Flying Lotus, Vicar Street Dublin

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Even though this was advertised as an AV show, it was still quite jarring to see the stage setup initially. Any idea of what was to be expected was thrown out the window with the first sight of the hexagonal cage placed in front of Flying Lotus’ equipment. Premature doubts that the show may not deliver in the relatively intimate venue were completely unfounded. As soon as a suited and masked Flylo appeared on stage and gave a brief speech about Ireland and ‘yokes’, the visual and musical spectacle began.

He incorporates every facet imaginable to create an incredibly immersive live experience. There is no doubt that he is a true visionary with such a mind bending display of constantly morphing graphics that swallow the Vicar Street stage whole. Visually, it is literally jaw dropping at times as each colour or pattern change syncs perfectly with the tempo and tone of the music. He has assembled a visceral presentation, one that rivals the quality of any other live show around at the moment.

The swirling lights and designs are only slightly more hypnotising than the music. There’s plenty of Flying Lotus material, both new and old, and his villainous and verbally gifted alter ego Captain Murphy makes an appearance. There is even some Schoolboy Q and Dr. Dre thrown in for good measure. However, one of the secret ingredients of the show was the last minute addition of Thundercat. He adds an air of improvisation to a clearly well planned and thought out display.

It is evident to me now that Flying Lotus and truly revolutionised the idea of a live performance. He highlights not just the importance of the visual aspect but also knows that it is important to treat fans to something they could not hear anywhere else. He previews an unreleased Chance the Rapper verse on ‘Ready Err Not’ and remixes his ‘Wesley’s Theory’ beat that opens Kendrick Lamar’s latest album. The audience should feel like they are witnessing something special and this is an element that Flying Lotus has cemented into his show.

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-Ross Logan

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Interview with Emzee A

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Emzee A is a new Irish hip hop artist currently residing in Navan. He recently released his excellent single ‘Lucid Dreaming’ and was also one of two artists to briefly perform alongside Jay Electronica at his Whelans show. We got to that chance to talk to Emzee A about that once in a lifetime experience and what the future holds for him.

First off, how was the experience of performing alongside Jay Electronica in Whelans? That’s something you dream of before going to a gig as an upcoming rapper.

“That will always be an experience I will never forget. The way it happened, the concert itself in its entirety and the fact that Jay Electronica has been hands down one of the best rappers to come out in the last 10 years and is definitely one of my favourite rappers of all time. You can imagine how incredible that feeling was for me performing on the same stage with him. I was also proud of how well I handled the whole situation and how he got everyone to sing along to my song. It was all too good to be true at the time and I also want to use this opportunity to thank Paul Moore from Joe.ie for writing about it which made it go a bit viral and all that.”

Can you explain the concept behind your latest single Lucid Dreaming?

“Great question. Lucid dreaming came into my life about a year ago after my best friend experienced sleep paralysis. I also wrote a song about that titled Demon-strate, you can check that out on my YouTube channel. I took a big interest on how the mind works in a dream state, with the help of the book Dreams by Carl Gustav Jung and countless amounts of research and watching lucid dreaming videos haha. I came up with the concept and I advise everyone to definitely try it out, it’s worth it.”

What is your main objective as an artist?

“My main objective as an artist is to show people that great hip hop music is being made here in Ireland. I have a lot of respect for artists like Rejjie Snow, Lethal Dialect, DAH JEVU and also Simi Crowns. They are all doing good things and laying, the platform for new acts like myself giving us something to work on. Collectively we can all put Ireland fully on the map in a couple of year’s time.”

Where do you get inspiration from?

“I am inspired by real life experiences and also listening to a wide range of music. I am really into the creative process of making a song and if a song sounds good to me, I am always motivated to come up with my own. Also, getting to vibe with my musical peers like Natural B, Ditch, Jack Noir, Innate and Ted, who are all incredible at what they do, is always motivating when everyone is in their zone.”

Do you have an EP or album in the works?
 

“Yes, I am currently working on my Second E.P titled #UNXPCTD (pronounced UNEXPECTED). That is set for release end of the summer, hopefully if everything goes to plan. I am really excited about this one; some of my personal favourite songs are going to be on it, so look out for that.”

Any gigs coming up?

“I was only performing at the Tribe of Nomads show hosted by Simi Crowns couple of weeks ago. It was such a humbling experience and a night I will never forget. In terms of other upcoming shows, I will be performing at the Apollo Sessions next Sunday. Right now, it’s all about doing open mics and stuff. The competition is really fierce when it comes to performing at shows I will tell you that much, but I’m only getting started so I have to wait my turn. I love being on stage.”

What has been the defining moment for you as an artist? Jay Electronica aside…

“Lots of great defining moments, but I will have to say it was when a song I co-wrote and featured on with The Hijackers & Sadbh O’Donnell, titled ‘Lose Your Mind’, got to number 9 on the Irish official chart in 2010. I was still in college at the time and the whole experience kind of took me by surprise, but it’s pretty cool and humbling to have that on my resume. Not a lot of artists can say that!”

What’s been your favourite album of 2015 so far? We’ve had a lot of good ones!

“Yeah 2015 is looking great musically. I will have to go with Earl Sweatshirt’s ‘I Don’t like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside’ album. He is ridiculously good. ‘If Your Reading This It’s too Late’ by Drake is a good shout too and obviously Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly.”

If you could open for one artist who would it be?

“That’s a tough one but I would have to say Childish Gambino. He is one of my favourite rappers of all time and I highly look up to him. It would be a dream come true to share a stage with him.”

If you could choose three albums to bring on holiday, what would they be?

“It would have to be The Documentary by Game, CAMP by Childish Gambino and Section 80 by Kendrick Lamar.”

-Ross Logan