Stallitix Launches New Cincinnati Music Exploration Series “Warmth”

Prymtime / Photo Credit: Noir Media

Queen City-based producer and artist Alex Stallings, who goes by Stallitix as one-half of the Patterns of Chaos rap duo, launched his new Cincinnati music exploration and DJ showcase series last month in hopes of creating a safe space for local artists and music lovers. He’s calling it Warmth, for the feeling he hopes to foster with each event.

“Warmth has always been a feeling I’ve wanted [to promote], to make people to feel welcomed, and for people to feel that with other creatives,” he tells Audiofemme. An Instagram recap of the event put it succinctly with an Anna Sewell quote: “It’s good people that make good places.”

The inaugural boogie went down successfully at Walnut Hills’ Sideways 8 Studios in late December, with DJs Prymtime, Rah D. and Mr. Fantastic at the decks. The music spanned across R&B, house and hip hop genres, giving DJs the space to fine-tune the vibe and giving fans the chance to dance and socialize in a setting unique to the typical club or bar experience.

“There’s a void for people who want to dance, for music lovers, and for DJs who want to share music,” Stallings says. “[Warmth] is a music exploration series of Black music: house music, hip hop, rhythm & blues and soul music. We want to explore all of that. Like with house music especially, lots of people think it’s made by Europeans. But actually, it was started by Black DJs in Detroit and Chicago. So, we want to get into the significance and the history of that and more.”

This approach puts DJs in a more curatorial role, rather than relegating them to spinning records solely to fill dancefloors. “We want to allow DJs to flip and play the songs that they want to play, [umlike] being in a club or bar and being annoyed by people who request [songs],” Stallings explains. “There’s a line between artists and entertainers – this is definitely for artists.”

And Warmth has another important mission as well. “I wanted to create a safe place for people to come and dance and enjoy themselves,” Stallings adds. “The vision is to make a safe space for BIPOC, women and artists in general, because Cincinnati sometimes has an exploitative culture when it comes to artists.”

After the first successful installment, Stallings says he plans to hold the events either bi-monthly or quarterly and showcase talent from Cincinnati and beyond. “Cincinnati is a very big music town. There’s a lot of people who love music and a lot of them are transplants,” he says. “Prymtime is from Louisville; Rah D. is from Detroit. So, they bring their own little flair to the city.”

“Everyone who came out said they loved it. Everyone and said it was needed in Cincinnati,” he continues. “You’re not just going [to Warmth] for a drink [or to party]; the main reason you’re going there is for the music, which I think is needed… I went to this big function in Indianapolis that was a party catered to artists and DJs. It was a gathering of artists and influencers, mostly Black people, and that’s when I thought, we need to do something like that here.” 

On his own artistic front, Patterns of Chaos’ latest full-length project, Chaotic Good, just hit streaming platforms last week. The nine-track album, which was over two years in the making, features Cincinnati artists like Aziza Love, GrandAce, JayBee Lamahj, Roberto and more.

Follow Warmth on Instagram for ongoing updates.

Stallitix, THRIVE Cincy and Elementz Produce Cincinnati’s First-Ever Hip Hop Orchestra

hip hop orchestra
hip hop orchestra
Photo Credit: Oussmane Falls

Though hip hop has a habit of sampling strings for an added dose of cinematic sound, it’s not every day that audiences get to see a full orchestra playing Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West. Alex Stallings – a.k.a Stallitix of Patterns of Chaos – is looking to change that. In partnership with Cincinnati youth outreach program Elementz, Stallings co-composed and executive produced the first-ever live-streamed production of THRIVE’s Hip Hop Orchestra, and he hopes the project will live on as a series. 

“We wanted to do something cool that brings people who don’t go see hip hop to a show, and people who don’t come see classical music to a show,” Stallings tells Audiofemme. “We’re trying to mesh those different worlds.”

Meshing the likes of Ye’s “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” (which samples Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds Are Forever”) and Kendrick’s “LUST” (from 2017 LP DAMN.) into classical music is about breaking down each individual sound, says Stallings. “Hip hop itself sounds simple, but there’s a lot of things you can add,” he explains. “It’s the process of finding what sounds like the [hip hop] sound. If the song has an ambient sound, let’s see if violins can recreate that. Or, if you have a very low bass sound, let’s get a synth player to replace that. It adds flavor to it. It’s a very experimental process, finding that right sound and the right range for what sounds cool.” The performance took place December 17 at Cincinnati’s Music Hall and is still streaming via THRIVE Cincy’s Facebook.

The performance was also co-composed by Preston Charles III and featured musicians from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and beyond – several of whom played steadily in the city before the pandemic. “It’s a beautiful thing, bringing different people together to create something we’re all equally passionate about,” says Stallings. “We have a lot of diverse musicians: white, Black, women, men, people who identify as nonbinary. We have a palette of different people with different stories about why they like hip hop. They all come from different backgrounds. One person, their whole family plays classical music, and they just love hip hop. Another, their father was a rock musician in China, and they like hip hop… I think it’s a beautiful thing; we’re creating a conversation.”

Stallings, who leads Elementz’s THRIVE Cincy, first approached the hip hop-centric arts center with the idea not only to bridge fans between the two genres, but also to put the city’s musicians back in the spotlight. “It was very hard at the beginning of the pandemic, but we took the initiative,” says Stallings. Elementz, which offers music and other classes and serves as a home-away-from-home for many Cincinnati kids, has taken their courses and outreach mostly online amidst COVID-19. “I think this [performance] is one of the biggest buzzes we’ve had, especially for Elementz online. I think everyone should be impressed; this will definitely lead to something bigger – maybe a program or a series that goes on for months at a time.”

Hip Hop Orchestra / Elementz

On Instagram, Stallings has used THRIVE Cincy to support hip hop artists in the city while performances have been scarce. “Since summer, we’ve been putting out videos from different artists, playing their music and interviews with artists,” he says. “Next year, we’re moving into a different direction, where we’ll do one music video per artist and spotlight that. During the pandemic, there’s been no places to perform, so this helps them out.”

As for his own musical ventures, Stallings says fans can expect a new album from Patterns of Chaos – fronted by himself and Jay Hill – next year.

“It’s gonna be different than Freedom,” their 2018 EP, he says. “It’s gonna be fun and it’s gonna address some deeper issues like race, self and gender. It’s gonna be very experimental; you couldn’t really put us in a category, and that’s what we want.”

Follow Alex Stallings on Instagram and THRIVE Cincy on Facebook for ongoing updates.