with Mr. J
good, man. I just ran about three miles to this office, trying to get
my cardio up for this tour we're starting May 30 to promote this album.
is touring to the Procussions?
we started out. When we were recording music, we had actually performed
the material for six or seven months. Before we had money to record, we
were just making beats and writing raps. We were just trying to get shows.
We were doing shows for six to seven months before we had any material
out at all. It took us two years to get our first album done. After the
first tour, we were able to get the money we needed to record the project.
live show dying out?
I would have
to tell you the only reason why I could say yes is because people are
not prepared for us when we get on stage. If you're in the first five
rows and you're not moving, you're going to get called out. I remember
the first time we did a show in LA and people came up to us and told us
we were crazy. I'm a b-boy and I do that on-stage sometimes. People were
stage-diving and I come from a time of slam-dancing and letting the aggression
out so you don't have to carry it around all day. People told us we were
crazy and I was like, "Oh, thanks," but then they said, "No,
you have to tone it down." A lot of people are used to guys walking
on stage. It's cool to have swagger, but our music doesn't allow us to
do that. If you listen to 5 Sparrows for 2 Cents, the energy on those
tracks doesn't leave room for you to just rap. We'd look funny.
We come from
a background of the Public Enemy days and Rage Against the Machine and
Biohazard where all you'd get is the pure emotion. As a group, we need
to break out. In Colorado when we do shows, I can jump off the stage at
any time and be caught. There were times I couldn't even move around in
my jeans because there was sweat going to my knees. You can't formulate
that energy. When the track hits, it's on and it's show-time. We've been
able to open up for a huge array of artists and they have their fans,
and we're trying to steal some of their fans, not that they won't like
the other artists anymore.
We have a
special group of fans who may not even like most hip-hop or may be in
the workplace and want to hear us talk about issues that are distressing
in their own world like rape or child pornography. Some people aren't
ready for that. We did a show with Xzibit and we had a different crowd
there, and then we do a show with Lucy Pearl and we have a different crowd
there. Some people are in the soulful jazz vibe, but eventually I'm going
to scream out at the top of my lungs and it's borderline punk and some
people can't handle that and some people love it. I think it's a new generation
of hip-hop because the listeners all have iPods where you can jump from
Jerry Lee Lewis to People Under the Stairs to Dr. Dre in one second. That's
what you're getting at a Procussions show. It's a mash-up show. It's becoming
this big monster which is a conglomerate of energy.
have a good time recording 5 Sparrows for 2 Cents?
is great, man. We didn't meet as friends and then did music. We met solely
on a musical basis. At the time, I was the only one who was serious about
rapping. There were other rappers, but it seemed like it was more of a
hobby for them. I was doing all the MC battles in my area and I was going
to Denver to do some and I was going to other cities. Colorado, unfortunately,
is just a tad bit behind. I met 'Stro who was making beats for another
group at the time. I was a DJ also at the time, so I ended up DJ'ing for
his group. Things eventually fell apart. If you do music with the intent
of it going far but thinking of it being a hobby, it's good. It takes
so much determination to make this happen. I started working with 'Stro
and he started rapping and then we met up with Rez. Then we'd go to Australia
and places like that. We all have our own personal ways we want to say
things and do things. We're all adopting each other's musical likes and
it's just working. We're all becoming one unit.
have been doing this for ten years. Did you ever see your movement going
When I was
five years old, all I wanted to be was Michael Jackson. After Michael
Jackson, I wanted to be LL Cool J. I think it's in you to do this, but
then this train in your mind, whether it's your parent's insecurities
or your friend's insecurities, you start to think like that and you think
you can't do it. You get into this zone of life and it seems impossible,
like, "How can I make it? Only a handful of people make it."
So many people have fought through that and we still have to. The group
took off further than we thought it could from the beginning.
time we did a single and recorded it, we thought it was cool and we'd
just do it on the side. I was going to school to be a teacher at the time
and Rez was going to school for graphic arts. Our manager at the time
was living in Japan at the time. We gave it to him and he liked it, and
then ABB puts it out. We had a single out, so we figured we had to make
an album. Then a promoter hit us about opening up some shows. Our first
show we opened up for Dilated Peoples and our second show we opened up
for Run-DMC. We saw we had to do this. Now 5 Sparrows for 2 Cents is our
stamp. Now we're pushing forward. It's not just a dream or idea anymore.
