Arts & Culture
Brandon McFarland knows what's up with Bay Area music
Brandon McFarland is the editor of Youth Radio's radio station, AllDayPlay.fm. He joined KALW’s Ben Trefny to talk about the latest in Bay Area music.
BEN TREFNY: So tell me about what’s new on All Day Play.
BRANDON McFARLAND: Well, right now something that's really big on YouTube is this female rapper by the name of The Bobby Effect. She basically has put out a string of freestyle videos where she's freestyling over the popular hit pop songs and a few in particular have gotten in the thousands, almost 170,000 views to be exact. She's basically putting her head in the ring amongst a lot of new female rappers. She's got an in-your-face style reminiscent of a Nicki Minaj and a few newer artists like Iggy Azelea from Australia and Azealia Banks from Harlem, so she's definitely something that I’m looking at. I'm looking forward to hearing original music from her.
TREFNY: Do you think that the hype around The Bobby Effect is warranted?
McFARLAND: Time will tell. Freestyle videos can wear really thin really quickly so there's not much replay value in those for me but she definitely looks the part, she's got the thrift store hipster look and she's rapping pretty well so original music is what I'm waiting to hear but until then we don't know.
TREFNY: You mentioned that she has 170,000 hits on YouTube, how accurate a measure would you say YouTube is for checking out how popular an artist is?
McFARLAND: Well the views aren't as important as the comments and the likes. If nobody's liking it and everybody's viewing it, then it's probably just getting one click and then you pass it on, but her likes were in the hundreds so it might be legit.
TREFNY: And I see that some artists like Rihanna or Adele they get hits on YouTube like in the 170 million kinds of numbers.
McFARLAND: Yeah and those are big pop stars with major labels backing them. When it comes to being completely independent and just showing up, 100,000 hits is a nice marker to make your debut on YouTube.
TREFNY: Bunny Montana from the The Bobby Effect is going off there on a fake English accent. But let’s turn to somebody who has a real English accent. Because you've been following a DJ out of the UK, tell me about him.
McFARLAND: His name is Davey Boy Smith and he actually runs a blog based out of the UK called Southern Hospitality. They specialize in Bay Area music and music from down South, but they're big fans of Bay Area hip-hop. I talked to him briefly about where his affinity started with Bay Area music. He said it started with Mac Dre, the late Mac Dre and Thizz Nation records and he was just a big fan and he would play it out in clubs around London. Ever since then, he's just been a fan of everything Bay Area that was new and exciting. And now he's able to come to the states and host an all Bay Area Showcase at South by Southwest this year.
TREFNY: Lets turn down toward a little bit of the funk scene. The Electro Funk band B. Bravo from San Francisco. Tell me a little bit about B. Bravo, Brandon.
McFARLAND: B. Bravo is a DJ out of San Francisco, California. I remember a few years back, he was accepted into the Red Bull Academy and since then he's put out an EP called Kiss and Tell with his band. It's basically very funky, electro, almost late-80's themed funk music. So it's really exciting and really refreshing to hear. We haven't heard this type of musician in a long time in the Bay Area.
TREFNY: Thats sounds pretty polished. Does that have a possible national following, Brandon?
McFARLAND: I definitely think so. It's very exciting to see live. You just see maybe like five keyboards and they're all just going on at once so it's really exciting to see live and I think they could take that show across the world.
TREFNY: B. Bravo and the Starship connection is going to be playing at South By Southwest. They are another Bay Area link to that great festival in Austin. Can you tell me little bit about what’s most popular right now on All Day Play? What's new there?
McFARLAND: Well the most popular thing to date is the very first pilot episode for Thizzler Radio and Thizzler.com is another blog that specializes in varied music. It’s based out of the Bay Area and run by a blogger by the name of M. Dubious. He's been premiering new artists for the past two or three years. One of the newest artist’s that he's championing, his name is Armani DuPaul. He's a pretty good artist out of Oakland, California. There's definitely a long list of artists coming out of Oakland, but Thizzler is definitely backing this guy.