September 17, 2014

Esh The Monolith (Loop Minded Individuals)

Esh the Monolith (Loop Minded Individuals)

I love science fiction in any format; Movies, Books, Comic Books, and most especially music that can capture the ideas, and themes so nicely. Esh The Monolith recently teamed with some friends, and production/music partner Intrikit to take the famous Douglas Adams series A Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, but in a dusted out, sample heavy journey through hip-hop inner space nerd hangouts. I interviewed Esh back in May, and unfortunately lost the interview and recently retrieved it, and made sure to edit quick style because the tape deserves the shine, and Esh is a hard working talented artist.

You just dropped a new project under the name Loop Minded Individuals. After listening to it a few times over now, it seems to touch back to the days of DJ Muggs Soul Assassins compilations, or Pete Rock’s Soul Survivor. What was the conversation that you and your partner on the project, Intrikit, had to get to the point of putting this together?

We just wanted to make a project that was centered on making beats and spotlighting other artists. We knew that we were both going to rhyme on it, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to work with artists we respected locally and ones that I had met on the road. We talked about having a traveling theme throughout the project and Ink came up with the name. I’m a big Douglas Adams fan and it seemed to fit so we ran with it

You have this project split between two different independent imprints, how did you end up partnering with I Had An Accident Records for the tapes and Four Finger Distro (an off shoot of Fake Four Inc.) to release it on different media platforms?

I first linked up with DJ Halo who runs Four Finger Distro and is label manager at Fake Four when I toured with him and H.W. a couple years back. We had never met before we went out for a 2-week run in his orange-ass Honda Element. We quickly became friends. He’s an awesome dude. He mentioned that he wanted to start putting stuff out under the FFD imprint so I started sending him mixes and we went from there.

I linked up with Justin at I Had An Accident Records through my homies J Ring and Emoh Betta who put out a great album as Boogie Boy Metal Mouth through the label. I sent Justin a PR link to the final mixes and he seemed hyped to put it out. He is a super supportive dude and has been great to work with.

It’s a hard task curating a “compilation” type of project and have it be as cohesive and fluid as A Hitchhiker’s Guide… is? What was the process like when you guys sat to pick people to co-star on the tape? And how did you know who would really fit the roles?

Yeah man, it’s a huge pain in the ass haha. I feel like Loop Minded is really more of an album than a compilation. Compilation implies that tracks were submitted and they definitely weren’t. Sometimes I had to hunt them down. Coordinating 20 plus people is a pretty insane task, especially when a lot of the people involved lived in different states. That made it all the more satisfying once the project was finally complete though.

The cohesiveness really came from regular studio sessions with Dan “Young Jedi” Adams and myself. He Johnny Rambo’d the mixes and was completely invested in the outcome. He is undeniably the unsung hero of this project.

Nobody was really picked to fill any certain role on the tape. Some people were obvious choices because they are fam. Andrew, Fran, Romen, Emoh, & Grey Sky are all people I collaborate with regularly, and Deebee is in DIM with Ink. Everyone else are just talented dudes that anyone would want to work with.

As an independent musician in this day and age, do you feel like it’s harder or easier to push any project out for people to get a hold of and get behind / pay for? Do you think the internet has initially helped but is slowly hurting the music scene at all?

It’s easy to put your music out which makes it harder to get people behind it because you are constantly swimming in a sea of turds, trying to show people how non-turd-like you are, but the sound of your voice is muffled by all the turds.

The Internet definitely broke the record industry, but the record industry needed breaking. It’s an archaic system that no longer works, like the US congress or the Vatican with less underage boy-touching. I’d like to buy a hovercraft with indie rap money from the Internet, but it hasn’t happened yet.

The record has a really dope warm sound to it, which I’m sure is assisted from the samples material. I had read an article a few months back with producers like Blockhead and Quelle Chris discussing digging vs YouTube rips for samples. As an MC & producer, are you strict about where you pull from? Or is it a “by any means” feeling?

Personally, I believe that source material doesn’t matter as long as the final product is dope. I understand that everyone has a sonic preference, but I would never immediately write something off because of how is was made. In fact, I get psyched when I see someone making something in a non-traditional way. That’s Hip Hop. A good producer can flip anything.

That being said, on Loop Minded I purposefully wanted to make a record using nothing more than a turntable, a sampler, and a stack of vinyl. It is entirely sampled from records, even the cuts, and was made on my MPC 1000. That is not always how I work. My first record is a combination of vinyl and synth and my work with The Arcitype is sample free.

Seeing as the tape pulls from a really popular sci-fi novel, which was turned into a great movie as well, what are your favorite sci-fi books / movies?

For Books, the Hitchhikers Guide series is definitely one my favorites and Vonnegut’s stuff like Cat’s Cradle and Slaughter House Five is amazing. Anything Vonnegut wrote is great. I also dug the Dune series (the movie is one of my favorites too) and of course classics like 1984 and Brave New World.

For Movies, the Alien Series (including Prometheus but minus the David Fincher one, because that one sucked), 2001 & A Clockwork Orange, The original Star Wars Trilogy, Brazil, The Fifth Element, The Thing, Moon was pretty tight. I’m sure I’m leaving some good ones out, but fuck it. Always been a fan of the genre.

Now that this tape has dropped, and seems to be getting a very warm response, what’s next for you? Do you plan on hitting the road? You also have a new record coming next as well right??

Well, I only have one verse on the tape so I can’t really tour it, but I’d like to get back on the road for an extended period this fall. I’ll definitely be hitting all my close-to-home northeast spots this spring & summer though.

Right now I’m focused on finishing up my full length with The Arcitype and a collaboration record with Grey Sky Appeal. I’m really excited to squeeze those rap babies into the world.

Since you’ve had the opportunity to work with and perform with some awesome artists, has there ever been anyone you’ve played with/met that you fully fan boyed on when meeting them??

Way back in the day I use to do promo work for Landspeed Records (which later turned into Traffic Ent). Aside from regular street team shit, when an artist on the label came to town I would show them around. One time Guru came promoting that Bald Head Slick album that he put out. I was a big Gang Starr fan, because who wasn’t, so I was hype. Later that night he needed to get somewhere in CT, and this was before smart phones and GPS, so I volunteered to take him because I knew where he was going. We made small talk, but were mostly silent during the trip, but when I dropped him off and he started walking away he turned around and said “keep the underground alive.” Yung Esh was psyched haha

How do you approach getting your music out in tennis day and age? Do you feel like the blog cycles, and etch a sketch memories of “fans” make it hard for you to possibly stick out?

I just work hard and hope it pays off. I don’t really know what else to do.

If you could impress anything on people reading this about your music, and why they should support it, what would you want to tell them?

Listening to my music makes all your dreams come true. It makes you smarter, more attractive, and rich enough to buy an exotic animal. Celebrities listen to it when they are making celebrity babies and whenever you order it a brick of coke shows up in the mail. It cures male pattern baldness. Not only it the president, it is also a client.