Beat Studies Podcast

Inside Duran Jones's Magic Community

August 31, 2018 Season 3 Episode 3
Beat Studies Podcast
Inside Duran Jones's Magic Community
Chapters
Beat Studies Podcast
Inside Duran Jones's Magic Community
Aug 31, 2018 Season 3 Episode 3
Duran Jones
We discuss what it takes to accomplish something on this scale independently, music as mental therapy, and find ourselves continually coming back to a theme of community that seems to be the spark behind the essence of BLKMGC.
Show Notes Transcript
Duran Jones and I have known each other for over ten years and have worked on a ton of music together as we were coming up and honing our craft. Today we reflect on this history and catch up on new projects as he returns to the same lab where we spent countless hours years before. His developed wisdom and artisanship are palpable as we sit down to listen to and discuss his latest album BLKMGC, pronounced black magic. BLK Magic is an honest introspection of an artist who struggles with the realities of everyday life including disappointment and the questioning of faith. It is also driven by the descriptions of dreams that drive him to strive for greatness, over and over again. Oh, and did I mention it is a profound and beautifully perceptive short film as well? In this podcast, we discuss how jotting down a concept for a music video turned into a script for movie and eventually evolved into a straight up musical. Now he tours the film festival circuit enjoying accolades and respect among the indie film community he enjoys seeing people to open their minds up to the music in a different way, by putting his music into an entirely fresh context. We discuss what it takes to accomplish something on this scale independently, music as mental therapy, and find ourselves continually coming back to a theme of community that seems to be the spark behind the essence of BLKMGC. https://www.eyeamduran.com/music
Speaker 1:
0:04
Podcast episode three is with me coming off the heels of his new release. Black magic
Speaker 2:
0:11
realized life was full of surprises. Some pretty women is tantalizing. When I was younger, I would fantasize the flaggers fries, watching Biggie hypnotized. I was mesmerized. Them Shiny suit days when I was stocking caps in palm, made to get my wife's up best for what the number was taken, top dollar just to get my waves up. Funny how things come full circle. I can ways out. One could never get full circle, daydream, and so every day get 3:30 when they sound the alarm. I'm composing quotables, spit into a microphone. Every bus ride home. I'm stuck in the zone before I changed my confidence, but faith that the child would have dreamed to become a man and dream, saying what? They can drop the CDM promises, but you're forced to work a nine to five, but dreams is eaten up inside of me between dream and reality didn't use the disappointment seems to win these days. My first mixtape was really, you take x, Courtney. That was back in the day. Somehow we didn't use to feel this way. Disappointments seems to win these days.
Speaker 1:
1:36
That was the first verse off of, uh, losing my faith. Black Magic Doran record, the whole Shebang. The lab man. What's going on, man? It's been a while. Super. While it's good to have you back, I mean, we got a lot of history in this room. We've recorded half the moment you referring to in that verse, you know. Exactly exactly as you were kind of finding, finding your voice and a seat. He's like, well, after about a 10 year run at really putting a lot of effort into it, you find it finally
Speaker 3:
2:13
found your voice. Yeah. I feel like I'm approaching my 10,000 hours if I'm not already what level? Of course, it's just a thank you to you and to the family for even extending this invite to me and allowing me into your home once again for giving a kid a chance just to figure out what that voice was. You know what I mean? A minute and meant a lot in my growth and my development, so it was mutually beneficial. I was finding mine too. At the same time, we had a good, good time to learn. It seems this first record, I want to get right to it because it's so fresh and it's so exciting. It's so conceptual. Tell me about how a black magic, uh, came to be. Um, well, I don't even know where really to start, Matt, because it came from so many different ideas and so many experiences that happened to me.
Speaker 3:
3:12
Um, it wasn't my first album, you know, how they say that first album, depending on how old you are, you spent 21, 22 years writing and coming up with all these ideas, but black magic came up over the course of maybe maybe two years. You know what I mean? Um, of just me living life and talking about things that I'd never talked about before. Um, so that in itself allowed me to come up with this concept of one, what it means to be black and then my interpretation of what black magic in itself actually is. Um, which is why you kind of see the logo has this box and even in being black and in us calling it black magic, we still have a concept of what that box is and what's supposed to be inside the buck was supposed to be outside of it.
Speaker 3:
4:00
Um, so it's just that mentality of me coming to grips with parts of myself that I was even not sharing. Um, so it was kind of therapeutic in a way, um, which led to a film which led to this app and just have a shitload of experiences will look to for a film and incorporating that in the music. It's one thing to say, oh, wouldn't that be cool? And it's another thing to take it through to fruition. Uh, tell, tell the audience a little bit about the effort it takes to pull something like this off. Um, it, the main thing it takes is faith, which is ironically, that first song is dealing with faith, faith in and losing it. Um, and that's just kinda what I had to have. I had to have faith that no matter what I was doing at that moment, whatever was supposed to happen after that moment was going to happen, just awful sure will.
