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Worldtown Turns 5 Recap

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What a smashing evening at The Fillmore Foundary Room! Such a colorful crowd, buzzing energy, and sweaty dance floor. Check out some photos by Philly's 'Shots Fired' capturing the performances by The Worldtown SoundSystem, Ben Arsenal & Oluwafemi and special guest BIg Jawn. 


WXPN was excited to talk to us prior to the event- read full article about what we've been up to!

Worldtown Soundsystem on its first five years of bringing international music to the Philly party scene

It's the Worldtown SoundSystem!

It's the Worldtown SoundSystem!

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Behind the Scenes with Zeek

Testify with Zeke

Hot on the heels of the hit single Testify, we managed to snag the ever-busy vocalist Zeek for some reflection on his work, and the next big thing on his horizon...

 

 

How long have you been singing?

Z: I’ve been singing since the age of 5, started in church.

 

Philly native? If not, where are you from?

I’m not a Philly native, but I do feel a strong sense of pride and connection to this great city, for sure! I moved to Philadelphia from Arkansas, and I moved to Arkansas from Illinois. I’m originally from Illinois. (Music has taken me a lot of places)…

 

Put a playlist on shuffle. ...yes, right now. What are the first five songs?

Okay, I’m putting it on now… I’ll do you one better, (because I have so many playlist), I’ll press shuffle on five different playlist and the first song that shows up, on each playlist, I’ll list it. I had to take all of the music off my phone (outside of my original music) because it took up too much space…legendary iPhone issues… I still love apple. Lol… so I use TIDAL for everything else.

Ok, so the songs are (wow, quite random)…

a. Avicii- Waiting For Love

b. Sia- Bird Set Free

c. Jeff Buckley- Forget Her

d. Rihanna- Desperado

e. Zeek (Myself) - Bleu (which is a record I recently finished). It has somewhat of a Rock feel mixed a slight sense of mystery. If that description makes any sense. lol… I’m pretty excited about it!

 

What lead you to download these five in particular in the first place?

So the Avicii record is part of my workout playlist. (I like to work out to EDM & Afrobeat music). The Sia record was a part of my lyrical playlist, which is a list I formulated to study specific writers who I admired. Let’s see Jeff Buckley is in a “Favs” playlist, I’ve always been a huge fan of his work! (We actually share the same birthday Nov 17th!) The Rihanna is on a “COVERS” playlist, which is pretty self-explanatory, these are typically songs that I want to cover one day. Lastly, Zeek is me, I sometimes binge listen to my record with extra scrutiny. Mainly to see if the record feels that same as it did when the original idea/song was conceptualized.

 

Who would you consider an influence vocally? Lyrically?

This one is a no brainer, but I have different, maybe multiple in these two categories. Vocally, I’d have to say one of my biggest influence, as well as my favorite artist of all times is Ella Fitzgerald. She was referred to as “a walking orchestra”, along with other monumental terms of expression. So when it comes to creativity, style, and control she wins hands down. I would also have to say Brandy, the R&B singer (Brandy Norwood.) I started studying her a while ago because of her vocal technique, mainly her tone. Of which I think is still (to this day) impeccable! She’s also someone that has exceptional control, some refer to her as “The Vocal Bible”. Lastly I’d have to say Jeff Buckley because his phrasing (especially on record/wax) is PERFECT, I think his range and vocal approach to every song he sung was delivered spot on, which helped capture the feel of the song. Love it! When it comes to lyrics, I’d say Jeff Buckley is in that category as well, just listen to him, you’ll hear it! Also a more current person, whom I’ve mentioned prior to now, Sia. Speaking of her, she’s written so many major hits, it’s simply NOT FAIR! The only way you haven’t heard at least one of her songs is due to you not being from Earth! Lol.

 

What are a few projects you have going on presently? What can we look forward to in the future with your collaboration with WTSS?

