Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Turbulence Productions has risen to the center stage in the local Hip-Hop scene and is one of the biggest forces right now. Everything they touch is golden. We've seen what B-Roc and the Gang's done with Mixtapes like "B-Sides" and "Philippine Phenom," and the positivity that's been brought about by "The Community" events. But what's going on behind the scenes and in the mind of the man himself is a mystery. So here we are, with a quick one-two with Boss Bong himself on the lowdown on Turbulence, "To The Billboard" and his input on the local Hip-Hop Music Community as a whole.
SOL: We're here with B-Roc of Turbulence for a quick Q-n-A. First of all, I'd like to thank Bong for taking the time to answer a few questions. How did you guys think up the name "Turbulence"?
B-Roc: Whats good man? Thanks for giving me the time and for being open to this. Well,it used to be a abbreviation for something, and yeah some people might still know it. It was supposed to be SouthBreeze Productions, that was one I was really considering. But yeah, I figured not be territorial with it cause it only limits the scope of the music and branding something like that filters the audience. We came up with Turbulence cause really, we came in at a time where the trend was to get signed and wait to get put on. We caused Mad Turbulence by being one of the most stable independent labels around.That sort of tipped the scale for everyone to move to that direction.
SOL: Bring up the local Hip-Hop community today and you can't get one sentence in without hearing the name Turbulence brought up. How do you think Turbulence stacks up against some of the other labels out there? Who are your favorites in terms of sound and lyricists?
B-Roc: Good question, my whole frame of mind ever since I started was to be a fan of the music. And I think thats why people mention us so much, its cause we are genuine fans of this Hip-Hop shit. We collect ourselves and humble ourselves by going to shows, events of things we know we are a fan of and its our reality check all the time. Plus we try to raise the standard on what you thought "Filipino Hip-Hop" is limited too. We really put the bench mark up so high and we continue to do that even against our old accomplishments. We love the Philippines so much, that we take pride and we are very careful in what we plant as a seed.
Sound wise? Audible, Los Indios Bravos, Miscellaneous are top billing that department as of the moment. They are able to standout and blend in at same time. Protege is one dude that in any day when he's not too busy with other stuffs and concentrates on his beats will give me a run for my money. Of course, I'm a fan of that Boom Bap sound, besides Chrizo and Traumatik, I'd have to give it to Lowkey, DJ Arbie, DJ Umph and Juss Rye.
Lyricism? Outside my camp? Aceone, Ali of BBClan, Klutch B, Basilio of Crazy As Pinoys, Loonie, Xplicit, Mike Swift, Labo, RonThug, ILL-J, Peoples Future, Klumcee, Audible, Delphi of Misc., PKSO and yeah AERO!! Best believe it he is one of the hottest lyricist outside my camp. Let me tell you about some talents that I think the scene is missing out on. And as part of being a fan I am here to give to light to maybe, some of the best you will never get to hear. I was priviledged enough to see them at work and whats sad is they weren't in their prime. Shout outs too Arkane, Limbs, Haven, Wordwrath, ProofPositive and Jeff Demarco. This were the people who molded me and my way of thinking growing up in the scene.
SOL: I've heard a few B-Roc verses, but not since Lowkey have we seen local production been pushed to such quality. I think you've inspired a lot of cats to step up their production values on their records. Who are your influences as far as production goes? Both Local & Foreign.
B-Roc: Foreign -Just Blaze, Kanye West, Diamond D, The Neptunes, Dr. Dre, DJ Premier, Teddy Riley, Akon, AMP Live, Easki, DJ Clark Kent, Les, Eminem and Large Professor. Locally, I'm a fan of everybody but let me tell you Quaizy and Lowkey got me started with this whole production thing. They helped me develop and re-develop, might not be hands-on but I attribute all the I've become by hanging around them through tough times. Chrizo, Traumatik, Chano and Black are my current influences, even being in a label we exhibit a friendly competition and they have been knocking beats hard as of late. DJ Umph, Tibbz, Rondalla Camino, Juss Rye, DJ Arbie Won, Protege and Jedli have been making me play tracks more than twice.
SOL: Got any tips for wannabe producers who wanna get into the game?
