2021 Artist Interviews - Langston Allston
DMTv SuperCollider 2021!
We did it again! Another year another SuperCollider series of highly curated - or should we say curated highly? - bands from the talented Dark Matter Coffee extended family. Catch up on all five nights with the music from the live stream below.
YEMBA Fundraiser Coffee
About the Artist
Hasani Cannon was inspired to pursue his dream of being an artist while participating as a middle school student in YEMBA’s Mentoring Empowerment Program. He was encouraged by Edward Redd, YEMBA founder, who served as a role model and provided Hasani with a drawing pad and colored pencils. Now an art major at the University of Illinois-Springfield, Hasani plans to pursue a master’s degree in fine arts.
Hasani created the original artwork for bags of coffee produced by Dark Matter Coffee in Chicago in an effort to give back to other youth, just like Mr. Redd did for him. Your purchase of special edition Dark Matter Coffee bags will support YEMBA’s efforts to nurture young people and strengthen communities.
YEMBA Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to educating our youth mentally, physically and spiritually with a life-long learning and service experience through group mentorship that will equip them with knowledge and tools for leadership development and success in life.
By purchasing this coffee, you are making a direct impact on the life of an at-risk youth in our community by allowing us to continue to enrich their lives through our mentoring initiatives.
Sleep Walk Chocolateria Featured on ABC7
Dark Matter Coffee, a Chicago coffee importer and roaster, is offering authentic chocolate made from Mexican cocoa beans at their Pilsen chocolate factory called Sleep Walk Chocolateria.
Fabian Alvarado, education and training guru for Dark Matter Coffee, said they work with cocoa bean distributors from Mexico.
"For us, it's about inclusivity and making sure we're bringing a product that is not just native to Mexico but to all of Latin America," he said.
Sleep Walk Chocolateria opened its doors in November. They offer traditional coffee drinks as well as their popular Mexican drinking chocolate. So far, the chocolateria has more than five different kinds of chocolate bars.
Alvarado said there are no additives in their products, just sugar and cocoa paste. All their chocolates are made in-house.
Sleep Walk Chocolateria also collaborates with local businesses. They've teamed up with local panaderias to sell their sweets, as well as local artists that have designed their chocolate bar wrapping.
Sleep Walk Chocolateria
1844 South Blue Island Ave
Chicago, IL 60608
Open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Help Save Volcan Atitlan!
San Jeronimo Miramar in Guatemala is an extended home and family for DMC. On Monday, March 9th the Atitlan Volcano, on which this farm is situated, is undergoing a major forest fire.
San Jeronimo Miramar is dedicated to natural preservation and protected major portions of their land by allowing the flora and fauna to flourish without cultivating the land. The highest point of their farm is an untouched jungle and is currently being decimated - this area and other reserves around the Volcano of other Farms is one of the last places you can observe the Quetzal and Horned Guan. Forecasting the fire's path, we are all extremely concerned the fire will continue to travel down the mountain and destroy significant parts of their farm.
More than 300 people in the local community work on this land - and many more farms and communities will be affected as well.
We are asking for emergency relief for all the people of San Jeronimo Miramar and everyone helping. All we can do at this moment is act quickly to save as much of the farm and its surrounding wildlife as possible.
It has been estimated that $50,000 is needed to acquire resources and set up the logistics to halt the progress of this fire. So far we have teamed up with Amigos del Lago Atitlan, Los Tarrales Reserve, Fina Santo Tomas Perdido and San Jeronimo Miramar to raise $30,000. We humbly request you to please donate what you can to this cause to impact an unfolding emergency situation.
All funds will be give to *Asociacion de Reservas Naturales Privadas* to combat the fire. The GoFundMe can be found here.
Name Game Part 2: An Age of Psychedelegance
Rippling through consciousness and only just perceivable in the fringes of the mind's eye lies a haunting mirage. Drifting through this waking dream while time ebbs and flows around you, your synapses plead for clarification, desperately trying to make sense of the oppressive kaleidoscopic miasma before you. And then: Clarity. It's the Eldritch horror of 6:30 A.M. Lucky for you the shamans at our cafes are well equipped with unfiltered, powerful psychedelegance to banish the void and pull you out of its clutches. Whether it's black cat bone hoodoo, fusions of old world with the new age, or just plain old mysticism, today we shine a light on our locations that perfectly channel the rock n roll spirit that their names inspire.
The location for which the word Psychedelegance was forged, Meddle is bathed in purple neon and silver-green wallpaper, surrounding the senses to separate entirely from the chaos and bustle of downtown Chicago, a suspension in time and space. Just like the wall crumbling away to a coffee jungle, Meddle breaks through convention to reveal a deeper experience.
Electric Mud crackles with energy and prismatic light leaving hazy tracers as far as the eye can see. Inside, infamous polka dot patterns, sites like the Maxwell Street Open Air Market, and the history of Chicago blues permeate through ones consciousness. These ripples from Blues' origins in the Mississippi Delta still hold the spirituality and mysticism of hoodoo, black cat bones, gris-gris, and mojo hands.
