Vherbal von Anno Domini Records ist groß im Kommen: natürlich kennt man seine Beats für Chief Kamachi, auch am neuen Vinnie Paz Album ist er beteiligt – und das ist noch längst nicht alles. Weitere Projekte unter anderem mit Kamachi und dem Jedi Mind Tricks Homie Burke The Jerk sind schon ins Auge gefasst. Wir stellen euch den rappenden Producer aus Toledo vor.[hr]
Let’s kick off with that you produced the second single off the upcoming Vinnie Paz solo album, „Same Story (My Dedication)”. Explain the whole experience to work with him…
Actually that was AD himself. Anno Domini is actually a collection of producers that specialize in hiphop. The founder being AD aka Adrian Boeckler and I was recruited initially as a producer. But once he saw all the other things I bring to the table like emceeing, engineering, marketing etc. he decided to give me a much bigger role. Anyways, as far as the same story beat I think he switched it out for financial reasons as we never give away free beats regardless of who it is and I’m sure there are a lot of producers who would be happy to do so. However I’m not sure they would be of the same caliber *laughs* Regardless me and Anno do have things slated in future projects for Vinnie’s new label Enemy Soil and it’s just a matter of time before you start seeing my name on their tracklists. I know the project called “Heavy Metal Kings” with him and Ill Bill is supposed to have 3 or 4 of my beats. But we’ll see, I guess. Im hoping it has nothing to do with me working with Kamachi closely and there alleged beef. But who’s to say.
You are responsible for most of the beats at the new Chief Kamachi record. How that all came together?
Well, Kamachi hit me up a month or so before the album was originally supposed to be released. We talked on my skype a few times and he was going crazy over my beats and ended up switching half the tracks on the album out for my tracks. The crazy thing is literally, 2 days before I even talked to Kamachi I made a beat called “The Prophet” which is the beat for my favorite song on the album “Clock Keeps Tickin”. It’s nuts because if you listen I put in all these clocks sounds and stuff and his album was called “Clock Of Destiny”. It seemed to ironic to not actually be destiny that we linked up. Personally to me Kamachi is up there as far as lyrical emcees go and I think like a lot of people out there felt like he just needed the right beats. And I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity he gave me.
Your name at the internet world is spreading like crazy. What do you think whats the secret behind your success?
The main reason is because I do real authentic hiphop beats. And as any emcee knows there are only of handful of producers out there capable of reproducing that 90’s boom bap sound. So it has a lot to do with the consistent raw beats I put out. The other factor is marketing and word of mouth. I have sold beats to so many people and I always try my hardest to make sure every single client walks away satisfied beyond there expectations. So they come back and they tell others about the fulfilling experience they had buying a beat from Vherbal and Anno Domini.
Tell us something about your early years, how you started in the hiphop game?
Humble indeed *laughs* Off the bat it was karaoke machines and radio shack mics. We would pull the old play the b-side instrumental tape and dub it with our vocals on it to the other tape. The songs sounded really bad but I still remember how much fun I was having and reach back to that when this starts to feel like a job. That was 1996 when I started doing hiphop, about two years later I got my first keyboard, a shiny new yamaha DJX from best buy. Man did that board suck looking back. But at the time I thought I was one beat away from making it big. *laughs* Then I got my first computer and a sketchy version of cubase VST 32. It was over from that point on, I just sat there for the next 5-6 years in a daze making random music. About 4 years ago I decided to go to college for music and attended McNally Smith College of music in St. Paul, Minnesota. While it was a great experience I didn’t truly learn as much as I thought I would. Not one person in the school would take me seriously because I did Hip Hop. Story of my life I guess. Ironically I’m pretty sure that I might already be one of the most successful people to attend their college, it’s one of the things that drives me honestly. I mean my story is crazy man, I can’t put it in a little paragraph, there will be a movie about my life there has to be. I mean just 2 years ago I was living in an abandoned building where I did my albums „Homegrown” and „Freedom Of Beats” I literally came from nothing. Every single possesion I have I have gotten in the last two years strictly from music. When I was in Minnesota my loans fell through, so I had to get a job to support myself and drop out of school, stranded 1000 miles away from home. I got a job and became a GM at a local sub shop Jimmy Johns. After about two years of that, I had no time at all for music, and anyone can make sandwiches. *laughs* My dad always told me the first day you work a job you like is the last day you work in your life. So when I quit Jimmy Johns (Making about 50k) I told myself that no matter how hard it got I wouldn’t give in and I was determined from that point on to make music my sole source of income. That was nearly 5 years ago, and the fact that you know who I am and I’m doing this interview says the rest.
Nowadays it seems that real boom bap hardcore hiphop is in full effect. What do you think about that?
