Saturday, October 1, 2016

Four New Live DJ Mixes

The last year has been a solid one for me in terms of DJ-ing gigs across the city and the state. I played a couple spots at the Kirkwood Lodge in the Lake of the Ozarks. Luckily, I've been fortunate to have been booked for the more beat-oriented, jazzy hip hop stuff more suited for a martini lounge or a poolside afternoon as it's not only my favorite stuff to listen to, but to play as well.

The below mixes are mostly that kind of vibe. The first one, from the Lake of the Ozarks, was from a gig called Wet Hot Electronic Summer: Hot Miami Nights, which was a weekend-long party with some friends from both Kansas City and St. Louis and a TON of strangers that became friends later that weekend. There is, unfortunately, no tracklist.

The three mixes following that are from a night here in Kansas City run by my long-time DJ partner Mr. Nuro. He calls the night "The Listening Room" and works as a kind of spotlight on music that doesn't always get played on dance floors across the city. The weird, the abstract, the dark, the's a good venue for experimentation.

The first mix of the three is a more jazzy hip hop/instrumental/lounge vibe. The second mix is a more uptempo/funk/boogie style made for a more dance-centric crowd. The third mix is a blend of older 80s & 90s retro stuff that I love playing when the vibe is right. There are tracklists for all three.

You can find the link to stream this mix here:

You can find the link to stream this mix here:

24 tracks, 83 minutes

FloFilz - Gitdown
Galimatias - Sunlight Reigns Supreme
FloFilz - Keepitreal
Galimatias - Major Crimes & Unicorns
Vanilla - The Winter
Miguel Migs - Give Me Something
2Pac - Old School (Cookin' Soul Remix)
Alexis Davis - The Lift
Mono Massive x Vertual Vertigo - Can't Let Go
Brandy - I Wanna Be Down (Grades Remix)
Muneshine - Venus & Mars (Freddie Joachim Remix)
P.SUS - Midnight Thoughts (Breezewax Remix)
Dam Funk - I Wanna Thank You For (Steppin)
Austin Brown - Groove 92 
Chris Malinchak - So Into You
Q-Tip ft. Busta Rhymes - For the Nasty (Freddie Joachim Remix)
She Said Disco - Ocean Love
Bondax - Gold (Snakehips Bootleg)
Duck House - Flaw
Willie Hale - Groove On (Snakehips Edit)
Dam Funk - 10 West
Kartell - Two Step
Gang Starr - Skills (Oll-Zen Remix)
Banks - Warm Water (Snakehips Remix)

You can find the link to stream this mix here:

18 tracks, 63 minutes

Kraak & Smaak - Money in the Bag
JT Donaldson - Leave Your World (Hydro's Disco Dub in the Hour of Chaos)
Kenny Dope - Can You Handle It (Pt. One)
Tuxedo - So Good
Michael Tello - Black Thought
Jazzanova - The One-Tet
Dj Cam Quartet - New York New York
Cassius - See Me Now
Amp Fiddler - Faith
A Tribe Called Quest - Luck of Lucien
Ohmega Watts - What's It Worth (Instrumental)
Paolo Archenza Trio - Mondo Cane
Jazzanova ft. Vikter Duplaix - Soon (A Touch of Jazz Mix)
Dwele - Let Your Hair Down
Up, Bustle, and Out - Compared to What (Chase Mix)
Ohmega Watts ft. the Procussions - That Sound
Coolio - Too Hot
Dzihan & Kamien - Airport

You can find the link to stream this mix here: 

15 tracks,  60 minutes

Joe Jackson - Steppin' Out
A-Ha - Take on Me
Billy Idol - Dancin' with Myself
Berlin - Riding on the Metro
Shabba Ranks - Mr. Loverman
Hall & Oates - Maneater
The Cure - Close to Me
Soul II Soul - Keep on Moving
New Edition - Mr. Telephone Man
Hall & Oates - Method of Modern Love
Tears for Fears - Head over Heels
Howard Jones - What is Love? 
George Michael - I Want Your Sex
Stereo MC's - Connected
Bob Marley - Could You Be Loved?


Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Weekend Collective: Adaptive Skate Kollective and Janet Cardiff's "Forty-Part Motet"

A quick update on a couple things:

Just had a story called "The Same Night Waits for Us All" picked up for publication in Bluestem Magazine. It's part of the second short story collection I completed during the first half of last year while I was dealing with a work injury in San Francisco. It's been good to start shopping these unpublished pieces again, even though the only writing I've been doing has been less fictional.

Which leads me to two new articles of mine that have been published over at the Weekend Collective recently.

The first is about another upcoming exhibit coming to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in November. Janet Cardiff has done some crazy interesting audio installations over the years and this current one has a pretty interesting history, both musically and in terms of some of its early showings in NYC. No lie, I'm pretty stoked to sit in this room for awhile and just soak up the exhibit for a good hour. You can read more about that here.

The second article is one I really enjoyed writing as it involved a long-time friend of mine who lost his right leg years ago and turned his accident into a pretty phenomenal opport, unity for others with adaptive wants and needs. He and others have traveled across the country trying to remove the stigmas and social stereotypes associated with amputees or those originally born without limbs. You can read more about that article here.

For now, the hustle continues. I'm hoping to get a few more articles knocked out this weekend, but I've been laid up with a back injury (again), which has put a crimp in many of my plans. That back injury stemmed from a DJing gig I had this weekend, but out of that gig came three solid recordings which I'll post in a future entry.

Until then...


Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Weekend Collective: The Dark Tower, Kansas City Poetry, and Photography at the Nelson-Atkins Museum

I've been busy.

Crazy busy. And while there's plenty of updates to give, I will simply pop on here briefly to hype the latest work I've been doing, which is writing up news articles and profiles about things and people happening around Kansas City. The site is called Weekend Collective and I got to meet most of the crew this week, all of whom seem incredibly down to earth and fun to kick it with.

Luckily, the bosses want us to write about things that we're passionate about; if you're bored with your own story, chances are good the reader will get bored with it pretty quickly too. That's the nature of not loving what you do. The finished product suffers and it's obvious to EVERYONE. So in this way, I appreciate the approach.

Poetry Slam in KC

The first article I got published was about at monthly poetry slam contest held at the Uptown Arts Bar downtown. I went to the show that night, had a blast, and did a write up on the crew putting the event on. You can read that here.

Photography Exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

My second article was about an upcoming exhibit of photography at the Nelson-Atkins. The theme of the show is "Surveillance," and contains a mix of collections from various photographers around the globe, but I found one whose life story was simply too interesting not to write about in more detail. You can read that one here.

The Dark Tower, or O, Discordia!

The third article was definitely a more personally interesting piece for me as I've been a fan of Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series for many years. It's currently being adapted into movie form and the nature of the narrative (which has changed from the book) has completely changed, so it's not just a straight up adaptation. I make the argument that this is a VERY good thing for superfans of the series here.

That's all for now! I'll keep posting up new articles as they go live, especially since my name isn't attached to the articles on the site. Happy reading!


Monday, August 29, 2016

Beats for the Blunted, Vol. 9: Homecoming (New Dj Mix)

Beats for the Blunted, Vol. 9: Homecoming

Quantic - Archipelago
Anitek - Tip Toe
Nomak - Spiritual Home (Feet Remix)
Anitek - Burden Queen
Anthony Hamilton - Better Love
Ta-Ku - Trust Me
Victor Malloy - The Girl Who Wasn't There (Quantic Remix)
Four Tet - And Then Patterns
Massive Attack - What Your Soul Sings
Anitek - Mind Growth
Beacon - Fault Lines
Vaults - Lifespan (Instrumental)
Ta-Ku - Sunrise / Beautiful ft. Jordan Rakei
Shapeshifter - Summer Haze
Dj Krush - Edge of Blue
Portishead - Numb
Ta-Ku - Love Again ft. JMSN & Sango

Just recorded a new DJ mix a week or so ago. 17 tracks at a little over an hour. 77 bpm.

The final installment of the series that got me my start way back when at the turn of the century. Airy, spacious, atmospheric beats that remind me (in many ways) of the home I left for 6 years and then returned to in 2015. I started this series way back in 2001 or 2002, first trying to record to tape (as that was the only medium I had available to me then). When I finally released volume 3, I was surprised to find that many people really enjoyed it. Distributing the mix on CD across the city at random events got me my first few gigs in Kansas City, which led to more gigs after both here in KC and in other cities: St. Louis, Omaha, Sioux City, etc.

