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MTAMB: The Indie Sleaze Fest to end all Indie Sleaze Fests (with Minty Boi interview!)

The following piece was written by the Deli’s newest staff member and first new addition to the Deli NYC blog in over 3 years (!) Willa Rudolph. Willa is also known, to those in the know, as November Girl and fronts a band of the same name in addition to producing some pretty damn cool live events. And speaking of damn cool live events, be sure to peep the interview with MTAMB festival co-producer Minty Boi that closes out the report below not to mention the exclusive "Indie Sleaze Nation" Deli Delivers playlist that closes out the closing out...


As I walked through a large opening in a massive chain link fence in Brooklyn, and into the parking lot that is the front of the Knockdown Center, I truly didn’t know what to expect from the MTA Music Festival & Minty Boi-presented MTAMB Festival– I’d never been to this particular venue. Obviously, I’d heard of Knockdown Center, but what drew me to the massive warehouse was the lineup of this festival that seemed to pop out of nowhere.

I come from a time before Instagram, before TikTok, when tumblr ruled my mind and Sky Ferreira was queen. So, Sky Ferreira being the headliner meant I absolutely needed to go. On top of that, I was beyond excited that Uffie, ABRA, and Clams Casino were on the bill, not to mention the mysterious electronic music duo Snow Strippers, set to play on the outdoor stage.

The overall theme I got from the lineup, which also included EvilGiane, Elita (another tumblr-famous gem), Current Joys, Damon R., and Nicole Dollanganger was a kind of indie-sleaze-era-inspired group of artists, though only some of them actually hail from that time period (approx. 2006-2012).

The lineup was also somehow so New York, with the iconic American-French Uffie having a distinctly NYC idgiaf attitude, ABRA being so from Queens (she dropped out of the lineup last minute, fml), EvilGiane (BK-born head producer of NY rap collective Surf Gang), Clams Casino being from NJ but, again, having such a New York sensibility, and Snow Strippers being the current epitome of what’s cool in the city, at least downtown (n.b. Clams Casino and EvilGiane produced the Earl Sweatshirt track below).

Before watching Elita (a.k.a. Yungelita) twist and croon in a bedazzled jumpsuit on the outdoor stage of the venue, surrounded by palm fronds, tropical foliage, and flanked by a blond guitarist and a bassist with a particularly neon orange mo-hawk, I was inside watching EvilGiane. 

EvilGiane’s crowd pulsed in beat with his mix, standing below him in a cloud of fog. His set was on the chiller side (it never went crazy) but he steadily played banger after banger, remixing and cutting up R&B, alternative rock, drill, and rap. Attendees wore leather, fur, neutrals, hats, sunglasses inside (and at night), skin exposed between the straps of their outfits, baggy pants, thick-ass shoes… The attire wasn’t particularly summery, despite the July 2nd date of the festival, but that’s New York for you. Looking good comes way, way, wayyy before comfort.

After Elita came Detroit-based Snow Strippers on the outdoor stage. They’re pretty new, but have really claimed a spot on the scene and in everyone’s minds, and encapsulate a growing harkening-back to the indie-sleaze times in which Crystal Castles and Purity Ring ruled the dark-electronic/electro-pop space. The duo known as Snow Strippers is EDM–they’re trashy, they’re ravey, they’re poppy, and they’re witchy. They remind me of LCD Soundsystem, Bjork, Grimes, Crystal Castles, Justice, and Purity Ring all at once.

Coming on the heels of the Club Eat craze that has taken over New York (the downtown nightlife music scene, in particular), Snow Strippers seems to be born out of the move away from hyper-pop, with a dark and ethereal vibe rather than the bubble-gum moods we've been receiving from a lot of electronic music for the past couple of years. The duo is made up of Tatiana Schwaninger and Graham Perez (a.k.a. deliverthecrush, a member of Surf Gang).

Their set was by far the littest of the entire festival. The crowd was going truly insane. By this time it was totally dark outside. Tatiana looked like a little forest fairy with her very long straight hair, jean shorts, and oddly cumbersome fur shoulder pads. She jumped around the stage so intensely and so fervently, I was actually thinking how she could have enough energy.

