Bounder over to see THE IVY WALLS.

February 6, 2008 by

ivywalls-fistheart.jpg

Even if you’re not on the front-lines of the alternative-rock LA/Hollywood scene with THE IVY WALLS, there is still a chance you may have heard them. If you happened to be watching “MTV’S The Real World: Sydney,” you might have been grooving to “Lovers In Hotels” (their latest full-length album and title track). Or perhaps recently, you’ve opened up an indie music magazine and heard their name listed in the ‘top unsigned/unknown bands’ to listen to. But maybe, just maybe, you waited for The Alternakids to blow your mind (I’m going to assume that).

ivywallsalbumcoverloversinhotels-1.jpg

I had known about the band strongly for the past two years, but didn’t get a chance to hear them live and dig on the album until ’07. The album quickly became a hit with my so-called ‘traveling collections’… let me explain. Although I listen to a lot of music at home, it’s a rare treat for an album/band to get to travel in my car or follow me to a workout — being blared on the gym stereo. These select few albums get played more than the 5 pop songs on a music station, so it’s crucial they got the talent to survive. The Ivy Walls have it. They offer that unique blend of alternative indie-rock sound, entrenched in musical obsession.

The Ivy Walls – Pacify

 

I was given an opportunity to have a few moments with Jeff Yanero, lead singer and ‘creator’ of The Ivy Walls. And in true artist fashion, he slowly revealed himself — and the rare untold fact that ‘MySpace actually works':

LL: WHAT WAS YOUR PATH FROM WHERE YOU GREW UP TO HOLLYWOOD MUSIC SCENE?
Jeff: wow..I can barely retrace it because it’s so ridiculously winding..but I grew up in West Virginia..I went to school in Florida as well as Las Vegas..After just over a year in Vegas I dropped out and went to New York..That was the best move I ever made because at that point I was disenchanted with everything I’d ever done and it was there that new worlds began to open up for me..Things I didn’t realize were available to me before were revealing themselves as possibilities..It was around then that I got involved with the arts which through a few twists and turns landed me in L.A.The first few months of Los Angeles can really set someone back..Especially if you don’t know who you are or at least who you wanna be..I see these kids just getting here these days and they don’t know there assholes from there elbows..Anyway after a short stint of figuring that out for myself I was able to get an apartment of my own which was unheard of in New York..My Grandma gave me the money for the security deposit and I just began spending days on end reading and writing, working on bad songs, and painting..At one point I enrolled in a life drawing course at one of the community colleges because it was free and it was during that period that I met Ryan (Guitar/Synth) and we started writing songs. We started first in his apartment and would every week test our songs at a local open mic..We were usually piss drunk by the time it was our turn which may have been the only thing entertaining about those songs..But those were valuable times as we still use the creative language that we developed back then to communicate our ideas today..So after some rocky periods of begging, borrowing, and stealing other musicians to play with us, we finally had our shit together enough to actually start a band that we could call our own.

LL: WHAT WERE/ARE SOME OF YOUR MUSICAL INFLUENCES?
Jeff: We love “Broken Social Scene”..and the standards “Radiohead, The Beatles, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, The Cure”..Do we sound like any of these bands?..I hope so but shit I don’t know.

LL: YOU’RE LISTED AS “VOCALS/PIANO/GUITAR” ON “LOVERS IN HOTELS” ALBUM. DID YOU HAVE ANY FORMAL TRAINING FOR ANY OR ALL?
Jeff: I have taken a voice lesson or two but no real training..A lot of what we’ve become as far as our progress is a result of recording..So far it seems like every group of songs which turns into every EP or Record is a bench mark not only of where we were with our sound at the time but also our abilities..It’s like an actor seeing himself on camera..after a bit you begin to know what works for you and where and how you can either stretch or pull back.

ivywalls-jeffsings.jpg

LL: HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME “THE IVY WALLS” AND WHAT BROUGHT THE BAND TOGETHER?
Jeff: We were in a band called The Fade that just never hit the mark for us..I had the name “The Ivy Walls” put away for awhile during the last months of The Fade so when it came time for that project to dismantle I already had the vision of where we were going..The Ivy Walls reminded me of that moody and introspective period on the east coast..That’s really it..it was mostly just a satisfying notion..At this point RV and I were working together more efficiently then ever..We learned our lessons with The Fade and The Count had always shown us the loyalty of a brother so we just needed to find the right person on the drums..we had used our friend (producer) Erik Colvin’s drummer from Neuromance (Clive Tucker) for a few songs and after playing with Clive we knew how essential a great drummer was going to be..We really enjoyed Danny for his time in the band but this is a tough game..There can be a lot of stuff to get you down when you’re at it day after day..When Adam came in he was one of those guys that we hoped would be looking for a project like ours..We had a lot of talks about hoping he realized the potential in the room.. After a few rehearsals he asked me if Ryan was gay and called Rodrigo”Ricardo” at that point he just became one of us.

