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"Think Out Loud - Celebrating Custom Tats"

Westchester, the nook of LA best known for being below Venice, next to Inglewood and above the LAX, isn’t usually known to be a spot for nightlife. But on Saturday, across from the notoriously busiest of the notoriously busy In-N-Out burger joints, Hollywood Stars Tattoo celebrated its’ three-year anniversary in conjunction with Contrashadow PR.

In the last couple years, the Tattoo shop has carved its place into LA’s skin as one of the prime spots for custom inking. “We’re trying to give you what you want, not just what we got,” owner Erik Gutierrez says in the long corridor of his shop. There is an eerily personal, graphic feel to the shop’s guts. Blood red paint covers the hallways with small portals into each artist studio.

“You go places and people are constantly trying to push their artwork on somebody else, whether they want it or not,” Guiterrez says.

A lot of tatteries have their walls plastered with point and ink tattoos. Work samples are available upon request, but Hollywood Star’s artists keep their studios more open in order to encourage their costumers to think more, well, custom.

A few pairs of Van’s sneaks on a shelf above his needles are where Adrian Caro shows off his squabbles with ink. “I just do these in my spare time,” Caro says showing me the kicks. “Let me know if you want a pair.” Caro has only been working at Hollywood Stars for a few days but has already had a taste of the shops celebrity clientele. “They get a lot of big name clients,” Caro says. “We are actually supposed to have Badass from Tha Dogg Pound Gang in here for some work tonight.”

Outside, in the shops proverbial back yard, planes soared literally just above a stage, mini-bar and solitary heat lamp, constantly under siege. The line between the Tatoo and Rap pack was being blurred all night. Tattoo enthusiasts were coming out to the cold to check the MC’s and the Hip-Hoppers went into the shop to watch live inking.

The 15-year-old Meech, who could be en route to becoming the next Soulja/ Hurricane kid, played his song “Thicka Than A Snicka,” complete with Bathin’ Apes. Meech and fellow performers, Jah-Free, and the Dirty Bird, are all affiliated with the Inland Empire camp cohesive, Homeless Nation and the man who brought you “Lean Like a Cholo,” Fingazz. These acts were an interesting juxtaposition to the six-piece Long Beach based band Mulatto, who stole the show.

Mulatto consists of six 17-22 year olds, who have been extensively playing in the LA area for the last year. The group rocks with a nu-jazz, soulful smooth vibe with bracketing rock progressions. “You’re gonna be blown away,” lead singer Diondre Tribble tells me right before they step on stage. It’s safe to say that my eyebrows were definitely raised and Mulatto left the crowd begging for more.

The night winded down soon after Mulatto left the stage. Hoodies were zipped back up as people headed back through the shop towards Sepulveda Blvd. Most of the partiers at this “industry exclusive” took a card to consider heading to Hollywood Stars for their next Tattoo. “I been tattooing since I was 13 years old, I’m 31 now,” Gutierrez says. His experience has taught him that the potential for remarkable artwork is available everytime he puts his needle into someone’s skin. “You see,” he says, “I try to bring out what people don’t realize they got. You can pick a style that hits anywhere and we will do what we can do get you that style.”

- URB Magazine Blog by Alex 'Dweezy' Dwyer


A six piece all male band from Long Beach, California, Mulatto aims to blend their many influences ranging from rock and jazz to pop and soul. The soft crooning of lead vocalist Diondre Tribble, backed by the peaceful harmonies of his band mates, is on full display with the saxophone-heavy jam, "Remedy." As many of their songs revolve around women, the multi-ethnic sextet seem to share a common ground. And although they tend to feel more comfortable producing smoother, lighter tracks, the band is unafraid to experiment with some heavy distortion and thrashing guitar solos like in their breakthrough feel good song, "Dreamland." Mulatto's unabashed experimentation and boldness mirrors the unmistakable freedom and levity of summer.

-Noah Gorksy - Beyond Race Magazine - Review

"URB Magazine Next 1000!"

Although they call the genre which they inhabit "nu-Jazz" they aren't merely summoning the spirits of the Badus and the Saadiqs; the truly jazzy compositions from this Long Beach six piece, are the fruit of years of laborious lessons and collaborations. With a combination of instrumental prestige on top of a swanky-fresh live show, Mullato is steadily acquiring a following throughout the Southern California area. Give their jams a listen and it'll seem obvious that this group's clientele isn't going to remain merely in Cali's lower half for long. - Reviewed by URB Magazine

"Crossing musical boundaries, from coffee shops to The Roxy"

Crossing musical boundaries, from coffee shops to The Roxy
Fowler Out Loud series hosting local, independent band Mulatto’s neo-soul compilation tonight at 6

* Maryia Kryvaruchka (Contact)
* Published: Thursday, May 1, 2008

From the name to the music, nothing about Mulatto is one-dimensional.

