AfroPunk Fest Take Over: Day 1

This week leading up until AfroPunk Fest the House of Marley will be highlighting some of the key artists that will be performing, both on our Black Stage and throughout the festival. Today’s spotlight includes Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, HO99O9, Baby Baby, and Sunny Gang. 

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Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings are a New York based funk/soul band known for their exquisite outfits and notable work with Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse.  With more than 10 years of recording, touring and shutting down all venues in sight, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings know the formula to be successful in the music industry. Knowing what their fans want from them and wanting the same thing. This group captured the hearts of their audience and big named acts such as Beck, John Legend and Michael Bublé. “Give the People What They Want” (2013) is their newest released and we can’t wait for what they have next. They will be performing on the Green stage at 8:30pm on Saturday, August 23rd. 

 

Baby Baby

These Atlanta based energetic punk rockers are a group of dudes that you need to check out immediately. They will be rocking out on the Black Stage at 2:45 on Saturday the 23rd. There most recent release is their album “Big Baller Club” which can be purchased on babybabyband.bigcartel.com. Give these dudes a listen and prepare to vibe out.

HO99O9

Pronounced “Horror”, this crew has one of the coolest sounds out of anyone performing at AfroPunk Fest. Their music is an eclectic, aggressive mix of hip hop, thrash core and punk rock or noise as some people like to say.  Since forming in 2012, the group has been known for its provocative lyrical content. But who doesn’t love a little controversy once in a while? HO99O9 will be gracing the Black stage at 1:45pm on Saturday, August 23rd.

 

 Sunny Gang

A four-man punk rock group who loves everything we do: music, partying and having fun.  Their influences stem from hip hop, metal, soul, ska, and funk, and that list sounds great to us! Can’t wait to see these guys show out at AfroPunk Fest. They will be performing on the Black stage at 3:45pm on Saturday, August 23rd.

 

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Alexander Richter – The Man Behind the Lens

NYC based photographer Alexander Richter has one of the best eyes for capturing your favorite artists in their most natural setting. Photography is one of the most intriguing and populated art forms, but Alexander manages to stay on top. No glitz, glamour or over-photoshopped photos. Alexander uses the right adjustments to make you feel like you were there when the photo was captured. House of Marley was blessed with the chance to pick up some knowledge and gain a better understanding of Alexander’s work. Check out AlexanderRichterphoto.com for an inside scoop.

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How did you link with the House of Marley, and what attracted you to the brand?

I grew up as a fan of reggae and was heavily influenced by Bob’s music. Fast forward to 2012 when I traveled to Kingston for 7 days with a friend of mine to create the photo-based documentary project called SEVENS CLASH. Upon my return I re-connected with Tracy from The House Of Marley and we mutually took an interest in what the other was doing. We had meetings which led to me learning about their amazing audio products, and now here we are.

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How do you deal with an artist or a person that is super camera shy or has the “I don’t want to be here” attitude during a shoot?

I think being personable is one of the best attributes to have as a photographer. In order to make good photos you have to be able to connect with your subject. I tend to work very close to the people I’m photographing, sometimes within inches of their face, so creating a good exchange of energy is critical. It seems obvious, but I’ve had plenty of shoots where the people I am photographing tell me horror stories about working with other photographers who just stay behind the camera and fail to communicate with their subject. Which to me is crazy because it’s that exchange of energy that creates the best photos. So I would have to say it’s critical that if you are having a shoot with someone who is not keen on taking pic
tures that you take some time and just talk with them. Don’t even break out the camera until the vibe is right.   

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What are the top things you consider when location scouting?

Locations are driven by the person that I’m photographing so when I get commissioned to do a shoot I begin to think about the person I am shooting and visualize environments that would complement whomever they are. I like to look for colors, different surfaces (glass, metal, wood), textures, light & shadow. Obviously there are jobs with creative directions which drive a shoot but it’s always good to have an eye out for something different so that you can place someone there and create a shot that wasn’t in the brief.

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With the infiltration of people with digital cameras and Photoshop, how does your photography set itself apart from the masses?

