Ten Questions With Terry Gotham: The Naked Cowboy

(This interview is a minor dream of mine ladies and gentlemen. As a New Yorker & journalist, The Naked Cowboy is larger than life. Whether he’s got a crowd surrounding him in the summer, or singing loudly & proudly in the dead of winter, he’s a NY institution. We had a quick chat, and he let us in on a fitness & motivational secret or two.)1. Is there any part of being The Naked Cowboy that you like more than the others?
I love everything equally about being the Naked Cowboy, but it is always the greatest pleasure to see when I make people laugh and smile.

2. When did you think, hey, I can really do this for a living?
From the beginning, I knew it was valuable. I didn’t quite know how I would make money from it, but I always moved forward with the intention of making myself the richest man in the world.
3. How the hell do you deal with the cold?
Painfully.

4. Can you let us in on any Naked Cowboy fitness secrets?
Run 7 miles, spectral weight training and eat small nutritionally balanced low carb meals 7 times/day. No white sugar, very little or no high fructose fruit/vegetable.
5. You mention Anthony Robbins as an inspiration. Can you talk about how he impacted your life?

Before AR, everyone told me all the things I couldn’t do, then I realized from reading Unlimited Power, that I could do anything I wanted to do. It was an immediate game changer for me.

6. Do you have any favorite Naked Cowboy media pieces or events that you like being known for?
7. What’s up with the Naked Cowboy Oysters?

They are now the #1 selling Oyster in America. They’re from Blue Island Oyster Company on the West Coast. You can get more info on them here:  – Home of Blue Island Oyster Company – West Coast

8. Do you have any thought on the “asking” economy? As popularized by people like you & Amanda Palmer?
I think she is brilliant. I tried to do a few Kickstarter campaigns and they all failed miserably. I guess initially I was the only one who thought my ideas would make me the “Most Celebrated Entertainer of All Time”. It took several Corporate Endorsements for any of my ideas to begin to take shape and create value and recognition.

9. How have you been objectified in your time as the Naked Cowboy? Has it changed your perspective on how models & others are treated?
No matter how dumb it is; I believe that people recognize my success and the fact that I am simply enjoying life, making people laugh and have fun. I suggest anyone who wants to enjoy being a spectacle, should become a Naked Cowboy or Naked Cowgirl franchisee.

10. You’ve spoken about trying to give vast sums of money away, how is that developing?
Perfectly. I give money to the less fortunate every day… Over the years, the amount has already become vast and will increase continually.

Bonus: Favorite Song/Album of 2015 so far?
My most recent favorite song/album actually released in 2014: Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off next to “What The Naked Cowboy Wants To Hear”… I’d sure like her to become a Naked Cowgirl Franchisee!

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Ten Questions With Terry Gotham: Jae Jin [Indie Soul/R&B]

(This week, I’m honored to be bringing you one of the first looks at R&B/Soul singer Jae Jin. After earning a spot on House of Cards & being featured in the Huffington Post, he’s building a his fanbase & crowdfunding his debut album which is totally something you need to get in on. He’s also one of the best voices & musical talents of my generation, deserving your total attention. ) 1. With this release, what can people expect to hear from you? This release is a huge deal for me, because as an artist, this is the very first time, in all of its vulnerability, that I’ll be releasing original music and original songwriting. Writing has always been a passion of me (I even entered University as a prospective writing major) and my songwriting has gone through so much growth and fine-tuning, and continues to. My original music is also a reflection of my life, my love, and bits of the things I’ve been through. It is my hope that individuals will be able to not necessarily garner the same thoughts and feelings, but to just simply feel emotions that stem from their own lived experiences in life.

2. How did it feel when you were informed your song would be on House of Cards? Has anything come of it? House of Cards was a wonderful experience. It was very much grace and unmerited favor. I got brought on not just as an extra, but as a Principal Actor for an episode and had the opportunity to sing a Christian song by Hillsong for the church scene. I feel that the biggest thing that has come from it, is the impact it makes in viewers lives… an impact I didn’t intend nor could even plan. On a monthly basis, I am reached out to via social media and email by individuals who feel like they were so encouraged and moved by just that tiny scene. Some even talk about how they don’t believe or are spiritual, yet felt something or were moved emotionally. THAT is powerful! That has nothing to do with me or my talent. It has everything to do with music. Music can be so damn powerful!

