The dichotomy of Cee rapping his bars to himself (double time = double Cee) expresses an inner desire to give himself a message of hope and persistence by painting a vivid picture of everything he has gone through to get to where he is. Cee as the stone statue slowly breaking the shackles of his confinement represent the MC and entrepreneur coming into his own as a man, cracking through the hard shell of obscurity into the limelight.
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Oz Hip Hop is poppin' hard right now (pause). Three dope MCs came together, put their solo stuff on hold for a second, formed a group and knocked out a fresh album that's making some serious noise. The fellas took the time to chat with me about the album and other assorted rap singer related nonsense. Peep game.
It's not that uncommon these days to see musicians branching into the business world to acquire more income streams. However one bloke out of our hometown of Melbourne is doing a lot more than just starting a business. Chris Ferre is into so many things right now, I have no idea how he does it. We caught up with him to chat about his new bizzo, his new band and his new sport.
Through our Artist Features section, we've covered MCs, DJs, producers, models, designers...and now photographers. Darren Johnson, a young photographer from London, caught our eye and he was good enough to answer some questions while on vacation in Jamaica.
Cee: Hey Darren, what's good man? I know you're out in Jamaica right now, so peace for chatting to us on your vacay.
Darren: No problem at all!
Cee: First up, break down your journey in photography for the people.
Darren: I was at a crossroads in my life around 2007, wondering what to do career-wise (which I'm sure most people have the same dilemma once in a while). It then hit me that since I was little I have studied photos either from family, friends or even complete strangers personal collections.
I then nervously enrolled into a course, which luckily was very close by, in film photography, which taught me the basics in the darkroom.
Once I finished the course, I decided to purchase a camera and ever since then a camera never leaves my sight. I'm always looking out for potential photographic opportunities, at the same time building a reputation, brand and business.
Cee: What's the meaning behind the name iDJ Photography?
Darren: The meaning behind the name iDJ is: i: Eye (being the obvious tool I use in my line of work), D: Darren and J: Johnson.
Cee: Do you have a mentor? Did you take a course? Or are you self-taught? Or a combination?
Darren: I don't really have a mentor other than the my teacher from the course I took in 2007. Ever since then I have been learning as I go along, reasearching etc.
Cee: You're based outta London (England, not Ontario for those in Canada). How's the market out there? Is there a lot of competition? What makes you different from the thousands of other photographers?
Darren: London is very saturated with photographers. Being a photographer in London is a challenge but at the same time London is quite possibly the best place to photograph. In terms of what makes me different from the rest? I'm not sure, I don't really focus on other photographers with their marketing, etc. I just aim to produce my best work, good value for money and a quick turn around for my clients. This has worked for me so far which has reflected on the glowing references I recieve.
Cee: Out of all the various styles and subjects that you do, what's your favourite to work with?
Darren: My favourite 'shots' are the ones where I could be watching TV or walking to the store and an idea pops in my head and I run with it. I call this my "misc" album, which you can see on my website or Facebook. I do genuinely enjoy all styles of photography, I still get that buzz no matter what/who I photograph.
Cee: What would be your main inspiration as a photographer?
Darren: My inspiration was my trip to Jamaica in 2008! I just bought my first SLR before flying out to Jamaica and fell in love with photography, which was aided with being in such a beautiful country.
Cee: What made you pick up a camera to express your creative side, as opposed to say a paintbrush or a guitar?
Darren: I honestly don't know the answer that one. I believe life gives you opportunities, and I just simply took this one.
Cee: If you could have any other talent, what would it be?
Darren: It would 100% be a professional football (soccer) player. Football is a big passion for me, I try and watch as much as I can no matter where I am.
Cee: What's next once you get back from JA?
Darren: Same as before I left, keep pushing the business a much as I can. Working hard on images, ideas, marketing, networking, delivery, etc.
Cee: Let the people know where they can find you!
Darren: Website: www.idjphotography.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/idjphotos
Cee: Thanks for your time cuz!
Darren: Thank you!
Not only is The Movement Fam committed to featuring artists and models, but anyone we come in contact with who is talented, creative and driven. Shane Foran, the man behind Toronto-based Vitaly Design, is exactly that. Shane took some time out of his busy day to chat with us about his company, his inspiration and his future plans. Cee: What up, man? Thanks for taking the time to chat to us.
Shane: My pleasure dude.
Cee: So break it down; tell us about Vitaly Design and how it came about.
Shane: Vitaly came about while I was backpacking around Asia. I kept having a dream about the Buddha sitting under the Bodhi Tree – this was a time in my life ruled by work - absolutely no balance. I knew little about Buddhism but thought it had something to do with balance. I knew South East Asia was a great place to explore it’s foundation and perhaps a way to level out.
I dropped everything I was doing and with my last pennies, flew there. I stayed for 3 months. I’ll be honest, I didn’t spend a ton of time exploring Buddhism, but I did spend time learning how to live.
Vitaly was born in the last month of my trip. I always loved fashion, but had never even considered doing something with it. I flew to Bali for my last month expecting to surf. A couple days in though, I checked out inland Bali, Ubud, and couldn’t leave. The people… the artisan lifestyle… the masonry… it was inspiring. A couple days in, I thought to myself, these people could make me anything I can draw – wouldn’t it be cool to have something with a taste of Bali and a taste of urban style? I drew up my first double ring. I had several people try to make it from there. A man named Ugenk, a great man who took pride in his work, had the skills I needed. When the first proto was done, I threw a message up on Facebook asking friends if they’d want one as a gift. The response was overwhelming and from that demand and a desire to produce more designs, Vitaly was born.
Cee: Amazing. Why jewellery design as opposed to any other form of creative expression?
Shane: It just found me… I will say though, as a kid, I produced a lot of music and that slipped away. That’s when my life became all about work. Vitaly has brought me back to the right side of my brain and I love it. I don’t imagine jewelry is all you’ll see from Vitaly.
Cee: You were born in Bali and spent some time there, which was clearly a huge inspiration on your designs. What in particular about Bali (and Indonesia in general) hit the creative nerve in you?
Shane: Technically I was born in Edmonton Alberta, but you could say I was born again there… I couldn’t say one thing in particular inspired me about Bali – the place is a epicenter for artists… there’s an energy there. I’m not a genius with words, so I’m not even going to try to do it justice.
Cee: Currently your range is two and three-finger rings, with very simple yet elegant designs. Do you plan on expanding from the rings into other jewellery or clothing?
Shane: Keep your eyes pealed for my next line, which should launch internationally in about 3 months. You’ll see some single finger rings, long chains and French cuff-links. My designs will always be androgynous - I hope to see some women rocking the cufflinks too.
Cee: Your work is stocked in various stores in Toronto, but also in Italy. Are you planning to expand into Europe? For some reason, Italy seems a great fit for your work.
Shane: My work was well received in Italy. Dolce (of D&G) actually took notice… as a new designer, I was pretty flattered. My plans are larger than Europe, to be honest. I’m working on an International roll-out. I really think Scandinavia in particular would receive my designs well, but I’d love to see some presence in Asia (Tokyo, Singapore and Malaysia) as well as the States, South America, etc.
Anyone reading this from NYC? Keep your eyes peeled for Vitaly in September.
Cee: Jewellery aside, what else inspires you? Specifically, do you have any artists (music, visual, etc) that really make you want to create?
Shane: This question is too big!
I could have answered this with a million names of people I worship, but I don’t think they come into play for Vitaly.
What I draw from for Vitaly… Black & White, Ying and Yang, Night and Day, Love and Hate, Time and One Life - Balance. I’ve always been interested in extremes… Vitaly is about juxtaposing extremes to find balance.
Cee: Great answer. You're planning to add a section on your site that supports local Toronto musicians. That's really dope; what is the plan behind that?
Shane: It’s simple – we’re all a team – let’s start acting like it. Being an artist is a hard gig – let’s share our networks, prop eachother up and bear-hug each other’s worlds.
The “Vitaly Family” section will be dedicated to artists in Toronto who want their art to be known and who know how powerful a good team can be. It will be musicians, painters, carvers, bloggers, designers of all kinds, etc.
Cee: If you weren't designing rings, what else would you be doing? Where else do your passions lie?
Shane: The other loves in my life are snowboarding and traveling. I work for a media company whose media exists solely at ski resorts – I absolutely love my work. In my perfect world though, I’d be designing and traveling… I’d have no ‘home’.
Cee: Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring creative individuals?
Shane: Be good to people – you don’t have to be spiritual to believe in Karma… being good to others perpetuates more good. If you’re driven / love your art (job, sport, etc) and treat all those you meet with respect, I think you’re on your way to where you want to be, because people will want to see you succeed.
Oh, and don’t be a talker, be a doer.
Cee: Where can the people see and purchase your work online? Hit us with the social media links!
My Facebook URL is weak… https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vitaly-Design/158986170792575?ref=ts Someone wanna help me fix that?
Cee: Thanks for your time, man. We wish you much success!
Shane: Thanks! – Hope I didn’t talk to much… I tend to do that.
