Interview with Derek Piotr


When did you start making music? What inspired you to start making music?
I was in choir and took instruments as long as I can remember, since childhood. I always had the impulse to sing for the class or generally make music, I think of it as a form of optimism. my first experience with electronic music came at 15 when I downloaded the freeware editor Audacity and began cutting up samples I had ripped from Encarta Encyclopedia, and singing on top of that, and chopping the whole thing up. I still find the process of digitally processing voice extremely rewarding; in my opinion it’s one of the most exciting sounds producible today.

How would you describe your sound for any newcomers to your music?
This is always a challenge for me. Generally if I get asked what my music is like and I am with company, I turn helplessly to my friends in the hopes that someone can explain it more accurately than I can. I guess I would say it’s outsider pop with heavy emphasis on editing and production, and my aim is always to make something beautiful that personally wakes the listener up, and is encouraging. I want my music to give people comfort, while still remaining totally alert.

What are your biggest musical influences, and how does that inspiration apply to crafting your own music?
My biggest influence might be the work of Antye Greie-Ripatti, who records as AGF. I discovered her debut record very early on in my musical journey, and have been very fortunate to collaborate with her in recent years. find her work at . otherwise, my influences tend to change and I shed old layers as I acquire new ones, or else it is cyclical…right now influences are Stravinsky, Kevin Drumm, Lata Mangeshkar, Antony and The Johnsons, Fennesz…

Can you explain the song writing process for your music? How do you go about making it?
Each time is a bit different but I do tend to keep folders of sounds I’ve made sorted by month and year, and if I feel I have made some kind of decent headway (whatever I define headway as!) on a piece in the space of a day, I may go into these folders and see what would fit and what doesn’t, so often this means trying different textures against beats, or taking vocals from months prior and putting them on the chopping block. although I often begin to write with a specific piece or song in mind and work towards that…try all sorts of editing to get the story out…involve other players or producers…basically anything to serve the song and have it be the best produced but also most human it can be…

What are some challenges you face when it comes to the thought process of making a new album?
I’m incredibly fortunate in that a new universe for a particular album presents itself organically to me and I don’t have to plan…for instance my latest album, Tempatempat was the product of me toying with a preoccupation I had with gamelan, and the album grew from that initial impulse…or the album I am working on now I knew would be focused around woodwinds…I think the sound world comes first and the rest of it nestles into place.

Are you planning any upcoming live shows? How do you feel about your live shows, and how does it differ from your typical music producing process?
I am currently working on pieces for my forthcoming album with a few musicians, kind of in the form of duets…I have a bass clarinetist that I am working with, an Ondes Martenot and vocaloid player, and a classical composer working on turning some tracks into wind trios…these are all separate endeavors but are linked for me, the reason: I am interested in expanding my oeuvre into other’s processes, and have felt a bit stuck behind a laptop for the past few years. so most of these “live duets” will be ready in the Spring…I had one test run with the Ondist and it went quite well…and I am still performing solo with laptop as well.

What do you think of the current music scene in your area, have they been supportive of your music?
Connecticut doesn’t have much of a scene for what I do but I am quite fortunate to live extremely close to Manhattan, so most of my shows are in New York…which of course is an incredible haven for outsider artists like me.

What routes have you taken in order to make your music heard?
I think it is always important to have your voice heard, to stand behind the work you do, and to realize that there is room in the world for so much and that something that might kill someone’s mood for the day will save someone else’s life…but also learning how to communicate with the world in a way that is respectful to both parties, you and them, is crucial. Communicating your message is a scary thing and you can face intimidation and fear of rejection but through the years it gets easier to put your ideas across and believe in your message. Also staggering is the fact that we have unprecedented access to media now thanks to the internet…so I try and take what I do seriously and make an effort to liaison with press and listeners…I am incredibly grateful to the internet for providing this forum for all sorts of amazing miraculous works, so it doesn’t make sense to take a passive role in getting your own work out there!

Do you have any tips for aspiring musicians?
Believe in what you do. Try and block out external influences and hear the sounds that are in your head (this is the hardest thing to do, but a healthy exercise). Try and make your voice heard above the din, but have patience. Respect others’ time and work and it will come back round. But above all: serve the visions and desires that come to you and do what feels right to YOU!

You can check out Derek Piotr’s projects at the following:

NAPALM answers all our questions

  1. Whatsup. Who are you guys ?What are you guys?


NAPALM – Whatsup! Its DHZA , Guererro and Cognition here, we’re representing our group NAPALM. NAPALM is a collective of 4 artists from Hamden, CT. We’re a hip hop based group with more to offer than dope beats. Hopefully people realize that soon.