LL: HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE ‘THE IVY WALLS’ SOUND?
Jeff: I would say melodic yet driving..I think there’s a dreaminess that we tap into when we’re at our best..Someone (maybe LL) once said our sound was cinematic..I’ve always liked that.

ivywalls-stlamp.jpg

LL: “LOVERS AND HOTELS” IS A WONDERFUL ALBUM. I CAN’T GET ENOUGH IT. CAN YOU TELL US THE STORY ABOUT MAKING THIS ALBUM? I KNOW YOU HAD SOME HARD-TIMES ALONG THE WAY… WHICH INCLUDED NEAR DEATH AND HOSPITAL VISITS. CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENED, AND HOW IT MOLDED ITSELF INTO THIS ALBUM?
Jeff: Yea it was a year of challenges and changes..I passed out the day after a show in Silverlake on August 9th..I was having wacky heartbeats and nobody could explain why..The tests would take weeks to get approved by insurance and in the meantime my Mom had come out to look over me..At that same time my Grandfather was really ill and in September I went home with her not knowing what was the matter or when I would be coming home. The trip proved to be important as it was my
last visit with my Grandfather and on ‘September 11th’ I flew back to L.A. scared shitless. That night I went to see Willie Nelson and Ryan Adams at the bowl and as I sat there I couldn’t even enjoy the
show..I was always weak and now a nervous wreck and my heart never seemed to beat appropriately for the moment..The guys in the band we’re incredibly patient..I don’t know if they ever considered looking for another band but we had a lot of jokes about rockstar INXS..I told them if they ever did to me what those shitheads did to michael hutchence that I would haunt them forever. So during October RV and I layed down a couple rough tracks off the cuff one of which was “halloween”..By Thanksgiving I would being given a diagnosis of Dysautonomia that was corrected as quickly as it came about with a low dose of a blood pressure medication..A few days later my Grandfather died and we hung things up for the rest of the year..If we hadn’t already done so much at that point I’m not sure what would’ve become of Lover’s in Hotels..For me it was “The Bombs are Falling” that tied everything together..It was encompassing of my life and also of where I hoped our sound was going.. That year really aged me.

The Ivy Walls – Halloween

LL: I GET THE FEELING YOU’VE THAT YOU FEEL THIS ALBUM IS SOMETIMES LIKE TWO DIFFERENT MOODS OF YOUR LIFE? CAN YOU PICK OUT TWO SONGS THAT REALLY SHOW THE DIFFERENCE, AND REVEAL WHAT WHAT EMOTION/TIME WAS COMING ACROSS?
Jeff: I think Faster was one those bratty moments of talking about things like being up for days and wanting someone not to leave you..I wish I could always carry a load so light..I think Halloween shows the darker side that we were experiencing..I felt really desolate during that period.

The Ivy Walls - Faster Faster

LL: THE TITLE SONG WAS RECENTLY ON MTV’S REAL-WORLD: SYDNEY? HOW DID THEY FIND YOU, AND HOW DID THAT COME TO HAPPEN?
Jeff: It was pretty simple..They contacted our Myspace.

The Ivy Walls – Lovers in Hotels

LL: WHAT’S YOUR METHOD FOR WRITING MUSIC AND LYRICS? ARE YOU ALWAYS MUSIC BEFORE LYRICS? DO YOU HAVE ONE SET STANDARD PATH THAT INSPIRATION SEEMS TO FIND YOU? DOES A SONG JUST SORT OF REVEAL ITSELF TO YOU, OR DO YOU REVEAL YOURSELF TO YOUR MUSIC?
Jeff: We do it every which way..RV is a very prolific guitarist..We moved into the same building because of our excessive song writing bursts..It’s nothing for one of to be at the other’s door at 2 in the morning with a guitar strapped on saying “you gotta hear this”..Lyrics are crafted several ways..Sometimes they come with the music, other times they are notions that have been waiting for a home, and sometimes they are crafted for the song.

