MC XYZ (USA)
So our readers can get a rough idea of your personality, which fictional character do you think you would get on best with, and why?
I think the character I would get along with the most would be Snoopy cause he doesn't talk, he is cool as ice, he's the "baron" of the skies and I love the Charlie Brown them song! Silky Johnson (from The Playa Haters Ball on the Dave Chappelle Show) would be second cause I like a friendly joust of insults.
Which country are you from, and which crews and organisations are you a part of?I am from the United States of America and I first and foremost represent myself. I only say that because regardless of everything else I am me and what I show is a reflection of myself now and before I was into drum n bass. That being said I rep "45PSI" which is based out of San Diego California. One of the top crews in the country doing top quality shows from The Rapture on down. Secondly I rep "PM DARK PRODUCTIONS" which is based out of Tucson Arizona. This was headed up by my boy Zack aka DJ Grimlock and I am a monthly resident at his club Warning out there located at The Keys. I also rep "DC.DF" (pronounced D C dot D F). This is myself and my boy DJ Nightstalker out of Los Angeles. Most of the out of town gigs I have done with him and because we are both named Chris (DC = Double Chris's) and we both are usually rocking 2 beers in hand (DF = double fisted) this name emerged. Most people in the drum n bass industry may know him as Chris Muniz (writer for Urb Magazine and Knowledge Magazine), but boy our tag team style is insanity. I have also as of late been in talks with TC Izlam about reppin' Hipstep and also been talking to Urban Dwellers regarding a partnership. You can check out their clothing line and get information on them at www.urbandwellers.org.
When did you start MCing, and how would you describe your style?When I first started my style was strictly hip hop. I started seriously MCn' back in 2000 though I had been into drum n bass since 1998. My first influence was MC John Dada (aka Infiltrata), Kemst and MC? Then I heard a CD with MC Skibadee on it and later discovered the styling of MC Hyper D, my favourite MC ever in drum n bass, and started practicing the technique of "chattin'". But I think I truly looked to MC Dynamite as the top MC in the game living. I was really impressed on how he incorporated all aspects of rhyming cadences, singing, harmonizing, freestyling, written rhymes in his sets. He also was a part of a collective so he knew his DJs (ie. Krust, Die, Roni Size etc.) inside and out. Because I wasn't part of a collective at the time, I really concentrated on going to record stores, listening to tunes (so I knew their intricacies), listening to different DJs mix and just making myself more aware before I would ever touch a mic. Now I think my style runs the gamit from chattin', to hip hop style, to vocalizing and more. I think I can really adapt to the setting, the audience and to different DJs so I would say my style is all over the place.
Do you have some kind of message to put across in your lyrics?I think my "message" comes across through my lyrics intertwined with my energy. Unlike hip hop, in drum n bass at the end of the day you make your bones and solidify yourself when you do "live" performances as a MC. So my message in lyrics is to have the time of your life. Being somewhat knowledgeable of tunes and styles I will sometimes make lyrics regarding the DJ, the tunes, the crowd, people in the crowd etc.. Even if I stray I usually try to keep my lyrics mostly about having a good time. I figure no one wants to here me rant about "String Theory" or something abstract at a show. That being said I think some of the most lyrical shows I have done have been Liquid/Jazzy Step type drum n bass shows in which I could get a bit "deeper" regarding lyrics.
What do you think is more important: lyrical content or the ability to hype a crowd?The ability to hype the crowd is the only important thing in my mind! They did not pay money to hear me ramble on I figure nor to just cheerlead on the mic, but they come to have a good time. Sometimes it is easy to hype crowds on the mic other times it is hard and damn near impossible no matter what I as the MC does or what the DJ plays. That being said I am all into lyrics. Hyping a crowd and spitting lyrics to me are one in the same. I try to talk about things relevant to the atmosphere, the party and to be seriously clever with words, wordplay or references. I personally think that 80% of what is said by an MC flies over the crowd's head. However, that does not make me slack on writing or creating new rhymes, rhyme schemes, patterns, because I have been very surprised how many times people at shows come to me and say "oh I luv'd when u said … " or "that flow was clever". Anyways to sum it all up I am all about hyping up the crowd first and foremost, but I do it I feel through what I say, obviously.