Speaker 3:
4:55
Um, and a lot of times we want to do things, but we don't move forward. And taking those actions we find resist resistance finds a way to say, oh, maybe not exactly in a lot of times we are that resistance, which is, is the toughest part because you'll, you'll tell yourself, oh, there's no way that I can get this done in two weeks and you won't do it if I don't have the time. There's a million excuses that can come and take. Exactly. And I don't know, I don't know who said the quote, but it's a common cliche that's thrown around a man who says he can't no man, and says he can't. Are both actually, right? Um, so it's, it's, it's that kind of a concept that allowed me to do this. It's like, once I got that through my head and I sat down to write a music video for one of the songs on black magic like I normally do with most of my projects, I usually write the concepts of all my videos and um, it turned into a film with every, every song, like all of the songs ended up the videos live lead into one another.
Speaker 3:
5:50
So you don't set out with that intention? Not at all. If this was like me just taking six hours and starting off writing one music video, I was like, oh, this one could go into this one and in this one can go into this one. Well, let me go back to the first one because then I can set that one up and it just turned into a film and it's like, okay, well I got this film. It doesn't really have dialogue, but I have a storyline. How the fuck am I going to get this to work? How do you remember an Ah Ha moment? Like when you're realizing, oh my God, these puzzle pieces are fitting. It was when I went back and I was reading all five of the videos, it was like, oh shit, this isn't snapped. Five separate music videos. This is actually a film, but maybe I can still make it five music videos, and my intention was to release it like one a week and have people watch it almost like as a serious saga.
Speaker 3:
6:40
Yeah, but time and in maturity and growth in that was like, no, just make it a film, let the music be the soundtrack, and even in that I'm like, the music is the soundtrack, and then when we get to the day of shooting and we get into post production, I'm looking at it. I'm like, Holy Shit, this is a musical, and I didn't even set out for it to be that. So it's just having that faith of knowing whatever's meant to happen, it's going to happen and stop trying to create that box and put yourself in it. You know what I mean? And it comes at a good time as you're starting to gain momentum and this other artistic interest acting that tape taking hold. How serendipitous. It isn't that this came together as your, your acting chops are coming together. Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, they, they kind of work hand in hand because when I figured out what it was that it was a film, I was like, okay, well I can use part of this stuff is my demo reel and I'm now I got producer and writer credit, so on this project and it's like, it's opening up all these doors to me.
Speaker 3:
7:42
Um, and also with it being a short film, we can submit the different film festivals. Yeah, you just went to Maryland, uh, an international film festival. How was that great man? It was a film festival in the my, my home state. So I was absolutely excited about that. My first film festival my first time attending one of the reception was very, very warm and welcoming. Um, but it just, it allows people to open their minds up to the music in a different way and it puts the entire album into a different context once you see the film. Oh yeah. You know, and you think, think, uh, you get one emotional reaction. You see it in context, it's completely different. Exactly, exactly. Both profound in their own way, but it's a new way of listening to music who was a kind of paved the way and uh, for you in this marrying film to music, you know, um, any, any muses or inspirations that made you say, oh, this is possible.
Speaker 3:
8:42
I mean, the first one that absolutely comes to mind all the time is prince purple rain, and then you got Michael Jackson with thriller. It's like the Kanye becomes automatic, you know what I mean? And it's, it's not, it's not a new concept is just, um, I don't think it may have happened before. I'm pretty sure it has happened before, but somebody at the, I guess the, uh, the genesis, I will call it, of their career, being able to do something like this is what makes it a little different. Um, and then mine has a kind of a social justice kind of an angle to it. It's not as as artsy. It's more realistic hitting on some, some, uh, some everyday topics that I think the world can relate to. A nice to talk about. And we're going to talk a little bit more about that. Um, the social impact of black magic. But first let's hear another track off the record. This one's called family first.
Speaker 2:
9:41
When I get read so much change my number. Hi. Seem new for the last six years.
Speaker 4:
9:57
Get the kick. Push like low pay. Drop the roof on a coat to show him. I'm so pale.
Speaker 2:
10:14
I'm the only one. I'm the only. I'm the only one in my family. Nobody ever gave me that. Nobody gave a shit. I made myself motherfucker. Motherfucker. Motherfucker went around talking about what you did suggest you give me your shit. I'm the only one that was the only one working every night. No risks. Only ones thinking this dress. I'm the only one the shit but not the only point where she'd go right to win. When they cut off, my Momma told me not that dog in the fight in the dog
Speaker 4:
10:50
for my Niggas ain't, don't come around. They don't even. They don't even kiss me.
