Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Interview with Double AB

Interview with Double A.B.
1)            Double A.B. what’s good? You got the album Media Showers coming out. How does it feel to have the album done and are you satisfied with the album?
Whatup fam! yea we got the new album Media Shower dropping on Sept. 18th on Man Bites Dog Records. It’s like pregnancy--it’s been stressful getting everything together but feels really good to be about to give birth to such a work of art. I am more than satisfied with the album-- I think it’s the best work either I or my producer Dub Sonata has ever done.

2)            The album is produced by Dub Sonata just like the previous album The Diesel. Would you have done anything different with this album?
Dub produced the majority of my last album, The Diesel, I think 11 of the 15 tracks. It was only natural that we make it official and do this new project as a "Double A.B. & Dub Sonata" album together with him providing all the production. There are always little things you would change or do different when you listen to your music--ten years later I'll listen to an old song and get a new idea about what I should have done on this part or that. The important part is refining it to a good enough level where you're happy then knowing when to back off and let it out into the world....

3)            How has your music evolved since you started making music?
My music has evolved through the different times and recording techniques. When we first started we were recording on 4 Tracks onto Maxell tapes, with the beat 2 tracked and 2 remaining tracks for vocals. There was no such thing as a "punch in" because you could never make it sound seamless. It forced me to write verses I could spit in one take without needing to pause for breath, and I still carry that technique with me today. The content and style of my music has shifted up and down over the years but I keep one ethic in mind--I make music for myself, that I would be a fan of as a listener. When I stop worrying about other people's opinions and satisfy myself first, ironically that's the music that other people seem to latch onto the most. They can probably feel the sincerity.

4)            Are you willing to sign with a major label or stay independent?
Major label or independent label doesn't matter much to me. The music is what I care about, and getting that music to the public in the most efficient fashion. I like the level of creative control at Man Bites Dog Records and I feel like it’s a good home for us right now.

5)            Tell the world where you rest your head at?
I was raised uptown Manhattan and currently rest my head in Astoria, Queens.

6)            Has growing up in New York City and attending the public school system influenced you musically?
Growing up in the New York City public school system influenced me tremendously. It’s how I got my first introduction to hip hop, its where I learned to hone my craft. It also taught me survival skills. New York has such a wide range of artistic and specialized public schools too...It’s that perfect blend of nurturing diversity and hard knock life that gives birth to the best artists in the world.

7)            How does it feel to work with artists such as Nature, Vast Aire, Cormega and C-Rayz Walz on the Diesel album?
It was a blessing to work with artists that I am a genuine fan of on The Diesel. Nature and Cormega are both Queens MC legends. Vast and C-Rayz both emerged out of the same NY underground scene that birthed me as well. Working with them just felt really natural.

8)            Has being in the Blaze Battle and MTV rap battles opened doors for you?
Being in the Blaze and MTV battles definitely opened some doors for me. It was my first real recognition beyond my immediate circle. It’s also a double edged blade because once people find out you are a "battle rapper" they want to pigeonhole you and assume you can't make good songs and albums. I'm proud of my battle past focus now is making timeless music.

9)            What was one of your most memorable live stage performances?
One of my most memorable stage performances was when we rocked the Million Marijuana March in Battery Park, downtown NYC back around '99. We had a live band called "The Masters" that got very popular upstate where I went to school. We did a bunch of benefit shows for NORML which culminated with this one in Battery Park, where at least 10,000 people had to be in attendance. My boy Alaska was sick and couldn't rock with us, but had brought his friends, some rappers from Philly that he wanted to go on with us. So it ended up being me, Vast, my man Bill G and these two kids from Philly we didn't know. One of the Philly kids dissed Sprewell in his rhyme, when he had just been traded to the Knicks and was a hometown favorite. The crowd was really thugged out--I remember looking out and seeing a sea of kids dressed in red gang colors. They got mad and started throwing shit on stage and what not...Someone from the crowd snuck to the stage and somehow got handed the mic by one of the kids. We didn't know if he was down with the Philly kids or not--Then that dude passed the mic to someone else, and next thing you know there was a line forming by the side of the stage and OUR show had turned into an open mic. By the time I realized what was happening a few kids had already got on-- I tried to do damage control and confiscate the mics from everyone who wasn't crew. It was chaos. One kid who I took the mic from before he could rock went behind my back and acquired one of the other free mics. He started rapping and trying to diss me. He didn't know it but he actually saved the show for me-- I had to again forcefully cut off a girl from rapping after him so I could get my rebuttal, but the way I verbally ripped him to shreds in front of the packed crowd was epic. The thugged out crowd LOVED it... they even started throwing Phillies, Dutches and bud onto the stage. It almost turned out better than a regular show for that particular crowd.