When and how did you discover your passion for drum & bass music?I discovered drum n bass back in 1998. At that time I was kind of sick of listening to hip hop. I love hip hop even now, but the passion that goes into a good hip hop show I don't think even comes close to the energy at a seriously sick drum n bass. Plus what I love about drum n bass is that it truly is the music in which is so open to people from different musical backgrounds. For instance many people into Rock or Hip Hop were born into that sound. Meaning for instance my brother, for example, started listening to hip hop as his first music and will probably listen to it for the rest of his life. I love drum n bass because where as I came from hip hop into drum n bass, I have met folks from punk, metal, jazz, down tempo, trance, techno, house, hardcore all who have come into drum n bass. To me this makes the music so diverse. Whereas Dillinja's sound can be a hit so can LTJ's sound or so can the sounds from SWARM or so can the sounds from Shy FX or Moving Fusion or Tech Itch. Honestly if it weren't for drum n bass I would not know that much about punk music or anything about Brazilian sounds for example. I think when I realized that this music brought many musical tastes together is when I knew I had a passion for it.
Tell us a bit about the music scene in your country!Well the US is large, but I know places like Philly, NY, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle pop off and many scenes like Arizona, Birmingham, North Carolina etc. are becoming solid. As for my immediate scene I personally think Los Angeles/Southern California is where it is at in the states. From Weds. through Sunday night there are 1-5 parties going off. The talent level here also in terms of DJs is very high. The locals here get all the freshest tunes, can really mix well and each has their own style, influence etc.. Whether it be Respect on a weekly basis bring in heavyweights from around the globe, to The Rapture packing 800 people into one of the best venues I have ever been in, to Therapy being in a sheek Hollywood upscale club giving us Liquid Funk every Sunday, to our Massives drawing 10,000+ ravers from around the states, LA is a solid scene.
Do you hold residencies with any clubs or radio stations?I hold residencies at THE RAPTURE (San Diego) and WARNING (Arizona). I try not to be held down by too many residencies because I think burnout with myself can become an issue sometimes. I like not having a residency in Los Angeles (my home) because it truly is harder to MC/impress your friends you see on a daily then it is when I travel, so I like to just pop up here and there in LA and not be lock'd into something every week. This is all my personal preference of course.
What are your goals within the music industry?To bring drum n bass or drum n bass artists to light in my "real" job at Universal Music Publishing Group. That is my serious goal to get somebody(s) living off of their production, DJn', MCn' etc. or at least a foot in the door. I think drum n bass in the states is ready for that quantum leap to be presented to the heads of large record companies, music supervisors for films, TV shows, video games etc. and I hopefully want to be part of that move so long as the integrity of the music, producers etc. is maintained every step of the way.
What kind of musical upbringing have you had?Wow, well let's see my Grandfather used to host parties back in Compton and San Pedro back in like the 40's & 50's where they had jazz, uptown funk. Literally they would throw parties in garages have a DJ playing old vinyl and people dancing like no other. Through him and my father who had an extensive record collection which spanned the likes of old soul artists and also less popular artists (at that time in the black community) like The Beatles, The Who, Jose Feliciano and other artists deemed "white artists", I inherited a lot of classic records. I played the piano (classically trained) for 10 years. I graduated from The University Of Southern California and majored in Music Industry with a minor in Business. Ever since 17 I have interned or worked in the music industry out here in Los Angeles for labels such as BMG & Loud Recs., I worked for MTV, PolyGram, I have written articles for music magazines and of course DJ'd and MC'd. So basically my music is in my blood!
With so much competition these days, in your opinion, what do you think makes a good artist?Well in terms of MCn' in Los Angeles it is not seen as competition in my eyes. The more the merrier to me. What makes a good MC is just one who sticks to their guns, moves the crowds, has something to say and is enjoyed by the patrons.
Can we look forward to hearing any releases from you in the near future?Most definitely. I have plans in the works to do a couple of hip hop tunes with producers I respect. I have been working on a project of quasi-electronic hip hop/downtempo/live instruments with a couple of producers I met through a mutual friend that has produced a couple of songs we are packaging in order to pitch to labels and music supervisors. I have been in talks with one of the top dnb DJs in SoCal about actually doing a Garage CD, who knew. And lastly I intend on getting some of my vocals down over drum n bass tracks, someday.
