Q&A: Producer MTK on Victor Shade, Superhero Status, and Hardbody Beats"/>
Drawing its name from the alter ego of Marvel Comics superhero The Vision, the latest incarnation of Common Market MC Ra Scion came from his>"/>
Drawing its name from the alter ego of Marvel Comics superhero The Vision, the latest incarnation of Common Market MC Ra Scion came from his brother-in-law Jimmy. Before he passed away, Jimmy detailed the superhero identities most suited to a number of friends and family members. Ra Scion's was Victor Shade, and apparently Jimmy got it right.
Following that superhero theme (complete with cape-adorned performances like the one tonight) the 12-track pairing with Everett beatmaker extraordinaire Matthew Crabtree, aka MTK, features a more cerebral and edgy duo. The familiar Common Market themes of politics and internal struggle are all there--along with the emcee's savage flow--but through a different lens. And with the departure from Sabzi's more jazz-influenced beats MTK's aggressive brass-and-guitar laced production is even more prominent, especially considering three tracks are instrumental-only.
Though the release party was held last weekend, a proper issuing of the album (that you can get your hands on) isn't a reality quite yet. MTK caught up with us via e-mail to fill in the blanks on the release, the action and how the whole project came to be.
How does the Victor Shade project compare to some of the others you've done with big-timers like Lloyd Banks and Raekwon?
The main difference is the relationship behind the music. I don't know Lloyd Banks, Sean Price, Havoc or the majority of the national artists I work with on a personal level, or any level for that matter. That's part of the beat shopping game though. Ra and I can sit down, discuss ideas face to face, and the chemistry that allows really lends itself to better music. Also, we're friends--I hang out with Ryan's family and their friends, who have now became my friends. It's a good relationship.
How long have you been working with Ryan (RA Scion) on this project? It kind of evolved over time, right?
We've been working together since the beginning of 2007, and decided on this theme a little less than a year ago. Over that time I've done a few songs for live Common Market shows--the War Pigs Remix, the Prince Remix, some others that are slipping my mind. That was something Saba could've easily handled but it was Ryan's way of keeping me in the loop while we waited for the timing of our project to be right. He presented the Victor Shade idea, the theme, and what he wanted the project to sound like, and we made it happen!
Do you see yourself fitting in well with the whole superhero idea of VS?
Do I identify with the idea of being a superhero? No. I make beats, and I don't place myself on any pedestal for that. I've gone through the egotistical stage already, and have the gift of 20/20 hindsight to realize how silly all of that shit really is. However, I relate to the duality. I keep a day job, very similar to all of the stereotypes in Office Space, I'm a board member of an Adventure Philanthropy charity, work with fishermen from The Deadliest Catch and I have been blessed enough to travel through 55 countries! All of these things make up who I am, and influence the music I make.
What did you draw on or gather influence from to make your sounds match the theme?
I didn't approach any track with any preconceived notion of what I wanted the album to sound like--all I wanted was for it to be hardbody. Outside of Oldominion and Avatar, who I am a huge fan of, nobody was really making aggressive music. The last 2 years of my life have been very difficult for me, so finding inspiration to make that kind of music was really, really easy. The sound of the album isn't inspired by any particular genre of music as much as it was just by what I was experiencing in my life. My situation has improved dramatically since then so it's a little strange listening to the album, to be perfectly honest.
Is there a plan for a wider release of the record? Where can fans pick it up?
There are plans in the works, but nothing concrete enough for me to speak on. All of the options are very exciting to me personally, and if more than one of them comes to fruition, it's going to be really hard to choose. When I know, everybody else will know.
What's next on Victor Shade's agenda? And yours, for that matter?
You can definitely expect to hear more Victor Shade music, I promise you that. As far as my production career, I have new songs coming out by G-Unit, Sean Price, Havoc, Vinnie Paz, Outerspace, Binary Star, Reef The Lost Cauze and a bunch of other things I'm really not at liberty to speak on. What I will say is I'm putting in a lot of legwork in right now, and if things continue on the path they are, I will reap the rewards of a lot of hard work.