Souls of Hip Hop

Throwback: Pismo

February 16, 2021 Pismo Season 2 Episode 2
Souls of Hip Hop
Throwback: Pismo
Chapters
1:06
First encounter with Hip Hop
2:30
Hip Hop in the Bay
3:35
Moving to New York City
4:48
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
6:17
New projects
7:10
Japan
8:58
Music going in circles
10:40
Impact of technology on music
11:57
Using samples
13:19
Separation of the elements
Souls of Hip Hop
Throwback: Pismo
Feb 16, 2021 Season 2 Episode 2
Pismo

In 2009, we talked to emcee and producer Pismo from Stockton, California. Whether as an artist touring extensively through Asia & Europe or as a producer/engineer creating music for radio, television and film, he has truly lived up to the moniker of being a true musical multi-talent.

We chat about hip hop in the Bay, producing for films like "Kiss kiss bang bang", the scene in Japan, the impact of technology in music, and the art of sampling.

You can find Pismo here:
http://pismoshou.blogspot.com/
www.instagram.com/pismoshou/ 
www.facebook.com/pismoshou
https://twitter.com/pismoshou 
 

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/soulsofhiphop)

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In 2009, we talked to emcee and producer Pismo from Stockton, California. Whether as an artist touring extensively through Asia & Europe or as a producer/engineer creating music for radio, television and film, he has truly lived up to the moniker of being a true musical multi-talent.

We chat about hip hop in the Bay, producing for films like "Kiss kiss bang bang", the scene in Japan, the impact of technology in music, and the art of sampling.

You can find Pismo here:
http://pismoshou.blogspot.com/
www.instagram.com/pismoshou/ 
www.facebook.com/pismoshou
https://twitter.com/pismoshou 
 

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/soulsofhiphop)

Unknown:

What's up? Live from Switzerland this your man Pismo.

Welcome to Souls of Hip Hop:

