Originally from Chicago, the bluesman’s musical career began when he happened on Denver’s Folklore Center, shortly after moving to the area. Otis Taylor Band performs at Telluride Blues & Brews on Sept. Otis Taylor
Otis Taylor is something of an unknown legend in Colorado. Photos by Evan Semon, heyreverb.com. Catch him at Ophelia’s Art & Soul series, which pairs musicians with live visual artists, on Dec. Taylor will play four shows in two nights — Dec. If you do, mind where you put your jacket.
Peanut Butter Wolf and Otis Taylor are our picks for the best shows around Denver this week. 14, 2013. Peanut Butter Wolf
The warm gurgle of a needle drop, the snap of the breakbeat, dapper fedoras — these are a few of Peanut Butter Wolf’s favorite things. He’s credited with pioneering “trance blues,” a meditatively repetitious style of the genre that borders on drone, and has spawned its own festival in Boulder. Tickets are $22-$25 and are available via dazzlejazz.ticketfly.com. 29. 28 and 29 — at Dazzle Jazz. Tickets: $15-$30 via opheliasdenver.com. He’s since founded Stones Throw Records, which serves as a home for other artists like Mayer Hawthorne, Dam-Funk and Madvillain who, as he does, sound like they’ve come unstuck in time. See you there, and if you don’t make it out, follow our music musings on Twitter and our selfies on Instagram. Real name Chris Manak, the DJ has been spinning records for nearly three decades, specializing in a hip-hop, funk and soul mix that’s mostly frozen in each of the genre’s respective golden ages.
Pretty Lights has gone quiet. A: I’m really excited about what I’m working on. I’m like 6″ 9′, so I kind of stand out. The artist shares the first details of his new album in a rare interview. It already had my “P.L.” initials everywhere. When I was booking that tour, I wanted to call it “The Weekend’s Episodic Festivals.” I didn’t know why I wanted to call it that, but it’s all going together. A: I don’t even converse with the media anymore. Kids don’t have to look to the magazines or charts to find music. I was in my head about communicating with people. Photo by Dylan Langille, Special to the Denver Post. (The internet) leveled the playing field. A: My family is out in Colorado, so I’ve been patiently shopping around, waiting for the right property to come up so I can get a place there again. Pretty Lights, AKA Derek Vincent Smith, performing at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on August 7, 2015. People are really respectful. It will be an episodic thing that makes a full piece. Read the extended cut of our conversation with the producer below. Every song has an episode. They were asking me to headline. Despite his steady stream of live performances, it’s been more than three years since the prolific Colorado-bred electronic music composer released “Color Map of the Sun,” his last album — or, aside from one single to promote his second annual mini-festival in Telluride’s Town Park this summer, any new studio music at all. At that point in my life I felt … you know, I was a little intimidated by the fame. I feel pretty famous every time I come to Denver. It’s pretty (cool). A: I had a good experience working on “Color Map of the Sun” in New Orleans and put the feelers out and found a dude in New Orleans who was renovating old houses in the Garden District. Q: You moved from Colorado to New Orleans a couple of years ago. I do get recognized, but I like it. Telluride has been great — the fact that Tesla has a power station at the top of the valley around there speaks massively to its energy — but every year, they’re like, “This might be the last one!”
Q: In ten years, you’ve gone from playing Mugs Coffee in Fort Collins to regularly selling out massive, 10,000-person venues like Red Rocks. I’m sure the media has some influence, but it seems like there’s so much more of an organic, cross-pollination of tastes online. I want to get a piece of land. Q: Do you think you’d ever move back to the area? But with a massive social media following — more than 850,000 on Facebook — Pretty Lights (born Derek Vincent Smith) doesn’t need traditional media anymore. Q: You’ve haven’t made many appearances in the media this year. I’m really psyched about that Vertex location. I looked at Caribou Ranch, and came close to getting Phantom Lake Ranch in Red Feather Lakes. A: I hadn’t heard that. He’s been just as scarce in print. It’s not just a music record — I’m actually making a film with it, as well. What do you have in store for 2017? I wanted to do a festival out there, too, but water irrigation issues ended that. That’s a bummer. Now, I love to come back to Denver. Pretty Lights spoke at length about why he’s shied away from traditional media and shared the first details about his new album, which is set to come out in early 2017 — potentially, he mentioned, on April 20. Q: What will that look like? It connects to my episodic music festival. What led to that decision? He was from Colorado, and had a place he thought would be perfect. Before I moved, I would go up to a Starbucks and look in the windows and be like, “There’s nobody in there with fitted hats or hemp necklaces on, so I’m good to go.” But then older people and guys in suits started recognizing me. That’s trickled over to not just people making music, but people who love to listen to it. Every festival, we’d have a film shoot that became the building blocks of these episodic film pieces. It’s slated for an early 2017 release. I don’t know if you heard, but they pulled out of their planned second year after complaints from town residents. I’ve got an album that’s almost ready. I said I wanted to play at that place, but I didn’t want it to be at Vertex — I wanted to have my own festival there. A: I’m trying to make a film and a record that’s really about the connection of people — the amazing things that happen between people on the same frequency. On the cusp of a big year, Smith made a rare exception, agreeing to a phone interview as a part of a feature we’re running next week on Denver’s electronic music scene. Is there a reason for that? Q: Speaking of festivals, what do you think of Buena Vista’s Vertex music festival?