Could you introduce yourself to those who may not be familiar with you and your music.

I’m sympL one of the members of the hip hop group, Projekt Lotus and vocalist for the live Drum-N-Bass band, droidmotor.

Besides rapping you are into other aspects in the entertainment industry, how do you juggle all the different endeavours without burning out?

SympL__thewordisbondI came into all this with roots in punk rock and the whole DIY ethic – so yeah, we promoted our own shows – then brought other groups from the region and touring through the region.  We recorded our own material and recorded it onto tapes and CDRs and pushed that at our shows – so the whole learning experience was immersive and all-at-once.  As what we were doing grew, booking agencies contacted us – we became one of the targeted spots on tours and a couple years ago, I teamed up with a local booking agency – Audiovisions Entertainment to head up the hip hop end of their spectrum and I shifted from promoting locally to booking regional tours.  Finding a balance has been a constant struggle, however – as I perform solo and with Projekt Lotus as well as occasionally book shows for acts that are touring through the region.  There’s a ton of details in tour-management – budgets for fuel and food, press & promotion, contracts sent here and there, merchandising…  anyone that’s been there, understands the multi-tasking involved.  Any one aspect can be a full-time job when done correctly and often, I’d spend hours on the computer – with windows open in photoshop – designing a tour poster, Excel – updating a tour spreadsheet, itunes – playing a new instrumental, notepad – writing lyrics for said instrumental and drafting performance contracts particular to each stop on a tour, and email, facebook, twitter, and youtube open – updating statuses, fielding messages and emails – some concerning booking, some promotions, some from acts I’ve never heard of trying to be heard.  It’s a juggle for sure – but it’s one that we take on because we must.  Right now, hip hop and the entire music industry is in the hands of the people.  Sleep can wait.

 Any new projects in the works?

Several – as you can probably tell – I keep my plate pretty full.  Let’s see – first, I’ve got a new release with S.C. producer, Mr. Dash – called “Remixes.”  Our first EP, “Truth, Love, and Hunger” was almost exactly 10 years ago.  Originally, we put out the “Hunger” EP grimy CD & sharpie style and I traveled the country pushing it.  Last year, Lovelorn Records in Spartanburg re-released the EP as a digital release with a new cover.  Much like “Hunger,” “Remixed” was done mostly on the fly – and – most of the lyrics had already been written for songs I was working on with other producers.  Ironically, the alternate versions ended up being recorded before most of the originals – so I decided to release the “Remixed” EP first – as a prelude to 6 upcoming solo projects.  Mr. Dash – along with Tavo of Projekt Lotus and Amiri (1/2 of the acclaimed duo, Spectac & Amiri) produced a full-length album for Bukue One, myself, and Anonymous {And.On.I.Must}.  “Universal Boogie – volume 1” was recorded over a 2 week southeast tour last summer.  Bukue One, for those that don’t know, has an extensive resume – he’s managed and toured with the iconic Del the Funky Homosapien for years – as well as working and collaborating with other members of Hieroglyphics, Abstract Rude, Acealone, and others.  Over 2 weeks, we performed at small clubs, listened to the audiobook, “Def Jam Inc,” and collectively watched the series, “Breaking Bad.”  Though we hit a few studios on the way, most of what we did was done w Bukue’s laptop and and an Apogee mic.  Also – last year – Projekt Lotus began releasing our catalog on itunes, Amazon, and Spotify (among other places).  We do have a new EP that’s just been mixed and we’re in the mastering process – hopefully, we’ll be dropping that later this summer.

Aside from music projects, I’ve got a play I’m working on publishing – sort of a psychological thriller.  There’s also a children’s book in the works with the painter Ishmael that I’m excited about – although we’re taking our time with it.

 You have shared the stage with luminaries such as Das EFX, Chali 2na, Cappadonna to name a few. What was the experience(touring and everything else) like? 

