by Dan Emmons
Photos by: Krystal Spencer
Upstairs at Pub Webb, right off Temple University’s campus, stood a man of mystery, known simply as Get Up. With DJ deck in place and images of his art being animated behind him, Get Up played a feverish set on the 1’s and 2’s to the tune of This is Rock and Roll, his new album, out now. It does not take long for people to realize this guy is not your average DJ. His skills include graffiti art, scratching/mixing and producing all in one triple shot of a brand that is already popular amongst the underground. A few nights later I got up with Get Up (get it?!) and saw the man behind the art.
The name “Get Up” comes from a change the young producer made in the style of music he played. It started with his graffiti but quickly became a guerilla-marketing tool to get people to listen to his music. “My art is pretty straightforward, I never try to do anything too artsy, deep, or political”. He also added that he usually does city specific pieces based off of familiar city icons such as the BenJammin (Ben Franklin) for Philly and the support of his art in The City of Brotherly Love has kept him here, over his long time residence in California. Most of his work is marketed solely on Facebook or Instagram by simply posting a picture, and people are feverish to grab one, the choice was easy for him.
However, Get Up is more then a graffiti artist. He admits that his heart is truly in music and that he only does the art because people like it. “I don’t consider myself an artist because I didn’t start putting things on walls to become great… in a sense its just like my music though, I source old things and create something new out of it”.
Get Up has been making music for a while now, but his most recent release This is Rock and Roll is his first album with a cohesive theme that he is taking the time to thoroughly promote. The idea for the album and its title all came when he realized there was a common link among a few tracks he was working on. Get Up realized that he had been using samples from all the old records he used to steal from his parents growing up. All of the tracks were linked by the means of 60s and 70s Rock and Roll albums. A personal favorite was “She’s Alright”, which was an original Muddy Waters song, redone to pay homage to one of the all time greats.
Get Up has songwriting ADD. That is the only way to describe his process. Instead of starting one track at a time, he starts fifteen. It allows him to keep from getting bored and jump from track to track as his mind races. With all of that music his hard drives are packed to the gills and unfortunately at the time of the interview, he was making due with only one usable chord to plug multiple external drives into his laptop. Get Up’s favorite thing to do in the songwriting process is flipping samples and songs he did when he first started making music, but was without today’s modern technology. That is not to say he is against using new music, he has many routes to acquire some new samples.
“All my life I have just gone down to the record store. I usually try to pick up something based on the cover like if it’s something crazy or funny, or looks like something other people wouldn’t buy”. This process can lead in two directions, one is picking samples out piece-by-piece on the spot or recording the whole song if it sounds like it could be rich in samples, and returning to it later. He has found a groove for his creative process, combining it with a backwards approach to the popular method of starting with drums, rather, composing the melody first.
So what is next for this graffiti man of mystery? Aside from collaboration with R&B/Hip Hop artist Selina Carrera, he plans on hitting the business end of the music game. He is actively searching for his break and admits that sitting at a computer, sending emails out every day is not for him. Get Up can be spotted next in Philly at Voltage, a very short walk from the Bassnectar show at the Electric Factory on May 1st. He is also waiting on confirmation from, but should be headed to, venues in both Connecticut and Baltimore.
With so much secrecy swirling around this guy, he is really humble and genuine. Although he shied away from telling me any of his crazy DJing stories due to “statute of limitations,” he said laughing; I won’t hold it against him. Check out all of his links below for free downloads, music video, and all the art!
This Is Rock ‘N Roll stream