Audio Perm is ostensibly a three-person rap producer crew, but as tomorrow's Audio Perm Showcase will prove, the movement is much larger than that. The night will feature the beatmakers providing the backbone to a number of the younger hip-hop generation's notable figures, including Chantz Erolin, Fresh Squeeze, Mundo Libre, Bobby Raps, 80H20, Persona Non Grata, and Manny Phesto, all of whom work closely with Audio Perm and have become associated acts. Gimme Noise caught up with Taylor Madrigal, Julian Fairbanks and Cory Grindberg, as well as MCs Bobby Raps and Big Dylan, for an interview about tomorrow's Permed Out Showcase.
Gimme Noise: How did the Audio Perm crew come together initially?
Cory Grindberg: It was initially Taylor's idea. He approached me and Julian, we were at this show at Depot in Hopkins. Taylor just approached me and said "What would you think about starting a producer crew with me and Julian and we would call it Audio Perm?" I was like, "Yeah, let's do it, that sounds cool,". I was a fan of both of their work musically and they seemed like cool dudes.
Gimme Noise: There are a lot of rappers performing at the Permed Out Showcase, but you as producers are the core of the event. Are you interested in increasing awareness of the producer's role in hip-hop?
Taylor Madrigal: I think the producer deserves just as much credit as the MC does and I think that's not the case sometimes. There's albums or mixtapes that come out that don't even list the producer. That shit bothers me. I wanna be an advocate for producers. People are shitting on the name of producers. Producers are important. Producers make 50% of the song. That's not right. That's not cool at all.
Bobby Raps: I think the producer is almost more important than 50% of the song because the producer has the most important job of all, which is to inspire the MC to write the dopest shit they can.
Taylor Madrigal: To evoke the moods. It just really means a lot to me for us to be advocates for the name of producer. I want to bring that to the forefront more. There's still people out there who don't know what a producer does. They don't know anything about how a song gets made. The producer is a really important part of music, that's an integral part and it's crazy to me that shit like that is happening where they don't even get listed, they don't get credit. That's a problem to me. I really enjoy being part of a producer crew that can raise the profile of producers in general.
Bobby Raps: I think a lot of people look past the producer, a lot of credit is thrown to the side to the wrong people. If you compare hip-hop to R'n'B, I think there's a lot more credit given in hip-hop than a lot of other genres in terms of producing music. Producers get more love than a country producer would, or an R'n'B producer would. There's that to be grateful for, because even though you might get overlooked, there are definitely moments where you get some incredible shine.
Big Dylan: The [Audio Perm] producers are getting involved in more than just pre-production, [they're involved in] the live performance, like Art School Girls [Julian, Cory and Chantz Erolin's group] is an example. We're working on making a more conducive Audio Perm set that's just one fluid motion instead of just showcasing each of our talents, it showcases us as a group.
Gimme Noise:With such a large group of people involved, what's the process of making music like?
Taylor Madrigal: When it comes to working with other MCs for Audio Perm shit, it just comes really naturally.
Big Dylan: Kickin' it and bullshitting and making music.
Julian Fairbanks: I look at it song by song almost. You get one done, and you go to the next one. Just keep moving like that.
Taylor Madrigal: I definitely wanna have that air of togetherness in the music. It really is like that. That's just what we do. We're homies and it just so happens that we're making music and we love making music. We're homies and we collaborate with each other and we just happen to be good at it.
Gimme Noise: You were recently asked, along with tons of other local rap acts, to play Mictlan's night for the Doomtree Blowout. Do you feel welcomed by the Twin Cities rap scene as the younger generation?
Taylor Madrigal: I definitely feel welcomed. It's nice to be able to be in a scene where the OGs and the people who have been doing it for a long time, and are successful, are not too big to just go up and tell you, "That was dope, that was great", you know? There's a lot of really humble people in this scene. That "No Kings" shit, that's such a true thing that we're trying to represent, and I hope a lot of people catch on to that. It was really crazy for me [to play Mictlan's night], just the fact that we were able to do that was just really fuckin' wild. That's one of the first things I saw comin' up, just seeing Doomtree do their thing.
Bobby Raps: I remember being in 7th grade, bumping that Audition tape, just thinking [P.O.S.] was the world, and now this guy is coming up to me, giving me a handshake and saying I'm the truth. It's like, damn, it's gone that far in this amount of time. It's crazy. It's really eye-opening when you think about it. A lot of heads have come up to me and had a sense of reassurance that we were on the come up, because they were comfortable with what we were doing and had high hopes for the future. It excites me that it excites them. It's like, maybe we are as capable as they think we are.
See Audio Perm and crew at the Permed Out Showcase at Honey on Tuesday 12/20, 9PM, 18+, $5