ivywalls-jeffboards.jpg

LL: THE FIRST TIME I HEARD “THE BOMBS ARE FALLING”, I WAS VERY IMPRESSED BY THE ENTIRE ENSEMBLE OF SOUND — THE MOOD IT EVOKED, PRESENCE IT CREATED, AND ATTENTION IT COMMANDED, AND ALL WITHOUT FEELING ‘HEAVY.’ I THINK YOUR MUSIC IN GENERAL HAS A SENSE OF INNER-HOPE, EVEN IN ONE’S WORST OF MOMENTS ND TIME. DO YOU FIND THIS TO BE THE CASE WITH
YOURSELF? DO YOU FIND A THEME OF INSPIRATION SURROUNDED IN DARK CORNERS OF YOUR MUSIC? OR DOES IT FEEL ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FOR YOU?

Jeff: I think that minus the year prior to the release of the record that our mission has been very youthful and full of good people and fortune..I think that through the years we’ve helped each other not let things get too heavy..I think music is a big part of that for us..I think that sense of hope is what drives us to keep coming back and doing this together.

The Ivy Walls – The Bombs Are Falling

LL: ARE THERE ANY OTHER LOCAL BANDS YOU LIKE?
Jeff: of course.. Midnight Movies, Neuromance, and Erik’s new project “Modified by Man”, a faulty chromosome, Winston and the Telescreen.

ivywallsbandsit-1.jpg

LL: I KNOW YOU’VE BEEN WORKING ON SOME NEW MUSIC. WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM FROM THE IVY WALLS IN ‘O8?
Jeff: Lots! We’re gonna play a few new tunes at The DERBY ON Feb. 5th.

LL: WE SHARE SOME MUTUAL FRIENDS, AND SOMETIMES YOU GET REFERRED TO AS “BOUNDER” AND VICE-VERSA TO THEM. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THIS?
Jeff: (Laughter)hahaha! only one of the other bounders could do that..ha,ha.

ivywalls-jeffguitar.jpg
****************

Visit THE IVY WALLS at their MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/theivywalls), and come out and celebrate Super Tuesday night at the world famous Derby in Los Angeles (2/5/08) at 11pm with a vote, and a show of support for The Ivy Walls — Or catch them again sometime this year, and of course buy their album “Lovers in Hotels” (available on itunes too) and enjoy. Until next time…

– fearless23 (aka. LL).


				

Amazed at how he still get paid but dumb lazy

January 5, 2008 by

So yes, we still exist and somehow to my amazement our traffic somehow seems to still be growing.  Anyway, some of you have said told me personally that you were looking forward to seeing our picks for the “best of 2007″ and that post is definitely on it’s way.  The list has already been compiled and it should be going up in the very near future.

Now I’m not really one who makes New Years Resolutions.  I figure what is it about early January that makes me anymore likely to start doing something than any other time of year, but if I were to make some this year I suppose doing a better job of keeping up this blog would be towards the top of the list.  Every now and then I get reminded that people actually do check in on this page and sometimes I even find out that people have heard of us in places I never would have imagined a year and a half ago when I started this thing.

Today though I want to talk about my New Years Eve experience and give my two cents about a certain performer whose recent antics have been the cause of much controversy and speculation.  You see contrary to popular belief, I don’t spend all of my time on the internet finding out the latest and most up to date rumors on the street about everything (at least not anymore).  So when I went to the Los Angeles stop on the Rock the Bells tour I didn’t think too much about the fact that after waiting longer than I felt was necessary I went to the other stage and missed MF Doom’s performance all together.  I mean after all Nas barely showed up in time to do two songs at the end of The Roots set during the very same show.

You see at that time I was unaware of the “lip-synching fake Doom” accusations that have been flying around recently.  Well on New Years Eve I finally got to see what all the furor is about.  See I hadn’t seen the masked villain live before, so I went to this show specifically to catch him doing his thing.  By this point I had of course heard the rumors about the fake man behind the mask and I was honestly just as interested to see what would happen as I was to see the show.

MF Doom – Monkey Suite

Well long story short… we ended up waiting longer for this guy to actually take the stage than the amount of time he spent on stage.  There was some prima donna shit going on where they needed to clear out the whole backstage and VIP area just so he could come through (I somehow ended up standing next to Fatlip from “The Pharcyde” who seemed to be more frustrated about the fiasco than I was).  The 4 masked “hype men” on stage made more noise than the supposed MC, and maybe twenty minutes passed before they were all trying to leave the stage. 