One of the reasons I wanted to run our own blog was to give the folks things they might not ordinarily see or read among regular primarily entertainment/music blogs. That's why we find models and approach them for interviews and (often) exclusive or first-look pics rather than just re-post random hot chicks we find on the net. So the other day, my housemate showed me the trailer for a new real-life porn of...The Simpsons. Yup. I've heard of - and freakin' loved - the many hilarious porn parodies over the years, and always admired the audacity and often timeliness of releasing their products, right when a mainstream film is still hot. Anyway, this parody of The Simpsons was next level. The cast generally resembled their character physically, and the styling and make up is awesome. Even the voice acting was great. Shit, the yellow paint bugged me out. Marge be hot, yo.
I was lucky enough to get to chat to the director of said flick, Mr Lee Roy Myers, who took out some time to talk to me about The Simpsons parody, his other work, how to get into porn directing and Canada.
Cee: Cheers for taking the time to chat, mate. How's things? Lee Roy: Things are great. I get to shoot what I shoot for a living. And luckily enough people appreciate it and buy it, so I get to keep shooting what I shoot for a living.
Cee: You were nominated at the recent AVN's something like 5 times. I didn't check the results, so how did you go? Lee Roy: It went great. Tom Byron won Best Actor for my movie, Big Lebowski: A XXX Parody, and Best New Line Award went to Romance Line, for which I shot most of the movies. So, that's like a win in my book.
Cee: How was the event itself? Any stories to share? Lee Roy: It started with going down the red carpet with three of my friends, Eddie Powell (Director of "Awakening To Love") & Sam Hain (Director of "Sex Files" & "Sex Files 2"), and Kina Hain, the best caterer in the biz. And it continued with interviews, photos, a cocktail party, and then the awards. Not too many stories to share, but it was great to finally see all of the performers finally wearing clothes.
Cee: To most red-blooded males, you have the dream job. That said, does your constant exposure to porn and sex dampen the excitement at all? Has it just become another job, or do you still get as much of a buzz as you surely did in the beginning? Lee Roy: First thing anybody that meets me will tell you is that I am a guy that emotes loving his job. I really, really, really love my job. Does working side-by-side with hot naked women get less exciting over time? It's still exciting, but we work really hard to make our movies. So, most of our energy is spent concentrating on the work at hand, and not the hot naked women around us. So, when we get a chance to see the excitement, it is still exciting. I mean how can you not watch great sex happening and not enjoy those moments, no matter how many times that you have seen them.
Cee: How does one get into the field of porn direction? How did you manage it, especially being from Canada and away geographically from LA (where most films are made)? Lee Roy: I shot some movies in Canada back in the day, but my work never really got recognized (as they shouldn't have because they were all really pretty terrible attempts at gonzo & reality porn). It wasn't until I was asked to write a script - a comedy about a porn office that things kicked off for me. I wrote The Office XXX Parody, which became a huge hit. So, that led to Scrubs XXX Parody, and Seinfeld XXX Parody, which led to dozens more. Unfortunately, because I have been shooting pretty much non-stop in LA ever since, I don't get back as often as I like. But I do have a Canadian Partner, George Christos at Kookoo Entertainment, who is working hard at bridging the gap between Canadian porn and the international market.
Cee: Your career seems to have mainly centered around parodies, which are extremely well executed. How did that happen? Lee Roy: Well, the adult industry has taken a huge hit in sales in recent years. Piracy in the form of illegal tube sites & torrent sites, as well as the economic drop most consumers have suffered from have affected people's porn buying habits. It turned out that parodies brought new porn buyers into the marketplace. So, I just happened to get in at the right time, at the start of the porn parody boom. And thankfully, consumers have been really receptive to my work. However, I have shot gonzo and adult romance movies and original features, but parodies are just what i am most well-known for.
Cee: The sets on the parodies are damn near spot on, too. And it seems you tend to work with a lot of the same talent. Is that because they're easily adaptable to the various characters, or because you guys have strong working relationships? Lee Roy: Marko B does most of my sets. The man is amazing. He has a great eye for detail. As for the talent, I like to use people that are look-a-likes and sound-a-likes, but are also able to act, and perform sexually. It's already not a huge talent pool, There are only so many people brave enough to have sex on camera. So, yes, I do have some people that I keep working with. And yes, that has created strong relationships.
Cee: Your latest parody is of The Simpsons, which looks amazing and hilarious. Where did that idea come from? Lee Roy: Thank you. I had a good feeling about it being big. But interest and sales are huge. Honestly, I had been thinking about it for a while. After a shoot we had all ended up at a bar next door, and a performer had mentioned it to me, but we joked about it for a while and then I kind of brushed it off. We were all drinking so I thought once I sobered up I would realize what a terrible idea it was. Anyways, I woke up and I started considering it. I brainstormed ways that I could pull it off and started pitching it to a couple of studios. First as an animated feature called "The Sampsons" about the Simpsons sexed up, next door neighbors. Then as a live action movie. Well, nobody was interested. So I let it sit. Finally, I left the studio that I was working for and realized that this was the project I should do. Now, if you've never seen my stuff before, you may not know that I have a pretty weird sense-of-humor. I did parodies of Big Lebowski, Human Centipede, Golden Girls, and Seinfeld. So, I knew that this was at least as weird and funny as any of those were, so I went for it. And here we are.
Cee: What did you use to get the yellow colour on the skin of the actors? From what I saw it seems most of it stayed on lol. Lee Roy: Actually we used full body paint, and post colour effects. Honey Myers, my wife is a genius when it comes to editing and color correction. So, she pumped up the yellow in post and made it pretty vibrant, so it almost looks like a mix between human and cartoon. I really love what she did.
Cee: Will you look into doing more cartoon parodies after this one? Lee Roy: Sure. I have some ideas.
Cee: What's next for you? Lee Roy: Well, you can look out for Pr0n - The Tron XXX Parody (Co-Directed by Sam Hain), Katy Pervy (a very funny parody of Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and a very weird & twisted sex scene with Katy & our Elmo parody look-a-like, Elmer. Yes, puppet sex!), Here Cums The President (A huge budget feature, Co-Directed by Ronal Raygun, for a new studio called CEA), and a remake of the classic adult movie, Sex World. Lots more to come after that.
Cee: Any message for the people? Lee Roy: If you like my movies, please buy them so I can make some more.
Cee: Hit us with where folks can find out about you and your flicks online. Lee Roy: Well, you can follow me, Lee Roy Myers on Facebook or Twitter, and they can check out SIMPSONS - THE XXX PARODY at www.simpsonsporno.org.
Cee: Thanks for your time man! Lee Roy: Thank you for chatting with me.
Any Oz Hip Hop fan who seriously follows the scene will be familiar with one of the dopest crews out of Adelaide, Pagen Elypsis, whether it's through Prime and Purpose's battle record on WRC, or the various mixtapes and features the fellas have dropped over the past few years. The guys have just released their debut album, 'One Way Ticket', yesterday (August 19th), and they took some time out to chat with us about the album, their line up and their nunchuck skills.
Cee: What it does fellas? Aight, I gotta ask this one straight up. Where did the name 'Pagen Elypsis' come from?
Pagen Elypsis: Pohetikut & Motive came up with the name in about 06, walking there drunk asses home to a shack during schoolies. The name itself came from synonyms of Pohetikut + Kadowg's first group the "Skeptiks", and Purpose and Motives first group "Figures of Speech" i.e. Pagen (syn. skeptic) Elypsis (syn. figure). So it means a skeptical figure, which suits us just perfectly haha.
Cee: Break down the group for the people. Who's who, what are their skills (ie nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills etc) and why are they better than the other dudes.
Pagen Elypsis: Well the group consists 5 MC's: Purpose, Motive, Kadowg, Prime & Pohetikut. Purpose also handles production duties on a majority of the record but we ALL have equally great nunchuck skills and I feel for whoever gets to witness that first hand.
Cee: So y'all dropped the Double Or Nothing mixtape back in 07. How was that little puppy received?
Pagen Elypsis: Yeah the "007" mixtape did well and opened us up to an overseas market we never really aimed it at. About 6 months after we released it, Purpose and Prime generated a bit of a buzz through an international battle comp called the WRC battle series and it had made its way onto the internet without us knowing haha. Around home it did well, having the Battlehoggs DJs a part of it helped a lot in Australia as they were on the brink of starting their official mixtape series.
Cee: You guys took a bit of a hiatus from the group projects between then and now. What happened in between?
Pagen Elypsis: On the music front in between '07 and now there has been 3 more mixtapes/street releases; a Purpose solo tape, an Aforementioned group release (Motive & Purpose) and the Pagen Elypsis "2010" promotional tape. We were fortunate enough to play some big shows, P Money + Mystro in Melb, Funkoars in ADL, Xzibit in Middleton, Obese Block Party 2010, Obese Car Jack tour 09. A lot has been in the works but its only really becoming official now. Aside from that a lot of drinking, a lot of sex and a lot of hangovers haha.
Cee: A bunch of you blokes have quite the rep in the battle scene. For you, what's the difference between making music and battling? And why do you think so many battle MCs make terrible music?
