“Torres learned early on that if you want something done, you have to do it yourself. As a rapper and recording artist, he is a self-made man, self-distributing his own albums, booking his own tours, even handling his own album artwork.”
— Nicole Rupersburg (Creative Exchange)
Floco Torres, a Willingboro New Jersey native began writing raps for and with his friends shortly after an English teacher in high school told him his dreams of being a journalist may not be the best way to go. Playing instruments like violin & trumpet as a child, music wasn’t a far-fetched path but it wasn’t his first (or second) on the list. In 2008, Torres moved from Willingboro to Atlanta Georgia for a marketing internship with a major record label. On the drive down to Atlanta, that plan fell through and this landed him in Macon Georgia with family. Floco quickly got to work and landed an opening slot during Macon’s largest music festival; Bragg Jam.
In 6 years, he has released a number of projects independently which led him to winning Best Local Hip-Hop artist 4 years in a row as well Best Local album three times. In 2011, Floco won the “Gateway Macon Music Competition” for his song “Cherry Street”, an upbeat tune about his experiences throughout the city. The song went on to win 6 local ADDY awards (Advertising/Design), 1 regional & one national Telly award. In 2015, Floco released two EP’s produced by DJ Shawty Slim (Grammy nominated musician B.O.B’s touring DJ) and after a positive buzz from both, Torres looks to reach a larger audience on the road in 2016.
“Just like the legendary filmmaker he shares a last name with, Deante’s flow keeps listeners ears on edge as they try to figure out what direction he’s going to go in next. While first listens may remind you of J. Cole, more listens will show that Deante Hitchcock warming up to tell his own sideline stories.”
— Hip Hop Wired
Deante’ Hitchcock is 21 years old, but its clear that his musical prowess is well beyond his years. Born and raised in Atlanta, GA he was introduced to music at an early age by his Uncle and lucky for us he’s stuck with it ever since.
His latest project “Wishful Thinking” has been spreading across the internet at an alarming rate. Boasting a mix of what some may call real lyricism with a hint of Southern bravado sprinkled on top he is a true product of Atlanta in the most Outkast-esque way possible.
“St. Louis’s Rockwell Knuckles raps like a superhero telling his nemesis his evil plan will never work, like he is 100 feet tall and he is here to project your city.”
Known for giddy, left-field lyricism with a heroic baritone, Rockwell Knuckles continues to carve a lane all his own. Riverfront Times critic Christian Schaeffer states: “Rockwell Knuckles stands tall as St. Louis’ most capable and adventurous hip-hop artist.” Influences range from Brotha Lynch Hung, Beatles, Prince and UGK to name a few. His latest project hosted by “It’s All Happening” comes on the heels of Mike Brown/Ferguson, which almost lead to a hiatus because of the chaotic atmosphere of the city. Rockwell was fortunate enough to be featured Apple Beats1 Radio WRTJ (Run the Jewels/DJ Trackstar) frequently with songs “Holy Ground”“Play Catch”“It’s All Happening”.
“Yet as huge as Rocky’s It’s All Happening is, it’s also full of calming soul and generally chill backyard barbecue vibes, particularly on songs like “Just Livin,” featuring frequent collaborator Tef Poe, and the funky interlude of “Orange Glow.” From Breaking Bad-referencing shit-talking to smooth, soul-sampling nostalgia, It’s All Happening is a rich, varied project well worth your time.” – Noisey Music by VICE Dec., 2014.
17 year old rapper, producer, playwright and collage artist born in St. Louis, MO and raised in St. Petersburg, FL. Started rapping, after his short lived ballet career.When he went into high school he began rapping and making beats again (Aug 2011). This is when the Nü Age Syndicate was officially formed by Watson and longtime friend, Kanisono.
Watson released his first rap demo tape “Carnie” on his 15th birthday (March 16th, 2012) from which the single “Hobo” spawns. He also releases his first in a series of instrumental tapes, the Guru series in August of that year.
