Filed under: Custom Bath Salts Lifestyle,Interviews,Sharking,Video Clips
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
While the music press was busy sweating Das Racist, EP and Matter Ov Fact have been carving-out a loyal following over the last couple of years with their unique brand of Sharking Rap, which combines laid-back beats with often disturbing lyrical content to create a records that don’t sound like anything else right now. Having originally interviewed the crew in 2010, I was only recently able to retrieve the tapes from the FBI to transcribe them, so I built with them again to her about what they’ve been doing since and combined the highlights from both sessions into what is clearly the only Doppz interview yo’ll ever need to read.
Robbie: What set you guys off on this path to make music?
EP: We were part of this big boy band – I don’t even know him! [laughs] Nah, we’ve known each other since little kids, man. Just growing-up, loving raw rap music, always watching videos. It started off, ‘Do you think we can do this?’ then started turning into, ‘Should we try to do this?’ Next thing you know we were doing it – pause. We were like, ‘We have a vision for this, let’s do this for real. We can definitely bring something different than what’s going on right now.’ Especially for dude’s that are our age – we had that more raw sound. Thankfully, it’s been received real well. And definitely have to thank you – after it was on Unkut, it’s crazy how many people were checking for us. You’re definitely the catalyst. We could thank you all day.
It’s good to hear that someone’s actually read the site!
EP: Don’t be humble, man. Your site plays a big part, I think a lot of people check your site, probably more than you realise. Your site is holding it down for music that’s real raw and might get overlooked by a couple of other sites.
So you started making music in high school?
Matter Ov Fact: Nah, we’ve been making stuff since 1998 when we were 11 years-old. E had the Casio keyboard back then, straight recording to the tape deck.
You were a regular Swizz Beatz, huh?
EP: [laughs] I wish my shit sounded like Swizz in ‘98! I would basically record my own drums onto a tape, play that tape back with the drums that I laid down – it’s not like quantised drums, so I’m just programming drums by myself for like four minutes, and then play that tape back into another tape while I’m playing some keys over it, so already it’s starting to dilute the sound of the tape.
Matter Ov Fact: By the time you start rapping over it, there might be some tracks where there’s five people on it – if you’re the fifth person and you fuck up? Then it’s a wrap. That shit’s staying in the recording! Ain’t nobody trying to do record that shit again. You just keep it moving! All that stuff really helped us out along the way. From that we started getting down with the technologies and getting some equipment, and looking back on it it’s nice to have some humble roots like that. I can listen to our old shit on tape and nod to it. Even though it was horrible quality, it wasn’t half bad for our age and what we had to work with.
At what point did you start to play your stuff to other people?
EP: We’ve always been low profile. As far as showing people, it took until college for us to embrace it and be like, ‘Alright, now we know we’re making stuff of a pretty good caliber. Let’s put it out and see how it’s received.’ Some of our friends were into what might be considered more ‘mainstream’ stuff, so we never really had anybody really checking for us. Everybody just really brushed it off.
What was the first rap album you ever bought?
EP: A neighbor of mine showed me Doggystyle, I’ll never forget hearing that but being taken aback by some of the skits. The first CD I ever bought was Busta Rhymes The Coming. Pause.
What about the first live show you saw?
MOF: My first rap show was the Funk Flex Tunnel college tour. I saw The LOX, Redman was supposed to be there but he didn’t make it. There was a bunch of other people but LOX were headlining it, back in 2002. I’d been to an R&B show before that, I had some free tickets and saw Destiny’s Child, Boyz II Men and shit.
EP: That’s when ‘No, No, No’ just dropped. Everyone was trying to have a five-some with Destiny’s Child.
You have a very laid-back sound as far as your beats. Is that deliberate?
MOF: It’s just how we’re feeling at the moment. It just come out how we’re vibing.
