Interviews

Dizon Dreams Share the Importance of Filipino Culture in Food and Family with Buttermilk Co. by Lainney Dizon

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Special thanks to Zoila for allowing Dizon Dreams to be a part of Buttermilk Co's #JustLikeMoms social campaign. 

 Buttermilk Co, a cultural food tech brand based in Seattle started by Mitra Raman, is honoring women and their mothers this Women's History Month through a simple Instagram campaign called #JustLikeMoms. Mitra is the first generation daughter of an Indian immigrant so we are focusing on the relationship between women, their moms and their culture through food. Read on as we share the importance of Filipino culture in our food and family: 

We're born and raised in LA, but our parents came here in the 1980s to find jobs and create a better future together. Filipinos are very food-orientated, so cooking traditional dishes is so important in passing along our family's culture and traditions.

My favorite memory was cooking banana-q with my mom, a fried banana dessert. Also, during the holidays we make lumpia, a traditional Filipino dish. Our auntie usually cooks us pancit or spaghetti during our birthdays because long noodles symbolize a long life. It's a tradition :).

We love cooking! We usually go to an Asian supermarket to get all our ingredients. When we have food traditions it makes me happy to be blessed to have a culture that celebrates food and family and community. These dishes give me feelings of happiness, contentment and joy. I love food and family.

Myx TV Premieres "My Motto" Digital Series On January 17! by Lainney Dizon

Living in Los Angeles, I'm often surrounded with talkers. These are the people who say they want to do something, but more often than not, talk more than they do. Working with TV clients, Dizon Dreams biggest goal this year is to include diversity in media. Brown people have a special narrative to share and it's coming to Myx TV's digital series January 17.  "My Motto" is a Youtube original series featuring Asian American go-getters determined to build the kind of live they want to live.  Watch the trailer below: 

From touring with Jay-Z to winning an Emmy for dance, "My Motto" features an amazing group of Asian-Americans who highlight the importance of creating your own path. Their journey highlights the risks involved: from being nearly rejected by their parents to leaving financial stability, they show that it's better to risk something rather than to live average. When was the last time you had to risk something and got something even better in return? 

Fail, risk, and believe in your journey. Live your dreams. What's the point of being average?  Watch "My Motto" coming to Myx TV January 17th. 

Global Streetwear: Styles From Los Angeles to Manila by Lainney Dizon

What defines global streetwear is more than just aesthetics and style: it’s about wearing clothing that represents how you move through your life. From the West Coast to Southeast Asia, each city has a distinct style of streetwear that reflects the city’s lifestyle. With tropical weather in Manila, individuals don’t have the luxury to layer their clothing and usually compensate by having bright and creative designs. Streetwear is creating it’s own signature in Manila, and we spoke with the leading fashion brands making their waves in the local and international scenes to learn what makes Philippines style so distinct:

Philippines is among the westernized countries of Asia from European (Spanish influences) to Americans... I love how we have our own take on the global trends, and how we reinterpret pop art, folk art into contemporary and hip looking stuff like tees can be as expressive and colorful and witty... It's like how the jeepney came about, from scraps we can make something super innovative and creative and still look awesome.” -Tracy Dizon, Designer of TIARA

Streetwear is evidenced in more than just the jeepneys and local scene, its retail stores cater to the lifestyle and culture of the era that is appearing across the capital. Most recently, The Commonwealth store debuted in Taguig, SM Aura, fulfilling the demand for new and established street, fashion and sportswear brands that influence and inspire. But what brands are popular in Manila? “It’s all about finding the brands that will help express the opinions of the local scene. From the hip-hop lover to the basketball enthusiast, each lifestyle reflects streetwear, and that’s what we aim to do at The Commonwealth.” Omar Conception, Founder and Director of The Commonwealth, a specialty boutique based in the States that has worked closely with musicians Diplo, Q-Tip and DJ Neil Armstrong to help advance and promote the different aspects that promote the cultural movement.  

Philippines Fashion Week this year was inspired with the local streetwear along with a mix of high fashion. Emerging designer Kaye Morales debuted her ‘Rebel’ Collection, clothing that was influenced by streetwear while taking it a notch higher with creations that included denim, neoprene, and tulle, combining sporty and rocker chic. She notes that fashion and streetwear is more than just a style, “it’s a reflection of yourself and a statement that you need to make daily. Like any honest story, it’s going to be beautiful.

Jeffrey Rogador, known as the “King of Streetwear” in Philippines, highlights that as a designer it’s important for him to incorporate the culture of the Philippines, saying that “understanding your roots is what makes your perspective different. I work to promote patriotism and the Philippines by using details or elements about our country and making them current or relevant.”

Whether you’re in the Los Angeles scene beneath the palm trees or in rockin’ in a jeepney in Philippines, it’s important to be real with yourself and your style. Mix your roots and culture with the style you learn in the scenes around you and make it your own. People will always recognize authenticity and that’s what makes streetwear global.