Fake Doom?

Like I said, this was supposed to be my first time seeing Doom live, so I can’t comment on how “authentic” the guy on stage was, but regardless of whether it was an imposter or not, the performance was bunk.  After the whole debacle there was no shortage of criticism from the other acts that night as to what had just transpired.  In fact now that I think about it this is the second time personally where I’ve seen the Living Legends crew have to cover for Doom being as how they extended their set at Rock the Bells while he wasn’t there  (I still don’t know whether or not he eventually showed up after I left).

Scarub and Eligh brought a vengefully fierce energy to the stage and even though I’m not very well versed in their catalog they did everything in their power to make up for the disappointment of the crowd.  I mean this is LA, mofos will riot (especially when you consider those who waited to buy their tickets at the door paid $50).  And seriously, who can complain about a surprise KRS-One appearance. 

KRS-One – MC’s Act Like They Don’t Know

I missed a lot of the other people who performed earlier that night, but I do want to take a minute to shout out my homie The Gaslamp Killah.  I was standing outside in the sadly unorganized entrance line while he was performing but in my experience he’s always guaranteed to rock the house.  Maybe I can convince him to put together an exclusive Alternakid mix sometime… hmmm.

Gaslamp Killah – Wednesday Night Live Megamix

Anyway, here’s to me regaining my ambition this year and to our readers hearing a lot more from us this year.  Happy 2008 ya’ll.

How I Spent My Vacation

November 10, 2007 by

So some of you readers may or may not have known that I was out of town on a “world tour” of sorts (If 10 days and three states constitutes a world tour that is). I had a great time and since (as most of my adventures do) this particular jaunt included several musically relevant tales to tell I figured I’d give a nice little recount as to some of the more significant details of my trip.

I’m sure I’ll write more about the new album later on, but I have to mention here that Radiohead is still great airplane and airport music. I remember on last years annual trip back east listening to live bootlegs of what would become most of the tracks from In Rainbows. Also being as how I was going to a wedding and was constantly reminded of the ex who was supposed to be accompanying me on the trip… this track in particular struck quite the chord with me. (Or maybe I just read into lyrics a little too much).

Radiohead – Nude

The first stop and the catalyst for the whole idea of this trip was the wedding of my good friends “Evan X” and “Mistress Missy” in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I actually knew the happy couple separately several years ago before they had even met, yet alone before they began dating. However, I can’t take the credit for introducing them, we all had a circle of mutual friends from various points in the midwest and we all used to meet up in various cities to party and get into trouble. They are easily some of my favorite people and I wish them the best of luck.

Evan, Missy and Me

I got to see a lot of old friends that I haven’t had the chance to hang with in several years, meet some new cool individuals, let loose on the dance floor and grab some ideas for the type of ceremony I’d like to have when it comes time for me to take the walk down the aisle sometime in the distant future. The wedding was nice and very fitting for our group of friends if anything other than traditional. As would be no surprise from the type of friends I attract, at the reception they had mix CD’s laid out on the tables of several songs from the ceremony and the receptions play list.

Wedding Playlist

 

One selection that I found to be an interesting choice for a wedding reception was “Sittin’ Pretty” by Brendan Benson.

Brendan Benson – Sittin’ Pretty

Of course I’m one to talk being as how Consuelo and I both chose a bridal waltz that included the lyrics “you’ll always be my whore”. (So much for that whole idea of never being apart though). Still the video for “Ava Adore” remains quite possibly the most ingenious continuous four minutes of cinema ever committed to celluloid.

Anyway, I won’t lie, the event brought up some old bitter sentiment in those regards, but I digress. From there I hitched a ride back to my hometown of Toledo, Ohio for a few days with my friend Vectrexx and his girl Meow Suicide since it was on their way back to Columbus.

Road Trippin’

While in Toledo I caught up with several family members who I hadn’t seen in awhile and swung by my old job at Prodigy Music. I took a little time to catch up with Bob Caunter and shoot the shit about my life in LA and his new band “All But One“. In the process he gave me a link to a website about Detroit area musicians from 1966 – 1972 which features his old band “Salem Witchcraft” right up there alongside other area heavyweights like “The Stooges”, “MC5″, “Alice Cooper” and many more that you may or may not have known originally hailed from the Motor City.