Speaker 2:
11:19
Only one in my shit. I'm the only. I'm the only one.
Speaker 5:
11:22
One of my shit. My Shit. My Shit. My Shit
Speaker 2:
11:37
starbucks, only one that she believed that Mr. nothing shaping people's people. You don't know how it is when the people that people that were friends which turned out to be in the kitchen for you thought your mentor was shaped. Honestly. Never spanked Nigga. Real Shit. You know, nobody's praying. You're praying. You're told like his churches getting it, but was like get your nine minutes to again please. I hope that's not good. You were happening this time. You think that you mean you wasn't bad? It wasn't bad when I started traveling. I hate rapper like this. What time is so much bigger rapper? Like something that you Niggas list, did it?
Speaker 4:
12:31
Nah, they don't come around. They don't even call. They don't even come back against old lane with me against me. Put that on me. I'm the only one that was my hand.
Speaker 3:
13:01
Well he is probably one of the only rappers out here that I actually work with on a consistent basis, man. And it's, it's because he's so genuine and he's. He's, he's in Atlanta. Jim, your styles seem complimentary very much. Very much, and it's crazy because we're from completely two completely different worlds, um, but every time we get in, get in the studio with each other, it's like, it's always magic, man. Always. Um, so we were starting to talk about the social impact and messaging behind your, your music and uh, one prem prevalent line in that song is, I'm the only one running my shit. Tell me what that speaks to. Um, for me, it, it, it speaks to the multiple hats that I have to wear man. And it's like on a, on a consistent basis, just trying to achieve this dream and trying to, to push the envelope and these concepts.
Speaker 3:
13:54
We shared a little bit about it with a most of this music, all this music is 100 percent written by me, um, other than like guests versus, or any features. Um, but the film, the story lines written by me, the funding for the film, the funding for the music, my website, my, uh, my merchant, if you want something done is you've got to do it yourself. So I have to teach myself how to do all of these things. And be multifaceted on top of social media, on top of interviews and, and acting and everything else. It's like I have to do all of these things and it's making me a better artist for it. But when you look around and you have these events and you want people to come to it, those people who may have given their time and their efforts, sometimes I look up and I felt like I'm alone.
Speaker 3:
14:47
So it was me getting an honest and a safe space myself to be able to say, you know what, if this shit's fails, it's me. But if it goes well, it's me and everybody else, you know what I'm saying? And it's like I had to, I had to be honest with myself about that. And it's like, it's not knocking anybody. You're saying anything bad, but it's just the honest truth. If this shit goes bad, nobody else is going to. I didn't have anything to do with. They're easy. It's easy for them to distance themselves. Exactly. Not Exactly. But sometimes that distance creates, um, this will damn, could you, could you help? Could you share, you know, because you do these things and it was just in my mind and it was like I got to talk about it or she gonna eat me alive if I don't.
Speaker 3:
15:29
It's gonna eat me alive. So, um, music is often become my therapy. So I just, I just used that while I was at your premiere event when this film officially dropped in Atlanta. Great turnout and it seemed like everybody was very, very enthusiastic to show their involvement in the films had liquidated. I contributed this, I contributed that. And it was a great sense of community pride surrounding the film. Absolutely. And I think that because the concept of black magic is a communal concept, it's about defining who we are in this space and it's about the struggles and the trials and tribulations that we all go through within that space. So, uh, this is my first time, I think I approached it from that community aspect of trying to get other people involved because even the campaign, we did a kickstarter campaign to get it funded so people had their hands in the pot and it was, it was not like I was begging for anything, but it's like I want you to feel involved.
Speaker 3:
16:26
I want you to come into this. I don't want it to just be me. I've never wanted that. I want to use what I have to make other people better and to make other people shine just as much as I shine. Um, so I, I think we were really able to do that with this project. Um, you speak a lot in this when we talk about the social inspect about the trials and tribulations of the community, but something I'm curious about being a kind of a, a positive thinker by knit nature, what is the best thing about being black? Hmm.