 2. How did you guys get started?


Guererro – We came together as high school friends to create something real and one of a kind, something un-immitatable. I think we accomplished that.


3.Who are the members of your group and what do they do?


Cognition – We have Rellevance handling production, as well as doing some spitting. Then we have DHZA, Guererro and myself as emcees as well.


DHZA – We also have Groz Beats. Expect alot of production from him. Were expanding.

4. What genre would you consider yourself?


Cognition – I like to call our genre new age mixed w/old school hip hop.


DHZA – “Creative” & “Real” are two things that come to mind. Obviously hiphop though…


Guererro – We make conscious hip-hop, with a touch of psychedelic scenery and a backdrop of 90’s classic shit.

5. Who inspired you?


DHZA – Shit.. Doom, Kanye, Ab – Soul, The Wu, Wayne, and a lot more people. I find inspiration in a lot of people with individual styles and influence.


Cognition – I’m personally inspired by the old greats big L Pac Nas Eminem but I’m Inspired by Guerrero Dhza and Rellevance everytime we hit the studio.

6. What do you guys expect with your band in the upcoming year? 


Cognition -To the listener In 2015: we plan on taking over our little corner of the globe with a multitude of thought out, mostly concious, tapes to better introduce ourselves to you.Be ready.


DHZA – Who knows what could MANAfest , after the recent release of our mixtape #TheMANAfestation, I believe we can gain alot of attention with its gravitating hooks, sounds and lyrics.

7. What do you all hope to achieve?


Guererro – Nowadays, content and innovation is being sacrificed for popularity & promotion, we wanna change that…waking up in a new Bugatti would be nice too….Cognition – An achievement for me would be getting a decent following behind myself and NAPALM.


DHZA – I personally want to be important. Just an opinion and a voice that matter in the world of music, especially hiphop, and entertainment, and to live without worry to be honest. Simple.

8. What makes your crew standout from the rest of crowd?


Cognition – Our group stands out from the rest when the beat drops. If you understand the bars you’ll be feeling us from the jump. The real beauty is when you don’t understand on the first spin and you give another listen, your bound to learn from our perspectives of everyday life.


DHZA – Individual aspects of our music to be honest, the only consistent factor is the high level of spitting.


Guererro – Well for one, we don’t filter ourselves, almost a “take it or leave it”. We also hold ourselves to high standards, and try to make the best product possible…. That & Rellevance is the best producer you can ask for.

 9. Where was your first show?


DHZA – Mine was at “The Space” in Hamden Ct. Shit was tight,I loved it, people showed a ton of love.


Cognition – My first performance was at toads place in New Haven. Expect more of a live face in 2015 from NAPALM though.

 10. How does it feel getting up on stage in front of a live crowd?


DHZA – AMAZING. Nothing like it, but if u offer nothing as a performer that can change real quick.


Cognition – Invigorating and refreshing.


Guerrero – In my opinion its truly addictive.

11. Are there any obstacles whatsoever when it comes to the band?


Cognition – With Rellevance being in Minnesota at the moment we are forced to rebuild our studio, but it won’t be long before you’re seeing our sessions on our Instagram and Twitter.


DHZA – Only obstacles you have are ones you admit to.


Were working around anything that COULD be an obstacle.


Guererro – Money obviously & what we make isn’t what a lot of kids listen to “As of lately”, as DHZA would put it. ?


That, & Jay-Z won’t answer my emails.

12. How did you guys come up with the band name?


Guererro – After the breakup of the last group we were chilling  listening to our old music and sessioning when we started discussing forming our own group. I randomly thought of the acronym NAPALM for New Age Peace And Light Movement. It was some spiritual shit how it happened because it came so fluently to me. After suggestions from DHZA (him being the one doing a TON of internet promo for us, shoutout) the “L” became interchangeable for Love, Light & Life, something I feel represents our vision for both society & humanity. I’ve always felt the name was unimportant compared to the Team I’m with, however. What we make defines us.


DHZA – … well… there ya go…


Checkout our brand new mixtape : “TheMANAfestation” // us some love and share our work and follow us on twitter and instagram!!


Twitter : @WeAreNAPALM



WQAQ Music Wrap Up

Music wrap up by Danny Saleem


A$AP Mob Cancels L.O.R.D.


  • If you were looking forward to the new A$AP Mob project then sorry to say it’s “been scrapped” according to the group on Twitter. Click the picture for the full article.