It's a reality that we have to make work for us.
5 Sparrows for 2 Cents come out the way you wanted it to?
glance, I think we grew so much in a year. I don't mean that in a braggadocios
sense. What I mean is we grew so much where we've gotten to know ourselves
and we have the confidence with our own style and ability to do things.
One phase of the album is where we were, one is where we are, and one
is where we're going. It's a past, present, and future thing with an entire
"now" spin on it. We were still tampering with jazzy ideas because
that's still a part of us, and we still wanted to give people songs that
remind them of As Iron Sharpens Iron. We're growing because we're doing
so many songs. They only hear one version of the song, not the fifteen
drafts of it. They can't go back the same way we can.
some things in there they can digest so it's easier to move on. We don't
want to be arrogant and just say, "This is where we are, get with
it and deal with it." Let's give people pieces of what we've done
and hope they can change with us. It's all learning. The Procussions will
not be stuck in this marketing rut that's like prison. It's a marketing
prison where it's the only way you can sell. We're not just going to do
jazzy hip-hop. We're too strong for that. As long as we're being ourselves,
that's what really matters even if our sales go south. 5 Sparrow for 2
Cents is a great album for where we are now with a hint at where we can
go. You're going to hear some rhythm patterns and flows that you didn't
hear on As Iron Sharpens Iron.
you guys work together?
make a beat for somebody else, I might accidentally hear it, and I'll
tell him I want it. Other times we'll all pour our ideas into a beat and
it becomes this work together. Usually it comes down to us being in the
studio. It definitely becomes a group effort. Me and 'Stro work closely
together on a project we're doing and our side projects. I have equipment
and I've done some production for people, so he can take some of my stuff
and make it sound better. His mind is out of this world. It's amazing
how you can tell him something and he can do it. There was one time I
told him something and I confused myself, and I wanted it like 9 Inch
meets the Pharcyde, and three weeks later, he has a sound that's exactly
like I thought it would be.
is the positive vibe in Procussions' music?
I think it's
important we focus on what being positive is. I don't want to be a happy-go-lucky
group where your smile hides a lot of truths in things that are really
happening. There are parts of positivity that can be dangerous, like when
people use it as a covering device. That can hide problems and not allow
them to feel their pain. There are certain senses of positivity we are
not willing to take on. We believe being positive is anytime you get closer
to the truth about what's happening in people's lives. Being positive
to us is feeling tracks and making people aware to the point where we
are moving towards an angle of truth and talking about the sacredness
of the human spirit and building ourselves up as a community and becoming
relevant in the world. It's more important for us to be relevant. Some
things in our minds may be positive but they may not sit well.
need a release and they need to understand what's going on in the world,
and they need to be cut open. Other people have already been cut open
and they need to be healed. We hope we can heal and wound at the same
time. All efforts lead to a better understanding of truth. We need human
contact and we can't talk to computers all day. We want to leave that
at the show. Right now, we have this genre of hip-hop that's built around
fantasy. They listen to the music and imagine themselves being those people,
but they don't have the same world the musicians live in, and sometimes
the musicians don't even live in those worlds. They want platinum chains
and women. Hip-hop teaches this idea of fearlessness and you can be a
thug and it makes you a man to live illegally and it makes you strong
because you're going against the system. There's a way you're supposed
to go against the system. The system is set up to be human trafficking
where people sell goods and make a gang of money for other people. We
want to be another option. We want to be that thing that can hopefully
plug them into another world.
the next move for the Procussions?
move is to tour as much as possible. We want to reach out to a lot of
other artists. We have this idea for another album. We move way ahead
even in our own minds a lot further than we should. Touring is extremely
important to us. Getting this machine behind us and to work for us is
a priority. We want our music to reach as many people as possible. The
next step for us is to reach out to as many people as possible, whether
that's being on MTV or going on tour. We have a tour with Aceyalone and
Ugly Duckling. We're going to do whatever it takes.
you want to say to everyone?
you like. It's important that people stop blaming the system and corporations.
You should expect they are going to want to make money and you could expect
that they're not going to understand music. The best thing you can do
is support music you like. Stop listening to the radio if you don't like
it. They're not going to play it if it's not going to make them money.
Support the movement you like. Don't download our album, pick it up at
Best Buy. Make places that aren't carrying our stuff carry our stuff.