Fast forward to Halloween and he releases his 2ndrap project spanning 21 tracks, “Phantom” (October 31st, 2012). His close friend Tulsi Maya, an artist under the guise of Prettywhores, directed and edited the video to the title track from the project, “Phantom”, which was released the next year (January 11th, 2013); also his most notorious to date. Videos “Kudo” (December 2nd, 2012) and “Shapeshifter” (March 12th, 2013) were also released. The release of the 2nd volume of the “Guru” series follows shortly after (July 11th, 2013). Quiet for a couple of months, he teams up with independent label Hot Record Société, manned by frequent collaborator Art Vandelay, and releases and instrumental project Space Nobility (December 15, 2013) and continues to do cover art for releases through HRS.
In 2014, he released his 3rdrap project “Tin Wooki” (March 9th, 2014), which spans 28 tracks and is broken down into 5 different acts. He also released two instrumental EPs entitled “my girlfriend made me drop this” (July 8, 2014) and “Guru Volume 3” (August 18th, 2014) along with stray tracks like “Andromida” and “Fantastic”.
Born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri, Kareem Jackson has been honing his weaponry in the war for music supremacy. Through his unwavering integrity, genuine rhymes and expansive delivery, Kareem –better known as Tef Poe – is proving to the world that he is the commander-in-chief. Poe encompasses and continues to perfect the artistry and performance skills necessary to go the distance in today’s entertainment industry. Originally building a reputation as one of St. Louis’ elite battle rappers, Poe has risen through the ranks and positioned himself as a seasoned veteran. His solo projects have been well received by the public, critics, and media outlets alike. Poe has commanded large crowds opening for Lupe Fiasco, Talib Kweli, and Big Boi. His hits have successfully cut through the propaganda and reached the masses via radio play in multiple markets. Poe has been featured on major media outlets such as BET’s Freestyle Friday, TheSource.com, XXLMag.com, ThisIs50.com, The Smoking Section, RawRoots.com and several more. In addition, Poe has graced the pages of XXL’s The Break and The Source’s Unsigned Hype. Poe continues to lead his own offensive collaborating with diverse artists, performing throughout the country, writing for the Riverfront Times, & advocating for human rights as an official performer for Amnesty International. For Tef, there is no option other than complete and total victory. This mindset propels him beyond commander-in-chief… To the War Machine
“While meditative and surprisingly mellow, Cavern Of also exhibits the kind of urgency that comes with an artist’s primary statement, as if Cherry had found new meaning for Juan de Fuca.”
Juan de Fuca is Jack Cherry, Declan Farissee, Clark Brown, Jack Webster, and Howard Stewart. Originally the nom-de-plume of Cherry’s solo efforts, Juan de Fuca transformed from a bedroom project to a full 5-piece in the Fall of 2015, shortly after the October release of Cherry’s solo EP Cavern Of. As the title suggests, the EP dealt with the cavernous spaces that manifest both physically and mentally when persevering through tragedy. The EP shifts through deliberate moments of shoegaze and dream-pop to more ambient meditative soundscapes and returning to sparse acoustic work all in an effort to create the isolation of these caverns. Since moving forward from that body of work, Cherry assembled a live band and began playing shows. Initially playing mostly off of the EP, the band’s live sound evolved quickly – gaining energy and shifting sonically. Since most of Cherry’s compositions on Cavern Of were written on a four-string nylon acoustic guitar, the band worked tirelessly to incorporate loud feedback guitars and interesting rhythms without losing the core of each song. Their sonic palette quickly evolved into a dynamic portrayal of frustration, tragedy, perseverance, and conquering. While one sound begins to gain speed, another comes and out-competes it. As the band continued to write together, they prepared to go in the studio and they are currently in the process of finishing their debut LP.
A desert highway at sunset. Two Ferraris rip pavement side by side, when suddenly one side facing each begins to rise up slowly, like arms raising to touch fingertips. When wheels converge at the top of this new mobile pyramid, the two Ferraris blast forth twice as fast, together, now one unit moving faster and faster down the desert highway until they dislodge from Earth’s gravity altogether, racing frantically toward not just the sunset, but the sun.
