411 Music Interview: Apathy
Posted by Bill Wannop on 08.15.2011
411mania.com had a chance to sit down with underground rapper Apathy. Listen as he discusses his upcoming album Honkey Kong, working with DJ Premier, fans showing respect, original ideas for releasing albums, dealing with depression, parting ways with Atlantic Records, plus much more!
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Apathy is a rapper from Connecticut who has seen his ups and down in the music business. He was at one time signed to Atlantic Records, where he witnessed first hand the politics involved in the music business. His debut album was constantly delayed and at the end of the day he parted ways with the label, simply because he could not come to an agreement in terms to the direction his music should take. Apathy decided, in order to have complete control over his sound he would have to stay underground and independent. He has started to garner some attention with his latest album Honkey Kong set to drop on August 23rd. The album features some of the top artists and producers in hip hop today, including DJ Premier, Ill Bill, DJ Muggs, Xzibit, Celph Titled and more. We had a chance to sit down with Apathy for an interview regarding his upcoming album. You can listen to the entire interview or read the transcript below.
Your new album, Honkey Kong comes out August 23, tell us a little bit about the album.
Apathy: It's an album that goes to my hardcore roots, its hardcore hip hop. I tried to make the album as classic as possible. I worked with a ton of producers, artists I look up to, respect and in some cases idolize, you know? So this album for me has been kind of a dream come true.
You have been getting more and more into the production end of your music. Why have you started working more on the production side of music?
Apathy: On Wanna Snuggle, I produced the majority of the album. I have actually taken a backseat on this album. On Wanna Snuggle, I produced 80% of the album, and on this one I wanted to slow it down and work with other people.
People don't really know me for my production, but i do tons and tons of production that people are not really aware of like for Cypris Hill, I worked with Scoop Deville on a Busta Rhymes record that hasn't come out yet. I think people sleep on it for the most part. I love production, I mean that's my favourite thing, but I think it has yet to be seen as something that I do, since people right now notice me more for the rap.
Would you say that you like production better then rapping?
Apathy: Ya I think now, because with rap I'm so desensitized to it and I'm so used to it then production. I have more fun doing production. I have more fun with putting little sounds, and doing little things and sequencing. Not every time, but most of the time when you hear a beat and I work with a producer, I do a lot of shit anyway, I will do post production, I am very, very hands on in a Dr. Dre type way. It s never to the point where I get a beat from somebody and rock over it and they just produce it, I am a super doper hands on artist.
You have a record on Honkey kong, "Stop What Your Doing" which is produced by DJ Premier. How did you and Premier hook up?
Apathy: Premier had played my records in the past, first of all let me say that Premier is like my biggest dream in hip hop, he is my favourite producer of all time. If I had a top 10 list, Premier occupies like the first three spots, like number 1, 2, and 3 is Premier. The biggest thing is that he played my records and he had heard my records because DJ Eclipse had really put him onto my shit. Then DJ Eclipse facilitated a meeting at one point. I met Premier at a show and Premier had given me props for the record I did with B-Real over the Mike Shinoda beat, "Shoot First" with Celph Titled on it. Premier said he loved that record and had been playing that record, and he asked when we were going to do a record. I said are you kidding me, as soon as possible. So DJ Eclipse helped facilitate that whole thing as well and hooked that up and then Prem and I stated to build and talk, and I established a relationship with Premier and it was unbelievable.
So did you have the idea for the sample on the hook or how does it work when premier makes a track for you?
Apathy I don't know what he does for other artists, but for that specific song I asked him to do that hook, the stop what your doing Humpty Hump, I asked him if that could work. What ended up happening is he sent me a beat first that was a very interesting, a chill piano beat, and I liked it, it was dope, but it just wasn't what I was going for on the album. It didn't match my style so I asked him if he could send me something else and he sent me another beat, which was, I told him what I wanted, in something crazy, blow your head off pump up the crowd, super energy joint so then he hooked up "Stop What Your Doing" and I came with him for the idea for the hook and he cut up the hook and that s how it happened.