My life would be very different had I not been forced by my friend Scott to record the first BFTB mix. VERY different.

Sometimes when I put a new mix together, I know the overall vibe I want to achieve. This one, weirdly, started with the last track. Ta-Ku is one of my favorite producers and "Love Again" had been in heavy rotation; in the car, at work, while I showered.

Quantic's "Archipelago" was a track I stumbled upon in my collection a couple months back and the melody never came unstuck in my head, so it seemed to be the best way to open up the mix. Heavy on the drums and soulful saxophone, it turned out to be the right decision.


Monday, August 8, 2016

A Year in the Midwest

The summer is drawing to a close. It's been an interesting transition, moving from northern California (where air conditioning isn't a thing) back to the Midwest (where it is a necessity). Mine has gone out three times in the last three weeks and, luckily, I live in an apartment complex with a maintenance staff who are not only fast and friendly, but good at what they do. But the nights where the AC has gone out have been the longest as I've been unable to sleep or I've simply been sleeping poorly as of late. I have an active imagination; I play scenarios out in my head over and over with differing results and this is what keeps me staring up at the popcorn ceiling until the alarm goes off at 4am. Sometimes you listen to the voices, sometimes you have to drown them out or suffocate them altogether.

I'm coming up on being home a full year. I have recorded 14 new DJ mixes, all of varying styles. I have had 27 separate DJ-ing gigs, I've done one public reading, two old friends have passed on to other worlds, and I had the joy of a brief summer fling that has since, I imagine, fizzled out. This is life; this is how things go.

I am still broke, despite finally being in a job that has the potential to be a long-term career, but I am happier. I knew I would have to start from the bottom (as I have done over and over and over again, much to my consternation), but it is not the literal backbreaking work of my previous job. I am constantly called on for my brain, which is all I've ever really wanted. I am a "puzzle guy," as my work wife likes to say. I see problems, I offer up myriad solutions. I never approach my boss with a complaint unless I have a multitude of ways to solve said complaints, all with varying degrees of success upon implementation.

I have spent more time in my pool than not, my skin more bronze now than pasty white. My apartment has become a hub for friends and family to rest their heads after spending hours in the water or after a long weekend night out. It has been a good vessel with which I have reconnected to the people of my previous life. It remains the perfect size, allowing plenty of space for sleepovers, movie watching, boozing, and all the various detritus of my life spread out on the bookshelves that line every wall.  i am not displeased by how things have gone this year despite the few instances of dissatisfaction or sadness in the things I cannot control.

I have tried to find a place in my apartment that is conducive to my writing, but to no avail. This weekend, I attempted to revisit some old pieces to update and revise them, to finally finish them and send them out for publication. My mind remained blank as I touched on each of the characters in their respective settings. I worry that I have let them lie dormant for too long, that I have not allowed myself the time to marinate on their worlds and their problems because I have been far too focused on my own world and my own problems. This in itself elicits a whole other host of issues that need to be dealt with sooner than later. The tattoo on my left arm was originally a reminder to myself to never stop writing, yet that is exactly what has happened. Finding the balance between enjoying a real life and creating fictional ones has been difficult.

In many ways, my mental struggle has been the propellant force that allowed for so much writing to erupt out of me. Internal battles necessarily find themselves on the page because that is where I seem to find some measure of closure in them. Those internal battles are now fewer and farther between, though I have no doubt new ones will arise again soon enough.

They always do.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

2 Deaths, 3 Weeks

John Stone

Two deaths in three weeks. That’s how my first summer
back in KC has started. Both separate instances, both with assumed different
circumstances, both leaving me a little emptier than before. Both people were
unbelievably friendly and giving and completely undeserving of such a young

But the great world turns, never stopping for a moment
to grieve for each member it loses. We as individuals get that luxury, but
still…time does not stop, it does not yield its momentum on our behalf. It’s up
to us to carve that time out and steal it, make it our own to do with as we

I personally have been making an effort to reach out
to more people, to let them know I’m thinking of them randomly, to let them
know I have not forgotten about them, to let them know that they still exist in
someone else’s memory and history, that they matter, that they are important,
that they are loved.

