Live and Direct from the Othership, a Prez Powerz show is unlike any other in hip hop. The self-described Psychedelic Cyber Punk outfit combines hard-hitting hip hop beats, a breakdance crew from the future, and a socially-minded MC with razor-sharp lyrics and a laser gun whose business end you'd be well-advised to avoid. Peep the word...
1. Do you have a songwriting method, or is it different every time?
I don't have a strict method that I use for every song. I try to keep the process fluid. Usually I have a concept or a theme that I want to explore lyrically or a musical idea or style that I'm interested in recording. It typically starts with the music or the beat which gives me the vibe of the track and then I listen to it on a loop for a ridiculous amount of time gathering flows and pieces of lyrics, basically freestyling in my head or out loud. There is always an instinctual rythmic pattern or melody that comes immediately which i make note of but that's often the easy way to come at the track and so I try to challenge myself and think of other interesting ways to create the vocal. That being said, sometimes that first thought is the best thought. I try to write the chorus first and set up the verses to feed into and out of the hook but I have plenty of songs that started with a rhyme and the concept of the song was fleshed out inside that verse. Once I have the concept, the chorus, the verses, bridge etc. we'll go back and make changes and tweaks to the arrangement of the beat and I may rewrite some lyrics to make sure that it's as exciting and interesting as it can be at all times.
2. Any advice for aspiring songwriters?
My advice would be to always keep the creative channels open, you never know when or how an idea will come to you. Obviously, you should write as many songs as possible. Write and rewrite. I'm a big proponent of self editing, be critical of what you're creating. I recommend listening to and studying other great songwriters in all genres of music. Don't limit yourself to what is going on at the moment or the songwriting in whichever style of music you work in. And lastly, make sure there is a personal connection to what you are writing, rapping, or singing. I might write a song about a complicated idea or "out there" concept but I always try to ground it in an emotion that coincides with the music.
3. What are your feelings on collaborations?
I basically learned how to make music collaborating with friends who were MCs and Musicians/Producers. It was crucial in my development as an artist. It pushed me to get better because of the competitive aspects and also created a support system to be able to test and measure new approaches to songrwriting and performing. As Prez Powerz, I've been collaborating with Prompt Strong for years. He's a dope guitarist and producer, and we've developed our own sound together. Our collaborative process varies, we've done songs straight up where he has the beat basically done with all the music written and I just form ideas and write to it as it is, other times what starts as a loop will grow into a track with multiple changes based on our conversations and contributions, and sometimes I'll have a beat and he'll add guitar to it and elevate it to the next level. And when we're working on an album we want a unified sound and will work to trim the fat and make sure every song serves a purpose within the "macro" framework of the piece. So collaborating is kind of essential, even when it comes to small things like running an idea or a mix by someone it's always good to have the feedback from another set of ears before you put it out into the world.
4. What’s your favorite song? Favorite Album? Why?
Man, that's a difficult question for me to answer. I don't think I can pick my favorite album by The Beatles let alone my favorite album or song of all time. Way too much amazing music out there. I can tell you that more people should listen to Curtis Mayfield. All of his solo albums in the 1970's but maybe start with "Roots". I can say that my favorite albums of last year were probably D'Angelo's "Black Messiah" and Run The Jewels "RTJ2" and I like Bjork's new album "Vulnicura" a lot.
5. What’s your latest project/wanna shill anything?
I put out over 25 singles last year. You can download them all for free/pay what you want at prezpowerz.bandcamp.com
I'm working on a new album now tentatively titled "The Sacred Stone" and Prompt and I have an album called "Fame Island" that is recorded but needs to be remixed a bit. One or both of those will be coming out this spring/summer. As always follow @prezpowerz on Twitter and Instagram and "like" our band page "Prez Powerz/Future People" on Facebook.
These incredible photos are the work of Vasilis Pazionis, a member of the Prez Powerz/Future People Crew. You want more? Of course you want more. Go get some more Future People Goodness.
BRBRCK is a rapper and producer (and blogger, obviously) based in Brooklyn, NY. Check out his musical stylings here.