When my favorite song by them played, “Under Your Spell,” which references the song “Under Your Spell” by Desire, she had ditched the fur shoulder pads to reveal a plain white tee. Perez was wearing a t-shirt of Bob Marley’s face morphed with the face of a lion, a DYAD snap back, and jumped around doing soulja boy-esque dance moves. The energy they were able to get from the crowd was truly wild.

I had a spiritual experience during Clams Casino. I was second row, so close. I didn’t even know what he looked like, but when a normie looking guy with a backpack came up to the table in the middle of the stage and started setting up computers, mixers, and other DJ accessories, I realized it had to be him! So many of his songs were the soundtrack to my middle school and early high school years. He’s literally a genius. He produced Lil B in 2009, when Based God was everything. A$AP Rocky’s “Palace” and “Wassup”, Mac Miller, The Weeknd, A$AP Rocky’s “LVL” and “Hell” (feat. Santigold) in 2013, “4 Gold Chains” feat. Clams Casino by Lil Peep, my four favorite serpentwithfeet songs, and soooooooo much more.

For this one, the crowd was lulled into a body roll, nodding heads. The sound was unbelievable, and the muggy, hot summer day that brought on not one but two rain storms had turned into a peaceful, cool night. Vince Staples’ "Norf Norf" had everyone up n’ jumping, screaming, “BITCH YOU THIRSTY, PLEASE GRAB A SPRITE,” but when Clams played the Lil Peep song, we all wanted to cry. It started drizzling, but not hard enough for it to be anything more than a cleansing sprinkle, the kind where you look up into the rain and smile. He was so calm, but effortlessly controlled the crowd. He finished with “I’m God” feat. Imogen Heap, and 15-year-old-me was so insanely happy. But 15-year-old-me wasn’t finished freaking out.

After we waited thirty minutes past the original set time, finally, Sky Ferreira walked onstage, while everyone in the venue SCREAMED for her. She hadn’t played New York in eight years, she told the crowd, giggling. She seemed nervous, and I think the crowd was a little nervous, as well, not quite sure what to expect. But she absolutely killed. Her voice sounded incredible, and was so loud and resonant throughout the cavernous warehouse space. She walked back and forth across the stage, occasionally completely consumed by the “paid-actor” that was the fog machine. She kept her sunglasses on for most of the songs, but took them off for “Lost in My Bedroom.”

The energy was so contagious, it really felt like everyone in the crowd was equally a huge fan and equally wanted her to do well. Everyone seemed so happy to be hearing her play her music, but also so happy for her. She really, really did that. Her set featured all the faves, “Boys,” “Don’t Forget” (released in 2022 from her long awaited upcoming album Masochism), “You’re Not the One,” “I Blame Myself,” and she finished with the ~iconic~ “Everything is Embarrassing!” as the light rain outside began to POUR.

Sky’s cult following isn’t even that cult, but there are many of us who have been there since her 2010 EP One. Does anyone even remember her song “Obsession,” who’s video features actor Michael Madsen?! She was 18 when she made that video, and I was 14. It changed my GD life!

Overall, MTAMB Fest was super f*$king fun, and would be fun if it happened annually! The resurgence of this era of music makes me super happy, and I love the emphasis and veneration of being dirty, not caring too much, not trying too hard, having fun-yes, the term “Indie Sleaze” references a messy, yet glam fashion aesthetic, but the sensibility is kind of a larger cultural phenomenon that includes music, art, and attitude. I like the way New York is taking this renaissance and subverting it in a very special and very New York way, per usual.

Finally, I spoke with the mind behind Minty Boi Presents, a.k.a. Yiwei Meng, or Y, who created and planned the festival:

Where are you from?

Y: I'm from China / lived in Los Angeles for 7 yrs. LA is like a second home to me. I hope we brought the LA to NYC and represented it.

How did you end up conceiving of this lineup, and what inspired it?

Y: I didn't speak English when I came. I was in high school. Didn't have many friends. The Internet was my friend. I found myself gravitating toward music and art at the time, Tumblr was the special place I discovered all these amazing things. And soundcloud, obviously.