Speaker 3:
17:05
The best thing about being black is that I can't, I can't name the best thing about being black and it's just, it's, it's an experience that you just have to go through because none of it amounts to just one thing, but I think that's what we struggle with is the world wants us to be this one thing, but that's never a true, a synopsis of who we are. We're all multifaceted. We all have these different things and it's like, just let us be instead of trying to put us into this one category and we put ourselves into this one category, like we have constant inner community talks about, about, is this black enough, is this black at all? If you're mixed, are we considering you 50 percent or 75? Like we have these, uh, even talking about colorism light skin versus dark skin and like we have those same talks. Um, so there's not one thing, but if I could, if I could boil it down to one thing about what I think it would be best is the community and that we go to war and we live and die by that community and that's, that's something that
Speaker 3:
18:31
a lot of other cultures can't say. A lot of other cultures are more individualized, but you see one of us get killed in the street and were marching the next day. You see anything happen to any of us and it's happened to all of us. You see one of us do something wrong. It reflects to us on all of us. So that's, that's to me the best thing about it is that community, but it's a gift and a curse. Sure. So,
Speaker 1:
18:59
well, let's set up another song here. Uh, we also have a keep it g queued up and tell our audience a little bit what they can expect from this joint. Uh, keep it. G
Speaker 3:
19:10
is kind of an Ode to the goal, not the goal is, but the um, it's an ode to the rules and the code of my upbringing of I'm not forgetting where you come from, but also going out and getting more, but always bringing it back. So. All right,
Speaker 1:
19:31
here's the next song from one of the hungriest artists. I know Deray, keeping a G.
Speaker 3:
19:37
I know
Speaker 6:
19:42
keep itchiness. Audit. I know Mama told me to when I'm out on a roll. Keep it. That I know. Mama told me even when I'm out on my own, this world got me to live in so crazy. But this is the world that raised me. God got can't camera these fish coin, these beds. Shading. Statue boy made a 500. One Lady, she tried to pay me Dab on that shit. I ain't got the time. I don't care. She had, she ain't getting it down. Deaf, dumb and blind. She ain't getting assigned time. Math time. I told her time at the time I told them keep it. Jadah sorted on. Momma told me sick to that cold. Even when I'm out on our, our, and I saw that, I know Mama told me to have that cold even when I'm out on my home.
Speaker 2:
21:44
Um, I gave it to Momma, make you proud when you see me on TV, Mama, Mama, everything. I just saw a meme on my aim and it gave up your life for me. So while there is things that I dreamed you pay that price for me, I want you to have everything pulled up to the lot. And I asked what truck that you want, what color you want, you don't want a truck. Then we hit another lie and that get you with the trunk in the front. So when you want, you deserve everything that I didn't have everything that I'd ever need. I'm going to show the World Mama, raise you with Ge and I won't sleep for me. Keep your head, my smile, my eyes, my cheeks made a good job. Mama breakouts. Every city that I go down every stage, every show. I'm uh, represent soda whole world though. I'm the only child of maybe Jones.
Speaker 6:
22:38
Good, good. Keep Mama told me to cope even when I'm out on my home.
Speaker 3:
23:00
One thing that's absolutely great song by the way. Thank you. That's imperative if you're going to attempt to do what you're attempting to do is self confidence and uh, it seemed like that's, that song alludes a little bit to the source of where you got that. Absolutely. Absolutely. Um, my mom had me at a very, very young age and it was during a time where she had to make a conscious effort and decision because my father wasn't in my life, so she had to make a conscious effort and decision saying, Hey, I got to do this myself as I'm an 18 year old kid. The only one running their shit. Exactly. An 18 year old kid coming out of high school. You know what I mean? Of course I had dreams of going to college. But when you have a kid that's, you got to kind of make a decision.
Speaker 3:
23:51
Um, so she made that decision and my mom is like phenomenal dude. Like when she's always been the breadwinner in my house, I'm just the one that hold shit together and my family, I'm the one that everybody in the family looks to and it's like, I want to be like that and for her to be that and maintain that. Even with me being in a. I mean because let's keep it 100 a child at that age as a burden. You know what I mean? There's, there's things I can't imagine having a kid at 18, like you're not even able to drink and now you're controlling the life of somebody else in the course and you have this major responsibility and you've just, you're just two maybe three years into being able to drive a car. I couldn't even imagine that 28. Exactly. You know what I'm saying?
Speaker 3:
24:43
So it's like for her to be able to do that, it's, it's the utmost confidence. And I looked to her for that, that sense of strength, man in a certain sense of pride and it gives me a sense of pride. There was a maternal character in black magic and I don't, I don't know phoebe personally, but I have an inclination that, that was probably quite based on her. Absolutely. Absolutely. One hundred percent. Um, tell me about the actress that played that role a little bit and show Shay, man, she can. I not say about Michelle. Michelle Shay is just a beast. She's a beast of an actress man. Like she is one of those gyms that I found in my acting classes and super supportive like has absolutely just from the first day I met her, she gave me those mother qualities, you know what I mean? She has a son that's not far from my age.
