ArtOfficial thrives on originality. It’s the quiet thrum that runs beneath every track and performance like a current, igniting and electrifying their sound. They tread their own path, eschewing the simple magic of beat machines and samples for the irreplaceable warmth of organic instrumentation, and a meticulous care for crafting music with soul.
Formed from the remnants of two very different bands in Miami in 2007, ArtOfficial’s one-of-a-kind sound is as inherently ingrained in the group’s core as a trait buried in genetic code. Since their inception, they’ve been compared to groups like Soulive and The Roots, but theirs is a different brew–a seamless marriage of unyielding, unapologetic urban poetry with an unflinching array of jazz melodies that results in some of the most uniquely crafted and sincere hip-hop you’re likely to find–not just in Miami–anywhere.
The six-piece band dropped their indie debut, the Stranger EP, in 2007, and followed it in 2008 with a well-received sophomore effort in Fist Fights & Foot Races, which was released on Goon Trax records in Japan. They made the album available in the U.S. in December of 2010, but by then their fans had already been clamoring for more ArtOfficial. So earlier that year, AO answered the call, giving away their mixtape The Payback online. Both The Payback and Fist Fights were widely shared on the Internet.
You’d expect nothing less from a band who has shared the stage with the likes of KRS-One, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, N.E.R.D, Pharoahe Monch and many others. They won the Florida Grammy Showcase and been named Best Band by alternative weekly, and sister paper to the Village Voice, Miami New Times. And from one-offs and stops around the country, this hard-gigging group continues touring tirelessly, sharing stages and crowds with some of the biggest names in the music business.
2011 witnessed the birth of their latest musical creation, Vitamins & Minerals. And on their latest record, they continue to break the mold. They’re not trying to reinvent the wheel; they’re doing exactly what they’ve always done. It’s just that what they’ve always done was so unique to begin with. And they’ve only gotten better each and every step of the way. Perhaps it’s because they are a band that relies on perfect balance. Or maybe it’s their unwavering quest for perfection, so intense, it borders on OCD. Either way, the result is apparent from beginning to end.
Take the album’s lead single “Migraine”, for example. Both vintage AO, and cutting-edge, it blends vertigo-inducing lyrical mastery and a hook that rattles in your head like a loose screw, with hauntingly jazzy instrumentals. But it represents much more than just an instant classic for this unique band. In an ongoing effort to push the envelope, they sought new collaborators. So they brought them in. They wanted to record with a 15-piece string orchestra, so they organized one. They wanted to record a marching band, so they assembled it. And by virtue of that attitude, where everything is possible and limits are nonexistent, they achieved their most solid effort yet.
It’s a badge of honor for a band so road-tested, to be held in such high regard for their shows. But it is also well deserved, as anyone who’s witnessed the focused frenzy that is ArtOfficial’s live performances can attest. From flawless musicianship to remarkable pacing, to an ease dictating the ebb and flow of the crowd that’s downright uncanny, ArtOfficial has it all. And there’s no question the possibilities are limitless.
Miami-based ArtOfficial are a hip-hop ensemble with jazz and funk influences featuring vocalists Newsense and Logics, Danny Perez on keys, Ralf Valencia on bass and Keith Cooper on the saxophone.
TOUR CALENDAR: http://www.blog.artofficialmusic.net/shows
ArtOfficial can be reached at:
Carlos.Framil@ArtOfficialMusic.net and/or firstname.lastname@example.org
Logics - Vocalist
Newsense - Vocalist
Keith Cooper - Saxophone/Flute
Danny Perez - Keyboard
Ralf Valencia - Bass
Manny Patino - Drums
ArtOfficial - Stranger EP (May 2007)
ArtOfficial - Fist Fights and Foot Races (April 2008/Goon Trax Japan)
ArtOfficial - The Payback (April 2010 - free mixtape/street album)
ArtOfficial - Vitamins & Minerals (November 2011)
Three Four (f./Rory Cooper)
Big City Bright Lights
Bags Packed (F./ Amanda Diva)
Eyes of A Stranger
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“This rising band, with a killer horn section and two emcees, ingeniously creates a fresh and highly...“This rising band, with a killer horn section and two emcees, ingeniously creates a fresh and highly rare sound by mixing a wide variety of sonic ingredients.... I’ll have it on repeat all day.”
