Browsing Tag

new york

Interview: Plainview’s Money Mike Sandberg shows us into the Reflection

We had the chance to sit down recently with Money Mike Sandberg and he guides us through his busy life in Plainview, New York. Showing love for his family, Eminem and more, we get further insight into his career.

Q: Please let us know where you’re based today and what a typical day in your life looks like for you.

A: I am based out of Plainview, New York. I am a special education teacher who works in Brooklyn. I teach technology this school year, and I incorporate reading and math skills into my instruction using various programs.

Q: Your flow is honest and drops some genuine lyrics about changing perspectives. Where/when did it all start in the music game for you?

A: I really appreciate the feedback. I get my inspiration from artists like Eminem, Logic, and NF. Their lyricism, cadences, and rhyme schemes have influenced my craft to become a better writer.

However, I give credit to my family for their support every day. I dedicate my successes to my mother Debra, father Jon, and brothers Robert and David who have helped develop me into the person I am today.

Q: Please tell us more about your previous release and if you have new music on the cards in 2023.

A: My previous music release of “Reflection” in 2021, is about grabbing control of your environment through reflection. The message of the album is a call to branch out from societal norms and to take more time for reflection in order to discover and grow together as a society.

Q: What’s it like being an indie music artist in this industry?

A: It’s difficult to be visible in the music industry as an indie artist. However, by being true to myself through my music, I hope to get music opportunities in the future.

Q: Which local underground venues should we check out when in your local area?

A: I haven’t been involved in the local underground scene recently, as I’ve been trying to develop my own music.

Q: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard a song before?

A: My music speaks for itself. It represents my character and humility. Everything I express is what I hold true to my heart.

Q: Finally, what hopes do you have for the future of humanity?

A: Wow, that is a loaded question. To begin answering that question, you can refer to my “Reflection” album. This will start the conversation.

Hear this fine song on Spotify. See more on the IG music page.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

NYC-based music producer Eon Crown drops explosively dynamic visuals for Get it

Slashing car tires and provoking sensitive alarms to go off unexpectedly, Eon Crown releases the kind of song which can flip moods over like a tasty burger on his hot new single to slide with called Get it.

Eon Crown is a New York, USA-based music producer/artist who fuses hip-hop into his wild beats which are made with so much sizzle and a rapid-fire verve to get enthusiastic about.

Featuring rather exceptionally crisp and imaginative dance moves to shake up the sleepy world, Eon Crown pulsates like a flashy thunderstorm and shall blow away all the haters. Goodness me this is a superior track. There is nothing too hardcore here either. This is a proper single made with supreme skill and easy-to-see desire. Just the way we like it. Oh yes, the visuals might stimulate creaky bones to get up on the dance floor again. Life is too short to sit down all the time right?

Get it from the excellent NYC hip-hop music producer/artist Eon Crown is a real-life heart beater to soothe all worries away like eating ice cream on a hot day. It’s tasty and all worries seem to go away.

Soaring high like Superman and brushing all the cobwebs away like a bonafide boss, there is vibrant electricity here which might shock many back into place like a chiropractor on a mission to crack the planet back into place.

See this epic video on YouTube. View more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Agaaze interview on A&R Factory: Making music For You

Showing us how powerful optimism and hard work combine rather beautifully, Agaaze kindly sat down with us recently to chat about his classical upbringing, tasty berries and how grateful he is to do what he loves on For You.

Hello there Agaaze. Thanks so much for chatting with us here at A&R Factory. Please let us know where in the world you are today and what do you usually have for breakfast?
Agathya: Hey A&R, thank you so much for giving me this opportunity, I’m truly grateful 🙂 My name is Agathya Visveswaran, and I work under the artist name “Agaaze” (Instagram: @agaaze). I am 20 years old and was born in Rochester, New York. I currently attend the University of Michigan, so right now I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For breakfast each morning I usually have a protein shake- 2 cups almond milk, 2 scoops vanilla whey protein, and a couple of handfuls of berries (gains!)

