Dec 6, 2018

Reindeer667

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UGSMAG had the distinct pleasure of getting to talk briefly with long-time international indie rap emcee/producer Reindeer667 recently, and had the chance to grill him on recent events, which have seen him struggle openly with some pretty major traumas, as well as releasing four albums showcasing him seemingly at the peak of his craft. He gave us a candid glimpse of how things have been unfolding behind the scenes.

UGSMAG: Thank you so much for your time, and how it’s a pleasure indeed. You’ve been releasing albums and touring for what must be around fifteen years now, that’s a pretty decent run. What have you learned?

REINDEER: No messing around then! And, thank you so much. What have I learned? Specifically, from making all this music, and playing all these shows? Upon a moments’ reflection, I would say I’ve learned how to master my craft. Now, what I’ve experienced is another thing altogether.

Fair Enough. So, what have been some of your most important experiences then? Good, bad, meaningful.

Touring is the first thing that comes to mind. Immediately, and from all angles. There is something quite indescribable about the bonds that can be formed by a group of people who go on tour together, to experience that uniquely-faceted touring life. Then, to know that whole experience is built entirely around the chance to get up on that stage. Being on stage is without a doubt the most meaningful, richest part of the whole experience. Without a shadow of a doubt.

Favourite show?

Fuck outta here! Hahahaha! ‘Too many’ is a beautiful phrase. Check it, the last show I played was supporting Dälek, at the Reitschule in Bern, Switzerland. That’s that beyond special kind of business. For me, the shows where I feel I performed the best were the most enjoyable, satisfying, euphoric. If the sound is good, I generally play a good show, and when the people are listening, engaged, dancing, swaying, smiling… This is truly beyond words.

So, you’ve had something like a year from hell, it seems. Without putting too finer a point on it.

Real talk. It’s been a tough eighteen months by now, in truth. I lost my fiancé, my home, my country of residence, my cats, then my father attempted to assault me, my family abandoned me, my mama died, I tried to commit suicide, a lot of friends died, a lot of undue stress and worry; it’s been seriously hard.

Fuck. How have you been able to cope? What have you been doing to survive?

Valid questions. This is the kind of shit that has you make three albums in four weeks, that’s for sure. I’ve just been burying myself in my art, and burying myself in what I need to do to get out of here, to escape this horror.

Where are you going? To escape to?

I’m simply talking in terms of setting myself up a new, stable home base. A new life in a new town, kind of thing. A ‘secret location’, naturally.

Okay, that sounds promising. That sounds really hopeful. So, tell us a tiny bit about these ‘three albums in four weeks’, since we’re here for the hip hop, first and foremost.

Right. 2018 has been a brutal year for me, personally, but there’s been some dope hip hop dropping, and it’s had me feeling really inspired, and wanting to create. Specifically wanting to create in terms of ‘going back to my own roots’, when I really started producing beats, in the mid ’90s. I wanted to strip everything back, just break out the MPC and the SM58, and get busy in that way once again.

Which albums have you been checking for, that have been inspiring you?

The year started off with the twin gems of Evidence’s Weather or Not, and the Muggs and Meyhem Lauren Gems from the Equinox project. From there it just spiraled outwards.

Dope. So did you produce these three albums as well as rap?

Only in small part. I produced a few songs on the first instalment, SiNALOA GUNSHiP WARLODiSM. I think I handled about three or four beats on there. But, no, one of the main reasons I could create three albums in four weeks was that I was working alongside Smokey131, probably my favourite producer from Germany. You already know how any dope producer always have a stack of beats on deck, so I just broke out Smokey’s stacks and went to work. In five days I had written, co-produced, recorded and arranged the whole of the first album. We just kept going, hourly, until we had the trilogy.

That’s wild. And you dropped them almost immediately?

Correct. These things were so spontaneous, it made so much sense to just drop them one after the other, let folk take stock once the damage had been done. We had the legendary homie Mr. Yellow Balaclava handle the all exclusive artwork, a limited edition tape run, Bandcamp, and then off to iTunes, Spotify, et al. No messing around.

What has the response been like?

Good. Definitely. I can proudly say that Indie Rock Mag, out in France, gave me their Album of the Month award twice this year. Once for my Field Reports from the Western Lands 2xLP release on Anette Records, and once again for the SiNALOA GUNSHiP WARLORDiSM. The tapes have been selling, the downloads getting downloaded, the streams streaming. It’s all good.

So, what’s next? Touring? More recording?

For now, I need to attend to some more of the chaos that is my personal life in closer detail. I have a plan and that plan is getting executed. In the meantime, I am working on two new albums, both already coming along nicely, but wanting to take these two a little slower, feel my way through them a bit more; enjoy the process. There has been some very exciting talk of touring in the new year, no details yet; but these coming few moons have other plans for me.

It’s been a pleasure to catch up, thank you so much for your time.

You are more than very welcome. It’s been an honour and a privilege.

Make sure to check out Reindeer at:
jamesreindeer.com
reindeer667.bandcamp.com
instagram.com/reindeer667
soundcloud.com/reindeer667

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