Producer, label shaman, Richard Simmons enthusiast, and all around wearer of varied strange hats. Tell us MJC, what’s better, “A low end theory” or “Midnight Marauders”?
“Low end” vs. “MM”? That is honestly one of the most difficult questions anyone has ever asked me. About, like, anything ever haha. Damn Homie… I will say this: I was exposed to both my freshman year of college. That’s when I really fell in love with hip hop on a whole other level. The people surrounding me were so knowledgeable and passionate about it, I started to “get it” in a way that I never had before. I mean, I had loved Dre and shit back in high school, but Tribe was the first hip hop group that sealed the deal for life. Then De La. They are both basically perfect albums in my opinion, but I gotta go with Midnight Marauders. “Electric Relaxation” though, I mean jeeeeez!
What made you decide to start a record label in this day and age of people rarely buying physical product, let alone paying for music at all?
I had no choice bro. You know what? Rather than regurgitate some bullshit from last time I discussed this, I will elaborate and get real with you. Yeah, I had to do it b/c I truly love all kinds of music… I’ll be listening to Gary Numan then Nick Drake, Organized Konfusion then Swell Maps or Melvins. I am obsessed with Brant Bjork these days. I wanted a platform to release whatever we wanted as far as “genre” or whatever, but I think our roots will always be oriented with hip hop. Which makes me happy. But running FBR sucks a lot sometimes. I feel an overall lack of respect in the music game now more than even just 6-7 years ago.
What is it about the current climate of the industry that pulls up those feelings? I mean, I know why I feel like that, but I’m interested to know to hear your perspective.
OK, I’ll talk about that then. I mean, before I go all beast mode, I will say I love what I do, the people I am lucky enough to know either in real life or via the internet, I am not a “Negative Nancy” or “Nick” about the industry. I mean, of course it pisses me off that no one really buys music and I am seeing more and more bands having to basically pay to play, but what can I do? I just keep buying records and keep going to shows. Because I like to. But on a much realer tip, let me talk about the respect thing. I need a smoke first, haha, vices…
Again, things are fucking great right now in all regards. We recently turned 18 months old and things are falling into place. Shows are happening, opportunities have been presenting themselves, and I feel really damn lucky. I attribute this to keeping a tight circle of trust with few friends. But we all got each other’s backs. The whole label and first 12″ was basically homies of homies helping out homies, no PR, total understanding money would be dumped into something vacuous and unprofitable. That stuff is fine with me, no complaints… all expected stuff, it’s about patience and consistency these days. I expect to be in the hole for a long time haha. What is truly upsetting is that the majority of financial hits we took were due to douchebaggery. From 21 year-old producers that have never released anything ever to some “Big Names,” there are a lot of assholes out there that don’t like the whole notion of integrity and being financially accountable. This one dickhead, I will call him “BandAidHead” for this interview, straight up jacked FBR. Took his fee then published the song himself and told us to “Fuck Off.” This actually happened right as things were starting up and almost lead to my quitting music (again) immediately. But then Jake M.O.B. and Parlay Droner and a ton of other inspiring people helped me pull it together. What I find most sad, aside from losing rent money to some entitled prick, is that he fully admitted wrongdoing, we have it all saved in our inbox, and he just laughs and says, “Fuck Y’all.” I have a guilty conscience and simply could not roll like that. I would feel terrible 24/7. He found it amusing. That shook me.
FBR seems like a very close knit group of people who found each other on the interwebs. What’s drawn you to all of these folks, and had you want to start collaborating?
I think that the internet rules. But I have learned some hard lessons and have had to modify my behavior drastically as a result.
You dropped the FBR vinyl that had Odd Nosdam on it, and was mastered by Matthewdavid. You Recently also did an event in conjuction with Stones Throw Records. On top of moving to Providence,you dropped Filthybroke Fest 1. Do you sleep? And how did you manage to hook up with all of these incredible artists.
I sleep a lot actually. Too much. I’m depressed a lot haha. Life sounds great on Facebook and whatnot, but it’s a lot of work and amazingness and heartache. Then, trying to produce music for like 4 projects, trying to care for myself, be there for friends and family… I feel so tired like all the time these days. Getting used to these Northeast winters is taking a toll, not gonna lie. I am basically forcing myself to do my exercising, wanna nap all the time, but then usually I get crazy inspired to start emailing/writing music/listening to new artists, etc. when I see what the homies are up to. Its like, “Enough self-pity and bitching, DO something.” That is exactly how FBR started. And how the record happened. And the events we have done, and have lined up; I wanted to get into action and put out physical music, we (Jake Morbidly-o-Beats) each had some contacts, we made a record. Less talking, less posting, more doing. Guys like Ceschi Ramos keep me hella inspired. Walter Gross.
