This EP marks a return to form for the Aussie MC/entrepreneur, as he explores both the dark and light elements of his psyche - from the uplifting title track to the dedication to his lady on "KeepMyBabyWarrrm", from reflections on his 420 enthusiasm on "UsedToBeHiiigh" to exploring the gender injustices on "MansWorrrld" with Montreal legend D-Shade, from celebrating life on "LoveLoveYalll" with brother Notion to a deeply introspective moment on "AmaliiiaRodrigues". SVNTY6's moving production is steeped in soul samples and is most certainly some of his best work to date, ranging from hopeful and optimistic to melancholy and reflective.
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The second single from Cee and SVNTY6's collaborative EP, "Be Better", samples Ms. Rodrigues' classic "O Xaile de Minha Mãe", a song Cee discovered a decade back during Spanish lessons. He had sent the song to around ten different producers over the years, and only SVNTY6 had been able to flip it right.
Through our Artist Features section, we've covered MCs, DJs, producers, models, designers...and now photographers. Darren Johnson, a young photographer from London, caught our eye and he was good enough to answer some questions while on vacation in Jamaica.
Cee: Hey Darren, what's good man? I know you're out in Jamaica right now, so peace for chatting to us on your vacay.
Darren: No problem at all!
Cee: First up, break down your journey in photography for the people.
Darren: I was at a crossroads in my life around 2007, wondering what to do career-wise (which I'm sure most people have the same dilemma once in a while). It then hit me that since I was little I have studied photos either from family, friends or even complete strangers personal collections.
I then nervously enrolled into a course, which luckily was very close by, in film photography, which taught me the basics in the darkroom.
Once I finished the course, I decided to purchase a camera and ever since then a camera never leaves my sight. I'm always looking out for potential photographic opportunities, at the same time building a reputation, brand and business.
Cee: What's the meaning behind the name iDJ Photography?
Darren: The meaning behind the name iDJ is: i: Eye (being the obvious tool I use in my line of work), D: Darren and J: Johnson.
Cee: Do you have a mentor? Did you take a course? Or are you self-taught? Or a combination?
Darren: I don't really have a mentor other than the my teacher from the course I took in 2007. Ever since then I have been learning as I go along, reasearching etc.
Cee: You're based outta London (England, not Ontario for those in Canada). How's the market out there? Is there a lot of competition? What makes you different from the thousands of other photographers?
Darren: London is very saturated with photographers. Being a photographer in London is a challenge but at the same time London is quite possibly the best place to photograph. In terms of what makes me different from the rest? I'm not sure, I don't really focus on other photographers with their marketing, etc. I just aim to produce my best work, good value for money and a quick turn around for my clients. This has worked for me so far which has reflected on the glowing references I recieve.
Cee: Out of all the various styles and subjects that you do, what's your favourite to work with?
Darren: My favourite 'shots' are the ones where I could be watching TV or walking to the store and an idea pops in my head and I run with it. I call this my "misc" album, which you can see on my website or Facebook. I do genuinely enjoy all styles of photography, I still get that buzz no matter what/who I photograph.
Cee: What would be your main inspiration as a photographer?
Darren: My inspiration was my trip to Jamaica in 2008! I just bought my first SLR before flying out to Jamaica and fell in love with photography, which was aided with being in such a beautiful country.
Cee: What made you pick up a camera to express your creative side, as opposed to say a paintbrush or a guitar?
Darren: I honestly don't know the answer that one. I believe life gives you opportunities, and I just simply took this one.
Cee: If you could have any other talent, what would it be?
Darren: It would 100% be a professional football (soccer) player. Football is a big passion for me, I try and watch as much as I can no matter where I am.
Cee: What's next once you get back from JA?
Darren: Same as before I left, keep pushing the business a much as I can. Working hard on images, ideas, marketing, networking, delivery, etc.
Cee: Let the people know where they can find you!
Darren: Website: www.idjphotography.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/idjphotos
Cee: Thanks for your time cuz!
Darren: Thank you!
There are certain things I miss about England. Sausage rolls, Notting Hill carnival, Walking around London, the clubs etc. One of the things I miss the most is the people. Not the snooty rude muthafuckas, but the normal working class, everyday people. It was such a diverse mix of individuals that it was crazy. The ravers, cool kids, hip hop heads, football hooligans, pub crawlers, smart kids, FLY chicks (a fit bird with British accent is still the biggest turn on for me), West Indians, Pakistani’s etc It was a fucking crazy melting pot of Neighborhoods and little worlds within itself. When I was over there I would get so caught up in life that I would never sightsee. Running the streets at night with my cousins was fun, dangerous and ALWAYS interesting. The spots and lives there were breeding grounds for crazy stories.
