Shadows of Tomorrow: Viktor Vaughn Producer & MADVILLAIN/King Geedorah Director System d-128 Shares DOOM MiXx (The Witzard Interview)
"Cover art by extreme avant-garde painter and artist Danny Davies (@dannydaviesartist.) Since the mysterious disappearance of MF DOOM, we may all come to the conclusion that the missing puzzle pieces of his story may never be revealed about what might have really happened to Daniel Dumile. Perhaps, evolving again through a different dimension within another dimension. We celebrate the life of this prodigy genius, the beloved enigmatic wizard phenomenon super-villain lyricist. It's such a special solemn ceremony of commemoration. This DOOM MiXx, hopefully, takes us on an energizing journey of collage celebrating only some of the many gifts left by DOOM. Prepare for surprises and exclusive content, while simultaneously being creatively executed. This kaleidoscopic mix transcends time and space being re-birthed and re-incarnated since some of the early recordings of The Super Villain.
There are many selections that will, possibly, get the best of your emotions for the true believers. You best believe this witty chemistry is for everyone, along with a complex mix of things you may have never heard, original elements, multifaceted, celestial, and beyond this planet. While the world spins mad, we might be lucky to witness stars colliding. Creating a brighter bigger triumph. Abstract decisions and beautiful art repping DOOM. A very proper treasure for all music enthusiasts. Props to The Supah!! A full hour and a half, Choose Your Own Adventure. This is a gift that is intended to show gratitude, respect, or admiration. More than a tribute, this is an extension of the DOOM timeline and possible alternate realities. Safety first! These are only opinions of myself and others that have heard this mix before it was completed. Enjoy."
- Penned By: Brian Torres Korlofsky (@dues128) & Friends
I. What was it like working with DOOM during his lifetime on Viktor Vaughn's (VV:2) Venomous Villain?
System d-128: Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!! At that time... I was like a kid in a crazy candy store or on a double-Toys"R"Us toy run. I was sitting on so many ill records, beats, samples, VHS tapes, etc. etc. I had massive amounts of things I thought were heavy duty artillery for the project. I was in hardcore DJ mode at that point; I was practicing all the time, trying to be a battle DJ and a producer and I was always doing it in headphones with no sound system because where I was living at the time, I couldn't play things out of the speakers from my boombox, that was my "sound system" at the time: a Panasonic radio I had from when I lived in St. Croix with my moms. So, when I was living at this other place in Florida, at a certain time, I had to only practice in headphones and I was always up late working, so I was sick with it, very nice with cueing up records and breaks! I still can get down, don't test the rocket launcha hahaahaaaaa. So, I used headphones as the main monitors from my mixer for almost everything when I was practicing/working on things in my bedroom.
At that time, I was super-inspired after getting in the mixtape section of Rap Pages Magazine in the 90's... That was like a dream come true for me and to coincide with the MF DOOM Universe, it's like something from a Raekwon [Purple] Tape song [Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...] "Soon to get a article in Rap Pages" (Rap Page.) All and all, for the record, I wanted to make a very bada$$ intro. That was one of my things I used to try and do a lot when I worked on the few mixtapes that I did living in Florida; I was inspired by listening to crazy intros from mixtapes from up North back in the day. DOOM really liked that [Venomous Villain] intro ["Viktormizer" (Intro)] and the beat for "Back End." At the time, it was just a longer instrumental track called "Blue Beards Dreams" by Regulation Status, which was me and [Diplo's] group name for making beats. This [was] officially the first thing he ever had out, as far as Diplo music goes, but it was written out in the credits as "Diplodicus," and this is, also, before he knew how to DJ good. Nudge, nudge! Ask him who taught him how to DJ good? I showed him how to put markers on records to cue up breaks without head phones, how to mix, and how to double-up records... I got video tape footage from 1998 to prove it! That's still my O.G. fam. Anyways... DOOM used a [shortened] version of "Blue Beard's Dreams" on the instrumental beat CD's he made to rock off at some live shows and so did [Company Flow's] Bigg Jus. Sometimes, he would do "Krazy Kings" and freestyle over it, via the Subverse era.
