Saturday, 6 October 2012

Interview with Mister Jason

So I have another interview and this time it's with the creator of the Frankensteez album previously reviewed on these here pages, Mister Jason! Read, hopefully enjoy, and discover some great new music for yourself.

Pic taken from Twitter
First off for those folks in Wales and the big wide world that are unfamiliar, please can you tell them who you are?

I am human, I am part monster, Mister Jason to some, just "Jason" to others, "Jay to many close to me, CEO of Frankensteez Entertainment.

How did you first get started on the path of becoming a musician and how did you get your break into the industry?

I was always a fan or rap/hip-hop, since around 1983, at that time I was listening to 60/70's rock, but mostly hardcore punk, like Suicidal Tendencies and my all time favorites, Circle Jerks.  After officially putting out music in the form of "tapes" back in 1995, my break came in 1997 when a local record store (Biscuithead Records) owner and legendary Boston DJ, DJ Bruno, heard I was working on a few projects.  I would hang out at his store and soon we began speaking about a possible record label and record deal.  He started "Biscuithead Recordings" and along with Edan's debut 12" "Sing It Shitface" he put out my group, Porn Theatre Ushers, and our first single "Me and Him."  The strength of the deal also came about due to the fact Nabo Rawk won the "Biscuithead Freestyle Battle" the same year.  It was a crazy time, very reckless.

How did you find your time as one half of Porn Theatre Ushers?

It was probably the most fun I have ever had, but also the most frustrating, due to lack of business direction.  We should have been out there more, more tours, I loved the people behind our labels but they weren't really in a place to take us worldwide.  We had fans worldwide, but nothing organized in terms of how to maximize our potential.  I look back and think of how much we could have grown as a force in the industry, at that time.

You're from Boston and obviously there is a very rich Hip Hop scene there, with the late, great Guru, Mr.Lif, Akrobatik, 7L and Esoteric, and Reks having come through. Do you feel that Boston has its own style in the genre and do you think it influences or in fact comes through in your own music?

I definitely think Boston has it's own sound, escpecially in those underground golden years, the late 90's.  We hade so many different personalities and genre's but we all worked together to put the 2nd generation of Boston on the map.  Many artists, Edo G., Top Choice Clique, RSO, TDS Mob and others paved the way for us and we came in with a new sound.  We made independent hip-hop, sampling uncoventional records, new flows, complex vocab, etc.  It was a great time...

How did you find going from the classic DJ & MC combo of PTU to going out alone and putting out an album in your voice? I personally think there is a big difference in the music you have put out as part of Porn Theatre Ushers and as yourself in that whilst PTU was everything that is great about Hip Hop in a raw and energetic way, your solo work seems more layered and more of a progression of the genre rather than the celebration of Hip Hop that I feel PTU were. Do you think it's down to a maturity in yourself or is it just the result of new influences, styles or even equipment you're using now?

It is very different, which is important to me.  I will always have the PTU feel in my veins, that is the core of what I'm about.  With Frankensteez, I took bits and pieces from many elements to come up with that sound.  Also, although I am by myself with the actual release of Frankensteez, I enlisted many people to help create the final sound.  PTU will always sound the way you've known it to be, with Frankensteez, I wanted to try something new.  So, I think it's a blend of maturity, working with new people, and also the recording process was a bit different, using live instruments, harmonies and different ways to sample.

I'd like to talk a little about Frankensteez but I'll get the elephant in the room out of the way first, that 26 rapper Mister Jason Has A Posse (to me the greatest posse cut ever commited to wax). How did it come about and how hard was it to get it together? Also how do you feel about the response it's received as that song seems to have really made waves in the Hip Hop community and I've seen nothing but praise for it out there, where you aware you were making something special?

One day, in my apartment, I was hanging out with Rain (my engineer and also co-produced some joints), going through records to make beats, and I came across this one 45, which ended up being the backbone of the track.  To me, the vibe seemed like a "tag team" feel, where the stab you hear every four bars, sounds like a natural break in the beat for a different rapper to "tag in."  It was initially meant to be what turned into "Renegades."  Then I started thinking of a song with multiple rappers, but just a "Boston rapper" track, showcasing some of the local artists, both established and up and coming.  That envolved into an idea of having emcees rap about a particular letter of the alphabet, then finally, choosing rappers that fit each speficic letter of the alphabet.  Although it took over a year to compile, I was amazed that the emcees volunteered and were excited to be a part of this historic record. 