Let’s see, I have a number of things I’m doing, I like to keep busy! Of course I have Worldtown Sound System that I’m a vocalist in, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this band, we’re gearing up to release quite a bit of music. I’m most excited about that for a number of reasons, but the top three reason, in no specific order would be because I’ve written a number of the records we will be performing, and its always an honor, and humbling experience to hear someone else sing your songs, and feel how you felt when you wrote them. Another reason would be because we get to perform the new songs on stage, and I know a number of people have been waiting to hear the songs. My final reason ties into the previous one referencing performing. Every time we’re on stage it never seems like a performance, but more of a organized party!! The camaraderie on and off the stage is symbolic to a family… hell… WE ARE FAMILY!!! I also have my solo project/album that I’m working on, there’s not tentative date for release, but it’s going really well too, SUPER STOKED to share it once it’s finished!! I had the opportunity to go to London three times last year, and a number of places in the US. Outside of those two things, I just finished up a record for an anime/sci-fi book which was really fun to do, I’m also featured on a few other albums of artist I know that’ll be released this year. Busy work, but I love what I do! When it comes to future collaborations with Worldtown, I think it’s safe to say you can look forward to amazing songs, and performances that will blow your mind… But don’t let me convince you….I DARE YOU to come to a show… ;-)

 

You just won an all expense paid round trip to wherever you want in the world. Which CDs - yes, CDs - are you bringing with you? You only have enough room in your one bag for three of them. Mind you - these albums (no mix tapes) - will be your only personal soundtrack. Where are you going, what's coming with you, and why?

Hmmm… This one is tough.. Let’s see, so I’m going to take (again) Jeff Buckley’s “Grace” album. The emotional ride that album gives you, from beginning to end, is timeless! Another album is Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” because it’s so applicable to today’s times, as well as back then, the arrangements just feel good! Lastly I’d take Zepplin’s Greatest Hits album. I love classic rock, and every once and a while you have to “let the led out” lol. I realize that may be cheating (bringing a greatest hits album), but it’s what I’d bring. Lol. Now in reference to where I’d go…. I’d like to go to either Tokyo, Paris, or somewhere in Africa. Any would suffice, I love seeing and learning about other cultures outside of my own… I guess that’s just another reason I LOVE being a part of Worldtown!

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Worldtown 2015 Recap

WTSS @ WXPNs 'The Key' sessions  read more here

WTSS @ WXPNs 'The Key' sessions  read more here

 

So far, this year has been spectacular for WTSS! The multi-national celebration of music and art continues to inspire peace, love and fun, everywhere for everyone.  The past 6 months in particular enabled us to achieve a great deal of goals, while maintaining our presence within the live music community of Philadelphia.

APRIL: Our dynamic 4th Anniversary jumped off on the 18th at Coda in Rittenhouse Square. It was a pulsing celebration of our journey, culminating in some of the hottest pictures we’ve had the fortune of capturing thus far. 400 people turned out when we turned 4, easily one of our largest crowds to date. There’s something about the classy ambience of the Rittenhouse area that enhances the grandeur of this party. Established is the first word that comes to mind…

MAY: Things started popping early in the month at our live performance at Milkboy in East Midtown marking the first official recording of WTSS material. As always, the crowd surged with energy, bringing an awesome spirit to the immensely successful recording of our new single ‘Testify’.

The momentum continued as we took over South Street on the 14th at Food Trust’s ever-popular Night Market. Street festivals and South St go hand-in-hand in the eyes of any red-blooded Philadelphian, and this throbbing Night Market(Party) proved it. Ain’t no party like a South St party cuz a South St party don’t stop!

JULY: After taking a month to prep, WTSS took on the East Coast, rocking crowds at the PEX Festival in Maryland, Manifestivus in Vermont, and Liberation Music and Arts Festival in White Hall, PA.

SEPTEMBER: Soaking up what was left of the warm weather on the 17th, we performed under the stars at Stratus Lounge in Old City. The dazzling view of Independence Mall was the perfect backdrop for our international sound, bringing the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness to a whole other level.

Later on, we had the honor and privilege to record our session of The Key on WXPN. By bringing the best of local talent to the airwaves, The Key enables Philadelphians to find new music amidst the scores of talent this city has to offer. We’re looking forward to dropping the single of Testify on November 3rd alongside this session.

Worldtown Sound System at WXPN 'The Key' Sessions

OCTOBER: Early this month we kicked off the 11th annual Design Philadelphia celebration, in the Pearl St. Passage in North Chinatown. As the weekend rolled on, the festival witnessed the many aspects of WTSS as we provided the soundtrack to this event, including live DJ sets by producer Ben Arsenal and the Worldtown Mobile Funk Unit.

Directly afterwards, we rocked the nation’s capital at the Taste of DC festival, exposing a whole new crowd spanning a myriad cultures and generations to the groove of WTSS while sampling the culinary genius of the area.

While the end of 2015 is nigh, our dance card is still full. We invite you to stay tuned as more develops.

