Interview: Random & K-Murdock (Pt. 2)
In anticipation of their new collaborative CD ‘Forever Famicom’, I sat down with Random (also known as MegaRan) and K-Murdock (of Panacea) to ask them some questions regarding this new project, dropping June 1st. Read this second (and final) part of the in-depth interview with Random and K-Murdock.
In anticipation of their new collaborative CD ‘Forever Famicom’, I sat down with Random (also known as MegaRan) and K-Murdock (of Panacea) to ask them some questions regarding this new project, dropping June 1st. In the mean time you can check out the free double single ‘Dream Master/Epoch’, available here.
Due to the length of this interview, we decided to split this interview into two parts. You can read part 1 HERE.
How would you guys describe the support, or lack thereof, by your colleagues in the Hip Hop community, other emcees, producers or close friends, on this project?
K-Murdock: When I told Raw Poetic I was doing this project…well him and Ran have been popped up on tracks together, I had them on my solo compilation, called ‘Pianorama‘, Ran had done a verse, and Raw Poetic wanted to get on and do a verse too, and I thought it would be so fitting because both of these dudes are from Philly, and they’re both two of my favorite emcees. To me that was like the dream team right there. He was supportive of it. He’s busy right now doing a lot of his own side projects. I tried to get him on one of the tracks, but he just couldn’t. As creative as Raw Poetic is he was in a funk, which is weird, it was hilarious, cause to this day I tease him about it, “I can’t believe I finally stumped you.”
Usually I can give him any topic and he can come up with something about it. There was one track, where we ended up getting an MC named Jermicide on (Writer’s note: This track is ‘Double Dragons‘ on ‘Forever Famicom’), but Raw Poetic was originally supposed to be tag teaming with Ran on it, and Raw started, he came up with a few lines but he just couldn’t finish out the concept. When he heard the finish product he was just shaking his head like, “Damn, this just came out awesome,” and he was a bit jealous. And I was like, “Hey, that coulda’ been you.”
But other than that it’s been great, you’d be surprised how many MCs and hip hop people are , not even closet, or secretive, but they play a lot of video games. I guess it kind of goes hand-in-hand. I’m hoping this album can really make anyone who plays games or loves video games equally, feel comfortable about saying it, because for whatever reason there still this nerd stigma, and let’s go over it, nerds rule the world!
So Ran, how about yourself? ‘The Call’ was a fantastic album, and it was a large creative leap to Mega Ran and now ‘Forever Famicom’ we’re branching out further and further.
Random: Yah we really are. I gotta’ be honest, when I got the idea, and to me, my mind works very strangely. I think a lot. Probably, just too much. And I think about a lot of concepts and ideas. Every day I get a new concept for a new album or record probably. So I told my DJ, DN3 (who mixed and mastered ‘The Call’ and helped me with all of my music up to that point), I told him, “Hey man, I want to do a Mega Man album.” He kind of stared at me for a while and said, “Really? Are you sure?” And I said, “Yes.” Because I was in such a funk after ‘The Call‘.
I had really felt that as an artist I had said all I really wanted to say. There was just nothing else to say about music, about politics, about love, about life, just telling my story, that was it, I just didn’t have anything else. So I needed to take a rest, and I sat down and started playing games. And that’s when I said, “Being an artist, you can tell somebody else’s story,” And that’s what artists should be able to do, so I went and told Mega Man’s story, and made up my own.
You know what, this is what an artist is, and this is what it should be: creative. I didn’t really expect anyone to get into it, I really felt like this was going to be, almost, career suicide. I feel that I just need to have, like, a separate identity for MegaRan and Random, and pretend like they’re not the same person. I like made up a new MySpace page, like it was going to be my MF Doom, or something like that. So I would still exist as Random, but there would still be this guy, MegaRan, making music. And when I started to talk to people about it, Domingo, dope producer who’s worked with some legendary cat’s in game, from Big Pun, to KRS One, everybody, I talked to him about the project he started laughing. I was like, “See, I knew you were going to laugh”. And he was like, “No, no, no, this is some sick shit!” And I was just like, “Ok, cool!” So he gave me a beat and was like, “let’s do it, like, I think this could really pop off!”