Speaker 3:
25:37
I think he's in his mid twenties and um, she would tell me stories about him and we talk about his music and you know what I mean. So she automatically relate to the character. Absolutely. Just as much as you could. Absolutely. The same energy that I get from my mom, I would get from her and it just, it was a no brainer. When she sent in the audition for that role, I was like, yeah, this is, this is hard, this is hard, man. And there's some other key collaborators. The director in particular stands out, somebody who continue to work with. Tell me how that relationship for men and Sean math is, and the whole team at lake and productions mandate. Without them, none of this would've been possible. Um, they cut me a huge break and they just, um, they really saw my vision for the project and we're like, okay, this is something that we need to do.
Speaker 3:
26:27
Not something that we just want to get paid to do. This is something that needs to be done. And they saw the effort that I put into it. The Passion. Um, so from that moment that we shot, we shot the entire film in a day. I'm so amazing from the conceptual, uh, conceptualizing the film up until it was done. I made it my job, my responsibility to make sure that they could do their job effectively. I didn't want any hiccups on my end that way. Anything that happened, um, we could just roll with it. You know what I mean? So I didn't want, I wanted to make sure that I put my best foot forward and it's because they gave me that shot man and I couldn't ask for a better team and better, better partnership. It was cool because my home was one of the locations, so I got to see the crew roll through and all the actors and meet them in person.
Speaker 3:
27:20
It was I, when you said, can I, can I use your house? I was like, Oh yeah, yeah. He, him and his buddy are going to bring the camera over. It came through with catering and a full crew audio. Everybody, you know, makeup and, and everybody was so respectful of my house. Looked exactly the same after y'all left except for maybe a little extra food. Yeah, I mean, and it was just cool for my kids to see it all in action. And uh, it just, that glimpse of that one scene kind of spoke to the whole production. It seemed like it went really well. It did, man. And I just, I just wanted everybody to feel a part of something that wasn't just this low budget thing that were trying to throw together. Like we did a call. She, we had locations, we had called times for all the actors catering.
Speaker 3:
28:05
Um, everything that's needed on a set. I wanted to make sure that we had it. Yeah. Um, because I didn't want anybody to feel like, oh, this is just this thing that my friends even paid the actors. Of course. Yeah, of course I paid them what I could I paint on what I could. That symbolic, you know, it's like when I get 50 bucks for playing a Gig or something, you know, I put in how many hours for that? 50 bucks. But it doesn't matter. Validates the effort. Yeah. I mean, and we all came together. I got their input, a lot of the actors input on the character's cool. So it was a collaborative effort all around, man. Real. It certainly comes off as professional onscreen. I'm sure it was well received in Maryland. Are there, are there more festivals or screening? So there's even one tonight.
Speaker 3:
28:51
I know that this podcast will get published much later, but um, yeah, we're in a screening room atl, which is like a arts community that comes together and they screen different short films in Atlanta. They do it every week, every Wednesday at Negril village. Okay. So we'll do that tonight at eight and then from that hopefully will get what's called a seat at the table, which is another, um, event that they put on where the films from these Wednesdays we'll get an opportunity to sit in front of major names in the industry and get feedback and critique. Um, so I'm hoping everything goes well man, but we've got a lot of different film festivals that were looking to get into that we've submitted for, um, and we also have a, a go fund me because film festival submissions, costs just like college admissions costs, like all of these things we have to submit and we have to pay in order to be looked at. Um, so we're doing a go fund me for that as well. Um, which I'll give you the link and all that information. But um, yeah man. So we've got a lot of the ones that were submitted to now are coming up in Atlanta, Atlanta underground bronze Lens, the mic film festival, a bunch of just different ones, man. Doesn't it feel great to be doing what you love? Yeah, it's a great feeling, man, man. That I worked my whole life for.
Speaker 1:
30:13
Yeah, it's worth it. And I'm. Well we have a credit history together and I wanted to give our viewers a little glimpse on it. I mean, Gosh, we came into this very room probably 10 years ago and started recording songs and mixed tapes.
Speaker 3:
30:29
Two thousand nine. That seems about right. Maybe 10. I think nine, I think. Nine. Yup. Yeah man. And uh, you know, we uh,
Speaker 1:
30:40
I remember putting up this mixtape with Dj danger called 16 bars of gold and I was in. You're like, I want the first track on. You didn't know what the beat was or anything. I want to track one or someone spoke to your hunger right there. So this will give you a little sense on how a,
Speaker 7:
31:09
let me do a brief history on an open cut. The amp, since I've been killing tools told you it was 16. So fluid might control the toaster strudel. Get heated, then put your ice to put ice on my 16 bars of gold. I'm the shit. And when I run you through the ropes,
Speaker 1:
32:11
throwback throwback, you, you were going by, uh, by simple at the time and you made a conscious decision to lose the pseudonym in. Didn't go real. What's your name?
