"I always knew I was 'music'." Gemini Jones began her DJ journey in 2008 at The Illinois Center For Broadcasting. While enrolled, she interned at the award-winning radio station 107.5 FM WGCI and quickly grew interested in the art of DJing while watching the Station's crew in action. Shortly after this experience, under the watchful eye of a close DJ friend, she began studying the craft in earnest and quickly earned herself gigs at Essence Fest, the Black Women's Expo, sets on Enimen's Shade45 Radio, and a feature in the Chicago Sun Times.
When not DJing she runs a podcast recording studio (BPM Chicago) for local creatives, and is the brains behind the Puff 'n Paint event series - where her music sensibilities meet the canvas. Subject matter for classes typically involves an iconic figure from Hip-Hop or R&B music. Using a 'paint by numbers' approach, images for each session are commissioned to local artists who collaborate with Gemini on the series.
Chantala Kommanivanh is an award-winning Lao American artist, educator and musician. He has years of experience in writing, producing, and performing on-stage as co-founding member of the independent hip-hop duo Maintenance Crew.
The rap music he’s produced with Maintenance Crew and the visual components of Kommanivanh's artwork have areas of overlap in their meaning and content. He is interested in creating new memories by “sampling” from past events. Through painting, his works are a reinterpretation of memories documenting his personal history.
Raised with traditional Lao customs at home and active in hip-hop culture outside of home, Kommanivanh’s work investigates cultural hybridity and tensions of identity, as he and his family were refugees from the unfortunate outcomes of the 1964-1975 Secret War in Laos. His collection of paintings derive from personal and found photographs representing pivotal times in his life. His visual works have been displayed in five major solo exhibitions in Chicago-area and Midwestern art galleries, and have been included in numerous group and invitational exhibitions across the U.S.
Rahsaan “Sean Doe” Hawkins is Chicago-born DJ, artist and connector. As an ambassador to Chicago’s hip hop community for the Midway documentary, he works to ensure the story of Chicago hip hop is authentically told by those who lived it.
He developed a range of insights about Chicago music and built key relationships from his early days in street team promotions for ABB Records and Stones Throw Records. This drew the attention of one of the most widely respected indie hip hop labels of Chicagos' golden era, All Natural, Inc.
What began as street team promo led to A&R duties and eventually helping to run the label. During that period of time the label released projects from artists like: Iomos Marad, The Primeridian, Rita J, as well as the namesake of the label, All Natural (Tone B. Nimble and Cap D), and others.
Steve Bravo creates bold, provocative work revolving around his conceptualized characters. He uses these iconic characters, flanked in effusive color palettes, pop-art motifs and textures, to weave a narrative of nostalgia and future focus, exuding a freedom that is found only through complete abandon
Steve is influenced by the Chicago’s music scene, cosplay, anime and high fashion. His work captures the energy seen in the empowered line work of graffiti, mashed up with strong 90’s graphic cues, blended seamlessly with the evocative forms of dance in a visual Afro-futuristic pop-art kitbashing. Steve was fortunate enough to have lived in many different neighborhoods; from Uptown to Roseland, from Forest Park to South Shore and many places in between. His nomadic tendencies exposed him to many different cultures which he incorporates in his art. Blending movement and stillness, power and restraint, in an emotive exploration of spirit. The result, wild expressions of joy and childhood, resistance and defiance, isolated in time.
Ricardo Miranda's music reflects a traditional House culture that goes beyond just sound or legendary stories. While his industry peers recite fond memories of The Music Box, The Bismark and other musical institutions – Ricardo sat in front of a big Pioneer Radio listening & recording mixes from Chicago radio stations WRRG, WBMX AM/FM & WGCI which included a hefty dose of early House Music, Italian Imports and Electro. But, it was the new sound of Chicago House that made a profound impact on his soul.
As a thirteen year old, when not infuriating teachers by pounding House beats on his desk, he was creating crude pause cassette tapes to a wood panel tape deck. Then in 1986 Ricardo got a taste of producing when his older brother brought home a newly introduced Casio RZ-1 & Casio CZ1000. Even though he was forbidden to touch the equipment it was the main thing he looked forward to whenever his brother was away. Later that year he was passed down some rough dj equipment from a dj friend which gave Ricardo the opportunity to play all the records in the household.
Currently, Ricardo is charted on endless playlist under his many guises: The Latin Soul Brothas, Yonurican, Defend:R and of course Ricardo Miranda.
Under Yonurican, Ricardo was responsible for the UK Funky anthem “Boriken Soul” which was distributed by Jellybean Benitez. Ricardo launched his label Noble Square Recordings as the main member of The Latin Soul Brothas with the track “Afroricaness”. He was also responsible for the standout classic “Urbanism” which was featured on Rick Wilhite’s Vibes Compilation released on Rush Hour Records.
He has releases out on Neroli, Rawax, Stilove4music, and on his own label Noble Square Recordings, as well as many collaboration with his friend Glenn Underground.