10)         How was it working with Scram Jones on the Blaze and Amused Mixtape?
Scram Jones has been around our clique for a long time. He has an A-alike mentality to this hip hop shit and it was a blessing having him host Blazed & Amused for me.

11)         Give a synopsis of “The Diesel” and “Media Showers” albums.
The Diesel was very much in the tradition of New York gritty street rap. My particular style is very conceptual so almost all of my songs always have a very definite topic--topics on The Diesel range from a song about all the crazy neighbors in my building and the crazy shit they get into, to a dedication to my best friend who killed himself when he was 16. Media Shower's soundscape is a little different. It is more experimental and futuristic. Many of the beats were originally going to be on Dub's instrumental album so they aren't arranged like a normal rap beat with 16 bar verses and 8 bar hooks. The concepts are wild too--I rap about everything from the space-time continuum and the origins of life to grotesque stories of drunken car crashes. The album is very unique to say the least.

12)         Who are the guest appearances on this album?
Media Shower features appearances by Cannibal Ox, Evidence, Sean Price, Scram Jones, Rhymefest and Roc Marciano. With the exception of Evidence and Roc Marc who the label reached out to, these were all artists that Dub and I had connections to or had worked with on other projects. It’s a blessing to have them all involved.

13)         You signed with Man Eat Dog records. What made you decide to sign with that label?
I met the good folks at Man Bites Dog through my man Vast Aire while he was recording his last record with them, and like I said we just clicked and felt like they were a good home for the project.

14)         What do you think about the state of hip hop nowadays?
The state of hip hop is crazy nowadays. A LOT of new artists are coming out the woodworks particularly due to the internet and the way the game is structured now. There are a handful of fugazi artists who have gotten a lot of burn in an industry that would not have let them in a few years back...that said, the doors are open to many different people now. Because of the music industry's collapse from the top on down many of the old ways of doing things are out and an artist with a new approach has a good chance of getting seen and heard. I think now artists have a lot more freedom to be themselves and really go in their own lane, and that will do nothing but help us and our project.

15)         What do you think is the difference in the independent scene now opposed to ten or twenty years ago?
The difference between the indie scene now verses 20 years ago is all about the computer. Now it is mp3, internet, and blog driven whereas back then it was about vinyl, a good stage show and word of mouth.

16)         What advice would you give to artists on the come up?
I would tell artists on the come up to just do what you love and be consistent. Consistency is really the key nowadays. You can put out a hot record--but can you keep doing it like clockwork? Every year? Every 6 months? it’s something I strive for more in my own work.

17)         What’s next for Double A.B.?
The next step for me is just ensuring that everything goes well with the release of Media Shower Sept. 18th, and just rocking the fuck outta the shows I got coming up. Next after that will probably be this Chrome Ninja Series EP that I got with my brother Vordul Mega on the horizon....

18)         Where heads want to get at your music?
My music is available in stores and online-- the easiest way to cop it is just by going to iTunes. Pick up my 1st album "New York Minute", my last "The Diesel" and most importantly my new joint "Media Shower" on Sept. 18th. Also make sure to go to Youtube and check out our video for "Lord Knows What" with Roc Marciano, as well as my other vids we got up and rocking....

Peace fams!!!

Interview with Aye Wun

Interview with Aye Wun
Filipino’s finest Aye Wun stepped through the scene with sharp witty rhymes and storytelling wordplay that keeps the listener’s ear ringing. With an edgy sharp flow, Queens bred Illipino Aye Wun stops by to discuss about the forthcoming mixtape “Sparks Steakhouse” and how he puts that extra grind in the game.

