Episode 86 – BAG$


Height Zone World 86. My guests this week are BAG$, aka Jimmy Simard and Pete Rae. They’re a hip-hop duo from Kingston, Ontario. We first met when we all played a show together in their hometown in 2004. We’ve shared many bills over the years, and Pete has made several beats for my group Shark Tank.

They describe discovering hip-hop in 1980’s rural Canada, and unveiling their early projects in Kingston in the 90’s. They break down their initial forays into beatmaking via pause tapes and belt-driven turntables, and how Jimmy formed The Makeshift Beat Collective to highlight this oft-kilter aesthetic. We discuss their collaborations through the years, and what led to them teaming up to form this new duo.

Mike Riley’s art this week is an homage to Luniz’s Operation Stackola. This episode is hosted by Splice Today.


Episode 85 – Ultimate Donny

85.jpgHeight Zone World 85. My guest this week is Ultimate Donny, aka Richard Elmsworth. He was one half of Gil Mantera’s Party Dream, and he now plays with Sam Goodwill. We first met when we played a show together in Pittsburgh in 2003, and we’ve been pals ever since.

We talk about his first music projects, and the formation of Gil Mantera’s Party Dream. He explains how they made the leap from being a weekend warrior band to a full time touring act. We discuss the confusion he felt when the band broke up, and re-entering the music game as Sam Goodwill’s guitarist.

Mike Riley’s art this week is an homage to Slick Rick’s Children’s Story. This episode is hosted by Splice Today.


Episode 84 – R.M. O’Brien


My guest this week is R.M. O’Brien. He’s a poet and a playwright and the main man behind Nuclear Power Pants. We’ve been friends since we first played a show together at Purchase College in 2004, and we’ve gone on several tours together throughout the years.

He talks about forming Nuclear Power Pants at Purchase College, and then reforming the band in Providence and then Baltimore. We talk about the inherent frustration of touring, and the point where touring with his band began to clash with his role as a family man. He explains his conversion to Sikhism, and how that’s affected his outlook on life and his approach to creative pursuits.

Mike Riley’s art this week is an homage to Def Jef’s Soul Food. This episode is hosted by Splice Today.


Episode 83 – Ceschi Ramos


Height Zone World 83. My guest this week is Ceschi Ramos. He’s a rapper/singer-songwriter, as well as one of the founders of the Fake Four label. He’s made a big impact in the underground music world, and we’ve shared many bills together over the years.

We talk about the early incarnations of his Anonymous Inc band, and his first taste of the music business big leagues with his Toca project. He tells me about his first solo albums, and how a tour with Germany’s DJ Scientist influenced him to change his approach to the music game. I ask him about starting Fake Four at a time when indie labels were dropping like flies, and he talks about the slow-but-steady growth they’ve experienced since 2008.

Mike Riley’s art this week is an homage to The Pharcyde’s Labcabincalifornia. This episode is hosted by Splice Today.


Episode 82 – CX KIDTRONIK

My guest this week is CX KIDTRONIK. He’s a producer, DJ, vocalist and videographer with a musical resume that goes back to the 80’s. We first got to know each other when he contributed to my Height With Friends Versus The Continental MC’s album.

We talk about his childhood in Madison, WI and the hip-hop and hardcore punk that influenced him there. I ask him about his collaborations with Atari Teenage Riot, Saul Williams, Rammellzee and Kanye West and what he took away from those experiences. We also discuss releasing his two Krak Attack albums through Stones Throw Records, working as a fetish clip director and his new Sewer Rats BK project.

Mike Riley’s art this week is an homage to Mantronix’s In Full Effect. This episode is hosted by Splice Today.