For the first installment of our interview series we reached out to Vinyl Villain, a high rising talent representing one of the finest scenes in Hip Hop. Our connection was not the greatest for the podcast, so this will serve as an accompaniment to our conversation.
RD: Are you born and raised in Boston?
VV: North Shore, I grew up in Reading which is about 20 minutes north of the city.
RD: You have a full time job, do you shop any of your work as a side hustle?
VV: Not at all, I dont sell my music. I had some money coming in from my job, and invested in myself. That afforded me the ability to be more selective with who I work with, and gave me at much more say in the outcome of the final song. There are plenty of outlets where you can lease or sell a beat, but no real connection is being made between the vocal talent and producer. My ultimate goal as the producer is quality, and a big part of that is working with mc’s that fit a certain profile.
RD: What if the right opportunity came along, perhaps someone that saw one of your IG clips and reached out?
VV: I’m open for collabs, but it has to come from a place of respect. The situation has to be right, it would just have to feel comfortable.
RD: Your instrumentals tend to feature a movie clip intro, with the music slowly building up. What inspired that?
VV: Often times its the film itself, when you watch a Casino, or a Goodfellas, it invokes a certain set of emotions in you. I want my music to do that for the listener, give you that cinematic feel. My friend Billy Loman had a similar observation about my stuff. I went to school for audio engineering, and one of the classes had us soundtrack movie clips. It really gave me an appreciation for that field, how many sounds go into a very small piece of time. There so much detail and a dedication required to do that.
RD: Was film something you specifically thought about getting into?
VV: Scoring a film is a goal, absolutely. I’d love to be able to get that opportunity.
RD: Your music often has a ominous, menacing tone to it, was that always the case?
VV: Not always, I was playing some beats for Al Divino one day and he said the material didn’t match the handle. It was a little too happy, airy even, he said everything your playing for me is dope but for the Vinyl Villain handle its got to be more raw. That really put a battery in my back, that conversation really resonated with me as the months went on. I thank him everytime I see him, shoutout to Al.
RD: Al and Estee Nack were going to be 2 of the artists I was going to ask you about. Tell me how Capos (Feat. Al Divino, Estee Nack and SPNDA) came about. There’s a lot of heat on your Cloud/bandcamp, but that jumped off the page for us.
VV: I was at Estee’s crib, playing some beats and already had SPNDA and Estee on that. It was originally titled Bodega, it took a little convincing to get Al on there but once he did it was a wrap.
RD: Did that happen right after the convo with Al?
VV: Nah, it was a few months later.
RD: Al produces himself, is it hard to produce for a dual threat like that?
VV: It can be, he knows exactly what he wants and is very dope on the boards himself so it just has to be something the artist is feeling in that moment they hear the track.
RD: #baggindopebackintheday (ft. Estee Nack & Al Divino) is incredible, was that from the same session?
VV: Yea, I was playing some stuff later on that night and when they heard that they wanted to go on that one. I just got to sit back and watch some geniuses at work, it was a beautiful thing. They knocked it out that night, it ended up getting a video shot for it so that was cool to see.
RD: You released 2 EP’s in 2016 with Relentless and Johnny Silva, as well as having a number of joints with Estee and other rising names like Daniel Son, JuneLyfe and Haze. Do you feel that initial investment is paying off in relationships with quality mc’s?
VV: Yes, 100%. I feel blessed for the opportunity to work with such talented people. They know they can reach out to me and vice versa, that creates a good climate to work.
RD: Speaking of JuneLyfe, tell me how you felt getting that Mass Appeal feature for ‘The Pinch’?
VV: That was so dope, shout out to Jordan over there at M.A. June had heard that beat on my IG, ill often post some clips on there, and he reached out. There was no exchange of funds, it was something we both wanted to do and he wrote a great song to the track. We have a couple joints in the chamber, I have one or two on his upcoming album that drops very soon. Recording with him was a great experience, have quite a bit of respect for him as an artist.
RD: Boston has one of the best scenes right now, there’s quite a bit of noteworthy material coming out. Is there a community feel to it, or more competitive?
VV: There’s always going to be different crews and clicks in any scene, but yea this is probably the best I’ve seen it as far as support. There’s a lot of mutual respect. It’s hard for Boston to get that national look, its always been that way. But the support among the fans and fellow artists has taken it to a higher level.
RD: Do you feel your peers get their due as far as national pub?
VV: That’s where a lot of politics can come into play, im not into any of that. I check out the dope blogs, the Mass Appeal’s and things of that nature, but outside of that i dont pay much attention to it. The critical feedback that’s valued most is from my peers.
RD: Your about to be apart of a beat cypher for Codenine’s album release party, for the uninitiated tell us what goes down in one of those.
VV: It’s a round robin type deal, basically playing some joints and getting the crowds reaction. That’s going to be a dope event, im excited for it. There will be a lot of talent under one roof, Motif & Kas will be there, Grubby Pawz, Evilldewer, the SUICIDE Squad which has my longtime friend Jon Glass in it. I think everyone is going to have a great time.
RD: Is there any projects you can shed light on for 2018?
VV: Yea, there’s an EP coming with Eto. Shaping up nicely, its probably going to feature 3-4 songs with some interludes mixed in. I just dropped ‘3 Planes’ with Haze, you can find that on itunes. Paranom and Codenine have a joint album coming, quite a bit of work on that as well. Estee just got sent a batch, so we’ll see what happens there
RD: You had 1 of the best goals I saw in a tweet last year, you said you wanted to drop something that got pressed on vinyl. Do you think the Eto EP could fulfill that?
VV: Having a project get pressed is the ultimate level of respect, because it means there’s a certain level of demand and the listeners want to own a physical copy of your music. It could be that project, I feel getting something pressed is an attainable goal for 2018. There’s some reputable companies out there pressing physicals, Loretta is doing some dope cassettes and FXCK RAP has pressed up some amazing works lately. City Yard Music right here in Boston just did some great physical work as well.
RD: Going over your SoundCloud, you have a co-production credit for a Token song called Self Made that you did with your friend Jon Glass. He is getting bigger all the time, how did that come about?
VV: That was a relationship Jon had built, he invited me to work with him on that. Token is a really talented guy, hes still really young and like you said has gotten really popular. That was a unique experience.
RD: If you were starting a ‘Vinyl Villain Presents’ type producer album, who would be the first 3 names on the list to contact?
VV: I’d keep it local! Give me Estee, Al and Codenine.
We thank Vinyl Villain for being our first guest, and wish him well in all his future endeavors. He is going to be a name you hear often in ’18 and beyond, and we’ll be there to check it out. We hope to have him on again sometime in the future.
He is @Vinyl_Villain on twitter, both EP’s mentioned are on itunes, just search his name as is. There is also a number of singles including the brand new 3 Planes featuring Haze. The Pinch is on there as well