1)            Aye Wun in the building. State where you rest your head at?
On the Queens side of things!

2)            For the ones that don’t know, who is Aye Wun?
Funny you ask that I got a lil blog with the "who's Aye Wun" theme ( ..But yeah I’m just a dude hunting my dream down and refusing to live in society as a robot, and this dream of mine just happens to be rap music.

3)            Could you discuss your journey to the hip hop scene and how you got hooked up with Stewrat?
Let’s see. Since i was a young Lad, I always been into hip hop from rap to graff on the streets. I have been introduced as early as 5 or 6 years old, so in my eyes that’s when my journey began. I started fuckin around writing lil rhymes here and there when I was about 10 or 11 just to make my classmates laugh. As I kept progressing I realized that I really had a gift for it and made me think like "oh shit I can really do this". I hooked up with Stewrat through my peoples Vs Stylez and Treazy, big shout out to them, word up. I kept hearing how he was crazy with the production so I hit em for some beats, and sun threw me like 10 joints at once. He a cool ass dude!

4)            When did you realize that you want to get in the booth and pursue rap seriously?
I realized it real young, I was like 14. I saved up some paperoni, hit up guitar center and was like "fuck it, I’ma  record myself". I seen it as an investment at the time, plus i a’int know anybody that had a studio back then. I knew it was time to record when I realized that I could actually write songs and knew how to format them. Also, a lot of older heads was telling me I had something in me and that I should never stop rapping, so that always stuck with me till this day. Word!

5)            I’m digging the name N.O.R.E called you in the chorus “the Illipino”. How did the track Rigamortis featuring N.O.R.E came about?
For the record, I originated the title "Illipino" haha word up. I never really used it on a song though; I just had it on my twitter bio shit. When it was time to record N.O.R.E.'s part for Rigamortis and he spit the hook for the first time, I was like "wow that’s hot he used the Illipino shit". But yeah man, that joint came about through the graces of my good friend Butchrock, who happens to be N.O.R.E.'s DJ. From what I know, Butchrock played N.O.R.E. A couple of my songs and N.O was open and the rest is history.

6)            How was it working with Tony Heathcliff?
Shout out to Tony Heathcliff, that’s a good guy right there. Legend has it that Butchrock amped Heathcliff and got him mad, which led to the creation of the Rigamortis beat. When he hit Butch phone tellin him he sent the beat thru, we played that shit and both had the sourpatch warhead faces on once when we heard it.

7)            You worked with N.O.R.E and Tony Heathcliff. What have you learned through that experience?
Working with them I’ve learned a whole lot man just by being around acting like a sponge. I learned that the grind don’t stop and patience is a major factor in this game we play. I won't reveal too much cause I’m still learning as we speak. I’m a 'student of the game' like N.O.R.E.'s upcoming album dropping soon go get that it’s gonna be crispy waffles.

8)            The Filipino Anthem is tough. Much love to DJ Butch Rock, how you guys got up?
Thank you homey. Super shout out to Butchrock man. Me and him got up through some good mutual friends, real good brothers man (big shoutout to Gob Goblin, Lord Zerto, and Spent D'nero). We met at Goblin Music Studios in L.I.C (holla at me or them for good studio time rates). That’s like my 2nd home right there. From there it was just on.

9)            Take us to an Aye Wun writing process and studio session. Do you listen to the beat and then spit on the track or you have another formula behind it?
Yeah i usually acquire the beat first, then that’s when I zone. I go into another dimension with it yo, I turn into Rainman with it. Sometimes I’ll have a verse that I saved in the vault that I would use when the times right on the perfect beat, but that doesn’t occur too often. A typical studio session would be mad beers, a pre victory bogey, a mid victory bogey, and the actual victory bogey. I use to smoke weed like tipi's but now a days i don’t smoke too tough.