Speaker 3:
32:21
Tell me about what, what tipped that over? It was, it was a different, um, kind of, uh, another amount of that going back to that confidence that I finally got. I mean, for, for years I'd been writing under these different monitors that I, I can't even tell you what some of my first name. Well, I mean I've been writing rap since I was 12, so I went through every name you could think of. Like there was the mafia time where it was like junior mafia, biggie smalls and everybody had on the suits and, and I went through a, it was don chameleon and there's like all these crazy ass names that a kid just dreams. Oh yeah, I'm going to have people call me. And he was one of those things that I came with at the time because I was going off of one, the name shortened for simple because a lot of shit that I was talking about was very complicated.
Speaker 3:
33:17
So it was like a metaphor in itself and then I'm kind of really like a paradox. But um, then from that there was a derogatory name of the opposite of a pimp being a sip. And I was never the dude that one be opinion. Yeah. I wasn't trying to go for that. I shine regardless, don't have to put ice. So it was like, you know what, I'm going to take this, I'm going to flip it and I'm going to make it become my own. So that in itself is even a part of the arrogance, arrogance with like a moral compass for some reason. I don't even know why, but um, that's kinda where that name came from. And then I got to a point where it was like, this isn't a character, right? This is just me and I need to show the world that this is me.
Speaker 3:
34:03
Did that free you up to speak more from the heart? Yeah. Um, it free me up to not again be in a box and to use this as therapy and talk about my personal experiences. I mean, because growing up you think rap is one way. Like I started off writing rhymes about mimicking other dudes. Like I would be like, all right, I'm going to make this track and I want, I want to sound like Shea, I want this to sound like ludicrous. And this one I'm gonna, I'm gonna spit like Eminem spits. And it's like after awhile you just drop that whole shit and you realize, oh shit, I don't sound like anybody. Or if people hear me, they're like, oh yeah, you sound like ice cube on this. And you sounded like Jay on this. And it's like, well then in reality I sound like nobody. I just sound like me, but it's.
Speaker 3:
34:49
And it serves a purpose is, is training almost strength training. You're building, building the skill of, of, of rapid. Absolutely. I use the analogy all the time, it's like a baby learning to walk. I'm like you, if you were a baby and you had no example of walking, you would probably call for the rest of your life when you see other people walking and makes you want to walk. And it's like, that's, that's what I use that as. And it was like me finally taken the training wheels off and just saying, all right, okay, now it's my turn. You already. Yeah, yeah. There was um, a mean. One of my favorite projects that we worked on together back in those times was the don't mean a thing, a song I remember in this very room, he's like, you know, you should try a swing joint.
Speaker 3:
35:33
Yeah. So I went and got some playing records. It was like, okay, yeah, not, you know, I was, I was game. And that ended up being quite a, another community collaboration that, that kind of materialized out of a low budget and came, came to something. Tell me what you remember about don't mean a thing, man. I don't even remember. I didn't remember. That was my idea. I did not remember that. I was always big into sampling man because I mean, I grew up in a house with music, was just um, present all the time. Like I mentioned prints a mom was a huge prince fan, shot a fan. Um, we even had records from this, um, this Asian, uh, I think sitarist named Keiko Matsui that we used to listen to Quincy Jones and my dad loved parliament and a cameo and mandrill and Curtis Mayfield and then growing up in Maryland I had the Gogo influence and I was in Gogo bands in high school.
Speaker 3:
36:27
So it's like I have all these musical elements and inspirations and I've always wanted to just pull from different places. So I think it probably came out of that. But what I remember about the record most is just she was so funky, man, like it was so funky and even being at that age, it was like, this is dope. Yeah, it's fun. Yeah. We just have fun. That's it. That's it. It's like whatever we wanted to make is what we did is no reason to apologize for it or anything. It's just you just move forward or what you want to do here. We brought, we both had some break dancers from one of the local gay boy crews and then we found swing dancers had a little bit of everybody. Bj Mafioso is there. Um, I remember Mike and the whole coop studio eight. Yeah, they, they, they filmed it on a, on a shoestring budget.
