14th Annual Rap/Hip-Hop Album Nominee
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Record Label: Self-Released
Home Base: Chicago, IL USA
Genre: Alternative Hip Hop
Category Entered: Rap/Hip-Hop Album
Work Submitted: House Of Whales LP
Artists Featured: House Of Whales
Who are your influences?: Between the three of us, we share TONS of influences.. Outkast, St. Vincent, Robert Glasper, Sly, J Dilla, Mos Def, Radiohead, N.W.A., The Beatles, Bonobo, Jurassic 5, The Mars Volta, Chance The Rapper, Miles Davis, Living Legends, Erykah Badu, Disclosure, Hieroglyphics, Kendrick Lamar, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Talib Kweli, AK1200, Lauryn Hill, Al Green, Timbaland, Immortal Technique, Avishai Cohen, Rage Against The Machine, too many to list..
Describe your nominated work: The House Of Whales LP is our most dynamic piece yet. Packed in about half an hour, we uncovered a diverse mix of musical styles to complement our complex emotions and charged energy. It begins with our aggressive opposition to the social political injustices we see here in Chicago and at large, but eventually resolves with our optimistic hopes for the future.
The creation of the album pushed us to explore our producing and songwriting capabilities. From orchestral suites like “The Newsfeed” to the heavy siren guitar on “Kinetic,” we elicit a wide range of sounds and ideas for our listeners to chew on.
Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording?: Our organic approach to songwriting was supplemented with several effects this time around. All vocals and some of the drums were enhanced sonically with in-box plug-ins and outboard effects. For example, the bass and guitars were run through various combinations of amps, analog pedals and outboard processing gear (i.e., fuzz, delay, octave pedals). As for instruments, we recorded a string quartet on a few of the tunes, but the most unusual was the didgeridoo (performed by Stephen Kent on “Chattanooga” and “Nearly There”).
Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned?: We usually try to be intentional with our studio time, but ultimately, most ideas are happy accidents. Many of the extra textures and sounds were created from us messing around in the studio with our sound engineers. Having fun with creative people and enjoying our work has allowed our sound to evolve.
Why did you choose to submit this work to The IMAs?: As a fully DIY act, we struggle to gain fans and exposure. The IMAs have helped us promote our work in the past and have served as a great platform for independent artists to share and showcase their work.
What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it?: Our main goals as a group have been to get our music out to as many people as possible, share our ideas, and develop as musicians. Everyday we work on our craft and try to create the most engaging or enriching live show for our fans. The three of us feel we can always improve and honestly don’t know if we’ll ever be satisfied with where we are. Success has a different meaning for each of us, so it’s difficult to say when we will know when it is achieved.
Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique?: Our audience is made up of people from around the world with our largest grouping of fans in Bangladesh, Mexico, USA, and Peru.
What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans?: This shouldn’t be surprising to our fans, but we’ve been inspired by many great female artists lately. Lauryn Hill, St. Vincent, Erykah Badu, Kimbra, Genevieve, and Lisa Fischer are a few that stand out.
How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming?: We discover new music everywhere. Being on the road has exposed us to so much unheard talent. We still buy and stream music, but have become fans of many of the bands and artists that we have worked with.
How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free?: Licensing and placement in TV, movies, video games, etc. are good ways of generating revenue. It’s also important to merchandize and make your product be as accessible as possible. People will pay for music, but not necessarily by way of directly paying for physicals. The fact remains that fans are buying less music. Crowd-funding platforms are proof that music consumers are still willing to support artists, just not in the traditional sense of the music industry. Additionally, it’s important to play out! Take your music to the stage and give your fans the opportunity to connect with you in person.
What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today?: Most consumers of music don’t realize how much they influence the music industry. Fan consumption and use of media shape everything in the overall entertainment industry, from radio, television and film, to game design and new media.
Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future?: We are definitely seeing an increase in the release of EPs and singles, not to mention an entire revamp on how music is being distributed as a whole. The definition of a “full album” may evolve, but the idea of displaying a full concept through various pieces of work will never go away.
Finish this sentence: The music industry is…whatever you make it.
What do you have in the works for the upcoming year?: We’ll be touring this upcoming year and working on our next album.