Going through the doors of Caravanserai is like stepping through a temporal rift to an outdoor Acayucan market. The floors turn to cobblestone and the walls give way to an infinite horizon. Quetzals flutter around the archways, a hidden menagerie in the bathrooms, and vibrant plants are scattered throughout. Caravanserai is also our first partnership with La Rifa Chocolateria out of Mexico City.
Sleep Walk is a Ritchie Valens' mestizo lowrider dream swirling with the people and culture of a pre-colonial Mexico. The smell of warm cocoa fills the building and wraps your senses in a dream-like sense of calm. A complete separation from the physical self and into a land where it's always sunset and Billy Stewart croons into your ear.
Intellectual Curiosity through the years
Taking its namesake from a negative yelp review might seem like an inauspicious start for a blend, however Intellectual Curiosity has gone way beyond a tongue-in-cheek reference and has been DMC's February blend for as long as we can remember. Always featuring a blend of African and American sourced coffees, the bag shares a message of hope and understanding in an ever increasingly connected world.
In addition to the righteous vibes proved by the artists (the legendary Slang and future legends Anthony Lewellen and KaylaMay to name just a few), we've also put out a healthy amount of mixtapes to coincide with the release. Since life always needs a little bit more music, we dug these babies out of the archives to warm your ears.
2014 - Twinpeaks DJ's
The righteous DJ duo, Twinpeaks, were funky enough to compile an all Indiana based compilation for your listening pleasure. Avid vinyl connoisseurs, the identical twin DJs self-imposed rules for the mixtape: only vinyl and only Indiana based artists or labels. This interesting approach allows for a refined trip down Indiana Avenue, an often overlooked music treasure chest, birthing numerous legendary jazz and soul artists. A proper mixtape for the intellectuals and casual fans alike.
2015 - DJ Rasul
The debut cassette release on our record label Press Pot Recordings, we teamed up with Chicago's own SHOWYOUSUCK to release their AWESOME TAPE! And let us tell you, it is just that, AWESOME! Featuring guest appearances from Indianapolis' Oreo Jones and a remix by The Hood Internet. This was also an unofficial debut of the SHOWYOUSUCK and Hood Internet supergroup Air Credits, who would headline our block party later on that year in July.
2018 - ETC Records Electronic Buffet Vol 1
In 2018 DMC & Etc Records paired up to bring Electronic Buffet Vol 1 into the mix. Featuring an outstanding array of producers that are the tastemakers of Chicago's indie beat makers. ETC Records is a community oriented, forward thinking, progressive label; homegrown within Chicago and we were and are still humbled to be able to release this compilation in collaboration with the label and its talented roster.
Name Game Part 1: Funkspiration Behind The Dark Matter Universe
We're doin' it in 3-D today baby! Yeah we're playing the name game here at the Mothership connection and cluing you in to the cats making the cuts that mesmerize, energize, and hypnotize us into our daily do. We're channeling our best George Clinton for the occasion, so throw on your diaper and hop on in!
If your brain is permanently set on funkin you're in good company! While over half of our cafes draw their inspiration from a certain Detroit psychedelic tour-de-funk, our original location Star Lounge serves as the genesis and big bang of our Dark Matter universe (Kevin Faige, get at us!). While Star Lounge inherited its name from the previous business in that space, it served as a platform to premier our now-classic iced coffee Chocolate City (which has earned it's own palace on Grand Avenue) and the first Star Child, The Mothership. To this day, Star Lounge continues to stand as an institution of community, creativity, and positivity - just like the crew of whom we draw our inspiration.
Pulling triple duty serving as Dark Matter's intergalactic headquarters, roastery AND central office, the Mothership is the home base and vehicle through which we deliver our particular brand of freshly roasted funk to the masses. Here our all-stars roast and bag coffee in the back while we operate a small but always growing to-go service for the public out the front. The Mothership beams good vibes and coffee to every corner of the world so come check it out and melt your brain over it's signature drink, the boozy-sweet Black Magic.
Our third location opened in Lakeview in the spring of 2014 and mirrors the psychedelic soulful DMC energy through the incredible artwork of Jason Brammer. The mural spans across the entire length of the cafe, endearingly called "Devil in the Chocolate City". It depicts a sunken, waterlogged world's fair dripping with eyeballs, tentacles, oil spills, and other steampunk machinery. In short? He tore the roof off the sucker. Adorning the opposite wall is an original copy Parliament Osmium record autographed by Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips. While he has nothing to do with the album, it was the only record we had on hand when we met him, so what would you do?
