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DJ Snuggles, Big Zach & The Histronic Interview

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The Cabooze will be hosting a fantastic bill tonight featuring Toki Wright, DJ Snuggles, the Histronic and Big Zach. In preparation for the show Culture Bully’s Chris DeLine caught up with Snuggles, Big Zach and the Histronic’s Paul Marshall. Previewing the event, the artists described a tendency towards improv throughout their performances as well as the possibility of a few surprises over the course of the night.

For those unfamiliar with the Twin Cities beatboxing basics, who are the names we should check out in terms of local artists?

DJ Snuggles: Well as far as beatboxing, my dude, nobody really is killin’ it besides Carnage. And when he beatboxes it isn’t really authentic cause he uses a loop machine that guitarist use, but yeah he’s pretty good at what he does overall.

How about other local musicians?

Paul Marshall: Mike Moilanen is by far one of our favorite DJs in the Twin Cities. Mike plays very tasteful house music that makes everyone in the room want to dance. The difference between Mike and a lot of DJs in the area is that he also plays guitar. Being a musician helps his set in a lot of ways, knowing how to read the audience, knowing when to pick the tempo up, or to change things up all together. Once Mike catches your attention, he busts out the guitar and adds a nice live flair to the mix. We’ve worked with him several times; he’s a talented musician and fun to work with.

Big Zach: Well, I would like to say us (Kanser, More Than Lights, the Interlock crew), but jokes to the left – Prof & Rahzwell have been making good music and hustling hard as of late. St. Paul Slim has been working real hard. My homies Big Quarters and this young folk singer girl Dalia are who I’ve been listing to as of late on the local scene.

How have you attempted to diversify yourself from other local artists and what can we expect from you @ The Cabooze?

DJ Snuggles: I’m a beatboxer – that’s what makes me different; and my style is unique and different, unlike others as far as emcees. There’s a bunch of the same cats doin’ the same thing, but there’s also a lot that have their own style in the palm of their hand! At The Cabooze? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see, right?!

Big Zach: The only thing I feel you can do to diversify your self without trying too hard and overdoing it is just telling your own story. As for the show at The Cabooze, I’ll have to see what the show’s like before Fundo (my DJ) and I decide what we’re gonna bring. If it’s mad kids that wanna have fun, we’ll try an make ‘em bounce – if it we’re a small turn out being that it’s a Wednesday, we would lean back on ‘em and get personal. Everywhere in between we will be at their service – it will depend on what Toki & Snuggles do too.

Paul Marshall: The Histronic is different then most electronica acts that you will see because everything is played live (“livetronica”). There are no sequences, computers, loops, or pre recorded tracks. Everything you are hearing us play is being played in real time by a trio of musicians (drums, bass and keyboards). We also have a variety of hand/face signals we use to communicate with on stage. These can be used to signal key signatures, modulations, weaving between two ideas, rhythmic breaks, and many other things. This sets us apart from most electronica in that we can switch any of those musical elements up at any time. If we feel the song needs to change we can do it on the fly with out stopping or even speaking to each other; one of us throws up a signal and we are all on the same page.

How are you approaching the performance at The Cabooze…is everything going to essentially be improv?

DJ Snuggles: Some will be scripted and some will be improv, but improv makes up some of the best shows actually, so it’s gonna be dope, dope, dope!

Paul Marshall: The Histronic is playing the next night (Thursday) at The Cabooze, opening for a national act called EOTO, thus we wanted to make Wednesday a completely different vibe. We have several beats worked out that are perfect for hip hop, some of which are off our debut album, the Histronic. There will be an element of improv, but for the most part we will try to arrange the beats and set list a head of time. The point of this night is to feature some great local hip hop artists as well as to combine the dance and hip hop scenes. Hip Hop is using more and more electronic/dance grooves for beats (Kanye West’s “Stronger” sampling Daft Punk for example) and there’s some Euro-rap that is heading that direction too; some day we’d like to say we were on the forefront of the dance/hip hop scene in Minneapolis.

What can we expect from Kanser in the future?

Big Zach: Unicus (the other rapper in Kanser) and I are about half way done with a record with our other group More than lights. It has a feel-good jam band style, we call it hippie-rap. Otherwise Kanser is just trying to stay on the road and keep pushing our other projects. God has been good to us latley and we just wana keep entertaining people.

What makes this show with DJ Snuggles, Big Zach & Toki Wright so special?

Paul Marshall: This show is special because it’s going to switch up the Wednesday night vibe at The Cabooze radically. Starting in 1996 the Big Wu started playing every Wednesday at The Cabooze, since then a few different bands have taken over that coveted slot (including a four year run by God Johnson), this night has traditionally been geared towards jam band, rock, and funk music. Not only have we switched up the vibe to a more electronic/dance feel but the October first show will incorporate hip hop which, to our knowledge, was seldom done on a Wednesday at The Cabooze, if at all.

Are you planning to focus more on a hip-hop style, or will you be mixing things up a bit?

Paul Marshall: We will focus more on a hip hop style for the Wednesday show, however it’s inevitable that we will work in some up tempo dance music as well. Every show is unique, thus we’ll have to judge the crowds response. If they want hip hop by the barrel full… that’s what we’ll give ‘em.

The bill suggests guest MCs, do you have any surprises for us?

Paul Marshall: Yes, there will be an open freestyle at the end of the night, so anyone who wants to come down and rhyme can give it shot. It’s also possible you will see the likes of our friend Omaur Bliss, and possibly others…