Artist Spotlight: F.Y.I. on trusting your artistic sound & the new EP 'A/S/L' by Lainney Dizon

From rocking the mic with Top Dawg Entertainment's Ab-Soul to embracing his mission as a creative artist through his latest album ‘Age/ Sex/ Location’, Los Angeles-based F.Y.I. is committed to his artist mission: To show others through actions that God is real. Dizon Dreams recently talked with the rising emcee on how LA shaped his sound, the importance of building with the right people for ‘Age/Sex/Location’ and staying true to your artistic vision:

Dizon Dreams: How would you describe your artist mission?

F.Y.I.: My artist mission is to show others through my actions that God is real and He lives in me and I live in Him.  I'm just a vessel and I'm learning day by day that any wonderful or beautiful things that come from me are from Him and I'm just the messenger from which He brought it out of.

You describe yourself as "hueman" - and on a mission to color the world. What other 'huemans' inspire you in your work?  

God. Family. Friends. Foes.  Any one of these entities inspires me to create and move forward in this journey I'm on.

You're from mid-city LA. How did your environment and the artists you grew up listening to help shape your sound as an artist?

Yes. I represent Mid-City LA.  It's all walks of life around my section of the city.  It's raw, it's fast, it's dark, it's light, it's street, it's hippy-dippy and it's niggerish all at the same time. My parents were soul babies so I grew up listening to everything from Rick James to Earth, Wind, and Fire, but when my ears tuned into the hip-hop frequency I never changed the dial, real spittery.  It became my DNA. For me, it's way too many artists to name a select few that shaped me into the artist I am today.  I studied hip-hop growing up and was part of the culture since day one coming up so whether it's heavy underground or that bubble gum radio rap, I've paid attention to it all to a certain extent.  But personally, I've always gravitated towards emcees that had something profound to say along with dope wordplay and other techniques (as a skillful emcee) that sometimes can overshadow the actual subject matter if the listener has not trained themselves to really hear what an emcee is saying.  But off top, I'd say Nas, Common, Mos Def, Black Thought, Chuck D, 2Pac, Ice Cube circa '89-93, Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest, OutKast, and Cee-Lo Green of Goodie Mob and Gnarls Barkley.

What did you enjoy the most about creating/ recording your latest project 'Age/Sex/Location'?

Getting my co-production popping in the sense of orchestrating the mixes of the vocals, the tracks, and getting some live instrumentation on the record.  That was a new experience for me.  All the singing and melodies were written by me and I pride myself in pushing them lines so lyrically I wanted to smack n*ggas in the face with pillowcases full of bar soap just to let'em know I'm not playing with the bars (haha).  The entire process of creating an idea or concept in my head and then having it develop into a recorded piece of work never gets old and with time through God's grace I'm just learning more and more how to play with it and sculpt it into this living breathing thing that grows bigger and bigger in the hearts and minds of people minute by minute.

What advice can you give to other artists creating a unique sound for themselves in this day and age?

In order to create a unique sound, the key word is unique.  IMO, if an artist is too fond of or inspired by someone else's story or creative truth then the world will never get know their story or creative truth.  The hardest part is for someone to transition from fan to artist.  The goal is to a be an artist not a skillful fan that can mimic what people are aleady familiar with sonically.  The world does not need another [insert artist name], it needs the next you.  If that's not what a person is creating the music for then it won't last or stand the test of time IMO.

What are you looking forward to the most in 2016? (Touring, new projects, etc.)

Seeing God move.  He's working everyday.  I'm just here to make sure to clock-in and jump on board with His next move because He stays with a dope playbook.  With that being said, I'm sure He cooking up more things for me to do as an artist like more high profile gigs, touring, getting crazy merch sales popping, new music, signing a solid deal, all that and more than I can imagine.

To hear more of F.Y.I.’s music, listen now on: https://fyipsalms.bandcamp.com/

And continue the conversation via social:
Twitter: @fyipsalms
instagram: @fyipsalms

 

Erykah Badu Decoded: A Conversation with Ms. BADU by Lainney Dizon

Self-described as a ‘mother first’, Badu is a touring DJ, producer, director, activist, holistic healer, doula, bgirl, observer and evolving artist. Most recently, Erykah had the world beaming with the release of her new self-composed mixtape of “carefully and lovingly-selected” vintage jazz and funk. A project she dedicated to a world in need of healing. Including a special encryption on the cover of her mixtape, Ms. Badu encouraged her fans to reach her on her 'hotline'.

Dizon Dreams cracked the code of Badu's hotline and touched on topics from her favorite album and thoughts of hip-hop’s current state. Check out the conversation with Ms. Badu below:

You’re a true light in the industry and always honest. How do you inspire your creativity on a daily basis?

Peace and light, thank you. I just let it happen and if I’m not being or feeling creative I just let that flow as well, because  that means it’s downloading period and that means it’s a time where I’m not supposed to be creating, I’m supposed to be learning and you know, creating inside. When it’s ready to come out, it will.

That’s real. What music are you digging now, any favorite albums on rotation?