My friend Dee let me crash on her couch a couple nights and she finally returned my copies of both (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? and Stankonia which she’s been holding onto for about 4 years at this point. I’d almost forgotten how damn good both of those albums were. (Note to Outkast: please resuming making albums with nonsensical compound words as titles and naked women on the disc artwork… Note to Oasis: consult Damon Albarn for notes on remaining relevant).

Outkast – B.O.B.

Oasis – Morning Glory

The next day I eventually made my way over to Allied Record Exchange where my cousin Damon has been working for years now to do some light digging. I picked up a Dirtbombs split 7″ and a copy of their first album Horndog Fest which is a must grab while you’re in the Detroit area. I’d been planning to do a post on the Dirtbombs for a while now so hopefully I’ll get around to doing that sometime soon.

The Dirtbombs – Pheremone Smile

I also scooped up the new solo record from my old friend Jeff Loose of Stylex, another local favorite. I’ll probably be doing a post on them sometime in the future as well.

Jeff Loose – Dreams Come True

believe it or not, I actually used to hang out with this dude… that was before he started looking like Jesus hanging out on Sesamee Street though ;-)

My cousin dug up a few things especially for me as well including a copy of RJD2’s debut mix Your Face Or Your Kneecaps (sheer dopeness). Then when we got back to his place since he’s always looking out for the fam (mmmhmm…) and I knew he had two copies already, he sold me one of his Operation:Doomsday CD’s along with a Sony Digital Voice Recorder for a total of $80 (of course he already knew how hard it is to come by an original copy).

MF Doom – Who You Think I Am?

Family Business

From there it was on to DTW for a flight down to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Armed with a navigation equipped rental car I had several hours to kill so I typed “records” into the unit to see what I came up with but unfortunately that first day my exploits turned out to be rather fruitless. My friend Jason was generous enough to let me crash on his couch for this portion of the trip, but he had to work the next day so once again I was left to my own devices. Not a problem that couldn’t be fixed with a quick look in the yellow pages.

I don’t consider myself to be a genuine “collector”, but I’ve naturally accumulated a decent library over my years of music obsession. I figure if I’m out of town I might want to try to find some things that I don’t necessarily come across everyday in Los Angeles. I found a listing for a place called “The CD Collector” and decided that based on name alone it would probably be my best bet for a digging foray. Upon arriving at my destination however I learned that the place is now called Radioactive Records (not to be confused with the controversial pirate reissue label or the more legitimate label home of “Live” and that band Shirley Manson was in before “Garbage”). I tried to stick to just picking up a few CD’s for the drive and I did pretty good keeping it to about $50 worth of stuff. I found a promo EP from Test Icicles that includes a couple of rare exclusives, but quite honestly none of those match the raw intensity (imagine Bloc Party overdosing on a testosterone injection) of the EP’s title track which also appears on their full length:

Test Icicles – Boa vs. Python

I also snatched up a couple 45’s and then I made the mistake of asking if there were any other places in town where I might be able to do some digging. So off I was sent to Delray Beach and Backbone Music. I had to be back in Ft. Lauderdale to meet my aunt for dinner that evening, so I was only able to spend about 10 minutes actually looking through the stacks. Maybe it was because the place was a little smaller and I wasn’t so overwhelmed, but that was all I needed to blow my first $40 on 7″ fodder. The Turtles, Elvis Presley, and Peter, Paul, and Mary were just some of the more notable specimens I picked up within that first 5 minute glance. Now I had the itch, and sensing my urges, the guy at the counter knew what he was dealing with when he was ringing me up. I told him I’d been sent by the guys over at Radioactive and he told me to check out “the good stuff” in the other bin. 3 minutes later I’d blown another $60 still strictly working with 7″. James Brown, Johnny Cash, a G.G. Allin EP, and what some consider to be the Holy Grail of Hardcore Punk (of course mine was a reissue considering it’s white label and in mint condition, but for the price I’m game). At that point I decided to give in and admit that this trip was going to be a record buying excursion and I set aside another $100 for a stop at Vinyl Fever once I got to Tallahassee.