It’s worth saying that many of us have fallen down on
that particular job over the years. Life gets in the way and we become
unselfishly myopic. Our own problems tend to take precedence over those of
others' sometimes. It’s an easy trap to fall into; shouldering the weight of
someone else’s problems, even for just an hour, can be exhausting.

But sometimes I wonder if we don’t all exist *because*
of our ability to help those around us handle the things they cannot handle on
their own, like it’s what we’re actually built to do but we lost the
instruction manual several generations ago. I personally have been the
beneficiary of a ton of immeasurable love and support over the last several
years from family here in the Midwest and from family out on the West Coast.
What that kind of outpouring can do for someone's mental is unbelievable until
it's experienced.

22 years ago, when I first moved to Kansas City from
Oklahoma City, I found myself on the precipice. I was 15, I was losing every
person I’d ever known, and moving to a city I knew nothing about. I went to a
very dark place where ambivalence took over; I could jump out the window of my
top floor bedroom. If I lived, I could run away. If I didn’t live, it didn’t

Now this may have been the overly dramatic results of
being a hormonal teenager, but the emotion was real and it had a suffocating
hold on me. I’m glad things turned out the way they did and that I can be here,
22 years later, writing about my experience personally rather than having
someone else convey their sadness over how things may have potentially gone.

So take this message as a welfare check, something
police officers do when a family member is concerned for the safety or
well-being of a loved one. Whether we’ve talked once or a million times, if you
find yourself moving into that dark place in the brain that won’t allow for
rational thought, that won’t allow you to see the sun shining while you stare
right up into it, unblinking…call me. Send me a message. Tell me you need help
and I’ll be the first person on your doorstep. Never let anyone or anything make
you feel “less than”…

Because I can assure you that you are not. You are most certainly more.

Cheri Jean Sweaney

1982 - 2016


Friday, June 17, 2016


This is maybe a weird thing to admit, but I can't write at the moment. I haven't been able to sculpt language to do my bidding since I moved back to Kansas City.

Maybe I'm trying to force it, as a good friend suggested. Maybe I'm just not in the right head space because what I should be doing right now is reconnecting with my Midwest family, which I've been doing with some serious gusto as of late, leading to some pretty great nights out and some very exhausting days in the office. All very much worth it, however.

But it's had me thinking (for awhile) that, perhaps now that certain aspects of my life are back in balance, I am drawing less artistic "pain" from the reservoir, thus feeling less inspired. Other than finances, I really don't have much to complain about at all. I wonder if maybe my agitated headspace for so many years was the reason I was able to produce so much material, much of it dark and surreal in nature. Not because I'm an unhappy or dark person (I'm not), but because I find the dark corners of a room far more interesting to explore than the bright outdoors, speaking from a literary standpoint.

There will certainly be writer friends who say you don't have to be mired in this kind of emotional state in order to write, and they're correct. A writer writes no matter if they want to or not, no matter if they are inspired or not. I often deviate from these schools of thought. I like to be struck dumb by an idea so thoroughly that nothing can keep me from putting it to page. The piece becomes an obsession that I can't seem to finish fast enough (if at all) and many of the stories in my last collection arrived in that fashion. I also had the time to finish them, working two days a week due to a work shoulder injury.

For now, however, due to said conversation with the good friend and another friend's passing, I'm putting the writing on hold for the next year. I may try to rehash and rework a few stories that haven't been published yet, but beyond that, this year feels like one for re-connection more than anything else.

*     *     *

The Kansas City Dj/Club scene got news this week of a dear friend's passing. I hadn't seen him in many years, but we'd exchanged a few comments here and there across Facebook while I was in California and he was in Florida. Truly one of the most genuine people you could ever meet. I actually can't think of a time when I saw him out and about in a foul or sour mood.

I don't know all the details of his death and, if I did, I doubt I'd post them here. But his funeral service is on Saturday. I was supposed to do training for a new job at the same time as the funeral service, so obviously I won't be doing that now. I think the stark contrast of those two events against each other is a pretty great reminder of what's important: people over work, friendship over money, community over self.

There will be many at his funeral service that I haven't seen in a very long, long time. And while the circumstances are sad beyond belief, it'll be good for all of us to reconnect and reevaluate our own lives. Maybe we'll hold each other a little longer next time, maybe we'll second guess our decision to stay at home remaining comfortable and, instead, go out to make a little magic in the moonlight.