Skyscraper Stereo
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Skyscraper Stereo

Louisville, Kentucky, United States | INDIE

Louisville, Kentucky, United States | INDIE
Band Hip Hop EDM

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"Rebuilding the Skyscraper"

REBUILDING THE SKYSCRAPER
Courier - Journal - Louisville, Ky.
Author: Joseph Lord
Date: Jun 15, 2011
Start Page: V.31
Section: Velocity
Text Word Count: 576
Document Text
Louisville hip-hop group Skyscraper Stereo hadn't released new music since 2009's "You Can't Do That On Television," the follow-up to the group's debut album, 2008's "River City Ransom."

As the titles imply, Skyscraper Stereo has an affinity for middlebrow pop-culture references that are most relevant to their generation -- young adults who grew up in the age of Nickelodeon, 8-bit video games and hip-hop that didn't take itself so seriously.

That helped earn the group -- whose original members were Daniel "Mr. Goodbar" Guess Jr., Jawon "chuck deuce" Dunn, Landry "Dat Boi" Dunn and Joe "DJ Joe Dubb" Wilkerson" -- a fan base that crossed over between Louisville's hip-hop, college bar and DJ scenes.

But then Skyscraper Stereo hit the brakes -- ostensibly so members could work on solo projects -- leading some to wonder if that was it for this promising band.

No worries. With an ambitious new record on the way, a revamped Skyscraper Stereo appears ready to pick up where it left off.

"It wasn't a hiatus," said Jawon Dunn, clarifying the record. "Mr. Goodbar and my brother Landry wanted to do solo projects, and that was fine by me because it allowed me to revamp things."

The record, "Homebois in Outer Space," marks some significant changes. It's Skyscraper's first album on a label, a move that should bring distribution, merchandising and promotional aid. Wilkerson has also departed, to be replaced by Yao Hong, aka DJ Fluid, a veteran of Louisville's club scene.

Two years away from the scene seems to have helped advance Skyscraper's music. While the others were off on solo pursuits, Dunn, the group's longtime producer, was in his home studio creating original music, an attempt to wean the group from an over-reliance on unauthorized samples.

"Homebois" -- which drops on June 28 -- is laden with fresh electronic sounds, a new wave in hip-hop used not only by Kanye West but also in underground hip-hop. The rest of the music relies on live instruments -- only three of 14 songs rely on samples, Dunn said.

"It took me two years to put the album together," he said. Without the break, "It wouldn't sound this way and it wouldn't sound this good. I've been a musician since I was 14, and as a musician I wanted my own sound."

The result is a space-age and more grooving. (Which you can hear for yourself July 3 when the group performs at Zanzabar.)

"It definitely has more of an electronic feel to it," Guess said. "We felt that that's the direction of mainstream hip-hop. It's still the same Skyscraper -- it's just been refurbished, I guess you could say."

What hasn't changed Skyscraper Stereo's approach to lyrics.

"Lyrically, our music is always piled with inside jokes -- something we came up with talking at a bar or sitting around with each other," Dunn said. "It's all still really funny. It's not like we take ourselves more seriously than before. But, if you listen to the lyrics, you'll see that we have something to say."

The fun-loving style is what convinced Hong to join the group.

"I was always a fan of theirs," Hong said. "I really enjoyed their music. A lot of other groups sound the same. What I like about Skyscraper Stereo is that they have fun doing it and their beats are really fresh. They're still interesting."

An irreverent Louisville hip-hop group gets serious about its future

By Joseph Lord - Courier Journal


"Rebuilding the Skyscraper"

REBUILDING THE SKYSCRAPER
Courier - Journal - Louisville, Ky.
Author: Joseph Lord
Date: Jun 15, 2011
Start Page: V.31
Section: Velocity
Text Word Count: 576
Document Text
Louisville hip-hop group Skyscraper Stereo hadn't released new music since 2009's "You Can't Do That On Television," the follow-up to the group's debut album, 2008's "River City Ransom."

As the titles imply, Skyscraper Stereo has an affinity for middlebrow pop-culture references that are most relevant to their generation -- young adults who grew up in the age of Nickelodeon, 8-bit video games and hip-hop that didn't take itself so seriously.

