Rustic Justice Pioneers Sustainable Community-Based Independent Music
What is Rustic Justice?
Rustic Justice is the first model of a sustainable grassroots artist community and independent record label. Our mission is to provide a collaborative, creative environment to facilitate the development and production of art that challenges contemporary culture and promotes positive social change.
A New Way of Doing Business
Major record labels and production companies consistently take advantage of artists, using their financial power to restrict creative freedom and control the artists’ voice to serve the interests of the label. The result is cookie-cutter, empty music that reinforces apathy, political ignorance, social disengagement, and ultimately, dissolution of community.
Rustic Justice is pioneering a new model for independent music and the visual arts. We bring together a diverse group of socially conscious, community-oriented artists and producers and provide an open, collaborative environment for them to freely focus on their passions. In addition, we connect Rustic Justice artists with local promotion, and distribution partners to help artists expand their base and disseminate their message.
All profits earned from the sale of art are split with the artists. Like a not-for-profit, Rustic Justice reinvests all of its earnings back into the art community.
Rustic Justice provides the services required for artists to advance from the studio to center stage. We provide meeting space for practice and collaboration; studio time for recording and production; and album printing and publishing services, including advertising, promotion and distribution to local and untapped markets worldwide.
Artists will also be exposed to a unique network of artists and producers experienced in the industry with whom they will have the opportunity to work.
- Meeting space, practice, and studio sessions
- Production and distribution of art to both local and untapped markets
- Radio/Internet promotion and marketing
- Targeted Web-based Advertising
- Website design and hosting
- Show/Event/festival booking
- Event assistance
- Legal services
- The Hudson Disco-Tek (Albany, NY)
- The TR33HAUS (Pittsburgh, PA)
- Modern Eden Gallery (San Francisco, CA)
- Daily Bread PA (Pittsburgh, PA)
- Big Trouble Society (Vancouver, BC)
Rustic Justice was conceived under the roof of The Hudson Disco-Tek (founded in Albany, NY in 2011); a historic three-story brownstone residence, turned underground art gallery and recording studio in the thriving Albany community of Center Square.
Featuring avant-garde, thought-provoking artwork accompanied by the finest live hip-hop and electronic dance music in the NY Capital Region, The Disco-Tek rapidly earned a reputation as the place “where the magic happens.” In February of 2012, just one year after The Disco-Tek’s inception, the events began to draw crowds that could no longer be contained by the space and thus, Rustic Justice was born.
Dr. David Rabin, a physician and neuroscientist training in psychiatry in Pittsburgh, founded Rustic Justice as a social movement to unite people through art and music by bringing to the forefront key social issues that threaten to compromise our quality of life. The live-by-example type, Dr. Rabin maintains the core belief that people were meant to work together to better each other and that winning at the expense of any individual is unacceptable.
At the helm of Rustic Justice with the extraordinary executive producer Josh ‘MIRK’ Mirsky, Dr. Rabin has generated a creative environment that facilitates constructive competition and collaboration between artists who freely synergize their efforts to take their final product to the next level. It is Dr. Rabin’s hope that bringing artists and musicians together will help others to recognize the potential for collaboration and positive growth in their own day-to-day lives.
Elijah Foulks goes by the alias “Knowle’ge” when it comes to matters of lyricism and Hip-Hop. It is his firm belief that music is a form of communication. Like all forms of communication, spoken or unspoken, music contains a message for the audience to intake and interpret. The lyricism of Knowle’ge began in poetry and rap at the age of 7, but wasn’t consciously cultivated in a serious manner until 17. His greatest influences include his father (who was an MC himself), his cousin Elijah Fiddemon, (who goes by the stage/producer name “Stay Tune”), and his good friend David “Dangerous” Turner (MC and founder of the
Hip-Hop group “Death Before Dishonor”). These individuals are responsible for exposing Knowle’ge to Hip-Hop in all its forms; stimulating his development as a writer and performer, and showing him that a voice of truth would be taken seriously. Upon graduating from SUNY Potsdam, Knowle’ge made the choice to complete a master’s degree in English & Communications, resulting in a recess from recording music. Now that his education is complete, he has taken on two solo projects that will serve as his reintroduction into 518 Hip-Hop and set the stage for a life of music.
