An amusing musical short film with local rap duo Fiendigods
“Fiendi got the critics raving” as a direct line from Youngsinsei’s verse in new single “FREEMASON$”. Better known as up-and-coming drummer and rap musician David Ward, he and emerging rapper Evan Parks make up the duo Fiendigods. We teamed up with these Ypsilanti-based artists to help produce the official music video for their single and talk about the meaning behind the song.
Q: So first off, why Freemasons?
David: “Who even really knows what the Freemasons are? People say they’re the Illuminati, but the Freemasons say ‘no, we’re not, we just like books and are friends and that’s it’. And I think there’s a lot of intriguing stuff there. There’s a lot of talk about how to turn the tables, but if all of that information is out there for everyone to know, then someone can use that to mess you up. Simply going about your business, isn’t for anyone else to know… it’s just you and your business partners.”
What does “FREEMASON$” mean to you?
Evan: “‘FREEMASON$’, to me, is about us being ourselves to the absolute fullest. We’re feeling ourselves and being authentic–some people probably won’t like that, and that’s to be expected. We pay them no mind, and that’s what the Fiends do. We make music and express ourselves truthfully and naturally regardless of what people say.”
David: “[In ‘FREEMASON$’], I want to shed light on the fact that there are rappers out in the public eye who are opening up more and more about their individual journeys to spiritual enlightenment, and that it’s not a coincidence. We’re saying you can be yourself, and the more you know yourself, the less you care about what other people think.”
Brothers of Destruction drops May 1st, 2021 on all streaming platforms.
We caught up with rising artist Nolan Feeny to touch base on his new release, composition process, the current streaming landscape, and more. Keep reading to learn more.
Who am I? I don’t really know. I guess I’m just someone that wants to enjoy life and be a catalyst for others to do so as well, be it through engineering or music or whatever. I am definitely super passionate about music though, started playing cello and piano when I was about 4 or 5, and got more into making my own songs during college. I’ve always had abstract ideas in mind, some stuff on Soundcloud from a couple years ago, but only recently have they been more finalized and concrete. I recently graduated last May, now I’m staying for graduate school at University of Michigan.
MUSIC IN QUARANTINE:
I knew some big social ceremonies like commencement would be cancelled, and that gave me drive to want to do something in place of that, something else that could be symbolic for that transition of my life. I think having less social interaction has also enabled me to put more of my focus into making music and practicing. I just felt like I had more time during quarantine.
I think it always starts with inspiration from other artists for me. I really like Bon Iver’s vocals, and some Sufjan songs with a girl also singing the melody. Really nice texture that I wanted to recreate. With dreamers I was fiddling with the guitar one day and came up with 3 finger-picked chords that I liked, and instantly had a melody come to mind, so I recorded it on my phone. When I started actually recording it on my computer, I started imagining other fill sounds to make it come alive more, like little fairy dust piano, an additional echoed guitar, a shaker, other vocals. I think a lot of that is inspired by other artists. For me, all of the music I’ve made so far represents how I feel and who I am. I might experiment with taking a persona that isn’t me on future projects though.
I think to me it’s about relationships that end and leave an empty space — how that can lead to feeling alone but also becoming more comfortable with oneself, growth into the unknown, but can definitely mean different things to different people.
ON THE STREAMING LANDSCAPE:
I think for the most part streaming is a really good thing, everything is so accessible and shareable. I’m new and small as an artist so I don’t know all the details, and it can feel daunting at times but overall I think it’s promising. I’ve thought about buying advertising space on social media platforms, I might set aside some budget to do that. Maybe for the next album release. I think if I ever got in the studio or performed with any of my big inspirations, I would feel complete as a musician.
GIGS & UPDATES:
I have a virtual gig with Empty Mug Records coming up on March 26th. also working on another album that’s outside of the genre I’ve been in. I also have a very clear outline for a music video that I want to shoot, which hopefully I can do in the next month or so.
Make sure to stay tuned for more artist features soon, and check out Nolan Feeny on Instagram and on your preferred streaming service of choice.