Before I left Backbone I spent a few more minutes just shooting the shit with the guy at the counter and he informed me that Medeski, Martin and Wood were playing a few nights at a local club called the Culture Room. Since I didn’t really have any plans for after dinner I figured that’d be a good way to spend the rest of the evening. It was well worth the price of admission just to see John Medeski’s keyboard setup alone. A baby grand piano, vintage Moog, clavinet, Hammond B3, Melodica and a couple other keyboards that I couldn’t make out from where I stood, each with separate amps.. They played two sets of improvised tunes and standards then came back for an encore of “Hey Joe” which ended the night on a nice mellow note.

Now I’m definitely familiar enough with the legendary jazz trio in question, but I’m not well versed enough in their background information or catalog to think that I’ll be dedicating an entire post to them anytime soon, so I’ll just go crazy here with a sampling of related tracks I have in my inventory.

Medeski, Martin & Wood – Where’s the Music

Billy Martin and John Medeski – Bamboo Pants

Medeski, Martin & Wood – Hypnotized

Medeski, Martin, Scofield & Wood – Cachaça

Medeski, Martin & Wood – End of The World Party

The next morning I woke up early and headed to Orlando to have lunch with one of my old college buddies who I haven’t seen in about 5 years and from there I continued up to Tallahassee to hang out for “guys weekend” with some of my other college friends who I haven’t seen in a while either. We hit the club on Friday night where they were having “old school” night… however it’s kind of depressing to realize what music is considered “old school” by the college kids these days. We spent Saturday tailgating and then went to the Florida State v. Miami game (f**k Miami).

Me and Erick

 

Sunday I hit the record store where I grabbed a gang of records including choice 7″ selections from both John Lennon and George Harrison. I also found a Dirtbombs release that I couldn’t even find in Detroit. Also of note were 7″ platters from “Helmet” and a smattering of punk and 80’s New Wave singles that I grabbed just for kicks.

Then it was back on the plane to come home again, home again, jiggedy-jig-jig. Overall it was a great excursion and a much needed departure from the daily grind here at home. It was good to see everybody I got to squeeze in, and definitely good to meet some really cool new friends as well. Now it just sucks knowing I won’t have any more vacation days to use for quite a while. I did however get to catch one of my favorite indie acts ever, Enon, last weekend with Love of Diagrams so expect to see a review of that show coming up soon.

 

In RainbowsOne MississippiStankonia Limited Edition(What’s the Story?) Morning GloryHorndog FestRubberbandFor Screening Purposes OnlyMagoNote BleuOut LouderEnd of the World Party (Just in Case)

The Rhyme Inspector Checks In

October 12, 2007 by

When you talk about “The Beginning”, there are a few names that always pop up in the discussion. Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Fab 5 Freddy… KRS is always reminding us that he was there, but so was Percee P. After years of bubbling around on the scene, the “Lethal Lyricist” has finally released his debut album on Stones Throw records, and with one listen you’ll start to see exactly how he’s earned his legendary status over the years. I got a call from the man himself while he was out on the tour with Common and Q-Tip earlier this month and I had the chance to ask him a few questions about his vested career so far and how he’s continuing to do his thing currently.

Percee P

You talk about it a little bit on the album in the track “The Man To Praise” but tell us about how you got started back in the day, especially linking up with D.I.T.C. and those guys.

Well I’ve been rapping since 1979. I’m from up in the South Bronx, Patterson Projects, so basically I was there since my moms had moved there when I was 3 years old. That was the beginning stages of hip-hop. You know I grew up there, so as I got older as a teenager we would do our thing. Around 1989 I used to battle with Lord Finesse before his first record came out, so that’s how I met him. Then he hooked up with A.G. and dropped Funky Technician. So that’s who was featured on the first album, but he told A.G. that he wanted to get me on the second joint, so we hooked up and did the track “Yes You May” with the three of us. It turned out that The Source quoted my verse as a “Hip-Hop Quotable”.  What some people don’t know is the remix to that track, was the first song Big L was on too.  So that’s how I first hooked up with the D.I.T.C. crew, and as they got bigger, more cats came on like Diamond D. I also knew OC and the guys from Organized Konfusion while we were in high school and a couple other cats from around the way.

So after all these years of being in the game what made you decide to go with Stones Throw as a label?