Pagen Elypsis: Thank you, the difference is really the longevity aspect. A battle rapper is only as important as he is in the moment where he's battling. There are certainly some battle rappers who will always be respected but there are a lot more rappers known for their music who are timeless. That's more the direction we are looking to steer ourselves towards, we had our fun and enjoyed it but we prefer to spectate these days haha. I don't think 'battle MC's make terrible music', I just think some people gather so much attention through battling that they put something out before they're ready to try and capitalize on that hype. It's a genius idea if your music's good, horrible idea if you suck cause you will instantly fall into that bracket.
Cee: So tell us about the new album, One Way Ticket.
Pagen Elypsis: The new album really represents something that we're proud of and that we've been working on since we started. It's a well rounded album that shows all the different strengths of the members of the group and allows us to give people exactly what we've been preparing them for over the past few years since we came out. The production has very much the same feel of an 'Elypsis' album but with a bit more charm to it. I think we really nailed the balance on this album of bringing what people know us for, and what they would never expect from us. That's a hard task to do but we are very proud of the results.
Cee: Did you guys get many features? Seeing as there's a gang of y'all, that might be redundant.
Pagen Elypsis: The only people who feature on the album are producers and DJ Butcher haha. Five rappers is enough, the next album is the Aforementioned album and we got some crazy features lined up for that but this time around it's all Elypsis.
Cee: Who did you get on the boards?
Pagen Elypsis: Purpose kick started the production off, I think he ended up with 8 or so beats on there. We got a few joints from a cat from Brisbane by the name of Cam Bluff who's really crazy, a joint from Answer in Melb and we also worked with some overseas cats by the name of Vokab & Kela who we had used on the Red October release so some familiar faces.
Cee: What's the plans as far as promotions for the album? Will there be a nationwide tour of some description?
Pagen Elypsis: We're looking at putting together a tour for the album towards the end of the year with some shows all around the country so if you think we should come to your city hit us up on Facebook......NOW. You can keep up to date with any new gigs through the Facebook page or Twitter @pagenelypsis.
Cee: Where can the people cop the album? And where can they find you online?
Pagen Elypsis: People will be able to cop the album on iTunes, Amazon, all good independent stores and we're negotiating a JB account as we speak so you should be able to get this bad boy anywhere.
Cee: Any final message for the fans?
Pagen Elypsis: August 19th...DONMusicLtd. So neccesary.
Cee: Thanks for your time, y'all.
Pagen Elypsis: No doubt.
Aaaand we back with the first TMF Artist Feature on the new site, so it's extra fitting that we kick it off with our good homies Tokyo Cigar and Cyclops of The Plexiglass Fountain. These cats are some extremely talented and dedicated artists...but I'ma shut up and let the boys do the talking... Cee: What up fellas? Y'all are about to drop your sophomore album, is that correct? What's changed between the making of Left Of The Scenery and this joint?
Tokyo Cigar: We pretty much just stepped it up on all levels. We had more time to put the album together so it's way more potent overall. Left of the Scenery was a hard album to follow up cause we were on a straight mission when making it. This one is more relaxed but more focused in terms of cooking it up.
Cyclops: Not too much has changed in the actual making of the album. Since this is the 2nd time around, I’d say the group chemistry is pretty solid and we have a more comfortable dynamic. We both record in different spots so Tokyo just sends the beats and then we both start writing and recording and sending everything over email. Even though it’s an unconventional process it works well for the group.
Cee: It's been like a year between PGF albums, but you've both dropped numerous solo projects in the meanwhile. Tell us about those, and how the fuck y'all get so prolific!
Tokyo Cigar: haha. For me it's pretty much based on big bags of Bionic (shout out Sour Diesel). I'm addicted to music so when I finish projects up I get a little depressed so I stay working. The "Megaman Theory 2" came from a blunted convo with one of my homies who loved the first part. "Frozen Flesh, Ugly Soul" was an instrumental album I was working on for a couple of years. "The Ladies In The House" was me just wanting to work with singers and testing my production with vocalists. "The 12 Fingered Musician" happened cause keb0 got at me for beats and the EP we did was crazy.
Cyclops: I dropped my solo album 'Oceans'. That was more of a soulful, jazz infused album. It was very laid back. The album had a lot of different production including EOM, Half-Centric, Tone Spliff, Razorsharpe and Cenzo Beatz. With PGF we have a really left field sound, so with Oceans I wanted to make something more boom bap to balance that out.
Cee: Break down the new album for the people...
Tokyo Cigar: It's a lot darker and more raw. The lyrics are more personal and the cockiness factor is turned wayyyy up. Overall it's a brutal album. The beauty parts are Brutally beautiful and the Hard parts are brutally hard. We got songs that are probably gonna start fights in clubs if the DJ plays them. We also made more effort to get more guests on the album.
Cyclops: The new album is called 'Midnight Hindsight'. It’s basically the same PGF sound but elevated; we stepped up our game on every aspect of the project. The beats, lyrics, and delivery are all improved. Like the 1st album, we touch on a wide variety of topics and have a bunch of different sounds. Overall, I think the whole album is even better than the 1st.
Cee: Tokyo, were you on the beats the whole time for this LP as well?
Tokyo Cigar: Yeah. Most def. I was raised on cats like RZA, DJ MUGGS, PETE ROCK & CL SMOOTH, and GANGSTARR. So I'm more in tune with the one producer thing to give a cohesive sound to a project.
Cee: Any guests you wanna reveal?
Tokyo Cigar: Well The Movement Fam is pretty much Ghostface on Cuban Linx status haha. Cee & Bekah and Notion are on 2 joints. Da Capo who did "The Article" with K Def is on a track. Mally and Cause are on a joint and keb0 came through and blessed a track. I called up Jadakiss but he was busy haha.
Cee: You guys worked with The Movement Fam's Cee & Bekah on the single 'Carpe Diem'. Tell us how that came about and break down the song for us.
Tokyo Cigar: When i made the beat I kept on saying to myself "We NEED Cee and Bekah on this!" I just caught a crazy vision for that. Cyclops loved the beat and then I sent it to Cee and Bekah and they loved it too. I came up with the overall concept of going for your dreams with music and when everyone did they parts for it I was like "woooooooooooooooooow!" I felt it was gonna be a great track but when I actually heard it finished I damn near shit my pants. Shout out to Notion for the incredible mixdown too.
Cyclops: We’ve been cool with TMF for a while and even do a little writing for the blog so it’s only natural that the collaboration came to fruition. “Carpe Diem” is a song about coming up in the music industry and some of the experiences that are related to that. Even though it’s about music, anyone trying to make something of them selves can relate. It’s all about working hard and making moves, so it’s a pretty positive message.
Cee: I heard y'all might be doing a video for this joint, what's up with that?
Tokyo Cigar: Yeah I was building with the homie Cee and we came up with some dope ideas. We gonna try and wrap it up and give heads a crazy visual vibe for the song. Shit would be wild.
Cyclops: The video right now is in the planning stages but when TMF comes to North America it’s a wrap.
Cee: You also worked with TMF's Notion on the bangin' 'Head Trauma Scholar'. That's some wild shit. Tell us about that joint.
Tokyo Cigar: Yeah. I stay cooking beats so i just made that and I saw Notion going crazy over that. Actually I remixed a whole album of Notion's a while back. I won a spot on TMF's remix album for my remix of "New Wave" I loved dudes style and flow and charisma lyrically so I wanted to work with him for a minute. The song is straight Gorilla rap over a soulful beat so I felt he would be perfect for it. He really went in crazy on that joint. One of my favorite tracks on the album for sure.
Cyclops: The song is crazy. Notion has been helping us out with some mixing and mastering so it was long overdue that we all got on the same track. Tokyo and I had the song and we thought Notion would be a perfect fit so we just sent it over and he had an incredible verse. Basically, the song boils down to all of us spitting some crazy bars.
Cee: Do you guys plan to get some shows crackin' to support the release of the album?
Tokyo Cigar: That's the only complicated thing. We are in different states so linking up to perform is an issue. We're gonna work around it. I may go up to Jersey to link up and lace some shows. But we gonna work it out. We on some Phonte and Nicolay shit right now ha ha.
Cyclops: Because we live in different locations that’s pretty difficult but it’s definitely a possibility and something we’re working on. Shows are really important so it’s one of our goals for the near future.
Cee: So what's the plans from here? Should we expect another PGF release any time soon? Many solo projects on deck?
Tokyo Cigar: Oh yeah for sure. The crazy thing is that we are already working on our third and Fourth project. We also have a top secret project were doing that should blow some peoples minds. Cyclops also has a solo album called "When Inspiration Hits" which I produced entirely for him. We dropping that in December. That joint has some of my BEST beats ever. I'm also lacing an EP called "The Last Dragon" for my man Ra that is gonna be retarded.
Cyclops: We’re working on a few projects actually. I have a new solo album produced by Tokyo coming out in December, called “When Inspiration Hits.” We’ve been working on this album for a while and it’s definitely my magnum opus as a solo artist. Tokyo has some of his best production on that album and I have my best lyrics so the album is going to be something very serious. I also have a project coming out produced by Half-Centric. It’s a very soulful sound and is going to have collaborations with Cee and Notion. Recently, I started on another solo album that’s going to be somewhat of a sequel to Oceans. It’s tentatively titled “The Red Morning Sky.” There’s only 1 song completely finished for that project called “You Don’t Understand” produced by Razorsharpe and everyone I’ve played it for has gone nuts.
