First off, just wanted to say, "Thanks!" for doing this interview, Kyle. Publishing artist interviews seems like it'll be a fresh, new thing for the blog... and it's always cool to talk to like-minded, hard-working people. Shout-out to Jamie at Blinding Sun Records in Frederick, MD for hooking up the initial line of communication! LET'S GO!
(1.) This would be a tough one for me, too. So, take your time... But what are your Top 5 Hip-Hop albums? - Paul's Boutique, 36 Chambers, [Kanye] & Seven's Travels (Atmosphere) are definitely included in mine.
Top 5 (in particular order): A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders, A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory, The Roots - Do You Want More, De La Soul - Stakes Is High, Outkast - ATLiens.
(2.) Do you draw influence from any other [non-Hip-Hop] genres? And if so, what particular artists from said genres inspire you?
Indeed, more than ever now as Hip-Hop to me has always been a music that draws from other [genres], since sampling was such a big part of it. As I have gotten older, I seek out other genres of music to sample or listen to for inspiration. Ironically, my favorite music to sample now are Prog Rock and Jazz-Funk, basically Experimental stuff that blurred music genres; As that's my approach when I create to make it "Hip-Hop," but also to make it sound unique.
(3.) Tell me a little bit about your 2 most recent projects – The Ronin EP & The Ebony Bed... Maybe describing them in a nut-shell for new listeners.
The Ronin was a project that simply stemmed from these songs I had floating around [on] my hard drive that never fit into other projects I had released over the last 2 or 3 years. So, I made a "concept" out of not having one, lol... and like the master-less samurai that wandered feudal Japan, I had my own Ronin songs that were dope but just never fit, and it was time to release them!
The Ebony Bed was a very arduous task that took 3 years to create due to the level of collaboration involved, which prior to the album, I had never done. But the science behind it was [that] I always wanted to collaborate with my childhood family friend Alona... who's music path took her down the Rock road, and finally it happened. Then we have this whole visual component that's still being created which will really better explain what exactly the Ebony Bed is, so stay tuned. ;)
(4.) At what age and how did you get into Hip-Hop, Kyle?
I was probably 9 or 10 years old when I really began paying attention as my favorite cousin growing up used to hip to what [was] hot. I basically bought what he had, and specifically when he played me Tribe's Low End Theory when we were 12, well, the rest was history... ;)
(5.) I know that you're big into Japanese culture and gaming... What, if any, effect do they have on you as an artist?
Oh man, I love the art and just the imagination behind some of these movies and games I watch and play. It's inspiring to me, so much that I did the "iMANGANAtion" series to show my respect and appreciation. Plus, there's some really poignant moments that happen in these stories, so it's not just dope art. That is as much a draw to me.
(6.) A. From your own personal experience, what are some of the best bars in the US?
Hmm, I don't know if I have visited enough bars in the states to compile a list, lol. Though I do like a good mixed drink or 3 ;) The one that I always think of is Miami's notorious Wet Willies just because I have had some memorable moments there. Locally, the hole in the wall I spent many Sat. nights in is called "Saint Ex."
B. And what cities/states have the most beautiful women?
Off the top places that you are more prone to get a mixed, cosmopolitan crowds yield the most pretty ladies to me - DC, NY, Chicago & The Bay Area instantly come to mind!
(7.) What's the current status of new output(s) from Panacea & Restoring Poetry In Music?
Panacea is prepping to have a BIG 2k12: New album new live show, new attitude, and commitment from myself & Raw P to be more visible. So, watch out, new album "Midnight Morning Africa" will be out by next summer. As for RPM, last I spoke to Raw Poetic, their 3rd album (Kingdom of Fireflies) is ALMOST done and what I have heard is a whole new sonic direction that's very adventurous, yet still dope!
(8.) A long-time Hip-Hop fan & amateur beat-smith myself, I've always been heavily interested in the "Art of Sampling." What do you generally start out with when crafting a new beat?
I usually start with some kind of loop or melody and then build off it. Many guys start with drums and then find samples. But for me, the sample dictates the rest of the music from the rhythm section to additional sounds and even how much else u add. I try to never treat 2 beats the same, as they are each unique... and the day u start manufacturing beats that way, it becomes less organic to me, which is the part of the process [that] I love.
(9.) Any up-and-coming rappers or artists that can you tip my readers and I off to? I'm always interested in checking out "The Next BIG Thing."
I ask people the same thing, I am always looking for new inspiration - Be it someone to work [with] or just listen to. Of all the NEW hyped cats that I see, the one I dig is Kendrick Lamar. He's dope.
(10.) Kyle Murdock - Any relation to Murdock of Gorillaz-fame? ha
I wish, lol. Funny, I usually get asked if I'm related to FOX mogul Rupert Murdoch?
(11.) Do the concepts of "Pop" and "melody" have any bearing on your overall writing/beat-making process(es)?
Melody for sure, as I am all about building off melodies in music. It's a fun challenge and to me from my own music preferences, I usually lean toward songs with great melodies and arrangement. So, I try and do the same in my own productions. As far as Pop, Pop changes based on whats "Popular" and if u try to keep up with fads... then you are failing and not making music for the right purposes in my humble P.O.V.
(12.) I've heard that you're a pretty "hardcore" Tribe fan... So, have you seen Michael Rapaport's new "Beats, Rhymes & Life" documentary yet? - Comments/opinions?
Indeed! Saw a private screening of it in June and was happy to just see the guys getting recognized for the legends they are. But saddened by the things that have caused them to not be the true "Tribe" since '98. Funny as many people watch the movie and forget its a documentary... Like the end is supposed to have them resolving their gripes and getting back together, lol. Which would be dope but remember people, it's a documentary not fiction with a [fairytale] ending... That said, what it did show, I liked. Just wish they showed more of Ali Shaheed and what he's been up to.
Kyle: Thank YOU for taking the time to do this. Some very unique questions in here that I never get asked, lol.
Matt: Good shit man! Yeah, no problem, compadre... I appreciate the opportunity, too! It's been a true pleasure, my friend!