Friday, December 11, 2009

Enter The Cipher, Ant Farm Affiliates, Hydrostatic Equilibrium, an interview of The Rising Sun Quest by Sketch Tha Cataclysm and more...

The Rising Sun Quest and Defnyshn

So I got to check out The Rising Sun Quest at his release party a week ago and caught some dope music off his latest album titled Hydrostatic Equilibrium as well as tracks off the free Surviving Life and Journey Towards The Sun.

I got to see him perform a couple weeks before his release party at the same spot in Danbury, CT. At Cousin Larry's, the 50th edition of Enter The Cypher, an Open Mic & Hip Hop Showcase, was held. This spot, on a side street that took me 15 minutes to find after driving by it about 6 times is a local bar in Danbury where most likely, the people that go there know each other. It's a very relaxed bar with stickers and posters covering what looked like every square inch of every wall, with a pool table and tvs tuned to sports. A small spot where it cost $5 to get it and $4.50 for a Heineken. Haha. They also sell CDs from what look like locals who may have performed there with prices ranging from $6 to $12 by the end of the bar. I thought that was very unique for a bar and pretty cool that they do that. Never know, you might find a diamond in that kind of rough.

Enter The Cypher is hosted by two school teachers by day, MCs by night named Othello and Nemesis Alpha, collectively known as d_Cyphernauts. There were acts from Connecticut to Maryland performing trying to get their name out at a venue that has held 49 previous shows on every 3rd Friday of the month. From Deto-22 doing cuts off Sharing is Caring, collaborated with Sketch Tha Cataclysm, to The Protege and Roc Doogie (who are both a part of Phenetiks as well as Deto 22 and DJ SirCumference), to a group who called themselves The Presence as well as others from out of state that I can not recall. While some did fairly ok, any one of the Ant Farm Affiliates came out to show and prove. I'm still wondering why most have never heard of them, either as a whole affiliation or as separate artists.

Sketch Tha Cataclysm - Compartments of Darts

The Protege - Provisions

Deto-22 & Sketch Tha Cataclysm - Rebel Music

Phenetiks - AF

It was pretty dope to know there's a spot where heads can come through and hang out, chill, politic (as they say, haha), or kick a freestyle or two. I almost got inspired to get on stage myself but I decided to let the pros do their thing. As the night went on and acts showcased their skills on the mic, it seemed like the crowd was in anticipation for the guest of honor and The Rising Sun Quest didn't disappoint.

I spoke to Quest briefly before he took the stage to perform and asked him a couple of random questions. For a man that has been spitting for about 10 years, I noticed a different tone in his latest music. A little more edgier, more boom bap, more hunger. In my opinion, it sounds like he's going harder at the mic than before. He says that he felt the need to go back to the roots of rhyming back in the days where he used to cipher in Spring Brook, a neighborhood in Waterbury, CT, his hometown.

As he hit the stage, the crowd got amped, live, hyped ready to hear what we all drove to Cousin Larry's for. Many in the crowd knew the words, heads playing pool were nodding while trying to concentrate on not scratching, and I even saw the bartender vibing to the sounds out the speaker. You can tell that Quest has been here and done that before. No stranger to the mic, stage or hip hop. This guy definitely seems like he was born for this. As the show was winding down, I felt inspired to be involved in the movement in some way so I'm playing my part with my blog. With production ranging from Sketch Tha Cataclysm, Deto-22, DJ Syruz and the majority by Defnyshn, Hydrostatic Equilibrium proved to be a great collection to my hip hop catalog.

It's a must hear, in my opinion, and with a sound this dope, it should be your opinion as well. Definitely check it out. You might be missing something you wish you hadn't when he reaches the stars, or in his case, just the big one we all know as the sun.

AntFarm Affiliates Flyer

Othello and Nemesis Alpha of d_Cyphernauts

Othello of d_Cyphernauts

Cee Reed

Roc Doogie

Some audio I caught at the live show...

Nemesis Alpha

Roc Doogie

Roc Doogie

The Mad Bloggers also got together with Sketch Tha Cataclysm on the story of The Rising Sun Quest. Sketch was able to get Quest to take some time out to interview him about his release, past work, Hip Hop in 09 and everything else under the sun. Check it out.....

What's up folks. Thank you for hitting us up for the second installment of Conversations With Tha Cataclysm. Every Friday, I will feature a guest here discussing the finer points of creating hip-hop. In the future, we will discuss a range of topics such as the technical aspects of beatboxing, the mindstate of a battle MC, engineering a hip-hop record, and more. We will also be featuring artists discussing the technical aspects of their albums.

This second episode is co-sponsored by my boys The Mad Bloggers. My guest this week was a frequent guest on my former television program during its tenure on CT public access. (R.I.P. Hold Up And Analyze) Since then, he has gone on to drop for solo projects including his latest EP Hydrostatic Equilibrium. You could pick up his past releases on Little Ax and his own Ladies and gentlemen, The Rising Sun Quest.

Sketch Tha Cataclysm: So coming off of a solid full length project like Journey Toward The Sun, what made you want to go back to the EP format?

The Rising Sun Quest: Well, basically, though I loved the LP, I felt like I didn't showcase some of the skills I had in terms of straight spittin'. A lot of those joints were conceptual, so the new EP just kinda has that raw MC feel; without structure and more aggressive.

Sketch: Was that decision based on a fan response you got to JTTS or from you?