Most recently, Knowle’ge is featured in Josh MIRK’s latest hip-hop single “Suspicious” (Available Soon!), which was named a semifinalist out of 19,000 submissions in the International Songwriting Competition judged by Nasir Jones amongst many others.
When he first started writing raps in middle school, Billy Pilgrim wanted Ras Kass’s content and Black Thought’s delivery. Every Friday, he and his friends meet at Club Tone – a name they used in reference to his friend Tony’s basement. While some played video games, Pilgrim and others recorded music. Making their own tapes, they distributed their music by hand around the neighborhood.
Continuing to be influenced by the storytelling of rappers such as MF Doom and Aesop Rock, Pilgrim also found inspiration in the music of Tom Waits, Parliament Funkadelic, and Fela Kuti. He praises Waits’ versatility and range as an artist, and P-Funk’s ability to reach and uplift their audience, “they weren’t just making music, they were trying to change the way people think.”
In addition to performing and recording as a solo rapper, Pilgrim is the lead vocalist for rap-rock group Mega Def. “The band members of Mega Def, a local band that prides themselves on their powerful live performance, continue the tradition of quality people making quality music,” says CBS Pittsburgh.
Check out Billy Pilgrim on Facebook or Twitter and grab his debut hip-hop album, “Big Empty Things” on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, and everywhere else. You can also find more Billy Pilgrim in his videos (below) and online at S.U.I.T.S.
The Bay Area, California is home to many big-time artists, such as G-Eazy, E-40, Adrian Marcel, Green Day, and many more. LUVKUSH is the next in line. The duo consists of identical twin brothers Krish and Akash Chandani. Their goal is to be the first artists of Indian ethnicity to make it big in the R&B/Hip-Hop music scene.
Krish and Akash were born in San Jose, California in 1995; growing up in a busy household, with their parents working very hard, attempting to make it in the real estate business to support the twins and their education. The twins now attend the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY, the first and one of the most renowned engineering institutes in the world. They were initially recruited to play basketball in college, but instead decided to focus their efforts on their academics and their music. Coming from an academically oriented family, the twins always had a major focus on school, but their supportive parents involved them in many community and extracurricular activities. While the twins never had formal vocal training, they took as many music classes as they could find and became skilled at singing and playing a number of instruments very quickly, reaffirming their passion for music.
LUVKUSH has become an uncanny musical duo, incorporating their Indian melodic vibes with R&B and hip-hop songs, creating a very exotic sound. The twins are focused on making music that connects with the world and their audience. They bring something brand new into the music world: It comes along with a big new energy, a new feel, and a new sound – A luxury in relaxation. “When we sing, all we feel is passion and emotion and we want our audience to feel the same. We love synergizing musical energy to create something new to put out into the world that no one has experienced before. When people first hear our songs come on, we want them to know it’s us right away,” says LUVKUSH. “It’s all about that signature sound.”
At present time, there are no mainstream artists of Indian ethnicity in the American R&B or hip-hop scenes. LUVKUSH aims to be the first. Their debut EP is expected to be available in the Summer of 2016! Stay tuned to LUVKUSH on Soundcloud, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
“Emily Dorr reinterprets the printed image, constructing a new form that evolves from her intellectual data collection. Her need to know dictates the books lining of her personal shelves, the links that she types, and the notice she takes of her surroundings. Based on the theories of deconstruction, Emily’s installations pay homage to fertility, folklore, disrupted childhood, and to the subtle and outright violence that exists in all aspects of life.” –Albany Center Gallery
Check out Emily’s current exhibit at The Hudson Disco-Tek today!