Please tell us how the creative process worked while making your new project, For You?
Agathya: “For You” actually started based on a real-life experience. In early 2022, I went on a date with a girl, and she just so happened to be wearing a red dress that night. The night was calm, and nothing really came of it afterwards, however, the vivid imagery of ‘the pretty girl in the red dress’ really struck a chord with me. A couple days later I was working with a simple 4-bar loop of music that I made, and, in basically one-sitting, I wrote the entirety of “Cinnamon Paradise” over that loop. I had always wanted to write a love album, and in that moment, I knew I was ready. I expanded upon the theme and setting of “Cinnamon Paradise” and, like a kid in a sandbox, I basically just let my imagination run free. I thought about my past experiences, what my future might be, and really dove deep into thinking about everything in my life that I loved. I went on to conceptualize the full story and write down almost all the lyrics to the entire album, before I made the rest of the music. “Cinnamon Paradise” was released as the only single off “For You”, and I still find it really cool how I was able to take just a couple hours of my life and turn it into an entire album.

What kind of music/which artists did you listen to while growing up?
Agathya: I listened to all kinds of music growing up- my mom used to play an Indian guitar-like instrument called the ‘veena’, and my dad was a jazz drummer. I started learning classical guitar at the age of six, and because of my guitar teacher’s unique music taste, I was exposed to a lot of Flamenco and Brazilian guitar pieces. As I got older, I started listening to a ton of rap. Besides Kendrick Lamar, I mostly listened to old-school hip-hop/90s rap, as I was drawn to the lyricism and poetry over anything else. The biggest shift in my music taste came when I discovered Tame Impala right before my senior year of high school (in 2019). I was blown away by the intricacy and attention to detail that he brought to electronic music. This opened me up to a whole new world of digitized and production-based music, and I started enjoying artists such as Travis Scott, A$AP Rocky and Tyler, the Creator. Now, I truly enjoy everything. I started a new routine at the beginning of 2022 where I try to listen to at least one album that I haven’t heard before every single day, and I’ve been fairly consistent with that so far.

How did you get started in music and have you been involved in other projects before?
Agathya: As previously mentioned, I started learning classical guitar at the age of six. I would go on to take lessons in jazz guitar, the trumpet, and even in South Indian Carnatic vocals. I have performed guitar at various venues in Rochester, such as the Rochester Jazz Festival and Rochester Lilac Festival, and even played live on WXXI radio in my junior year of high school. I didn’t start making my own music until my freshman year of college. I started releasing music under “Agaaze” in early 2021, and released my debut 7-song EP, “A Portal Inside” in December of 2021. I haven’t looked back since. Agaaze is a solo project, as I
take care of writing, recording, producing, and mixing all on my own (with the help of my friend Zach, @zachwallismusic, for my final master’s)

How do you approach everything needed to be successful in life and in your chosen career?
Agathya: In terms of my approach to life, honestly, it’s just trial and error. I do my best to always pursue what I love, give it my 200%, and then use my mistakes to learn and grow as a person. In terms of success as an artist, it’s a little tougher because success is very subjective. Some may say that I’m unsuccessful because of how many streams my music gets, or how much money I’ve made from my music. Others might say that I’m successful simply by having the courage to release my own music. I guess I try to find a happy medium between the two, to where I’m proud of myself for releasing music, but also maintain my drive to hustle and promote it. At the end of the day, I will never let a thirst for material success influence my art. I plan on graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree that is not music related, so I can support myself financially until, hopefully one day, I can make music for a living.

If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be and why?
Agathya: In an ideal world, creativity and uniqueness would result in more success in the music industry. Unfortunately, I don’t think that will ever be the case because, money is the name of the game in business. Apps such as TikTok are cool for helping some independent artists, but they drive many others to use a formulaic approach, just for a shot at 15 seconds of fame. This results in the oversaturation of the same type of music, which sucks. If I can maybe inspire just a couple other young artists out there to create art that’s true to them, instead of making music for money and clout, that would be amazing.

Last, what advice do you have for new musicians just starting out in this fickle game?
Agathya: My advice to other artists is to make music from a place of love. As the great Rick Rubin emphasizes, ‘you are the audience’. Create art that you resonate with, enjoy, and love, so that when you look back, you can be proud of yourself for all you have accomplished. Doubt and fear live rent free in my head. I try not to think of what other people might say, or whether I will ever be able to make a comfortable living off my music. It’s an impossible task. Yet, when it’s 5 AM- the birds are quiet, the world is still, and I’m all alone in my room, listening back to what I have been working on all night… a gentle smile comes across my face. Hell, sometimes even tears, because I just fucking made that. For a couple seconds, all my worries wash away. Make music For You.

Hear this fine single on Spotify. See more on IG.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

Finally Happy: Duval struggles to rid his heart of those feelings on Can’t Let Them Go

Projecting his pain, which is intertwined within a love that is so toxic but strangely pleasurable, Duval has been low recently just when things were back on track with a new partner on Can’t Let Them Go.