B-Roc: Hmmm, invest in yourselves. Whether its a piece of equipment, or a piece of toy for your studio, do it. Find that sound that you want and create a mess with it, only then can you really piece a whole beat together. The difference between Beatmakers and Producers is producers see the song through, we sit in there and navigate the song till it gets done. Envision your beats as songs and construct them like so. Respect the power of the beat, the beat should be striking as a audible story even before the lyrics come in. And yeah, don't believe the hype, buy the MPC if you have the funds and time to study on it. If not don't limit yourself to equipments and softwares. You are only as good as you say you are. It's not what you use, but how you use it.
SOL: Would you guys ever think of breaking into the International Hip-Hop Market?
B-Roc: I would say we already have. We've performed alongside Jin The MC, Loon of Bad Boy Records and shared headlines with them in Taiwan. We have Forensic Science, Mike Swift, Hasan Salaam (The Source Nov. 2006) on tracks with Marquiss. We had Sevenes come to the country to come and check out the scene and performed at The Community show. So as much as these cats are international to us, we are international to them in the very essence of what international is. Every artist has that goal and its a matter of how open to you wanna break into that market, and yes hell yeah we wanna break the international barrier wide open. I do believe we can, we all can.
SOL: I know Mike Swift has been in New York doing something called the "To The Billboard" campaign. Tell us about that.
B-Roc: "To The Billboard" is a song for movie Mike Swift will star on with Slick n Sly Kane, Mista Blaze and Sunny Blaze. He went to my house to lace up a song and he shared the idea he had rolling the night before. I played him a beat that I thought was how but was passed on by most of my artists. We knocked the song right there and conceptualized on the movie and built it right there. And now its a multi-faceted product, and you'd be blind to not see its worth to the market, and to you as a Filipino Hip-Hop fan. It's what we need right now, a project full of creativity, passion and so against the grain. It's a tail of hope, the movie I mean, but really its what we all need as hiphop artists to break into that bigger scene. It's to be multi-dimensional and that what Mike exudes each and every time. "To The Billboard" has been a song campaign now all over the world with almost 30 songs done for that movement alone. "To The Billboard Philippines MIXTAPE" is spearheaded by me and Dash. A billboard is a symbol of your dream or at list in Manila. Some people base success on getting a billboard. Some people want a record deal, we wanted that billboard. Everybody passes by EDSA, imagine if you have a billboard there. Even your enemies or critics would be passing there everyday looking up to you. And it being a movement, imagine how we felt when almost a year ago, Sept 28 Milenyo brought some of em to their knees, but now what? Mike is really pushing hard for this symbol to reach the heads of other people.
SOL: So when's "Legendary" gonna come out anyway? Any news on that?
B-Roc: Legendary will be out real soon. It's gonna be pretty hard to top. Timing is everything for Mike Swift and I respect that Zen. Half of everything thats great and real is timing.
SOL: Now, "The Community" events has been an integral part in uniting the local Hip-Hop scene. Before last year's Community, I never thought artists from different camps could ever collaborate with each other. That's how badly segregated Hip-Hop was in the Philippines. Now we got like...artists like Blacksheep from Dongalo collaborating with Hotnixx from your camp. It's amazing. How did you guys come up with the concept/idea?
B-Roc: "The Community" is a team effort. Nathan J (On The Ground Music) and my company brainstormed on that event and I guess its what everybody was waiting for. We were lucky to be supported by everyone, cause anyone could do it. But I don't think anyone could've done it within the scope on how we did it. We came up with the idea before we flew for Taiwan, and after that experience outside, it brought us closer to giving back to the people and making them work together. I think the raffle we put up was integral to the scene. D-Coy got Mic from AMPON's beat in the raffle and let me tell you, they have never met and yet the song they came up with "Wika" is Dcoy's claim to reviving his love for writing. Syke walked up to me asking "Magaling ba tong si Kevin?" and guess what "Ang Lungsod" was a hit and they have made at least 3 songs together. The Community even brought out Ritchie Paul of the now defunct Iced Out Records, sad to say he disrespected the opportunity but at least everybody knows now how to deliver.
SOL: What about The Community CD/DVD? Release date? Give us a thread of hope!
B-Roc: I am pushing with every muscle for that to see the light of day. Toti Dalmacion of Terno Recordings wanted to release it, but its taking too long. Some labels are keen to listen but nothing substantial has been put down. Empire wanted to help with it, but we're still looking to have it distributed with other options. Anybody who wants to executively produce The Community 1 CD? Holla at me, we don't want much as far as sales, we just want to put it out. The DVD would have to wait for DVD's 1 & 2 all in one package. Please keep the hope, we really wanna put it out soon.
SOL: Who are your favorites in the game right now? Both locally and internationally.