As for new PGF shit, I don’t know how much I’m supposed to talk about LOL but we are planning a bunch of different shit. We’re working on our 3rd album, which is on some take it back to 94 shit. I mean, I was only 2 then but you get the idea. We’re also planning a Trip Hop project infused with some poetry and prose. That’s not really fleshed out yet, but I’m sure it’s gonna be insane once we get the ball rolling.
Cee: Any message for the people?
Tokyo Cigar: Please support the Plexiglass click. Our motto is "Music is my Life, Life is my hobby" so we really put our heart and soul into this.
Cyclops: To everyone who supported us and listened to the music, thank you. We work hard to put out the best music possible and when people respond to that it means a lot. To everyone who hasn’t checked us out or is waiting to, please take a few minutes out of your day and listen. All of the music is available for streaming and free download so there’s no reason not to check it out.
Cee: Hit us with the science where folks can grab the music and get more info on Tokyo Cigar & Cyclops.
Tokyo Cigar: We got the website http://www.theplexiglassfountain.com/ and Bandcamp http://theplexiglassfountain.bandcamp.com/
We also got Twitter http://twitter.com/Tokyocigar http://twitter.com/CyclopsCaliberX
Anyone interested in beats get at me thought the homie Big Cee at email@example.com and Tokyocigartalk@gmail.com.
Cyclops: Check out http://www.theplexiglassfountain.com. Anything that we do as a group or solo gets posted there so it’s pretty much a 1 stop type thing. If you want go to http://www.theplexiglassfountain.bandcamp.com http://www.cyclops.bandcamp.com or http://www.tokyocigarmusic.bandcamp.com if you want to download our stuff.
Cee: Peace guys.
Tokyo Cigar: Peace. Thanks for the interview. AUG. 10th "Midnight Hindsight" support the album. ZOOM.
Cyclops: Good looking out on the spotlight. It’s really appreciated.
Atlanta. Seattle. St Louis. J-Mar has resided in all of these cities, and their style, attitude and swag is evident in his music. Most folks may not know the name, so I'ma let the man himself tell y'all...
Cee: What up man, how you doing?
J-Mar: I'm good dog, just livin' this North West life.
Cee: Aight, so you represent Seattle, one of my favourite cities in the US for sure. Even though Seattle is on the West, do you think you guys get excluded from general West coast conversations?
J-Mar: In some ways I think we get excluded. I think it's mainly from the people who ain't on West Coast. When you think of the West a lotta people associate that with palm trees, Cali life. But cats in Cali if they're real for the most part, they know what's up and they put us in the mix. We along wit it, we're bangin', ridin' low low's, ol' school Chevy's, the whole nine.
Cee: Does Seattle have a certain sound with regard to Hip Hop, as y'all did for the grunge movement?
J-Mar: Yeah I think Seattle's hip hop sound is MCs busting over real smooth, cool out joints. That's when hip hop is at it's best out here.
Cee: Tell me about your latest album.
J-Mar: My newest project is called 'Be A G About It'. It has all kinds a features on there, including West Coast legends such as C-Bo and Marvalous. 'Be A G About It', the the phrase is somethang our camp tries to stay true to. It means to handle your business accordingly whether you are the street hustler on the corner or the business executive. Be a G about yours and handle your business.
Cee: What were some of your inspirations?
J-Mar: As far as inspirations go, my cousin Yougn was the first one who pushed me to start rapping for real. We formed a group called North West Heathens. As rappers go, I would have to say Brotha Lynch Hung. He was my favorite rapper growing up but as I traveled around I grew to like artists such as TI and Obie Trice.
Cee: What sets you apart from the masses of MCs these days?
J-Mar: I think what sets me apart from most MCs is my diversity. I have lived in so many different areas in the States that I just naturally picked some of their styles and that especially held true with music. From Atlanta to St Louis back to Seattle, I'm able to tell stories that can relate to all urban living, no matter were you come from.
Cee: What other projects are you working on?
J-Mar: Currently I'm working on my mixtape which is set to hit the streets within the next couple weeks. It's called 'Elevator Music (Next Level pt 1)'. Also I'm working on my new hip hop/jazz album called 'The Cognac Lounge' with the hit single 'Pimp Shake'.
Cee: Have you been touring or doing any shows lately?
J-Mar: Yeah I just got off the Prenuptial Agreement tour with J Stalin and San Gin. And I'm doing a show in Seattle with B-Legit from E-40s The Click on May 6th.
Cee: Ever been to Australia?
J-Mar: No, never been to Australia but I would love to come over there to rock a show and kick it with the locals.
Cee: Outside of Hip Hop, what artists have been catching your ear and inspiring you?
J-Mar: I love R&B. Keri Hilson is doing her thang. Neo soul artists like Dwele, Lauryn Hill, Corinne Bailey-Rae and Jill Scott.
Cee: Hit me with some contact details so the people can get at you!
J-Mar: You can find me and my music on iTunes, Rhapsody, CD Baby, MySpace.com/du4self and look for Du4self on Facebook.
Cee: Thanks for your time!
J-Mar: Thank you. Appreciate it, continue to do your thang and don't forget to be a G about it the whole time.
This is one man who needs no introduction. Any self-respecting Hip Hop fan will know of The X-Ecutioners, one of the most respected and talented DJs crews to ever rock the 1200s. The recent passing of the legendary Roc Raida has brought the guys to the forefront yet again; well, it's not like they ever left, really.
DJ Rob Swift has just released a brand new album entitled 'The Architect', and it's unlike anything you've ever heard before. Hip Hop, Classical, Turntablism. Actually, let's just call it good music.
I was blessed to do the first Australian interview with Rob (shouts to the homegirl Tamia!), so let's get right to it...
Cee: Hey Rob, how's things man?
Rob Swift: Things are great!
Cee: First up, I checked out the album. All I can say is 'wow'. This is on some next level shit. What was your main inspiration for it?
RS: The inspiration for "THE ARCHITECT" is the genre of classical music. On past albums, Jazz was the driving force for a lot of my creativity. Listen to my first album "THE ABLIST" and you'll hear songs with live bands. Even the album cover was intended to invoke a feel of the old Blue Note record label. Pick up my second album "SOUND EVENT" and discover tracks like "Salsa
Scratch" featuring jazz pianist Bob James. But this time around, about one month prior to begin working on what would later become "THE ARCHITECT", I discovered the genre of classical music. It made such an impression on me that subconsciously I was thinking like a classical composer, working movements and things of that sort. Once I realized this, I embraced it.
Cee: How do you feel turntablism and classical music are related?
RS: Both the classical musician and turntablist compose music. Its as simple as that. Obviously, the way we compose our music is different. Turntablists do not read sheets of music. A classically trained pianist or violinist does. However what ties us together is the way sound, rhythm and tempo inspire us to make music in the first place. Both the instincts of the
Turntablist and classical composer guide him on what sources of sound to incorporate into a piece, and so on.
Cee: Why the move to use more classical sound on this project?
RS: I felt the need to reinvent my sound. This was my way of giving my audience something new to look forward to regarding my music. It also served as a way of keeping the process of recording new and challenging for me.
Cee: Why the decision to only include one vocalist on the album?
RS: Well, I was listening by composers like Beethoven, Mozart and especially Frederic Chopin. Their music captured your attention with out the need of a vocalist. I wanted to achieve the same. I didn't want to use the presence of an MC on a particular song as a crutch!
Cee: What do you expect to achieve with this album?
RS: My goal on all of my albums was to emphasize the turntable is a musical instrument in the hands of the right DJ. For skeptics that didn't believe it when release my prior albums, there's no way than can deny it after listening to "THE ARCHITECT".
Cee: Was this more of a personal record or something for the people?
RS: I put my heart into everything I do. Thus, this album was just as personal as all my other releases. Likewise, I like to stimulate my audience and challenge the way they hear music so in that sense its for the people!
Cee: How did you meet Mike Patton and link up with his label?
RS: I first met Mike Patton at a show the X-ecutioners collaborated with him on in Canada. This was many years ago. Later on, we recorded an album with Mike entitled "GENERAL PATTON VS THE X-ECUTIONERS". Most recently, I toured with Mike as a member of his band "Peeping Tom". All of this allowed us to develop a strong musical connection. So midway through the completion of my album, I reached out to Mike about releasing "THE ARCH..." And after
listening to a rough draft of the album Mike responded in a very positive way to it and offered to draw up a recording deal on behalf of his label Ipecac Recordings.
Cee: How did the passing of Roc Raida affect you both as a musician and as a friend?
RS: As a musician, it makes me appreciate what I do for a living even more. It's easy to grow tired of the countless hours spent on planes, trains and automobiles on your quest to tour the globe spreading the word about a particular project. It's easy to get comfortable in what you've accomplished in the past and play it safe, only doing just enough at a show or in the recording studio. But Raida passing away is a reminder that you can't take life and the opportunities life offers us, for granted. Raida showed us that none of us know what's waiting for us around the corner so its important for you and I to give everything we do 110% because after we're
gone our work on this earth is what carries on our legacy. As a friend, Raida showed me the important roll we all play in each others lives. Raida and I motivated each other to be the best DJ, producer, musician and all around person. At times we accomplished this through being creative. Other times we accomplished this did it through it was through working out
creative and personal differences. Our friendship was deep. Tumultuous at times because of the passion we have but full of love as well. We were like brothers! I'll miss him forever and for this reason I dedicated "THE ARCHITECT" to him!