Those tours were all important learning experiences – and on many different levels.  I learned how to write contracts based on those I signed for artists we were bringing through.  I learned so much just from being a fly-on-the-wall.  I can tell you this – the main difference I see between people that create as a profession as opposed to amateurs is work.  These guys write and record music every day.  They constantly refine their presentations and are goal – oriented.  Quite a few of them support families and pay mortgages rapping – so – I absorb as much knowledge as I can.  I’ve been very fortunate to be present – on the fringes of major news – from El the Sensei and Tame One reforming The Artifacts a couple years ago to Das EFX’s first US tour in years (and then several Hit Squad shows that made major noise), Projekt Lotus joined Del for a few shows during the buzz created from his highly anticipated Deltron 3030 album, and most-recently, I was on an east coast tour with Cappadonna in the midst of his double-LP on RBC Records and on the ground-level as the Wu-Tang negotiated performances at Coachella and planned the recording of a 20th anniversary album.  At the same time, I was fielding dates with Jurassic 5’s Akil the MC – a tour that went on hold as J5 started announcing dates also – including their reunion show at Coachella also.  Sometimes, it’s surreal being so close to the movement – and as a fan myself, I get excited.  However, I’ve also seen things fall apart.  I won’t mention any names here, but I’ve seen plenty of tours and albums disintegrate based on poor management, organization, and communication.  I feel blessed to have learned from so many pioneers – but I think some of the most sound experience came a couple years ago – working with Chuck Dukowski from the iconic punk band, Black Flag and once co-owner of SST Records.  These guys created the model for independent music and guerilla marketing and it was incredibly educational going through the process with him.  Chuck’s back in the news lately – doing reunion shows w “Flag” – featuring some of the original members of Black Flag and with his band, The Chuck Dukowski Sextet.

 How much of your spoken word background do you inject into rap or do you approach it differently?

I started all this as a writer.  I was a writer and storyteller first.  The lyrics were a denser form of storytelling and although, I’ve dabbled in performance poetry, the scene wasn’t for me.  Not to take anything from those fully-engaged – I’ve seen some amazing performers – that blur the line between theater, stand-up comedy, and spoken word – but it just wasn’t for me.  I’m not an actor and don’t really dramatize my performances – they just are what they are – but the soundscape of a funky beat let’s me get lost in it.

 You had 2 projects on lovelorn records, are you still signed to them or have you moved on to another label?

1338163616_sympL001Lovelorn Records is less industry and more a collective of artists that have all known and worked together for years – and that’s sort of been the point.  The latest compilation from the label sounds like all the artists got together over a weekend and recorded in someone’s living room – there’s a palpable connectivity there.  I met Spartanburg’s Crocker a few years ago and immediately saw his work ethic as being beyond that of hobbyists.  He seemed as hungry as I was.  He wasn’t talking the talk – he was doing what I mentioned earlier – he was working – constantly recording – dropping record after record and releasing material from old homies Krossworde and Hafez – the duo that came to be known as The Lonegunmen.  Those guys have been in this area for over 10 years too and it’s been exciting to be putting out material and promoting each other’s works.  My new EP will be released as a free download on Lovelorn this summer and I’m excited to help build with them – but – my sights are set on eventually working with a label with an international market.  Truth be told, most of the successful artists in this sect of hip hop are seeing their biggest markets overseas.  Not that we don’t get love in the states – but love doesn’t keep the lights on.  Projekt Lotus has spent years organizing our end and we formed an LLC to carry the brand – including our merchandise, touring, and licensing and publishing aspects – as of now, we’re independent – although we work with a distributor, we handle our own promotions.  My interests, however, aren’t in being a booking agent or a promoter.  I’m focused on developing as a recording artist and performer – I’ve just learned the other aspects out of necessity.

 What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?

Again, this has all been an incredible learning experience.  Over 10 years ago, I was brought to a festival in Tampa called Movement.  One of the promoters, my friend April Hunneycut, had me emceeing with a live-electronic act called Nomadix.  We were placed on the main stage of a mulit-stage festival alongside acts such as George Acosta, Inner Circle, The Jungle Brothers, and Cypress HIll.  To date, it’s the largest audience I’ve ever performed in front of – thousands.  My segment was short but when the next act scheduled wasn’t ready, my friends and I went back out on stage and beatboxed and freestyled.  I forgot about the crowd and we had fun – cyphering the same way we cyphered in my living room.  However, leaving the stage, I was approached by several people that wanted to hear more – and at the time, I didn’t have a website, email address, phone number, or business card.  I didn’t have anything recorded and available… it was a party to me, then.  I thought, perhaps, eventually, someone would hear me rap and push a contract in front of me.  I didn’t know how to market myself or promote – or network.  Knot-N-MC or Projekt Lotus was with me at that festival and we just hung out – raiding the artist buffet and meeting the bands Cracker and Soul Asylum, porn star – Ron Jeremy, smoking herb with Cypress Hill, and just being kids.  It was lots of fun – but in retrospect, quite an opportunity that was not taken advantage of.