That’s a mean question to ask. That’s mean because there’s so much great stuff, but the album I’m listening to currently right now is Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon because I really like it a lot.

Any suggestions for those looking to develop and holistic mindset?

Let’s break down ‘holistic’ and what that means. Holistic is ‘mind, body, and spirit.’ If you’re looking to develop that holistic mindset you gotta pay attention to the company you keep. Pick your friends like you pick your food. you want to eat the best thing for your body, start there and see what happens.

What direction do you think hip-hop is headed to?

Hip-hop is not some big monster, it’s the people. I believe hip-hop will take the direction of the people. that’s where hip-hop is gonna go, it’s our politics, and don’t get it twisted, rap is something you do. hip-hop is something you live.

 

Artist Spotlight: HBK CJ Talks 'Crash Course 2' and the rise of HBK Gang by Lainney Dizon

In the music industry, it's not about who you meet at the top, but rather, who you grow and build with on the way to the top. San-Francisco based collective, HBK Gang, also known as The Heartbreak Gang,  is a prime example of this philiosophy. The American hip-hop and music production collective based in Richmond, California was founded by Iamsu!, Chief and P-Lo in 2008, with key members including Sage the Gemini, Skipper, CJ, Rossi, Dave Steezy, Jay Ant, Kool John and Kehlani.

With loyalty embedded in the DNA of  HBK Gang, they prove that there's no greater power than that of a collective committed to the same vision.  'Family comes first' has always always been the mentality, and with their fresh perspective of representing the Bay's melting pot of culture and talent, they comprise one of today's best music collectives putting on for their hometown city. Dizon Dreams recently spoke to HBK's own CJ about his upcoming album 'Crash Course 2' (due early 2016), the rise of the HBK Gang, and his streetwear brand PeacexPiece:

Dizon Dreams: HBK Gang is such a powerful gang of artists. From Iamsu! to Kehlani and yourself, each of you have your own signature style. How did your relationship with the crew form?

HBK CJ: I attended Pinole Valley high school in Pinole , Ca in 05' and 08'; meeting a lot of school mates, basketball teammates , and lifelong friends, a lot who is now HBK Gang. In 2008, I went to Chief (@HBKchi), who opened the first HBK studio, who also helped sit down and think of the name “HBK”, and asked him if I could record my mixtape at his house/studio. Recording there is where Iamsu ,P-Lo, Kool John, LoveRance, Skipper, my cousin and I and a few others not to mention,would always drop in and have music ready. That pretty much continued and never stopped. I had met P-Lo playing on the same high school Basketball team. I met Iamsu! from just being in all the same areas as far as same studios, same friends, same party places. Over the years Iamsu and I gained a great relationship as friends as well in the music industry. There are a lot of relationships that built inside the culture of HBK that doesn't even involve music, the outcome so far is really unbelievable.

DD: People are saying amazing things about 'Crash Course 2' your upcoming album, what can the listeners expect to hear? What's your favorite track you created?

My favorite song off of 'CC2' has to be "Hustle", a song produced by my good friend JayRun. It's one of those songs that's sang from the soul and you could feel the pain from simply hearing the vocals shoot out of the stereo straight into your gut. The 'CC2' album process was different from my past projects because I had a lot more of a handle on the song selection and did a bunch of footwork to make bits and pieces come together. I worked on Crash Course 2 since the release of my last released album Peace and Love, which was released in February, including songs that were made even prior to that. The engineering process is always the process that makes it a traffic jam. I, as an artist, had to take out as much time as I possibly could to make sure all the pieces were out. 

DD: I believe when you're an artist, you're an artist in every sense. Your art is multi-faceted. I hear you're working on a streetwear brand with PeacexPiece. Tell us more about your vision for the brand. 

HBKCJ: PeacexPiece is a complex streetwear brand based out of the Bay Area, that represents unity and bringing each other together individually one by one. Change starts with you. PeacexPiece is a brand that stands for overcoming the bigger obstacles one step at a time. Artsy and Crafty, PxP's style is set to give the individual a glow of creativity and confidence. The brand name shows the power of union by combining the words “Peace” and “Piece”, reminding one that it starts with a piece and that one piece is you! Preventing adversity, promoting positivity, PeacexPiece makes you feel in control of the positive energy within you.

DD: That's amazing! Positive energy is within you, truly. What's your next hustle you're working towards?

 HBKCJ: I work with United Playaz (UP), a violence prevention and youth protection program, who has really had an influence on a lot of my views on setting goals as well as my views in life. Eventually I plan to continue gaining experience with UP and one day start a violence prevention program. I’m really interested in holding charitable events such as Toy & Jacket Drives, Sports events for all aged kids, fundraisers etc. Helping local child groups and underprivileged children would be a rewarding feeling. I can see myself fighting to make a difference in that category for a community.  

Get a sneak peek of the HBK CJ's upcoming album with the leading single 'MSGD' featuring Iamsu! below and stay tuned for the upcoming 'Crash Course 2' album coming soon!