Discovered music from ABRA, Nicole Dollangagnger, Current Joys (Surf Curse) on Soundcloud. Discovered music from Clams Casino, Elita, obviously Sky on Tumblr. Their fashion, music, art, and just everything these people do shaped my adolescence.

I started going to Surf Curse shows at The Smell in Los Angeles. Then I started making friends by going to these DIY shows. It changed my life, Smell and Surf Curse saved my life.

Jacob from Surf Curse played my 2nd ever show, Surf Curse's other half, Nick (Current Joys) played a lot of our really early shows as well. They have been supporting, teaching, and inspiring me like an old brother since day 1. They are my favorite band and they are the most special band.

Our buddy Alex GK, who is now the bass player for Sky's live band, played our 1st ever show. Even played in my backyard before. I am really proud of him. It's a full circle moment for us.

The special guest was our close friend Cormac Roth. Cormac was a brilliant musician and one of the most charming people I ever met. Played in my backyard, played in my college, slept on the floor of my dorm... He unfortunately passed away last year. He believed in us like very few others did, and supported us all the way. Cormac Roth is his music page name on Spotify, and you can find them on bandcamp. Everytime I do a bigger event, I think about him... Rest in peace.

It's our 5 yrs anniversary officially, since I decided to do this as a career.

The 2010s was an era. I am grateful for Soundcloud, Tumblr, the internet, and those dazed and confused teenage years we lived through. I wouldn't be who I am without it. This lineup is a report I want to present for myself and for my people. 

Did it take a lot of work getting Sky Ferreira to play NY?

Y: It takes a lot of work to do any concerts. Sky's team was great. I am beyond grateful that Sky said yes to this. Thank you, Sky!

What goals did you have for the event?

Yr: Present something that means something to people like us. Be true to ourselves.

Did you feel it was a success?

Y: Haha. There are things I think we could have done better. But overall, I am happy with how it went down. I hope people are happy. We are gonna keep coming.

Upcoming MintyBoi Events:

07.06.23 Sky Ferreira @ The Vermont Hollywood [sold out]
07.07.23 Tommy Midnight @ El Cid
07.07.23 Sky Ferreira @ The Observatory North Park
07.08.23 Sky Ferreira @ The Regency Ballroom
07.09.23 Sky Ferreira @ The Vermont Hollywood [2nd date added]
07.12.23 Glare @ Moroccan Lounge
07.26.23 They Are Gutting A Body of Water, Waveform, Teethe @ Lodge Room
07.28.23 Wanna Dance? w/ Seb Wildblood & Hidden Spheres
08.16.23 Computerwife @ Baby's All Right
08.24.23 BOYO @ El Cid
08.24.23 Have A Nice Life @ HOB, Chicago
08.07.23 House of Harm @ El Cid
08.25.23 Short Paris @ Lodge Room
09.13.23 Roar @ The Echo
09.15.23 Omar Souleyman @ The Vermont
09.19.23 Tangerine Dream @ The Vermont Hollywood
09.22.23 Sorry Girls @ Moroccan Lounge
10.06.23 This Paranormal Life @ The Vermont
10.08.23 Teenage Wrist @ Lodge Room
10.19.23 Born Without Bones @ El Cid
12.07.23 Sen Morimoto @ El Cid

Oh P.S., if you want some more fun music from this time period, here’s some of my faves:


Pop The Glock – Uffie
The Fear – Lily Allen
Foundations – Kate Nash
Love Letter to Japan – the bird and the bee
Hotel Song – Regina Spektor
I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked – Ida Maria
Back in Your Head – Tegan and Sara
White Nights – Oh Land
Be the One – The Ting Tings
Armour Love – La Roux
Painted By Numbers – The Sounds
My Girls – Animal Collective
When I’m Small – Phantogram
Crave You - Adventure Club Remix – Flight Facilities
Midnight City – M83
Daylight – Matt & Kim
Stillness is the Move – Dirty Projectors
Go Outside – Cults
Sour Cherry – The Kills
Courtship Dating – Crystal Castles
A Better Son/Daughter – Rilo Kiley
Losing My Edge – LCD Soundsystem
The Girl – City and Color
Tears for Affairs – Camera Obscura
Comfy in Nautica – Panda Bear
Consoler of the Lonely – The Raconteurs
Bhang, Bhang, I’m a Burnout – Dum Dum Girls