Cee: Tell us about the live show for the album.
RS: The live show is something you definitely must witness in person. Let's just say you won't be disappointed. I'm usually drenched in sweat by the finally of the show.
Cee: Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
RS: At the moment, I'm working on a DVD documenting "THE ARCHITECT" world tour!
Cee: What's the plans for the immediate future?
RS: Work, work, work and work some more to promote my album!
Cee: Are you getting down to Australia any time soon?
RS: Thanks to a fine trio of Australians (Tamia, MJ and Aaron - WHAT UP!) I will be touring Australia this May! It'll be my first solo tour their and I'm really excited about it!
Cee: Any message for the fans?
RS: I'm looking forward to seeing you all at the various shows I'll be having in Australia and please support my new album!
Cee: Thanks for your time man!
RS: Thank you!
So to kick off 2010's The Movement Fam Artist Features, we thought we'd do it BIG! Normally, we like to spotlight up and coming artists that we believe in and who are about to do big things; however, this time we decided to step that up a bit. Fans of the Hall of Justus (Little Brother, etc) may be well familiar with Miss Carlitta Durand; and although she's worked with some of the most talented MC's in the game, she's on her way to make her mark on the world solo.
Carlitta recently released her debut EP, 'The Doug & Patty EP' (based on the 90's cartoon characters). With eleven songs (does that technically make it an album?), it's a free gem that really shows off Miss Durand's vocal and songwriting abilities. Check the interview below for more info, but every song is really dope; that's rare as hell these days, let alone on a free EP. She reminds me of a young, more upbeat Jill Scott (mainly in her vocal tones and inflections), and has some serious potential to make a solid mark on the Hip Hop, R&B and Neo Soul worlds.
Carlitta was kind enough to take some time out to chat with me about the EP, her upcoming projects and how she got down with Little Brother...
Cee: Hey Carlitta, thanks for taking the time to chat with us.
Alright, so let's get a little background on you. How did you get into the biz? And how did you link up with Little Brother/Justus League?
Carlitta: Hey, well..a friend of mine had a friend, he eventually became my manager, he worked with HOJ and JL, and Little Brother needed a singer one night, they called me and the rest is history. The song was "Life of the Party".
Cee: Most of our readers will know you best from your work with LB. How has it been working with such esteemed MCs? Has it helped you shape your craft?
Carlitta: It's been great, I've learned a lot, met a lot of people. It feels good to work with artists who take their craft seriously, and I consider LB to be one of the best rap groups of all time. It's truly a blessing and has opened doors I never would of thought I'd see. I've definitely grown as an artist and a singer since the first night I met LB.
Cee: So after a gang of guest appearances, we finally have a Carlitta solo project in the 'Doug & Patty EP'. Was this your first solo outing?
Carlitta: There was one before this, a mixtape "Carlitta's Way" that available on iTunes.
Cee: Tell us about the EP. Who did you get on production? There's some amazing beats on the project.
Carlitta: The whole project was produced by Vaughn Garcia of M1 Platoon. It features Oklahoma rapper Jabee and he recently released a mixtape as well with Mick Boogie, "Must Be Nice", be on the look out for him as well. It also features Big Chopps of the M1 Platoon, I believe him and his group got next, they are out of DC and they are very dope. I took a trip to DC to work on the EP for a weekend, we worked all day and night to finish it. I'm proud of it, it's fun and the music is good. I'm just happy i can share it with the world.
Cee: Feature-wise, there's no big name appearances. Was this intentional? And notably, there's no Justus League feature. Any reason behind this?
Carlitta: I wasn't really gonna feature anyone but Vaughn Garcia, I wanna give everyone a chance. There are rappers out there that we tend to over look and not give credit to but they are very dope. Jabee and Chopps are some of them, I believe in their talent and I think they have something worth listening to.
Cee: What was the inspiration behind using the Doug & Patty characters from the 90's? That was a throwback!!
Carlitta: Lol ha, there wasn't really any inspiration, me and Vaughn were just brainstorming names. We get silly when we're together, I threw out Doug and Patty and he said 'OK'. That's it.
Cee: What was the motivation behind making it a free download? There's a lot of talk about this these days as listeners tend to expect everything free or they'll download it illegally anyway. What are your thoughts on this?
Carlitta: It was a Christmas gift to everyone...I know there is a problem with downloading but I believe people will pay if they believe in you. When people appreciate what you do and believe in you AND enjoy they will buy you music.
Cee: What's the plans from here, as far as your next project? Do you have a full length album in the works? What can the fans expect from you going forward?
Carlitta: A full album is coming, touring, more projects and collaborations, shows, videos...anything I can do to share my music.
Cee: Is there any artist(s) who are your main inspirations? And who are the main folks you're keen to work with on the next project(s)?
Carlitta: Sade, I love her voice and she's beautiful and I LOVE Prince, he's a musical genius. I would love to work with Madlib or Stevie Wonder lol, but I'm really open to work with anyone.
Cee: Hit us with your contact details so the fans can check out your music!
Carlitta: Of course:
twitter.com/carlittadurand (The best place to find me lol)
and Facebook: search "Carlitta Durand"
Cee: Thanks for your time, much love and good luck with everything!
Carlitta: THAAAANK YOU!!!! LOVE, PEACE AND BLESSINGS!
We back on that Canadian Hip Hop shit again...where else? So this time around, we linked up with the homie TaylorMade, representing Toronto (Scarborough in particular, so dude is speakin' to us). Made has a bit of a rep in his 'hood as a dude who speaks for the locals; I remember my boy Scott telling me about Made while Bekah and I were living in Scarborough, and quoting me his raps coz dudes there related (the one that comes to mind is 'Liquor store looking like a parade on Friday' off Made's 2004 shit). That's real to me, and that's why I reached out and connected with the homie.
We caught up with Made to talk about his third and latest mixtape, 'Hustler's Wit', Canadian Hip Hop and what's next with the man. I'ma let my dude speak on it...
Cee: What up, Taylor? How's things fam?
Taylor Made: Things are good homie. Jus' out in the T-Dot tryna do my thing.
Cee: Aight, you've recently dropped your latest mixtape, 'Hustler's Wit'. Tell the people about this joint.
Taylor Made: 'Hustler’s Wit' is for people of all demographics and different walks of life. I tried to balance the project by not only addressing street issues but life issues. I try to touch on feelings that everybody has been through at some point. After playing the CD in its entirety, each and everybody has to have heard something they can identify with. I’m happy with that.
Cee: How has the response been so far to the mixtape?
Taylor Made: The feedback has been positive. My peers respect my skills too which is also a plus. It’s the people who enjoy my music that keep me going in this cut throat business.
Cee: This is your third mixtape, right? How do you feel you've grown over your releases?
Taylor Made: I feel I’ve grown by different experiences I’ve been through during the timespan of the 3 projects. The fast life, drivin' luxury vehicles, the hustler’s paranoia, loyalty, betrayal, love, beautiful women, triumph, pain. I went through all that and that’s what fuels the music I make. The more I gained experiences the more I gained newer perspectives which translated into new songs.
Cee: Are you planning to work on a full length album any time soon?
Taylor Made: A real album is looking very likely. I usually do mixtapes rapping on industry beats just for practice and to stay sharp, but I think its time to give the people something completely TaylorMade. But I do wanna expand my brand considerably before releasing an LP.
Cee: Who have you been working with lately, as far as producers and MCs?
Taylor Made: Jinx Beatz outta Hamilton gave me a couple joints for this project. I also worked with Set2 who’s another great artist outta Toronto. I usually do my own thing because I’m tryna pay my dues and put in my work on my own first. I called couple producers for some beats but they ain't holla back. Politics as usual. It is what it is, I just keep working.
Cee: Have you been doing any shows lately?
Taylor Made: I got some things I’m linin' up, stay tuned for dat.
Cee: Do you think the Canadian scene has had a lot more shine on it since cats like Drake and Kardinal blew up?
Taylor Made: I think the Canadian scene is bigger than its ever been. People are watchin' so let’s give em something to see. There’s a lotta hate in the city but as far as I’m concerned doors got opened so there’s no time for non-sense, just walk through.
Cee: What's next for you?
Taylor Made: Whats next for me, I got a daughter coming into the world shortly so I’m gonna be getting some barf on my shirt for a while and will be watching alotta Treehouse. In a while though be prepared to see me bring that lyrical, witty, smart ass rap to the microphone again.
Cee: Hit the people with your contact details and where they can get the mixtape!
Taylor Made: My contacts are:
I can be emailed at TaylorrMade@msn.com (with two r’s). Most of the mixtape tracks can be found on the YouTube page. Big up to The Movement Family for bringing the real Hip Hop to Australia and abroad. Big up all my supporters, I’m nothing without you. Shout out Kitty Kat my angel investor. Signin' out. TaylorMade. L.O.T. Records.
Y'all know that over here at The Movement Fam, we stays supporting GOOD music, where it's from on our fair planet. And seeing that we're especially partial to Canadian music, it's no surprise we linked with Montreal's Malicious aka Mr Malish for this latest feature. It's been a busy week!