I remember DOOM & Benn Grimm putting together last-minute show CD's with a recordable CD player in their hotel rooms, like an hour or two before a show! It worked out incredibly well the few times I seen this happen, except for, maybe, one show. I remember some sh*t happened with a show CD at one of the Florida shows, but that's a whole different story. At one of the DOOM shows, some sh*t happened with a show CD and some strange characters, things popped off nut-rageously!! All I'm gonna say is Big Benn was swinging a [Six Flags] Great Adventure baseball bat at some heads. Back to Viktor Vaughn 2... There was a bunch of instrumentals for Vik [DOOM] to choose from because the record was mainly put out by "Iz." He ran a Hip-Hop magazine called Insomniac. So, there was a lot of producers that submitted music and Vik [DOOM] picked his favorite selections. I only made, like, two and half tracks on the record; did some scratches and contributed production elements, movie samples, sound bites, crazy noises, and random stuff off of records. When I was making my parts of the record, I remember being in a studio in Florida, DOOM was not there, but Viktor Vaughn came through at one point and spit some flaming lava bars, but he had to take off to get a haircut.
I had my [E-mu] SP-1200, a bunch of records, a VCR, and tapes and I sat down with another producer named DiViNCi... really good dude. He's now teaching production techniques and tours with Lauryn Hill. He's traveling with her on that Fugees Reunion [Tour]. We just listened and sampled records and video tapes for the beats we were working on individually for Viktor. I had samples and beats ready on the SP-1200, so that happened for, like, one or two days. (VV:2) was supposed to be a lot longer, but things got cut short because of personal issues that arose from some of the people that handled the business side of the record. The record has always gotten slack from the beginning of the first verse in "Back End," which was, initially, going to be called "Back End Blues." "Dub it off your man. Don't spend the 10 bucks..." After talking to most of the people involved with Venomous Villain, including DOOM, we all agreed Vik is a very p*ssed off, angry, disgusted, and sour person towards the entire record industry and he really doesn't like the police. There was an altercation in Florida where Viktor and a few of us ended up in jail for a little while in Central Florida on 33rd Street, but, again, that's another story for another time.
This incident, I truly believe, became a turning point in how Zev [Love] X became Viktor Vaughn for a period of time, especially, after [KMD's] Mr. Hood & Bl_ck B_st_rds... Vik can be a serious f**kin' jerk and a lot of people didn't know he has a twin brother, at least, that's what they have both said to me, individually, and others. So, sometimes, you're not sure which one of 'dem you're dealing with 'cause both of their names start with the word "Vik." The younger brother, Kinga, is chill, but he's still locked up. He said during The Coronavirus [Pandemic,] they paid all the inmates $25.00 to get the vaccine, but he didn't do it and he got put in the unvaccinated population. Meanwhile, he said all the inmates that got the vaccination never got the $25.00 and that this planet is getting sh*ttier and sh*ttier and it's going straight down the sh*ttah...
II. How did working alongside and knowing DOOM affect you both as an artist and as a person?
d-128: I'm not gonna front and act like DOOM was my buddy and we would hang out and chop it up on the regular. I've been in the same place and met up with DOOM like five times in my life. I met him in Florida, early 2000's, at a show I was helping promote and I was DJ'ing before and after the acts. Him and Big Benn Grimm was picked up at the airport by another person that helped put out (VV:2). Lork La Rock, he drove them to the hotel they were staying at. I was at the venue setting up with my homies, Denny & Carla. I was setting up the turntables and the projector 'cause I used to this audio/video thing way before it became a thing. That, too, is another story. So, some time passes eventually Lork rolls up and Big Benn & DOOM walk into almost an empty venue and I was just testing out the [turntables] and sound system.
I remember I was playing [Greedy Fingers' "True Thug MC" [-Feat. MF DOOM & Megalon,] which, at the time, there was barely anyone with that record and there was no crazy Internet sh*t going on at the time. These dudes were looking at me bopping their heads and really looking excited to hear that joint. I walked up to them, gave them daps, and we spoke about the mic check and what they needed. I remember showing DOOM some of my KMD records and when I showed him my "Nitty Gritty" 12-inch he smiled and he looked like his face turned into a younger Zev [Love] X !! It was bugged out and really awesome 'cause the whole time before this, he had a very serious look on his face. I, also, had this cool Doctor Doom character by the turntables he was peeping, like "where'd you get this, G?"