 

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Hanging Out with Worldtown Sound System

Listening in on Worldtown Sound System’s rehearsals is something else. It’s confounding that eight distinct musicians could set their ego aside and collaborate in a way that blends each of their individual sounds beautifully─ but it’s what Worldtown Sound System does. It takes effort, practice, and no small amount of compromise, but eventually each player and each sound seem to fit together like a puzzle piece.

It was no surprise then that when I spoke to some of the bandmates about how Worldtown Sound System came together, their responses were a dreamy, “It just happened.”

Jonifin Marvin (Vocals)

“Worldtown Sound System is the epitome of artistry. You never know where a project will go with so many like-minded talents focusing their energies on a common goal.”

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“Ben didn't really ask me to be in the band… He asked me to come and rehearse a song that he and I recorded and during that rehearsal, he told me to add something to the other songs that were in our Halloween Party set. After the Halloween show, we were like, 'Yeah... this works... let’s stick to it.'”

“I think my years of experience as a performing artist allow me to be able to work with the others in the band cohesively and constructively. My range goes from sounding like an emcee with the call and response, to singing on the tracks, to providing harmony with our awesome bass player Jay.”

Jay Powerz (Bass)

“We are just babies, but we are like babies on steroids about to take down the giants.”

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“Ben and Femi didn't really approach me directly to join Worldtown Sound System. Ben was coming to Music Church at the Boom Room and through our interactions there we became friends. Ben expressed that he had been collaborating with musicians and would like to work with a live bassist. I explained to him that I had a vision which could work well with the Worldtown Sound System project, so I encouraged him to get together with me and drummer Gary Dann. He was actually resistant to the idea but I pushed because I knew it could work.”

“My bass style brings the funk, dance, disco, rumble to the mix of Worldtown Sound System. I’m still working on developing my sound for Worldtown and there is much more to come. I also bring creative vocals and vocal harmony to the mix. I’ve been working to make sure the songs have hooks and vocal melodies that people can grab on to, not just straight electro beats.”

Ben Arsenal (Producer/Percussion)

“WTSS breathes new life into dance music.”

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“The concept of Worldtown is a natural magnet for people from different places, who have traveled, and who have interest in global culture. I think my bringing the dance music background in production and DJing has definitely fueled the vision of Worldtown Sound System. Based on my reputation doing both, the folks in the band have given me the green light to push the group forward as a dance band.”

“We are looking to wrap up a few singles this summer, solidify and extended festival set and play a few festivals we've been invited to. Next summer we hope to have more traveling opportunities and set up some gigs in NYC and DC.”

Learn about the rest of the band, DJ Oluwafemi, Mateo on piano, Gary on drums, Basskitty on sax, and DJ Paul2Paul, here.

Worldtown Sound System's newly released EP, "We People" can be streamed on SoundCloud.

 

(Photos and GIFs by Clarissa)

Artist Profile: Adrian Hardy

DJ and jet-setter Adrian Hardy spent some time talking to us at Elevate Sound Studios (where he is in the middle of collaborating with our own Ben Arsenal) about his work, favorite experiences, and what he enjoys about working with Worldtown. (Fun fact: I'm standing on about six inches of wood to look like a normal-sized person next to Adrian. Hashtag Shorty.)

Catch what will surely be a fantastic set from Adrian Hardy this Friday at our 3-Year Anniversary party!

Artist Profile: Mr. Manic

Our good friend Mr. Manic was kind enough to tell us his early influences, what he digs about the European music scene, and why he likes experimenting with global sounds.

The psychedelic Mr. Manic is a part of our incredible line-up of DJs performing this Friday at our 3-Year Anniversary party.

Artist Profile: Paul2Paul

Worldtown spoke with Russian DJ Paul2Paul, the newest member of the Worldtown team, about his process while working and the unique collaborations he wants to do during his time in the U.S.

Hear Paul2Paul play live at Worldtown's 3-Year Anniversary party!

Worldtown Sound System at Rehearsal

As Worldtown looks forward to its 3-year anniversary celebration, we look back at some of the company’s best moments with Ben and Oluwafemi, the two friends and DJs who together founded Worldtown.

Oluwafemi     Ben Arsenal

What were the highlights of Worldtown’s third year?

BEN: Definitely the Halloween party.

OLUWAFEMI: The Halloween party was the most effort we ever put into a party. It was five months of work. It was the first time we had some solid investors and really big partners. Essentially, it was a big ass production.