You have released your first video from the album, "Check To Check", do you have any more plans to make some videos?
Apathy: Definitely, Celph Titled is flying up here in mid August and we are going to do a video for "Stop What Your Doing". We are going to hook up with Premier, we gonna do that video that is going to be crazy, that's going to be done by Ricky Shabazz and the boom bap boy. I also did a video that my man Open Mike did for "Peace Connecticut" off the album.
I definitely plan on doing more, and I am going to more I just haven't decided which i want to do now. I definitely want to do a video for the DJ Muggs track "Fear Itself", I got a whole bunch of people stepping to me for videos I just haven't decided which one i want to do and which ones will be the best.
The track "It's Only Hip Hop" has you talking about how fans act when they approach you and your interactions with fans. What has been your strangest interaction you have had with a fan?
Apathy Ummm my strangest interaction with a fan just happened recently, I've had a whole bunch of stuff that's just been odd, i was just out in Europe and the dudes will come up to you and ask you for a sip of their drink. It's definitely a different social cultural practise, it was definitely shocking. I had some really weird shit, recently there was a show there was just a chick, just a fan, she was just very odd, she was kind of overstepping her bounds in some cases, like my girl was there at the show and shit, and things were just getting weird. I think she was on some type of drug. She kept asking me if i liked all her clothes and all her stuff, it was just tripped out. That was probably my weirdest, I don't want to get into too much detail and reveal who that is, but was very odd shit. That song is not just about weird interactions with fans, it's just about a generalized idea about how certain fans, just overstep their boundaries in terms of cockiness, like coming up to me being like ‘what's up Chad?', I'm like ‘Yo I didn't fucking grow up with you, i don't know you like that, I have no idea why you are calling me Chad right now.' I don't dislike my own name but you don't know me like that.
It's just about being professional
If fans order your new album Honkey Kong from online, they will also receive the free Primate Mindstate EP. Tell us a little about that album.
Apathy:Primate Mindstate is songs that i had either done earlier or songs that didn't fit in with Honkey Kong. Mostly that's what it is, they just didn't fit in with Honkey Kong. They are dope ass songs, like I got a song I did on there with Scoop Deville, I got a song I did with Eternia and Diabolic produced by Moss, I got other songs I previously released, like "Make Alotta Money" and "East Coast Rapist", but for the most part its just songs that didn't fit into the sequencing , that I wish could have made it onto Honkey Kong, but for one reason or another didn't make it on there.
You are also releasing the album on a special beeper style USB. Why did you decide to do that?
Apathy: Yup. When I did my group Get Busy Committee we did a USB of the album in the shape of an uzi, the album was called Uzi Does It, I just wanted to just continue releasing clever things, for the buyer that is a little more interesting things for kids to cop, I mean you can just drop cd's and shit, but that gets boring, and tired after a while. I mean I wanted to do something fresh and fun, and the era of the beepers was a real dope time period, in the 90's if you had a beeper that was some fly shit, so i just wanted to have fun and put the album on something that looked fresh, so I did something original.
At the end of the album you have the posse cut "Army of the Gods". Is that somewhat of a prelude to the upcoming Demigodz album?
Apathy: Yup. No not really, I mean those are my people and my family and i just wanted to have a joint that was like, you know my biggest inspiration for that was back in the day, on Busta Rhymes first solo album, he was doing "Flipmode Meets Def Squad". It was mad people on it, and I wanted a joint like that. It's not every Demigod and it's not everyone in Army of the Pharaohs, but it's a lot.
Are you working on a new Demigodz album?
Apathy: The New Demigodz album is almost done, in fact when I'm done here I am going to be going back to work on that shit.
So are you planning for a 2012 release?
Apathy: Ya 2012, I don't think we have enough time for this year, to get everything ready and start a campaign, definitely not, so that's going to be a 2012 project.
