The traditional interview has no place in a world where the period is quickly becoming obsolete. While technically sound writing is an art of its own, the fact of the matter is that it’s being boxed out by the internet and technology more generally. Today, in an effort to get with the times, Nomadic Bloggers is launching a new interview series called The Dulcet Melodies. Long for The DMs, these interviews are all conducted through Twitter’s Direct Messages. Accordingly, they boast a more conversational flow. Or, as close as one can come while communicating through text. What you read here is what was said. And what was said was guided by a natural progression. Which is not to say all the questions were thought up on the spot, but that which pre-written questions were asked is decided by which topics surface when. Having introduced the series, we can now delve into the subject of today’s interview.
As those who read my first interview with Kevin Venom know, he was introduced to music by way of the violin. He is even pursuing a degree in violin performance. Over the summer, this pursuit landed him in Quebec where he attended Domaine Forget, a month long violin program. As a result of fate, or more probably, sheer probability, he roomed right next to a fellow hip hop head who just happened to produce. However, as a graduate-level student of the violin, TUX was hard pressed to find the time to ever really explore hip hop production seriously. He had dabbled in electronic production before but again, on account of time, never too seriously.
But, when one spends a month in the woods with no responsibilities beyond practicing violin, time frees up. While there is no doubt in my mind that the program was rigorous, I assume part of the process is respite and recovery. And during that respite, with a laptop but no wifi, hip hop happened.
This might seem surprising to you at first, but really, who is more prepared to be a hip hopper than someone training to become a professional violinist? Who else is more conscious of the sheer impossibility of seeing success than someone trying to make a living playing one of the world’s most complex instruments? The fear of failure has no hold on him.
If you remain skeptical, I refer you to the pudding in which you’ll find the proof. Actually, before you press play, I should mention Kevenom’s lyrics. Some may describe them as inaccessible. I sincerely disagree. Many are afraid to hear the reality of life and therefore reject that which challenges their misconception that everybody is okay. As a result, those who express their internal turmoil are dismissed as inaccessible. But there is nothing inaccessible about them, people just aren’t willing to access them.
Tell me more about the project’s title.
and tux met in Quebec
the location of where we made it
called domaine forget that summer
door to each other, and the rest is history
worked well with the direction of the project?
How would you describe that direction?
turned out to be like, dark and heavy
the scenery we were surrounded
with was unbelievably calming and
is already so dark that is was just kind of inevitable
and the outside world while we
were at domaine forget
a space to dig deeper into stuff
you don’t have time for usually.
Venom brought to the project? Can
you relate to any of the woes expressed?
Do you think your production on its own
would convey similar emotions?
now haha but yeah I was blown away
really, even though I’d heard his other work.
But no one talks about this stuff nearly
enough, especially in hip hop
it is in the accessibility.
Somehow it’s vivid and relatable all at
once. It needed a production style that
was quite different from anything I’d
done before, but it was so easy to get in
that mindset after hearing his lyrics.
definitely more geared towards r&b
and slacker chill aesthetics. Nothing
dark really at all.
that I didn’t even know I was capable of lol and
I honestly haven’t found it totally
again since. Speaks volumes about
the nature of a good collaborator.
that flex bars were on the way, did you have
“all in a day” in mind or did it just happen to
work out that way?
like red and final form, but All in a day just sort
of worked out that way. That was the one beat
that TUX already has a draft of before we met
of one of those drake freestyles like 6PM in
New York, and I just wanted to go in with
like the wildest bars and flows I could
come up with
make their way in there though
ammunition for opposition / smoking
amethyst colored cannabis, jot the
hardest writtens” off all in a day just
cuz I’m very proud of the flow
and internal rhyming there and the lyrics
in my head every morning for
like a week after he came up with it lol
into depression / I’m Kubrick with the shot
when I aim at my reflection”
because the wordplay and the
meaning is very hard hitting and
I’m really proud of myself for that
on track four? How do you think that
impacted the end result?
make a song with live instruments
and the saxophone made the song
sound so raw and made the whole
track that much more emotional
when combined with my lyrics
something that felt so organic and also
perfectly complimented what me and tux
were going for on the dog.