That helped earn the group -- whose original members were Daniel "Mr. Goodbar" Guess Jr., Jawon "chuck deuce" Dunn, Landry "Dat Boi" Dunn and Joe "DJ Joe Dubb" Wilkerson" -- a fan base that crossed over between Louisville's hip-hop, college bar and DJ scenes.

But then Skyscraper Stereo hit the brakes -- ostensibly so members could work on solo projects -- leading some to wonder if that was it for this promising band.

No worries. With an ambitious new record on the way, a revamped Skyscraper Stereo appears ready to pick up where it left off.

"It wasn't a hiatus," said Jawon Dunn, clarifying the record. "Mr. Goodbar and my brother Landry wanted to do solo projects, and that was fine by me because it allowed me to revamp things."

The record, "Homebois in Outer Space," marks some significant changes. It's Skyscraper's first album on a label, a move that should bring distribution, merchandising and promotional aid. Wilkerson has also departed, to be replaced by Yao Hong, aka DJ Fluid, a veteran of Louisville's club scene.

Two years away from the scene seems to have helped advance Skyscraper's music. While the others were off on solo pursuits, Dunn, the group's longtime producer, was in his home studio creating original music, an attempt to wean the group from an over-reliance on unauthorized samples.

"Homebois" -- which drops on June 28 -- is laden with fresh electronic sounds, a new wave in hip-hop used not only by Kanye West but also in underground hip-hop. The rest of the music relies on live instruments -- only three of 14 songs rely on samples, Dunn said.

"It took me two years to put the album together," he said. Without the break, "It wouldn't sound this way and it wouldn't sound this good. I've been a musician since I was 14, and as a musician I wanted my own sound."

The result is a space-age and more grooving. (Which you can hear for yourself July 3 when the group performs at Zanzabar.)

"It definitely has more of an electronic feel to it," Guess said. "We felt that that's the direction of mainstream hip-hop. It's still the same Skyscraper -- it's just been refurbished, I guess you could say."

What hasn't changed Skyscraper Stereo's approach to lyrics.

"Lyrically, our music is always piled with inside jokes -- something we came up with talking at a bar or sitting around with each other," Dunn said. "It's all still really funny. It's not like we take ourselves more seriously than before. But, if you listen to the lyrics, you'll see that we have something to say."

The fun-loving style is what convinced Hong to join the group.

"I was always a fan of theirs," Hong said. "I really enjoyed their music. A lot of other groups sound the same. What I like about Skyscraper Stereo is that they have fun doing it and their beats are really fresh. They're still interesting."

An irreverent Louisville hip-hop group gets serious about its future

By Joseph Lord - Courier Journal


"Homebois in Louisville"

Homebois in Louisville
BY BRENT OWEN
For the past decade, Louisville’s musical focus has been dominated by My Morning Jacket, while artists as varied as Wax Fang, VHS or Beta and Ben Sollee have emerged as contenders. Skyscraper Stereo is ready to be added to that mix. Their latest release, Homebois in Outer Space (Little Heart Records), might very well be the best hip-hop album you’ll hear all year. Period.

Skyscraper Stereo might also be the only group around that can namedrop Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix next to Lil Wayne, Notorious B.I.G. and Kanye West without any sense of irony. “I don’t really listen to much hip-hop at all,” says rapper/producer Jawon “Chuck Deuce” Dunn as he sips iced coffee in front of the Starbucks at Baxter and Cherokee. “I started as a guitar player, so Led Zeppelin is huge, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix — all of that is what I listen to.”

The group has been working together for five years, starting with Jawon and Daniel “Goodbar” Guess. Skyscraper Stereo began to mesh when the duo brought in Jawon’s brother Landry “Dat Boi Dunn” Dunn and Yao “DJ Fluid” Hong.

“We used to fight over G.I. Joes; now we fight over music. It just changes themes,” Landry says of their creative/familial dynamic. “He always wanted to be Storm Shadow. He’d never give me Storm Shadow; I had to be Snake Eyes.”

“I wanted to be Snake Eyes, and you wouldn’t give him to me!” Jawon interrupts. “But that’s another story.”

They recorded their new album at Dunn’s father’s home off Newburg Road, and the guys have thought plenty about the influence (or lack thereof) their hometown has had on their music. “The fact that there isn’t one certain sound that defines Louisville music gave us free reign to do whatever we want, because there wasn’t a pattern we had to follow,” Landry says.