MIRK; an edgy 7 piece alternative hip-hop powerhouse that seamlessly blends elements of Soul, R&B, Rap, Rock and Pop into a completely original, utterly unique hit making machine. Formed in Albany, NY in 2009 and led by frontman Josh “MIRK” Mirsky, MIRK has quickly established themselves as the MUST SEE live show in the region, starting with a sellout debut performance to mark the release of their album “LOVE”. Instantly recognizable hooks, 5 part vocal harmonies, world class sax and an unrelenting rhythm section have made their live show an explosive, dance heavy in-demand event. The Band has performed alongside notable artists such as J. Cole, Mr. Cheeks, Third Eye Blind, Fabolous, Red Café, French Montana, Badfish and more.
An already accomplished producer, Josh “MIRK” Mirsky has produced tracks for and worked with artists including Jay Z, Ciara, Yung Jeezy, Petey Pablo, Mickey Factz, Eamon and many more. In 2010 MIRK was recognized by Russell Simmons and given a celebrity blog on the site GLOBALGRIND.com. The SOURCE magazine said, “Mirk Music always comes correct – with soul, style, and bearing gifts…Mr. Cheeks! This team gets the “I’m focused man” award. The music, lyrics, and stage presence are equally sealed tight. If only Drake and Ryan Leslie could see this…they’d be jealous.”
MIRK’S upcoming sophomore release “GRIND” is further evidence of genre twisting excellence, and is completely self written/produced/recorded/mixed/mastered in house. Boasting 13 new songs and a wall of sound mix approach, MIRK has also worked with graphic designer Robert Simpson to create artwork inspired by the lyrics the female form for each individual track. A futuristic approach to marketing is taken with the introduction of the MIRKcard; a swivel USB flash drive in the shape of a credit card that contains mp3’s, videos, links and allows fans to access bonus materials at live shows via MIRK’s merch table, simply by uploading new content.
With the upcoming release of their sophomore album “GRIND”, MIRK has raised the bar yet again with an 8 video promotional campaign, including the single “Beautiful music” featuring Mr. Cheeks. A national tour is set to begin in March in NYC with the official release of “GRIND” taking MIRK to SXSW , the midwest and along the east coast. Stay tuned for their new album in 2014
Most recently, Josh Mirsky’s recent hip-hop single “Suspicious” featuring Mic Lanny & Knowle’ge was named a semifinalist out of 19,000 submissions in the International Songwriting Competition judged by Nasir Jones amongst many others.
Singer-songwriter Carl Daniels began his career at age 12, writing and playing with various bands in and around his hometown of Clifton Park, NY. In 2011, Daniels found himself without a group project and launched on a solo career, blending soulful guitar and powerful vocals with influences like The Shins, Radiohead, The Doors, The Beatles, and Fleet Foxes. Check out more Carl Daniels on Facebook, @crldnls on Twitter, and Bandcamp.
In his debut solo EP, “Carl Daniels & The Black Box”, Daniels takes his sound to new heights as he skillfully and masterfully balances indie folk rock and blues, delivering insightful lyrics about our common experience—the daily trials and challenges that bind us all together.
Carl Daniels & The Black Box Credits
1. The More (Featuring Laura Baboulis – Vocals)
2. Chasing A Ghost (Featuring Mike Thornton – Guitar)
3. Teeth (Featuring Kate Sgroi – Bass)
4. No King, No Crown (Featuring Mike Thornton – Guitar, JC Woods-Bass)
6. Drinks For Chinaski (Featuring Peter Hazen – Keys)
Artwork by Caitlin Fitzgerald Graphic layout by Alex Colaruotolo
Miss J [Jillian Canastraro] is a professional dancer, DJ, and producer originally from Buffalo, NY. She received her BA in dance instruction and business management from Point Park University in 2004. She has made live mixes for choreographed shows and has DJ’d hip hop, jazz, techno and modern movements for numerous dance, art and fashion shows.