EP: It is a representation of us, though. We’re just laid-back dudes. There’s a certain sound that we go for when we’re picking out samples. We’re never ones to flood a beat with a million sounds and hi-hats going crazy. We try to keep the beat smooth and enough to carry a nice groove throughout the track, but really keep it nice and open for the lyrics to shine through on the track. My personal qualm with a lot of beats today is everybody gets hype off a million elements to a song, to the point where vocals are almost drowned out. We try to keep it nice and smooth so we can let the lyrics shine through and get the point of the song across.
I appreciate how the beats distract people from the deviant topics of the lyrics.
EP: We’ve always prided ourselves on – if it’s a sad-sounding beat, to not make a sad song to it. There’s nothing better than sneaking some sick, twisted stuff. We’ll use extreme, disgusting examples to speak on something. We like the idea of extremes – some weird subject matter with some nice, relaxing beat, or vice-versa.
Why were your early releases free?
MOF: We were the new kids, so we wanted to spread it out there without putting a price in your face. We just trying to spread it out like a seed – lyrical gang-bang. A lyrical bukkake!
EP: Just trying to get as much seed spread out on as many faces as possible.
EP: The big thing with us is quality over quantity, we’re not the type of guys to do mixtapes. We’re not gonna give you a million songs, half-assed freestyles we did, unfinished songs. We figured what better way to make that first impact is let’s make the best material we can make and make an album and put that out.
What would you be doing if you weren’t rapping? Watching tentacle porn?
EP: If we weren’t making music, the rest of the day would be spent looking-up women putting small lizards in their orifices.
MOF: It sounds sick, but if we weren’t doing this we’d probably be just acting on some of these weird urges, piping chicks with Louieville Sluggers, giving splinters out and all that.
I feel like the rap game is a lot like the porn game – there used to be like six dudes who could perform, like Ron Jeremy, so they knew what they’re doing and how to handle the talent. Now any douche from the gym can pop a couple of blue pills and you can be a porn star.
MOF: That’s a great analogy. In both genres, you’ve got a lotta people who are just setting-up shop in their cribs and producing something.
What do you between internet porn and making music?
MOF: We’re just hitting-up brothels.
EP: You’ve gotta pay to play! Or go up to Hunts Point and pick-up a nice lady of the night A nice street-walker. A day in the life, man.
MOF: Are you familiar with sharking?
When you randomly pull women’s tops down in public?
MOF: Yeah. We do that shit.
EP: We called the album Lone Sharks for the fact that we’re some lonesome pieces of shit who have nothing better to do than go out and embarrass a woman by pulling her top down and filming it. You can only spank it so much, then you have to go outside and seek some high and low shark action.
Do you guys hit the booze much?
MOF: Me personally, I don’t go to the liquor cabinet, I go to the bathroom cupboard. I get that rubbing alcohol, son.
Do you get pissed-off when you get labelled as ‘Stuck in the 90’s’?
EP: We’re heavily influenced by the rap music that had the most impact on us, which was from the 90’s. We’re not trying to be labelled ‘True School’ or none of that. We’re just doing the Doppelgang sound – it’s some weird, raw, out-this-world shit. We’re just a sucker for a dirty-ass sample with some raw drums, but by no means is this ‘Let’s bring it back, guys!’ Let’s not bring anything back. We’re forward moving.
What do you do for money between rap shows?
EP: I broke my leg on purpose so I could be on disability.
MOF: It’s whatever it is to get a buck by any means. If I’ve gotta whore myself out to some hideous looking chicks, that’s a quick $10 right there.
What about those bored housewives? Wouldn’t cougars pay better?
EP: I like those cougars, ‘cos they’re not very judgemental. All my experiences with women my age – and trust me, it hasn’t been a lot of experiences – have ended up with me crying at the end and some chick laughing at me.
What about medical testing? They just inject you with stuff for a few weeks and check if your hair falls out.
MOF: That’s a good look right there.
How was Hip-Hop Kemp?