B-Roc: Interntionally - Common, Big L, Termanology, Jay-z, 50 Cent's I Get Money joint is my song right now, Talib Kweli and some more cats. Locally - Nimbusnine, God's Will, Marquiss, PHD, Aero, Hotnixx, Quest, PKSO, Stick Figgas, Ronthug, Sinag, Peoples Future, Artstrong, Dcoy's new album is going to be crazy and for someone who did Mike Swift's Legendary, I think its fire!
SOL: Why did you guys decide to go Independent? It seems to be the trend in the music industry these days, not just locally, but internationally, many bigwigs are saying that Independent is the best way to go. What can you say about that? Any advice to newcomers to the game? Are signing to big time labels really played out?
B-Roc: Of course not, but if you are going to sign up with them, with no form of stability they will eat your artistry off. You run the numbers game independently first and get it right. Then when you get enough numbers run with it with a major label. Then you have now access to their database and you're spending their money. It really depends what you want to acomplish in the game. The Philippines is a whole new playing field, all theories, all these foreigners think they can takeover in the Philippines usually flop cause they patronize the whole other game in the west. Here its really about planting seeds, I think some older cats got a bit stingy as far as lifting up the window in which we could get into labels. But when we started it wasn't so much of the in thing to do. Now with technology we see kids posing with their Mics and Midi Equipments and claim to be an independent label. Live up to what independent really means, which is to be cutting edge in terms of sound, quality, marketing schemes etc.
SOL: What do you think of the music industry in the Philippines as a whole? Lots of people seem to have given up hope. What's your message to all the pirates out there?
B-Roc: The pirates, I'm with you. I understand that we are living in a third world country and money is always an issue. I believe that I have enough talent and creativity to outlast them in any way. Our label is music based but we aren't Music/CD dependent. Our means to be creative isn't boxed up to CD's. Piracy is even free promotion from Luzon to Mindanao that even your label won't provide. So it really is about how you look at it. Plus, the process of getting paid should be started with the process of paying. Some artist complain about they are being robbed of their profits cause of piracy when in the first place they did not even pay for the beat they made a hit with. Do you get me?
SOL: Let's talk about "No Hip-Hop in the Philippines." Your take?
B-Roc: There is.
SOL: What local acts did B-Roc listen to growing up? Who were your hometown heroes so to speak?
B-Roc: Andrew E, Francis M, Mastaplann, Legit Misfitz, Rapskallion, Cyphasis, Death Threat, SVC, 7Shots, Madd Poets, Dongalo Wreckords, Kulay and whole lot more.
SOL: What do you think about A.P.L.? I hear he's setting to make a full-length tagalog album soon, and even thinking of reaching out to local rappers for guest spots. Bebot... good or bad?
B-Roc: Bebot- good for the Fil-Ams in the states, it really got them together and built a sense of belongingness within their very diverse racial environment. Bad cause for one, you went to the states when you were 14 meaning your foundation for tagalog was solid and the best you could come up with was "Bebot"? I got people in Tondo who are 14 and could out rhyme him. APL doing an album? Make all your claims legit. Want to guest a Filipino MC? Producer? You are very much welcome to hit me up and I will vouch for the best emcee for a good song topic. And what make a song about how Filipino I am? I already know that. Do you hear Americans proclaiming they're Americans in songs? Give me something fresh. Even my idea of a song for a Filipina "Bebot" wouldn't have phrases like "Chicken Adobo" "Pagkumakain nagkakamay"; but props to him. He brought the light up, now all we gotta do is play the politics as well and shine bright. Props to APL and his team, it still is a feat on its own.
SOL: Lastly, got any previews of the rest of 2007 or even 2008? What products have you guys got under your sleeves? Any hot albums about to drop?
B-Roc: Mike Swift, Nimbusnine, God's Will "Three Kings CD", Chrizo and Marquiss presents "G.R.A.E.", Hotnixx "Makapangyarihan", PHD "Destined for Greatness", Nimbusnine "Manila Boy", Turbulence Productions "Tippin'The Scale", The Community CD 1 & 2 and more. We work hard on our shit.
SOL: Once again, thank you for your time. Local Hip-Hop is definitely much better with Turbulence's presence. We building!
B-Roc: Thank you for bridging the gap. Definitely we are a growing team. Salamat !! Love is love !! and yeah check out some downloadables at http://threadspilipinas.multiply.com Some unheard of songs are there. PEACE!!!
Interview done by: SOL
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