Ben Lee

This is Ben Lee, warming up to the topic of 'Hey You, Yes You'. It is his fourth solo collection since 1993 when, at the age of 14, fronting the now legendary indy band Noise Addict, he broke out of his native Sydney, Australia. Updated: we did an exclusive interview with Ben Lee.

1. For people who may not have heard some beats from you yet... what can someone who's never heard of you expect from your music?

Honesty. I try and express what I find beautiful in the world through my music.

2. Are you pleased with the response you have received so far?

People seem to like it. At shows people seem keen but as far as mass media that all seems to happen in a parallel universe. One I'm not too involved in.

3. How did you get together with Dan the Automator?

I?ve know him for about 6 years. We spend a few nights together getting silly hitchhiking in dc over the years.

4. Who would you like to work that you haven't yet, whether it be HipHop, Rock, or any other form of music?

I generally am attracted to collaborations more for the person rather than their genre. If the energy connection is there, I?m happy to make music together.

5. How did you come to the conclusion to begin a career as a music artist?

I hated school and wanted to write love letters to girls I had crushes on.

6. What did you went through to get your music recognized?

Just the usual. Rubbish gigs. Lots of people telling you it can?t be done. Still doing all that stuff really.

7. When you were a member of the group "Noise Addict", did you always have plans to begin a solo career?

In some ways noise addict was a solo project as I was the only one who wrote songs and I made all the decisions. I asked the others to be in the band because their older brothers had instruments.

8. How was it to be 16 years old and already touring through the USA?

It was a constant search for 7" vinyl.

9. In your career you have had hits in the USA and Australia but I don?t read anything about Europe. How come?

I?ve never really had a label to work with in any serious way in Europe. I hope someone wants to put this album out over there. I think Spanish people might like it.

10. How do you separate yourself from other artists?

Restraining orders.

11. What are you planning to do in the [near] future?

Bathe. Tour. Bathe.

12. What would you like to achieve with your music and career?

Put some good energy into the world. Help some people. Inspire some people. Change.

13. What artists are you listening to at the minute?

Sydney winter rain against my window.

14. Do you have anything to say to the MusicRemedy.com?s visitors?

Get off the internet. Go outside. It?s a lovely day.

Biography

"Aesthetics are, like, a complicated thing, you know? You see a lot of artists today who've worked out the aesthetics before they've worked out the real spirit of the music. I've never been like that. When I choose to collaborate with people, it's an extension of where my head's at during that time, emotionally."

This is Ben Lee, warming up to the topic of 'Hey You, Yes You'. It is his fourth solo collection since 1993 when, at the age of 14, fronting the now legendary indy band Noise Addict, he broke out of his native Sydney, Australia. Produced by Dan the Automator, Lee's new twelve-song collection is serious and spiffy, frayed and dashing. It is music with a fast, quicksilver, instant-sounding character whose vivid sound suggests the aural equivalent of that peculiar mix of elegance and grain you get from watching film develop.

"I just wanted this record to have soul," says Lee, who explains that various albums by Bryan Ferry, and particularly David Bowie's 'Young Americans', lodged in the back of his mind while making 'Hey You, Yes You'. "What I like about Dan's work is the fact that when you sample a little bar, what you actually get, at a deeper level, is the energy of the room that those eleven or twelve musicians originally created in, like, 1959. On this record, I felt that too much feeling could never be enough. I wanted more and more! I wanted it to feel like it was going to teeter over."

The collaboration, Lee says, worked spookily well. "Dan would make a bunch of beats," he says, "and I'd be like, 'That one.' We started to develop some kind of non-verbal understanding of what the record would be. It became clear when something suited me, and when something didn't. In the end, there's a weird kind of white-soul feeling to it, I think."

Lee's songs on 'Hey You, Yes You' offer naked new spins on the proposition of fast-acting melodies mated to visceral rhythms. They were written in the aftermath of the dissolution of Grand Royal, Lee's former label, as well as the loss of several key people in Lee's life.

"The last few years," he confides, "were not smooth sailing. I think I wanted the record to reflect that -- I don't even know that I wanted it to, it just does." Songs such as "Running with Scissors" and "Dirty Mind," Lee believes, evince strained and confrontational natures. "There's a roughness and unease to them," he says. "Impending danger. Change. The unknown. This was the first time in my life when I was dealing with loads of death. It just seemed to be a period where this happened to a lot of people around me -- my dad, a good friend, my girlfriend's grandmother -- and it was the first time in my adult life where I took that seriously."

But if the result was that with this recording Lee wanted to confirm totally that his work was not, as he puts it, "a hobby," it did not follow that he would turn to record-making with perfectionist deliberation. "I wanted to make a record that left more edges," he says. "Not pro tooling everything into uniformity. Particularly as a solo artist, that's a tempting route to take: You don't have a band around you, so you can spend as much time as you want, clicking everything into place, forever dragging and dropping. I don't want to be in a studio for two years crafting the masterpiece; I'm interested in the choices I made during one particular moment, and what those say about where I?m at. I could make a million different records under a million different sets of circumstances. What's interesting is the one you end up with."