He was, genuinely, a really polite and nice dude. Big Benn was really cool, too. He had a big smile from the jump and when we were talking about the mic check, he was like, "you gonna see, we put the mic volume up right and it's gonna sound just like on the record..." The sound check, seriously, was out of this world. It sounded really amazing. It was the first time I seen or heard DOOM in real life on the mic. It was mostly all Operation: Doomsday songs and I remember hearing his verse on that Prince Paul song for the first time with the "Sweet Georgia Brown" sample that De La Soul, also, used. After giving 'dem both props for the Super Villain mic check, Benn was like, "we got to have that Doom action figure." So, I said to them, "let's trade some sh*t."
And out of DOOM's bookbag he pulled out T-shirts. I picked out an Operation: Doomsday shirt with an outline of the old mask and a KMD shirt. That was the trade. Done deal!! I remember talking about the mask with them and they said, "there's a new mask made out of the Gladiator helmet that nobody has seen yet." That DOOM mic check is and will always be one for the books. Another memorable time was meeting up with Benn Grimm & DOOM in Philadelphia. I would get in touch with DOOM through texting or calling Benn. I've sent DOOM video tapes, comics, and CD's, too, through Benn Grimm. We all met up again at the MM..FOOD show/tour at The TLA and we talked about how much food was donated after the show.
We did some trades again. This time, I had the Fantastic Four Power Records/comic book set. I asked DOOM if he had it already and he said, "I know about it, but I don't have it." So, I told him "this is for you" or something like that and a What If? comic, What If Doom Became Sorcerer Supreme? I had a CD-r in the comic's plastic sleeve with beats I made titled "DOOM Supreme" with a Sharpie. I didn't forget about the big homie, Benn. I hooked him up with a cool Ben Grimm The Thing action figure. He was stoked, too! I got a copy of MM..FOOD on 2xLP vinyl, two "Hoe Cakes" singles, and a sealed MADVILLAIN CD. I thought it was a really tight trade-off!!
III. What went into creating your DOOM tribute mixx in the last year since his untimely passing?
d-128: Since DOOM's disappearance, I started feeling a different energy through his music and lyrics. I mean, they're definitely going to have different vibes now and a whole lot more of emotional energy connected to it. Of course, it's going to be that way. Besides the hardcore, uncut, and raw [Daniel] Dumile we've all grown to learn and love; a lot of people grew up reading or hearing about his personal life story since the 90's and it's, seriously, heart-breaking, but the show must go on kinda like an Edgar Allen Poe story. DOOM's story and stories are out-there and it's a total package: the voice, the Rap deliveries, styles, lyrical content, wordplay, even back when he was featured as an [up-and-coming] incredible rapper off the 3rd Bass' "The Gas Face," that was a big deal for him.
We are always going to feel a connection to his music through his individual story as a human on Earth. So wherever, whenever anyone starts listening to him for the first time, even years from now, hundreds of years from now, in my opinion; whoever starts listening and digs into the stories he tells and his own personal life story, they would feel the raw, the magic, the Funk, the Soul, and definitely the love that comes with The Super Villain. The MixX should've been finished earlier this year, but, honestly, it was beyond greatness to be able to listen to DOOM projects little-by-little throughout the year and assemble all the things that went into this mix and really try to make it a creative extension of his discography.
IV. What exactly do you still recall about creating music videos for both DOOM's "The Final Hour" (as King Geedorah) and "Shadows of Tomorrow from MADVILLAINY with Madlib?
d-128: I was commissioned by Will [Ashon] from Big Dada to make a video mix for all the videos that were out at the time for their 10-year Retrospective DVD; similar to the one that's on the Ninja Tune Retrospective DVD because I made weird video remixes, promotional materials, music videos, [and] films for other artists on the label. I had to round up high-quality versions of the content I created for the label, also. I got paid very well for it and decided to use some of the money to make a King Geedorah video because there wasn't one. At this point, DOOM was being more private and reclusive. I was put in contact with Kurious and we spoke on the phone a few times about, possibly, making a video for "Fast Lane," but it never came together.