Feeling blue this Tuesday? Need some study tunes to help you get through the week? Check out Blue Tuesday – Editor’s Picks featuring emerging artists such as Nolan Feeny, GVO Collective (Good Vibes Only), George Marshall, Runnner, and more. Check out the embed below, let us know what you think in the forums and stay tuned for more.
Been needing something fresh to add to your playlist? Check out the tracks below and let us know what you think in the forums.
knew u – PLASTIC PLANET ft. Jake W
PLASTIC PLANET’s 5th single is here with some much-needed chill summer vibes. Jake Ward features on the intro for some smooth r&b action.
Cold Peanut Butter – Faddy Datty, Mr. Proper
Faddy Datty is back in 2021 with a fresh flow and some t h i c c lyricism for one cold track.
Chechen (Album) – GVO
Detroit-Area based rap collective GVO (Good Vibes Only) is following up their debut live concert last week with their debut album. 10 cuts, 11 artists, and a million bars in this project. Check it out, let us know what you’re thinking and stay tuned for more rising artist coverage
In Lieu of GVO Collective’s Live Debut on Saturday, February 20th at 7:25pm (via their Facebook & Instagram Live), we caught up with Co-Founder Marty Gray and manager PJ Roberts of GVO to get the scoop on their new event, what the collective is all about and their new project dropping Feb. 26th.
ON ‘THE GIG’ : “On Saturday night GVO (Good Vibes Only) will be doing a live-streamed concert. We are a hip hop collective out of Detroit, and we are performing our debut release. It’ll be an exclusive, and it’ll be the only time listeners will have a chance to listen to the project before the album drops on the 26th. People can view it on FB and insta live..”
ON ‘ORIGINS’: “David Bashaw came up with the name years ago (rapper and founder). We initially rented out a studio for an entire weekend in November of 2019. We then made beats from 8am to 2am for two days straight. We spent the subsequent year writing and recording vocals. And now we’re ready to release.”
ON ‘COLLECTIVE’: “We represent a creative hub where hiphop artists, producers, visual creators and writers can feel free to express and work their craft together. We have 11 members in our collective so far.
This album is for anyone and everyone. Three more producers are working on our next record, ones that haven’t worked with us before. The idea is for creatives to flow in and out as they please.”
ON ‘COVID’: “You know, it can be hard to coordinate with a large group of artists or people in general. COVID added another level of complications. But that just meant we had to be better about communication and utilized technology to our advantage with things like discord. The bulk of the in-person creation was done before the pandemic. During the pandemic we essentially recorded vocals with one person at a time (in an isolated vocal booth). Covid 19 didn’t seems like a huge hinderance honestly.”
ON ‘MUSIC INDUSTRY’: “What does it mean to be an artist…LMAO.. it’s a livelihood! Music streaming services pay very little to artists, and the cost of touring is too high for most artists to swing. Two huge challenges…just getting noticed and getting our music out there in way to where it can be widely consumed by family, friends and how to get fans that have no connection to us to check out our music and other content as well.
ON ‘DEBUT PROJECT’: “This concert will feature every single song on our debut. Without giving too much away, in a broad sense our project is about the light and dark of life. Highs and lows, etc. Not allowed to say what the project is called yet 😉 Let’s just say there’s a certain….duality to our release.
Make sure to follow GVO on Instagram and Facebook to stay tuned for their Live Stream debut SATURDAY @7:25PM EST of their brand-new project. Check out the drop on February 26th on all streaming platforms.
“I think it’s great that music is so accessible, and that artists are now capable of distributing their own music to streaming services and labels and whatnot.” Meet Victor Imbo, Musician behind his new self-produced album entitled ‘Cherry Picking’.
“I’ve been writing this album piece by piece since about the second month of quarantine – so about April. I was really pumping out a lot of stuff towards the start of the pandemic, but ended up being unhappy with a lot of it as I sat with it longer. Because of that, most of the songs on this project were started around September or October when I was back at school. It’s been a lot of sitting at the computer and creating instrumentals until something really struck a chord with me and I felt compelled to add vocals to it and really build it up. The lyrics and content is always there, its more searching for the proper frame for them.”