The songs on 'Hey You, Yes You' play around with the counterpoint of Dan the Automator's unstreamlined, often downright herky-jerk rhythms and Lee's comparatively fluid words and melodies. "Destiny was never up to me," Lee sings on "Aftertaste," a snaking ballad; "I get the feeling," he regrets to say in "Something Borrowed, Something Blue" of someone he had recently considered important, "I could leave you on the interstate." In "Chills," which is bluesy and downtown majestic, someone gives Lee those, and then leaves. Sometimes, as on "Music 4 the Young & Foolish," Lee and Dan The Automator fly in bits of cool old orchestrations above their beats; other times -- as on the wrenching, ultra-modern honky-tonk "No Room to Bleed," an acoustic piano and the scruffy lucidity of Lee's singing suffices.

"My songs here," Lee says, "suggest that I am the puzzle, I am what has to be put together. I could see how this record might be interpreted as being about the teenage experience, as I've been engaged in decisions to define myself in a new way. But you know, that's a process that I hope never goes away."

Discography

1993 - Noise Addict - "I Wish I Was Him" 7" (Fellaheen)
1993 - Noise Addict - DEF (Ecstatic Peace)
1993 - Noise Addict - The Taste in My Eyes EP (Fellaheen)
1993 - Noise Addict - Noise Addict Vs. Silverchair
1994 - Noise Addict - Young and Jaded EP (Ecstatic Peace)
1995 - Noise Addict - The Frail Girl (Grand Royal)
1995 - Ben Lee - Grandpaw Would (Grand Royal)
1996 - Noise Addict - Meet the Real You (Grand Royal)
1996 - I Shot Andy Warhol Soundtrack - Performed "Itchyoo Park"
1997 - Ben Lee - Something to Remember Me By (Grand Royal)
1999 - Ben Lee - Breathing Tornadoes (Grand Royal)
1999 - The Songs of Duran Duran - Undone - "The Reflex", Duet with Kylie Minogue
2000 - Nigo - Ape Sounds - Wrote "Free Diving"
2001 - Lynne Me Your Ears: A Tribute to the Music of Jeff Lynne - Performed "Sweet Is the Night"
2002 - Dando/Lee/Peterson/Schwartzman EP - 2002 (Trifeckta Records Australia)
2003 - Evan Dando - Baby I'm Bored - Contributed 2 original songs
2003 - Song "Naked" appears in Australian feature film "Rage in Placid Lake"
2003 - The Bens (Ben Lee, Ben Folds, Ben Kweller) - EP (to be released August 2003)
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Feenom Circle

Forget arbitrary borders between 'underground' and 'mainstream' - The Feenom Circle slashes them all with organic, intelligent, speaker-blowing ease. Bay Area crew The Feenom Circle comes at you with lyrical and rhythmic distinction destined for the inner circle of your consciousness and the neck-snapping motion of your head.

In short, The Feenom Circle is hip hop's first "middle ground" group. Not mainstream, not underground, simply Feenom.

Souled Separately
For the last six years the Feenom Circle has been devoting time and effort toward making a refreshing and distinct version of hip-hop. Hand delivering their music to the masses, they now find their songs emanating from stages, street corners, and passing vehicles. Souled Separately is their testament to finding inspiration from the uninspiring 9 to 5 robotic drudgery of work life. Souled Separately aims for a middle ground with a stimulating and evolving vibe.

Interview


1. For people who may not have checked for you yet... what can someone who's never heard of you expect from the album?


Well with "Souled Separately" we were aiming for a project that touched several different concepts, vibes, and sounds. We were definitely not trying to make a standard underground project, nor were we aiming for a mainstream sound, it was really just an organic process of shooting for the middle, and hence us calling our music "middle ground" hip hop. For someone who's never heard our music, hopefully they'll walk away thinking about the multiple perspectives we try to offer on each song and also leave humming or singing some of the music. I guess to simplify this answer, people should expect variety, quality, and thought.


2. Are you pleased with the response the album has received so far?


I think Feenom as a whole is more than pleased. Before this project was on store shelves via distribution, we were selling it on the streets. So going from the sidewalk shuffle to having people from random places email or call us telling us how much a certain song means to them is mind blowing. Also, I guess the critics that have actually "got it" have given us high marks. So overall we're happy and hope that "The Pawn Shop" our next project gets even more love, because we feel it's a better project.


3. I like the graphics on the album. What is the idea behind these graphics?

Thanks for the compliment. There were several ideas going into the artwork. One, we wanted to use colors that would make our project identifiable and stick out (pistachio green). We also wanted a very smooth and cool (think temperature) feel to it. Those were the main factors going into the thought process of the art. At the same time, I remember us discussing how the project should look more Euro than U.S. Luckily, since we do all of our own artwork we can take the time to go through several versions, I'd hate to subject an outside artist to our criticism. Glad you like the art.



