Chopping it up with Tech N9ne [Interview]
More Tech N9ne tour coverage from our West Coast team. Jesse Furnell sits down with Tech N9ne for a one-on-one interview and, in case you missed it, Max Dishaw recently posted a review of the Strange Music artist's Vancouver tour stop. This isn't the first time we've had the chance to connect with this independent giant. Our Executive Editor, Amalia Judith, connected with Tech N9ne last September while he was touring Canada with Madchild of Swollen Members.
Vancouver, BC – Tech N9ne has come a long way over a long span of time and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. On his Something Else Tour the Kansas City rapper was in Vancouver to play the Commodore Ballroom along with Chilliwack's Evergreen Hall the following Saturday. While he was local he gave HipHopCanada's Jesse Furnell a few minutes of his time to discuss himself, his Technicians and of course, Strange Music. Here's what got chopped up after the jump.
Tech N9Ne: Q&A
Interview conducted by Jesse Furnell for HipHopCanada
HipHopCanada: Unlikely scenario; lets pretend a hip-hop head hasn't heard of you. How would you explain who Tech N9ne is as an artist to some kid who doesn't know what's up?
Tech N9ne: Tech N9ne is psychotic, Strange Music is schizophrenic. We still rank in the top of the charts without no radio play, no video play… and that's an amazing feat. My style is schizophrenic, ambidextrous, morpheus, it's changeable. The style…is…strange. You know what I mean? You'd have to hear it to really understand. It's truly schizophrenic and it's melodic, all that at once…like a fragmented orchestra, ya know? It's totally not the norm.
HipHopCanada: Being the veteran that you are and as established as you are – what drives you to continue putting out new material so frequently?
Tech N9ne: I'm crazy about music, it's that simple. I'm a b-boy, hip-hop is in my blood so when I hear a dope beat I want on it. When I hear someone really throwing it lyrically it makes me really wanna go, to take time with lyrics and really put thought into it, it motivates me to come at it even harder. I'm a B-boy and a music lover and I'll never ever ever get it outta my blood.
HipHopCanada: You tour relentlessly yet stay very productive. How much does the constant touring hinder or help you to stay creative and productive?
Tech N9ne: Yeah, I'm doin' shows as we speak, man we just never sit still. I'm doin' a couple weeks out here in Canada. As soon as I'm home I'm shooting some videos then it's back out for a 57 date tour in the States. Then Australia and New Zealand… and India's calling too, ya know? Where ever they want me I go to. So it's all just motivation, it all just feeds the creativity.
HipHopCanada: Tell us a little about your label, Strange Music – you started from the ground up many years ago and is a big focus of yours. What's poppin' with Strange Music at the moment?
Tech N9ne: Well, we started the label back in '99. And this year, already we've put out 11 projects, that's not easy to do. Like, I just dropped Something Else and we're getting good reviews but we ain't stopping there.
HipHopCanada: You're involved with many projects, from your label to your various collaborations, tell us about something you're working on that we need to be looking out for?
Tech N9ne: Actually, I've been working on a seven song EP called Therapy which is gonna be a full on rock project that will be coming out in November. Ross Robinson is a rock producer who I'm working with, and he had different people come through from different groups to play instruments on it. In fact Wes Borland from Limp Bizkit played a lot on the album, various drummers came through to play percussion, had a bongo player out, even got the Beastie Boys involved…it's turning out to be something really wonderful.
HipHopCanada: You call your fans Technicians. When does the casual Tech listener turn into a full fledged Technician? When they can rap along to your most craziest of flows I'm guessing?
Tech N9ne: Once they're in love with the music, and they know the pledge, then you call yourself a Technician. Like, if you call yourself that and you don't know the pledge someone might challenge you, call you out like, “what is it?”
HipHopCanada: What's the pledge?
Tech N9ne: “Together we are a powerful force as one mind, body and soul. That no evil enters nor attempts to reduce us because of the beliefs we hold. And with this love, combined with our strength, we can ward off pain and stress. Technician, I am, wholeheartedly in life and in death.” Yeah man, and a lotta of them know it, I say it at the end of every show.
HipHopCanada: You seem to really engage with your fans through social media, you seem very accessible – have you always been so involved with your fan-base?
Tech N9ne: Well it's always been like that since we started man. Without the fan there's no us. It's like we've been touring since we started so we tap into what makes someone a fan and it's being right there, right in their faces. I've gotta be able to touch them, spiritually, and you can't do that just staying in your house. And thank God for them, without them we'd be homeless ya know?
HipHopCanada: After playing Vancouver's Commodore, next Where It's At Entertainment has you playing Evergreen Hall out in Chilliwack on Saturday. What sort of difference if any do you find between the shows in dense urban cores and the shows in the outer lying suburbs and beyond?
Tech N9ne: All around the world same song… when Digital Underground said that it was real. It doesn't even matter if they don't speak English, like when I was playing in Poland and the audience knows all the words. It doesn't even matter where I'm at, if they're wearing Tech N9ne shirts then it really doesn't matter, I don't discriminate. All around the world same song brother.
HipHopCanada: Thank you for your time Tech, any parting words you'd like to leave HipHopCanada with?
Tech N9ne: Yeah, I'm murdering all over Canada and these next few shows I'm gonna murder even harder. And this is new material, we had no practice before we started this tour so the first few shows were like a rehearsal but by now we've mastered our shows so it's just straight murder now. These shows keep getting better and better, so expect murder in a wonderful way.
Interview conducted by Jesse Furnell for HipHopCanada
Photography by Richard Lecoin for HipHopCanada
Twitter: @TechN9Ne | @KrizzKaliko