“Since we’re not in L.A., New York or Chicago,” Jawon continues, “there’s no sound I feel as though I have to adhere to. So the only influence I can say is that we grew up in the suburbs watching MTV and ‘Beavis and Butthead,’ where Dr. Dre would come on one second, and right after that, Nirvana would come on next.”

Which is exactly why it isn’t strange they’re the only hip-hop group on a mostly rock label. Landry chuckles when I point out that fact. “In this city, we have a reputation for being the rock bands’ favorite rap group.“

“When we started, we sat down and I said, ‘We should market ourselves like a rock group,’” Jawon says. “Rock bands play and play and play until you can’t ignore them anymore. Rappers, at least around here, are more akin to just trying to get something on the radio, kicking back and hoping that works.” - Louisville Leo


"Homebois in Louisville"

Homebois in Louisville
BY BRENT OWEN
For the past decade, Louisville’s musical focus has been dominated by My Morning Jacket, while artists as varied as Wax Fang, VHS or Beta and Ben Sollee have emerged as contenders. Skyscraper Stereo is ready to be added to that mix. Their latest release, Homebois in Outer Space (Little Heart Records), might very well be the best hip-hop album you’ll hear all year. Period.

Skyscraper Stereo might also be the only group around that can namedrop Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix next to Lil Wayne, Notorious B.I.G. and Kanye West without any sense of irony. “I don’t really listen to much hip-hop at all,” says rapper/producer Jawon “Chuck Deuce” Dunn as he sips iced coffee in front of the Starbucks at Baxter and Cherokee. “I started as a guitar player, so Led Zeppelin is huge, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix — all of that is what I listen to.”

The group has been working together for five years, starting with Jawon and Daniel “Goodbar” Guess. Skyscraper Stereo began to mesh when the duo brought in Jawon’s brother Landry “Dat Boi Dunn” Dunn and Yao “DJ Fluid” Hong.

“We used to fight over G.I. Joes; now we fight over music. It just changes themes,” Landry says of their creative/familial dynamic. “He always wanted to be Storm Shadow. He’d never give me Storm Shadow; I had to be Snake Eyes.”

“I wanted to be Snake Eyes, and you wouldn’t give him to me!” Jawon interrupts. “But that’s another story.”

They recorded their new album at Dunn’s father’s home off Newburg Road, and the guys have thought plenty about the influence (or lack thereof) their hometown has had on their music. “The fact that there isn’t one certain sound that defines Louisville music gave us free reign to do whatever we want, because there wasn’t a pattern we had to follow,” Landry says.

“Since we’re not in L.A., New York or Chicago,” Jawon continues, “there’s no sound I feel as though I have to adhere to. So the only influence I can say is that we grew up in the suburbs watching MTV and ‘Beavis and Butthead,’ where Dr. Dre would come on one second, and right after that, Nirvana would come on next.”

Which is exactly why it isn’t strange they’re the only hip-hop group on a mostly rock label. Landry chuckles when I point out that fact. “In this city, we have a reputation for being the rock bands’ favorite rap group.“

“When we started, we sat down and I said, ‘We should market ourselves like a rock group,’” Jawon says. “Rock bands play and play and play until you can’t ignore them anymore. Rappers, at least around here, are more akin to just trying to get something on the radio, kicking back and hoping that works.” - Louisville Leo


"Homebois in Outer Space"


Homebois in Outerspace
Skyscraper Stereo
LITTLE HEART
BY DAMIEN MCPHERSON
The scene: a mother and daughter in a studio. The toddler is there to say a few words for a hook, a reference to an Internet meme from a couple years back. The daughter, obviously well-behaved, balks at the request at what she’s asked to say, and her protests are golden. Played in family court, though? A whole ’nother matter. This is Skyscraper Stereo’s best album. Coming after strong solo outings from Mr. Goodbar and Dat Boi Dunn, the group sounds more at ease and confident in their abilities than ever. It’s impossible to pick a favorite, though the vocal effects and subject matter on “GFYS” demand repeated listens. “Lord Lord” is a rare serious take from the group, who tend to keep things light, and is producer Chuck Deuce’s piece de resistance, a multi-layered, country-flavored bounce played live. Chuck shows himself to be as strong a player as he is a beatmaker and emcee. The variety of production alone, all from Chuck, should bring Skyscraper the attention they deserve once and for all. This is Louisville hip-hop’s golden era - Louisville Leo