Hot Tracks:    

Kendrick Lamar – I



Big Sean – I Don’t F*** With You




Lady Antebellum to Release Sixth Studio Album 747

  • Lady Antebellum talks about their newest album after taking a break from making music for Hillary Scott who had her first child. Click for the article containing the video.


Bartender by Lady Antebellum






Hot Tracks:

Carrie Underwood – Something In The Water



Jason Aldean – Burnin’ It Down




Gwen Stefani Releasing New Solo Album



  • Gwen Stefani hasn’t released a solo album since 2006 when she released The Sweet Escape. This album will have many features from Pharrell Williams. Click the picture for the full article.








Hot Tracks:

Vérité – Echo


Meaghan Trainor – All About That Bass





Jack U Hitting NYC on NYE

jack u

  • Jack U (Diplo and Skrillex) is currently on tour and has big plans to do a show for New Years Eve at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Tickets are already on sale. Click the picture for more details on concerts dates and locations.









Hot Tracks:

C-0-2 & Sammi Morales – Invincible Remix


Kygo – Often Remix


Matt Greene “Shades of Greene” Mixtape Review

The best rappers of the digital era have started with mixtapes: Wayne, Wiz, Mac, Cole, and Greene. Matt Greene has dropped his debut mixtape entitled “Shades of Greene”, a clever play on his last name.

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The young gun from Middletown, New Jersey, got his introduction into music through the pianos and drums, then found a love for hip hop. That love grew into passion as Greene began to write rhymes of his own.

“I just have rhythm,” Greene said after recalling how he was able to play the drums the first time he ever sat down at a set. Greene’s rhythm is evident in his voice, which moves in a deep tone across some familiar beats. Greene borrowed beats from J. Cole, Logic, and Phoenix to name a few, a diverse collection of background music that accents his clear articulation through the 13 tracks.

Greene’s talents are particularly on display on the track “Drift Away” where he raps over a smooth Pretty Lights production. His creativity and flow over the beat help to showcase his lyricism, which is exceptional for a first mixtape. Some thematic elements Greene used were inspiration, dreaming, and nostalgia.

Greene also performs with the group Off Top, a compilation of Greene, Gnarly Nonsense, Parker Caexar and Eric Foster. They’ve performed two shows in New Jersey in the past few months and are planning to book more in the upcoming future.

Needless to say Greene’s voice is going to take him far in the hip hope game. Central Jersey is starting to develop a solid underground rap scene, and its safe to say Greene is on the forefront. His local following has helped his mixtape already to reach over 3,000 people through his Facebook. You can listen to Shades of Greene on his Bandcamp.

Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright in the End Album Review

As a lifelong fan of Weezer, it’s safe to say that I was thrilled to be reviewing the latest album from the group, but at first, I took that thrill with a grain of salt. After all, the more recent albums by the group have been lackluster, to say the least, and there has been a real desire to hear this group touch upon their roots is something that the dedicated fan base of Weezer has wanted since the mid 2000’s.

After the release of their singles, “Back to the Shack,” and, “Cleopatra,” fans of Weezer were yearning to hear what the rest of this album had in store, hoping that the band had continued to give the fans that classic sound that they have been waiting to hear. Well, I can assure everyone that this album definitely lives up to the hype.

“Everything Will Be Alright in the End,” is an album that successfully combines everything we know and love about Weezer, with a few fresh additions. Fans of the band will certainly be thrilled to know that this album carries a nostalgic essence of the Weezer’s style during the 1990’s. The album, (which was produced by Ric Ocasek, the brains behind Weezer’s, “Blue,” and, “Green,” albums), brings back the lovable lyrics and catchy grooves that made their first albums so memorable, along with a few interesting vocal collaborations between the group and the band Best Coast’s, Bethany Cosentino. The album is also filled with the trademark quirky guitar solos that only a mind like Rivers Cuomo can think of. I will admit that the three songs in the middle section of the album, (following, “Lonely Girl), seem to fall victim to a tedious use of chord progression, an issue that was present at the ending section of, “The Green Album.” Nonetheless, this is only a minor issue, as the rest of the album certainly makes up for this section.

It’s certainly a refreshing site to see an iconic band pay homage to old style, and create an album that makes the listeners remember why they fell for that band in the first place, and this is an act that Weezer executes perfectly on this album. My personal favorites are, “Lonely Girl,” and, “Foolish Father,” but that’s only a fraction of what this album has in store. If you haven’t listened to this album yet, I STRONGLY suggest that you do so, because you will not regret it at all.

Overall Score: 9/10