Interview w/ PTP – Purple Tape Pedigree

If you visit this site reguarly¬†Note¬†and Geng Grizzly are familar faces by now. They’ve both had style profile features here in the past and I recently reviewed some beers with them in the recent Craft Beer Goons joint. Between the events, new releases through Purple Tape Pedigree and their weekly radio show Fresh Out the Box¬†it’s safe to say the homies got alot on their plate.

Later this week I’ll be dropping an official Third Looks mix by Geng Grizzly. Come celebrate it’s release this Saturday July 13 at DWMS2¬†where I will be hosting alongside some musical heavy ¬†hitters. There will be performances by Young Gleesh, Grande Marshall and DJ Sets by Geng, Mista Whoa, Tommy Kruise and Farrington G. This is one you will NOT want to miss. All the details on the event can be found HERE.¬†

To shed a little more light on both prolific members of PTP , I sat down with the homies and interviewed them on some key topics including  personal style, favorite film and their current taste in music. 

Read the full feature after the jump

The PTP personal archives stretches past music and touches onother mediums: movies in particular being one of the major ones. What flicks have been doing it for you of late and what classics do you always go back to?

Note: I’m watching cyberpunk stuff again lately — THX 1138, Blade Runner, Ghost In the Shell and Akira. And checking Japanese cinema I missed out on — Ecstasy of the Angels, Late Spring, Tokyo Drifter and Pale Flower.¬† Classics I’m always down to revisit are the older crime and neo noir joints. Le Samourai, Rififi, Breathless, Blast of Silence, High and Low, Pickpocket, The Conformist, and Mamma Roma.

Geng: As far as joints I can always rock?  Plenty, really, but the John Woo/Chow Yun Fat prime shit (A Better Tomorrow 1 & 2, The Killer, and Hard Boiled), Blade Runner, Caddy Shack, The Big Lebowski, Full Metal Jacket and classic anime shit like Akira, Ghost In The Shell, Ninja Scroll, Fist Of The North Star, and the Running Man short from Neo Tokyo.

What visual inspirations help guide the PTP brand from both the creative direction and a graphic design level?

Note: I’ve looked at a lot jazz, funk, and older rap single covers for inspiration. They’re not the best technically but I like the raw, DIY aspect and the strange typefaces. I want our material to be presentable but I also like breaking the rules of design that I was taught and going against the grain.¬† Branding and visuals are extremely important now — along with a formidable sound, you have to come with a particular look that’s honest to your movement and intriguing to potential fans. I think we’ve done that so far, we just have to continue to expand our look correctly to other elements such as project covers, apparel/merchandise, music/promotional videos, etc.

Geng: I’m really looking for any music or artist that seems unique and authentic,¬†no matter what genre the music’s from. If elements seem forced or is ¬†total rip of another sound, that’s an automatic no go for me.¬†An artist that’s comfortable with themselves and good with opening up about¬†their past, their creative process, their situation in general, and is¬†outspoken with their opinions makes for the most interesting interviews —¬†anyone that sticks to cliche answers can be difficult to interview, even if¬†the music’s good.

While we’ve been involved in plenty of events over the years, we’ve only¬†started to do certified PTP outings this year (the third is actually THIS¬†SATURDAY at 285 Kent – DWMS2). We’ve had visuals at each of these, and¬†not on some, Paid in Full projected-on-the-wall-of-the-bar bullshit.¬†¬†Note, Whoa, and I talk about what would be pretty fucked up to see behind¬†our gorgeous figures. That contrast. It’s usually not anything too obvious, but if it is extracted from something “iconic,” we try to give it¬†a spin and strip it of context rather than just looping the dance scene¬†from Pulp Fiction (although that still WOULD be pretty cool). While we¬†deal mostly with audio, adding the visual element (whether on-screen or¬†live) in a manner that’s cohesive to our brand (read: “not sweet”) is¬†crucial as we grew up in the age of buying shit in the store off of ill¬†cover art (whether comic book, movie, or a record). It just made the¬†product that much more memorable if the presentation was fully there.

With so much new music in the pipeline at all times of the year, what tends to catch your ear? What qualities or skills make an artist worth interviewing and profiling?

Note:¬†I’m really looking for any music or artist that seems unique and authentic,¬†no matter what genre the music’s from. If elements seem forced or is a¬†total rip of another sound, that’s an automatic no go for me.

An artist that’s comfortable with themselves and good with opening up about¬†their past, their creative process, their situation in general, and is¬†outspoken with their opinions makes for the most interesting interviews —¬†anyone that sticks to cliche answers can be difficult to interview, even if¬†the music’s good.

Geng: It’s the same answer all-around: that sliver of uniqueness and,¬†hopefully, a cohesive aesthetic. For instance, on some rap shit,¬†“incredible lyricism” isn’t what I’m looking for in 2013. I’d much rather¬†you make really entertaining songs with 3-word bars and a shitload of¬†personality, because I don’t have time to Google fact check every weird¬†reference to Egyptian history you are fucking up whilst trying to sound¬†smart and cultured. I think a lot of the ignorant street shit comes from a¬†place that is far more genuine, even if it is a complete embellishment of¬†the truth. I mean, it’s pretty backwards to talk about getting bricks off¬†anyway, so why not get high-budget with the cinematics and ship metric¬†tons?! Even Nas, who prolly never made a felony move in his life, made¬†running in a church with guns a picture worth imagining. I’ll take alla¬†that over some self-important dickhead basing style points on shit he/shepaid for in hired help (rap stylists, ahoy!).

There are so many ways to¬†rap now, I can’t pinpoint it, but an interesting way of telling your story¬†whether through cool wordplay, saying hard shit in autotune, making¬†hilarious fishing videos while brandishing the name “Gunplay” (probably a¬†combo of all the aforementioned) is definitely a good start to me.

Both of you dress in a way that incorporates vintage pieces and staples (army surplus etc) but alongside newer designers. How did you find a way to mix your gear up in a concise way?

Note: I’m methodical with my purchases, I always think about how I can incorporate stuff into my wardrobe (not just one particular outfit) before getting it and making sure it’s something that I’ll actually be comfortable wearing. I’m also not loyal to any particular brands (sorry brands), I see¬†specific items that I like and track them down. A lot of designers release rehashed vintage pieces anyway, so if you can take the time to research and dig around, you can save yourself dough and get the real real deal.

Geng: That contrast, that contrast, that contrast. ¬†Honestly, it’s completely boring to be “off the rack” with it. ¬†Why the fuck would you be damn near head-to-toe in the same 1-2 designers (unless you’re getting paid to do so)? ¬†I’m supposed to be in awe because the shit’s overpriced and currently trending in rap verses? ¬†You’re still buying your style. ¬†It could be Rick Owens or J. Crew, it really doesn’t matter, I’d give you way more respect if it was about making some “low brow” shit like a Champion sweatsuit look stylish. ¬†As a matter of fact, I’m all about sweatsuits and fine dining. ¬†Miss me with that Piti Uomo “street style” shit. ¬†A buncha guys in suits is just that, no matter if it’s the Thom Browne leg or someone pushing the limit with a camouflage bowtie. ¬†I see that costume party shit and feel like doing nothing but the complete opposite. ¬†I’m fine with making my own zone of comfort in being “untailored.” ¬†Playing with the balance of silhouette, patterns, and intended function? ¬†That’s that real splashy shit.

Reflect on some of your favorite moments on-air (Fresh Out the Box) and share some stories that  stick out.

Note: One of my favorite moments from the show is the night we had G-Side, Boog, and Mummz rapping live on air. We had a lotta family in the studio that night. When Boog dropped the infamous “chop the grams in my man’s basement / chop ya mans in my gram’s basement” line, everybody was bugging out — especially ST 2 Lettaz. It was fun to see everybody (including our guests) amped like that.

Geng: When we had Gunplay in the studio.¬† That shit was amazing.¬† We were in a 4-story walk-up and dude came through dolo, chain out, with a cup from his hotel from the otherside of the bridge.¬† He was making jokes the moment he hit the stairwell!¬† “Uhhh, hello?!?!?¬† Is this a set up?!¬† This looks a lot like a set up!”¬† He got some free weed from our homey and did The Robot (dance), plus he really was super humble and cool.¬† The second?¬† Fuck, I dunno.¬† Too many.¬† Despot was great because he’s one of my oldest friends who I can say would’ve been a desired guest regardless of previous comradery.¬† Also, funny as shit and definitely one of the best live raps we’ve ever had.¬† Another classic live freestyle was G-Side meeting our fam Harlem Boog and Mummz.¬† Bars!¬† But damn, Rome Fortune and Childish Major?!¬† Gorgeous Children?!?!¬† Man, too much in the archives.

 What do you want to offer the PTP audience that you think the game (or NYC) is missing?

Note: The website, the events we put on, the mixes, and the weekly radio show are¬†all well curated. For anyone looking to keep up with music or come to one¬†of our parties — we offer a gateway that the consumer can trust. Also, there’s no bullshit politics involved with any of our offerings, so you¬†don’t have to worry about being exposed to unworthy nonsense.

Geng: We aren’t dick suckers, dick eaters, divas, nor will we get beeped¬†off of that polygraph. ¬†Anyone who checks in recognizes that immediately,¬†and if someone says otherwise, it means that they are heartbroken. ¬†We¬†thrive to push forward and love the challenge of living up to the whole¬†“ahead of the curve” rep others have thrown over us. ¬†Our interests are¬†pretty varied, so assigning some form of tangibility to that amorphous¬†quality, boxing it up all nice-like for you lovely people, keeps us on our¬†well-ventilated feet.

Is it validating to know that you’ve been interviewing and¬†collaborating¬†with artists who are very much up and coming but starting to¬†see increased industry attention/success?

Note: I’m fully confident in our ear for music and I’m glad to see artists (that¬†I’m first and foremost a fan of) doing well and able to continue to do¬†their thing. I want all of those dudes to be successful in their crafts.¬†Being slightly ahead of the pack and bringing attention to certain artists¬†has helped our name spread too.

Geng: Not “validating” per se, just glad that these guys are now able to¬†start living off of their art. ¬†We enjoy staying abreast on shit because we¬†grew up doing that. ¬†It’s in our DNA at this point. ¬†The thing is, most¬†folks either fall back to relying on past accomplishments because they’ve¬†started to get substantial amounts of money and it’s easier to stop
caring/working so hard, or those, especially above 25, get caught up in¬†trying to relive a past era…eighteen years later.

Any dream interview or collaboration that you would want to happen?

Note: I like to play UK road rap and grime on the show and it’d be proper to¬†interview some of those artists — Giggs, Blade Brown, Chronik, Cas, Big H.¬†I don’t think any of ’em have made radio appearances stateside yet.

Geng: Bill Murray at this pork spot in Chinatown.

For more you can visit PTP website HERE, Fresh Out the Box Radio HERE. Accompanying splashy visuals on the PTP tumblrs HERE and HERE.

Photos by Rocky Li