Malish been makin' noise in the north for a minute now. His latest project, "Life's Not So Sample", is a banger, and the single and video for 'Hometown' (a remake of Adele's joint of the same name) has been getting major love on YouTube.
Malicious took some time out to chat with us about his upcoming work, the Montreal scene and Modern Warfare 2!
Cee: Hey Malicious, what's been happening?
Malicious: Hey what's up, First off thanks for the opportunity.
I'm good staying busy working future projects and killing Modern Warfare 2 on PS3. Yeeeaaaah baby!
Cee: Aight, so tell the folks a little bit about yourself for those who ain't already know.
Malicious: For those that don't know I go by the name Malicious or Mr Malish. I'm Canadian. I rap, I produce, and am THE MOST VERSATILE emcee from my country. (I'm still working on being humble)
Cee: Your latest project is the mixtape 'Life's Not So Sample'. Tell us about that.
Malicious: That mixtape was a lot of fun to put together. In the process of working on my new album their were songs that due to sample clearance or overall direction couldn't make the cut. Ultimately those songs made there way on Life's not so sample. The mixtape/album deals with the frustrations of being artist in a city (Montreal) that's never seems to be satisfied.
Cee: The video for the joint with Adele is crazy. How has the response been to that?
Malicious: "Hometown" has received nothing but love. Montreal has so much culture that worldwide a connection can be felt with the video.
I've received messages saying things like "thank you for being so honest, and for finally showing a side of the city that's seldom if ever represented" Blogs and websites have been kind enough to share the video that although showcases Montreal, has an underlining tone and theme that can appeal to any town.
Cee: How's the scene out in Montreal? Is there much interaction with the English and French scenes?
Malicious: The MTL/Real city scene still has a lot of growing up to do but seems to be moving in the right direction.
It seems like Toronto's Drake has inspired more Canadians in general to pick up a mic. The French and English emcees don't collaborate as much as outsiders would think.
Cee: Have you been doing much touring/shows around the mixtape?
Malicious: I've done a few shows in conjunction with beer companies like Coors, and Labatt but for the most part have spent most of my time in studio working on my future projects.
Cee: Do you have a major release/album coming any time soon?
Malicious: Right now i'm a couple tracks in on the follow up album to "Music Starts With M". I plan surprising a lot of critics with this album. I'm taking my time with this one and plan on taking it places listeners haven't heard me venture to before.
Cee: Who have you been working with lately?
Malicious: Lol, I know HOW important that is these days in hip hop but I'd like to keep that a secret until the moment's right
Cee: What are your plans from here?
Malicious: To provide quality/undeniable music. There are many rappers, very few Hip Hop ARTIST, I plan on holding it down for the ARTISTS. Look out for me featuring on other projects, movies, new videos, and the new album, which at this time is still untitled.
Cee: Hit us with your contact details so the people can get at you!
Malicious: Damn! I got get my myspace poppin' again, lol
In our travels around the USA in 2008, we were lucky enough to get to hang with, and record with, musician Tim Williams in Atlanta, GA. Tim is an extremely talented musician, who astounded us by playing a right handed bass upside down. Amazing. Tim recently released his album 'Sunny Day', and we managed to catch up with him to find out about it.
Tim: I'm doing great!
Cee: Give the people a bit of background on yourself.
Tim: I'm originally from the coast of Mobile,AL. I presently live in Atlanta,GA. I started in music at the age of 10 playing the trombone. I switch to bass in college after my room mate showed me the fingering. I recently release my jazz cd Sunny Day. The cd is now available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/twilliamstunes.
Cee: When we met in Atlanta in 2008, you knocked out some basslines for us and I still can't get over the fact that you play lefthanded on a righthanded bass!! How did you manage to learn to play upside down?
Tim: When I started playing bass I taught my self how to play on a right handed bass because I did not have my own. I got so comfortable playing it upside down that I really don't think about it. Even though I'm lefthanded; if you gave me a lefthanded bass I probably would not be able to play it.
Cee: Alright, so you've just released your new album, Sunny Day. Tell us about that.
Tim: Sunny Day is a combination of contemporary, latin, reggae and traditional jazz mixed with R&B vocals. I have a group of talented musicians playing on the cd. The instruments include me on bass as well as sax, flute, trumpet, keyboards, drums and guitar.
Roderick A. Smith on sax and flute
Cedric Young on trumpet
Tony Carter and Charles Brown on keyboards
Edgar Clay on drums
Nathaniel Williams on guitar
Serretha Ransom on vocals
Sylvette Parker-Monroe on vocals
David Barnes on vocals
Victor Speakman and Andrea Smith on vocals
Cee: Was this a long time in the making?
Tim: I wrote some of the music several years ago but it only took us a couple of months to record it.
Cee: Who are you main inspirations musically?
Tim: A couple of my inspirations musically would be Stevie Wonder, Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire, jazz artist Grover Washington, Joe Sample and Stanley Clark.
Cee: You recently performed at Bay Fest, tell us about that experience.
Tim: Performing at Bay Fest was a great experience; they have thousands who attend the event anually.
Cee: You've opened for some big names in your time, how has that shaped your music?
Tim: Opening up for R&B Funk groups like The Commodores, The Bar-Kay's and Con Funk Shun was great. I grew up listening to their music. It was an awesome experience!
Cee: What's the plans from here?
Tim: My plans for now is to continue promoting the cd by touring and air play on the radio.
Cee: Hit us with some contact information where the fans can hear your music and buy the album!!
Tim: My music can be heard at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/twilliamstunes. The music can be bought at this link also. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melbourne's MC Requiem has been around for a minute now. After dropping his debut EP 'Coffee, Biros & Death' a few years back, the dude has been hard at work in the lab penning his debut full length album, 'Grassroots Anarchy'. With production from some of the finest producers in the country, including Ciecmate and Defiant, and a successful launch at Brunswick St's First Floor a little while back, Requiem is set to make some noise with this one. We caught up with dude to shoot the shit and chat about the album...
What up man? How’s things?
Things are going well man, I just had my album launch for my new album 'Grassroots Anarchy' and I’m trying to hustle some more shows around town.
What’s been happening since we last heard from you after you dropped your EP?
Since then I’ve been working on the new album, writing songs and getting beats and guests organised. Finally recorded, mixed and mastered and now it’s on the shelves.
So you’ve dropped your debut album, congrats! Tell us about the title, ‘Grassroots Anarchy’.
Thanks. Basically I just wanted to vent my frustration over some hard beats and 'Grassroots Anarchy' is the best way I can put that in words. There’s riots happening in cities around the world and my contribution to this anarchy is on a grassroots level, which is in the form of music.
Your music has always contained a strong social and political commentary. Where does this come from?
I think it’s worth saying something in your music. There’s too much going on in the world and too much going on locally to just talk about all the good times, cos it ain’t all good! I read a lot of news and do my research and recently the civil conflicts in Greece, France and Iran all took my interest and I had to speak on that. Also the way the streets are turning to shit is something worth noting. CDs getting harder to sell so if you’re going to put back yourself with a physical release now days you best be doing it for the right reasons and for me that’s having a soapbox to voice my observations on society.
You’ve worked with dudes like Ciecmate on your album, as well as a few other well known cats in the scene. How did you hook up with them?
I was looking for darker more banging production this time around, mood music. Something to set the tone for the album. I heard Defiant’s production on Brad Strut’s album and I knew Ciecmate had some bangers too so I hit them all up and found some gems.
You’ve got a couple features on the LP, including Fluent Form and Maundz. Who else have you been working with? Do you think the collaborations help shape your style?
I’ve known Maundz for ages and I met Fluent Form a year or so ago and they respect my style and vice versa so it made sense for us to work together. I also collaborated with my friend Tahireh Thampi because she’s such a beautiful soul singer. Working with others definitely makes you step your game up, but the same goes with working with producers – when I get a beat I want to do it justice.
How do you think you’ve grown as an artist since the EP?
When I put out the EP it was about five years worth of song ideas condensed into four solid tracks. I really put that release out to get those old songs out there and get some attention from listeners. With the album I was able to write fresh material and work with people I’d planned to for a long time and the time between I had a chance to grow and improve my delivery and sharpen my pen lyric-wise.
Have you been doing many shows lately? Will you tour off the back of this album?
Yeah I’ve done a fair few shows in recent months in the Melbourne area. As I said previously I’ve just finished my album launch. No plans to tour but am looking to do more shows.
What’s the plans from here?
Keep promoting the album, get on every mic possible and let the people hear my music!
Let us know how the people can get in touch with you, and where they can cop the album from!
You can go check out http://www.myspace.com/mcrequiem for all information including upcoming events, purchasing the album and more! Cheers.
When I think of Sinergy Crew, the first two adjectives that come to mind is 'staunch' and 'thug'. Well, not really. A recent review of their debut album, 'Sin City', labelled the fellas with these two words and it kinda made me laugh. Sure, their music is straight up boom bap, punchline-friendly Hip Hop, but there isn't really anything 'staunch' or 'thuggish' about Royalz and Chains. Maybe it's coz I know the blokes and they're nothing like that. Either way, they're real. And that's what really matters here.