Well, both yes and no. Here in America it’s more of a hidden internet based culture and while a chosen handful of artists do well in the general public the majority of hip hop acts here in america are destined for obscurity due to the simple fact that most smart people don’t even buy records. *laughs* Unfortunately with the emergence of file sharing and such most people just download music they want. And it sucks. Artists now have to focus more on merch and touring for there revenue, if a hiphop artist sells more than 50,000 copies here in the US I would consider them blown up. The market overseas in the UK and such seems to be much larger ironically. It truly feels like it’s the golden age of hiphop right now in those areas like Germany, England, Australia etc. An example would be the first hip hop album to go number one just happened recently in Australia. I’ll be honest with you: it stinks being here amongst all this commercial pop music that America likes, it makes me sick to my stomach. And even here in my own city its almost impossible to get more than 100 people to any hip hop based event, but if you had a emo-punk night those numbers would be a given… *laughs*
Your hometown is Toledo, Ohio. How the hiphop scene looks like out there and are you satisfied with it?
Like I said the hiphop scene in my city is freakin pathetic, my city doesn’t not like hip hop. The truth is there are so many bad rappers and emcees playing shows around here that they automatically assume that I’m like them. But when I released and did small touring with my album „Homegrown” I did gather a following. The world likes Vherbal but not his own city. *laughs* I could go to just about any city in the world and I’m pretty sure at least one person would know of me or Anno Domini, granted they have internet access. *laughs* But here it’s like it’s hard for me to bring 50 people to a show because there just isn’t the market for it. My DJ Habitat said something to me once and I think about it all the time. He said „you gotta go and blow up everywhere else for Toledo to like you”. And with the recent stardom of Toledo’s own crystal bowersox or whatever from american idol that seems more true everyday (congrats btw). So no, I’m not satisfied with my city’s hip hop scene, it’s pathetic. The sad part is, I’m really its only hope I think, and im starting to care less and less about this city everyday.
How would you describe your production style?
Grimey! That’s like my favorite word. I go to great lengths to convey a certain excitement or epicness with my beats, and I have this thing I do where I make it sound bad, but good. *laughs* It’s similar to what people do with this new style of rock that’s very minimal and sounds like crap but in a good way. I run all of my beats and songs to a 2 track otari mixdown deck to give it a little thickness. Every element of my beats (drum samples loops etc) is directly off vinyl and I try to incorporate cuts into every beat as well. Basically what I ultimately want to do is a Premo type style but better, it’s hard to explain. A lot of people say my style sounds like a mix of Premo, Pete Rock, Stoupe, 9th wonder and RZA. But if any similarities happen, it’s merely coincidence as I never have any idea of what I’m going to do when I sit down to make a beat I just do what feels right you know.
You are part of Anno Domini Records. How many members it contains and how you became a member of it?
Anno Domini Records has 9 members I think *laughs* Me, Anno, 2 Deep, Screwaholic, Onetake, Pikk, Klive Kraven, Life And Death, and hypnotist (maybe again soon). If I left anyone out, I’m sorry *laughs* As far as how I got down with Anno Domini… honestly im not completely sure, I’m gonna have to ask Anno. The truth is I was drinking a lot then and I don’t remember much. But I do know it was February 09, and either I hit him up or vice versa about us linking. Don’t remember who hit who up honestly. *laughs* Like I said I initially was just a producer but now it’s more of a business partnership as me and Anno plan on making the Anno Domini brand an actual record label in the near future and I manage and an certain aspects of the business and 4 of the producers. Me and Anno make a deadly team, im the grimey hiphop street entrepeneur type and he’s the face and suit of the company. He is just now graduating from college with his masters in business, I believe from some school in London and was nominated as one of the UK’s top young entrepeneurs this past year. I on the other hand still need 5 credits to get my associtates. *laughs*
Producers, rappers, musicians, who are your biggest influences?
Production: Premo, Pete Rock, Rza, J Dilla, Madlib, Black Milk. Rappers: Nas, Aesop Rock, Immortal Technique, Old Eminem (new stuff sucks since “Eminem Show”), Black Milk, Guru (R.I.P.), Talib Kweli, so many…
What are your next future plans?
Well… *deep breath* … in the immediate future im working on a project directly with Chief Kamachi here at Anno Domini studios which we will probably begin recording in July this year. And I’m working with a dude closely associated with vinnie Paz named Burke The Jerk who recently was on Reef’s new album “Fight Music” (song title: “OPG Theme”). We are doing an album exclusively together as well and I think we will be releasing it under Enemy Soil, not sure yet. Haven’t talked to Vin about it. He’s a hard man to contact.*laughs* After that I will be doing my next solo emcee record where I will do probably aspect of it (rap, write, produce, record, mix etc.) and I haven’t decided on the name yet. But I have the beats lined up, so I’m getting ready for that. I will have a lot of good features on it this time around due to my emergence as a producer. Im also doing an album for a friend of mines punk rock group Lame-O and and electro kind of group thing we did a few years back called „The Sleep Sound”. And hopefully during or before this I can get my boy Nino Graye’s album done called „Trial By Fire”. I’m also working with Canibus and his engineer for some melatonin magik stuff and some upcoming projects including a new Four Horsemen record which im excited about. And doing some work with Jus Allah and trying to get up with my mans VZILLA down in Houston to do an album sometime. So yeah, a lot of stuff in the near future. *laughs*
Any last messages to the readers?
You can find all my work at www.vherbal.net and my Anno Domini Records associates at www.annodominirecords.net. Be sure to add the Anno Domini Records youtube channel as well. So stay hip to all things!