-Willa Rudolph


Kahiem Rivera keeps "Grown Man Hours" on new double-sided, extra-vibey single, we call it "cloud-chopper rap"

Kahiem Rivera’s brand new two-sided single “Grown Man Hours”/”Slow Moves” opens with a sandpaper-smooth beat and yeah ok ok sandpaper’s not actually smooth that’s true but it has a way of smoothing out whatever it comes in contact with which is a perfect analogy for Kahiem’s latest music I’d say…

…which is all about “shaking the walls like it’s our form of healing,” a line from “Grown Man Hours,” or in other words, making things rough for a minute (or millennium?) as a way of smoothing things out in the long term which also very much applies to the cinematically-inclined production work on the track by Roarke Menzies—the "Atticus Ross" to Kahiem’s "Trent Reznor" in their collaborative work and yes the Deli got a sneak preview of some upcoming tracks!—a master of hazy/lazy beats and ethereal textures that're at the same time shot through with a sense of tension bubbling under and occasionally bursting through to the surface…

…like check out for instance how “Grown Man Hours” starts off with a full couple minutes of languid, mellowed-out feels lulling the listener into a blissed-out sense of security but then subtly building up layer-by-layer with orchestrated drones and skittering syncopations, the track morphing in parallel with how Kahiem moves from one passing mental state to the next like shapeshifting clouds drifting overhead something like if cloud rap took into account all different types of clouds from the big puffy cumulous ones to turbulent storm clouds…

…which likewise works perfectly in tandem with how K.R. is prone to constantly changing up his flow but in a way that flows seamlessly, almost imperceptibly, from one state to the next moving from laid-back, behind-the-beat inner monologues to rapid-fire, double-time eruptive fulminations with the latter referenced directly in “Grown Man Hours” with lines like “I been on some bullshit / treat a rooftop hang like a bully pulpit / treat an old friend like a free therapist / talk with my hands like damn I’m playing theremin”…

…and we just gotta pause here for a second to point out how unlikely it is that anyone’s ever though to rhyme “therapist” with “theremin” before and what’s more we’re not talking simple “Moon/June” type rhyme schemas either cuz it’s the first two syllables of the two words that not only rhyme (rhyming more than one syllable in a row is known as a “multi” in MC lingo) but also act as straight up homophones (the exact same sounds but spelled differently) wheres the last syllable is a slant rhyme at best, which applies even more to “bullshit” and “pulpit” from the preceding two lines and nevermind the internal slant rhyme of “hands” and “damn”…

…so in other words this cat is a serious lyricist which is not to be taken lightly in these mumble-rap prevailing times and I could easily spent about 20 more paragraphs unpacking line after line but I’ll spare you the overkill suffice to say if you ever happen to wonder to yourself “why do Kahiem’s lines hit the way they do?” it’s got at least something to do with their meticulous construction not to mention how all that playful wordplay and complex rhythmic interplay helps some of the heavier sentiments go down smoothly (or “smooth-lay," getting in the spirit here...) just remember what we said about sandpaper above…

…and speaking of “pulpits” by the time “Grown Man Hours” moves across it’s chilled out opening section and its more orchestrated middle section it culminates in the final section with a burst of signifying ’n’ testifying more akin to a gospel song (with a second mention of a “pulpit” in the lyrics, no less!) if your church's preacher was a skilled speed rapper that is and that’s one cool thing among others about the tracks that Rivera and Menzies have been working on together…


…combining the fast-paced chopper-style flows most associated with hardcore hip-hop lyricists like Twista and Tech N9ne with much-less-hardcore associated musical styles like Eno-meets-Clams-Casino ambient vaporware beats or Dilla-esque angular R&B woozily chopped-up beats and hey I bet you thought us music crits only ever used the word “angular” in association with post-punk but hey just like Kahiem I’m trying to mix it up here...

