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The Flying Skulls: a crunked-out Bio
Check your radar good citizens, that blip you see fast approaching is none other than The Flying Skulls, a nu-school production team that plays live improvisational dub-step, breaks, and electro! The group brings the future-soundz of the modern dance music studio and interpolates them through the filter of live improv. With an old school jazz ethos The Skulls combine their tightly-honed electronic and hiphop infused sonic orchestra in a most dirty and crunked-out way.
The Flying Skulls first started melting dance floors in April 2008. Originally the brainchild of Lowpro Lounge co-founder Jeff Wareham (J.Tonal) as a way to bring the precision of the recording studio to the dance floor. J.Tonal had been creating music and throwing events in the SF Bay Area for over 9 years, sharing billing with musicians such as DJ Shadow, DJ Krush, Shpongle, Ott, Jack Dangers from Meat Beat Manifesto, and UFO! Growing up in the foothills of Northern California, J.Tonal was forced at an early age to go in search of a different sound. After moving to LA and immersing himself in the Hip Hop and Electronic music scenes, he started producing in a style that crossed between those two genres. In 1999 he moved to SF and met up with James Christopher, founding the Lowpro Lounge, throwing over 200 events all over the world, and starting the innovative record label Lowpro Lounge Recordings. “The Skulls live is all crusher material. You’ve got a totally improv beat over here, and a live bass line over here, and I’m in the middle dropping a lead, and grabbing pieces of the other performances and cutting them up… really giving the listener an experience.”
Another longtime Skulls collaborator is San Francisco’s quadruple-threat DJ, Producer, MC, and visual artist Citizen Ten (aka The Zap Tap aka Justin Smith). This diabolical scratch-wizard came-up in Southern California, and has been making music and rocking out with other Southland beat junkies like Flying Lotus, The Gaslamp Killer, Samiam, as well as DJing behind Abstract Rude and sharing billing with DJ Logic, The Glitch Mob, and N.E.R.D. Citizen Ten is a well known taste-maker in SF, co-founding the longtime oasis for west coast bass music: Change the Beat with local legend DJ Centipede (aka Mophono), and scratching on remixes for STS9 and Lotus. The man’s record collection is dark and mysterious and it’s hard to find someone better at complicated melody and rhythm scratching. His fader-gymnastics lends the butter of analog-love to the Skulls sonic weaponry.
Straight dope on these Flying Skulls guys? They’re dirty. Dirty beats, dirty grimy low-end, mucked up distorted synthesizers, live syncopated beats flipping between 4/4, 3/4, and 7/8 time. The Skulls distill these elements through their battle-tested mix interface into dancefloor-rending sets of huge beats with a cinematic depth meant for the very largest of soundsystems. Chromekids recently described their sound as, “A heavyweight collection of nasty synths, wobbly basslines and crunked out glitchy beats so dirty you’d swear they robbed their MPC players off a crack dealer.”
“Funky, and delectably old-school, the bouncy opener sets the stage for an album which runs the gamut from rip-roaring bass blasts to sharply dressed downtempo that lets well-place wobbles ripple out into space.” -The Untz
“The … goggle-sporting performers unleashed a sinful set of seamless grooves that rattled windows and wiggled asses from one end of the club to the other. Pure bass-wasted fun” –The Santa Cruz Metro Times
“Melodiously mesmerizing and explosive beats… innovative arsenal of dynamic drums and live precision.” -Chris Clark
“The Kings of improvisational beat-bashing…” – ChromeKids
“Your music makes me feel like I was slathered up in baby oil and trying to ride a greased pony. It’s dirty, and I know funk because I’m from the South.” -Erin from Mississippi