Speaker 3:
37:19
And even one of my buddies, uh, Jason Louder. He's an actor out here that I met doing a play and it's crazy. We met in 2010, I think that was 2015 or 2015. We were doing this play called kept and it just so happens like after we struck up a conversation, I figured out that he and his friends were at that video shoot. Really just extras. Yeah. Milling around. They just, they just come there on a whim. Um, yeah. We were inviting people up just to get in the party. Yeah, man, everybody got a chance, you know what I'm saying? And we just, we just had a good ass time. Yeah. And that was it. Yeah. That, let's take a listen from that. Now studies classic
Speaker 7:
38:19
in the magazine, the boys to bring that back to the club, man. Nobody help. Nobody else. Some kids that bullet Hennessy, watch me do my boys' dance, but she gave me a class in a trance, like the penguin with an umbrella. Ella, Ella, hey shorty. Swing this thing. If it ain't got that shit, ain't got nothing. I don't got the song. He had energy. You can tell our production abilities have increased a lot
Speaker 1:
39:26
since then. But I mean we had what we had and we made something happen out of it. We made it work, made a lot happen out of that a lot
Speaker 3:
39:33
and it just, it goes back to the initial concept that we were talking about, man, just just doing it yourself. Right? You know what I mean? And it's, it's, it's no greater feeling when it's done. Then it's like, Oh shit, I did do that. And even before this we were going back and looking at stuff like,
Speaker 1:
39:50
oh shit, I did do that. And it's like you get over the years, it's like when things don't go, you don't get the response. It's like you lose sight that you did these things regardless of who responds songs on your hard drive that, you know, maybe nobody has ever heard but are still a great accomplishment. Yeah. And you're just looking at us like, oh shit. I was actually pretty damn like, you know what I'm saying? I was like, I wasn't, I wasn't too far off like we had a moment, uh, during the star gazers phase, I guess we'll call it when you just become Duran and um, uh, put out that, that series of music where you got a little bit of national recognition for your skittles and Arizona. A song? Yeah. On the heels of the Trayvon Martin tragedy. Tell me, uh, what, what, what was it like to, uh, write something that was so, um, politically charged and then get the, uh, media attention
Speaker 3:
40:49
behind it? Humbling. Because I wasn't expecting any of that. I'm a producer. I was working with at the time, Mike Aaron, he just, he was so, I guess in golf by what happened that he was like, Yo, you got to do something on this. He was like, I'm gonna. Make a try, I'm going to send it to you and just see what you can do. And we created skittles and Arizona kind of together and then I shared it with a few of my friends and they were like, Yo, you edit, you can, why don't you just come up with a video and put it online and see what happens. And then it just, it got picked up by cvs Atlanta and then CNN called me like the next couple of days and they were like, hey, we want to bring you on. And I'm just like, what? Like this something that I intended to go anywhere or wanting to do anything.
Speaker 3:
41:37
It just just happened. Um, you turned it around quickly to. Well, the story was still. Yeah. Yeah. I mean it was fresh. It was fresh in our minds, you know, what I'm saying? And it was kind of like, it was the first time I had done anything like it. It wasn't the first time I did a social commentary, but I think it was the first time that people kind of gravitated towards it in that way. And that in itself, I was just Kinda wow on CNN, like how'd I get here? Yeah, yeah. And, and, and it shows because that I think back with my business mind now and the things that I know now, it's like, it's so much more than we could have done with that moment and so much more than I can distribute. Not that we didn't contribute to the movement, but it could have been a larger thing than would have been a big break.
Speaker 3:
42:28
It, I'm not necessarily saying a break, but it could have been, it could have meant more to that entire social justice movement you had, you had a platform and had an opportunity that I wasn't sure of how to use in order to bring the attention that I wanted to bring to the issues. Um, there was no machine behind it. It was just me, my producer and my laptop. And it's like I didn't know anything about a public relations or marketing or I didn't know any of this stuff. It's just, hey, we put this song out and now it's got this buzz. And I'm like, okay. Yeah. You didn't know where to nudge it next. Yeah. Yeah. Or if anything was next. Um, we didn't do any performances or anything with it. We, um, we reached out to the Trayvon Martin Foundation and we did give some money to that foundation based off of the item sales, but even that wasn't as high as what it could have been.
Speaker 3:
43:29
Um, we just, we just didn't know any better. Yeah. Um, another great learning experience. Yeah. Yeah. Um, I wish I could do it all over again, but we don't have that, that opportunity for a do over. No, I'm. Well it didn't come off as a, as a fumble by any means. Yeah. So now you see the value in that. Probably more so than you recognized at the time. It's crazy because I have, I have friends that I talked to. I'm still and they'll come back, they've come back to the interview and I'm like, I'll post it every now and again now and again on like facebook or something. And like, when did this happen? It's like, dude, this was like 2011, 2012 really been. And it's like the fact that my friends on my facebook page don't know about it, let me know how much I dropped the ball, you know, what I'm saying, and how much more I could have done in order to further the cause that we were trying to, you know what I'm saying? So, um, that's just something I tried to learn from it. I didn't forget. I appreciate it. Appreciate it. Let's listen to another song from around that era. The star gazers phase was really a
Speaker 1:
44:32
cool, cool time in your artistic career. We were kind of dreaming big and transitioning and growing. And uh, see sky's the limit type of vibe. The song is it called a almost perfect.
