Cleveland producers/DJs Johnny La Rock & Furface have a long history of collaboration, stemming back to former post-rap group Presque Vu. Teaming up again, the project draws upon the instrumental electronic music each has done as solo artists. Johnny La Rock and Furface will support Mansions on the Moon tonight at the Beachland tavern. Doors are at 7:30pm. Tickets are $12 and still available here.


1. “Resurgam” – Alias

Johnny La Rock says, “I’ve always been in love with pop tunes and songs with words, but there’s also been this dual fascination with instrumental music. It’s amazing when an artist can make you feel something without ever uttering a word. It’s a whole other form of communication, and one that everyone can tap into, no matter who you are or what language you speak. Plus, you can paint your own picture of what you think it means. This song is beautiful and has always moved me. Alias is one of my favorite producers. Like me, he used to be an MC, and eventually decided to focus on the beat side. I’m on a similar path. I like the challenge of letting the music speak for itself.”

2. “Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand” – Primitive Radio Gods

Johnny La Rock says, “This is one of my favorite songs of all time. The hypnotic drum loop, the heavily reverbed piano, that really atmospheric synth, a B.B. King sample, and that simple, but absolutely moving bassline – it’s got everything I need in a song. The lyrics are great, too. It’s one of those songs that just makes you stop and think about life and what it all means. I was always inspired by the story behind it, too. Chris O’Connor had made the record years before, but decided to quit music. After cleaning his house in 1994, he found a box with the tape in it, and on a last ditch random effort, decided to mail copies to labels. One of them heard this song and signed him. I always keep that in mind whenever I feel like giving up. You have to keep trying, because you never know when it might finally stick.”

3. “All You Can Eat” – The Fat Boys

Johnny La Rock says, “The Fat Boys are so awesome because they never tried to be anything they weren’t. They were fat dudes who liked food, and they were proud of it. That’s inspiring to me. I’ve never tried to be anything other than who I am in any of the music I’ve made. I never try to latch onto trends. I think there’s way too much focus on looks and materialism in our culture. There’s so many people trying to be cool and fit in. I look for artists who are genuine. These guys have always been heroes to me for representing people who don’t fit the normal standards of our society. This song is proof that they didn’t give a shit about any of that.”

4. “DJ On The Wheels” – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Johnny La Rock says, “When I was 8 years old, I bought this cassette, based solely on the fact that I thought it looked cool. JJ+FP were one of my first experiences with hip-hop, which sparked my lifelong love with the genre. While I dug the rhymes, I was completely addicted to the music, particularly the scratching. It absolutely blew my mind. The sounds that Jeff was making with his turntables were so out of this world, and I couldn’t even comprehend how he was doing it. Eventually, I got decks of my own in high school. Even though I consider myself to be somewhat fluent with scratching now, I’m no less mystified by Jeff’s skills than I was then. He’s a genius.”

5. “Say You, Say Me” – Lionel Richie

Johnny La Rock says, “This is the first song I ever remember being obsessed with. I was five when this came out. I memorized all the words. It’s cheesy to say, but this song made me realize that music would be an important part of my life forever. I felt a certain magic when I listened to it. These days, when I get bummed out on making a track, or feel burnt out, I throw this on. It helps me to feel that magic again, and to remember to keep that excitement I have for music alive. I started my first musical group when I was 8, and I’ve been plugging away ever since. I don’t know where I’d be without it.”

5. “Where Dem Dollas At?” – Gangsta Boo

Furface says, “Paul and Juicy J’s production has always been a big influence on my music. This track is less aggressive than a lot of their other work but it highlights my favorite aspects of their sound. The slow steady beat, the creeping synth and repetitive chanted vocals are gracefully simple and effective. Plus Gangsta Boo is always a solid act.”

6. “Please Mother Rain Wash Our Souls From Human Evil” – Clap! Clap!

Furface says, “Clap! Clap! Is one of my favorite producers that I’ve heard in recent years. He takes traditional African sounds and shapes them into spazzed out percussion heavy contemporary EDM tracks. This song is perfect for both the dance floor and your next outdoor spirit ritual.”

7. “Low Down” – Hank Williams III

Furface says, “This song has been a wonderful compliment to melancholy days and hazy late nights ever since I first heard it. I’m a big Hank III fan and I can’t say this is his greatest song but I discovered it at the right place and time and it’s going to stick with me forever.”

8. “Sorrow Tears and Blood” – Fela Kuti

Furface says, “I get lost in this track. The guitar and drums set up the perfect scene for the saxophone and organ to converse. Listening to it’s hypnotic layers gives me new ideas about rhythm, repetition and melody. It’s also the most beautiful “Fuck the Police” song ever.”

9. “Midnight in a Perfect World” – DJ Shadow

Furface says, “I first heard this song when I was 13 and it changed the trajectory of my musical tastes at the time. It was electronic music but it wasn’t something you could dance to. it was rap but nobody was rapping. It was dusty. It was dreamy. Meditative. A deeply layered fantasy hip hop soundscape. When I found out it was entirely sampled it blew my mind. To this day I can’t fathom how Shadow could dig up all these samples and craft this masterpiece.”

Official Website | Johnny La Rock’s Facebook | Furface’s Facebook