3. How has your sound changed over the last couple of years? My sound has been evolving so damn much over the past few years, and even in the past few months it continues to evolve. I imagine that as an artist who continues to cultivate his craft and work to become better, that the evolving element will continue on. I think that the moment I’m not evolving or growing will be the moment I’m no longer alive.

4. Do you plan on adding more members to your band? Or are you satisfied with what you’ve got going right now? I don’t have a set band right now, but deep down, I know that my music will be brought to a whole other level once I form a band to properly bring my thoughts, ideas, and original music to its highest potential. I’m NEVER satisfied with anything I’ve got going on right now, besides maybe the fans. I’m DEFINITELY satisfied by the support and love that pours out to me. More than satisfied, I’d say I’m grateful and truly blessed.

5. What is the summer of 2015 looking like for Jae Jin? Touring? Collaborations? So summer 2015 will be pivotal. I’ve just launched a crowdfunding campaign through PledgeMusic to release my debut album. A majority of it is sitting in pre-production and I’m hoping that I’ll bring this album to fruition. I’ll be heading back out to the West Coast for a month starting in June to complete and finalize the album. I also continue to play out here in NYC and will aim to continue to do shows when I’m out West during the summer months.

6. What artists or tracks do you listen to on a daily or weekly basis? I’m CONSTANTLY listening to new music. But I’m also always listening to some of my favorite influences. It is funny how with many of my favorite influences, you can listen to the same song, and depending on where you are in your own life or how you feel, the song can speak in different ways. Again… the power of music.

7. Are there any artists that are coming up right now that really inspire you? I’d say that there’s definitely a handful of artists that I’m glad are recently enjoying the spotlight. A few that come to mind are Allen Stone and Alabama Shakes. Also, I’m also really into this British electronica trio called Years & Years. They won BBC Sound of 2015 among other awards this year, and I’m excited for their debut album Communion. But for every artist that seems to be in the spotlight, there are definitely a handful that I wish had an even bigger spotlight. I’m also really inspired by a singer/songwriter named Josh Garrels and also really a fan of this folk-rock band called Dawes.8. Do you feel you’ve been discriminated against or treated differently as an Asian soul/R&B singer? I’d say that the fact that I’m Asian definitely hurts me but also can help me at times. At the end of the day, music and soul knows no race. I also love breaking social constructs and stereotypes. Most times, when I get on stage, most people don’t really expect the music or sound that comes out of my mouth, and to me, there is a bit of satisfaction in that. You can even look at someone like Sam Smith. When you hear that voice on the radio, you don’t imagine that he looks the way he does. Not saying that it’s a bad look. It’s just really cool that regardless of looks, artists are breaking social constructs and also breaking the common typified personas of what an artist should or shouldn’t look like. It’s like oneself in life. You can’t change how you were born. You just own it and be confident in it. In my case, I can’t change what race I was born. I also can’t change the discrimination or the challenges that come with it. I will simply accept them and move forward boldly knowing that if I want something so passionately, not even challenges or obstacles will stand in the way.

9. Who are your musical idols? Any personal dream acts to open for? I’m not sure that I idolize any musicians or artists. I do have a fond respect for nearly all artists who create their own music. Of course, there aren’t too many artists and musicians who still create their own original content but they do exist. I would say that it would be amazing to sing in front of some of my biggest influences like Stevie Wonder and it’d be pretty amazing to one day open for current musicians I highly respect. These artists range across many genres as well. To list a few, Ray LaMontagne, John Mayer, Dawes, Allen Stone, Paolo Nutini, Sam Smith, John Legend, Gavin Degraw, Miguel… the list can honestly go on and on. One day when I’m sharing the stage with even one, I’ll be pretty ecstatic!

10. Any words to those who may be struggling with illness or a crisis in creation? We are all susceptible to darkness and hard times. But in darkness, we can remember what we believed and knew in light, and can push forward to another day. It does get better. It may not seem that way in the moment, but it does. And it’s beautiful. Life is simply a constant balance of holding on and letting go.