Well basically I’ve been just grinding out it in the street because I didn’t have a deal, trying to keep my name up and keep it alive by whatever means I had to do. You know whether it be rip it on the open mic circuit or try to get some shine at other people’s shows, or dropping promos for 88hiphop.com or mixtapes, showing up to make an appearance in videos, you know. So I started taking it to the streets to sell my own tapes myself. I started hanging out in front of Fatbeats as a regular spot because they would always carry my records, so I figured that anybody coming through Fatbeats might have an idea of who I am. You know I try to make it easier on myself, because it’s still not like guaranteed sales, but the crowd that kicks it at Fatbeats goes out on the scene and knows the kind of spots I want to hit up or open mics I can be at and stuff like that. So after a while people just started knowing I was out there, so basically even though I wanted to bounce around I wanted to be where these people know they can find me. That’s when I realized I had started something that I couldn’t stop and that was my plan just to keep going with that.

So I met Stones Throw basically the same way I met J5 up in Canada doing some shows and hanging out at the different spots grindin’. I didn’t know they knew who I was, so I just closed in and tried to sell ‘em something. I approached them like “Yo I’m an artist too, my name is Percee P”… and they were like “Oh word… Percee P?” At the time it was Peanut Butter Wolf and Wildchild, so they wanted to get some footage of me while they were doing this documentary. So I spit a verse for ‘em and did a little intro and whatnot, so that’s how I met them and they stayed in contact with me. So I went back to doing my thing and grinding and I ended up being on the Jurassic 5 album, so that was a plus. Then I did a few other things, I had some joints with Planet Asia and Jedi Mind Tricks, so I had some things developing and they called me up and wanted to fly me out to Cali and get a chance to know me better and work with me a little bit, build up the relationship and it just kinda happened from there.

Wildchild, MED, and Percee P – Knick Knack

So what was it like working with Madlib?

It’s dope. I mean, I never really go in the studio with him, I just get the beats. You know we’re all professional recording artist so we know what to do. I just go in, and without him being there they play the beats, I track it and lay it down with the vocals. Then they take it back and add the scratches or put down the hook. But it was a good combination, I was satisfied with the tracks I was using and I think they even started remixing every song so those might be coming out.

Percee P – Reverse (pt. 2)

Alright, well I know I met you and ran into you a few times just like you were talking about, out on the scene doing your thing still hustling and keeping it going. I picked up a couple of mixtapes from you directly and whatnot, so tell me how does that work… Like what’s the average day in the life of Percee P?

Well on the average day I probably get up around 11:00am or so cause I’m out late. You know in LA at least the clubs are going until 2, so by the time I get home it’s usually around 4 o’ clock in the morning. I don’t really have that full eight hours of sleep sometimes because you know it’ll be almost 5 o’ clock before I really fall asleep. Sometimes you know I have to check emails or hit up the MySpace or whatever. So I get up and then head into LA, on the bus, train whatever New York styling it so I can hang out. That’s my way of trying to stay grounded and have a little time to focus, you know that’s my peaceful time to myself so I can write or think you know. I’ll have the CD player on and I’m thinking in my head of where I’m gonna go, you know what shows . I usually hit up Fat Beats about 1 o’ clock and stay out there around til they close. Then depending on what’s going on that night I try to hit up whatever spot is going down for the night. So it’s an all day thing from the time I wake up until I go home at night it don’t stop. I mean if I don’t have nothin’ to sell then I don’t have a choice but to settle down, but as long as I got some CD’s on me then I’m trying to be out finding somebody, even on my way home.

Koushik feat. Percee P – Cold Beats

Percee circa 1992

It’s kinda hard for me to be around people without something to push. I look at it as promotion and I think that’s something every artist should do. Even if you got people who do that for you or whatever status you are, you should do some self promoting too. You know you have some guys who let other people run a fan club or you go to the shows and other people sell the merch. I try to make myself available for my fans so they can say that they actually met me. So if I ever come to your town or I do a show you’ll be able to walk up. I never stay backstage or hang out in the van, because I think a real fan would appreciate that. I just try to give people the opportunity to meet me and that way they can say they saw what kinda person I really was. I mean this is my job and I’m out here to make money, but I’m still the guy who came from the street, and people have to see the guy from off the street.

Jedi Mind Tricks and Percee P – Walk With Me

That kind of leads into my next question. You say you’ve been doing this since 1979 so for all these years it’s pretty much all you’ve known. If you weren’t an MC, then what do you think you’d be doing?