MOF: It was dope, man. We were just walking around, sharking chicks all day. They had showers there and everything, so we had the binoculars, so we were just scoping and all that. We got the grocery bags with the cameras facing upwards.
What’s the story with the new album?
EP: It’s going to be out next March, it’s called Hark. We’ve been in a different mode lately, I don’t know if we’ve ever had this much material that’s this aggressive. It’s just the mind-frame that we’ve been in. It’s not as laid back as Lone Sharks. Musically it’s a little more experimental, just been having fun with cool new techniques we’ve been messing around with.
Based on the end of ‘Whole Wide World’, is it fair to assume that you’re starting an anti-veal movement of some kind?
MOF: It’s nice to be able to let the whole world in on the little bullshit conversations that we have on the regular. We’re definitely looking forward to letting people in on the shit we’ve been talking about recently, ‘cos we’re been talking hella bullshit out here!
Any lawsuits for those razor-laced apples you were handing out?
EP: So far, so good. Most of the people that we gave them to, since we were in Times Square, were not residents of the state. Probably all foreigners, so I don’t know if they can track us down, and who knows if they can even speak now? So all’s well, right now.
That’s reassuring to hear. Has anyone been hitting you guys up for beats?
EP: Not really, I don’t know if people really care for our sound. [laughs] I think we give off a self-contained type feel, and maybe people think they don’t know if they should ask. There’s a few factors that may set-in – some people don’t know we do our own beats, still. And I think the other thing is maybe ‘cos we don’t go out of our way to hunt people down on the production side of things, maybe people feel we aren’t interested in collabing in that sort of sense. We’d be open to it.
I saw some pictures of vinyl editions of your albums? Was that official?
EP: That’s HHV, a German distribution company that we go through for vinyl. They ship internationally too.
What’s been the highlight since we last spoke?
EP: This year has been all-new experiences for us – we’ve never done a one-month tour before, then go back out to Hip-Hop Kemp. The whole year has been crazy for us.
What inspired the remastered release of 2012?
MOF: We did a small run back in 2010 but it was pretty much non-existent, so we figured it would be a perfect time to remaster it up and have it in abundance so that anybody who wants it can get it.
How did you go out in Amsterdam?
MOF: It was pretty quick, we were in and out of there. We didn’t have a chance to have the full Amsterdam experience, so we’re looking forward to get back out there. Paris is dope, Berlin, Cologne. I pick-pocketed some people out there. I was bumping into people, they thought it was all good and I and them Euros!
You’ve made a lot of videos over the last two years. Do you think that’s been big part of expanding your audience?
EP: Because we chose not to put out fifty songs at a time and we don’t like to over-saturate on the music realm of things, so we figure we’re going to make-up for it with the songs that we cared about, that went on an album for a reason, we’re going to make videos for that. It allows us to flex out other creative side. That’s our way of making up for content instead of releasing fifty mixtapes.
Any plans to expand the merchandising beyond clothing into more disturbing products?
MOF: For the ladies, we’re gonna have a straight-up mold of our genitalia.
EP: I don’t know how pleasurable my mold will be. My mold will only be for die-hard fans who have no qualms with really, really small…let’s not get into it. Matt may fare a little bit better than me, I don’t know.
I’m glad that you pointed out that you don’t know about his mold size…
EP: My mold will be a flesh q-tip. Hopefully my partner in rhyme will hold down the fort for me.
MOF: We definitely tryin’ to get those designer cloaks in the stores. We’ve seen cats wearing cloaks before in the crowd, so if we could be a nice hub to supply them with a quality cloak, then we will. The cloak game is not easy to get into. Once we have our cloak game proper, we’ll get ‘em in the stores.
Maybe do a Dapper Dan type thing where you line them with old Gucci handbags.
MOF: Louie cloaks, Gucci cloaks, all that.
I want royalties off of that idea though.
MOF: I’ll send you five cloaks for free.
EP: I can’t believe you went for that deal.
What can I say, I’m the Lyor Cohan of the rap internets.
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