Egypto Knuckles dishes about this weekend's Background Noise Crew showcase
Photo supplied by Egypto Knuckles
Like many hip-hop artists and producers in the Twin Cities, the members of Background Noise Crew have banded together to play shows and release albums, including their first crew album Everybody Does This, Volume 1, which just came out earlier this year. We caught up with producer Egypto Knuckles prior to Background Noise Crew's show this Saturday at Downtime Bar & Grill in Dinkytown (which is also the launch party for their website, BackgroundNoiseCrew.com) to talk about his crew's mission and the steady stream of new music available on their updated site.
First things first -- give me the basics on Background Noise Crew. Who are the members, and what are you currently working on?
The crew consists of 6 individuals, along with 3 super-duos between the 6. You have T.Q.D (The Quiet Dude), who is putting the finishing touches on a sequel to The Appetizer EP, aptly titled, The Appetizer EP, Vol. 2. You then have Phingaz. He also serves as the other in-house producer aside from myself, Egypto Knuckles. He's also part of a group in Salt Lake City called Sinthesis, who's pretty much opened for anyone you can name. Then comes Status Reign, who's a very hilarious and goofy individual, but one of the nicest guys I know, and has quite his own presence on the mic. He's working hard on a debut album. Then you got Analyrical. He just got done putting out his debut, First Date, and is currently a part of Grind Time Midwest, a rap battle league. Lastly, but not least, there's ToneKrusher Smith. ToneKrusher, who is originally a transplant from Texas as of 5-6 years ago. He's currently working on a free album, Big Bombs of Love, which aptly tells the story of a guy wanting a relationship, getting one, then breaking up, all in one album. It's going to be quite a rollercoaster of an album. Also, we all put out a crew project titled Everybody Does This, Vol. 1, which in a way is our Sad Clown Bad Dub series so to speak.
As mentioned, there are duos within the crew. You have C.A.S.E (Analyrical & Status Reign) which is just old-fashioned, good time party rap. Then you have the serious side with Green Sketch (T.Q.D & Phingaz). They were the first to drop with their EP, So Long...For Now. Lastly, there's the raunchy debauchery of Frugalis McSpiteful (Egypto Knuckles & ToneKrusher Smith). We put out an EP titled The Sunday School EP, and made a couple of hilarious webisodes behind it. You can find it all at the Background Noise YouTube site.
What does the name "Background Noise" refer to?
Background Noise is pretty much our meaning for what music has become now a days and what we want to make; a soundtrack to accompany people. Regardless of how I think of music, I can't physically remember moments without a certain song or album that took me back to a time period in my life. Plus me and the crew had several stories as to how we all heard some of our favorite albums. We'd like to think that along with other music, we are the Background Noise (no pun intended) to life for people in general.
Is there an over-arching mission or set of ethics that everyone in the crew shares? How do you set yourself apart from other local crews?
Well for us, there is several. One of them is that we were all friends prior to the creation of Background Noise and that policy should never change. I, as well as the rest of the crew members carry an open door policy with one another. We all still get together monthly to talk about the happenings, see about project progress and try to pool our resources as best as we can, and even outside of that, I usually hang with them every available weekend I can, to just see what's on their mind. We all press up our own projects on our own dime, plus we have a fund that we all chipped in for to ensure that we have funds to promote however possible, be it flyers, posters, etc. We haven't done contracts, we merely have done a constitution, and like a constitution we amend things by a crew vote. Based on these processes, one would say that some of these processes aren't different than what other crews, labels or collectives have done or are currently doing.
We try our best to build with everyone in the scene. And we hope to continue doing so. Doing a radio show for 7 years myself, I think networking face-to-face is the best tool you can have in a scene like ours. Electronic outlets aren't bad either.
Do you think it's important for local hip-hop artists and producers to band together and pool resources?
Considering what's going on right now with some clubs closing (Dinkytowner and Uptown Bar RIP), as well as what's going on with our music scene as a whole, it probably is the best thing to do. I think of a crew, collective or label more or less like a family unit; if one is down on a resource, the other assist to do what they can. I still assist other rappers along with my crew mates to help them out as well. Not as a source of charity, more like a common bond toward one goal.
We've got outlets that showcase our wondrous talents to folks who are unaware of our scene; be it the Mad Ripple hootenannies, or the Fifth Element open mics; we all find a way to expose our talents and connect with folks that appreciate it and want to make it bigger. That's one of the wonderful things about our scene, you find either a fanbase or other folks who want to help you out. Even though its growing more rarely, be nice to continue that tradition.
This weekend's show is a launch party for your website. What can people find on BackgroundNoiseCrew.com?
Well, for starters, every month we have a free unreleased track, or two, or several, for the folks who come and get it during the 1st or 15th of every month. We also have T.Q.D's Corner, where he does musings on the rap of yore and current. He just did a column about Young Black Teenagers (best know for "Tap The Bottle" and DJ Skribble). Sometimes we'll post up our progress on our projects, or else chat about them via ToneKrusher's newly started podcast called Grown Man Bidness. Hopefully we'll do some stuff with UStream'ing our live shows, or even just hosting some UStreams to connect with everyone.
Anything else you want to mention about the show?
It all goes down Saturday, March 13th at the Downtime Bar & Cafe. We also have Danami and Wize Guyz joining us in the fun. All we can ask is that folks come out and check us out. Otherwise stay tuned to our website to stay posted on our newest happenings and possible Family Guy, Star Trek, and The Simpsons conventions.
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