I try not to think about what other people are doing, but if I had to answer it I would say my eyes. No one else sees the world the same way I do and as a result I create photographs that reflect that. I also get my camera into places that other people might be interested in seeing, but aren’t willing to take the risk to make it happen. I have had the opportunity to have access to worlds that not everyone is welcomed to and with those moments I have worked hard to show that experience, whether it was in Jamaica, working with graffiti writers in NYC, or exploring new generations of hip hop artists in Chicago. In addition to that, I take great care in composition, in lighting, and execution of the image at that decisive moment.

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Why do you think companies choose you to do shoots for them over the next photographer?

I think people tend to be attracted to the raw feeling of my work. I don’t do loads of Photoshop to my images. I try to create my images in camera the way that I am seeing them on the print side. And whether you like them or not, they will make you feel some type of way. If they don’t, then I haven’t done my job. I think people also like the fact that I work with different mediums as well. I shoot with a digital 35mm, Polaroid land & passport cameras, 35mm film, and medium & large format film cameras as well. Each camera has its own voice so using a variety of tools helps me create unique images.

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What type of research do you do on an artist or person before you start a photo shoot?

I try to do as much research as possible. I like to know something about each subject I’m working with so that I can start on some sort of equal playing field if possible. I think having different points of communication is key to connecting with your subject so it’s always beneficial to know about who you are working with. I also look at photos that other photographers have made so that I can challenge myself to create work completely different than anyone else.

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When did your interest transition from film to photography?

Well, I went to school for film and at first that’s what I set out to do. Around 2004/2005, I discovered my father’s Hasselblad, began shooting more, and realized that photography was what I was meant to do.

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What is your favorite type of camera?

I don’t have a favorite camera. Whatever camera I have in my hands at the time is the camera that I need.

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Are you more into digital photography or film (analog) photography?

I love it all. They both have their place and I’m grateful to understand and use both.

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Photo Credit: Alexander Richter

Polaroids – Diahann Williams

The Cultural Connection Between Reggae, Hip-Hop and Afrika Bambaataa

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It’s nearly impossible to point at one musician and say they started a genre, but if there were no Afrika Bambaataa, it’s safe to say there would be no such thing as hip-hop. From his early days of DJing/throwing parties in South Bronx to his mega-smash “Planet Rock,” Bambaataa has been a positive cultural touchstone for 40 years.

The House of Marley is excited to be taking part in Afrika’s 40th anniversary weekend, which includes a number of shows happening in New York City from November 6 through November 10. With a heavy hitting lineup that features live performances from hip-hop all stars including Ultramagnetic MCs, Ice T, Ice Cube, Public Enemy and more, this weekend is sure to be a killer time.

As Afrika has often said, the connection between reggae and hip-hop is one that runs extremely deep. The proof is in the music, as our namesake Bob Marley has been sampled by dozens of hip-hop artists throughout the years. In preparation of Afrika Bambaataa’ 40th anniversary party in New York, we’re taking a look at some of the best Bob Marley samples throughout the history of rap. Pop on some headphones and lose yourself in some of the best music of the past few decades.

Jungle Brothers “Doin’ Our Own Dang”

Naming himself after Afrika Bambaataa, the Jungle Brothers’ Baby Bam also makes a reference to Bob Marley with a sample of “Jammin’” on the group’s track “Doin’ Our Own Dang.” Bam will be DJing as a part of the festivities for November 6 and he is sure to break out more of the sick reggae records that inspired him.

Kardinal Offishall “Naughty Dread”

Taking the name of his track straight from the Bob Marley song he samples, Kardinal Offishall’s “Naughty Dread” is a laid back lesson in flow. Still rapping a decade after he first hit the hip-hop scene, Kardinal continues with his socially conscious efforts and has been working hard for charities in Haiti.

The Game w/ Swizz Beatz and Jay Electronica “Higher”

On The Game’s debut record, Dr. Dre utilized Bob Marley’s “Iron Lion Zion” as the propelling beat of the track “Higher.” Starting off with the classic chant from 1974 recording, the song quickly kicks into overdrive with a flourish of drums and sirens.

Public Enemy “Fight The Power”

“Fight The Power” is the ultimate hip-hop sound collage, as it pastes together some of the most commonly used samples in a way that has never been done again since. While at times it’s hard to hear Bob Marley’s “I Shot The Sheriff” in the song, it’s apparent Public Enemy’s social conscious music is deeply indebted to the reggae singer. Check out Public Enemy when they perform on November 8, at the National Black Theatre as a part of the Afrika Bambaataa birthday celebration.