The creative landscape is changing. Technologies like Pro Tools, the iPod, and peer-to-peer networks have become mainstream in the digital age, creating a wild frontier of sorts in music. Independent artists can reach mass audiences once forbidden to them. These technologies are fostering the rise of “semiotic democracy”—where more and more people are no longer passive consumers of mass media, but active participants in creating culture. Cops vs Lawyers, Issue 3

السبت، أيلول ١٠، ٢٠٠٥

Lunar Heights: Ital Style

Interview by Jeremy Tanner
Flix by Scott Anderson

Lunar Heights named their last release Crescent Moon (2004) because it suggests the motion from partial to full. The progress to fullness is life itself, and can only be realized with help from the Most High. For this trio of young men, to know Him is to know that fullness.

SHOUT: I was looking through the back of your album and you guys give much love to Jah and reference Rastafarianism. Would you consider yourselves Rastafarian’s?
Sizwe: Yea, it’s not like a strategy to make money, like folks is part-time Rastafarians. We’re trying to bring something pure to the people. We’re trying to touch people’s spirits, touch people’s everything.
Jern Eye: It’s not being a part of it, it’s life, rastafari is life. Jah is the creator, the most high is a creator. So us being children of the most high makes us creators too. Our creativity is music, the heartbeat, the drum—hip-hop. Because to me that’s what hip-hop is; it derives from the drum.
Khai: And in a world like this, so chaotic with things changing every second, Jah is that one thing that’s stable and positive, that you can look to that can inspire you to do something, I think that’s where we can bring hip-hop music to a new level.

And when you listen to other rap songs can you tell if it’s pure?
Jern: You can tell if they feel it, you know when it comes from a good source. When it comes from the heart you can tell.

How can you tell when it doesn’t?
Khai: You listen to it and everything just feels strange. You gotta humble up to speak from the heart. If you’re not humble in your heart when you’re speaking, you can’t speak from the heart—you speak from your alter-ego and that’s some shit that even you don’t believe.

What elements in day-to-day life try to keep you guys from making your music?
Khai: Law-enforcement, 9-to-5’s, having to get the constant paycheck and not being able to focus on your art.
Sizwe: I think having a family. Being responsible for a family kinda slows me down, makes me think wisely about it. I can’t just go overseas on some bullshit, I have to have it together. I can’t just do a show for $50 with a four-man crew.

There’s a lot out there that’s trying to slow you down, what keeps you guys going?
Sizwe: Spirit, man! It’s that person that will wake up and still keep their body in shape, still write a rhyme, go to the studio and lay it down in 30 minutes. It’s that kind of determination; because when you’re working in a collective you’re only as good as the next man.

When you’re not making music, what are you guys doing? Not the job, forget the job, what do you like to do?
Jern: Just hanging out with my girl, watching movies or whatever. I just do the things any regular dude does.
Sizwe: It’s just about being around good people, eating good food, just real-life focusing on real things. Seeing birds, forests, trees. Also training, staying fit. That’s what I like to do in my spare time, be a positive light, organize youth programs.
Khai: There’s families, health care, baby mamas, drugs in the family, a lot of things. So for me, I’m just always trying to be that solid rock that people can look to and be that solid rock for myself to stand firm on.

As far as Lunar Heights goes, you guys are pushing right now. Where do you want to find yourselves in five years?
Jern: We’re universal artists, we’re not just the Bay. We see ourselves in Japan, France, East Coast, West Coast. We want to make that kind of impact musically and still be consistent as artists.
Sizwe: I want to be like, “Damn Khai, are we going on tour again? We about to hit Australia?” But still modest and humble. By the end of those five years we’ll be like okay, word. Khai will probably have like three kids by that time! (laughter)