Welcome to the latest installment of our weekly feature, Sound Off, where Jason P. Woodbury is joined by a different guest each week to listen to and discuss three tracks from local Phoenix artists. If you would like your songs to be considered for future Sound Off columns, please email email@example.com. Dusty Hickman, known as Pickster One or Pickster Uno when he's on the wheels of steel, knows music. He's at the forefront of the moombahton movement, and the disc he dropped off when we sat down to for this week's Sound Off was loaded with remixes of diverse artists: Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr, Bill Withers, A Tribe Called Quest, and more. Read on as the prolific DJ and I tackle songs from local hip-hop firestarter RoQ'Y TyRaiD, electro pop act Peachcake, and a French contribution from Boys and Frogs.
RoQ'y TyRaiD is a local Phoenix MC. You can hear him ever Friday night at 11 p.m. on 99.3 The Beat FM, where he provides an intro the the Redy Set Radio Show.
Pickster One: Who produced this?
Up on the Sun: 21 the Producer? I'm not too familiar with who that is.
I've never heard 21 The Producer...
What did you think of that?
I thought it was good. What I like about RoQ'y is that he's got one speed. He's just like --woosh -- he just goes. Every time I've seen him he's really putting a lot of energy [into what he's doing]. He's an aggressive MC, and this track has definitely got that. He's got a way with, like, 'I'm the shit, and this is why. I'm about to tell you why.' That's his thing. I thought it was cool. I like the hook, he's kind of like, 'You wanna do this? Put it on wax.' It's a hip-hop term, like, you know? If you put it on wax then it's legit.
Instead of just talking shit behind someone's back...
Right. Like, 'If you wanna talk shit, that's cool. Put it on wax.'
I think that's something that hip-hop does right. Competition can be really cool when it furthers the music, and rap beefs produce some of the best music. It's fueled by that. If you're just talking crap and it doesn't lead to anything, what's the point?
Nowadays, with the whole beef thing, Twitter gets in the mix, too. Someone will say something on Twitter, nonchalantly or whatever, they are just saying this or that, but when you put it on wax, it's like you're putting it into print. You're like, 'I'm saying this right now.'
When you go on record attacking someone, you have to back it up.
Right right. You can't be like, 'I didn't say that.'
You have to commit to it. I don't know, I've only listened to a little of RoQ'y's stuff, but I thought the production was awesome.
Yeah yeah, it's a solid beat. The hook is good.
I like the Nintendo-y bleep --
Yeah! That's right, its like from Mario or something.
Like a level-up thing. I would love to hear this actually on vinyl, with an instrumental B-side or whatever.
He's a supporter, he's always out at shows. He's been at Blunt Club all the time. He's working it, doing his thing.
I usually try to think about what I didn't like in a song, but I really just dug this one.
Maybe it could have had some scratching. That's the DJ in me, though.
What did you think of that?
I thought it was good. I like the whole, LCD Soundsystem type of feel. Dance-y . . .
Yeah, it's got that going on. You said LCD, I was thinking The Rapture, but I mean, DFA record vibe, for sure.
I thought parts of the song got lost with that heavy guitar. At some points I thought the guitar was a little heavy.
I was completely prepared to be bored by a six-minute song. That's a really long time. I like minimalism, and repetition, I love Krautrock records and stuff, so I'm not opposed to long songs. But the dance floor thing for six minutes? If I'm not on a dance floor, I don't know if I'd listen to it that much outside of that context.
That's something I struggle with my tunes, too. Sometimes I want to put out a mix that is like, you would just listen to on your iPod, and then put out a different DJ mix.
It's tough. There's that scene in High Fidelity where a woman from the Chicago Reader asks John Cusack's character what are his all-time favorite records, and you can't . . . all-time favorites? In the club? In my apartment? In the car?
All these different settings.
For something to work in all capacities? I guess that's everybody's goal, but that's really fucking hard.
Yeah, I thought they did a good job, though -- because when that whole instrumental breakdown happened, I was ready for it. I was ready for that to happen. It definitely got spacey and experimental and funky. It kept my interest.
Lyrically, I wonder if a lot of it is unnecessary. It's such a beat-driven song. I guess focusing on the lyrics in something like this is not the right thing to do.
It's about that bass line -- about the beat. Rhyming 'this, amiss, and happiness?' It's like, something is irritating to me about that, but I don't mind that the chorus is 'yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah.' You know what I mean? I feel like every time I listen to Peachcake, it's like, 'Wait, that's not how I remember them sounding.'
Have you seen them live?
It's been a long time.
We had them at Sticky Fingers, a few months back. It was one of the craziest things. I was DJ-ing downstairs, and I was like, 'Oh, I want to check these guys out.' So I ran up real quick, and right as I walked in the door, there was confetti everywhere, and balloons, and people screaming. I was like, 'Wow, this is going off.' They come with a good show.
It's important to do that. This sounds huge. It's like, not far off from the Coachella main-stage. That's the thing, you mentioned LCD Soundsystem, and I remember being at Coachella two years ago, and I remember wondering if it was going to translate live. It did.
It was amazing. I loved it.
Boys and Frogs are an indie-rock band from Phoenix. Visit their website for more information.
That reminded me of when I was just in France. When I was out there, kids would be like, 'Hey, listen to this, and listen to that.' And if I don't understand what they are saying, it's automatically what the music is. I enjoyed the music on this. I didn't know what he was saying. I like how the sound was a little distorted. It was like, 'Is this right? Is this not right?' And then it comes in, and you're like, 'Oh, okay.' I enjoyed that snare roll. That's a really cool technique, which I'm probably going to use at some point. [Laughs]. It was lower in the mix, just chk-chk-chk. I like the song.
I liked the saxophone, panned to the side. I've heard other stuff from this band, and it was fine. It kind of had an Arcade Fire thing going on a little bit. The band has done some really impressive videos, but the videos look really amazing, but the songs were just sort of . . .
No, just . . . okay. It was like . . . more young bands sounding like Arcade Fire you know? There's plenty of that now. You're young and you're indie, you either go the Animal Collective route, or the Arcade Fire one. But this song has a different feel. It has some of those same elements, but the French element is really cool. I was taken aback. Their other stuff is good, but this grabs my attention way more. It really seems to be a more unique thing here in Phoenix.
For sure. I wonder if they did the song in English, too, and this is like, 'The French dub type thing.'
It's listed as a remix.
I would have ran with this version on the record.
I love indie music and rock, but everything sounds so samey. This is unique.
That's the thing. I don't know if these guys are younger, but with those younger bands, they kind of see what they want to do in another band, and they do that, with a little twist. But that's the same thing with hip-hop and moombahton. Everyone looks at the people who are doing it, and next thing you know, you've got a whole genre of music that sounds the same.
Which is why you've tried to push and integrate other sounds into it.
I actually just had a conversation with somebody who said that when they hear a Phoenix moombahton song now, they can tell it's from Phoenix. I was like, man, that's cool.
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A lot of it has to do with Melo, and his whole, his incorporation of the things, but I guess if you think about it, you can tell it's different.
I want all Phoenix music to be like that. I think it would be the coolest thing ever for someone to hear a indie thing, and be like, 'Oh that's Phoenix.' And there are things, this has...that saxophone has kind of a Latin thing. It feels more unique to the desert. If this band does more stuff like this, it's going to get them recognized as being in line with Calexico and Sergio Mendoza. Which is a good place to be.