Written by: Alejandro Rodriguez, Special to CC2K
CC2K’s Alejandro Rodriguez talks with K-Murdock and Random, the men behind the new album Super Famicom.
What drew you two together to work on Forever Famicom?
K-Murdock: Really it came from me hearing Ran’s Mega Ran album in 2007 and reaching out, we started working with “The Beatdown” off his Patches & Glue EP as the initial collaboration and then I pitched the idea to him about FF and the 2 and half years later… its HERE!
Random: Well, with both of us having so much in common, and being fans of each other’s work, we went from one collab to another, until we just decided to go all the way through with an album.
What would you say are your most important musical idols when growing up? Anyone who some may feel are out of left field?
K-Murdock: For me it was A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, never had I seen artist I could identify with, they rapped about a range of stuff but came off as regular dudes, I appreciated their creativity and individuality and try and do the same with my own music. Meeting and interviewing them in the last 3 years was a dream come true, and they were just as cool as I hoped they’d be too.
Random: Being raised in Philly, I was hugely inspired by the soul music movement, which led me to being a huge Motown fan.. Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, etc. later, when Hip-Hop became a huge influence, I always loved LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Gangstarr, KRS-One, Rakim. But, there are definitely some influences that most would consider out in left field: Mozart, Bach and Vivaldi. Classical music is probably my second favorite genre of music
What are some of the video games that you look back with the most nostalgia? Do you think that they stand the test of time? Were there any game themes that you wanted to put in the album but didn’t?
K-Murdock: I’ll always remember getting my first NES with SMB for X-mas and my mom also got me Zelda with the gold cartridge… I was in heaven… started console gaming then in 86 and never looked back. I can honestly say I remember more about how grueling a task it was to find the powerbombs in Super Metroid than most of the stuff I did my freshman year of high school. As for themes, we got a good mix of classic and cult games but I’m always remembering new ones that I bookmark for future projects!
Random: The best thing about the NES was the longstanding memories it gave me… Discovering Samus was a female. The first time I beat Super Mario 2, I grabbed my tape recorder, put it next to the TV and recorded the music for 5 minutes.
There were plenty of games we didn’t cover, perhaps if the demand is great enough, we can work on a sequel… maybe
Did you want to move away from the concept album themes that you did for Mage Man or did you just feel like Forever Famicom would be the next step for you?
Random: Well, Mega Man will be there, especially if Capcom keeps releasing new retro games, haha. I know that fans will always expect a Mega Ran project, but this is the next evolution. I want to be known as a complete artist, and in order to do this, I have to continue to be well rounded, and to be Random, no pun intended.
Did either of you find it hard to work together because of how far away you are from each other or scheduling conflicts?
K-Murdock: Technology is a beautiful thing, it has allowed many people who are geographically challenged to still collaborate and this album is a testament to it. The cool thing was we really hung out the first time after the album was done down at SxSW in March, so that was a nice way to finally catch up!
Random: Nah, Kyle is probably the only guy I ever met who works as hard as I do. People don’t know how I have time to write music and prepare lesson plans and teach, but I don’t know how K-Murdock can make beats for Panacea, make beats for Forever Famicom, log major hours on Final Fantasy XII, and mix and master projects for labels and artists. Amazing.
When did your fascination with video game music begin? Do you think being a radio host has strengthened your love for old school video game music?
K-Murdock: I’ve always been intrigued by VGM, growing up I really was fixated on the music Yuzo Koshiro made, he and Tommy Tallarico were the best to do it in my eyes and ears, and in the later years I started admiring Uematsu’s work in the Final Fantasy series… his scoring is just amazing! I’m not sure if my radio background impacted my affinity for game music as so much as just my interest in making music and loving videogames… my ultimate goal is to score a Final Fantasy RPG and do it my style ya know, really change it up!
What do you feel Forever Famicom stands amongst either of your previous works? Are there any tracks that you feel are the best amongst the others?
K-Murdock: I feel FF stands just as tall as any Panacea release I’ve done, I’m very proud of it and feel it will impact both the nerdcore scene and hip-ho scene equally. As an album, I like it for the fact that each track is special but cumulatively, they all make 1 even more special whole… kinda like a videogame score, there’s always more memorable themes within the game but each piece of music makes for one big score as they each play a role, that’s how I feel about our 14 track album!
Random: I put this up against anything I’ve ever put together. I can’t say its better or worse than any, but I’m so proud of it. It’s the album I’ve wanted to make for a long time, but didn’t know it. It’s The Call, Mega Ran, Mega Ran 9 and The 8th Day all together… it’s every piece of me, and I’ve never thought I’d be able to put that together at the same time.
You say that Forever Famicom is not a nerdcore album. Do you feel that your previous Mega Ran albums are nerdcore because of their themes?
Random: I’ve never said FF isn’t a nerdcore album. Nerdcore is free to claim the album, as are hip hop heads, hard core gamers, and such. I don’t know if every nerdcore fan is going to recognize what I did on the 1st verse of “For the Gamers.” I don’t know if every hip-hop head will appreciate the beat changeup and content on the last verse of the same song. I make music from my heart, soul and brain. I can’t determine or worry about who’s going to love or hate or accept or classify the music. I do know this: Mega Ran and Mega Ran 9 would not have been as successful as they were critically or commercially if not for the support of the nerdcore community. Nerdcore is home to some of the most creative, genuine, smart and passionate individuals that I’ve EVER met in the music business, and I’m thankful and proud to be associated with it.
What does music do for you as individuals?
K-Murdock: Well, currently, it allows me to make a living and that’s all I have ever wanted from it; there’s nothing better than doing what you love and it allowing you to do even bigger things or make other dreams come true, it’s a great and humbling feeling ya know? Without music, my life would be… well…. My life!
Random: Music is my anti-drug. It’s my release. It’s my existence. If no one ever heard my music and never decided to support it, I’d still make songs in my room, and I’d still stay up all night rehearsing and reworking songs.
Are there any other concept albums either of you want to work on in the future? Possibly a Batman or Total Recall album?
K-Murdock: Wow, Total Recall, that’s a crazy idea actually. I know for a fact we will be doing more conceptual albums, and I think based on how Forever Famicom does, we may revisit the main competitor of Nintendo during the late 80s and 90s… and that’s all I’ll say for now…
Random: Wow! Well my next project will be a concept record, but it’ll be an original story, my own. I love music and I love being creative, so if it’s one thing I’ve ever learned it’s not to rule out anything… so stay tuned!