Ten Questions With Terry Gotham: AC Johner, Director Of Electronic Awakening

I was given the privilege of speaking to the director of Electronic Awakening AC Johner. This groundbreaking film discusses the beginning of the rave & dance music culture.  Moving through Moon Tribe, Burning Man, psy-trance parties & other foundations of the scene, the music is stupendous, as is the commentary.1. Was this project your baby, or did someone approach you to direct? Electronic Awakening is my baby. I directed and produced the film under my production company Federation of Earth. I began the film in 2006 when I set out to explore the culture under a grant from my university. After my initial fieldwork, I invested to expand the project into a feature film. After 4 years, interviewing and filming, I built a rough cut of the film strong enough to attract finishing funds from a successful Kickstarter Campaign, as well as a production partnership with Keyframe-Entertainment.  Last but certainly not least, Philip Wood and Satsi Jaquith of Ammo played a huge role in getting the ball rolling on production.

My conception of the project began during my undergrad thesis in anthropology when I began researching electronic music culture. Having never been to any events, I was inspired to read that the parties had encouraged so many participants to engage in more conscious lifestyle to the point that some had established a spiritual kinship with the music.

Coming in as an outsider, my perception of EDM was little more than a stigmatized imagery of teenagers with glow-sticks dressed up in fury costumes celebrating a drug-high to obscure music. My perspective broadened after discovering the research of anthropologist Graham St John, Scott Hutson, and religious studies scholar Robin Sylvan, whom all had contributed a wealth of scholarship towards the spirituality underlying the culture.

While the media had reported little on this side of the culture, I set out to explore it first-hand. I sought out events such as Burning Man, Moontribe, Shambhala, outdoor psytrance festivals, and other events now heralded as transformational festivals. When I arrived on site and witnessed the alters, ceremonies, and wealth of participants professing the dance floor in a sacred context, I knew that this religiosity reported by the aforementioned scholars was all very real, real to the point I had questioned if this were some new form of religion rising up through the dance music underground. Continue reading

Ten Questions With Terry Gotham: Dede Goldsmith, Amend The Rave Act Founder

(I was given the incredible honor of speaking to Dede Goldsmith, mother of Shelley Goldsmith, who died of heatstroke in Washington DC at a dance event. Mrs. Goldsmith is leading an army of artists, non-profits, volunteers & activists to Amend The Rave Act. Join ravelrie, NY DanceSafe, Stay Safe Seattle & I as we talk about her work!)
1. Can you tell us a little bit about Shelley & how she inspired you to begin this massively important campaign? Shelley was an amazing young person. She was full of life, ready to tackle the world’s injustices head on. From an early age, she viewed herself as a citizen of the world. Although active politically her whole life, (I worked for our local congressman for 28 years so she had little choice!) the events of 9/11 cemented her role as an activist for international peace through justice. Continue reading

Ten Questions With Terry Gotham: Match McKenzie

(Honored to keep bringing you underground hip hop fire. This time, I spoke to Match McKenzie, one of the lyricists in the trenches hustling every day to get his sound out.)1. With Iggy & the blingification era Puffy created, has hip hop lost its way? The thing about hip hop is that it all falls within the realm of expression of self and art. I think Iggy has some great songs but they have more of a pop accent to them in terms of appeal. I just wish the industry would’ve given her the respect to be judged in the Pop category for her work, because that too is a category full of award winners and amazing artists that have completed great feats. As for Hip hop, I’d like to think that it’s in great hands. Yeah, there’s a lot of foolishness going on out there, but at the same time there are still legends carrying on the craft, blessing the young and gifted, like myself, with knowledge, and there are some great artists such as J.Cole, Kendrick, Childish Gambino, Logic, Chance Da Rapper who are already established. I can go on for days, but basically the point is the message will find a way…we just have to keep them aware.