instruments on all of the tracks?
who played bass left after two weeks,
otherwise we would’ve had him on
overdo it, nine lives sounded like it wanted
live instruments on it but the others
didn’t lean in that direction when we
were making them
means for recording live instruments
at the camp really lol which wasn’t ideal
Cameron cook, recorded the
sax back in the states and then
sent it to us
production shines brightest?
track on the album, but I’d say
I’m proudest of sleep/dreams
when it comes to instrumentals
me the finished beat
remotely like that before
lol Kevin kept pushing me
to make it looser and dirtier
and yeah it happened haha
sending me obscure ass songs for
us to sample
bunch of weird shit
of dreams by don tiare and his
“Momma says I need a good job
I don’t think it helps.” What
do you make of Vince Staples’
Prima Donna? In my mind,
that project is the ultimate evidence
that even within hip hop financial
success does not guarantee happiness
as Staples has achieved a certain degree
of success only to realize that he will
“never make enough for [his] soul.”
awesome project, and i definitely
agree with that main theme
fame in general isn’t enough
to combat his demons
the reason for his depression where
like people only care about him as a
musician and not as a person with feelings
still crave fame because like getting
love from others is my greatest vice
because a lot of times i dont love myself
so i look for it from external sources
drive around at night contemplating
suicide / I was too scared to do it
couldn’t even buy the nine / but
I figure all these drugs gonna get
it done fine.” Later on, however,
you critique those who sip lean
and mix liquor with prescription drugs.
What makes their escape through
intoxication any different from your own?
with and prescription drugs is a bad
idea because it can easily lead to
addiction and overdosing, ive had
friends who have been really addicted
to xanax, for example, who have almost
died from overdosing
the time that I do too tho lol
recognizing stupidity doesn’t
make you immune to it
who are addicted to those things because its not
necessarily their fault, their circumstances led to it,
and their mental states and all that
in moderation or not at all so it doesnt fuck up
your whole life, but if you find yourself on that
path im not going to look down on you im gonna
try to help you
of coping when we’re hurting
love being your greatest vice.
I never really thought of it like that
but I think its a rather salient description
of that need for other’s approval
after a lot of soul searching I realized that the need for
others love is one of my deep seated issues. It’s more
of a vice than any substance for me
away when he started writing. Unfortunately
it’s a huge part of the psyche of a performing
artist. Especially in classical music.
style so it is more accessible to listeners?
brings success in this industry but at the same
time if they’re compromising artistry I think
they’re missing the point
to their own artistic vision and not to
more accessible style is fine if you do it
in a way that seems genuine
important to put your own artistic
voice first. The issue lies in the extremes.
I respect people with a vision so strong
that they disregard accessibility entirely,
but I also don’t totally agree with it. It’s
difficult to draw the line when it comes
to who you’re doing it for.
completely disregarding any public
opinion whatsoever as I do with someone
creating completely within its means.
I feel like a balance is always possible
if you care enough to look for one
between the two is complicated by
that desire for external approval
you’ve explained plagues musicians
exhausting to deal with lol.
But it’s a price worth paying.
with the need to fulfill your own artistic vision and
finding a balance between the two can be torturous
and fully to the best of my abilities and my need to
realize my own artistic vision usually outweighs the
need for external approval when it comes to music
distance and the fact that we’re both so busy with
classical music as well, TUX is in grad school so
he’s super swamped
FaceTime to discuss a new project
one of us is in the midst of a practice
blitz for an upcoming concert haha
I have a rehearsal in a half hour too…
I have one last question: Who is better at violin?
one in grad school for this shit im still in undergrad
was working on in Canada
of the ideal violinist. Perhaps a topic for
someone more informed than I haha.
there’s always a way you can be better
mastery of the instrument
you can always be beter
case with all instruments? Or
even all art?
things to master before you
even get into the subjective
tho which makes it even more
voice sometime, which makes projects like
these even more important.
of your day. Thanks for taking the time
to talk a bit about the project. I will let
you know when it is ready to post!
a pleasure as always
All the best. And thanks
for the hard balls lol