As soon as you lay eyes on the album artwork, there's no question as to the fact that this is a Hip Hop album. The 'Sin City' piece on the cover was drawn by local South East graf writer Zanee, and it immediately suggests the pure realness of the music contained within.
With Royalz behind the boards on all 16 cuts here, the SC sound is nothing short of raw, grimey, in-your-face boomsauce, and when the boys jump on the mic, it's clear that they can both rip it like Franco Colombu at a Mr. Olympia competition in the 70s. Single 'The Game' has been making some solid noise on the JJJ Unearthed charts, fan faves 'All Out Raw', 'Who's The Boss' and 'Rockin' The Richter' (with Hungry Human Raven) are all here as well. The blokes even include some solid personal, introspective and political joints like 'Hindsight', 'The Silent Truth', 'Such Is Life' and 'The Third Eye'.
Features are kept to a minimum, with DJ's Simple Simon and Elev8 supplying most of teh cuts, and their mates DBO Crew and A.I. all making an appearance on the two posse cuts 'Backyard Blitz' and 'Just The Beginning'. I caught up with the boys to chat more about the album, realness and what's next from here.
Sup boys? What’s real?
(R)oyalz: It’s almost lunchtime and my stomach is telling me I gotta eat, for real.
(C)hains: KFC Mashies are back. Definitely is a good sign in the wake of swine flu pandemics and the global financial crisis.
What’s been happening with you guys since the album dropped?
R: Working hard on the next release for our crew Associated Illness. Performed at and currently doing more shows. Eating KFC while playing X-Box. Hustlin’.
C: Yeah a combination of pushing the album, doing shows and writing for the Associated Illness project. Probably an expansion of the clothing line next year also as we have some artists working on some crazy designs.
How has the response been to the album thus far?
R: Pretty positive so far. We’ve had a bit of radio play and interviews from all over, so I think there are people who still like that grimey hip-hop.
C: In general it's been good. The current trend with a lot of Australia hip hop is slow, minimal production with what some call 'emotional' lyrics. While this is fine in small doses, entire albums of it just sound like whining. Most people in this world have it tough in some way or form, so we prefer to give people something more uptempo that they can rock out too and let loose rather than wallow in self pity.
What’s your individual favourite joints off the album and why?
R: 'Hindsight' is a personal favourite. It’s a reflection on our journey through our creative process to where we are now.
C: Hard to say it kind of depends on the mood. In terms of live shows - 'Rockin the Richter', 'The Game', 'Just The Beginning' are all crowd favourites and get people up and about. If you're just kicking back, 'Hindsight', 'Hip-hop-aholics' and 'The Third Eye' are probably up there.
There’s a marked political angle on a few tracks, what’s your main inspiration for that?
R: Life. The dodgy dealings of greedy individuals and the ignorant people that find it easier to ignore the truth.
C: I think the human race has reached a fork in the road right now. People don't think for themselves anymore, it's far easier to just follow the flock and hand responsibility over to corporations and governments. In the past, where ethics were more prominent, it wasn't as dangerous as now. These days when we live at the mercy of greed and gigantic profit margins, you can't have such a lax attitude about the world. Our lives are dictated by belief structures that aren't physical - racism, the 'economy', political correctness etc... none of these things are actually real, they are imaginary and can be manipulated in order to control populations. People need to start understanding that to regain some control over their lives.
Well said. Now that you’ve dropped a mixtape and an LP, do you think you’ll approach your next album in the same way you did ‘Sin City’?
C: It's hard to say, I think there will definitely be some more political fuel to add to the fire. That's something we'll have to cross when we get there. The A.I album is going to be a straight up banger, the next Sinergy release is hard to predict. I'm sure it will just evolve as we go along.
Tell us about the AI crew project that you have been working on.
R: We’ve been collecting the best beats from crew and associated equally ill dudes for a full length album. We all work well together so I think it will be a pretty cohesive effort. We’re currently writing two tracks which will hopefully be done by the end of the year, so keep your ears open!
C: Ever been kicked in the head?
Lol, not recently. Have either of you guys thought about doing solo projects?
R: I’ve had thoughts of doing a producer album similar to Chops or Marco Polo, but I’d have to grow my gatalogue a bit before diving into a project like that. Other than that I like working as part of a team, or contributing bits to other peoples projects.
C: I guess you never say never but collaboration is one of the beautiful things about hip hop. As Royalz mentioned, working with like minded individuals to create a piece of music is great.
Couldn't agree more. Royalz, you’re the main producer for Sinergy Crew. Who are your main influences production-wise?
R: My main influences are masters like Premo, diversity of Danger Mouse, sample selection of Necro, chopping of Stoupe and drums like Dre – all with their own signature sound and masters in their own right.
Chains, define ‘realness’.
C: Realness is as realness does. You can't be told what realness is, you have to see it for yourself. When you take the bus... you get there.
That's deep. What’s next from here?
R: I’m gonna go take a dump at work and get paid for it.
How can the people contact you fellas, and where can they cop the album from?
They can cop the album online from grhyme.bigcartel.com or any good independent music store nationwide.
If you're an R&B head from Melbourne, you've more than likely heard of, or seen, Declase. Their unique blend of funk, R&B and rock saw them playing many a show around our fair city, as well as landing a coveted spot on Rove Live backing Kelly Rowland.
Being both a guitarist and a vocalist, Sean Declase has now stepped out on his own after some success with Declase, his group Zoona with his brother Wayne, and the electro dance group Bass Chimps.
Sean has now independently released his debut mixtape, 'Sean Declase Is Dead', and I gotta say it's been in heavy rotation in my iPod since it arrived in my mailbox. Banging lead single 'Dangerous' features the homie GMC, the raw 'Brand New Hustler' even has Ice T on guest vocals, Kaos (from Justice & Kaos) features on 'Business', the funky 'In My Hood', interesting story cut on the title track, the hilarious (with fucking dope acapella vocals) 'Intoxicated Pt 2', and my personal favourite 'Throw Me Down', all complete a truly funky, danceable mixtape that not only showcases Sean's quality vocals, but his strong writing skills. There's even two cuts from the Bass Chimps thrown in there for the electro heads.
I caught up with Sean to chat about the mixtape, and his launch show (tomorrow night!) at Seven nightclub, Albert Rd, South Melbourne. Peep game.
What up Sean? How's things?
Things are great man, working hard at putting a new live show together, as well as working on remixes for songs off the mixtape. Still in the process of pushing "Sean Declase Is Dead", and at the same time, writing new stuff for my upcoming release through Generation Records. So I've been flat out!!
Aight, so lemme start with some background. I know you from Declase, I remember being the only judge who voted for you in the Ja Rule opening act competition! Why did the band split?
Haha were you really? Thanks a lot Marcia and Dicko!
We had been playing for about 7 years and in that time, achieved things we probably never thought we would from our first initial practices. We started off playing at family parties and just getting to know our instruments, then not too long after, we were gigging almost every week at a lot of the major clubs in Melbourne. I guess we all just moved into different ventures after that. Being cousins we still jam every now and then, it's good to know the old boys still got it!
How was that experience for you, working with your family?
Anyone who knows us, knows that were a tight family regardless of the band. The best way to describe it was just that it was heaps of fun! We all got to share in the glory together but also had our fair share of disagreements. I remember we once had a band meeting at a Chinese restaurant and we were arguing so intensely, the waiters were about to call triple 0!! That's the best thing about us all being related though, we could say exactly what we wanted, and know that 2 minutes later we would be back to laughing hysterically again! I'd definitely say it was the best time of my life...
What made you decide to go solo?
Being the youngest, the other guys had other commitments and businesses they moved on to. My older brother Wayne and i had the band ZOONA happening for a few years, which turned into more of a song-writing partnership. So we'll never stop writing stuff together. Myself and two other mates had an electro-vocal house act called the Bass Chimps after that, and we had some success both here and in the States with two of our releases. One of which, a song called 'Something About' reached the number 1 spot on America's dance download chart 'Masspool' averaging over 40,000 downloads in the U.S. The record label who signed us (Generation) offered me a solo album deal, I saw it as a great opportunity to bring out the stuff I've always wanted to do, and make it one hundred percent my style.
How did you meet Kaos?
Where else? At the bar! A mutual friend introduced us and after many scotches we exchanged details and the next week we had a track called 'Paperchase'. It featured on the ARIA nominated Justice and Kaos EP 'Turn It On', which I also sang the chorus on. Since then we've always worked on each others tracks, Kaos produced 3 tracks on my mixtape 'Dangerous', 'Business' and 'In My Hood'. We'll be working together for years to come I'm sure.
I gotta big you up on the mixtape man, shit is funky as hell, I've been bumping it flat out all week. I can hear some serious Michael Jackson influences in there, who else inspired you to make this album?
I grew up deep into Jackson, The Beatles, Stevie, 2pac, Chili Peppers, Commodores the list goes on and on. I've always just loved good music, whatever the genre. It's weird how you can hear a song and it will take you to an exact place and time in your life, happy or sad. Nothing gives you that euphoric feeling like music does...ok maybe not nothing :)
What do you plan to achieve with this mixtape?
