Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Breakdown of GATA City...

I spend some of my time on hip-hop forums reading the intelligent topics and the answers that the users post. My faves are the ones that ask about lyrical quality and content, metaphors, multisyllabic writing, double-entendres...you know, the fun stuff. I also like the ones that talk about how hip-hop degenerated into "party rap" and then back and forth again. You can usually tell exactly when people who say things like that were born...uhm, guys? Newsflash: RAP BEGAN AS PARTY MUSIC. It was BORN from parties. DUH. And while we're on "rap", Hip-hop ain't rap. Hip-hop is a culture. Rap is one of its mediums/elements. So yawl's distinction of "real hip-hop" from "rap" is a moot point. Quit getting it goddamn twisted. Plzkthanx.

Anyway, I like the topics about the meaning, or an explanation of the songs, and I said, "Hey, didn't I do that with 'Paperdollz'?"  So, in the spirit of that post, for shxts and giggles I'm gonna break down my cd, track by track.

Truth be told, the cd was based mainly around four existing tracks: "I Feel You", "Come Show Me", "Anything" (which was actually called something else that I just decided to revamp) and "I Like". It all started with a house/dance music project I was doing with my family.. Now these four songs sounded NOTHING like they do on the CD...you'd prolly crack up if you heard them. My father came to me with "I Like" first. Said he wanted a sort of spoken word thing, so I gave it a shot. He had the hook and that "you got me in a spin/I need some oxygen" bit already, and the bit round the next hook as well, sung by a singer I never met. Everything else was me, lyrically. We recorded, and went to work on the other stuff, which also had singing hooks that my father wrote. But, as I told Aki in the interview on my site, the more the Hip-Hop Monsta began leaking, the less interested folx were in the project. I guess I was ahead of my time.

Eventually, someone else who was interested in the songs asked me to re-do all of them, just this time, meows truly had to sing EVERYTHING. Ugh...even though that was my major at Arts High School, we were never really taught how to sing properly and develop our INDIVIDUAL voices. I am a vocal mimic on certain songs, I bend and sing in that style, unless it's a song from my childhood, then I prolly sing it like "me', whatever the hell THAT is, LOL. I will be the very first to tell you, singing is not my strong suit...I have a light, airy kinda voice...no belt whatsoever. Plus I get nerves in front of a mic, so it's a mess sometimes, and it takes forever to get it sorted, LOL.
 God/dess help me; I AGREED TO SING THE FREAKIN' SONGS. Every last bit--the lead, the harm, everything. ::facepalm:: ::headdesk::
We revamped those tracks so many fxcking times it wasn't funny. My brother would come up with new and better mixes for the songs. The guy who was interested basically turned out to be fulla crap, and so I had songs just sitting around doing nada.

On the strength of three of those four tracks, I snagged an opportunity to perform in Japan, but couldn't raise funds in time. So, the label (which had been formed during all this and had already produced one artist) decided to fund my project instead.
And then the fun really began.
So, if you've read this far, here's the rundown on the tracks...

Felinus Scorchius
Wow. Uhm, this was my brother's sudden burst of crazy. He was looking for a Steve Irwin-esque type deal, except my Aussie accent sux nards. So I went with one I was a little better at. We laughed our asses off with this one.

Felinephunk
This, actually, is an older song. The first version sounded kinda dancehall-ish. We decided to make it angry this time, LOL. It's basically just a fun song, and I pulled out my big words and crazy syllables for that one. To be honest, that's my general writing style. I just didn't get to flex it that much on this project.

Like I Do (You Should Dance With Me)
Now this...during the recording of the songs I mentioned at the top of this post, they wanted them to be dance-heavy, because that's what they were trying to push. I remember saying to my brother at some point:  "Hell, if we're gonna do this dance thing, let's do the dance thing--but MY way. Gimme Janet, gimme Madonna--gimme something fun and funky."
Why the HELL did I say that? LOL
So, hermanito--genius that he is--goes to craft the perfect dance-y, bouncy, top 40 track, because he wanted an instant hit (he was seriously money-minded at the time, LOL). He plays it for me, and it's so...cute I had to write cutesy lyrics. I was reminded of Japan like crazy w/this, and that appealed to my moe nekogrrl. It's a lighthearted kinda thing, and those words in the hook was what I heard in my head when I was writing. Not very edgy, but not very syrupy either, cuz that's how I am. And anyone can relate to The Chase. So, there you are.

Come Show Me
This was one of the "dance project" songs. Hook by Papi; I wrote around it. What's it about? What else?...dancing. Trying to get a wallflower to dance cuz I know he really can--cut that shy shxt out and get on the floor, mane!

