is good. Everything is lovely. We're wrapping up the mastering of the
album and getting on our grind with the promotion.
happy with how The Last Stand came out?
happy with how the album came out. Everyone was involved heavily in the
making of the album. The fact that all eight members were heavily involved
is significant in itself. It's not like everyone just laid verses and
left the studio. The chemistry was there throughout the making of the
record and the producers that came out for this was incredible: Pete Rock,
Large Professor, Da Beatminerz, 9th Wonder, Coptic, Ill Mind, and Marco
Polo. I couldn't have been happier with that.
game ready for Boot Camp right now?
say heads ain't ready! I think we positioned ourselves where people are
more excited about this record than maybe last year's triple-threat campaign.
That campaign set us up for right now. They know we're refocused on what
we're doing and we're sticking to our style. We're not making records
for down south or for girls. We're not making specialty records. Our records
are obviously for all people. I think people are ready for the record.
I'm in the streets a lot and people will recognize me and they'll recognize
Buck. They'll always be asking Buck when he's going to put something out.
The difficult thing is we do put out music but it's hard to get it out
on the radio. Hopefully we'll be able to get the word out and people will
be able to find the music.
adjust to any industry trends for this album?
certain members within Boot Camp who are more trendy than others. Tek
has always been that dude who's in the club. He might come back and make
comments on the beat or direct it a certain way where he'll think it's
more current. We try to stay away from following trends because then you
look like a follower. If you make music that fits your criteria, then
people will hopefully adapt to that and you'll be setting the trend. The
classic Boot Camp sound is heavy samples and heavy drums. You're not going
to hear singing hooks in our records. That's what we stick to. We stick
to the basics. We're not looking to imitate or trying to imitate. The
worst thing in the world is when you go in the studio and try to do that.
Nine times out of ten it's a disaster. Fans can go through any artist's
album, especially if it's on a major, and you can tell what songs the
marketing department wanted the artist to make. They probably didn't even
want to make that record. We don't have to do that. One of the benefits
to being independent is you can do what you want to.
your role in the making of The Last Stand?
Well, I own
Duck Down with Buckshot and I would say we wear every hat. My role could
be dealing with the producers and picking beats and dealing with the artwork
and concepts that way. I'm a coach the same way a coach of a sports team
is. You're not only involved in the making of the music but you're dealing
with each artist. There's eight different people in Boot Camp. That's
a lot of personalities and egos. I try to bring it together and balance
it out. By no means is it about me. I just play my role. I would say I'm
your goals for the album?
for The Last Stand is to just continue growing. We came from an indie,
Nervous, and then went to Priority, and we've been playing the independent
game since 2002. We've been playing the independent game and our numbers
have slowly been going up. We're developing a trust with our fans and
we're trying to attract new artists to show Duck Down records is not just
for the Boot Camp. We can market and promote other artists. The goal is
just to sell the record and get it out there as best as we can.
shooting for a certain demographic on this album? Would you rather have
the older, diehard fans or attract the kids who may not even know about
no question we want to go and let our old fans know we're here. I also
feel if the newer generation knew about Sean Price, as with the other
members of Boot Camp, he would hold his weight against the top MC's. That
is part of our marketing strategy. We want to really reach a lot of the
new generation. That's done through radio on Hot97 and Rap City and 106
and Park. When you don't have the ability to reach those markets and when
you're restricted to the internet, it makes it a little more difficult.
Sean has put a lot of work in and he's had a lot of critical acclaim in
the underground for putting a great album together. He'll do shows where
he's maybe not getting that much money to do the show, but he'll do it.
He just wrapped up the Ghostface tour. Maybe he'll show up at a Jedi Mind
Tricks show or an Immortal Technique show. Those are the different ways
we try to broaden the audience and spread the word.
Boot Camp Clik album be successful in 2006?
what your definition of success is. If you base it on sales and compare
it to what Mobb Deep or Ghostface sells
Mobb Deep sold 100,000 their
first week, 30,000 their second week, and 20,000 their third week. That's
not successful to Interscope, but selling forty to fifty-thousand independently
is extremely successful and profitable to us. I look at artists like MF
Doom and Murs who are putting up numbers independently. In the business
world, it's what you spend versus what you bring in, and then you look
at the bottom line. Did you make more money than you spent? There's a
formula for that in independent hip-hop, and we had success with our last
three records. We're looking forward to this Boot Camp Clik album outselling
the other three, and that allows us to stay in the game. It allows us
to make another record.
internet changing how you market the album?
We probably put more money into internet advertising than we do for publications.