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“brilliant rhymes over a backing track that takes as much from the hard-bop jazz movement of the lat...“brilliant rhymes over a backing track that takes as much from the hard-bop jazz movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s as it does modern hip-hop”
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“...a technically unflappable blend of sunny, old-school... beat-music-derived production...with [an...“...a technically unflappable blend of sunny, old-school... beat-music-derived production...with [an] organic live touch...ArtOfficial [are] absolutely on top of their game. “
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“ArtOfficial is a collective that unites smart MCs with band geeks, snapping off rhymes over boom-ba...“ArtOfficial is a collective that unites smart MCs with band geeks, snapping off rhymes over boom-bap funk and electric ’70s
jazz like Guru’s Jazzmatazz joined by the kids who were too cool for their high school’s marching band.”
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“ArtOfficial have proven themselves as creative forces to be reckoned with. Their delicately weaved ...“ArtOfficial have proven themselves as creative forces to be reckoned with. Their delicately weaved combination of hip-hop,
jazz and indie beats represent an exquisitely refined Miami sound.”
Grindin': The Ongoing Hustle of ArtOfficial
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They were robbed — flat-out robbed!” This chick is livid. Tipsy, hoarse and frustrated, she’s explai...They were robbed — flat-out robbed!” This chick is livid. Tipsy, hoarse and frustrated, she’s explaining the injustice she witnessed at a Battle of the Bands competition at Chicago’s Double Door nightclub just moments ago.
“They should have won. They were easily the best band in here. Before they came on, nobody was even checking out what was happening on stage,” she says to damn near anyone within earshot. “They’re so, so good. They came all the way from Miami and rocked it.”
ArtOfficial, the band in question, did indeed rock it. Swirling together soaring jazz structures with the fierce grit of true-school hip-hop, the band stormed the Double Door’s stage with sublime ferocity. Drummer Manny Patino bludgeoned his kit with precision as bassist Ralf Valencia spiked the beat with chunky slabs of sheer funk. Over this menacing rhythm, keyboard player Danny Perez, suitably nicknamed Danny Keys, tickled out waves of melody while sax man Keith Cooper stomped and skanked around the stage, blowing his horn ’til he was blue and red in the face. This instrumental assault would have been impressive all on its own, but dressed up with the intricate, thoughtful raps of MCs Newsense and Afterlogic, it all became majestic. Right there, live in Chicago, is the sound Miami has already fallen in love with.
Still, somehow, they didn’t win. Peg it on the fact that they were the only hip-hop band among the thousands of entries to make the finals, or peg it on the fact that when a scream vote was taken to decide the winners, the hooting, hollering and wall-pounding of ArtOfficial’s rabid new Chi-Town fans got outweighed by a girl near the stage blowing a piercing penny whistle in support of another act. Regardless, it leaves the men of ArtOfficial just short of the grand prize: a chance to perform at this weekend’s Lollapalooza Music Festival featuring Radiohead and Rage Against the Machine — and stuck in a crummy motel, expenses barely paid.
“We came all the way out here and lost because of a whistle,” says Afterlogic an hour or so later over his first-ever slice of famed Chicago pizza. It’s merely decent. “We lost by three decibels!”
“Whatever, man,” says Perez wearily as he climbs into the band’s rented minivan. “We’re going to take a break to enjoy Lollapalooza, and then we’re going to go do some shows out West before we head back home. Next stop, California.”
ArtOfficial hustles harder than any young Miami band. In its one-and-a-half years of existence, the band has played 150 shows, established a killer event to call their own and built a fan base that follows it wherever it plays.
“When we’re done playing a gig, everyone is happy,” says Newsense. “We’re happy because we love playing together, the crowd is happy because they just saw a kickass show, and the venue owner is happy because they made back all of their money at the door and then some.”
It’s almost two months since the Chicago gig and the band is holed up in a music classroom of Christopher Columbus High School in Southwest Miami where saxophonist Cooper is a music teacher. It’s where they regularly meet to rehearse and plot their next move.
ArtOfficial emerged from the ashes of two other local bands: the jazzy, groove-based Defoncé and the hip-hop crew SoulWhat. Both bands imploded around the same time with commitments still on the table. “There were a bunch of gigs that were still booked and we couldn’t flake out,” says Valencia. “We got on the phone and put something together at the last minute. We played a gig at Felt doing a bunch of songs we figured out the night before. The crowd loved it.”
“The day after the gig I actually left to spend a month in India,” says Cooper. “I just remember hoping the whole time I was there that we’d still be able to play together when I got back. It was that special.” As buzz about the band got around, gigs came furiously, whether they were nights at hole-in-the-wall bars downtown or slots opening up for the likes of Wu-Tang Clan at the Rock the Bells Hip-Hop Festival. It wasn’t long before the crew started its own recurring party, the popular State of the Art event that has packed nearly every venue it’s been held in thus far. In the time it normally takes most bands to figure out a name, ArtOfficial already had Miami on lock.