On the subject of composition, Victor breaks down his musical process, influences, and all that goes into his creative vision.
“I really just listen to a whole lot of music by artists I look up to. Brother Ali, Black Thought, Atmosphere, and Sa Roc to name a few. Then I sit down and try out different chords and different grooves that I feel can sit well with my own style of vocals. A major problem I encountered was trying to emulate those guys and then finding out my voice didn’t sit well over that particular style of instrumental very well, so I had to find out ways to put my own spin on my inspirations to carve out my own sound. But I get a lot of great compositional and form ideas from listening”
“I took a lot of inspiration from guys like Chance, who don’t have an outstanding singing voice, but turn those imperfections into a more intimate/ raw sound. I firmly believe that the actual base qualities of a voice don’t make a difference in the quality of music they produce, like whether it’s more nasally, or bassy, It’s all about how they treat it and construct the music around it. I think it makes all the difference, and beyond the instrumental, I really had to figure out an interesting way to treat my vocals production-wise. So that’s something I’m still experimenting with. Allowing my music to have some of those imperfections and almost using that as a building block for the track.”
As an independent artist producing his own music, Victor elaborates on his perspective of the all-new behemoth that is the streaming industry.
“I think its great that music is so accessible, and that artists are now capable of distributing their own music to streaming services and labels and whatnot – But I also think there’s a certain amount of a barrier thats put into music making, in terms of money. Artists with more financial backing may be able to progress much further now than a more talented artist with less resources. But that ties into how music becomes popular, like Tik Tok and stuff, and I still haven’t really formulated a full opinion on that”
“The album is basically just my way of expressing my experiences. I come from Minnesota, where the killing of George Floyd happened, so I felt a need to address that, and all the emotions I had about it. The tracks Running and all that you want is about that. Running is probably my favorite off the album. It talks about how I made running my distraction over the summer. Everywhere I ran I would see remnants of social unrest, whether it be boarded up businesses, or graffiti with the names of victims of police brutality, but because I was so tired and singularly focused on running fast it allowed me to push those grim reminders into the back of my mind. And it speaks on the guilt I felt for doing that. Since I feel like that’s what everyone has done for so long which has only led to the problem never ending. I think overall, the project is just about how I feel in general. Home speaks on moving between people and places too frequently, and Ink Runs Dry talks about my thoughts on death. So not really one overarching theme, just a lot of things that are personal to me I suppose. I mostly structured [the album] to mix up the story telling with the more message oriented [tracks]. Sonically, I tried to stick with sounds of the same texture so that even if there wasn’t an overarching theme, it could be highly listenable as a whole album all at one time. I wanted to keep a jazzy sort of theme, so I enlisted the help of some of my classmates in the jazz department – Huge shout out to Eric Banitt and Logan Gare. Just keeping various songs with jazz undertones helped me stay true to my roots, and also create that unifying texture. Home, the opening track was composed last by far, and has very little of that jazzy element, but I felt like I should include it anyway, and a lot of people have really liked it so I’m glad I did, but I put it as the opener because it left listeners guessing about what was to come”
Beyond the album, we asked Victor what his goals are as a musician. Here’s what he had to say:
“I really want to make music for as long as I can, and make as much of a career as I can with it. But it’s not my only goal musically. I really love working as a recording and mixing engineer for other musicians (@brasshatproductions on IG) and just working with as many other musicians as possible. I would love to be performing my own music, and being able to make some sort of income from it. That’s the dream haha. Beyond that though, I’ve always dreamed of owning and running a studio and producing professionally. That may not happen in 10 years, but thats something I’ll always be working towards.”
You can stay up to date with everything Victor (@victor_imbo) on Instagram. And, make sure to check the Embed Link above, do your ears a favor, and listen to “Cherry Picking” – out now everywhere.