That gave me a lot of confidence, just talking to people like that, and then was just like, “I’m going to do it, and whatever happens, happens. If it’s career suicide, it’ll be career suicide.” But I told my publicist all the time, “Just make sure you mention that this is a SIDE-Project. This isn’t just me, this is a side project, this is just something not necessarily the transformation but just a different side of me, that’s all.” And it turns out to be my biggest project. By far and away it’s the biggest project I’ve done.
Random (photo by: Hope McDowell)
I feel it came out great too because I feel it bought up a really strong point that I feel has been lost in Hip Hop a lot of times: Hip Hop should be fun!
Random: Yah it seems like Hip Hop is scared to be fun. Scared to laugh, and scared to smile, which kind of sucks. I feel like coming out with a song like ‘Grow up‘, which was the first MegaRan single. Totally fast, fun romp, where Hip Hoppers are probably looking at me like, “Aw come on…” But why is it a crime to have fun? I’ve rocked out to crowds of hundreds with this song. You know, just that I can pull people in with having some fun and doing some good fun music is a priceless feeling. That’s why we want to keep doing it with ‘Forever Famicom’.
So the fun parts bring me to the next part then: Comicons! Gaming Conventions! I want to know how excited are you, Murdock, to go to these and get into this culture?
K-Murdock: That was part of the excitement for this project too, because I knew it was going to open me up to a whole new audience. [Random] gave me the heads up, when you hear the album, there’s a track that even speaks to the whole convention lore and basically, it’s a list of 10 ( I don’t want to say compared to to the classic B.I.G. ‘10 Crack Commandments‘) do’s and do-not’s, but it’s kind of like that, with the track ‘CONtact’, which would be on ‘Forever Famicom’.
But yeah, I’m excited. Up to watching Frontalot’s DVD, ‘Nerdcore Rising‘, I didn’t know much about it. So far the people I’ve met in the scene who come and patroned the events that we were at, at South by Southwest, I don’t know if a lot of them know me, but one thing I can tell you is they show love. They treat you fair, they treat you nice, and I’m looking forward to rocking with them and getting a set together for ‘Forever Famicom’. and hopefully being invited, subsequently, to a lot of theme comicons and places.
Like I said if I can travel off this record, I’ll be good. I’m not looking to be a Fat Cat sitting back raking in mad dough from this because that’s not what it’s about. For me if the record can bring me place I only dreamed about going, and I get to meet other like minded people then I’m good, so we’ll see!
Most of these people who have heard 8-Bit beats, and music based on them, want to know how did you achieve so much depth in them?
K-Murdock: I just did ‘me’ on it. If I were to make a [8-Bit] album, and I’m sure people are going to categorize it as that, and to me, every time I see it, it makes me laugh, because to me it’s just a hip hop album that has source material from Nintendo. However you want to see it or view it, it’s apples and oranges, as long as people listen to it I’m happy. Really that’s how I approached it. I approached it the same way I would have as if it were a Panacea album. I just do my sound, I always say “NeoSonic“, which essentially means “New Sounds”, that’s basically all I’m doing.
I’m taking older stuff and, I don’t want to say resuscitating it because a lot of this stuff is going to live past me and my music and is much bigger than me, I guess I just try to bring a new life to it. Put it out there in a different way and at the same time, I felt like it was really important for me to walk a fine line of being innovative and also trying to venerate and respect the source material. That’s why I left a lot of it as loops, so people could hear it. So far the feedback, who’s talked to me, and they could be saying this because they think I’m a nice guy, but everyone has been very happy with it. The whole album, not just the beats. I’ve had people say, “Man you and Ran make just as good a tandem as you do with Raw Poetic and Panacea.” Which to me is great, because I knew we had chemistry, but to know that other people are recognizing it, it makes it all worthwhile.
Were there any games that you guys had to leave out for whatever reason?