“We still hear rumors that we’re already signed or that we’ve been turning down offers from major record labels,” says Afterlogic, sitting on an amp and chuckling. “I wish some of it were true.” A tantalizing offer did come their way, however: an opportunity to put out some of their music in Japan. It turned out to be legit, and after three months of contract negotiations and several all-nighters in the studio, the band produced the Stranger EP, which has already sold more than 5,000 copies in Japan.
“It’s awesome,” says Patino. “Hopefully we can do some shows out there.” While the EP does its thing out East, the band is hard at work on a full-length album for release in 2009 while trying to figure out more ways to get their name known outside of Miami. If their track record to date is any indication, that won’t be too hard.
“We’re just going to keep doing it ourselves until someone helps out,” says Perez.
“We’ve all already put in a bunch of work in our former bands, but nothing happened,” says Newsense. “This time around we’re making sure something happens, because if this doesn’t work, nothing will.”
And so, the hustle continues. Next stop, Japan?
ArtOfficial readies to release 'The Payback'
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Miami's own hip-hop / jazz sextet, ArtOfficial, will release a new mixtape, The Payback, online Frid...Miami's own hip-hop / jazz sextet, ArtOfficial, will release a new mixtape, The Payback, online Friday (April 23). And the best part? It'll be absolutely free.
The band will celebrate the release at Transit Lounge in downtown Miami on Friday, and they're promising special guests and free copies of the new release.
The group, consisting of rappers Newsense and Logics, as well as drummer Matt Patino, keyboardist Danny Perez, bassist Ralf Valencia and sax-player Keith Cooper, took a different route when constructing their mixtape. Whereas most hip-hop mixtapes consist of rappers tackling beats to other artists' songs, ArtOfficial took it one step further with The Payback: They replayed and adapted some of their favorite classic rock and hip-hop songs to their own style.
On "Voodoo," Jimi Hendrix's classic guitar riff from "Voodoo Child (Slight Return) is repurposed by Cooper's saxophone, while the two MCs' verses are punctuated by bluesy organs.
"Show Me Change" is an all-Florida affair: ArtOfficial, Miami's Questand Swamburger of Orlando's Solillaquists of Sound tackle the horn-heavy backdrop of Jay-Z's "Show Me What You Got."
The Payback isn't just a cover album though. ArtOfficial also includes several all-new songs to help tide fans over until early 2011, when they release their next full length album, Misfits, Scholars & Mystics.
You can download The Payback for free on Friday at ArtOfficial's website.
Band of the Hour: ArtOfficial
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Band of the Hour: ArtOfficial By Rayme Samuels More than 100 shows and a year and half later, Ar...Band of the Hour: ArtOfficial
By Rayme Samuels
More than 100 shows and a year and half later, ArtOfficial have proven themselves as creative forces to be reckoned with. Their delicately weaved combination of hip-hop, jazz and indie beats represent an exquisitely refined Miami sound. Having shared the stage with the likes of Krs One, The Sugarhill Gang and Pharaoh Monch, and rocking out at the Rock the Bells festival headlined by Wu-Tang and Nas, it's clear that this six-piece crew from Miami is racing on the fast track to stardom.
Joined from remains of one jazz and one hip-hop group, the motley crew of individuals shares a large range of influences; only adding to the fact that ArtOfficial can't be pigeonholed into only one genre. They are all fond of contemporary music pioneers who changed the face of music like Radiohead, The Beatles, The Roots, Black Star, Soul Live and A Tribe Called Quest. "Our sound comes together pretty naturally. We didn't sit down one day and decide which genres to mash together,' explained Logics, one of the bands two mouthpieces. "I think the people realize that when they hear us and that's why they like it."
This energetic and highly talented crew is comprised of Danny Keys on keyboard, Manolo Patino on drums, Ralfy Valencia on bass, Keith Cooper on saxophone and emcees Newsense and Logics on the mic. Their second spitfire album, Fist Fights and Foot Races, was recently released in Japan and peaked at #4 on Tower Records charts. As they shop for a label for their U.S. release, these guys work hard on fine tuning their collective sound. Their first compilation, Stranger, is a lyrical masterpiece. Saxophone heavy songs like "Big City, Bright Lights" sing the praises of their sultry hometown with lyrics like: "From the top of the buildings to the edge of the beaches, every dark avenue has a life full of secrets."