…but back to that gospelesque outro you may wanna have a hankie handy to dab away the sweat formed on your brow from all the hand-waving gesticulating and moved-by-the-spirit dancing you’re likely to do even if it's only a minute or less with Kaheim’s sermon ending on a typically nuanced note where the on-the-surface-of-things aspirational final aphorism—we all wanna be heard / we all wanna be seen and lastly just we all wanna be / we all wanna be—should maybe be taken with a grain of sacramental salt seeing as the lines leading up the refrain mention being on a “high horse [with] low self esteem” not to mention “mirrors and smoke” and “quotes for captions on your post” so in other words it’s complicated…

…which after all is exactly what Signifyinis all about, or at least it is in the Henry Louis Gates, Jr. sense of the word as discussed in this space before with Signifyin’ being an African-American created oral art form based around virtuosic verbal dexterity with a preference for double-edged utterances that deliberately and strategically play with the inherent ambiguity of language and speaking of literary forms it’s also notable that both “Grown Man Hours” and “Slow Moves” have a tripartite structure and while I don’t have space to get too far into “Slow Moves” here (see the interview below for more!) suffice to say the track comes off something like if Barry White and Lil B had a baby…

…with “Slow Moves” having actually started off as three separate ideas/fragments only later fused together and is it any wonder that K.R. is in fact a trained thespian so he knows plenty about three-act structure having just recently returned to his roots in the theater—as Kahiem puts it on his Insta profile he’s a “Rapper + Newly Non-Retired Actor”—and not taking any half measures either in taking on the title role in Being Chaka (written by Tara Amber, Chuk Obasi, and Nalini Sharma) a play that just had a sold-out three-week run at the New Ohio Theater in the heart of the West Village described as “a genre-bending ensemble piece where worlds collide at an elite private school in NYC”…

…or as described by Kahiem himself “one of the most fulfilling things I have done in my adult life” and guess what K.R. had some other things to tell us about too seeing as we were fortunate enough to have a sit down with the man himself outside the highly stylish yet still chill The Ten Bells Bushwick drinking organic wine—or as he puts it at the end of the super-vibey middle section of “Slow Moves” (prod. Vesa Beats) “we drinking natural wine and we faded plenty”—having a lovely, wide-ranging conversation as the clouds thickened overhead from a mostly sunny sky to a smear of grey clouds threatening rain, excerpts of which are appended below for your interest and edification, and for background music (after you listen to the single!) you may wanna put on Kahiem’s recent EP Rap Music To Take A Bath To which is even more vibey and settle in for the ride… (Jason Lee)


OFFICIAL BIO: Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Kahiem Rivera manages to weave a bluesy, world-weary perspective into rap songs about love, sex, race and disappointment. In a constant effort to unpack dealings with mental health and past trauma, he points to a lyric from his song “Woo!” as the mission statement: “I make ‘em dance and depressed at the same time.” Mission accomplished.

Kahiem treats songs as time stamps, with stream of consciousness storytelling that manages to capture his current state of being without sounding like a journal entry. Peppering in clever wordplay over a quilt-like stitch of sonic influences, the music is both highly collaborative and disarmingly intimate. In these tracks, Kahiem gets indie rock vocalists to play footsie with boom bap producers and jazz saxophonists, enforcing his philosophy that community is key and collaboration is everything. His ever expanding live band consists of players from various local NYC projects who share that same vision. 

Ever the multi-hyphenate, Kahiem is also an actor, writer, and Operating Manager at The Sultan Room — a music venue with some of the most diverse programming in New York City. The thread that ties this all together is an ethos that makes sure no interaction feels purely transactional, and that artists feel their work is valuable and important.

“Grown Man Hours” marks a new chapter for Kahiem. A new single, a music video and a b-side that has no business being a b-side, it’s a strong release from an artist showing no signs of stopping. Coming out of a pandemic induced hibernation, Kahiem hinted at things to come with a surprise release of unreleased oldies over the winter. It was an attempt at shedding skin. Sitting on a trove of new material, Kahiem will spend the second half of 2023 dumping out a steady stream of new songs and videos that push the boundaries of what he’s made prior, with all the trademark lyrical honesty and unusual beats he has become known for.

Perhaps Kahiem’s second mission statement can be found in the closing lyric: “We all wanna be heard. We all wanna be seen.” Mission in progress.


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