Random: You know what, Zelda was one that…and it’s funny that now that I’ve been lumped in and classified as the “Video Game Rapper” most producers send me beats and there’s video game samples in them, and it’s usually Zelda. I don’t know why, but that’s always the one that they want to send me. I think we wanted to go with some of the unsung titles, and going with Zelda would be kind of cool. And actually we did do a Zelda track, which is going to be on the bonus disc (for people who order it online, we’re going to give them some extra stuff). So we did a ‘Zelda 2 [Link’s Adventure]’ track with Ilyas from Tanya Morgan, and that will be on the bonus disc with some other stuff. So there is Zelda represented on the project but just not immediately on the original pressing. But Zelda is there, Zelda was thought of, believe me.
K-Murdock: And there’s some Mario in there too! I’m sure theres going to be people who will be like, “You didn’t have Mario! That’s like blasphemous,” But I’m like, E-V-V-V-V-eryone’s done Mario, come on.
I was pretty sure I heard the Mushroom power up sound effect in there somewhere.
K-Murdock: There’s a few little sound bytes in there. And one of the bonus cuts, as Ran mentioned for people who download online. One of the bonus beats is from ‘Super Mario Kart’. And it’s smooth too, to me, I actually had it on the other day while I was playing the emulator on my Mac of Super Mario Kart, and I turned the music up, and I could actually see someone playing until it gets to the point when you’re on the last lap and the music speeds up ridiculously. Other than that It’s smooth. What was the one map I used to love….? It was the Rainbow Road one at the end. I used to love that map, it was hard as hell, but I could just see the music fitting in that.
I guess that just leaves the big one…what’s next?
Random: What’s up next? We’re just going to push the heck out of this project. That’s the immediate next. Just being an MC, and a fan, I’ve used to also host a podcast and I would interview a lot of cats. And when I interviewed Evidence, from Dilated Peoples, he gave me some really good advice. And I asked him what was next. And he said, “This is next.” And I said, “Well what do you mean?” He’s like, “Well look, being independent, and I go to new cities every night, these people haven’t heard my project yet. It could have dropped 6 months ago, it could have been a year ago. So immediate next is to continue to push this project. I feel like I need to give every project 365 days of effort in order to make sure I completely promote it to the best of my ability.” And I feel like with this project we’re always working. I’m working, Kyle’s working. I have another album done, I’m sure Kyle has countless projects done.
But, I really feel like we want to push this thing to the moon. And I really feel like this can get in to a lot of great places. And a lot of people need to hear this record. It’s very nostalgic, it’s very fun. I really feel like when we put our full, full, full promotional efforts behind this project the sky’s the limit. So the immediate next is getting out on the road. I want people to hear this project. I want everybody to hear it. So we’re going to be traveling. We’re heading to California, we’re heading to the east coast, we’ll be heading down south. We’re be doing a lot of different trips and a lot of different venues. And that’s the biggest thing next, is getting it out on the road.
It amazes me, that, no matter how big a project can be, like MegaRan, where people can say, “Yah I know that, I know that,” it blows my mind that I can go to a place, and be in an entire room of people that have never heard it before. That just shows me how big the world is. No matter how fast word travels on the internet, we just got to take it out of the living rooms, and into these venues and continue to push it in your face. I know everyone will enjoy it. So we will be touring to a venue near you.
K-Murdock: And real quick, just to piggy back off that. I just put out the last Panacea record, like two weeks ago. And I have fans hitting me up like, “When is Panacea going out?” But because Raw Poetic has a pretty grueling job that he’s locked into right now, it kind of leaves me as the lone producer. So this project is great. Because Ran is a teacher, but school’s out for the summer, no pun intended, I’m free, you’re free, let’s get out there and do it.
So for Panacea fans: I know it’s not exactly a Panacea Record, but I hope you will all come out and check it just as much. I’m definitely looking forward to rocking it live with Ran. This is new territory for me, and that’s what makes it exciting. So hopefully you guys will come out and support, we’ll be at a “-con”, or a “-palooza” near you!
Be sure to check out ‘Forever Famicom’ in stores and online at Big Cartel and Kunaki, out now!
Related content: Interview: Random & K-Murdock (Part 1)