07/16/06 - Arsenic Interview
Having known Arsenic for many years, it came as a bit of a suprise to me when I discovered that he was involved in the underground hip-hop scene in Arizona. (Keep in mind, I have never known him as Arsenic and I never have actually addressed him as such.) However, with a big release party on the horizon, and a new album about to drop, it only seemed right that I take a moment to ask a long time friend of mine some questions about his upcoming release, "Gonzo Journalism."
SJ: After looking into it, I learned that you've been creating music for roughly nine years. Who were some of your influences growing up?
A: I started off making beats when I was roughly 15 years old, that was when I was introduced to the Dr. Sample Sp202. I grew up listening to a lot of classic rock, thanks to my parents. I fell in love with the sounds of the Doors and Pink Floyd, which gave me a huge interest in music. In junior high I met a friend by the name of Blindone, who introduced me to underground hip hop. He gave me a tape of Deep Puddle Dynamics, which blew my mind. It was so far from the traditional hip hop on the radio and tv. I've always been attracted to the non conformist side of life, basically not being a carbon copy of the typical. I dug further into the underground and found anticon, who had three members part of Deep Puddle Dynamic. I found their music to be very refreshing, because they talked about the everyday person, the real things in life, not cars ,clubs, and bitches.
SJ: So you started making beats at a pretty young age. When did you start writing to go along with the production?
A: Well I started writing shortly there after. I had always been into poetry, so it came pretty natural.
SJ: I have your first album, "Not Another Bottom Feeder," and I've heard a great deal of the "Gonzo Journalism" album. The sound is pretty different between the two, how would you say your own style has evolved from "Not Another Bottom Feeder" to "Gonzo Journalism"?
A: I'd say "Gonzo Journalism" is leaps and bounds above "Not another Bottom Feeder." I've had my life in some interesting situations since the last album and Gonzo is a reflection of it. I went full force, lived and breathed my music with a new philosophy.The production on this album is amazing, thanks to friends all the way from Scotland to Indiana to my own production. I have found myself and style, I don't sound like a cheap knock off of a New York rapper or a West coast rapper. I sound like me and, to be honest, I don't even call myself a rapper. I make music that feels good to me, and music for people who can relate, plain and simple.
SJ: What are some of the situations that have been the inspiration for "Gonzo Journalism?"
A: Well this album has been in the works for about a year and a half, and needless to say, it has been a wild ride. In the that year and a half the Death Starz Cult was formed by myself, 2much, and Mission G .We are the major players in the development of DSC, and no doubt have great friends that help us out in every way. I've been booking and promoting all of our "hip hop" shows and Mission G has been handling the rock shows. 2much takes care of all the art needs, and we have been steadily building it up.The term Gonzo refers to actually living the life of your art, not just a half-assed, sideline approach. Gonzo journalism argues that journalism can be truthful without striving for objectivity. It favours style over accuracy and aims to describe personal experiences, or the essence, or mood of things, rather than facts. It disregards the 'polished' edited product favoured by newspaper media, and strives for the gritty factor. Hunter S. Thompson was disappointed with the state of journalism and sought to press greater truth over specific facts. I feel the same way about music and that is exactly the approach I took for the album, living and breathing my art and describing my perspective on the world. I am deeply into the Gonzo philosophy and I hope listeners will feel that from this album.
SJ: What exactly is the message you are trying to send out with this album?
A: I'm really trying to open up consciousness and make people see the truth about society. The world we live in is full of evil, jealousy, and greed. I want to expose it and have people learn that it's not the way things should be. I have a lot of resentment towards people who settle for the same repetative way of thinking and refuse to expand beyond their own shameless egos. I choose to live in my own weird little world and I'm perfectly comfortable here.
SJ: Ok, man soapbox time...let everybody know what's on your mind.
A: Hahaha, all I have to say is good riddance to all the pigfuckers! I really just wanna thank all the true,real people I know.To all my Death Starz Cult brothers and sisters, thank you from the deepest! If it weren't for my friends, none of this would exist.To my family, I love you and appreciate your guidance. Shout outs to Mom, Dad, my bro Tony, Grandma, Grandpa, all my cousins, aunts and uncle, Dj Elixir, Span Phly, 2much, Dubstar3000, all the DSC, Aven Images, Wild Life Refuge, Ecid, Miscellaneous, Mission G, Cars and Trains, Mg! the Visionary, Arkatek, Gyr8r, Kizzil, Street Minister, Remake, S.J., Mellia, Detour9, Nomar Slevik, Milled Pavement, Witness and all the Recollective homies, Dynamo414, Dialogue, Choice One, Daniel Jordan, Sole, Anomaly, Aria Silenced, Conscious Collective, TSOI, Anglo, Courdek, The Exiles, James Ciphurface, Dj Grapla, Swindel, Brad B and Foundation, Numb, Blindone, Masturbeats, Mike Eye the 3rd, Madnis, Nerdarisi, Jer-B, Ancient Mith, Paul, Ivan, Tyler Jeff, Dick Rego, Wozny, Jeremy. Anyone I forgot should know I got love for em too!
To Hunter S. Thompson, Jim Morrison and the rest of the free thinking society...I thank you.
"Too weird to live, and too rare to die." - Dr. HST