Nest Egg has already made a name for themselves with their amazing fog-heavy, zoned and honed live show. Warping minds and winning fans with their heady, atmospheric take on progressive, ethereal vibed-out rock music. Psychedelic when the mood turns mellow, but driving when they hit the gas and float the cosmic flux. Really, when you get right down to it, Nest Egg are bringing on a sound that few have had the ability to channel and refine with this level of mastery.
On Respectable, Nest Egg put their talent upfront, weaving in and out of time and space, with a heavy control of their dynamic. While they wear their influences on their sleeves, that of Popul Vuh, Amon Duul, early Pink Floyd (“Set The GPS To The Heart Of The Sun”, anyone??), Neu, and the like; they’re passionate about presenting an extremely modern take on the endless motorik jam.
This is music for finding your way through the galaxy, with the intent of never coming back. Fervent energy flows through the instruments to divine output. For all of its movement, repetition, and delay, this is a sound that never loses focus, it never slides back, and it stays in the forefront for the duration demonstrating an immense level of talent at controlling the vibe.
Born out of the inability to stay still, Men’s Renewal is an exercise in motion, momentum and, of course, repetition. From the ground up, open-ended, ambient leaning but techno driven pieces are built with a gaining intensity through subtle percussive shifts and cascading sound walls ranging from ominous to auspicious, all inevitably plateauing at a height that is TBD.
Bunko Squad is a covert law enforcement division of Interpol that roots out evil con-artists while masquerading as a musical act.
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“A common complaint among those who follow new rock and pop is that there’s too much good music to take in. An intimate festival like Secret Stages confirms that’s so by emphasizing discovery rather than highlighting a dizzying cavalcade of established artists and newcomers rocketing toward the top. In a convivial atmosphere among eager, open-minded fans, Secret Stages illustrated that what’s bubbling beneath contemporary music’s densely populated surface is worthy of attention, too.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“Secret Stages finds a way to blend every slice of Birmingham life. And doesn’t hesitate to remind you that uplifting something new still manages to honor the past.”
“If you want to find the unheard sounds of young, Southern musicians, the best place to do it these days is Birmingham’s annual Secret Stages Festival.”
—The Bitter Southerner
“In this age of instant gratification, the concept of a music festival where the main goal is for patrons to discover new bands – rather than see bands they already know and love – is risky to say the least. Yet here we are, in the fifth year of Secret Stages, and it’s going as strong as ever.”
“Secret Stages is already a far, far better music festival than anyone dreamed it might be.”
—Black & White
“…one of the biggest bangs for your buck you’re likely to find anywhere.”
"This festival is one of my favorite regional events. Most of these bands have yet to break out of their respective local scenes…It’s a great chance to wander around and discover a bunch of new music."
“Secret Stages succeeded in having more depth in regional and national indie acts than the recent Soundland (aka Next Big Nashville) and had the out-of-the-box feel that SXSW had 15-20 years ago.”
“Secret Stages is a testament to the vitality of the music landscape.”
“…one of the most exciting new music festivals in the Southeast”
“Despite the lack of marquee headliners, that are used to draw large audiences and boost attendance, Secret Stages continues to be a breath of fresh air in its commitment to local artists and their promotion. This ethic has proven to be effective as more and more people each year choose to attend Secret Stages.”
—The Blue Indian (Macon)
“It would have been anybody’s guess that Birmingham would host the best Indie Festival in the Southeast.”
—The Nashville Bridge
“With so many new or little-known acts coming to town, Secret Stages is shaping up to be Birmingham’s best event of the summer for discovering new music.”
“…At so many shows and festivals, the artists play their set and then get out. Not so with Secret Stages. I shook hands and spoke with nearly every act I saw. There’s a personal element to Secret Stages that I really haven’t seen anywhere else.”