I wanted to do something different, my whole life I have never been satisfied with the "norm" and musically strive to create something new.  Even when PTU has that classic boom-bap sound, I always chose samples that I thought were odd or different.

Now the album itself is a beast in and of itself, and the thing that struck me was how varied it was, with bouncing party tracks, moody beats, Joy Division samples, flute samples, funky filled bass lines, it really does touch a lot of musical bases. Were you conscious of that as you made the album or is that the just what comes through when you're creating music?

It was on purpose.  The meaning of the title "Frankensteez" means just that, all different moods, styles, a "mixed bag," a "Frankenstein" sound...Frankenstein's "monster" was man made, made of different body parts, anything the Doctor. could find to create his monster.  It is a "Frankensteez." 

You're releasing Son of Frankensteez on Halloween this year, what can we expect from this? 

It is not a full length release, hence the title "Son of " meaning just a little piece of work, born from the original Frankensteez   It contains 11 tracks, but is made up of remixes, instrumentals and a few  new tracks.  It will be released on Halloween day, 10/31/2012 on limited green vinyl, but I decided to go with a 12" size this time.

Son... aside what can we expect from you in the future? Is there a plan from where you go from here?

I am thinking the next "Frankensteez based" release will be "The Bride of Frankensteez" which will feature all female emcees.  Can't wait for that.  I might just tweet that I am taking open auditions for this one vs. reaching out to specific people myself.  Also, 2013 marks the 15th anniversary for Porn Theatre Ushers.  We will be releasing new music, some old archived videos and a tour. Look out for that one! 

 Will we ever see you over in the UK in the future?

That is my next goal, I HAVE to come to the UK.  Spread the word to anyone that wants to set that up.

Who or what inspires you and why?

I'm inspired by anything that is unique and not like the other...creativity without worry, oddball shit, I actually love when people say "Mister J, you have a warped mind" or "you're insane"...that is the biggest compliment!

As a large part of this blog is to try and put people onto things they may not have heard we have a few standard questions for folks, so with that in my mind...

Firstly what are you listening to at the moment?

Mostly traditional Greek, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern music, me being Greek, this music is in my blood.  There is a ton of rare psychadelic gems being released from all over the globe, some amazing stuff.  I listen to any genre from the late 60's, such a great time period for music.

If you could get folks to check out three musicians or more specifically three albums what would they be and why?

Great question...ok, this is tough...there are so many.

Lord Finesse and DJ Mike Smooth- Funky Technician (1990)--Along with early Prince Paul, Beatnuts, Ultramagnetic, this is one of my earliest influences.

MOOG: The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman (1969)--just listen to it, you'll know why I love it.

Erkin Koray-Erkin Koray (1973)--self titled debut LP from this Turkish Psych god. Turkish Psychadelic music? need I say more?

Check him out!
Are you much of a film head and if so have you seen anything of note recently?
As a kid, I was really into horror films, on VHS, and I would try to find the most disturbing, disgusting films out.  I remember seeing movies like Basket Case, Return of the Alien's Deadly Spawn, Humanoids from the Deep, and many low budget splatter films.  Then I got into martial art movies from Hong Kong, the early Jet Li movies were amazing, until he blew up in American.  If you're a fan of that genre, I recommend seeing Shaolin Temple, Once Upon a Time in China, Fist of Legend and Fong Sai Yuk.  Now I mostly enjoy independent films and films that typically aren't blockbusters, but now and then I find good commercially successful films.

What would be your three all time top film recommendations and why?


A Clockwork Orange, simply amazing, a timeless classic, amazing score by electronica legend Walter/Wendy Carlos (yes, she/he was once a woman)

Star Wars--the staple of my generation

Can't name a third.

It was at this moment Mister Jason had to go take a piss so that concludes the interview. If you haven't already got hold of his music, do it now! You're on the internet anyway and what else are you going to spend that £10 (probably less) on? You won't be disappointed in the music and you'll be supporting the kind of artist who's decent enough to agree to do an interview on here!  You can buy the music from iTunes/Amazon or by clicking on the following link...

You know it makes sense. I'd like to thank Mister Jason for keeping his piss in long enough to answer all those questions and thanks to everyone who's reading this, huge thanks to anyone that goes and buys the music (should I offer up more robots or maybe promise to stop drawing them?), Anyways cheers.

Almost forgot, you can keep up with Mister Jason news on Twitter by following @misterjasonptu.

Peace out