In September 2004, DJ Miss J performed dance as the opening act of The Black Eyed Peas tour at Nemacolin Resort. She also performed at the Pittsburgh Hip Hop Awards. For over a decade, Jillian has been a premier DJ and dance instructor/choreographer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She teaches kids to remix and produce music and videos through the MGR Foundation grants. She has also held weekly club night residences and played for large-scale outdoor festival events. She serves as a music playlist programmer for successful business restaurants in Pittsburgh. She belongs to Perpetual Sounds, a DJ collaborative that hosts and plans all kinds of events showcasing the highest quality electronic music. Her Television credits include “Deal or no Deal”, “So You Think You Can Dance”, and she has been on commercials for MTV and BET.
Miss J loves all kinds of music! She has been on the 1’s and 2’s since high school in the mid 90s. She has traveled worldwide to experience music. Miss J attended WEMF, DEMF, Ultra, Winter Music Conference in Miami, NYC, Fabric in London, most Toronto clubs and clubs in Los Angeles and San Francisco. She enjoys mixing live house, techno, drum&bass, disco, hip-hop and everything else under the sun. Music and dance are her outlets for creativity and passion. Miss J mixes with her ears and her heart at the same time!
Producing Speaker Spanker: Where The Music Speaks and Drum&Bass is Miss J’s latest adventure. Speaker Spanker is one last chance at bringing back REAL MUSIC TV that begins by shedding a spotlight on the thriving and innovative underground music scene that is PGH. She broke through halloween remix of “The Munsters” theme featuring producer Steve Luxe, “Over You” (a remix of JPlus “I’m Over You”), a Busta Rhymes breakout remix, and many more. Stay tuned for original DNB and many more tunes of all different styles coming out soon! Catch DJ Miss J on Soundcloud (below), Beatport, Facebook, at her Dance Company, or better yet, spinning locally in Pittsburgh, PA!
25 years ago, 3PIDEMIK (Tien Bean) was born in Vietnam and, soon after, moved to New York with his parents. He began producing electronic music after hearing Dillon Francis live at a Skrillex show. Diplo has also been an essential influence for 3PIDEMIK, who attempts to blend diverse styles of music and sounds, often thought unblendable. Old school and new school join forces seemlessly in 3PIDEMIK’s tactile tunes with a strong emphasis on sound texture – frequently overlooked in the mainstream. 3PIDEMIK is currently focused on the production of moombah, electro, hip-hop, house, and dubstep. Keep a lookout for his debut single this summer!
Find 3PIDEMIK on Soundcloud today!
Convention was born in Pittsburgh, PA rather capriciously by the addition of two other MD/PhD students (Alex and Jeff), a linguistics professor (Dave), and a recent college grad (Skelly), who collectively, aside from a shared voracity for a musical outlet, were previously strangers to one another. Their music can be described as alternative modern jazz that instinctively engages the definition of jazz by blending new with old, jazz with non-jazz, and acoustic with electronic to create an original unique sound.
- Derailleur — 7:44
- Treat yo’self — 7:16
- Escape — 8:22
- Orchid accord — 3:30
- Vicissitude — 7:40
- Nude — 5:00
- A bridge too far — 10:33
Pulsar Li: piano, electric piano, organ
Alex Kikuchi1-5, 7: alto, tenor, soprano saxophones
Jeff Koenitzer5-7: alto saxophone
Chris Skelly: upright & electric bass
Ryan Socrates1-4, David Landes5-7: Drum set
Music composed by Pulsar Li1-5, Jeff Koenitzer7, and Radiohead6.
Recorded at the Vlahakis Recording Studio, Carnegie Mellon University School of Music, Pittsburgh, PA as a product of the Certificate Program in Advanced Music Studies in Audio Recording and Production, under the direction of Riccardo Schulz.
Produced by Pulsar Li
Edited by Eric Damashek
Mixed by Eric Damashek and Dan Bozek1-3
Mastered by Dan Bozek
CD design by Pulsar Li
Photo by Swati Shroff
Released Friday, April 17, 2015
© all rights reserved
JPlus (Jessie J. Andrews) taps into the heart and soul of hip-hop as a versatile MC, lyricist, and producer. His refreshingly silver-tongued creativity flows from a turbulent past, and serves as a call to change the social and economic inequity that saturates society.