10)         You got a sick delivery and flow with a mid to late-90’s wordplay which many rappers especially young cats don’t have. How do you define your music sound and what makes you and your type of music unique from other artists?
Thanks I appreciate that. I would define my music and sound as very crispy waffley, and just Monday to Sunday night Raw. I try to shy away from labeling myself or my music because I don't like being categorized. The only two categories i know are Classic or Trashcan music. Some prefer the latter, I prefer the former. I think one of the things that separate me from other artists is, the shit I say is unpredictable and unexpected. I'll say something like "you aint shit, like when you take a wipe and the paper white". I’m definitely going to use that line by the way.

11)         Who are your musical influences?
I always tell everyone and their pet hamster that my top 3 rappers of all time are Big Pun, Nas, and Eminem. Of course they're not my only influences but there's too many to name. Aside from rap though, I love soul, jazz, and funk. Especially soul though man, I love The Delfonics, The Chi-Lites, The Stylistics, etc. I like Marvin Gaye too.

12)         What has been your biggest challenge with your music?
Probably the biggest challenge in my music is attempting to make it enjoyable for the younger kids too, cause I say a lot of shit not made for their ears but at the same time I was 10 years old with the unedited Marshall Mathers LP. And I think I turned out aight.. I always try to make music for everyone though, I don't target just one specific audience.

13)         Love the chorus to the track “Hurry Up”. The world is definitely waiting for you. Explain from your perspective of the line “When you get older, things get taken from you.” I don’t think a lot of people realize the truth behind it.
Thank you fam, I can tell you definitely do your homework cause "Hurry Up" is like 2 and a half yrs old. Haha but that joint is like my baby though. That quote is from the movie Any Given Sunday I grabbed that up and threw it on the track. I find it very meaningful not just in my life but everyone's life as well. In simpler terms, that line means, you gotta get it while you can. The worst thing that can be stripped of you as you get older is your dream. So as you get older, you’re getting every second, minute, and hour taken from you and that’s something you can't take back. Time can be your best friend or worst enemy.

14)         You performed at SOB’s how did that turn out?
That was a blessing and an honor to hit that stage. What was dope about it was that, I wasn't opening up for nobody; my performance was a part of N.O.R.E.'s set. So that was real cool man. I did my thing; got a nice lil reaction from the people and it was just a great experience.

15)         Have peeps responded the way you wanted them to?
Definitely brotha. I had dudes that worked at SOBs coming up to me to dap me and shit. Heres a lil inside story. Capone of CNN never knew i was a rapper til I hit the stage. When I got off he stopped me to give me my props and told me he'd be down to work with me. Next week later we got the "Blastoff" record (produced by Psycho Les) off my upcoming mixtape Sparks Steakhouse hosted by DJ Butchrock. Go get it when it drops, it’s free like NYC condoms b.

16)         How much is staying original and relevant in the game means to you?
In my opinion, depending on how original you are dictates how relevant you will be in the game. So it's very significant to me. I call rappers with no identity, shower rappers. Because what they're really doing is just singing along. This aint karaoke, big up to the Philippines though they big on that karaoke lol. They get shot over that shit.

17)         What do you think about the current state of hip hop?
The current state of hip hop is cool. I'll never diss somebody's craft unless they sound like they're mocking what I love to do. But I’m cool with the state of hip hop, long as it’s still being listened to, I’m good.

18)         Talk to us about the Sparks Steakhouse mixtape?
Sparks Steakhouse is a mixtape I am about to release hosted by Dj Butchrock. It has productions by myself, Dolo, Psycho Les, Incredible Cutts, Butchrock, One-Take, Tony Heathcliff, SPKilla, and Ric Rude. With features from N.O.R.E., Capone, Starvin B, Spit Gemz, and Butchrock too. Word!

19)         Is there an Aye Wun album coming out in the works?
There definitely will be an album in the works but right now my main focus is getting Sparks Steakhouse out there and properly presenting and promoting it.

20)         Where headz could get at your music?
Right now you can youtube me and vevo me. We got the Rigamortis video out now shout out to Vevo. ( When Sparks Steakhouse drops everyone will be able to get that at datpiff and a lot of poppin hip-hop sites and blogs. It’s going to be everywhere!

21)         Any shoutouts!
Shoutout to Planet Earth and everyone from that planet that supports the kid! I’ma get to Mars and them later. Shoutout to you too Ty! 1love