 What has been your strangest celebrity encounter?

Well, at the Movement Festival – Ron Jeremy was one of the hosts and Knot and I were most concerned with the free food and drink that was available to those with an Artist pass – so we made our way through the maze of backstages into what was then called The Ice Palace in Tampa.  On the way, we ran into the porn star and our meeting was quite brief – as just then we spotted the elevator leading to the buffet (we were both pretty broke and halfway through the day, hungry).  We ran to catch the elevator just as the doors closed and were talking about raiding the spread rather obnoxiously.  The guys behind us laughed at our enthusiasm and we turned around to greet the band, Soul Asylum – on their way to play the indoor stage.  In that one day, we met the reggae band Inner Circle, producer – George Acosta, and the hip hop groups The Jungle Brothers and Cypress Hill.  It was a whirlwind though and I had no idea how to navigate.  It was just – having fun.

 What did your family do to encourage you and is there anyone else in your family into music?

1306244007_sympL3My cousin wrote the Firehouse song, “Love of a Lifetime.”  I had another cousin that toured with The Bodeans.  The coolest connection with my past and my present as far as coming up was that most of what I listened to in middle and high school – punk rock and hip hop – most of which came from skateboarding video soundtracks.  My best friend and I dug for new bands constantly.  He was the first one of my circle of friends to get a car and 93 Til Infinity was pretty much our soundtrack that summer.  Later, he became the lead guitar player in Valient Thorr and the two of us keep in touch – checking out each other’s shows when our schedules align.  If you like rock n roll, then you need to check them out – incredible live band.  I caught them last at The Mercury Lounge in Manhattan last summer and am always blown away by their live show.  But – that was the atmosphere of the little town we grew up in.  Jacksonville NC, aside from the adjacent Marine base, wasn’t much as far as having things to do – so most of my friends made things to do – we threw shows, we made magazines.  It was a sleepy town and we knew it so we brought the world to us and then went out into the world.  Cesar Comanche, one of the founding members of the Justus League with 9th Wonder – grew up in Jacksonville –  as did Edgar Allen Floe.  We hated it growing up – but it stewed some kind of determination within us to go beyond our local confines.

 What are your current fixations?

I’ve got my mind on my money and my money on my mind right now.  I’ve got 3 sons that I’m working hard for and I’ve been a workhorse for over 10 years.  I’m fixated on my goals – finances, personal, and spiritual and everyday – all I see is the prize.  What I want is to be able to provide a good life for my kids and the people I love – snd – that’s been tough

 What was the last LP/cassette/CD/eight track you bought with your own money?

The last CD I bought? – okay okay, my I just told you – “93 til Infinity!”  Iv’e owned that on tape and CD sooo many times.  From beginning to end, it’s a classic record.

 Any secret collaborations in the works? 

 Well – not so secret – but I’ll leak a little more on the Universal Boogie Tour concept.  Bukue One was off tour with Del & the Hiero guys and I set up a few dates around the southeast – then for 2 weeks we wrote and recorded something almost everyday.  What resulted was an 8-song album with production from Bukue himself, Tavo of Projekt Lotus, Mr. Dash, and Amiri of Spectac & Amiri.  I think only a handful of people have actually heard the album so far – but – its purpose was to represent hip hop culture in a way that was intelligent and creative but also fun.

 Last words for the audience tuning in.

Peace to everyone reading this and listening to the noise I make with my friends – we have much more in store!  Stay tuned!  For now, you can find some of my stuff at “” and you can find Projekt Lotus on itunes, amazon, and Spotify.  PL’s producer also hays an instrumental album out on Now Freedom Music under “Ovat365”.  So much out and so much more on the way.  If you like what you hear, get at me – we’ll bring the show to you.  Thanks again, much love

 Thanks for your time and stay sharp.

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