4. On the album back-cover stands 2001 all rights reserved. Was this album supposed to be released in 2001? If yes, why did it take so long to get it released?

It's so funny how people actually notice these things. We pressed our initial copies at the end of 01, so we should have just put 02 on there, but we didn't. Again, we didn't feel like it would make a difference. We began selling it on the streets, at shows, and on consignment in 02. From there we managed to get distribution via Seven Heads/Caroline. The project was slated to come out nationwide in November of 2002, but was pushed back. So finally in 2003 it was out. Regardless of the semantics, it took a long time to get this project released; distribution was slow in coming, the economy was down, and 100 doors closed in our face before 1 would open. In the meantime we recorded another project (The Pawn Shop), which we are releasing next month, so we utilized the down time. The moral of the story, keep it moving.


5. How do you go about creating a track? Do you all sit down and discuss things, or does one of you just come up with a beat and run from there?

Here's a few scenario's: We'll sit in the studio with no agenda and start playing with instruments or a sample and slowly build something From there we'll try to identify what emotion, vibe, or topic fits and start to write. Sometimes we'll try to write the hook first, other times we won't have a hook until we record.

Another scenario is one of us will have a skeleton beat, a rough beat in the works, another member will hear it, add input, then another member with input, and then we've completely moved away from the original rough. Each member, Tope, Boog, Bee, and myself (Rawj) have different preferences so each member's tastes get incorporated into the songs. In the end you'll have a mosaic, then we'll start on the lyrics.

The last scenario is we throw around a concept, write to it, and then try to make a song that captures the emotion.

6. Who would you like to collaborate that you haven't yet, whether it be HipHop, Rock, or any other form of music?

As far as hip-hop, I think we'd like to work with Stonesthrow and Def Jux because both labels/rosters support creativity and experimentation, but with music in general, we'd love to work with everyone from Radiohead to D'Angelo. There are literally 100's of artists we'd love to work with doing electronica, rock, soul, etc.

7. How did you come to the conclusion to begin a career as a HipHop artist?

Well since about 1994 I've been recording music, so all of the efforts since then were working up to this. I always felt like we had something relevant to contribute to music. The challenge was to get the hustle going, it takes a great deal of work but the prime motivating factor for me is that I know musically we can add something to the genre. Like a PhD, they only give you one if you add to the body of knowledge your specializing in. I feel Feenom and Melatone are working on getting to the same level with music. It goes beyond hip-hop, but at the same time we have all been raised on this culture and music, so it almost choose us as much as we decided to do it.

8. What did you went through to get your music released?

I think I've alluded to this in previous answers, but to break it down, we're going through self-promotion, marketing, and financing our endeavors. It means we have to be on the streets and at shows meeting people to try to get on, we have to keep carving out our fan base one person at a time, and we have to keep our business tight. We have to treat each one our supporters with gratitude and keep giving them quality music. Technically to get released, you can just press up your own music and hustle hand-to-hand, but if you want to make an impact and grow your following you have to work everyday and chip away. Somehow you have to capture the attention of people, that's what you're fighting for, and when you get it make sure you're not wasting people's time, give them something worthwhile.

9. How do you separate yourself from other HipHop artists?

I think the main point of separation is how we categorize ourselves. We feel like we're in the epicenter of a polarized genre. Hip-hop is, generally speaking, a music of polar opposites, you have underground, you have mainstream. There is a huge void lying between; the space between should be about just good music, not status or socio-economics, which is why we're really pursuing the middle ground niche. That's our claim to fame, we're the one and only middle ground group/label.

10. What are you planning to do in the [near] future?

Well we are readying the release of "The Pawn Shop" project, we're filming a video and documentary, and then it's back to making more music and continuing to hustle. That's everything in a nutshell: make music and keep hustling.

11. What artists are you listening to at the minute?

I'm listening to Prefuse 73, Radiohead, Janes Addiction, Moloko, Cannibal Ox, The White Stripes, the Live Savas, the Neptunes, oh and watching Scratch.

12. What is your opinion of today's HipHop scene?


This is such a loaded question. My answer is inspired by an email conversation with someone. Hip-hop is a dysfunctional family, you have some successful members, some exploitative ones, victims, some are lost, some don't care, some are failing and some are expanding, innovating, and carving our respect for the family name. Overall, it's one big family.

13. Do you have anything to say to the MusicRemedy.com's visitors?

We just really appreciate the opportunity, and we invite your visitors to listen to our music and create their own opinion, we have an mp3 page and audio streams on our site. Let the music be the guide and if you like us, spread the word. Thank you.

MusicRemedy Last Words:
I would like to thank you for doing this interview with MusicRemedy.com. I hope you will like the feature/interview when it shows up on the website. Thanks again!
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Charlotte Martin

From connecting her life's tales with her powerful lyrics, to her fans that see themselves in her songs, Martin is an extraordinary kind of songwriter that builds close ties with anyone who hears her music. Updated: we did an exclusive interview with Charlotte Martin.