Speaker 8:
45:05
Just go through. Friends drove me into strong close to, but no regrets, like a flower. Didn't think that she would grow the negativity you her have some tenants are trying to reach the sun, begging you for everything that you had done. This is for them. Girls though wouldn't have up in the kitchen with the school babysitting. Not Sad. So she had a daughter. Her daddy gave her daughter. St Either have to break the cycle, so she tried to teach every day. She'd never learned from bad parents that didn't retired. Her daughter listens and she kisses second night of the TFA. Everything that she'd never had a lighter. She tells that don't. She can be like, mommy a response. Miami has any tangible. Remind me, I know the rules. I know the game and I promise I won't make the same mistakes. Yes, it's true.
Speaker 1:
48:06
That was almost perfect by direction from the star. Gazers a LP gotta say it's been really great talking with you today as well. He goes, well man, the memory lane. Yeah man, take a little stroll down there. Any, uh, other, other shout outs that we failed to mention that I was curious. I'm a producer myself, uh, who, uh, helped with the production and black magic.
Speaker 3:
48:31
Um, well, I'm black magic. It was one producer the first time I worked with just one producer. His name's clint for. I'm very, very promising young, young producer. That sky's the limit for this dude, man. Um, and I'm glad I, I got introduced to him by a producer by the name of Jay keys and he's actually signed to a label with keys and all call use emg upperclassmen music group. And I'm clint is, he's on his way a man is, he was on his way. You can tell from those tracks. He's definitely got it. And we just had a, we had a chemistry together man and I think I'm led to this project becoming what it became. Um, he just Kinda, he gave me stuff. Hey, what do you think about? And I think that young energy, um, because when I met him I think Colin was like 18, maybe 19 and it was just that young energy Kinda put a battery in my back and say, hey Yo, this, you can do this, you can really, really do this. And um, yeah man, I'm just, I'm just thankful to have had the opportunity to get to work with them.
Speaker 1:
49:39
Well a lot of people have that hunger and young energy at age 18, you've been able to sustain it for two decades here. Almost a new. You're still rocking with the same enthusiasm that I'm sure you had at that age. Um, your squad is kind of forming, or are you going to be working with him? Clinton again? Possibly. Yeah. Yeah, I mean Clinton is, like I said, on his way, he's working with some larger names than me, so, um, I don't know. We'll see if I can get them one.
Speaker 3:
50:10
Um, but I hope so. Absolutely hope so. I do like, yeah, I really, really hope so. But yeah, the team is definitely starting to form and it's forming in a way that it's organic. It's not about what anyone can do for one person. It's more about what we can do as a group and that's Kinda what I've always wanted. It's like what can we do together bringing our talents together to make it work? Um, so yeah, my, my relationship with Clinton, my relationship with like conic productions, I'm a pr firm that I just signed with, like all of these things are just coming and they're, they're, they're made out of the work, not out of what the work can become. You know what I'm saying? It's like, I like this, I want to contribute to this, I want to be a part of something, not I wanna I wanna capitalize or benefit from what this, something that already is or will become. So you're willing to ground floor man.
Speaker 1:
51:08
Well I can attest to the fact value of a supportive life partner too and in love. And um, I uh, I know you got that on man. Yeah, I mean I always said to myself as a, as a, as a young man
Speaker 3:
51:22
and uh, if, if I were to get married it would happen before I reached a certain point in my career because after you reached that point it's like you don't know who's for you and who's not. And I was lucky in college to have met a woman that was supportive for me then when I listened back to my shit and she shouldn't have been.
Speaker 1:
51:43
So that's low.
Speaker 3:
51:45
Yeah man. It's been loved since 2004. And, and um, I'm, I'm excited and happy about these, these next venture that will take. And she said yes. So 2019 is going to be very promising man. Alright,
Speaker 1:
52:01
glad shall be completely. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Alright, we're going to take it out with one last song from black magic Duran has been my guest. Duran Jones, the actor, Doran, the artists, the artists, the musicians. Do the Madonna thing. One day I'm out there yet. There's this other group. They use my name twice and I don't know what I'm gonna be able to do about that. It doubled it, doubled it up. It's not fair. The one and only one to ran. Thanks again for joining us today. Absolutely man. Thanks for having me.
Speaker 5:
52:34
Been down for so I to hold it down for where I live. When I to get up right now. I kept got kids down for this guy to get up right time. Wrong place down 30 stay Nigga take right now. I got no job. Went downtown, got to get up one day. When I make a left, we got to get up to night. Just seemed so right down to I got no. We left. She got to get up right now and he's pulled me down and we won't stop. We the only ones left his PSA gotta get up.