Duval is a Bronx, New York-based indie alternative creative who has zero limits and fuses in his love for rapping, the guitar and singing.

Duval’s musical influences consist of many different types of music genres. These include some older generation names such as The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Linkin Park and Eminem. His influences also include some modern musicians, such as Drake, Post Malone, The Weeknd and MGK.” ~ Duval

Bringing an emotional aura which shall urge us to reconsider those romantic moments which can shatter rather easily, Duval shall open up our eyes and get our hearts beating rather quicker.

Can’t Let Them Go from Bronx, New York-based indie alternative artist Duval is a rather ear-filling single which will make many nod their heads in unison. Performed with so much passion and relatable pain, this is a superb song to hold on to securely and play on full volume when everything is spinning out of control.

Moving on from a true love is always the hardest.

Listen up on Spotify. See the energy continue on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Focus On The Music: Brooklyn rapper Quilley drops lyrically impressive One Hundred Times

After being inspired to make music after a friend lost their brave battle with pancreatic cancer, Quilley turns away from those no-show cats who ruin the vibe on his candid new single Hundred Times.

Quilley is a Brooklyn, New York-based indie hip hop artist who brings forth extra RnB vibes to sooth all apprehensions away no matter the weather.

Whenever I create, my goal is for the music to connect people. I want to create a brand that embodies us being human, healthy and still have a good time.” ~ Quilley

Lyrically excellent and self-aware enough to stay far away from those fake intentions, Quilley is on top form and shall awaken those who feel like this storied genre can’t progress. It can indeed, and here is further evidence. Brooklyn is the home of top echelon emcees after all.

One Hundred Times from Brooklyn, New York-based indie hip hop artist Quilley is a song made from the heart and shall ring from the ears for many an hour. With a constantly strengthening flow, which is rather hungry and packed with intent, this is something rather special. Alleviating our minds rather impressively, this is a hugely worthwhile release which shall furnish the rumbling stomachs of the underground.

Tune in to this new single on Spotify. See more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Burst of Electricity: Ilustrado feels that sensational spark of passion on Ecstasy

Wrapped in an illuminating bundle of vitality which shall shock many, Ilustrado shall send our minds into a thrilling place of pure sensual enjoyment on Ecstasy.

Ilustrado is a New York-based Manila, Philippines-born indie EDM artist and music producer who slams the door shut on any doubters with blazing hot creations to savour.

After finishing his studies, he carved out a career in opera, musical theater, and sacred music with critical acclaim. When all his performances took a hit during the 2020 pandemic, he turned to songwriting as a creative outlet and rediscovered his passion and gift for it. Finding his renewed artistic calling at a time when the world stood still, Ilustrado is currently producing the Pearl Drive Project – his first anthology of works in rock, soul, and dance.” ~ Ilustrado

With a locked in spirit which will please many ravenous souls, Ilustrado has changed the game with a true ear-heater which might make many humans blush with excitement.

Ecstasy from New York-based EDM artist and music producer Ilustrado is one of the steamiest efforts so far in 2022. Drenched in so much glorious splendour to turn up loud, this is a sexy track for all those sweaty nights when two souls have decided to connect as one.

Listen up to this fine single on Spotify. See more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Had To Pull Back: Sulu and Excelsior urges us to be smart in love on Run and Hide

With a groovy flow which shall transport your spirit into a timeless world, Sulu and Excelsior have that genuine vibe and shall get all fingers clicking in delight with Run and Hide.

Sulu and Excelsior aka Steven E. Mallorca is a Manhattan, New York-based indie solo RnB/soul artist and award-winning filmmaker.

Sometimes you hear a song, and it somehow changes your mood in a flash. Run and Hide by Sulu and Excelsior is that song. Its catchy energy is so foot tapping, it could shake all worries away.

Run and Hide from Manhattan, New York-based indie RnB/soul artist Sulu and Excelsior is a jovial effort which shall get all bodies on that dance floor. Soaked in so much vibrant energy and a heartfelt message for the youth to learn from, this is a genuinely incredible release. The quality and authenticity on offer is just that good, you see?

Never letting go of the moment has never been more vital in modern day society.

See more on the YouTube page. View more news on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Sell Your Soul: Lewis Carpenter sees the fame coming on Close to Me

Taking no days off and keeping the grind rolling, no matter what local small-minded fools think, Lewis Carpenter displays that enormous courage and self-assured confidence to win at life on Close to Me.