1. For people who may not have heard some beats from you yet... what can someone who's never heard of you expect from your music?

They can expect to hear very vulnerable lyrics and stark production at the beginning of the EP and then the angrier I get, the more instruments I add.. *laughing*.

2. Are you pleased with the response you have received so far?
Yes. It's still very early, but I think the people that already know my music and me, are connecting with the songs.

3. I read your comic strip "766 6th Street" and I liked it a lot. How did you get the idea to start your own comic?

I was drinking wine with Ken Andrews and telling him about my crazy freshman year of college and all the crazy roomies I had, and about raven ,my best friend...and he was like "hmm, write a comic book" so..we are trying to do that.

4. There was also a "word tree" on your website. How come you have these different things on your own website? Is it because you want to separate your website from another artist website or do you want to keep the visitor longer on your website?

No. I don't really have any motive other than to express myself. It's not a gimmick, it's something I wanted to share with people, because I write all my songs from word trees and I already know several of my fans are very talented and creative people and wanted to involve them.

5. How do you go about creating a song? Do you all sit down and discuss things, or does one of you just come up with a beat and run from there?

Someone hurts my feelings or I have severe pms and then I can write. I write from a very dark place. I wish I could write when I was happy, but I'm sad a lot of the time, so that's when I feel the need to express things. It's a hell of a lot cheaper than a shrink.

6. Who would you like to work that you haven't yet, whether it be HipHop, Rock, or any other form of music?

I would like to work with kate bush, robert smith or peter gabriel.

7. How did you come to the conclusion to begin a career as a music artist?

I can't do anything else besides music. Of course, I can boil a mean package of ramen noodles.

8. How do you separate yourself from other artists?

It's really not very difficult. No one else has my experiences and I don't have anyone else's. It's my story, guts and viewpoint...that's the separation I guess.

9. What are you planning to do in the [near] future?

I really really want to get another Chihuahua.

10. What would you like to achieve with your music and career?

I would like to make music that connects with people, I hope that people can see themselves and their lives in my songs and words. We are all connected in the same way we are different. I try to celebrate that in my writing.

11. What artists are you listening to at the minute?

Interpol, Velvet Teen, Smiths, Depeche Mode

12. Do you have anything to say to the MusicRemedy.com?s visitors?

Yes...if you ever meet me someday, let's try and grab a cup of coffee and a chat. Oh, and sometimes I can't feel my left leg, but that's not your problem.

Charlotte Martin Last Words:
Thank you very much. I had a nice time with your questions!

Much love,
Charlotte xo

MusicRemedy.com Last Words:
I would like to thank you for doing this interview with MusicRemedy.com. I would also like to thank Dani for setting this interview up. Thanks again!

Biography

For Charlotte Martin, the most important thing is making a connection.

"Every single part of me is a piece of somebody else," says the piano-playing chanteuse. From connecting her life's tales with her powerful lyrics, to her fans that see themselves in her songs, Martin is an extraordinary kind of songwriter that builds close ties with anyone who hears her music.

Evoking influences as diverse as Kate Bush, PJ Harvey, Sarah McLachlan, Fiona Apple, early Tori Amos and Joni Mitchell - but still very much her own musician - Martin's music is a telling snapshot of her life.

A not-so-closet Goth with bleach-blonde hair, Martin has a knack for crafting emotionally-complex songs that continually flirt with pop structures. While her beautiful voice and piano-playing prowess offer an entr?e into her music, it's Martin's uncompromising lyrics that keep you coming back.

Martin grew up in a small college town and dedicated most of her time to studying opera. She took piano lessons and eventually went to Eastern Illinois University, where her father is a music professor. That's when it all changed.

Martin moved in with a very-Goth roomie Raven (they're still best friends today) and went through several life-changing experiences. Beyond the normal college-age drama and relationship trials, Martin had two friends commit suicide in the same year. One was her then boyfriend's sister, who was also her best friend. The first song Martin wrote was for her funeral.

"I didn't really live until I got to college," she says. "I had all of this stuff happen and found out that I had a lot to express."

Martin continued expressing herself and moved to Los Angeles to begin her career. However, it didn't go as planned. "I thought that I'd just move to LA, get signed and that would be it," she says. Martin did get a deal and recorded an album, ONE GIRL ARMY, with producer Tom Rothrock (Beck, Foo Fighters) for Bong Load/RCA. Showcasing Martin's talents for tackling big issues without hesitation, ONE GIRL ARMY touched on the personal topics of anorexia ("Something Like a Hero"), stalking from the stalker's perspective ("I'm Normal, Please Date Me") and risqu? examinations of the battle of the sexes ("Take It Like a Man"). Sadly, it never came out. "I was naive when I first got signed and felt like I needed a lot of people to help me. But now I know that I can just make music and put it out on my own. If you want to help, great. If you don't, great. The people will decide. You've got to take control and do it yourself."