Quest: JTTS was my most embraced project to date. Lots of people tell me how complete that album was. They're right *laughs* but though it had some elements that the new EP displays, I didn't feel it was enough. It was still in me to let out. Thus the title for the EP Hydrostatic Equilibrium. It was recorded to create a balance between the two projects. (With the previous Surviving Life LP)

Sketch: How has your recording techniques changed through all of the projects? I know the music was created with entirely different production tools back on Stellar Evolution (his debut EP).

Quest: Not much really. Yeah we got different production tools, but we use basically the same recording techniques. Its that Roland digital recorder, just a different version. . . same booth. I think I just take more time when I mix my stuff down. If anything, I'd say that's the biggest difference. Plus, the fact that I stopped making beats frees more time for me to focus on the mix downs and all.

Sketch: There seems to be two schools on recording vocals. Punch-ins and cats that like to rhyme straight through. What's your perspective and which did you use on the new project?

Quest: OK, me and Expertiz go in on this topic a bunch. My feeling is that if you're going to record your shit than do what you feel is best for the track. Don't let that MC pride get in the way of a good recording. First two albums, I hated to punch in. But, that's only because I didn't do it properly, so I could hear the big difference between my words. Now, in some cases its dope to have a contrast in your words when you want to emphasize something, but now I found a way to have a nice transitions between the punch-ins if needed. The bottom line is, punch ins, I'm ok with it, but if you can't spit your shit straight through on stage, then that's where I question your ability.

Sketch: Interesting point. As a performer myself I go back and forth. . . but. . . I have found that it is hard to duplicate some punch-in tracks live. Have you encountered this?

Quest: Not really because, like I said, certain times you want those punch in for the contrast, but that's not really my style. So usually, when I punch-in its only because I haven't perfected my delivery due to it being a new verse or maybe an off recording day. Onstage, I usually get through it, even if it means my vein is going to pop out my forehead; i.e. "Fire In The Sky", I punched in two spots for that track, but when I rock it, I spit it straight through with no hypeman.

Sketch: Lets get into the actual content.

Quest: Hip Hop has content? in 2009?

Sketch: Not really. . . I like to pretend its a serious art form from time to time. *laughs* You don't just straight spit on this EP. . . you take on some heavy topics. . . more on the dark side of things.

Quest: Ok you're right, but I would not feel right if I made an album without that element that is a Quest staple. If you go back, there has to be that one song that stabs at the heart: "Then You Die", "Helpless", "Mistaken", and "You Don't Know", those are a requirement for me.

Sketch: How about "I See You"? We talked about that being included briefly, but do you want to touch on the origin of that song for people who don't know? Quest: Oh yeah, but that's different. I guess the other tracks I named were more for shock value where as "I See You" and "Escape From What" were more the heart stabbers but yeah, "I See You" was an important song to me. I won't say I have my homies dying on a regular basis or nothing like that, but I have lost a few people in my life and also had family and friends locked up. And like I say in the song, we only think of them when there gone and I wanted to try to help realize that though we cant forget those we lost, we have to appreciate the ones we have. Songs like that are why I continue to do music. If I couldn't produce that right there and only could give you darts I would have stopped a long time ago.

Sketch: Something I wanted to bring up before we bounce was the music videos. You've now done four with 3 different directors. How do you approach music videos?

Quest: I don't *laughs* they approached me. Sketch: *laughs* Quest: Arjen (of Elasticbrand) was inspired by "Why I Write" (from Journey Toward The Sun) and he asked if he could do a video for it.

Sketch: Nice.

Quest: Before I hit him back, he e-mailed me a full story board with sketches and all and I was blown away by the work he put in. Before he even heard from me, well maybe he sent them on the second e-mail but regardless. And Snare did "Rock To The Rhythm". He was following me to shows for like a few months, stealing footage from different events. Of course, Dre from Make A Video, he just like you have been helping me out since before I can remember. I guess he had some new camera tricks he wanted to try but he wanted to do "Walk With The Beat". . . *laughs*. . . I don't even really like that song.

Sketch: *Laughs* Honesty!

Quest: But, I say if he is inspired to do the video for it, then let's do it. I'll stand in downtown like an idiot with four people looking like a weirdo in the middle of traffic rapping to no music. *laughs* It's so uncomfortable to do a video.

Sketch: Have you given any thought to how you are being portrayed? Since you put it in their hands?

Quest: Not at all all. Those cats I trust, with the exception of Arjen whom I didn't know at the time. I trust him now after that "Why I Write" joint and "Fire In The Sky" whooo!

Sketch: You look way more comfortable in the "Fire In The Sky" video.

Quest: That's because I was at the southern cross. The REAL southern cross. (Waterbury, CT's site of the former Holy Land U.S.A.)

Sketch: Slow motion shots of you turning and shit. *laughs*

Quest: *laughs*

Sketch: Arjen is the man!

Quest: Yeah man. That's all Arjen. He gave great direction. He had a vision and I just did what he asked. They are artists like me. . . they have a vision and I was their pen.

Sketch: So what's happening next for you? Another album?

Quest: Definitely already have some real dope concepts in mind.

Sketch: There's concepts in hip-hop? After this we cracked jokes for a second and he also reminded me to tell everyone to vote for him in the Hot 93.7 contest.


We leave you all today with the video The Rising Sun Quest's "Fire In The Sky". I want to thank The Rising Sun Quest for taking the time and The Mad Bloggers for spreading the word. I'll see you all next on where my guest will be Cee Reed talking about his new album, Fight Or Flight.

For more, check out Ant Farm Affiliates.

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1 comment:

  1. That post was off the hook!! I see you trying to give me a run for my money... Tha Lady likes competition. After reading your post, I really want to come to CT to check that show. Gotta figure out how to make that happen. Great job!