So, I figured because of the way the [King Geedorah] Take Me to Your Leader record was designed with all the cut-outs, I decided to animate the record cover artwork. I teamed up with an animator I met in New Zealand named Rachel Hoffman to make the short animated music video. The "Shadows of Tomorrow" video was something I decided to make because I have so much love for Sun Ra, Madlib & Quasimoto... I remember, at the time, when MADVILLAINY came out, a lot of people didn't "get" it and they were like, "why is this song even on the record?" But I always felt a special energy from it. Considering, I had a great copy of [Sun Ra's] Space Is The Place and it's one of my favorite movies, I had to do something visually creative with it. Why not?
V. How did your video for MADVILLAIN's "Shadows of Tomorrow" end up getting placed within the Stones Throw 101 DVD/CD set?
d-128: When I moved to Philadelphia from Florida, I was still doing my weirdo audio/video sets that I started doing in Florida DJ'ing while sending audio out of VCR's to the same mixer as my turntables. I got hooked up with a gig in New York City through a guy named David Haffner; at the time, he used to go digging for records with Egon. So, he played at the show, too. I met Egon and we spoke about music, Stones Throw, Peanut Butter Wolf, J Dilla, Madlib, [and] DOOM and I remember talking to him about The UMC's and how one of the members produced Ghostface Killah's "Apollo Kids." I had the "Shadows of Tomorrow" video on-hand because it was on a pre-edited tape for when I played it that night. Him and Peanut Butter Wolf both got back to me on different occasions and told me everyone out there at the Stones Throw House was into it and it's going to be on the 101 DVD.
VI. Did you ever get the pleasure to see DOOM live? If so, would you mind sharing a bit of your live experience with us?
d-128: Absolutely!! I have a few of the shows I was at recorded. And I tried my best to capture some of the live DOOM energy through audio for whoever listens to The MiXx... You get to hear some of the unpredictable off-the-cuff sh*t that made a live DOOM performance memorable. I know there's so much more to it. Everybody is different, so you're going to hear it and take it in from many other perspectives. Enjoy.
VII. How did you go about selecting, locating, sourcing, arranging, etc. material to be included within your DOOM MiXx?
d-128: I believe I can tell unique stories, as well, but in other ways. I'm an editor that knows how to DJ, plus, make beats. So, I was trying to create some scenes with soundscapes, breaks, layers, and samples in areas. I was trying to go in many different places in parts of The MiXx. Like, there's a few different intros and a few different endings, so you pick the ones you like best for the way you feel at the time. You'll know what you need to do after you hear The MiXx completely for the first time from beginning-to-end. You can stay at the talent show with DOOM and roll one up or you can drink some whiskey and go to the after-hours BBQ spot/arcade/strip club/mini-golf/check cashing/swimming pool/hole to China with Viktor. I, also, used records and some original beats that, I think, DOOM & Vik would sound extraordinary on...
My opinion, again, I believe, I know a lot of the big differences between MADVILAIN, The O.G DOOM sound, like [Operation:] Doomsday steeze, King Geedorah battle of the planets spaced out skills and The Vik Vaughn twisted styles! Both of them!! I did a deep dig to find a lot of the original things that was used for (VV:2). [Re-arranging] and [remixing] some parts of it, so you can give it another chance from a few other angles. And considering Viktor is a big part of The DOOM Universe and mine, he is not playing around on this MiXx. He is out of his f**kin' mind on this! He takes out too many trash rappers to count in this lifetime. He "peace's out" [and] rides a horse that's on fire off into the sunset or into the moonlight. It's your choice... He, then, comes back for more 'cause Viktor is above all planetary laws and does what he must to make it happen, captain.
VIII. What can you tell us about your recent analog/digital video art installation for the Distortion Show at BEAN2BEAN COFFEE, CO. in Philly?
d-128: It was really top-notch and I'm, seriously, satisfied with its outcome. It gave me the freedom to experiment with different types of distortion, considering that was the theme of the show. Thanks to Anthony Romero and the good company of everyone at BEAN2BEAN that made this happen and stick like glue. I had a few video art distortion segments I used in the past at The DUMBO Arts Festival in New York City. I, also, used some more of these kind of segments at The One Step Beyond Show, which took place in The American Museum of Natural History. So, I built on these distorted segments to create different patterns, styles, and I made completely new sequences just for this event at The Warehouse.