Punchy, hard-hitting lyrics are common for MCs rising in the post-industrial ghetto, but JPlus takes the technique to the next level. Once, on a hot streak, Ms. Cleo the psychic humbly retired after failing to guess J’s delivery rhythm in the 3rd verse of “Crisis,” the ninth track on “L.Y.R.I.C.S.” JPlus perfects this technique, taking listeners on a journey of uncompromising personal and societal reflection in his latest album, “Tripolar.” (3 singles featured on “The JPlus EP”)
A paragon of clashing brilliance with a crumbling society, “Tripolar” explores the three personas J has created to survive. ‘Jessie’ is a hopeful, intelligent young man who wants to have the same opportunity to succeed, regardless of color, creed or culture. ‘JPlus’ is entrepreneurial and confident—the “Urban King”—whose street-smarts allow him to escape the toils of the ghetto. ‘Muzzle Off’ is the third, the darkest, the most ruthless, the metabolite of societal churning: he is a hateful monster who stews in blame—blame towards a world that stole his humanity and forced a personal choice between poverty or violent crime.
But can you blame him? Growing up poor, Jessie had to visit homeless shelters, watch his mother get beat, and try to make sense of his father’s abusive tendencies and repeated incarcerations. Jessie started using music to break free, because death, both figurative and literal, was the only alternative. At the young age of 8, J began his grueling upward climb, memorizing Eminem verses and spitting rhymes with his childhood friend Sin-City.
In high school, the rhyming progressed to freestyling and J was now writing his own verses daily. Soon, he realized that rap music was more important than the hypocrisies preached in school and college, and he dropped out. JPlus then started to gain local buzz, began dominating MC battles in upstate New York, and has since been developing his own vision for the future of hip-hop.
At 27, JPlus has released eight albums, many self-produced. Starting with “Wasted Talent,” spoken from the depths of poverty, each album captures a snapshot of J’s life, and features a different style. “Force of Habit” expresses his distaste for the new ‘dance hip-hop,’ a genre which dilutes the pain of the ghetto. In “New Time Sake,” JPlus balances old hip-hop styles with new commercial attributes, releasing a music video for “Never Gonna’ Stop.” J returns to witty, cerebral linguistics in “L.Y.R.I.C.S.,” no doubt earning himself a future honorary doctorate in English Composition. With a good set of ears, you’ll have no problem groovin’ to every track’s unique instrumentals, whether based in jazz, hardcore, R&B, or rock.
Bradley Platz is an oil painter and co-owner & curator at Modern Eden Gallery located in San Francisco, CA.
“There is a stillness and a heaviness that I enjoy in classical works and it is with homage to this, and with respect, that I let the past inform the modern. My work is influenced by the progression of time and the intricate language of symbols both personal and universal. To me, paintings are reliquaries for ideas and history is always involved.” -Bradley Platz
Few contemporaries can compare to the eerily exciting occult oil and sculpture skillz of Jessica Jenkins. Shedding intricate anatomical insights rivaling the likes of Grant and Netter put together, Jenkins reflects the borders of beauty for all to see.
“While my work may span a variety of media and imagery, at the root of each piece is a fascination with creating harmony and unity through the discord of unexpected pairings. With this in mind, each tongue that emerges from the anatomy of human and animal bones, and each figure that blends flesh to fictitious monster is part of a process that seeks to make sense of the world and its endless surprises and inconsistencies, while simultaneously examining the many conflicts within me.” – Jessica Jenkins
Duncan Beatz is a DJ and graffiti artist residing in West Palm Beach, FL. When he’s not spinnin the hardest breaks for his dancin fans, you can find The Beatz Artist designing his own stencils and spraying live art at shows and festivals around the country. Beatz work has become a more common sight around the New York Capital Region since his first show in 2011.
Come check out his new work at The Hudson Disco-Tek today!