Can you tell us about some of the parties/venues that shaped you as an artist and a performer?
Diego Camejo: The first venue I started DJing at consistently was Mokai. Being the resident here has taught me so much. Because it is a small boutique club, it is naturally a very intimate setting. It is a venue where people are not necessarily going to focus on the DJs performance; they’re their to have a good time, which makes it more difficult as a DJ to craft a set that gets people’s attention.
The past year has seen trance mainstays Markus Schulz and Ferry Corsten sneakily plot what could be the collaboration of the century. What started as a laugh at a barbecue in Ibiza has grown into an epic reality and an unstoppable force, culminating in the duo's global debut under the moniker New World Punx this past Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
Behind the decks and behind the scenes, Blaze Carreras is all about style. It’s no wonder Corona asked to feature him in the booth for their latest ad campaign. From open format to progressive and electro house, the man knows how to read a crowd and give them what they want. His talent has landed him residencies in some of South Florida's hottest night-spots such as Wall, FDR, Wet, and Living Room, as well as tours across South America. The Venezuelan producer caught up with Amanda Mesa, our Miami contributor, before a show at Vibe Lounge in Fort Lauderdale to talk about his inspiration, beginnings, and love of music. She decided to do this one Q&A style, so enjoy!
Tell us a bit about Grooveshark and how it differs from other music sites? While we started and have grown as a music search engine, we are focused on being a platform for artists and users. We believe that the consumer is moving towards paying for experience rather than product so we are doing everything we can to empower artists to find and build new fans to drive them to a touring experience. We are seeing DIY artists blowing up on YouTube and other online channels yet no music service has quite focused on that. We want to be the standard for building plays and fans.
What was the inspiration behind your idea for Grooveshark? I drove by a music store that had a sign outside that said "Buy-sell-trade" and I was inspired to get into the music business as opposed to try and build a career as an artist. Isn't it ironic that here I am looking to help thousands of artists build their careers by leveraging the democratizing effects of the internet. We definitely live in quite the times.
How did you come up with the name? My co-founder Josh would code name his development projects by favorite color and animal. My favorite color is red and animal is shark because they have to keep moving to stay alive and are fierce. That best describes my personality so it became project 'red shark.' Then we liked the shark so we tried different music words other than red like mp3shark, musicshark, songshark, and finally Grooveshark stuck and we loved it. Our designer at the time then made the fin logo and we were in business!
Quiet Company, the company's flagship band, has had tremendous success. How exactly has Grooveshark helped to launch their career? We found them at a showcase in Austin. They had great songwriting, great live performance, great presence, and they were a great group of motivated guys so we decided to test them by giving them radio 'spins' on Grooveshark. In other words, we put them in front of users that had listened to similar sounding artists. They performed amazingly in these tests (better than 10 other bands we did similar tests on). Over the next year and a half we promoted them and their album/singles and from 0 plays and 0 fans on Grooveshark and a few thousand plays on YouTube, we got them to 1.5M video views on Youtube and now over 75,000 plays per month and 27,000 listeners per month on Grooveshark sustained now. We just started their tour and have sold out 14 dates already. We've proven that we can take a band from nothing to a well-established online presence followed by a monetizable tour at our relatively small scale. That is the formula in the new music business.
What is your vision for the future regarding music and Grooveshark? We want to build an ad supported artist platform business to a top 10 website (roughly 1 billion monthly users). Realistically, on web advertising you can earn $3-4 per user per year (Facebook does $4.30/user per year) so at that scale it is possible to do $3 - $4 billion per year, 60% of which would go to content partners based on industry standard revenue shares so that is roughly $1.8 - $2.4 billion/year to content owners at scale. Subscription is also on top of that although it is harder to ascertain those numbers simply because the market for people who are willing to subscribe is sub 20 million users. I'd rather build a $4 billion/year ad business than a $200 million/year subscription business. On top of that, we are looking at taking a percentage off of artists' revenues based on providing a promotions platform. We are looking at signing acts that can grow to move 100k, 250k, 500k, 1M fans into venues at $10 - $100 ticket prices. That has the potential to grow into another $1Bn/year business for us and our partners. In the coming years the industry revenues will be based on ads, tours, merch, product deals, and some subscription.
Do you have any projects or updates on deck? Lot's of product updates are coming in Q4. We're redesigning Grooveshark from the ground up and I'm thrilled so far with the progress. More on this soon.
Since she was ten years old, Yana Benhuri has been obsessed with fashion. From fashion model to designer, Yana knows fashion from the inside out. Yana is now the brains behind YBCouture, having studied fashion in Europe, she has a skill of bringing classic modern looks into a simple, yet glamourous design. Her designs have been worn at big name events such as The Golden Globe Awards, The Academy Awards, and The Tony Awards. Most recently, Yana showed her Spring/Summer 2013 Collection at Nolcha Fashion Week in New York City. We were able to chat with the talented designer on her upcoming projects, her design esthetique and what celebrities she wants to dress.