Now she stands stronger than ever before - both artistically and professionally.

"I have my own studio and have learned how to become my own producer," she says. Martin?s most recent tracks were overseen by a combination of producers, but many of the songs were produced by Martin.

"Producing my own music changes the way I approach songwriting. I can do more and go other places," says Martin who has expanded her sound with drum machines and more keyboards.

Time has also allowed her to fine-tune her delivery. "My writing has become more direct. The structure of my songs is way different from ONE GIRL ARMY, which was very artistic and very quirky," she says. "Now I'm learning how to get right to the point with my songs."

Martin's openness comes through in other ways than just her recorded music. A comic book junkie, Martin and friends have developed their own online comic for her website, titled "766 6th Street," after where she lived in college. It gives viewers a glimpse into her room - literally - and what's going on in her head.

"It's that whole thing where if you make fun of yourself, nobody can make fun of you," says Martin, who always keeps a bright sense of humor. "That's why the comic exists. It's just an opportunity to make fun of myself in the most awesome way."

During her live shows, Martin also gives all. She attacks the keyboard, allowing her charismatic personality to take over the room with the same intensity as the topics she's covering. Martin uses her shows to further connect with her fans, keeping the evening conversational and often baring gifts for the audience. It's no wonder her shows have grown to become constant sellouts.

"I give away presents at my shows because I want people to keep coming back," she jokes. "I don't know why, I just feel the need to give people presents. I think sometimes I freak out on my own fans."

Martin recently sang the song "Bring On the Day" for the SWEET HOME ALABAMA soundtrack and is working on her full-length debut. Until its release, Martin will continue connecting with her fans - through her website, her live shows and her open personality, but mainly through her music. They're sure to follow.

"Some artists have changed my life. In the humblest way, I really hope I can do that for somebody some day," Martin says. "I want to give my fans something special."
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Encore

In a time when the bar on lyrical talent has seemingly been lowered through mass consumption and general apathy, Californian versifier Encore keeps his bar higher than a gold medal Olympian. His conscious content and fiery flow have won him praise in the underground, but Encore has exercised his skills of going to the top.

1. For people who may not have checked for you yet... what can someone who's never heard of you expect from you?

Some straight gangsta shit!!! hahaha. Naw. What you can expect from me musically, is me giving as honest of an impression who I am and what I represent at that point in my life. A little bit of how I feel musically, socially, politically, and spiritually at that time. If my views or feelings are somehow altered, I try my best to explain what's changed and why.

2. Are you pleased with the response you have received so far?

I would say so. Yeah. I like any response as long as it's genuine and honest - good or bad. The fact that I'm getting very honest feedback that just happens to be positive is a bonus.

3. How do you go about creating a track? Do you all sit down and discuss things, or does one of you just come up with a beat and run from there?

For the most part, I listen to music and let it tell me what to do. How to bust on the track, what to talk about. I work on albums a completely different way than I would working on a single. I can't sit around in a room and write songs like that - for an album especially.
I have to go in the car and drive with the music. 95% of songs I come up with in my head and I don't write. I say 95 because there are times where someone may need a 16-bar here or there that I may have to try and come up with ASAP. It's crazy when I talk to other cats about this because dudes acting like I'm lying or bragging because Jay-Z apparantly does the same thing. I wish I could write it in the studio. It takes me longer to craft songs the way I do. But I'm much more satisfied with the delivery than I would be if I read it off paper.

I was recently in the studio recording and putting down a quick verse and reading it off paper. And dudes were like, "AHA!!! I caught you. I knew you wrote your shit down." So I say 95% of the time. Any of my own songs, I didn't write.

4. Who would you like to collaborate that you haven't yet, whether it be HipHop, Rock, or any other form of music?

The key for me is I like a ton of different people, but I'd have to find the person that really fits me and my talents. That's the problem with some collaborations. they just don't fit all the time. ya know? But I would like to work with Jay Dee, rakim, Tweet, Kanye West, Sly Stone, Stevie wonder, Premo, Lewis Taylor, James Poyser, Lauryn Hill, Robin Thicke, man so many others.

5. How did you come to the conclusion to begin a career as a HipHop artist?

I got into it on some: "I'm mad at the state of Hip Hop right now" shit. haha. I mean I always rapped. But I took it serious in '91 - right out of high school. I don't know what the hell I was mad about. I liked everything that was out at that time. hahhah. I guess it was my calling.

6. What did you went through to get your music released?

I went through not understanding what being an independant artist was all about. Not understanding that you have a lot more business since to be successful than you do on a major. A lot of lies. having to decide between losing a job to pursue a dream that more than likely will not be fulfilled.

7. How do you separate yourself from other HipHop artists?

I don't - but I can tell what I'm about. I speak from my heart. I speak from what I know and try to talk about what I don't know. Whether that separates me from other emcees, that is for the listener to decide.