The local neo-soul band capitalizes on mixing elements to create a complex sound. Neo-soul is a modern music hybrid with influences from jazz, funk and hip-hop genres. Mulatto takes that, throws in the strength of gospel, the feeling of blues, the spirit of rock and lots of energy to offer the audience something original.

Tonight at 6 p.m., Fowler Out Loud will showcase this neo-soul blend.

The band was founded three years ago, when a few of the current members were playing at the Long Beach coffeehouse It’s a Grind. The now-lead vocalist and then-undiscovered R&B artist Diondre Tribble heard them playing from outside. Intrigued by the sound, he wrote out a verse and sat in with the band, a practice common in the jazz world.

“(Tribble sitting in that day) was probably decent. I don’t even remember how the tune went,” said Tom Terrell, the band’s trumpeter and fourth-year UCLA classical trumpet performance student.

“But he left an impression. The sound just worked. Tribble called us up a few months later, and the band was born.”

The name came as naturally as the roster of band members. The original band was a sextet of three black and three white musicians, inspiring the name “Mulatto.” Some of the band members moved away for college and new members were found, but the name stuck.

“I’m the only white guy left,” Terrell said. “That means my spot is pretty safe – they can’t kick me out or it won’t be Mulatto anymore.”

The solid group is unlikely to change members anyway. The current sextet has been together for two years and has performed gigs at such historic Los Angeles venues as The Roxy and Temple Bar. Their success in high-expectation locales is attributed to energetic performance and the offer of a variety of sound.

Mulatto’s songs range from the cool jazz “Remedy” and the distortion-guitar laden hip-hop sound of “Trippin’,” to energetic improvised interludes. “Dreamland” is a dirty rock-instrumental with smooth R&B vocals. Terrell’s trumpet, inspired by the cool, relaxed tones of Miles Davis and Chet Baker, is heard in every song, tying Mulatto back to their coffee shop jazz roots. Drawing inspiration from artists like D’Angelo, Erykah Badu and Herbie Hancock, Mulatto incorporates various styles to create versatility and dimension through sound.

The members of Mulatto are as diverse as the songs they play. Bassist Dustin Moore is described by his band members as the little rockstar with dreadlocks. Guitarist Luke Aiono is the self-proclaimed smallest Samoan on the planet. Vocalist Tribble is a cool, natural showman, jumping around and off the stage. Pianist Markay Fairley is known as “Big Sexy” because, well, he is big and he is sexy.

At 24, “Big Sexy” is the elder in the band, while 16-year-old drummer Margis Miles is still in high school. But the age difference is no issue when it comes to Miles’ talent.

“We saw (Miles) play when he was 14. We knew right away that we had to get him in the band. This kid is crazy on the drums,” Terrell said.

The age- and background-diverse ensemble got its lucky break early on. Two years ago, just as the final members of the band were secured, Mulatto was offered a record contract with J Records, owned by mogul Clive Davis. The offer was tempting, but the band members were wary of the deal.

“We tore up the audition, and a month later a contract was printed up. We were lucky because this wasn’t supposed to happen right away,” Terrell said.

“But we were cautious, and it didn’t turn out to be a great deal. We would be locked in for the production of seven albums and get minimal money in return. There were no guarantees, and our sound could be changed. It was too risky.”

Refusing to compromise their sound and be tied down early on, Mulatto declined the offer that most starting bands would have jumped at.

Still a “baby act” – a group that has never been signed – the band chose the independent route. They are working on generating their own buzz.

“There was an obvious struggle for artistic control with the record companies. Now we are keeping track of our own sales and creating the leverage we never had before,” Terrell said.

The band has found the struggles of being independent worthwhile. They are establishing credibility by staying out of the net record companies sometimes put around young artists.

The pleasure of seeing their work produced unaltered is enough to deter the instant gratification of a less-than-perfect contract. This doesn’t mean, however, that Mulatto wouldn’t accept the right deal if it came along.

“There might be a demand for a group that can cross genres and borders like we can,” Terrell said. “If a company knows how to market to our advantage, and would let us be who we are, we’d love to sign. We just don’t want to become another boy band. I think it’s safe to say that the world doesn’t need another Backstreet Boys.”
- UCLA - Daily Bruin

"Mulatto - The color of real music"

Nu-Soul: Who is Mulatto and what does the name represent?

Mulatto: Mulatto represents a blend of different cultures and genres of music, basically like a pot of gumbo; take a little bit of everything, mix it up, and you have a scrumptious meal.

Nu-Soul: How did you all meet?