Singer/songwriter Shontelle is branching out! The talented songstress is showcasing her design skills with her new CAT x SHONTELLE footwear collection, which debuted during New York Fashion Week. Joonbug had the opportunity to chat with the gal of many trades about the inspiration behind the collection, her plans for the future, and more.
What made you want to get into fashion? And more specifically, footwear?
I guess the default answer is because CAT Footwear makes just that. SHOES! And beautiful BOOTS! I actually wore CATs throughout most of my school life. Not only because they were perfect with my school uniforms but they lasted forever (I only replaced them when I outgrew a size) and they were waterproof. So of course my parents loved that! In Barbados, if the bottom of your school shoes didn’t flash yellow, you weren’t cool. So thanks to CAT I’ve always been a “cool kid." Always been an Earth Mover! My grandmother was also obsessed with shoes and apparently, according to my family, she passed that on to me. They feel as though this line is Ms. Delia, living through me...
How did you come up with the name for your collection?
The collection itself doesn't yet have a name because the project just started out as a one time collaboration. So for now it's called the CAT x SHONTELLE collection. Or simply CATs by Shontelle. But it felt so fun and so right that CAT Footwear decided to continue the collection for another season. Hopefully we can keep this going for a long time and eventually develop a full SHONTELLE line with its own established department and name. However, the names of the boots were all inspired by and derived from places in Barbados that were special or significant to my childhood. "Bridegtown" - The capital city of Barbados and also where I was born and first lived; "Bajan" - self explanitory; "Xtreme" - The name of my favorite night club where I most frequented. Unfortunately its now closed; "Sandy Lane" - My favorite Beach/Club Resort in Barbados.
Toni Marie Ricci got the surpise of her life when she found out she was married to a mobster. Michael 'Mikey Scars' DiLeonardo wooed her in, but forgot to metion that he was a Gambino capo working for John Gotti, Jr. After discovering that her husband had an illegitimate child with his mistress, Toni Marie did not get mad - instead, she got even - by testifying against her ex-husband at his trial. Toni Marie was recently on the hit show, I Married a Mobster, which features a different woman each episode, who shares her story about the rise and fall of their marraige. We chat with Toni Marie about her reasons for doing the show, what she's up to now, and the importance of advocating for women who have suffered abuse.
DJ Rascal is not your average DJ. The Miami-based artist started on the music scene at the ripe age of 15, performing in some of the city's hottest venues, including LIV, Mynt, and Arkadia. He spent his early career spinning with some of the greats - Steve Aoki, Martin Solveig, and Miike Snow. Starting off in a school jazz band, playing piano and bass guitar, he quickly learned that his passion lay in DJing and quickly started booking gigs at clubs at a young age. Now at the age of 23, Rascal has announced that he will be releasing his first EP. Joonbug chats with the young superstar about his upcoming EP, his craziest moments in the club, and what he likes to do when he's not spinning.
What can we expect on your new album and what was the inspiration behind it?
I've been working on it for quite some time now. I decided to work on it because my entire life I've been involved in music, from being in a school band, then graduating to a jazz band in school, and then exploring with DJing once I got into high school; and now that's all I've been doing. Having the opportunity to open up and close for such big DJs in Miami, I would just sit behind them once I finished with my set and watch them play their own original music and the reaction they got - I thought, man, I could do this. The music is good, it's crazy, but it's nothing that I can't do. I know how to play instruments, so I decided to go home at the time and I started practicing again and brushing up on my music notes and how to work with melodies. I've created over 35 songs and out of those I've chosen a good 5-7 songs that I'm finalizing now. I am really, really hard on myself. I compare it to the best of what's out right now and if it's not as good or better, I start over or delete it. In order to be one of the best, you have to compare yourself to the best. I bring people to my studio and show them what I'm working on and listen to their feedback. But so far, with the 5-7 songs I've chosen, everyone has given really positive feedback.
Do you have a title for the album yet?
I had a title but I'm not 100% sure I'm going to use it, so as of right now, no, I don't have a title.
Do you have any favorite tracks off the album?
That's so funny you say that. It's funny because whenever someone comes to listen they'll be like, "Oh I like this song, but this is my favorite song." [But] I'm attached to every song in a different way. Each song has a different meaning behind it, whether it's the reason I started working on it, or the melody. Overall I'm happy with how [the album] is coming out.
You've been DJing since you were 14 years old. Do you think that gives you an advantage in the industry?