We also incorporated and became an LLC! It took us two years and afterwards we were finally able to release music as an entity.

Jonifin     Mateo

BEN: Worldtown Sound System coming together was also huge…

How does Worldtown Sound System, Worldtown’s 8-piece live band, fit in?

OLUWAFEMI: Worldtown Sound System coming together was a game changer. Worldtown morphed into something new. The party was the seed, then it grew into a movement. Now we have Worldtown Sound System, which is a band of artists with the same outlook on music. It’s new, fresh, and bangin’.

Jay     Gary

BEN: We’re kicking up the music factor and pushing barriers. We’re separating ourselves from the crowd. Who else has the resources, motivation, and mind-set to do what we’re doing?

What can we expect at the 3-year anniversary party?

OLUWAFEMI: We’re launching our record label, Worldtown Productions! We’ll also have a superbly sounding Worldtown Sound System, a line-up of polished acts, new merchandise, and new designs.

Worldtown Turns 3

BEN: We’re coming out with a more refined presentation. We want to offer everyone a glimpse into the direction we’re headed.

(Photos and GIFs by Clarissa)

Glad to Meet You

Intern Clarissa My name’s Clarissa and I’m one of Worldtown's new interns!

In the short time that I’ve been working with Worldtown, it's undoubtedly been a thrilling time in the company’s career. They produced a music video, secured a partnership with the YMCA, threw a wonderful Valentine’s Day party, remixed one of my favorite songs, will open for a major Samba act in Philly, and will celebrate their 3rd birthday in the coming weeks.

As blogger, Instagrammer, Facebooker, photographer, and Tweeter, I want to bring everyone to the attention of Worldtown through words and images that are hopefully true to the company's vibe. Worldtown brings cultural inclusivity into their music and lets the listener travel the world through sound. It’s an experience I want everyone to enjoy.

I hope you’ll all join me as I discover more of Worldtown’s sound and watch their talent unfold!

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Worldtown Sound System Live at the Boom Room

Finally, we can give you all a virtual taste of what it’s like to party with Worldtown. On January 18th, Worldtown Sound System played for a fantastic crowd at the Boom Room. The energy was dynamic and the night intoxicating.

Jonifin Marvin, lead vocalist of Worldtown Sound System, talks us through the night and the making of the video:

What’s it been like editing the music video for Worldtown? It’s been fun because I was there that night and I’m always taken back to how I felt. The moments being featured are high-energy moments: the crowd is smiling, they’re dancing with one another… it’s genuine and it’s attractive. I keep rewinding and seeing how people were enjoying themselves. Just being at the party itself, I was high on that for a week! To see it and relive it makes me look forward to all of our other events that we have coming up.

jon

What does Worldtown Sound System bring to the stage? What’s dope about Worldtown Sound System is that we’re not artists that stick to one particular thing—we like to create and cross several different genres. We all have experience with different skills and we bring that together.

What can we expect from Worldtown Sound System in the future? Moving forward, we’re going to see more elements being added to the show to where it’s not just a musical experience but a visual and interactive one too. When people come to our shows, we want them to be a part of the high energy we're giving off because we want to keep it high energy.

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The Making of the Royals Remix

A conversation with DJ and Worldtown Co-founder Ben ArsenalMaking of Royals Why "Royals"? My good friend Isaac Jordan came through my studio to check out acapellas. He suggested I check out this song by a singer named Lorde and it went from there. What inspired the mix? I wanted to make something funky and groovy— that hit hard as a late night beat. What influences are we hearing? Sexy, deep house meets the Worldtown sound, which is always a mix of global, funky rhythms.

 

Groove to Ben's remix of Royals below: [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/133738119" params="color=00cc11&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

(Photos by Clarissa)

Bloodstains, ball gowns

Ben Arsenal's remix of Lorde's "Royals" At Worldtown, we’re working hard to make 2014 our strongest, most quality year yet. Our team has put in blood, sweat, and tears in order to produce and be a part of projects dear to our hearts. But, as things go in music, we’re working hard so that we can play harder. We’ve got so much in store for you all that we cannot wait to reveal...

Coming your way:

Our own Ben Arsenal’s remix of Lorde’s “Royals”
Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone” Valentine’s Day party at Jonifin Marvin Media
And the biggest and baddest of them all – Worldtown turns 3

Stay tuned on us, 2014 is our year!