ArtOfficial gets a kick out of their unique success on the harried nightlife scene in Miami. Making it beyond the cookie cutter clubs is the true sign of success in their eyes. More than anything, these guys enjoy making believers out of discerning audiences that may start the night off skeptical of their fusion-heavy beats, but end up congratulating them after gigs. ArtOfficial definitely proves that Miami has much more to offer than just South Beach bubblegum pop.
"Ultimately, we want our audience to figure out what the music means to them. We also want them to have a good time," continued Logics. "I think some people forget that you can have fun with hip-hop. We want to remind them again."
ArtOfficial performs Sunday, May 25th, at the South Florida Indie Hip Hop Festival at the White Room. For more info, visit artofficialmusic.net.
5 LOCAL BANDS YOU NEED TO HEAR
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ArtOfficial It usually takes any band a bit of time to establish themselves in any city, but especi...ArtOfficial
It usually takes any band a bit of time to establish themselves in any city, but especially in Miami. Only DJs seem to get a cult following around here. ArtOfficial, however, straight up disregarded all that. A superhero team of sorts comprised of some badass musicians as well as MCs, the group combines live instrumentation with throwback hip-hop. It may not be such an odd thing in New York, Philly or even California, but in the city that birthed bass music, it’s rare indeed. Back to that cult following thing, it seems as if the band’s arrival was an event from the beginning. Through carefully timed appearances that didn’t risk overexposure and opening slots for veteran artists such as Pharoahe Monch and Buckshot, the crew has established a buzz in 2006 that most bands in Miami take years to establish, if ever at all. With a CD on the way this May, 2007 looks just as promising for the six-man crew.
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The mash-up of jazz and hip-hop is nothing new. Bands such as Us3 and Digable Planets were rocking t...The mash-up of jazz and hip-hop is nothing new. Bands such as Us3 and Digable Planets were rocking that blend during the first Clinton administration. While the trend was only hot for about a minute, it made an impression on a young Juan Pedraza, a.k.a. Logics, the 24-year-old MC who fronts Miami's Artofficial (Myspace.com/weareartofficial).
Formed last year, Artofficial features Pedraza and high school pal Danny Villamil, a.k.a. Newsense, rapping in front of a jazz-oriented rhythm section and saxophonist. Having built up a following at its monthly State of the Art shows at the downtown Miami venue PS14, Artofficial in May released its first recording, a five-song EP titled Stranger.
Pedraza spoke to City Link by cell phone while shopping for dinner.
What's the advantage of rapping over live musicians?
It's very difficult for a hip-hop artist by himself to put the same show on that a band does. … With a band, it's easier to rock a crowd. It's also more challenging from an improvising aspect.
Were you into jazz growing up?
Not really. I got into it a little bit when I was older. But the hip-hop that I did like was very much [utilizing] jazz samples.
Were you hip to bands like Us3 and Digable Planets?
When Us3 came out with "Cantaloop," I would love that song on the radio as a little kid. … Digable Planets, to me, they're on another level. They took the whole slang of the era when jazz was big and incorporated it into their music.
Are there Latin influences in your music?
In our jam sessions [at PS14], you'll hear straight-up salsa and Latin music. But on record, we try to stay away from it, because it's kind of hard to match Latin music and hip-hop as naturally as, like, jazz. It's hard to get something that we would want to rhyme to.
Are you excited about doing the Rock the Bells show at Bayfront Park in August with Nas, Wu-Tang and Cypress Hill?
Yeah, man, that's definitely a big one to put on the résumé. [The chance to see those artists perform] is almost better than doing the show.
Artofficial will perform July 21 at PS14, 28 N.E. 14th St., in Miami. Call 305/358-3600 or visit Ps14.com.
-- Bob Weinberg
From FL to the TL: Miami’s ArtOfficial Hits Downtown SF
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ArtOfficial is a collective that unites smart MCs with band geeks, snapping off rhymes over boom-bap...ArtOfficial is a collective that unites smart MCs with band geeks, snapping off rhymes over boom-bap funk and electric ’70s jazz like Guru’s Jazzmatazz joined by the kids who were too cool for their high school’s marching band. — J. Graham
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Once is not enough for ArtOfficial. The jazz-influenced hip-hop band will hold three release parties...Once is not enough for ArtOfficial. The jazz-influenced hip-hop band will hold three release parties for its new EP, Stranger.