I wouldn't say it's an advantage because everyone's different and talented in their own way. Performance-wise, it would give me a little bit more room to get more creative. Instead of just playing two or three songs at the same time, I go out and study different DJs and see what they can do and what I can't do. I'll come back in my studio and sit here for hours and just practice and practice. Just so I can be as good as what's out there - some people might say I'm amazing and some might think I suck. But overall, I've gotten far for being so young, so I just keep working to better myself.
What do you like about the scene in Miami?
I love everything about the Miami scene. It's different from everything, even other parts of Florida. It's totally different because I grew up in bottle service clubs in Miami and I've been successful because I cater to the crowds, but at the same time, I don't lose my edge. I play what they want to hear but I play what I think is good and what I want to hear. So it's not very repetitive - I am always testing new music and sometimes people give me the craziest faces, like "what the f is this kid playing?" but that's my job as a DJ - to put out new music. I get that reaction and sometimes I get the best reaction, when songs that people hate turn into songs people love and then a month later, that song is on the radio. It's just that risk that a DJ is supposed to take. I'm happy to say that I've stuck to it and played music that no one has heard yet.
Would you ever consider leaving Miami?
Yea, I leave Miami once every week. [laughs]
Permanently, I mean?
I'm not sure, because my studio is out here in Miami. I travel a lot and work a lot and there's so much more out there. Who knows? I take everything day by day. If there's a huge opportunity for me out there one day and I feel that it's right, then I might jump on it. Maybe I'll move to Thailand and live in a jungle!
What's it like to work with some of the biggest DJs out there?
It's very nerve-wracking. The first time I ever got a big opportunity was when I opened up for Steve Aoki. It was just weird how it happened - I am the type of person who always just asks questions because the answer is always going to be no if you don't ask. So I was at a club where he was playing and afterwards I asked if I could open up for him. And I just waited and waited, for hours, and then the day of the show they got back to me and said yes, you can open for him and close. I was so excited and so nervous, I kept practicing and practicing. To this day, it's still probably one of the funnest sets I've had because I was so nervous and trying to do my best. And to this day I always get nervous, I always want to do my best. I've been lucky, all these big famous DJs, they are so successful, but at the same time they are so humble and nice that it makes you so comfortable being around them and playing before them.
What do you like to do when you're not DJing?
I sit on a leather chair all day. I sit in front of a computer. This is going to sound boring, but I'm kind of a boring person. I work a lot. During the day when I'm not working I'm either working on my music, eating cookies and drinking water, or when it's basketball season, I'll watch that here in the studio while I work. I'm pretty determined to finish this EP - all my energy is into that right now.
What are some of the craziest things that have happened while you've been DJing at a club?
I watch people fall all the time. I love to people watch. It depends what you consider crazy - I've seen people get into fights. One of the craziest things happened one night last year in March, it was almost like the club caught on fire because of how many bottles were sold. Somebody bought close to 200 Cristal bottles at once. So it was just one big fireball of sparklers, it was crazy and cool to watch. Also, I went to a club with Aoki up in Pampano Beach and he had me and Marshall Barnes get this raft and go into the crowd. So we are in the crowd on the raft and Steve jumps off the balcony and misses and just knees me in the face. It was crazy; we thought we were going to drop him.
What's your drink of choice, besides water of course?
I have two. Goombay Punch is a Bahamian drink that's really good - it's like a soda. And I'm so addicted to Red Bull. People tell me it's bad, but it's just so good. I love it.
Keep up to date on DJ Rascal and his upcoming EP.
Greg Cummins, founder of Logan Zane, a handmade leather goods company in New York City, chats with Joonbug about his line. The company, founded in 2010, draws inspiration from the art deco period, using quality materials, and made right here in America. Cummins created the collection out of his own necessity for a quality bag. He created The Remsen, a camouflage leather backpack, and within weeks of sporting it, people began to notice. Thus began Logan Zane. This company sets itself apart from the rest with its simple sophistication. Unlike some other designer brands, Logan Zane's classic design can withstand the test of time--both with durability and style. See what Greg has to say about Logan Zane.
Actress, model, philanthropist, and international celebrity Pamela Anderson has conquered just about everything she has set her mind to. Since her breakout role in Baywatch, she has achieved an iconic status that few ever reach. Her latest endeavor is both fun to play and cause worthy; a new virtual Facebook app called BamPoker. Founders Elton Pereira and Jeremy Nichele wanted to introduce an interactive gaming experience that is both casual and fun to play. The Facebook App allows the online community to duel it out in Texas Hold 'em, with no money involved, using online virtual chips. Best of all, players will also have the chance to play or chat with Pamela herself! BamPoker has partnered with non-profit Free the Children and playing the game will help support the organization. Pamela chats with Joonbug about how she got involved in this online gaming experience, her upcoming return to Dancing with the Stars: All Stars, and her philanthropic background.