The main aim of "Sean Declase Is Dead" is to raise the awareness that i am out on my own doing the solo thing. With my previous bands we had started to develop a following of people who dug our music, what I have to do now is start from scratch and do the same for myself. The songs on the mixtape are just a collection of music I've written over the past year, a taste of what you might expect to hear from my upcoming releases.
Who else are you working with right now?
At the moment I'm doing some work with the Black Dogs, a funk/disco Melbourne band consisting of DJ Mark John (Disco Montego), Andrew De Silva (CDB), Zoe Badwi (Release Me - # 1 Aria Hit), Danny Dharumesana (producer for Rockmelons/Kaylan). As well as writing with the guys, I'll be playing live with them, including a show on the 17th of Oct at Caulfield Cup Day.
The other one I'm pretty excited about is a girl named Samirah, probably one of the best female voices I've heard come out of Oz, and she's only 19. Your gonna hear her name pretty soon I'm sure of it, she also features on the mixtape, singing the chorus on 'Don't Save It' which in my opinion, makes the song!
What's the plans from here?
Well at the moment I'm still gigging the mixtape so I'm flat out doing that. This month I've got 7 live shows, including my launch party on Saturday the 10th of Oct at Seven nightclub. Once that's done, it's back to writing for me and getting together the songs for my album release through Generation, due out in the not too distant future.
Hit us with your contact details so the folks wanna get in touch and check out your music!
Aight, welcome to another TheMovementFam.com artist feature. This time around, we got to chat with the homie GNZ, who represents Belo Horizonte (which literally translates to 'below the horizon'), Minas Gerais, Brazil.
GNZ is one of the most prolific MC's we have come across, and he has been down with The Fam for a hot minute now. We've had the pleasure of working with GNZ and although we have no idea what he's saying on a song, his native Portuguese sounds amazing on the beat, and his often politically inspired lyrics reflect the world around him.
For some (some = around 15 original albums worth) incredible FREE music, check out GNZ's blog, and check what the man had to say after the jump (please note that GNZ answered me in English, which is his second language - I've intentionally kept his wording and grammar as provided to give you the raw interview).
Cee: What up man? How you livin’?
GNZ: What’s good man? Word up! I wanna thank you guys from the TheMovementFam.com for all the support, you know.
Cee: Aight, so tell the folks a little about GNZ – where you come from, what you do and how you got into Hip Hop.
GNZ: Well, I’m from Brazil and I always live in a capital of my state, Minas Gerais. I graduated in Arts in a state college in 2006, but before that I used to work with urban arts in perimeter of my city at the same time that I decided to rap. So, I understood that I’m better with words. Throughout my life, I had contact with musicians and artists in general, so the most people who grew up with me have chosen that way.
We used to live by ourselves in the squares, drinking, smoking and skating by the night. We were kids. And we used to rhyme also just for fun, you know. But the rap that came for us was too much predictable and commercial for those days. Even the North American rap. So I stopped for a couple of years, returning to the pen in 2005 when the underground appears for the mass in Brazil. A drummer friend had mounted a recording studio that year, but he was not even close to rap music. I called him anyway.
So, we start a project called Ponta Pronta after a short conversation in some street bar, you know. It was an MC’s and beat makers collective, where I learned so much. But it didn´t work out. In this same year I was invited to drop with Casa B, and I’m down with those homies until today. And I also have my own work, solo or full of collabos.
Cee: How is the Hip Hop scene in Brazil?
GNZ: I think Hip Hop in Brazil came from the same root, which irrigates all the urban places around the world. Now here, we have a lot of tentacles: the gangstas, the religious, the commercials, the alternative and a lot of others. We can't say that's all the same but it´s all Hip Hop. It’s always growing here.
Cee: What projects are you working on right now?
GNZ: I’m working with collective Casa B: we are 9 artists (MC’s, beat makers, skaters, street painters, musicians and friends). We are finalizing a video of one of our tracks and thinking about a disc for this year. Our first one in almost 4 years of streets! But it´s a little difficult to us to organize all that stuff when we´re 9 crazy dogs, you know. Lol! And as I said, I have my own career too, where I can make by myself, by my way and with all my homies around the world, you know (in about 16 different countries).
Cee: Tell us about your latest album.
GNZ: Okay. Procura-se is the last album I dropped in my blog. You have to listen that to discover what I wanted to mean. It’s all about life, feelings, poetry as almost everything I wrote before. That album has some international collabos. About 20 tracks and I think’s all. You can download that for free, taste that and tell me later about that. Rhythm and poetry. That´s all.
Cee: Alright, I gotta say this, your blog is insane – you have like 15 or so albums for FREE download! And most of them are in the last few years. How do you maintain a work ethic like that?
GNZ: Word! That’s true. I have more then 300 tracks and about 30 albums for free download in my blog. I prefer to think that I have some time to spend with my music. lol
Cee: What are your plans? Are you keen to make a living out of your music?
GNZ: I got no plans, for real. I need to rap, you know. I think the underground could be more then a temporary zone. Or just a step to climb that hill, you know. The underground must to survive all that shit. I believe in an old punk philosophy: Do By Yourself. I must keep that moving until the end. I must keep it on.
Cee: Who have you been working with lately?
GNZ: It’s little hard to talk about who is working with me right now, because I´m always working with a lot of soldiers. I would have to cite several names and I’m afraid to forgetting someone´s, you know. That would be not fair.
Cee: What’s next for GNZ?
GNZ: Word up! I have about 25 brand new tracks to drop soon on the blog so watch out!
Cee: Any words for the people of TheMovementFam.com?
GNZ: Thanks again for all that and let’s keep on moving. Life is short, so do what you feel.
Cee: Hit us with your websites…
GNZ: PEACE and MUCH RESPECT, fam!
It is truly amazing that Hip Hop has hit every continent and folks are producing good music. The Irishman Danny Diggs: producer, beatmaker, and maestro of sound has taken some time out of his busy schedule working for a brief insight into his world. I hope you all enjoy.
DJ Grain: Being from Ireland, what was the first Hip Hop music you heard?
Danny Diggs: It was an NWA - Straight Outta Compton casstete tape that I got as a present, back when NWA were no longer a group and cassettes were the last thing a young teenager wanted. It took me a long time before I found out there were actually Irish Hip Hop acts, but the first time I heard the Irish stuff, it blew my mind.
DJ Grain: When did you start making beats?
Danny Diggs: I started messing about rapping, then quickly moved onto making beats at about age 14 or 15.
DJ Grain: What artists have you worked with?
Danny Diggs: A bunch of different artists. I did my first album work on Canadian rapper Mello Black's debut album "At the Speed of Motion", I did 3 tracks on that. I just did a track ('Reflections') on the Killah Priest & Cheif Kamachi - Beatiful Minds LP.
Right now I'm working with an ATL based emcee named Jermiside on what will be my first album, I'm really looking forward to people hearing this. I think its going to be a solid record. On this side of the ocean, I'm doing a lot of work with rapper/singer/producer Maverick Sabre, he probably DJ's too. I'm doing a few tracks for his first official mixtape coming in the new year, and I've done random tracks with Shad K, Akrobatik, Nucentz, DJ Mayhem and others.
DJ Grain: What was the first song your produced?
Danny Diggs: Ah I don't know, probably some shite i was rapping over myself, but the first song that people are actually going to hear, I would be the Mello Black stuff.
DJ Grain: Thus far in your career, who has been your favorite artist to work with?
Danny Diggs: Bit early for this kind of talk. So far its a toss up between Jermiside and Maverick Sabre, I think both of them are great, both have crazy focus!
DJ Grain: What instruments or equipment do you use to make beats?
Danny Diggs: My set up is PC based. I run Ableton and Acid Pro (I've tried 'em all and these are the ones that suit me) controlled by a bunch of MIDI controllers (Korg pad Kontrol, Novation Le keyboard, Mackie controller), Krk monitors,bass guitar, some old Gemini turntables and lots of records.
DJ Grain: What project(s) are you currently working on?
Danny Diggs: Jermside/Danny Diggs album, and the Maverick Sabre Mixtape. I think I'm gonna put out a little MySpace EP type download with various rappers over my beats.
DJ Grain: Could you describe the Hip Hop scene in Ireland?
Danny Diggs: I would say it's good. Living on the West Coast, I'm a ways away from the Irish Hip Hop "scene" that centers around Dublin, but we have got some really good acts like Rob Kelly, Maverick Sabre, MJEX, Nucentz and Rawsoul, Scary Eire, Flithy Rich, DJ Flip, Scooby...there's too many to name. We have talent out the ying yang, hit MySpace, do a search and see we are about to invade.
DJ Grain: Who are some of your favorite producers?
Danny Diggs: Pete Rock is the man, Primo, J-Dilla, Black Milk, Ohmega watts, RJD2, and 9th Wonder just to name a few that I really like.
DJ Grain: Do you have any words of wisdom for young producers?
Danny Diggs: Ha, I'm too young to give words of wisdom, but for anybody starting out, do your own thing - don't go onto a fucking website forum and listen to a bunch of talentless cunts talk about how to make good Hip Hop. If you enjoy what you're making then it's good Hip Hop. Such and such software or a particular piece of gear isn't going to make you better, make do with what you have and learn.