Kill the Vultures, Kristoff Krane, and No Bird Sing join forces on F to I to X
Photo By Kai Benson
Fresh off of yesterday's announcement of the formation of Mixed Blood Majority comes more exciting news from the Kill the Vultures and No Bird Sing camp, as the two experimental hip-hop groups have joined forces with the inventive MC/beatmaker Kristoff Krane to form F to I to X. The new group is still in their early stages, so not that much is known at this point about the local hip-hop collective, who are also joined by bassist Casey O'Brien (and business manager Brady O'Rourke and art director Kai Benson).
The group has planned a launch party at the Triple Rock Social Club on August 17, which will feature sets by Kristoff Krane, No Bird Sing, Kill The Vultures, as well as a special collaborative performance of F to I to X's forthcoming debut single, "Fix." They also dropped an intriguing teaser video to promote their new project and their Triple Rock show, which we've included below. It's sure to be a spirited, highly original night showcasing some of the best talent in the local rap scene, and will hopefully be the first in a string of captivating gigs by this new group.
Gimme Noise was able to ask No Bird Sing's vocalist Joe Horton and Kill The Vultures' producer Steve Lewis a few introductory questions about F to I to X, and they were able to shed some light on how the new project balances the prodigious talents of all those involved, the importance of attaching a visual aesthetic to the group, and what they have in store for their Triple Rock show and beyond.
Gimme Noise: After years of working together on a more casual level, how do you intend to fuse the distinct, dynamic music of No Bird Sing, Kristoff Krane, and Kill the Vultures into one functioning act this time around, and are you taking your respective sounds in different, challenging directions with this project?
Steve Lewis (producer Kill the Vultures): As a producer, I want to create the most believable, yet interesting, setting for the vocalists' character. All the vocalists in the collective have very different personas, so when working on the single I tried to find a setting that would be foreign for them individually but somehow felt natural when they were all there together. I wanted to hear this group of rappers over poly-rhythmic percussion, heavy on mallet instruments like xylophone. The sound is tribal, hypnotic and hopefully, a little bit puzzling.
Other then the release of the new single, "Fix," are there plans for a full collaborative album and a string of shows for F to I to X, or are your individual schedules to busy to make that happen at this point?
Steve Lewis: I'm dead-set on making a 30 minute suite for rap, xylophone, and tr-808 drums.
Each artist has experimented with their individual sound throughout their careers. Is this yet another way for you all to change things up while also getting the opportunity to make music with your friends?
Steve Lewis: Up to now, Crescent Moon and I have purposely avoided ever having any collaborators on the Kill the Vultures albums. I am intrigued by the idea of letting other people step foot in our world and vice versa. Having so many dope artists to work with will definitely add to my pallet when I make a track.
How important is the tight knit music community in the Twin Cities for you as far as helping you grow as an artist while having the ability to collaborate with and learn from other talented musicians?
Joe Horton (vocalist No Bird Sing): The longer I'm here the less separation there is between the music community and the community. I'm fortunate that the people around me, whatever their discipline, are interested in undoing the false assumptions they have about reality. We challenge each other to look at routines and habits we might otherwise avoid and consequently the expressions are more adventurous and more honest.
I see in your press release you list Art Director Kai Benson as being part of your group. What type of artistic influence will he have on the project, and do you find having a recognizable visual element accompanying your music helps further express what is at the heart of your sound?
Joe Horton: The process of making F to I to X has been a lot like making a song. It's not real but you want people, yourself especially, to believe it's real. For that to happen the fiction has to be air tight. Everywhere you look you have to be in the fiction. That's where Kai is invaluable. He takes our music and bits of conversation and creates a visual aesthetic to package the concept. It still seems like magic to me.
What do you have in store for us at your Launch Party at the Triple Rock on August 17, and what should we look out for in the future from F to I to X?
Joe Horton: No Bird Sing, Kristoff Krane, and Kill the Vultures will all be playing sets. Obviously there will be a lot of collaborations. We'll be playing the new FIX single and maybe some new material. Mostly the show is an excuse to thank people in person for their past and hopefully future support.
You can definitely expect a F to I to X record. No Bird Sing and Kill the Vultures are both working on new records. Mixed Blood Majority (Crescent Moon, Lazerbeak, and myself) has an album coming out before year's end. Right now we're just focused on finishing up these records so we can figure out release plans and get them out to people.
F to I to X's launch party is August 17 at the Triple Rock Social Club, with Kristoff Krane, No Bird Sing, and Kill The Vultures. The 18+ show starts at 9, and advance tickets are on-sale now for $5.
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