8. What are you planning to do in the [near] future?

Layover is scheduled to be out EARLY February, (you hear that Domino? haha) and I'm already working on the next album. I'm going on tour in late september with Hieroglyphics, Little Brother, and Z-man for a month and a half. I expect to be going out again early next year too.

9. What would you like to achieve with your music and career?

I'd like to live solely off my music doing it the way I want to do it. If I want rap about panda bears and shit, I want it to be because that was my choice. Music makes me happy. The minute it's stops making me happy, I'm done.

10. What artists are you listening to at the minute?

I'm still bumping that Tweet album. Lewis Taylor Stoned pt. 1, Freeway's album, MF Doom, my man Turbin's unreleased album, Hieroglyphics album, Abbey Road, Donny Hathaway Live, Robin Thicke's album, Fela Kuti, Nas' Lost Tapes, Donnie Welcome To The Colored Section, Kenna, my man Nate Thomas (Neisan) unreleased stuff. He's on my album. He's got a group out of Brooklyn... Fire! I'm really all over the place with my music right now.

11. What is your opinion of today's HipHop scene?

It's alive and well. You've got good and wack shit - just like it's always been. If it's shit out there that you don't like, make something better period.

12. Al Gore stated that the current president G. Bush is the biggest problem the United States of America has. What is your opinion about the current situation and the war against Iraq?

What war? This is not a war. This is a mugging. My opinion of the war has more to do with the reaction of the people in America. I mean we have truly been out-and-out lied to, and it's really not bothering us as a whole like you would expect.

I mean, even I am not doing more than just saying it. But think about it - you're asking me a question and I'm answering it. We know the government lied. We have "good feeling" they lie alot. But NOW it's pretty obvious they've lied again, and now what? No action. NO SUBSTANTIAL action I should say. It's pretty disturbing.

13. The Austrian-born bodybuilder-turned-actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is running for governor in California. He is well known because of his movies like "Terminator" but the question is can he also be a governor with major responsibilities? What do you think about this subject?

I don't know. He appears to super conservative when it comes to paper. but on social issues he's pretty liberal. My gut feeling is dude isn't even a decent actor, how the fuck is he going to be a governor.

14. Do you have anything to say to the MusicRemedy.com's visitors?

Yes. Peace, education and music, ya'll. Live it and love.

For more on Encore check out:
http://www.hieroglyphics.com

Biography

In a time when the bar on lyrical talent has seemingly been lowered through mass consumption and general apathy, Californian versifier Encore keeps his bar higher than a gold medal Olympian. His conscious content and fiery flow have won him praise in the underground, but Encore has exercised his skills in assurance of going to the top in 2003.

Born in Palo Alto and raised in Milpitas, Encore enjoyed b-boying and reveled in getting his hands on the hottest new Hip Hop music as a teen. Although he dabbled in writing raps with his friends, it was not until Main Source released their classic album Breakin? Atoms in 1990 that Encore had the epiphany to take emceeing seriously. "Everybody rapped, but nobody around my way was really rapping," he says. "I couldn?t consider myself an emcee until after Breakin Atoms - that?s when I was like ?this is what I want to do - this is the real shit."

The initial connection in developing his sound was with long time friend Architect. The duo grew together in creating a unique musical vibe that bonded them for life, and the hard work began to show in both Encore?s rhymes and Architect?s production. Encore?s first big recording break came after he met producer Peanut Butter Wolf through a mutual high school friend, Charisma, who later passed away. After Charisma?s death, the two mourning friends made some songs together, and the single "Think Twice" was included on PB Wolf?s 1995 debut EP Step On Our Egos. The project was released independently on South Paw Records, and spawned Wolf?s own Stones Throw label.

Encore released "The Essence" single on Stones Throw in 1997, and in that same time frame met eclectic producer/deejay Dan The Automator, who beckoned the budding emcee to sign with his future 75 Ark label. After a string of 12" singles and guest appearances, including work with Evidence of Dilated Peoples, Rasco, and Pep Love, Encore recorded the acclaimed song "Waterworld" for Prince Paul and Dan the Automator?s 1999 Handsome Boy Modeling School on Tommy Boy Records.

To the delight of music critics and fans alike, in 2000 Encore released his debut solo album Self Preservation on 75 Ark. Intense delivery and masterful rhyme style gave life to the honest presentation of his personal life experiences. Encore?s ability to project the energy of a battle into any tale gave the collection of songs a credibility that most emcees ache to achieve. Architect produced the majority of the album, and the synergy of the two was undeniable. In addition to garnering consistently positive reviews, Self Preservation was ranked #5 in Amazon.com?s Top Ten Hip Hop Albums for the year 2000.

Encore has experienced shifts in perspective about his career since he first picked up the mic. Adoring critics have attempted to define his lyrical style, and tout him as one of the top Bay Area artists, yet the ever-evolving emcee does not accept being boxed in to stereotypes of underground sound or regional flavor. Encore keeps his finger on the pulse of the Hip Hop nation and allows a soulful flow of influence into his repertoire. Even still, he is a leader and innovator in developing his lyrical abilities. "Of course I?ve been affected by different trends," he explains, "but no matter what the trends are I?m still gonna be me. There?s a difference in being influenced by a trend and succumbing to it."