The Demigod lineup has somewhat changed over the years. Who all is officially in the group?
Apathy: Officially in the group is myself, Celph Titled, Esoteric, Motive, Ryu and Blacistan on the main rap beats.
You also have another group, Get busy Committee with Scoop Deville and Ryu. You guys have released some singles from the upcoming GBC album, any word on when that is coming out?
Apathy: I have idea on what the status of the album is, I have no idea, it's kind of up in the air right now, I have no clue. We started working on this album like a year ago, I'm not really sure if it's done or if its getting mixed, if they are adding more songs, right now i have no clue.
You guys released a video for the first single off the album, "Opening Ceremony", which featured you in a mask. Was that really you in the video?
Apathy: No that was not me.
Why were you not in the video?
Apathy: At that time I had a real big issue. I went from touring to being normal. I was fine. I was touring I was heading to Europe to do a festival show, that's why I went back, all of sudden I think, I don't know if it was just stress, I got stress in my life with ummm, you know my father has a health thing a cancer thing and issue and all the other stress from doing music and then not sleeping right, not eating right. I had like a little meltdown, a break down, and I started having panic attacks like super, super severe like anxiety disorder panic. What ended up happening is that I went to the doctor and the doctor ended up prescribing me some type of medication, to combat depression, but that made it worse, way worse. I went crazy. So I went from being fucked up with anxiety to being out of my fucking mind where I couldn't even go out to my mailbox to get my mail. Like literally I felt panicked and fucked up and felt crazy it was unreal to me. It was like being on, almost like having a bad high, from when you wake up almost until you go to sleep. It was overwhelming so at that point, they wanted to do the video and I let them know I couldn't do it, they were like yo come out here we will try to get you help out here, I just couldn't do it. I was even willing to you know try to shot my parts out here and somehow mix it into the video, but they just wanted to go ahead and you know shot the video, so they put somebody with a mask on.
So you are releasing Honkey Kong on you and Celph Titled's label?
Apathy: Yup, me and Celph's label, its called Dirty Version records.
Why did you guys decide to do that? I know you were at one time signed to Atlantic Records, what happened at Atlantic?
Apathy: That was a long time ago, we just couldn't come to terms. They wanted me to do some whack shit and I didn't want to do it, and I wasn't willing to compromise. I didn't want to sell out, I didn't want to do corny shit, I wasn't willing to do that. The way the fans like my music, I didn't want to do the corny shit, so I decided not to. Me and Celph, why are we putting stuff out ourselves? That's the best way to do it, there is no middle man, there is nobody in our pockets, I always get fans who ask me, ‘Yo what do you get the most money from itunes or from buying cds, what's better for you?', and I'm like ‘Both, it all goes to me'. All the support goes to me, you know what I'm saying? With out label, we are in complete control, we are going to be putting out our people, our crew members and friends, so it's a no brainer.
Would you ever sign to a major label again?
Apathy: No, they cant give me anything that I would want and I m not willing to do what they would want for it to make sense for all of us to make money. There is no reason, people don't get it, just because you are signed to a major label, the major label doesn't swoop you up and put you in front of the world, They have to be able to make a tremendous amount of money from you and how are they going to make that tremendous amount of money if they are going to invest that money? You have to do some sell out shit, you have to do some poppy shit, you have to do something big, and if you don't do that then you are not being successful. You may be in front of everybody, but you owe money, you're not making any money and it's just a whack situation and you're always stressed and I don't want that I would rather be indie and do my own things and do it on my own terms.
Once your release the album, do you have any plans for a tour to support it?
Apathy: We are going to tour here and there, we are going to try to throw together more tours and everything. We don't have anything concrete right now.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else you wanted to add?
Apathy:Honkey Kong, August 23rd, and Dirty Version records. We got Celph Titled's album coming out, we have Demigodz, Motive, Blacastan, so we are on it.
To order Honkey Kong or for more information on Apathy visit his website or follow Apathy on facebook