"Homebois in Outer Space"


Homebois in Outerspace
Skyscraper Stereo
LITTLE HEART
BY DAMIEN MCPHERSON
The scene: a mother and daughter in a studio. The toddler is there to say a few words for a hook, a reference to an Internet meme from a couple years back. The daughter, obviously well-behaved, balks at the request at what she’s asked to say, and her protests are golden. Played in family court, though? A whole ’nother matter. This is Skyscraper Stereo’s best album. Coming after strong solo outings from Mr. Goodbar and Dat Boi Dunn, the group sounds more at ease and confident in their abilities than ever. It’s impossible to pick a favorite, though the vocal effects and subject matter on “GFYS” demand repeated listens. “Lord Lord” is a rare serious take from the group, who tend to keep things light, and is producer Chuck Deuce’s piece de resistance, a multi-layered, country-flavored bounce played live. Chuck shows himself to be as strong a player as he is a beatmaker and emcee. The variety of production alone, all from Chuck, should bring Skyscraper the attention they deserve once and for all. This is Louisville hip-hop’s golden era - Louisville Leo


Discography

Homebois in Ourterspace (2011)
Individually Rapped (2010) - Mr. Goodbar Solo
Momma's Boy (2010) - Dat Boi Dunn Solo
You Can't Do That on Television (2008)
River City Ransom (2006)

Photos

Bio

Homebois in Outer Space, the latest release from Skyscraper Stereo, was both conceived and birthed among the sidewalks and streets of Louisville, KY; a sleepy mid-west metropolis with a rich history of indie-music from iconic artists like Slint, Endpoint, and Will Oldham. It was there, among those same streets and sidewalks, that Skyscraper Stereo formed six years ago through a simple collaboration between Jawon “Chuck Deuce” Dunn and Daniel “Goodbar” Guess. It didn’t take long for their work to spark the interest of Jawon’s brother Landry “Dat Boi” Dunn; who after hearing what their sessions produced became eager to enter the fold. It was quick and painless, but that easily the core line-up of Skyscraper Stereo had completed itself; and they’ve been working diligently making their own contribution to the scene that has incubated them ever since.

The last piece of the Skyscraper puzzle finally came in 2012, when they brought mix maestro, and New Era D.J. alum, Andrew Kim joined the guys. He had been touring with the group, in support of Homebois in Outer Space, for a while when they finally offered him a permanent slot behind the turntable.

“We've always just clicked,” Guess says. “All (of the) members individually have very different styles and influences, but once the three forces combine, they come together seamlessly.” Just like the myriad of influences that cohesively swirls through everything the group does, without feeling like some aimless mélange sounds. When held down, the guys will site their influences to be as broad as Jimi Hendrix to Notorious B.I.G. to Kriss Kross – all of which they mean with the utmost sincerity and not even the slightest hint of irony.

The classic rock influence exerts itself most when it comes to Skyscraper Stereo’s electrifying live performances, which have become legendary around Louisville. They’re explosive, without the caustic clutter that often weighs down the performances of many other hip-hop groups. “When we started we sat down and I said, 'we should market ourselves like a rock group.'” Jawon told The LEO Weekly in 2011. “In the respect of…rock bands play and play and play until you can't ignore them anymore. Rappers are more akin to just trying to get something on the radio, kicking back and hoping that works. Not us.” It’s from those live performances that the group developed a confidence that grabs your attention from the outset on Homebois in Outer Space. But their lyrics aren’t just swagger and posturing, it's poetry. That’s not to draw any pretentious comparisons to the work of Angelou or Keats; but rather acknowledging their irreverent wit that speaks to a deeper social consciousness, in a way which brings to mind overlooked masters of the craft like Shel Silverstein or Dr. Seuss. There is this subtle intelligence which permeates the music without anchoring the songs to some inflated sense of self importance. It’s a fine line well walked, and it endears the album to the even harshest of critics within seconds pushing ‘play’ for the very first time.

Five years of hard work and perseverance led to the release of Homebois in Outer Space, last year. The critically acclaimed masterpiece was hailed an instant classic in the underground hip-hop scene, and has garnered a groundswell of anticipation demanding more from the boys. But with little time to look backward, Skyscraper Stereo have their eyes fixed on the horizon; and with one masterpiece under their belt, another one can’t be far behind.