2003 has already been a busy year for Encore, with most of his energy devoted to his next album, Layover, slated for a fall release on the Hieroglyphics label. With production from Seattle beat visionaries Jake One and Vitamin D and more quality work from Architect, Encore?s music has progressed to a new level. Layover provides layers of bouncing funk blended with grinding basslines and catchy hooks - certain to excite the club heads as well as the laid back head-nodders.

The new album is representative of Encore?s current mentality about his music. "Layover is the concept of me waiting for my ?flight? out of this bullshit we call ?underground," he asserts. "The concept of underground wasn't meant to just put out sub par buck-the-system bullshit. It was to put cats on who had talent that the system wasn't trying to fuck with. The underground was for independently talented cats. Now it's got a bad name because it's associated with not making complete songs, and making shit that is going out of it's way to sound unpolished."

Encore?s optimistic vision of the future shines through in his music. His persistence in balancing art with professionalism has helped him hone his craft, leaving little room for doubt that Layover will fly high with the masses. "I don?t make music to be a good Bay Area record, or just to make a good rap record for that matter. I?m trying to make a good record, period."

Comments

For all who havenot checked out Encore you don't know what you are missing. Maybe you are thinking "well his first album "Self Preservation" is kind of old, I think I will wait till his new album drops". Please don't because his first album has some real dope tracks on it like "Love and Hate", "Situation" ft Pep Love, etc..

I would like to thank Encore for taking the time to do this interview. Respect! I also would like to thank Dove for setting this interview up.
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Tonedeff

Tonedeff is best described as a Hip Hop purist - obsessed with musical alchemy to create a new aesthetic. Performing in and around New York City's esteemed underground scene, Tone gained notoriety as one of the most promising emcees to emerge in years. In this interview Tonedeff talks about his new released dope album 'Underscore' and about the HipHop scene. Read this interview to learn more about Tonedeff.

1. For people who may not have checked for you yet... what can someone who's never heard of you expect from the album?

Well, ?Underscore? isn?t the actual debut album; It?s more of a prequel to ?ARCHETYPE?, which will serve as my official debut. It?s kind of a ?warm-up? album, in that sense. As for people?s expectations, I think they should go into listening to the record with an open mind. I?ve never made cookie-cutter songs, and the lyricism is pretty weighty for the most part. But I run the gamut from classic Boom-Bap, to Drum & Bass to singing on this record. You get a peak of all the angles I work with.

2. Are you pleased with the response the album has received so far?

Thus far, yeah. It?s always a great feeling to drop something you?ve worked very hard on, and see someone mouthing your lyrics in the crowd word for word. It?s an amazing thing that happens. I just hope that more people get a chance to hear the music, because at this point, my releases have been very dependant on word-of-mouth promotion.

3. How do you go about creating a track? Do you all sit down and discuss things, or does one of you just come up with a beat and run from there?

It works a lot of different ways. I usually hear a beat, and vibe with it for a while, until I can attach an emotion to it, and figure out what I?d like to say over it. Sometimes, I come up with an idea for a song before we have a beat, and then either create the beat myself, or look for some help from my QN5 Music production team - Domingo, Kno, Deacon The Villain & Elite.
It?s almost always a slow process for me. I?m not a prolific writer, so when I actually do write a song, I prefer that it?s something difficult that I haven?t touched before. It keeps the emceeing aspect fresh to me.

4. Who would you like to collaborate that you haven't yet, whether it be HipHop, Rock, or any other form of music?

I?m a music addict. I listen to basically everything I can get my hands on. As far as who I?d like to work with, hmmm, I?d have to say Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Tori Amos, Pharaoh Monch, Bjork, Mos Def, William Orbit or DJ Shadow. I mean, there are a ton of people I?d love to work with, but those are the only ones coming to mind right now.

5. How did you come to the conclusion to begin a career as a HipHop artist?

I?ve been dead set on it since I was 9. I started writing rhymes at that age, recording myself on one boom-box while another boom-box played the beat in the background. I got really serious when I was 12, and started saving allowance with my friends to go to professional recording studios. I?ve been grinding ever since. I?m absolutely certain that this is what I?m supposed to be doing with my life.

6. What did you went through to get your music released?

A lot of different offers came my way over the years, but nothing felt right. So, I decided to start my own label. There?s such a glut of bullshit politics and overall just idiocy in the record business that it?s disenchanting. But, once you come to the conclusion that you?re putting up with all this solely for the love of the music, then it becomes a little more palpable. To this day, I?m still facing problems when it comes to stores not picking up the releases because I?m not on a multi-million dollar distributor, or buyers just straight up FRONTING on underground artists that aren?t affiliated with the current ?in-crowd?. But fuck it, I?ve managed to get this far with zero help, and I?m going to continue to grind till I get where I want to go.