throwback edition. Between 2004 and 2015, I interviewed many hip hop artists and recently discovered some of the recordings in my archive. We want to share a selection of our favorites, and bring you these throwbacks in between our regular episodes. Enjoy. In 2009, I had the chance to chat with Pismo, an incredibly talented emcee and producer from Stockton, California, who was on tour in Switzerland promoting his album called "Within transition". Fast forward, Pismo will be releasing a new album with a producer by the name of Marcus D, in March 2021. Therefore, we thought it was only fitting to dig into crates and bring you his interview in this week's throwback edition. How did you get into hip hop? What was your first interaction with hip hop? I guest my first, first interaction was way back at my grandmother's house in Stockton, California. It was some of my cousin's, they would like breakdance to like Run DMC and the Beastie Boys. And you know, I heard like Sugar Hill gang and all that stuff and rappers delight on the radio. But that's, I think Run DMC was like when I was like, Whoa, this is hot. And it just, you know, grew from there more and more. And what inspired you to start rapping or producing? my man Jaryan. When I was in high school, he called me like seven o'clock in the morning. I was calling him the night before, you know, and I couldn't reach him. Then like seven in the morning. He calls me like when we're going to school and he's like, Yo, man, I just recorded a tape. And I was like, What? He was like, yeah, I'm rapping on the tape. And I heard his rap tape at school. And I was like, Yeah, I have to do this shit. Like, I got to do this. So I went and did a tape after that. And from there, man, it was like crack. I was addicted. As soon as I heard my voice on the, you know, playing through the speakers and, and then also, when people were reacting to my raps, it was just like, Whoa, this shit is cool. So that was it. The whole Bay hip hop scene was always very hype, especially in the 90s. Were you able to connect with a lot of other MCs or hip hop artists in general? Yeah, like I'm originally from Stockton, California, which is like an hour outside of the Bay Area. But I went to college in Hayward, which is in the Bay Area. From there I met a lot of different people, man, I really connected with a lot of different MCs, DJs, graffiti artists, b-boys, all that stuff from the Hieroglyphics to povo junction to a whole bunch of different people, man, crown city rockers and Shingo 2 and a lot of different MCs and bas one probably heard of him, he's been in Europe for a minute. And they just accepted me into the family out there. And I was so grateful for it, because you know, the bay area has this thing. And for them to kind of like accept me, as family it was, I was thankful for that. So yeah, it was great. Great times, man in the Bay Area in the 90s. It was a lot of money, a lot of talent. You know, hip hop was alive and well. So now you moved out to New York City. Why did you move? I actually went with boss one to New York right after 9/11. He had a show with Zulu Nation, and they put me on the show for the Zulu Nation anniversary. So I went there and perform rocked in front of you know, African lembata. You know, TC Islam, all them and they was in love with our performance. It was like, yo, who's these kids from California. So from there, it led to some other stuff this and that. And I met this guy out there that love my style, too. And he just so happened to be working in the industry of television commercials and doing music for film and stuff. And they started using me as a vocal talent for TV commercials, different things. And it just kept going from there to eventually use in my production as well. So I started producing and and they were flying me back and forth, back and forth. And the beginning of 2003 it was like yo Pismo you need to just move to New York, man, because you got it going on here right now. So I was like, Alright, I've been in Cali I did my thing out there. So I moved to New York. 2003 and I've been there ever since. So you did a track for "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang". How do you get My man you probably heard of Scott Hardkiss. He's a well to that? nown DJ and they were calle the Hardkiss brothers, him a d his Brother, they work with ike, Cool Keith and stuff like hat huge DJ in San Franc sco in the 90s. He called me up and basically was like, Yo, I m doing this thing for this ovie, and I want you to come ver and rap on it. And I was l ke, yeah, you know, cool. So I ame over, we wrote some stuff knocked it out. Next thing you know, they wanted it for t e movie, Kiss Kiss Bang, bang, where Robert Downey Jr, man. nd I was like, yo, that's cool. I got on the movie, I went to th movie theaters by myself with ome popcorn, snuck a beer in th re. And I was, you know, that as amazing to hear, you know, hear my voice in the movie That was a really good movie. So now you said, you're aiming to come to Europe more to focus more on your own solo project. Yeah, like, I've been traveling a lot throughout Asia for the last 10 years. I was in Japan a lot. And that's, I think that's my main market where a lot of my music sells. But I also had a lot of music selling like in France and Germany. And I've been wanting to get to Paris, and you know, Switzerland and all these places over here in Europe. But it was just, you know, at that time, I was on the left coast, the West Coast. So it was a lot harder to get there at that time. But now I'm in New York. So I plan on getting over here a lot more and touching people over here a little bit better. So do you have any new projects that you're working on a new album, or, in general? I'm working on a couple different things. Right now I have a rare tracks remix album that's gonna be coming out real soon. A lot of these deals are still based out of Japan, because that's where a lot of my deals have been coming from lately. But they will circulate worldwide. And also, I'm working on a new album right now to I'm actually working on two new albums. One that is singing and one that is rapping because I sing as well. So Rarity album with remixes, a singing album and a rap album. For all our listeners, where can you cop that? It will be on iTunes for sure. And the physical CDs, and hopefully vinyl, because keep that shit alive, will be circulating somehow through the Japanese market to Europe, because I know a lot of stuff gets to Europe through Japan as well. I think Japan is a big market for a lot of underground hip hop artists, like, for example Speech from Arrested Development. He also has a crazy demand in Japan. What do you think what the reason is that Japan has such a large demand for underground hip hop? I think the Japanese in general really have a lot of respect, and knowledge about black music in general. Like, in my travels there, they just really know it and love it. You know, and they just like the core of it, you know what I mean? They love the commercial side of it too. But it's just a pure form of it that they like, you know, when you have people like that, and you know, these other underground artists that go over there and perform for these kids that you know, they're just amazed. So they love it. That's that's I guess that's what it is. They love my shit. And what about the US market? Do you think a lot of cats have lost their perspective