Where can people find you out performing in your country and what kind of shows are you doing?The best way is to just hit me up on email (below). I do everything, small shows, massives, clubs, raves, Sweet 16 parties, hell I'd have played at the Democratic National Convention if John Kerry would've called, ha. Here is a list of shows I have booked so far in the next coming months:
August 3: Nightstalker & MC XYZ (dc.df) @ Adrenaline in Orange County; August 13-15: Nightstalker & MC XYZ @ Rave Party (title tba) in San Francisco; August 20: Scooba, Jayvon, MC XYZ @ Airplay in Los Angeles; September 2: Dieselboy, Fury, MC Dino, MC XYZ @ Warning in Arizona; September 3-5: Nightstalker & MC XYZ @ Audio Lab in Hawaii; September 16: Nightstalker & MC XYZ @ Rain in Orange County; September 18: Nightstalker & MC XYZ @ Drum Vert (skate, breaks & dnb) in Santa Barbara; September 23: Nightstalker & MC XYZ in Arizona; October 1-3: MC XYZ @ Record Release Show in Las Vegas; October 5: Nightstalker & MC XYZ in Long Beach (club); October 28: Pendulum & MC XYZ @ Warning in Arizona
Where would you most like to perform in the world, if you could choose somewhere new?My top five places that I would like to perform would be: Puerto Rico (for of the food), Iceland (I want to see a room filled with Icelandic/Bjork-ish looking girls), Russia (anyone who knows me knows I have a fascination with anything Russian), Australia (right next to Ayers Rock) & Japan (Konichiwa bitches, I can't spell)!!!
What are your present musical influences? Who are you rating at the moment?My influences at the moment right now are MC Dynamite (I am loving his new album a lot esp. the Garage tunes), Vivaldi (one of my favourite composers), Kayne West (I just love his ability to talk about actual subjects and relate to millions of folks), The Streets (Mike Skinner is one of the best writers), MF Doom (great MC), Sting (I wish I could write a song as good as "Russians" sometime in my lifetime) and Stevie Wonder (I am contemplating trying to learn another instrument and he could play 7, plus I listen to "Pastime Paradise" on a daily basis)
Have you had any classical music training and do you play any musical instruments?Piano (classically trained) for 10 years.
Is there anybody that you personally admire, in or outside of the music industry?I really admire my parents and brother because my only concept or understanding of unconditional love is only experienced for them. I also admire too many of my friends to name! I am nothing more then a reflection of what I was taught by my parents and what I have learned through my friends.
Do you have any gig horror stories?Hmmm I guess the worst thing for me have been when I have been booked and the promoter doesn't have a mic or the sound being gawd awful. If the sound is awful you can have played the best set ever, but it would sound like rubbish.
Are there any new artists that you support in your home country, who we should be looking out for?As far as new artists I support on the MC tip I really enjoy hearing Bypass out of LA because he is a very good lyricist who puts in mad work and approaches MCn' in a positive way. In terms of DJs I really support Jayvon cause I believe that to him this music is on another level (almost spiritual) like it is for me, because he works his ass off getting music to the people (not just those in the drum n bass scene) and because he actually seems to have a plan on what he wants to do and go. I think for the "newer" cats I would say these two, but overall I support anyone who puts themselves into this and effort.
Which clubs would you be most likely to visit for a night out clubbing!? Where are your home hot spots!?Usually I am at Respect either drinking and dancing or dancing and drinking. In Southern California I would say the hot spot is Respect and others are The Rapture and Bassrush. These spots have stood the test of time so I will always be supporting them.
If you weren’t an MC, what you do think you would be doing now instead?Probably spending way more money on records.
Do you have any interests or pastimes outside the music scene?I like to do a little bit of everything from dining out, reading, movies, museums, travelling, but since music is my passion I think every 5 minutes no matter where I am, I think of music.
It’s Sunday afternoon and you are chilling out at home – what is on the stereo or TV?Both. I usually turn on the TV, mute the sound and listen to music or write. It is weird I know.
Which animal do you think your personality is closest to? A Dolphin cause they are most intelligent at play.
Food or sex? Food. I love sex, but you won't last 5 days without food and I have lasted much longer without sex.
Favourite film? The Godfather (I & II) from the score to the editing of it to the costumes to the acting it was brilliant. Consequently part III was the worst movie ever, eh. Billy Elliot is a close second.
Favourite drink? Water, my friends will chuckle cause they are yelling Corona, but I love water.
Favourite food? 4 Cheese Dip you get at Trader Joe's I can eat that stuff on anything.
To my family, my friends and fellow artists. But the biggest respects go to anyone and everyone who supports drum n bass in some capacity!
www.mcxyz.com - it is coming along slowly but surely. It is not going to be solely about me, but more about the LA scene in general.
Email or Book MC XYZ:
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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