The five-track disc marks the group's first recording. It will be debuting at clubs around ArtOfficial's home base in Miami-Dade County, with the guys making their first stop on Saturday at Flavour, 2895 McFarlane Road, Coconut Grove.
Formed last year, ArtOfficial was crafted from the remains of two bands -- one jazz, the other hip-hop. The members -- Ralf Valencia on bass, Danny Perez on keyboards, Manny Patino on drums, Keith Cooper on saxophone, along with emcees Logics and Newsense -- met through mutual friends.
The outfit began to take shape when asked to fill a vacant slot at a club. "We kept going and never looked back," Logics said.
Logics describes ArtOfficial as blending groups from hip-hop's golden era and replacing their sampled beats with jazz musicians. Think Soulive with a harder edge, or the Roots, but jazzier, denser and more spontaneous.
The Stranger party train keeps rolling with performances planned for May 18 at Mansion, 1235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach (305-532-1525), and May 26 at PS14, 28 NE 14th St., Miami (ps14.com or 305-358-3600). Also visit artofficialmusic.net.
State of the Art
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Live hip-hop music — MCs performing alongside an actual band — is rare these days, unless you count ...Live hip-hop music — MCs performing alongside an actual band — is rare these days, unless you count VH1's annual attempt with Hip-Hop Honors and the ever-present Roots crew. However, in Miami this dearth of live hip-hop is not a problem. Trailblazers such as Mayday! are paving the way for the next-school, including the six-member band Artofficial, which incorporates sax, keys, bass, and drums in addition to two MCs. Playing live not only allows the groups to give the crowd a fresh interpretation of their recorded music, but also adds an organic element missing in hip-hop and gets butts moving.
rtofficial will be headlining the State of the Art event, featuring local artists' eye-opening art displays, DJs, and live funk music with a side of instrumental hip-hop.
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ArtOfficial delivers a sound that shatters the line between jazz and hip-hop. The unification of the...ArtOfficial delivers a sound that shatters the line between jazz and hip-hop. The unification of the remnants of local hip-hop group Soul What? merged with reggae funk band Defoncé, spawning rich lyrics and instrumentals. Danny P., Ralf Valencia, Manny Patino, Keith Cooper, Newsense, and Afterlogic make for an interesting, inspirational set. — Jessica Di Palo
Miami's Own ArtOfficial Heads to Chicago for Last Band Standing, Lollapalooza Competition
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Amazing. Over 1000 bands nationally who competed in the Last Band Standing contest, judged by Perry ...Amazing. Over 1000 bands nationally who competed in the Last Band Standing contest, judged by Perry Farrell, to play an opening slot at Lollapalooza. And among the five finalists is a band from Miami -- ArtOfficial! What's more, they're the only hip-hop group in the finals. They're headed to Chicago for a live showdown on July 30 at that city's Double Door club. If they win, among some other goodies, they'll play the big-deal festival, which takes place in Chi-town from August 1 through 3. Full press release follows. Good luck, guys! -- Arielle Castillo
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I'm a sucker for live instrumentation. Which is why apart from Hip Hop, Nu Funk is always on heavy r...I'm a sucker for live instrumentation. Which is why apart from Hip Hop, Nu Funk is always on heavy rotation on my Ipod & Stereo. The Dap Kings, The Hot 8 Brass Band, The Soul Investigators, Breakestra, The Bamboos, The Quantic Soul Orchestra etc are masters of their craft. In my experience The Roots live (obviously), The Chapter & Glue amongst others are about as close as Hip Hop has to this kind of musical brilliance. I now have another name to add to this cast list. ArtOfficial, Hailing out of Miami are, Ralf, Danny P, Manny & Keith with the sounds & Afterlogic & Newsense on the mics. Everything about the way this album is put together is superb. From the drum patterns to the ever evolving bass guitar to the sax & woodwind in the backgrounds to the positive message the MC's provide, the cohesiveness of the whole album is pure niceness. I cannot fault a single joint on this album & i dare any true Hip Hop fan to try. It's got Hip Hop funk, Anthemic instrumentation, great beat changes between intros, verses & hooks, plus an ill Shin Ski Remix too. At 13 tracks deep with ni filler this is an absolute must have. I can't big this up enough & i'm currently struggling to choose between these guys & Nicolay & Kay for my album of the year so far. Fist Fights & Foot Races, Superb.
Average performances: 60 Minutes
Abbreviated performances: 30 Minutes
Extended sets: Three 45 Minute Sets
All material is original. Set lists are available upon requests.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.