I said all that to say this. Those same people I spoke about were dramatized perfectly for this movie. Guy Ritchie dug up the best of England’s worst and polished them up for the screen in this movie. Although the story spans 3 different countries. The heart of the story is in merry old England. The characters in the story are memorable as hell. I cant say the word “Bonjour” without picturing Bullet tooth Tony (Vinnie Jones) slamming some dues head in the car door while some 80’s pop plays in the background. Sol, Brick top, Mickey (man this was the moment I realized the Brad Pitt was a fucking ILL actor) and of course Turkish (Jason Statham). All the characters, apart from their various personality quirks, stuck out for one strong reason: DIALOGUE. Man listen, Everybody in this movie was coming out their face in style. Few movies have had me laughing my ass off as much as this. If you’re a rapper, this is a flick your gonna love cause it makes you wanna step your pen game up. Trust me. The “Desert Eagle POINT five o” speech alone is worth the price of admission.
The other part of the equation is the sequencing. The way certain things are hidden from plain sight adds another layer of humor to the scenes they are used for. Scenes also cut in and out in ways that when pieced together play like a classic episode of “Seinfeld”. The technique of one character setting off a chain of events that affect everybody in the film is used to perfection here (when you see the milk scene you’ll know what I mean). Guy Ritchie really pieced together a well though out gem. Stuff like the “I’m coming to London” section had me like “DAMN!!! Dude wasn’t playing”. I feel it was Tarantino influenced in certain bits but what the hell Tarantino himself was influenced by others so it’s just the natural cycle of creation. Guy Ritchie really put his stamp on this movie and consolidated his own crime flick sub genre style. Previously seen on his other masterpiece, “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”.
Even if anyone say’s that the movie didn’t “innovate” the gangster genre, you cant tell me it’s not entertaining. This is one of those movies I’ve watched dozens of times and it never get’s old. Seriously. A couple of months back they showed this “Snatch” every other day on cable. I always caught it when ever I saw it was on. It’s like “The Infamous” by Mobb Deep. You pop it in wanting to hear like 2 songs but you always wind up listening to the whole thing. Truly a classic.
So now, tell me one thing...”Do you know what "nemesis" means?”
This week I am proud to present Ms. Gelisa Asieba, representing straight out of the United Kingdom. She is a rookie in the game, but has taken all her opportunities and has began making her mark on the industry. Not only is she going to be gracing runways far and near, but don't be surprised if you her with her own clothing line as well. Luckily, I was able to catch up with Ms. Asieba for in order to get a piece of mind on the modeling industry. Check the interview below.
DJ Grain: What’s your name?
Gelisa: Gelisa Asieba aka G.G.
DJ Grain: Where are you from?
Gelisa: I was born in London, but currently in Birmingham.
DJ Grain: How many years have you been modeling?
Gelisa: This is my first year professionally working as a model , which is part time at the moment as I am studying a degree in Fashion Retail Management.
DJ Grain: What are the misconceptions people commonly have about models that are untrue?
Gelisa: The misconceptions people have about me is that I don't eat and I'm a diva lol ....I was always naturally slim and I eat like a horse so it is sometimes unfair when the media portrays skinner models as anorexic, when they are just born that way. Personality on the other hand if you don't know someone I have learnt not to judge them as you cant read a book from its front cover!
DJ Grain: What shows, videos, magazines, etc. have you been featured in?
Gelisa: I was in a fashion show for New Look charity event in March and Asiana magazine fashion show in January. Currently at the moment a finalist in the top 20 models for a competition Talent 2009 in Birmingham.
I was also recently on the front cover for Nubia Magazine May/June issue.
DJ Grain: What photographers have you worked with?
Gelisa: I have worked with a number of photographers but my main favourites were David Dwayne, Terri lee shield and C-dat photography.
DJ Grain: What photographers would you like to work with?
Gelisa: One day I would love to work with Lume photography,Tony Valadez,Scott Miron and Luic Cedeno. They are very unique and take dynamic pictures with a story.
DJ Grain: Can you describe the grind of a model trying to break into the industry?
Gelisa: The grind is extremely hard if you don't know where you are going with your modeling career , there are so many paths to take such as commercial and glamour. I have chosen to aim hopefully to be a high fashion model, which demands being unique, eye catching and a great personality. There are many people in the industry who are just aiming to get as much money as they can from aspiring models. So in modelling you always have to be one step ahead and know the ins and outs of the industry to be taken seriously.
DJ Grain: Any words for the ladies out there that have aspirations of entering the modelling industry?
Gelisa: Modeling is a very competitive industry being and loving yourself is the main foundation. Believing in yourself will assist others to also believe in you, don't watch what other models are doing being individual is the best way forward! Constantly promote yourself wherever you can and always remember your self respect.
Gelisa: MySpace - www.myspace.com/_xgelisa_x
Facebook: Gelisa Asieba