7. How do you separate yourself from other Hip Hop artists?

Well, for the most part, I?m always trying to do something new. A lot of cats just rhyme to get props and will basically change their style to match the flavor-of-the-month. I?m can adapt to any style, slow to fast, hard to mellow, comical to serious. I?m always looking for new patterns, rhyme schemes, deliveries and just overall trying to advance the art form of emceeing however I can. I?m genuinely concerned about Hip Hop music and the culture. I can?t say the same for most other cats. Oh, and I also produce, design my own covers, websites, videos, multimedia and run a label, too. ?

8. What are you planning to do in the [near] future?

?ARCHETYPE? is on it?s way soon, and that?s my baby, so I?ll be ramping up to make sure everything?s in place for its arrival. Hopefully, I?ll get to drop a couple singles from it, and then I start work on a joint-project with Kno of CunninLynguists called ?Chico & The Man?. Label-wise, I?ll be ramping up to release PackFM?s new album in the spring, along with albums from Mecca & Session of Extended Famm. So, there?s plenty to do.

9. What artists are you listening to at the minute?

My favorite album this year is definitely "Southernunderground" by the CunninLynguists. I haven?t heard a more rock solid Hip Hop album thus far this year, and I?ve heard just about all of em. Um, I?ve been listening to Interpol?s "Turn On The Bright Lights" and Damien Rice?s "O" a lot as well. Not mention Radiohead?s "Hail To The Thief". Oh, and Immortal Technique?s new album, "Revolutionary Vol.2" is off the hook as well.

10. What is your opinion of today?s Hip Hop scene?

The mainstream is what it is - People just making music to stay/get rich. No need to push the envelope. They just stay safe and make the same records over and over. The beats I hear nowadays are great, and it?s a shame 98% of the cats signed to Majors can?t seem to write songs worthy of their production. As far as the underground...It?s a complete clusterfuck of privileged kids with too much time on their hands, and broke ass kids doing their best Jay/50 impressions. There?s such a nepotistic environment right now, that it?s completely stagnated the talent pool. But...truly, It?s really the artists? fault at this point. But I ain?t gonna complain anymore, I?m just gonna make good music and let it speak for itself.

11. Do you have anything to say to the MusicRemedy.com?s visitors?

Yes. DON?T BELIEVE THE HYPE. People pay a lot of money to hire publicists to influence critics, writers and reviewers to call people "Geniuses" and say "BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR!" And most of the time, they?re full of shit.

Listen to these records yourself and make up your own mind. Cause if you don?t you?re missing out on a ton of talented artists making great music. Hip Hop is still very much alive and kicking, you just have to make the extra effort to find the good stuff. :>

Watch for my debut, "Archetype" later this year. Stay tuned at Tonedeff.com for updates. For more info on QN5 Music artists and releases, please check out www.qn5.com.

Thanks to MusicRemedy for their support, and I hope to see everyone at a show soon!

Peace & Respect.
Tone

ABOUT
Tonedeff is best described as a Hip Hop purist - obsessed with musical alchemy to create a new aesthetic. Performing in and around New York City's esteemed underground scene, Tone gained notoriety as one of the most promising emcees to emerge in years. Furious polysyllabic delivery paired with incredibly intricate lyricism, and an ear for catchy songwriting and production have set him apart from his peers.

Winning the Braggin' Rites and Hookt.com MC Battles in 2000, appearing on mixtapes from Eddie Ill & DL, Stronghold, Meddafore, DJ Blowout, and spots on radio show's like WKCR's "CM Fam-a-Lam Show" with Bobbito & Lord Sear have helped to solidify his rise of notoriety and street cred.

A brief stint with Yosumi Records (Game Over 1 &2), saw the release of his enchanced EP, Hyphen, and appearances on "Game Over 2" and Domingo's Para Mi Gente...
The release of Extended F@mm's Happy F*ck You Songs, a collaborative project between Tonedeff and PackFM, Substantial and Session, saw him grace the pages of The Source Magazine's 'Off The Radar' and 'Bar Code' columns, as well as a high profile commercial for MTV Network's Hip Hop Week.

Recent guest spots include KRS-ONE's "Clear Em Out" from The Difference Vol.1 (Official Joints), Masta Ace's Disposable Arts (JCOR), DJ JS-1's "Arrogant" (f/ PackFM, Substantial & Rise), CunninLynguists' Southernunderground, (FRESHCHEST). Even with such a busy schedule, Tone found time to record his Underscore CD on his own QN5 label, the prequel to his debut LP Archetype. All of the hard work has created much anticipation for Archetype, which will be released on QN5 in early 2004.

Considered by many to be the definitive flow of Hip Hop's new generation of emcees, he is definitely the artist to watch in '03 and beyond.


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Thank you

I would like to thank Tonedeff for doing this interview. I would like to thank Dove for hooking this interview up. I appreciate it.
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