as Moogfest, for organizations such as Girls Rock NC, and at various colleges & universities. PlayPlay was selected this year to be an artist-in-residence at Flux Factory, a Queens-based gallery, where they are currently working on a soundscape installation that focuses on the history of club music.
 

 

Rayvaughn Cabey

 

Workshop Leader

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Rayvaughn is a DJ, Producer, and Educator hailing from Queens. He is the creator of American Producer's League (a popular NYC producer competition) and also has a music business channel where he provides advice to up-and-coming artists.

 

Reginald Sinkler

Workshop Leader

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Reginald was born & Raised in Jamaica Queens. He is the son of a bass player/ Singer/ Emcee and started DJing in high school. He began rapping & performing live in college and got into production post college before moving to Los Angeles. He started teaching music production in LA in late 2005. He has released a few independent projects via bandcamp & releases via All City (LA series) & Ramp Recordings (Idiot Box).

 

Samuel Lee

Workshop Leader

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Samuel Lee a.k.a. SammAyOnTheBeat was raised in Bronx, NY, and discovered music production at a young age when his cousin introduced him to Fruity Loops. He graduated from the Institute of Audio Research and applied the skills learned there to his beats and mixes and was able to take his production to a whole new level. Sam has worked with various artist, songwriters, and producers ranging from, G-Dep, Lil Cease, Royce 5'9, Marina Chello, Cassie, Cristyle, Lashawn Daniels, Shannon, DMile, Battle Roy, Rob Holladay, Mary Brown, Dawn Richards, K Young and Rell.

Simba Aponte

Workshop Leader

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OBaH turned a family legacy into a profession, becoming a rising industry music producer and highly sought after NYC DJ. OBaH stands for Oldskool Beats and Harmonies for a very good reason: he’s the son of veteran NYC DJ/Musician/Professor and activist, Baba Chico.  Growing up, OBaH had the world’s best funk, jazz & soul records at his fingertips. Armed with his father’s epic library of music, OBaH quickly made his mark on the NYC club scene, becoming the resident DJ at several nightclubs in his native Brooklyn.

Quickly gaining respect and a solid fan base, his first big break came courtesy of world-renowned DJ, Rich Medina, who invited OBaH to spin at his weekly party at the legendary (now defunct) APT nightclub in the Meatpacking district of NYC. Since then, OBaH has spun in well over 75 venues in NYC, across the U.S. and abroad, has DJ’d private parties for Alicia Keys, Lenny Kravitz, JAY-Z, Donna Karan and many other A-list celebrities. His talents have also been commissioned by brands including Louis Vuitton, Vogue magazine, Diesel clothing, Puma.  Cultural institutions, the Brooklyn Museum, The Kennedy Center, L.A.’s Grammy Museum, Tribeca Film Festival, Fall for Dance festival, as well as live performances by hip hop legends KRS-ONE, and Brand Nubian, among a long and deep list of international bands and acclaimed DJ’s.  In 2008, Dubspot records released the highly acclaimed “Funk Aid for Africa” charitable compilation which was compiled, mixed and co-executive produced by OBaH, who also participated in a national coast to coast tour supporting the release.  In 2010 and 2011 OBaH represented NY as the resident DJ for the “New York Stage” of Czech Republic’s largest music festival “Colours of Ostrava”, where he provided live sets around a host of International artists, including Roy Ayers, Tortured Soul, Don Blackman, Electric Wire Hustle, to name but a few.

While OBaH continues to spin on a weekly basis in NYC, he is also fast at work producing remixes as well as original compositions for television and film. Several of his tracks have been featured on networks including MTV, Bravo, HBO, NBC and A&E.  His remix for ESL recording artist Ocote Soul Sounds landed him a full page feature article in DJ Times magazine (march 2010).  In March 2014 OBaH released his debut solo EP “Cross Fade” and garnered overwhelmingly positive feedback from taste makers and press (Vibe.com, OkayFuture, DMConline).  Later that year he made his theatrical off-Broadway debut, as associate music director, starring and performing as a DJ in “A Sucker Emcee” at the famed Labyrinth Theater, performing alongside acclaimed poet & actor Craig “Mums” Grant (HBO “Oz”).  The show was later revived in the summer of 2016 for a few highly publicized shows, at Crotona Park in NY as part of The Nuyorican Poets Cafe’s Summerstage showcase, as well as the Hi-arts (formerly known as The Hip-Hop Theater Festival) showcase at the famed Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. 

Brooklynradio.com is currently hosting OBaH’s highly rated mix show “Recycled Funk”.  And last but not least, OBaH spent 7 years teaching aspiring DJ’s the craft as a senior staff instructor at Dubspot, NYC’s preeminent electronic music production and DJ school.  His work at Dubspot has been featured in the U.S. on the BET network (106 & Park, The Pullup) as well as media in Brazil and France.  He takes his “formative education” with him wherever he goes (thanks, Dad).

Te Hamilton

Workshop Leader

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Te Hamilton is a DJ and Producer. Part of the groundbreaking Never Normal Records, Te makes U.K. garage- and drum and bass-inspired edits of your favorite rap and R&B songs.