Sing Sing Fridays isn’t your usual Friday night weekly. In a city where you can go anywhere to turn up to EDM anthems and Trap bangers, Sing Sing resident programmers Rico Uno and Genie want you to turn up but also tune into the future of R&B and Bass music. I recently sat down with both Rico Uno and Genie to talk about their influences behind the night and what their plans are for the future of the night at Blueprint’s Gastown nightclub, M.I.A.
Please introduce yourself and what you do at Sing Sing
Rico Uno: I’m Rico Uno, that’s Genie, and we make up Dog or Die Entertainment. Sing Sing is our newest R&B Bass night that focuses on the new wave where electronic music meets R&B.
So you guys run the entire night from marketing to promotions, bookings and graphic design?
R: Yup! It’s all us.
Why did you guys decide to call your night Sing Sing? Is there a specific reference at all?
There isn’t a specific reference really, you just get a good feeling when you say it out loud. Sing Sing; It’s catchy. It also goes a little bit with those R&B sing-a-long tracks that a lot of people grew up on which are now being sampled in a lot of new electronic music.
What does Future R&B/Bass mean to you guys? For example, when I think of 90s R&B, I think of powerful women like Mary J Blige sharing the struggle in their lives.
R: For me personally, I think Future R&B is almost like a rebellion against the sentimentality that people associate with early R&B. It’s a new perspective, it’s young, sometimes it’s brash, sometimes the instrumentals have more electronic elements to them. I think it’s just a new expression that doesn’t necessarily sound like it did in the 90s.
Do you feel like it’s more inclusive in that way? Because music in the past 20 years, didn’t necessarily pigeon-hole artists, but did put them in a certain category. For example if someone was a West Coast rapper, they only did West Coast rap and if someone produced electronic music, they only produced electronic music. Now you’re seeing artists like Tink collaborating with like, I don’t know, Cashmere Cat or something crazy like that and I think that’s dope.
R: Yeah like Ariana Grande and Cashmere Cat!
Genie: Or even all those Adidas collabs like Tory Lanez and Snakehips? Those are crazy! Especially the kids who are making it, they’re sampling Denzel Curry in a way that comes off like so smooth and dreamy. It’s almost anti-EDM. It’s sick.
I also feel like this is the most inclusive music has ever been.
R: Yeah like how genres are getting smashed because everyone just wants new sounds. It’s refreshing and we want our aesthetic to reflect that.
Generally speaking, Friday is a banger night and clubs usually just play what people want to hear. So technically, hosting a Future R&B/Bass night on a Friday is pretty risky. So I wanted to ask why you guys chose to have Sing Sing on a Friday?
With the way R&B and Bass samples from different styles and genres of music, it brings something familiar to a lot of people into a new realm. That’s the base that we use to introduce people to new styles of music that they may not be that familiar with. At the same time, we bring in the new producers of Vancouver to our night. Like the Chapel Sound guys, we love them. We just put everyone in the same room and see what they have in common.
Yeah because I noticed that you guys will bring in the Chapel Sound guys, but then you will also bring in other people like Nina Mendoza and Kutcorners from The Freshest. People that might not necessarily ever play a show together or open for the same artists, but can have Sing Sing in common and can all come and play together.
R: Yes, exactly.
Why is M.I.A. the perfect space for Sing Sing?
R: The music we’re trying to do is really pushing the boundaries of sound and sonics. To be able to have a Funktion 1 sound system in a more intimate room is so ideal for what we’re doing. It’s the perfect match. Even the lighting, we’re really big on creating a specific vibe and space. We want to push technology as well and have a phone charging area where people can hang out and charge their phones. Because people come up to us trying to charge their phones all the time. So why not give it to them? Give the people what they want! Who knows, you might meet someone because your phone is dead.
G: Like sharing a cig or a light!
R: It’s like a new record store. You’re in a shared space where you can connect with other people over a common interest.
Anything else you guys want to say?
R: This is gonna be a new and improved Sing Sing. Everything is gonna be better and we really just want to push everything forward.