Uni-Fi Records: Let’s collab

Video and song by Dima/Uni-Fi Records
Words by Adam Lovinus

Sunday I stopped by the Uni-Fi Records headquarters off Prospect Ave. and talked shop for a while with Dima Pochtarev, the collective’s main beatmaker, film producer, manager, agent, etc. He was busy putting together a sampler EP of Uni-Fi collaborations to pitch to a certain major summer festival. Later I’d watch him slash Talking Heads ‘Born Under Punches’ into a funky frenzy of samples as he showed me his set for Miltown Beat Down Wednesday night at Jackalope Lounj. Impressive stuff — I don’t want to give too much away.

We talked about the emergence of art collecives in independent music, and how Uni-Fi has adopted that philosophy for what’s becoming a thriving Riverwest/East Side hip-hop scene. Graphic artist Street P brewed up some coffee and joined the conversation from the other side of the studio area where he was piecing together fabric PBR-themed designs for a contest — just a typical Sunday afternoon for this crew.
F-B: What is the genesis of Uni-Fi? Did you set out to become a multi-dimensional collective? Or did it just sort of happen?

D: Uni-Fi did not originate with the idea to be a diverse arts collective. We actualy didn’t know what it may turn in to when it was just a name on paper. I think establishing the name and spending time nurturing the idea of a business really helped us develop the vision. Now, we concentrate hard on reaching out not only to musical acts, but all sorts of art — fashion, photography, videography, painting — really anything to do with visual or performance arts. We want to create a movement whether with a painting on your wall, or our music playing through your iTunes.

F-B: Who are the key members and what are their roles? Who are some of your collaborators?

Dima: Myself and Eganomics (Sean Egan) are the ones who signed on the dotted line, one might say. But our name has many faces. Our most recent collaborators have been King Hell Bastard (Cups & Bottles); Bushman from King Solomon who has been working with us on and off for several years now; most of the House of M has been over at one point or another; A-Biz, Sadat X, OxFunk Audio System, Michael Mic Check (Rockford Emcee), Dope Sandwich Crew out of Savannah, GA, Phantom Chanel from the Rusty P’s has been by once, and a hand full of other local names that you may never heard of but are lingering in Milwaukee’s somewhat diluted scene. As far as design Street P has been holding it down on the design end of things hand crafting high quality leather bags, purses, one-of-a-kind jourseys, sweathshirts, and t-shirts. We love that guy, he’s a one man street army who will create and spread the word and flyers anywhere he can catch a bus to. Ray, also a local female designer has been crafring some pretty impressive wear and design ideas. As far as film, we’ve been keeping that inhouse, and all our photography is streamed through hands down the best photographer I have ever met, CJ Hoffmann. If you’re ever trying to do a photo shoot, he’s your go to guy.

King Hell Bastard “Cups and Bottles” /photos by CJ Hoffmann

 

F-B: A lot of your tracks have a distinctly ‘vintage’ sound. What do you listen for to make your samples?

Dima: There’s no formula when I sit down to construct music. I love sifting through my roommates huge Vinyl collection or running down to Bullseye Records to scoop up their $1 oldies and funk records. Then I put the needle on the record and wait patiently until something strikes me as usable. If not vinyl, I search our own library of iTunes music to find new sounds. Once the sample is there it’s on to the drums and the rest of the beat.

-Adam Lovinus

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