2. Who were you on when you were coming up? Anyone who helped your sound become what it is today? I came up off of a different mixture of hip hop, back when music was very different and the riddims were very distinct. Back then, you knew where the sound was coming from. I came up more on Alternative Metal, Ska and Hip Hop… I had so many influences it’s crazy. I had influences like Outkast, The Dungeon Family, The Roots, Kanye West, Depeche Mode, Chevelle, Smashing Pumpkins, I just remember only wanting to fuse a sound to bring something even more amazing to life. So many people have influenced me over the years, Tokyio Shrympz, Scamz and DrumNSkillz my producers; Loaded Lux; Face The Writer; Malayika Lemoine, ESQ; My Breden At The Unpopular; as well as every artist or producer I have ever met has influenced my sound in some sort of way. I feed off of creative energy, so everyone i come in contact with can add to that and influence me in some kind of way.3. What is hip hop like in NYC these days, with the rise of DJs & all of that? This is the Mecca of Hip Hop. It will always be competitive, but with so many Dj’s on the rise I’m sad to see that they don’t make it their job to find new artists and introduce the population to unique artists and their music. The sound of Hip Hop has undergone some big changes, and the DJ’s could really do a whole lot to introduce more people to more than just the same old thing. New York is such a great melting pot of cultured artist that I feel still embody that golden era charisma, with great delivery and substance. Dj’s have to be willing to give us a chance.

4. Forgive my ignorance, is there still a battle scene in the city anywhere? Do freestyle skills still matter in the game these days in NYC? Yeah there is.The Battle Scene is actually gaining even more popularity. I feel it’s necessary for you to know how to freestyle, just to be able to expell your thoughts in a pattern, if your working on your creative process or just to help your delivery, growth, or your mind hold no limitation in the thought process. A legend like Cassidy literally came out of retirement and collected a 100k plus check, freestyling. It can really hold some strong opportunities for ones that are really skilled.

5. Do you feel that hip hop artists have a responsibility to stand with the protesters in Ferguson/around the country, or is that something that you can’t touch at the moment because of the grind? I feel it’s our responsibility to keep our brothers and sisters aware of problems like this in our society, as well as other serious matters that continue to plague our communities. We should all be out there if we can afford to take time out to get a good look at the reality of what’s going on, even just for ourselves, because at the end of the day the goal is knowledge of self.

6. Do you feel MCs have a place in the EDM explosion we’re currently seeing? Or is it all about back to basics hip hop? Of course there is. We all have a place in music. Music isn’t as categorized as we make it, it deserves to get a chance to be innovated. There are so many things that can arise from that initial fusion. Hip hop itself has been evolving there have been so many sounds used and it can change in a matter of seconds. Each new fusion, each time someone tries something new and pushes those boundaries, it’s a great creative moment, and goes to what’s at the heart of music.

7. Any tips for up & comers or hustlers on the grind like yourself? Any studios or people in the biz help you out that you want to shout out? Believe In The Blessings You Have Been Bestowed, and “Nobody Cares, Work Harder” (that quote has kept me going everyday). This is the age where you can defy the label gate keepers, if your following is strong enough, they will be on your heels every step. Just keep building your foundation. There is a means of overcoming the machine, if you believe in your ability to keep the masses aware. With all the social media outlets it can happen. There will be days where doubt will try to creep up on you but if you can pull together a team the possibilities are endless. Keep networking. It’s the means of strengthening your rapport and even may open you to other ventures that fall under the umbrella of what you’re doing. I would like to thank BlackHart, The Unpopular, 173ENT, Tokyio Shrympz, LTI, City Official, Scamz OndaBeat, DrumNSkillz, Xyayx Studios, these people are all responsible for bettering me in some way as an artist , performer, and entertainer. They believed in my message. 8. How did you connect with Tokyio Shrympz for your new releases? Are you doing just one EP or are there going to be more? I actually have had a great rapport with Tokyio Shrympz for some time now, we have been working on a few projects for the past 3 years but I have known them for almost 9 or 10 years now. Miyagi Sport aka Mr.Calligraphy, Savage Hype, and Miami V.I.P crafted the production. This will be our first EP together entitled The Unpopular: The DRACONIS IGNIS COMPLEX. There will be many more projects to come. We’ve recorded quite a bit of material by now, so we have some songs to choose from. But first we’re going to make sure the masses are aware before we just jump into the next album. I really believe we made something that deserves to be heard, that holds great substance, so I’m looking to keep promoting once the EP finally drops.