on like, the essence of hip hop? The US has changed a lot because music in general, it's changed a lot everywhere. But the US it's gotten a lot more commercialized glamorized. Unfortunately, the underground scene isn't as vibrant as it used to be, especially with people of color and stuff like that. The you know, the suburban white kids and stuff like that they've really into it right now in the US, which I love. And you know, it's like, they're, they're the ones honestly keeping it alive. So that's great. But at the same time, change is good like that. Because, you know, it just brings something new. So, yeah, it's not what it used to be. But something new is definitely around the corner. And I want to be in that shit. Like, for real? Because I could I could smell it. It's coming. So you think it's kind of like a circle that will come back? Yes, music definitely goes in circles. It's just like the jazz you know, the jazz shit. You know, it was poppin in the 30s 40s 50s a guy real slow for a lot of jazz artists. You know, 10 years of that shit and and 60s came around people started fucking with acid and you know, whatever other shit they was doing and miles and them wiling out and it came to this new shit, you know? And a lot of those old school jazz people were like, that's not real jazz. But today, now we hold that shit high, you know? So it's the same thing with hip hop. It's like, you know, you got a lot of people in the States. It's like, that's not hip hop. This is hip hop, and it's new. That's all I know, new and fresh man. And, you know, from this electro pop shit to everything that's going on. I love all that shit. So it's just just changing. You know, it's evolving. Where do you see it evolve to, like, let's say in 5 or 10 years? hip hop. It's getting more musical. And that's something I've always been pushed, which, you know, 10 years ago, he was the sing on a rap song that was considered wack. You know what I mean? So now, you know, and I've been singing out, you know, I used to get some ridicule for that sometimes. But now, if you don't hear singing on a rap song is considered kind of weird, you know, in the commercial world, and even the underground. So it's getting more musical, like, you have to know how to play an instrument now, or you got to really understand music and you know, the breakdown of a song and how structured and everything else now, instead of just having a loop repeating over and over and over again, and I just see it going more and more in that direction. People are gonna push, push the limit a lot more musically. Do you think that new technologies have helped that movement? It's helped it and it's hurt it because yeah, with the technology, like you don't even have to know music, no more to you know, to do something musical, you could just slap a loop in and you know, this and that, which is cool, too. Because it takes a lot know how to know what goes with what and what doesn't go with what, but I say to awesome kids out there that never touched the MPC or you know, a piano and they just use Fruity Loops or whatever, go read a book and try and learn learn a couple chords or something, you know, understand, like chord progressions and different kind of scales and all that kind of stuff. Because it just helps you know, it just betters you, man. I'm making tracks. So what technology do you use when you produce? I usually use logic. For the most part. I use everything though. I got tons of analog equipment, tons of plugins. I can't give you guys all my secrets, but and I got a crazy crazy personal, you know, sample library. But logic is the center of my stuff. Man Pro Tools is cool. I don't really use it that much. My engineers and them they use it. But production wise logic is it and I kind of run everything through there. So do you prefer to use samples or to create your own melodies? I'm getting more back into samples. I was really just playing a lot. You know, my last album within transition. I use some samples as well, too. But it was incorporated with a lot of plan. But now I'm getting back into sampling a lot more. Just to kind of keep it raw, you know, When you sample do you look more for breaks or samples in funk music or movie soundtracks? Or what direction do you look for when you go digging for samples? I don't really look, I just listen. You know what I mean? Like I'll just put a record on. And I like it to naturally just kind of come. You know, like, I'll hear very weird areas in the album sometime. And I'll piece the two or three parts together. You know, I'll just hear weird shit. Like, one time I just like play the record backwards forever. And I heard this word, which I came up with one of my songs on within transition, and I don't really I just listen. And if it hits me, man, if it hits me, right, whether it's a brake, keyboard, Fender rose, whatever it is, I got a lot of jazz albums and funk and all that stuff. So it doesn't really matter. Rock, all that shit. As you look at the different elements of hip hop, do you think they've separate lot like B boys are doing their thing? And they don't really have much in common anymore with the MCs or DJs? How do you see the elements connect or move apart? Yes, it's not divorced, but it's definitely separated as you know, from what it used to be because money came into picture. I remember it was very common, you know, growing up to see all the elements together, you know, at any hip hop show, like it was just if you didn't see it, it was something wrong. Now you do see, you know, in New York, I don't know what happens here. But in New York, they do have a lot of hip hop shows that incorporate like artist live art and in Japan they do that as well. What's his name from Obey, Shepard Farley or whatever his name is? So anyway, yeah, we was on tour with him and he was doing that stuff. You know, they incorporate that. But the b-boys, you know, cuz people are like dancing, so the b-boys are in the way but with the younger kids is still there a little bit. The stuff I go to, it is still there. Do you have any promotions or shout outs you want to get out? I just want to thank everybody in Switzerland. It was great, man. I had a show last night. And that was it. Marker. Marker. Okay. That was great. It was really nice. Everybody was very receptive and cool. We have fun. We party. We drank we smoke. We did all that shit. I want to give a shout out to Sabrina, for helping me out on all the stuff she helped me out with. Thank you for the interview. And, you know, I'm coming back for sure. Definitely with the new album. I ain't given that name out yet. But also, if you want to keep updates on me, check out www.myspace.com/pismo . And you can check my blog at pismoshou.blogspot.com. And you will get all types of updates from me there. Our theme music was beatbox by Denis the Menace and produced by Zede. A big shout out to the brothers from Switzerland. The background music was produced by Taki Brano. A big thank you to our broski from Providence. Our podcast basically runs on coffee. To keep our show running. You can support by buying a copy through the link in our show notes. I am Candy. I'm DJ Razor Cut and this is Souls of Hip Hop.

First encounter with Hip Hop
Hip Hop in the Bay
Moving to New York City
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
New projects
Japan
Music going in circles
Impact of technology on music
Using samples
Separation of the elements