I, also, used some aged wooden barrels they have their exclusive mezcal coffee in for my installation. I displayed all of my art on a collection of monitors, flat-screens, and televisions that each put out a really raw signal within themselves when I was playing the distortions. I used computers to create the digital art and video tapes to create the analog art I showed. This show, also, gave me the chance to test out a few NFT's I have in-the-works. I know now from what I learned from this show what I can keep, what I'm going to work more on, and what needs to completely change up. Wild works in-progress!
IX. How did your short Biz Markie tribute film initially come together and where can eager and interested fans view it?
d-128: Biz Markie [was], also, a one-of-a-kind artist that I feel very privileged to have had a chance to work with, even if it's an experimental short film. I feel he represented the innocence of Rap music and he will forever be recognized as a unique musician and DJ that put out genuine love through music, his lyrics, and his mannerisms in real life. I only met him once, but he was super-super-cool at a DJ expo in Atlantic City. I was on a line to get into a restaurant with a homie and I heard someone behind me a little back say, "I'm hungry!" It sounded kinda like [Darren "Big Buff" Robinson] from The Fat Boys in the "All You Can Eat" scene in Krush Groove. So, I turned around and it was Biz Markie. I realized he had a very powerful presence and made people happy everywhere in that buffet and later that day, from what I saw. Even when he was telling every DJ they "suck" at an after party on the mic over and over again. We all knew he was buggin' out and it was awesome!!
I have a friend from years ago when I first moved to Philadelphia named Ben Harris/BSK that's a great photographer and cinematographer. He's currently working in the real deal motion picture industry. This Biz Markie footage was shot on 16mm black-and-white film stock and it was never used for anything, but a class project in the 90's. I've transferred a lot of video tape and film footage in the past for Ben and I transferred this film footage that was mixed up with other things that Ben shot, but it got lost in the sauce after the transfers, probably. In the early 2000's, I met Biz Markie only a few years ago and after that, I randomly bumped into the film footage again. So, I had it where I usually work out of. When we all found out that The Biz passed away, I decided to do a short edit of the film with some audio of him making sounds, beat-boxing, a little bit of him talking, and the music from "Nobody Beats The Biz." This version is currently on my Instagram.
X. What other projects are you currently working on that you might want to discuss within this very space?
d-128: I want to, seriously, personally, thank you, Matt, for reaching out to me earlier this year about working on this column with you. I, also, really appreciate trading DOOM-related material and links online with you for this entire year. You're definitely a good dude I met through DOOM waves. As far as my current plans, you know the real can only be a vision. You have to see it for yourself to believe it or feel it. I'm very open-minded to learn new things as much as possible. I'm on a continued search for inspiration and good vibrations. Always on a quest for fire. Besides collecting records and different kinds of media, I'm trying to create more artwork. I got a real good friend that's saved my life a few times, Tony "Triple Double" Larson, from AEIOU Big Famo Productions!! One of the first people I met in Philly through [Diplo]. I've been trying to finish another AEIOU mix or two. And working on scripts to make original film projects.
I will create a link or video as they come together, once I know it's a for-sure thing. I've, also, been collectively working on apps. There's one almost completely set up that can help everyone out in many ways. It's called Skyber, a hospitality app, that anyone can customize. Built really to give opportunities for those in local urban areas. Create your own work through Skyber.org. Wink, wink! I have a habit of not coming to closure with certain projects when I'm sifting through ideas. So, I don't want to talk details about things that might not ever materialize. But stay up with me through my links. I'm currently a film-maker and a new media artist, besides many other things. I'm a Jack of many trades. Work is work and love is love. You decide what feels right from each one of these. I know I will definitely keep working on things that keep my creative flames inside burning, so art will always seep through my pores... hahaaaaaahaaaaaaaa!
I'm trying way too hard to get on my art grind... Holler, though! For real, for real, I really do enjoy life and I want others to be able to do the same. Get out of the rut anyway you can, if you find yourself trapped. If you're feeling bad about your own personal situation, find the things that make you happy, feeling good and inspired to keep going... Always have something to look forward to. Set goals for yourselves, even if it's something simple, like, having a glass of lemon water. Stay away from sh*t that will kill you, but don't ever be afraid to take chances and remember your individual choice will always prevail. Peace.