9. Is there anyone in the game right now that is doing stuff that blows you away? Someone in your crew or across the country? There are tons of amazing artists that are doing great music that aren’t necessarily on the radar yet. There is a young lady by the name of Versailles The Great, She is something special to look out for. She is more in the Florida area. Personally, I like to hear music from all regions. There are great artists everywhere such as Face The Writer, who also is one of the writers at Circle House. He has crafted tons of hits for some of your favorite artist favorite artists. Also there’s my bredren dem, ESFX, who is a great artist and writer as well, who is actually working with B. Howard (son of Mickey Howard) on his debut EP. ESFX likes to take on the Hip Hop/Rock Live Band Fusion which is super dope and creative. And I can’t forget my LTI Large Tunez International label mates. They’re a vastly composed unit of artist that take on different genres of music as well. Really, there’s a lot of talent for the most part in New York coming out of the Bronx, but the Bronx doesn’t get much love due to so many of the industry types that feel that Harlem or Brooklyn may hold a deeper talent pool than the other boroughs. And then of course there’s the regulars that keep it consistent, such as the J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Big Sean and even the new breed like Childish Gambino, Vic Mensa, Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa, Casey Veggies, I can keep going forever…

10. What is on your calendar for 2015 after the dope battle you rocked last winter? This year it’s all about bigger and better. On top of releasing my EP, I’m looking to do as many shows as possible to keep hustling and getting the word out that I’m here and I’m bringing a sound that people really need to hear. I’m trying to get around to CA, GA, and TX. I just got back from FL earlier this month. And of course I’ll keep performing around the Tri-State area. Plus, my team and I are in the process of putting together a set of college shows. I’ve also got my eyes set on some of the big festivals like SXSW, A3C, Indie Spring Jam, 5050 Music and Arts Festival and a few more industry mixers and showcases. Basically, I will keep going until the world is fully aware of my presence. Thank You for taking time out to press play and thank you to all my fans that keep me on repeat everyday. I love you all so much It will take hard work but the world will know soon.

Get at him on Soundcloud, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

Ten Questions With Terry Gotham: Alex Funk

(Super honored to bring you this chat I had with rising star DJ Alex Funk. If you were at Bonnaroo last year, you know what I mean.)
1. Headed back to Bonnaroo this year? What’s on tap for 2015? I have no idea, but if they want me, I’ll be there with bells on! At Bonnaroo 2014 – as an unlisted act – I built a crowd of 200-300 people into a crowd of 5000 two nights in a row during the my set on Friday night and my set on Saturday night on the Kalliope Stage (both recordings on my SoundCloud). Skrillex showed up on Saturday after his SuperJam, liked the party and asked if he could jump on. I was drenched in sweat and dead after two insane hours, so Skrillex and Mija (OWSLA) took over and it was the surprise – now infamous – Secret Skrillex Morning Party. (Check a clip from his stupid good Bonnaroo set below)
This winter I’m really focused on the NYC after-hours scene and production, production, production – there’s no real DJ career without original music. Definitely Burning Man 2015, where I’ll have a curatorial role besides DJing at several camps.

2. Now that you’ve performed in a number of different cities in the USA, do you have preferences? Do you think one city “gets it right?” Phoenix, AZ (period). They are totally open-minded to new sounds while giving tons of respect to the history of dance music. You can hear talented local DJs like Sean Watson, DJ Ascension, Steve Hill, etc and big touring acts like Diplo, Dillon Francis, Zedd, etc…All the pieces are there.

Most local party scenes are big on “personalities”…this is nothing worse for the music. Inevitably,when the popular kids are in the DJ booth and it just becomes selfie sticks and bad bootlegs. If you want great music, ask the music nerd, not the popular kid. Phoenix respects and elevates artistic talent over personality appeal. That’s what makes it a great scene. 

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Ten Questions With Terry Gotham: Swolf

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1. What is the hip hop scene in VA like? Is it blinged out like some of the bigger regions, or is there a more singular vibe at parties & battles in VA you can’t get anywhere else? To be honest I’m not sure what to think of the hip hop scene here, being from the Northern side I am technically looked at as a “DMV” artist. There’s nothing flashy about it just a lot of talented artist trying to find their identity and I feel as a VA artist we are overlooked in some ways.

2. How did you connect with St. James The Pro to get such top-notch production on the EP? We actually met at a Beat Battle. He was one of the 1st contestants and the 1st beat he played just really caught my attention. I introduced myself after his set and he told me he’s going to New York and that he’ll be back. I thought he was giving me the run-around but about 2 weeks later he hit me up like he said he would, told me he had checked out some of my previous work and was impressed. The rest was history really.

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