Mochipet, Yan Zombie and MC Zulu are taking the stage at Spiritbar on Saturday night and Christine Hunter from Shambhala Music Festival caught up with all three.
Let’s get a bit of history on Yan Zombie. If I’m not mistaken you were a founding member of Kootenay hip-hop crew Cyphanex. Give us some background on what that was all about and how it led you to where you are now?
YAN ZOMBIE: Cyphanex is a hip hop group I’m in with my two co-conspirators, DJ Digs and Vs. We have been making music together for about 10 years. We started making futuristic hip hop that was too weird for jiggy rap idiots or backpacker squares. Vs. and I were really into stuff like Anti-Pop Consortium, El-P & Def Jux, Aesop Rock, Freestyle Fellowship, and of course the classics of the east and west coast. We have been lucky enough to open for, and play with, a wide variety of really influential acts over the years… Quannum, members of Wu-Tang, Project Blowed, DEL, The Beatnuts, and KRS ONE to name a few.
Give us a bit of the lowdown on what gear you use and what your production process is like.
YAN ZOMBIE: In my studio I use a Moog LP, Korg Vocoder, MPC 2000xl, Yamaha Motif, Roland Space Echo, some smaller analogue synths toys and noise makers into Ableton Live. I approach each project or track differently.. sometimes starting from a sample (or 20), other times from programming the drums… I’m also lucky enough to live across the street from a homey with a whole bunch of vintage keyboards and synths, plus some nice old guitar amps and efx. I have also been blessed with a few opportunities to go wild in The Fungineers studio where they have some serious rare old Moog synths and a grip of sonic goodies. Big love to those freaks!
On that tip why don’t you tell us about your full-length release, the concept behind it, and where you can cop it for free online?
YAN ZOMBIE: The Hold-on Tight: Analogue Slices of Love and Confusion, is a concept album about — as the title suggests — love and confusion. It was inspired by a most unfortunate interaction with a duplicitous and dishonest female, and a subsequent nervous breakdown on my part. It is a sleazy, funny look at love and male/female dynamics told through sampling hundreds of snippets of classic love songs from the 1930s to ‘70s mutated in a glitch-hop fashion through analogue filters and moogy-blips and bleeps. People seem to really like it and it got a great response. I went through a bunch of offers from really great labels that ultimately all balked at the idea of the potential harassment from publishing lawyers, so I decided to give it away for free on my Facebook fanpage through bandcamp: facebook.com/pages/YAN-ZOMBIE/160321516907?ref=tn_tnmn
Now to become more acquainted with the man on the mic, let’s get the background on MC ZULU. Where did you come from, how did you get started MC’ing, and what have you been up to since then?
MC ZULU: I am originally from Panama, and have been living in the Chicagoland area since I was a kid. My start in the music industry was as an engineer. I ran sessions for hip-hop and house musicians, then got into producing and selling tracks to bigger names. I wasn’t really on course to do vocals until I ended up in the studio with Farley Jackmaster Funk. He wanted someone to sing Reggae over a track of his. I always figured I might try, but that was the first real opportunity…. It was HORRIBLE, but I think I’ve gotten progressively better since then.
So for those that don’t know give a quick description of what you are in for when you go see the Yan Zombie and MC Zulu show.
MC ZULU: Zombie is a great DJ in the sense that he feels out a crowd. We are working sound system style, but I have given him most of my live tracks. They span a lot of genres, and he has no trouble transitioning between them during the night. He is not restricted by what tempo or genre the tracks are. Every show ends up different.
YAN ZOMBIE: Well… the Badman MC Zulu murdering sound over Dub, dancehall, bashment glitch and future bass featuring beats from the many excellent producers who have worked with Zulu intermingled with my own mash ups remixes and live glitchy routines.
Isn’t Mochipet like the name of a Tamagotchi or something like that?
MOCHIPET: Yeah, I don’t know, everybody keeps asking me about that. (laughter) I don’t think so. …You know what it is? My grandmother and some of my relatives used to make mochi and they used to make little pets out of it. (laughter) Yeah yeah yeah, it’s like a rice… if you know what mochi is, it’s basically like a rice CAKE, you can shape it into whatever things, and you can make it into little pets and stuff. It’s awesome.
Mochipet, Yan Zombie and MC Zulu play Spiritbar Saturday, April 21. Doors open at 10 p.m. Ticket information is available at the Hume Hotel.