Mulatto: Dustin Moore (bassist) and Tom Terrell (trumpet) were performing a medley of jazz standards at a coffee shop in Long Beach. Caught by the catchy grooves on the song “Lonnie’s Lament”, Diondre Tribble (lead vocalist) was lured into the lounge, inspired to write a verse to perform alongside the group. After their debut performance, they decided to exchange contact information to pursue further musical endeavors. Months later, Diondre called Dustin and Tom to perform as his band to open for Common in Shreveport, Louisiana. Due to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, the performance was cancelled, but sparked the trio’s collaboration to work with one another – the birth of Mulatto.

After a foundation was established, Tom called fellow high school musician Markay Fairley to fill in as the drummer. However, his new found interest in gospel keys persuaded him rather to play the keyboard. With trumpet, bass, keys, and the vocalist spots already filled in, the search for the drummer began. Already acquainted Dustin Moore and fourteen year old drummer Margis Miles from Grace Temple Baptist Church in Los Angeles, Margis was an essential element to add to the band. At first his young age was under question, but soon after hearing him play, the band was more then eager to bring him on the team. The only instrument that needed to be occupied at this point was the guitar. Dustin and guitarist Luke Aiono have always been high school friends through the Long Beach Poly High School jazz band program. After hearing Luke perform at the high school’s annual “All the People” benefit concert, he was quickly added to the band’s line-up.

With the roster completed, we worked hard to fuse our minds together to create real music – thus, Mulatto was born.

Nu-Soul: When and where did Mulatto first begin?

Mulatto: In Dustin’s garage in Long Beach, California. The neighbors are well aware of the studio from our late night jam sessions and intense rehearsals. So we would like to give a shout out to of Dustin’s neighbors. Thank you for your support!!!

Nu-Soul: How do you guys describe your sound?

Mulatto: Rock-N-Soul with a hint of Jazz.

Nu-Soul: Who carved the path for Mulatto to be where you guys are now?

Mulatto: Friends and Family.

Nu-Soul: Why do you guys create music?

Mulatto: To bring substance back to the industry.

Nu-Soul: I read your bio and I understand that everyone has a specific role in the band. Do any of you ever switch roles and contribute to playing another instrument or writing the songs?

Mulatto: Everyone plays the keyboard. The piano is essential in visualizing chord progressions and melodic contour while composing our songs.

Nu Soul: What will the title of your first album be?

Mulatto: Real Music.

Nu-Soul: What are your expectations for you upcoming album?

Mulatto: To spread good music worldwide.

Nu-Soul: With six different minds in Mulatto, what is it like creating music together?

Mulatto: Six different minds mean six different sets of ears and six different attitudes. Basically, you really get to see how well ideas work or not by utilizing every members musical taste.

Nu-Soul: What’s beautiful about working with six different people in Mulatto?

Mulatto: It gives us the opportunity to blend all our flavors of musical backgrounds and influences into a beautiful and creative process that is Mulatto.

- NuSoul Magazine


Our EP Album "Coming Soon" is currently being sold at Amoeba Records in Hollywood and The World Famous V.I.P Records in Long Beach.



From childhood music lessons to endless collaborations with musical giants, Mulatto’s musical foundation enables them to intertwine creativity and tradition, which sets the stage for their beautiful freeform feeling of expression. Everything that is Funk, Hip Hop, Jazz, Rock and Soul is Mulatto: full and rich! A sextet of young men melodically netting ears across the nation. With electric guitarist Luke Aiono, Markay Fairley on keys, drummer Margis Miles, bassist Dustin Moore, Tom Terrell’s trumpet and the vocals of Diondre Tribble, Mulatto’s cool confidence and demanding swagger is the unexpected sound of an upbeat and harmonious musical incantation. With the makings of an ageless tonality, Mulatto is bringing real music BACK!

Drifting out of Long Beach, California in 2006, with a reputation for energetic performances, Mulatto is far from hype. The fact is that their reputation is believably solid and respectable! Their ability to switch from complex harmonies to smooth stirring sounds, while swaying their audience, has made them a hit. As influenced by their diverse love of music, Mulatto transcends appearance, smashes preconceived notions of their sound and uplifts the soul! From college band stands to well known city bars, Mulatto is well versed and steady in their unstoppable forward motion. For them, their future possibilities are endless like their hometown beach!

Mulatto has been featured on KJAZZ 88.1 FM’s “Jazz and Blues” series, as well aired twice on Cal State Long Beach TV and garnished their first interview with Nu Soul, an online soul and electronic magazine, but that’s not all. The New Year has already rooted them goodness and is scheduled to be a year of continuous fervent growth. Mulatto’s interview with Long Beach TV will broadcast on local Long Beach Charter cable channels, in 2008. In addition “The Simply True Show,” a new talk show hosted by Ingrid E. Katal, will make its 2008 national broadcast premiere, with Mulatto’s live performance. Proving Mulatto’s ascent as a burgeoning Southern Californian band!