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Race Street Pier

Worldtown at Race Street Pier!Worldtown Sound System is all set to introduce its debut "mixshake" with an exciting perfomance on Thursday July 18th! The venue? None other than the brand spankingly new and beautiful Race Street Pier right on the Delaware river. Worldtown will be headlining a line-up carefully curated to showcase electronic music in Philly. The mixshake will feature original tracks and edits from Worldtown Productions as well as awesome dance music from around the world.

The event goes from 6pm till 9pm, it's all ages and best of all, free.

See you there!

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City Tap House

City Tap House ©Nicholas B. MilesWe had a great time over at City Tap House despite the well received sun showers. The highly enthused crowd provided the sunshine while Lil Dave and the WorldTown DJ's reminded us that summer is right around the corner. Be sure to keep in touch as we keep you updated on our next "Summer Session". Thanks for your consistent support and we look forward to seeing you all next time!

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(Photos by Nick B. Miles)

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Worldtown Presents: Summer Sessions

wt city tap flyer1Join us this Saturday, May 18th from 2pm to 7pm at City Tap House as we begin the first of many "Summer Sessions" to come! Our good friend Lil Dave of Illvibe Collective will be spinning alongside the WorldTown DJs Ben Arsenal and Mr. Femstar. City Tap House has provided a various selection of specials for you to choose from as you pat your feet and wave those hands while getting down to the global sounds that we're known for. So come one, come all and start the season off with good friends, great vibes and ill tunes.. oh and a few photos shot by your's truly. We look forward to seeing you all there and be sure to check out some of Lil Dave's music below...see ya soon!

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/users/58696" params="" width=" 100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]

(Post by Nick B. Miles)

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The Blockley

© Nicholas B. MilesThis past Wednesday, Worldtown was very fortunate and honored to join forces for the second time with Balk Beat Box. We were also introduced to the sounds of Delhi to Dublin. We hope you all had a great time and we look forward to seeing you at our two year event taking place Saturday March 30th. While you're marking your calendar, take a look at a few of the photos and relive the good times!

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(Photos by Nick B. Miles)

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Elevate Sound Studio Launch Party

The New Philadelphia, REVEAL, West Philadelphia Orchestra, Da Chu, and Worldtown, in a stroke of genius, have decided to synergize (not a real word, we know) and collaborate to bring Philadelphia great party stacked with visual artists, producers, and performers from all over the city. Taking place at The Underground Arts building, we are celebrating the launch of World Town's Elevate Sound Studio by bringing in a complete audio system, stunning visual art, a full bar, and sounds that will make you forget what time it is. Get lifted.

And we're featuring an outrageous amount of eclectic of music born and breaded in Philadelphia:

DJ SEGA [soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/users/883463" iframe="true" /]

Ben Arsenal/Femstar [soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/users/3054900" iframe="true" /]

Jack Deezl [soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/users/2526066" iframe="true" /]

West Philadelphia Orchestra [soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/users/11802919" iframe="true" /]

Red Richards [soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/users/1096790" iframe="true" /]

Sophic [soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/users/2169921" iframe="true" /]

Galvanize [soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/users/14246919" iframe="true" /]

ECODE [soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/users/4206582" iframe="true" /]

October 5th | 10pm-4 am Tickets are $10 in advance (more at the door)

Come celebrate Elevate Sound Studio launch party!

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WorldFuzion Wednezdayz

WorldFuzion Wednezdayz at Time from Worldtown Party on Vimeo.

Come join us every Wednesday at Time Restaurant Whiskey Bar located on 1315 Sansom St. From 8pm until 2am, Ben Arsenal and Femstar orchestrate a musical sound that will leave you in awe. They will perform alongside a list of well known musicians, performers and key figures in the city that continuously grace us with their talent.

We look forward to seeing you!

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Get Lucid! Dream Activist PA Coalition

We had an awesome time at Get Lucid! The Activist Dance Party Fundraiser. The glowing atmosphere, the spoken word by poet Slangston Hughes, and voluminous sounds of DJ OffBeet, DJ DeadKat, DJ Marvin and our resident Ben Arsenal had the place in an uproar in support of the cause. If you were lucky, you also caught the live performances by Danza Azteca and Galvanize. Thanks to all of our staff for fueling the party with their colossal energy, and all of our new party folk! All proceeds from the event went to the Dream Activist PA. Continue to support the cause!

Stay Tuned...

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