We think that our target market is on the internet and we think the majority
of people are reachable through a couple sites. The internet is where
a lot of purists, or whatever you want to call them, I think they spend
a lot of time on the 'net. The internet replaced what college radio was
six or seven years ago. College radio used to be a place where you could
hear new records and hear records commercial radio wouldn't play. You
can put a song out on HipHopGame and get instant feedback and the kids
can hear something they can't hear on the radio. It's also getting crazy
with MySpace. The internet is a great tool.
happy with how the triple threat projects did?
happy. We were with Koch, which is another independent distributor. We
became a smaller fish over at Koch and our deal was expiring. We were
solicited by Navarre and we switched our whole distributor right before
the albums dropped. You know how your life gets when you move, your life
gets unsettled a little bit. It was a big move for us to go to Navarre
and change distributors, but all three records sold well and shipped well.
Navarre's been a good place for us. In addition to the record sales we
got, it gave us momentum. Sean Price broke through as an independent artist.
Some people don't even know him as Ruck from Heltah Skeltah, and that's
fine. You have to find ways to reinvent yourself, like Gnarls Barkley.
Buckshot linked up with 9th Wonder before he became a household name.
That was great we were able to get that album done. We wouldn't be able
to get that album done today if I reached out to him now because he'd
probably be way too busy, but as we speak they're working on the second
album. We were able to come up with the whole campaign for the triple
threat and the album covers all fit together. For us, it's about trying
to be original and put our touch on it as best as we can. There are some
independent labels who will sign anything and put it out. For us, it's
about quality, and we're working on the quantity. When you're doing it
independently, it's about being consistent. If you're not selling two
or three million records, at least be consistent. Labels like Rhymesayers
and Definitive Jux are on their grind putting out music the mainstream
may not know about, but their fan-base is eating it up. Labels like that
are who Duck Down is modeling itself after.
has the game changed since you dropped the last Boot Camp Click album
The Chosen Few?
2002. After that we did the Collector's Edition of that and then the Black
Moon Total Eclipse record. Switching distributors slowed us up a little.
The approach now is not having a gap between releases. That's what was
nice about the triple threat. Sean Price came out in May, Buckshot came
out in July, and Smif N Wesson came out in September. We were able to
give fans consistent music within that six-month period. We already have
Sean Price's Jesus Price album done which is coming out in September.
We're working on dropping Buckshot's new album dropping probably in the
first quarter of 2007. We did three records last year, four records this
year, and hopefully eight records next year.
Jesus Price come out?
Most of the album was done by 9th Wonder and Khrysis. He goes down to
North Carolina a few times for a couple weeks each time. He's making you
laugh, he's making you think. We're real excited about the album. Breaking
that name "Sean Price" as an independent artist was great. We
know him as hip-hop fans, but we need the 40 year-old distributor at Best
Buy who's responsible for ordering and buying the records to know Sean
Price and not say, "Sean who?"
the next Buckshot/9th Wonder project coming?
worked on right now. They've already recorded a few songs. Boot Camp is
going on a national tour from July 11 through the end of August. We're
going to thirty-five cities. I know that's two months of missing recording
time and then when we come back, it's time for Sean's record and then
it's the fourth-quarter. As an independent, we don't have a lot of money
to release albums during holiday time because the majors are going for
the shelf space. You have to either make the decision to go for an October
release or go for the first quarter. I think that's where 9th and Buck's
record will end up, in the first quarter of '07.
signed Poison Pen for his Money Shot LP. Why did you want to put Pen's
A lot of
people think Duck Down is only for Boot Camp albums. There's a big distinction.
Duck Down is the record label, Boot Camp is a group. We wanted to introduce
the label as a distributor. We're not saying any artist who comes in to
Duck Down is going to be a Boot Camp member. Plus Poison Pen is on his
grind doing shows. He's self-sufficient, which you have to be in this
independent game. That could drop sometime in the fall, but we haven't
set a date for that yet. We have some other things lined up as well. We're
working with Large Professor. We'll announce some other things when the
time is right.
your goals for Duck Down for the next year?
To keep doing
the Boot Camp stuff and the records we're doing. If we put out four records
this year, we want to put out eight records next year. We want to keep
it going this year and show ourselves as a marketing company and distribution
company. If an artist doesn't have a shot at a major and wants to do more
than just the mixtapes, than Duck Down is a legitimate label for them.
We're able to distribute product and market it. There are not a lot of
places for artists to go. There's no Loud, there's no Tommy Boy, there's
no Priority. Even Koch isn't signing all the independent stuff anymore.
That was a place you could go four years ago, but their roster got bigger
and it's hard to get a deal over there. There are artists out there who
maybe want to do more than the mixtapes. At Duck Down, we want to establish
the label side of things. That's a goal for us.
do you want to say to everyone?
who supports us, sends us emails, and comes to our shows, that means so
much. The fans really help to promote and keep things alive. We appreciate
the feedback and we're going to keep trying to do it. I compare this to
a sports team, but that's what it's like. At the end of the game, everyone's
going to have their comments. Getting into a label is like getting into
a team. They comment on what we should do and what we shouldn't do. We're
on the forums and on the site all the time, so I tell everyone to keep
the feedback coming. We love it.
information, visit http://duckdown.com