Manic Focus

Manic Focus

Manic Focus is the beat-bumpin’ project of John “JmaC” McCarten, a Chicago-based electronic music producer hailing from the Twin Cities. A multi-dimensional artist with a rowdy style unbound to any one genre, Manic Focus transcends sound waves by fusing soulful blues with heavy-hitting bass, creating a resonating tone that’s entirely his own. Over the last 6 years, JmaC has released five full-length albums, each one a new evolution in sound and approach. He has also completed a slew of official remixes for artists such as GRiZ, The Floozies, Lettuce, Minnesota and Pretty Lights, and released several works with Pretty Lights Music veterans Break Science.

On the road, JmaC has been steadily building his live performance to include additional musicians and elements of production. Jacob Barinholtz is now a mainstay on the drums, and other musical co-conspirators join the two on select dates around the country. He’s also been known to incorporate surprise guests such as Big Gigantic’s Dominic Lalli, GRiZ, The Floozies’ Matt Hill, and Russ Liquid, to name a few. Occasionally, fans are treated to the rare live fusion of Break Science and Manic Focus, taking the stage as Manic Science. Recent live highlights include performances at The Gorge Amphitheater in WA and Red Rocks Amphitheater in CO, both dates as support for Pretty Lights. Summer 2017 has seen performances from Manic Focus at Summer Camp Music Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, Camp Bisco, and Summer Set Music Festival, to name a few.

In the studio, JmaC continues to push himself to new musical limits by incorporating original, sample-free recordings of many up-and-coming musical allies. This is especially apparent in the material from his most recent album, Minds Rising. Released in April 2017, Minds Rising is an infectious encapsulation of Manic Focus' roots in funk, soul, new-era hip hop, and electronic music. The album is an artful curation of the burgeoning Chicago music landscape and beyond, featuring appearances from cutting-edge hip hop artists, vocalists, producers, and musicians from across the country. Collaborators include Jennifer Hartswick of Trey Anastasio Band, Adam Deitch of Lettuce/Break Science, Russ Liquid, ProbCause, Late Night Radio, and more. Minds Rising is an opus two years in the making, and paints an aural illustration of Manic Focus’ shift from producer to composer — one beat, instrument and verse at a time.

Whether it’s at a small-town venue or a world-renowned music festival on his nationwide headlining tour, you won’t want to miss a Manic Focus throw-down.

Russ Liquid

Redefining the possibilities of modern music, The Russ Liquid Test fuses the raw vitality of classic funk and the inventive sound design of electronic production. Songwriter/producer and renowned brass specialist Russell Scott heads up the New Orleans-based band. Guitarist Andrew Block and drummer Deven Trusclair round things out, with each providing a distinct musical background deeply rooted in the New Orleans jazz scene. Their debut EP 1984 featured an eclectic array of guest collaborators such as Mr. Lif and Ivan Neville -- successfully creating an auditory canvas to forge The Russ Liquid Test's irresistibly soulful future-vintage stylings.

A kinetic energy infuses each track on 1984. Giving way to a mixture of funk/jazz/electro, The Russ Liquid Test evokes a kaleidoscope of textures, senses, and moods. Featuring Ivan Neville on keyboards and the Funky Meters' Russell Batiste Jr. on drums, the effervescent and synth-heavy title track "speaks about the current state of America from the perspective of an outsider," as described by Scott. Lead single "Honesty," meanwhile, finds The Russ Liquid Test slipping into a woozy psychedelia, offset by a brilliantly structured dichotomy introduced in its second-line-inspired groove.

At the heart of The Russ Liquid Test is an improv-driven musicality that began with Scott's taking up classical piano. After spending several years playing in a jazz quintet on cruise ships and touring with psychedelic ska band Uprite Dub Orchestra, his one-of-a-kind artistry was unveiled in the genre-busting musical performance group MarchFourth Marching Band. Capable of playing the trumpet and saxophone, Scott quickly began experimenting with electronic music, eventually adopting the moniker of Russ Liquid. As his full-length debut, 2013's Foreign Frequency showcased a forward-thinking mentality and fearless vision, anchored by an incomparable knowledge of music as a whole. "I wanted new colors to paint with," says Scott of his foray into electronic music. "I kind of look at the electronic world as this whole other color palette, compared to the traditional sounds we've been working with for the past however many years."

While on tour with Gramatik in 2014, Scott crossed paths with Block and discovered the duo's shared musical tastes and philosophies. A South Florida native, Block grew playing guitar in his local Pentecostal church. "I wasn't religious, I just wanted to play at that church because the music there was amazing," says Block. He later relocated to New Orleans, pursuing his dream of becoming a full-time musician. The guitarist's legendary endeavors reached fellow purveyors of soul/funk/R&B, ranging from Pretty Lights to New Orleans icon Dr. John. Capable of collaborating and working as a solo artist without missing a beat, Block released his 2014 debut You Can Only Go Up From Here on Gramatik's independent label Lowtemp.

In the making of 1984, The Russ Liquid Test compounded their potent chemistry by bringing in a lineup of equally impassioned musicians. "Coming from a background of playing in bands and then getting into electronic music, I'd really

missed having that interaction with other musicians," says Scott. "The most rewarding thing for me is being able to bounce ideas off other people, so that the music ends up having more than just one person's vibe to it. Ultimately it lets you give the audience even more to connect with."

The studio workhorses have already begun working on a sophomore EP. The Russ Liquid Test also presents a joyful sense of synergy in their high-powered live shows, with recent appearances including Shambhala Music Festival, Lightning in a Bottle, Summer Camp, and Sonic Bloom, among others. No matter the setting, a clear multidimensionality can always be heard in The Russ Liquid Test's projects. "We want to make people feel good but also give them something to reflect with," says Scott. "It's not about just making party music or music that's more introspective -- it's for the full gamut of human expression, and we want it to be just as dynamic as life itself."

Robbie Dude

With years of work behind the decks live mixing for all kinds of crowds, Robbie Dude takes you on a journey through musical time and space in which genre has no reign. From old school hip-hop mash-ups with new age soul beats, to classic rock hits underlined with bass heavy bangers, Robbie Dude has the vibes to get the party started and take it all the way to the break of dawn. In addition to capturing the modern DJ crowd, Robbie is an accomplished vinyl turntablist and adds live scratching to his performances, paying homage to the hip-hop greats that preceded the modern scene and drawing in a continually diverse fan base. Building on his foundation as a DJ, Robbie Dude’s debut EP “Finding My Way” takes his live performance style and molds it into original production all his own. Pulling inspiration from modern Motown, Hip-hop, and producers such as Pretty Lights and Michael Menert, the Dude brings a futuristic, funky electro sound to the mix. His love for every genre results in an original
sound and a live show that will thrill every crowd.

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