Chocolate City Coffee Palace and Bodega
Bright lights and flashy coffee cold specials serve as the backdrop to this neighborhood watering hole. An essential feature in any city community, bodegas serve as spaces where people can gather to share their own stories and legends. Bathed in classy neon-drenched funk and carrying all the essentials, Chocolate City Coffee Palace is no different. Located in West Town's Grand Ave corridor, the coffee has been flowing in the Bodega since 2019
Jazz and All That
You know, we like to think we've got pretty good taste in music (we'd like to meet someone that doesn't think that about themselves). For our part, we wear our inspirations pretty squarely on our sleeves, but we've always done our best to ignore the stereotype of the cafe full of brooding hipster tunes. We've been lucky enough to put out some incredible collaboration with folks of all genres, but today we're talking about Jazz. More American than Apple Pie (which we'll remind you comes from England) and twice as sweet, here's a look at some of the more syncopated projects we've taken on over the years
2014 - Astro Black
A collaboration between Chicago Jazz Fest, Corbett vs Dempsey art gallery, Philly's King Britt, and ourselves to pay tribute to what would have been Afro Futurist and Arkestra leader Sun Ra's 100th year on this planet. While he wasn't born in Chicago, it's inarguable that Ra was shaped by his experience during his time here. Or maybe it was the city that was shaped by its experience with him? You decide.
Like the disparate sounds that led to his cosmic approach, Corbett vs Dempsey provided four colorways of their super-sonic design to combine with King Britt's reinterpretation of Space is the Place, which you can listen to below. This was followed by a live performance by King Britt hosted by Chicago Jazz Fest at Constellation the day before Sun Ra's birthday.
As a bonus, our own Minister of Groove Marc Bonadies also put together this mind blowing mix dedicated to Sun Ra as well!
2016 - Robert Glasper Experiment - ARTScience
In our eyes, there aren't many - if any - echelons of jazz that exist above Blue Note Records. We'd also like to argue there are few modern pianists that can look further into the future than Robert Glasper for that matter. Needless to say when approached with the opportunity work with Mr. Glasper and his upcoming album ARTScience on Blue Note we jumped. In addition to selling the coffee alongside the vinyl, we hosted Robert and his crew for a backyard barbecue at our Star Lounge location, which featured guest dj's, a listening party of the album, and a media interview where we heard Robert wax poetic on "What is Jazz?"
2019 - Vinyl Freak with John Corbett
Vinyl Freak, Love Letters to A Dying Medium is a book celebrating crate diggers and vinyl junkies. Author John Corbett compiled an exclusive mix to celebrate and contemplate the desire that drives everyone to acquire those dusty fingertips. John is a long time friend and collaborator of DMC, having helped us release the Sun Ra inspired Astro Black coffee back in 2014.
Discussing more than 200 rare and out-of-print LPs, Vinyl Freak is composed in part of Corbett's long-running DownBeat magazine column of the same name, which was devoted to records that had not appeared on CD. Perfect for vinyl newbies and veteran crate diggers alike, Vinyl Freak plumbs the motivations that drive Corbett and collectors everywhere.
In 2018 we were one of the proud sponsors of the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, and spent our time handing out coffee over a chilly September weekend. Rather than being held in one centralized location, the festival takes a more intimate approach by holding a number of concerts in venues spread throughout the University of Chicago campus and surrounding neighborhood. Some of the highlights were performances by Ben Lamar Gay, Brandee Younger (who also gave an incredible talk on the legacy of Alice Coltrane), and Junius Paul.
Blast from the past - January
2021, we are here! Coinciding with the theme of rising from the ashes in January's limited blend Through the Fire, we to poked around our own past for some brighter of the brighter embers. Here's a few ghosts of Januarys past -
In retrospect, this release still ticks all the right boxes for us. It's the first blend to feature our cask conditioning process thanks to a custom CH Distillery Aquavit. It also celebrates local legend, air guitar world champion, and all-around really nice guy Nordic Thunder. And finally, an opportunity for love to win over hate -taking a website spreading messages of white supremacy and turning the domain into Nord's personal website: a testament to peace, love, and shred. We hosted a website launch party in the upstairs of our Star Lounge location and let us tell you, it was THUMPIN!
For those of you who didn't dabble in punk rock and nihilistic anarchy in the mid-2000's, you may be forgiven for not knowing Against Me! or frontwoman Laura Jane Grace. Brewed to Rot is the companion piece (and dream fulfillment for us) to her first solo album, Bought to Rot. Thanks to our friends at Bloodshot Records, we released the coffee and got to spend some time watching LJG and her band tearing up the stage in Austin during SXSW that year. Coming off of the success of this collaboration, we pressed a split 7" with Laura Jane Grace as well as Publicist U.K. (and our friends at Smashed Plastic) called This Caffeine Kills Fascists. With proceeds going to the Woody Guthrie Foundation, Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers provided an acoustic version of This Land is Your Land and Publicist U.K. offered up their take on All You Fascists Bound to Lose.
2018 - Brendon Small - Galaktikon II
Another companion piece and dream fulfillment, our Galaktikon blend got us working with Brendon Small to help promote his new album Galaktikon II: Become the Storm. You may know him best as the mastermind behind Metalocalypse and Home Movies. Locked out of releasing more material as Dethklok (the fictional band from Metalocalypse, also fronted by Small) this album serves as a spiritual successor and by all means a new Dethklok album. We were obviously stoked with the idea of collaborating with Brendon and sticking it to the man Full of soaring melodies and absolutely destructive riffs, the album in Brendon's own words is "a Frank Herbert intergalactic war story with a splash of Flash Gordon high-stakes drama".