Lewis Carpenter is a New York, USA-based indie hip hop artist who fuses in music and fitness into his journey to being the best possible version imaginable.

With inspiration from the streets and energy of the 757, Carpenter has crafted an original and authentic sound that you can’t find anywhere else.” ~ Lewis Carpenter

Bringing us a rather sensational track to sing with all evening, Lewis Carpenter closes the deal and ascends to a new level of extraordinary heights with a blazing release of substance.

Close to Me from New York, USA-based indie hip hop artist Lewis Carpenter is that soundtrack to brush off those who don’t see the bigger picture. Displaying so much quality oozing from each corner of this sizzling song, we find a soul who is ready for the next step. Hungry and poised for that next level, just like nature intended.

If you believe you’re destined for the top, each second is valuable in the pursuit of that final contentment.

Turn your headphones up on Spotify. See more on the IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Have Mercy On Me: Lisa Ramey courageously emerges from the muddy waters on Certainly Lord

Floating through genres rather angelically and with much love, Lisa Ramey shall have many hearts in a spin with the brave release inspired by the courage shown by the late women’s rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer on Certainly Lord.

Lisa Ramey is a St. Louis-born and New York-based indie singer-songwriter who captures her roots so splendidly inside stunning RnB and funk.

Fannie Lou Hamer was an American voting and women’s rights activist, community organizer, a leader in the civil rights movement and an incredibly powerful singer. Hamer’s story spoke to me and I’ll do all I can to give her words and message a second life to inspire a new generation and help keep her name spoken for generations to come. It’s what she deserves.” ~ Lisa Ramey

Absorbing our energies with a marvellous blend of incredible velocity, Lisa Ramey is absolutely thrilling inside this scintillating song which will swap many moods around. Enchanting our souls with something our body needed to heal with, we find a release to wash away all previous fears.

Certainly Lord from St. Louis-born and New York-based indie rock artist and member of Team Legend on Idols USA Lisa Ramey is unquestionably one of the more spellbinding songs ever to be heard. Sung with so much passionate gusto which shall inspire many ears, this is a rather special single that needs to be played loud.

Hear this fine single on Spotify. See more via the IG page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

KOURDELL Interview: Freshly inspiring New York state of mind mentality

We sat down with the ultra talented KOURDELL to slice it up music-wise. He lets up deep within the NYC underground and shows us why he stuck up for himself at school and followed his soul despite many challenges.

Hello there KOURDELL. Gosh, we’re huge fans of your name and music equally. Thank you for your time today. First, have you always dreamt of being a musician, or how did it all start?

Hey there, thank you so much for your support and your time as well! I’ve always dreamt about being a worldwide performer. It’s not something I ever planned to be. I just always have been an artist inside. I remember wanting to sing and dance in preschool, at a time when I was told that boys don’t sing and dance. I still followed my soul and knew there was no other option for me.

Please tell us more about your exciting debut single, Just Show It.

My new single “Just Show It” is my debut! It’s my first original production that I shared with the world. Produced by my friend Raymond Scavo III, who just got nominated for his first Grammy! It describes exactly where I’m at in life. As I progress on my journey of becoming who I am supposed to be, I want the people who say they love and support me to, Just Show It! If not, that’s ok! I can do bad all by myself.

If you could share the stage with any 3 artists of your choosing, who would you choose?

That’s tough to narrow down! But I will have to choose:

Drake – because he has written the soundtrack of my entire life every step of the way.

Rihanna – she is the major blueprint and inspiration in my artistry.

Summer Walker – her soulfulness is something I connect to deeply, I will be able to sing the soul music I love the most, and we’re both Aries.

New York. Have you always lived there and what inspires you most about this enormous city?

I have lived here my whole life. What inspires me the most about NYC is that anything is possible. You can be whatever and whoever you want to be at anytime. But the real and authentic will always come out on top over here. NYC is as real as it gets! Brings out your inner beast.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“Do not let anyone steal your peace and joy.”

A recurring piece of advice that has been given to me throughout my life and the most important to me. Don’t give weak people power over you!

Where would you recommend fans watch quality underground live music in your local area?

This is New York City, so there are so many options and always a new place to explore. But I would say Village Underground, The Cutting Room, and The Bitter End, are some to name a few.

Last, do you have anything cookin’ music/tour-wise in 2023 that you can share with us?

2023, the sky is the limit for my music! I am going to release my first EP in the spring. I’m looking forward to many live performances that I will keep you guys updated to look out for!

Listen up on Spotify. Find out more on IG.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen