Moxie Black Jumps “In the Mix” [DJBooth Interview Exclusive]
For over twenty years, hip-hop was alive and strong with creative artists who consistently delivered equally creative lyrics and glided over hot beats, More recently though, disaster struck – the word “swag” entered into the hip-hop lexicon. Since then, “swag” has been spit, spat, and spun to the point where it’s become offensively cliché, and then some rappers still refuse to let it go. But as our president has said, it’s time for a change - it’s time for us to unify and abandon swag in favor of a little…moxie…
…A little Moxie Black to be specific, and that’s just what the Portland emcee/producer duo intends to deliver. The electro hip-pop brothers-from-other-mothers have a sound that’s unique to just the two of them, and they’re eager to unleash that sound on music lovers everywhere. Since generating buzz on the Booth with previous releases “So Much Better,” “Risky Bizness,” and “Closer,” Moxie is ready to turn that buzz into a full-out alarm with their latest, DJBooth-hosted album How Did This Happen?.
For this exclusive, five-question interview, swag is silenced and Moxie is amplified loudly enough for us to hear them speak about their partnership, inventiveness, and the quickly-approaching release date of their new album.
Judging by the name “Moxie Black,” one might conclude that you two aren’t afraid of showing a little attitude. How does that come across in your music?
Moxie Black is all about taking risks, regardless of how they might be perceived. There are so many rules and expectations in hip hop culture and as a result some of the music has grown stale. A lot of artists seem eager to fit a mold because they're either unoriginal, or too scared to be themselves. We'd rather be chastised for taking risks than assimilate into the crowd. Call us whatever you want, but you can't say that we're stale or cliché... That's Moxie!
Describe your roles within Moxie? Who is iLLA? Who is Dekk?
In musical terms, iLLA is the songwriter/vocalist and Dekk is the producer/arranger. Outside of the lab iLLA is the rockstar, the wildman, the life of the party. Dekk, on the other hand, is the domestic nerd that prefers keyboards and pre-amps over social gatherings. It's a marriage of opposites in many ways, but the fact of the matter is that we get along very well. There is never a dull moment, creatively or out on the town.
Your debut album How Did This Happen? is set to drop in just a few days, but, tell us, how did this happen? How did Moxie Black form?
Everything actually started from a Facebook conversation. We were both familiar with each others solo work, but for what every reason we had never worked together. One day we started going back and forth on Facebook about indie and electro music and eventually ended up saying, "Well, let's make a f*cking album then!" After that we spent about three months drafting and recording references until finally recording all of the tracks in one week. We recorded two albums in six days. It was absolute mayhem!
Do you consider yourselves experimenters, or have you already perfected your blend of hip-hop and electronic music?
It would be cocky to say that we've perfected anything, but this body of work is definitely far from an experiment. This music is honest and well thought out. Moxie Black is a representation of who iLLA and Dekk are without rules. We don't focus on experimenting or being different; we just let our creative inspirations run their course. This time it came out with an electro flare, but that doesn't mean that our next project will be the same. No rules, no limits... Just music.
Do you feel you have the ability to create an entirely new sub-genre of music?
We're not really concerned with that type of stuff because it's completely out of our control. If journalists and fans say we’re part of or created an entirely new sub-genre we will be honored, but until then we're just going to keep pushing the limits, working hard and getting better. That's really all that we can control.
Final thoughts? Confessions? Shout outs?
We definitely want to thank DjBooth.net for their support and interest in our music. It's an honor to be featured on the site. Everybody should know that How Did This Happen? is actually a prequel to our full-length retail LP, We Said We'd Never Do This. We're still carving out a release date for the album, but definitely keep your eye out for it because it's something special. Shout outs to Spread, Coast 2 Coast and iLLababy Ent.
Written by Matty K on 08/17/10
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