I Feel You
Another from the "dance project". Same formula. I sort of flipped it and made it an ode to the DJ, instead of making it about another dancing gooey. I was serious hard crushing on him, and his music was what drove that along....how he showed me how he felt. Symbiotic thing, if you will. And I was constantly told, "Put on the happy and sexy!" ::eyeroll::

Transmission From Tha Cat Lair
Title partially inspired from one of my influences, De La Soul. Also called that because it's a message. We wanted to give the feeling of I had been recording when PoppaRazi calls and asks me to come out and play. I actually asked him to give me the BPM sort of like "Bed Intruder", which was hawt at the time, and we were still CTFU on it. Plus, I wanted to smack the listener upside the head with something harder than what they'd heard so far, and I do my typical writing for it. (Full version here.) There's a few side jokes in the phone call. This also played into the nature of the next track...

GATA City: KuroNeko Chaos
Was thinking of Grand Theft Auto for some reason when I came up w/that title. Don't ask. Anyway, when presented with the track, hermanito had nicknamed it the "Catwoman" track because of the cello. He was like, "I can just see you like Catwoman in Gotham City--no, wait-- GATA City." I laughed, and it became the theme. Naming the CD came out of the graphic designer mistakenly thinking this was the title of the whole album...it just stuck. Why the Japanese? I'm manga, anime...that's been my whole angle since God-knows when. It was natural. I flex my lyrical in this one, too.

I Like
Refugee from the "dance project", as I explained above. I can remember my father saying he wanted me to sound "grimysophisticated". So I did the best I could....

Really?!
We thought it would be funny to set the stage for "Paperdollz"  by illustrating the relationship the song is about. Talk. About. Awkward. Obviously, my brother's not my boyfriend (ew) but we had to get the shxt done! I'm just glad I found a sample of moaning, cuz I sure as hell wasn't gonna go in the booth and stand there and moan in front of my brother like he initially suggested! When it was done, we couldn't stop giggling.

Paperdollz
What more can I tell you than what I said here? Besides the fact that I tried to keep it simple... and failed, ha. Not totally, though.

Juliet Is Bleeding
The first version of this was fulla dark strings and 808 and snare, and stuff. So we revamped. There is someone out there who prolly thinx this song is about them (don't you...? Don't you? LOL) but it's not. It's actually not about anyone in particular; in fact, when it was written, I was actually in a relationship. I kind of just drew on how it felt to have your heart broken, and on my fave Shakespearean tragedy. So, okay-- maybe with this one I WAS trying to write Shakespeare, as I often say I'm not. :oP

Anything
This actually was part of the initial "dance project" too, except it was called something else and sounded completely different. It was the last to be done, and I admit I had no ideas...except to write a singing hook due to how the track sounded (suicidal! LOL). Hermanito was going for something ballad-y. What I heard in my head is what I wrote for the chorus. This was also lyrically simple because it was the words to the dance song. It didn't leave a whole lot of room for fancy verbal acrobatics.
Later, I realised the track sorta reminded me (and our father) of Prince. So funny when my brother heard the song I thought it sounded like...

I Like (Youhei remix)
A very nice young man from Tokyo approached me online and asked if he could remix. We liked the jazziness so we decided to include it.

There it is. GATA City in a nutshell. Now you know why it sounds the way it does. Despite reviews that have said I'm "going for mainstream" or whatever, I really wasn't trying to. Everyone hopes they'll have a hit, but I wasn't trying to write for the masses, as it were. And as far as my writing, yes, some of the tracks are simple. But "Felinephunk" and "GATA City: KNC" should give you a better picture into what I'm REALLY capable of.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Random Pic: Doctored Locks

I dunno why I didn't post this sooner...
Doctored Locks, where I get a lot of my hair stuff, did this neat feature-y thingy w/me. I was shocked when they asked. I love the graphics on the pic to bits. I thought it was super nice of them.
I also think it's pretty apropos that they put "reinvent yourself"on it, which is an ongoing process with me... I just keep adding and evolving. There was a time in my life I was hiding behind my clothes and I needed to do something to shake things up...find myself again, but take bigger risks. So, I did.
True story.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Random Pic Just Because

Peace is also involved with Bare Naked Bakesale. I brought him with me to the launch party/fundraiser for the site, and he got in front of the camera, and...oh, my.
Anyway, they had a neat little Facebook event where people were invited to take pictures with their mobile devices for one of the campaigns, "Give Cancer The Finger".  One night after we came back from an appearance at Majesty, we decided to snap a few to upload to the album.
This is one of the shots...and pretty much how we feel about the heat we've been getting for simply existing. This was taken Feb 3rd, 2012.
It also reminds me of something one of the photographers said of a similar picture he shot of Peace and me:
"You know why you always take pics like this? Because you two generate something so powerful most of us mere mortals can only hope to find in our lives. As I recall, I didn't ask you to pose like this. It was just instinctive for the two of you. And then for it to transcend the lens the way it did, this is all you. I just fired the shutter."