I don’t even know man, I mean I’ve thought about that. I can draw good. I’m not a basketball player. So really I might just have a regular job. That’s why I’m glad and I have to give props to Kool Herc because if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be able to say that I’ve been to different places or around the country and overseas. It’s really all because of him, and all these artist no matter what their status should pay homage. All the pioneers who helped paved the way you should give thanks and help spread the knowledge. You have to give thanks to God and all those brothers because right now if you’re living a different lifestyle, you rolling around in a Bentley, you got thousands in the bank because of hip-hop, if it wasn’t for them you might not have all that.

The Molemen (Percee P, Vakill & Rhyme Fest) – Keep The Fame

So that’s what I’m thankful for because it gave me something to do and it saved my life. I mean I already told you I was from the South Bronx. So back when it started, I mean I was born in 1969. So by 1973 the place was just run down, the place was dead and people felt like “well what’s out there?” Everybody was looking for a way to escape whether it was basketball or heroin and all that kind of stuff. This was before crack though, most people think the neighborhoods got messed up in the crack era, but the Bronx had problems before that. Way before the crack came in you still had people burned out and violence and stuff going on. It was just like that, but it’s kinda better now you know what I’m sayin’ they’re fixin it up slowly and stuff. But I mean the mentality is still there. Hip-hop was the alternative, that was the whole purpose as an outlet  to be a b-boy or to be a MC or DJ or graf artist, to be that one kid on the block that got his props from a gang member. To be known on your block and be somebody known for something more positive, that was the thing with hip-hop.

**quotes edited for space and clarity**

Those sound like the words of a true veteran if you ask me. I’m glad I got the chance to speak with Percee myself and I highly recommend that you not only check out the new album, but go see him yourself on the street and cop a mixtape or two. You’ll be able to catch him coming to a city near you soon with the “Stones Throw B-Ball Zombie Tour” as follows:

11/08 – Los Angeles @ El Rey Theater
11/16 – San Francisco @ Independent
11/17 – Portland @ Berbatis Pan

11/18 – Seattle @ Nuemos
11/19 – Vancouver @ Richards on Richards
11/29 – Minneapolis @ Foundation Nightclub
11/30 – Chicago @ Abbey Pub
12/01 – Toronto @ Opera House
12/02 – NYC @ Highline Ballroom

12/03 – Philadelphia @ Starlight Ballroom
12/04 – Boston @ Paradise

12/06 – Washington DC @ Black Cat
12/07 – Baltimore @ Sonar
12/08 – Atlanta @ The Loft

For now here’s some heat off of the new album for you to chew on.

Percee P (feat. Aesop Rock) – The Dirt and Filth

Legendary StatusChrome Children 2Now-Again Re:SoundsVisions of GandhiThe Rhyme InspectorPerseverance

Aesop Rock – Voice of The People

October 2, 2007 by

Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass

Aesop Rock certainly could not have been born with a more unsuspecting name; but Ian Matthias Bavitz was born in 1976 and to your surprise he wasn’t born with the two-pack a day, two bottles of whiskey voice he communicates with today. Aesop may be two parts politics, but when it comes down to what the man has to say he has a gift for speaking the truth. Those so inclined to call themselves fans have most likely been treated to his previously unknown albums; Music For Earthworms, Appleseed, Float and Labor Days — which led to the seven song “Daylight EP”; that catapulted him into the forefront of New York underground.  These are precious gems, handle carefully.

 

 Aesop Rock – Daylight

Aesop Rock – Labor

On the strength of what had become a movement in the dregs of New York’s hip-hop scene, this new underground was a breeding ground for fresh, young, raw talent whereas the mainstream was a marketplace that had millions of outlets, all marketing the same brands, same styles, but with a slightly different spin on each individual. It seemed like only a matter of time until Aesop would end up working with Definitive Jux; a relatively small boutique label in NY that had just opened its’ doors in ’97. In just five years, Aesop had started his semi-professional career, pushed out five albums (give or take an EP) and by 2003 he was ready to release his first nearly major release, Bazooka Tooth.

No Jumper Cables

 

Freeze

In no way am I trying to persuade you to believe that Definitive Jux, the label that’s just turned 10 this year, is major in any way, but that his release propelled them forward like many other Def Jux artists at the time (Lif, El-P, CannOx) into the mouths of critics and the watchful eyes of the consumer.

Make sure to listen to some new Aesop here (it’s from his people; Web Sheriff step-off); “Citronella” and “None Shall Pass” from None Shall Pass and head over to The Smoking Section to read what he told Gotty about the new album.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.