Has Ceschi offered any advice in the starting and running a newer indie label since you’ve moved to RI?
Honestly we have not talked a lot of music. I have just been so inspired being able to meet and hang out with him. And watching him perform makes me want to be a better man. He is way further ahead of me in this whole label thing, I definitely stay on top of what his label Fake Four is doing b/c they are relevant to me, and they do all kinds of stuff.
SPLNSHNTS is your newest piece of work with Parlay Droner, which, honestly is fucking rugged as hell! You both have been openly shopping the demo to an outside label for release. Is this because you feel like it’s so heavy and nasty that it deserves a chance with a broader audience? And, will you and M.O.B. drop a proper follow up to the free joint you recently did?
Both projects are dear to me, M.O.B. and I will likely be making a LOT more beats in the future. Personally, I would really like that to be an outlet to make really off-kilter beats for rappers. I love hip hop and feel like I need to work with more MCs. SPLNSHNTS is just kinda my favorite thing right now for one simple reason: It sounds exactly the way I hear it in my head before it’s been completed. Parlay Droner and I really mesh well in the studio, and working with him gets me writing at a much faster rate than when I am doing solo stuff. He inspires me. The stuff sounds kinda “wrong” from an engineering standpoint at times, and I love that. I feel I sort of got lost in the “Proper production” hole for a while and SPLNSHNTS is not afraid to get the meters in the red and tubes hot to the touch. Honestly, as far as our future output? Yes, I want to work with a different, bigger and better label aha. The $3 EP we just dropped was a teaser, as we do have a proper demo to shop. It is better than that first EP. Jazzier in a way. But super hard and gritty and fucked… we somehow get emo too! I want more people to hear it b/c we are a cheap date as far as a touring act… two dudes with some noisy boxes/things with knobs and buttons and awkward personalities. We want to tour. I am so stoked that we have a night starting in Providence. I think we will both be playing it on 12/28.
I love M.O.B., as a human and artist, but since I’ve never met him in person, I need to have you confirm or deny something important for me. Is he a fucking robot who churns out nonstop projects at the drop of a hat? Or is he a workaholic producer who’s too adorable for words and too bottom heavy for shitty club sound systems?
Morbidly-o-Beats… I need a smoke hahahahaha, be right back homie…Please feel free to include all that btw! Be back in one sec.
Ok, Jake is probably the kindest person I know. I love him. It is so strange to me that we met… And when we played in “Real Life” together it was like we had known each other for years. He is such a great person. I am a “Troubled,” anxious dude. So is Jake. We both have serious ups and downs. Fortunately, for whatever reason, they do not usually coincide, thus one can support the other when the other is fucked. We worry about each other. He is a brilliant producer. As far as his musical output? I think all of it is dope. I do tell him to try and work on a song for more than a day sometimes though hahaha, I am one of those dudes that’ll mix down a track for a month.
Different path in questioning for a moment, and we will end it after this maybe. The news recently has been filled with protests about the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice at the hands of police officers. Do you think its seems like shit is regressing, and that as fellow humans we need to speak out and do something drastic to end the blatant and obvious racism, and abuse of force by our now heavily militarized local police forces?
So I just started fucking crying… As I read this one of my favorite “Intense” songs by …Trail Of Dead swept in. OK, I do not want to contribute to anyone feeling worse about how clearly fucked everything is. YES, we need to speak out. Less Facebook, more “Get out in the Streets” and civil disobedience. I think most of us are clear on that. The “Regression” sentiment is what saddens me and confuses me… That word implies that at some point we were making “Progress.” I, just personally and as a flawed human with my own (mis)understanding of everything that is currently happening, never felt we truly made any progress since the birth of capitalism, in regard to “Humanity” and solidarity. It has all been superficial. Minorities have always been a target, the people we pay and employ to protect us terrify me and always have, and I think we are on the verge on something amazing or terrible happening. We’ll just have to see. Or organize and do some shit.
I am for peace. I just don’t know how it’s achieved.
End on a light note. Are you a fan of Mel Brooks, and do you agree that History of the World PART 1 is one of the best comedies from the 80s ever??
I have never seen a Mel Brooks film oddly. Nice way to awkwardly end things Bloodmoney ahaha! I just want my Zoolander fix… that’s a sequel I will nourish.