M.anifest (Ghana/Minneapolis), Krukid (Uganda/Champaign, IL/Vegas) and producer Budo (Seattle/Brooklyn), who form the group A.R.M., are releasing two projects in 2010: an EP Two Africans and a Jew, Vol. 1 at the end of March, and the LP Uprising shortly after. The trio are throwing a pre-release party to showcase some brand new material alongside up-and-coming artists I.B.E., Bamboo (Kenya), and host Maria Isa this Friday at the 7th St. Entry.
Gimme Noise caught up with M.anifest, Krukid, I.B.E., and Budo to talk about the show over dinner at Safari at the Midtown Global Market. (See more photos from the interview in this slideshow by B FRESH Photography.)
What does Friday's show title "No So Distant Relatives" mean to you all, and where did that idea come from?
Krukid: The show is a live representation of what A.R.M has set out to do from the beginning. Our plan has always been to help showcase emcees from the African diaspora that we respect and are fans of. We feel I.B.E. and Bamboo are definitely on this list of emcees, as will be evident to everyone who attends.
M.anifest: It's also a nod and humorous play off Nas And Damien Marley's brilliant upcoming collaboration, "Distant Relatives." We, on the other hand, are not-so-distant. A similar tour (with a different name) might be in the future.
What are you looking forward to most at Friday's show? Will you be performing any new material off the EP or upcoming LP, Uprising?
M.anifest: That'd be a resolute yes! Bringing out the guns for this one--no more war by the way. Expect some of the guests featured on both projects to show up and rip it with us. I'll be debuting my new dance as well. Soulja boy, what up?!
Krukid: We're looking forward to just having a good time with a wide variety of people who appreciate the music like we do. Everyone's welcome. We will definitely be doing songs from both projects, in addition to surprise favorites.
The new EP, Two Africans and a Jew, will be dropping soon. Where does the title come from, and what makes this project unique?
Budo: The title is a reductionist's description of what A.R.M is. Beyond, that, it represents a moment in time that embodies everything that we strive for in our music. The phrase was coined by M.anifest while on-stage during our first Uprising listening party in Minneapolis. It immediately elicited joy and laughter...bringing smiles to those around us. We try and make music with as much joy and positive energy as we can, and this title speaks to that purpose.
What has the process of working together on these projects been like? How has collaborating from different places worked out?
Budo: In a word, seamless. We work at a distance, but execute songs in sync to the point where it feels like we all created this music in the same setting. I learn from Kruk and Fest every day, both as musicians and (perhaps more importantly), as people. They've taught me a lot about re-connecting with the root cause of why I started making music in the first place, and their creativity informs my process in the most incredible way. I have such pride in the music that we're making, and I think our process reflects that.
Krukid: It has been the easiest magic I have ever co-created. With that said, even with us being in different locations, it hasn't changed the ease and or symbiosis of the collaboration. Like I said, easiest magic I've ever co-created.
M.anifest: What they said...
Tell me a funny story about working on these projects.
M.anifest: Some X-rated stories might be involved here. Let's just say we said and did things that would make conservatives squirm and the politically correct puke. I might tell a story or two at the show. Hint Hint. [winks]
A.R.M. (Manifest, Krukid and Budo), Bamboo and I.B.E. will play the "Not So Distant Relatives" show with host Maria Isa and DJs Hustla & Last Word on Friday, March 5, at the 7th St. Entry. Tickets $8 Advance/ $10 Door. 18+. Doors 9 p.m.