Questions by me and answers by 1200.
1200 is a classically trained musician and experimental hip hop artist. He has performed on stages across his hometown of Louisville and in concert halls around the world, from the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, TX to the Junfrau Music Festival in Interlaken, Switzerland. 1200’s unique blend of talent and experience also appears in local music groups that include the hip hop band Citizens United. His most recent creative endeavor is the self-titled 1200, a mixed ensemble that additionally features DJ Deuce, keyboardist and guitarist Nick B, soprano vocalist Jazmyn Aria, and baritone vocalist TDip. 1200 is also the co-founder of a creative collective known as the United Legion of DOOM, which features musicians, artists, designers, producers, and creative intellectuals from around the globe.
^ 1200 with the ‘ARMY Tee’
What made you start making music?
I started making music after I saw the movie Drumline in elementary school. The next year I joined band at my middle school and got into playing drums. From there I started making beats on my Playstation 2. I did that for a while. I would get home from school and just make beats. That was my routine all through middle school. Playing percussion in band really helped me have a better understanding of how to program drums in hip hop beats. My first producer phase was the Playstation 2 era. I use game consoles as a timeline reference because that’s all my peers were doing – playing video games, and experimenting (with drugs, alcohol, and girls). When the third generation of consoles were about to release (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii), I was saving money. All of my cousins were hyped to buy a new console. I wanted something different. I spent years worth of savings on a digital recording mixer, the Korg D-1200. Yes, that’s where my nickname came from. My homie Torey, whom I started rapping with, said I was on that mixer so much that I should just call myself 1200.
Who are you influenced by?
For the longest I only listened to southern hip hop, but only because my family did. Then one day someone let me hear Roses by Kanye. I was blown away by the intimate storytelling and the unique production. From that point I was all for Kanye. I began digging for all of his samples and eventually began listening to an array of artists such as Laura Nyro, Otis Redding, Shirley Bassey, and all of the other artists that were sampled by Ye. I was also a huge Dipset fan. Camron is one of my favorite rappers. Throughout high school I began expanding my knowledge as a classical performer. So between all of the rappers, random artists I found through sampling, and classical composers, my influences come from everywhere.
How would you describe your sound?
If Philip Glass, Kanye West, and Camron were to make a song, the outcome would be one of my tracks. I might have a line talking about living in the hood, followed by a line about playing timpani, followed by an organ solo. You never know.
Who do you want to collaborate with in the future?
I want to collaborate with some contemporary classical composers. I’ve had the opportunity to perform and do master-classes with David Maslanska, Douglas Bostock, and received blessings from Karel Husa. I’ve worked with more conductors and composers than that, but those are some of my favorites. Imagine having them in the studio, arranging and composing for a hip hop song. That seems unlikely, but that is my dream. I don’t care to collaborate with any big hip hop artists. It may happen, but hip hop artists would be my last choice in terms of collaboration.
Who are your favourite three artists right now?
Why should people listen to your music?
People should listen to my music because it is not just music. When you come to a 1200 show, you come to a different world. Every song takes you to a different realm. I perform with a mixed ensemble of people from completely different backgrounds. DJ Deuce used to play drums and has an insane taste in music. Nick B plays guitar, piano, and saxophone. Jazmyn Aria is an opera singer. TDip sings renaissance polyphony. I have training in all sorts of instruments. We come together to make a very unique sound, and when you hear that live, it really impacts you as a listener. When we perform RAMBO, we take you to the concrete jungle. We take you to a funeral service. We show you the coffin of your fallen friend. We make you feel exactly what the song is about – the hood and its issues. We put you in that environment.
How do you see yourself finishing off 2014?
2014 has served us well. We added more talent to our roster, and played our first festival, Poorcastle. My cousin G. Stone dropped the mixtape of the year – NOLA. Grand Kaiser, from Boston, released a genre defining project – Decimate. Hwang, from California, has released a phenomenal album – It Was Only Yesterday. Nick B just dropped a classic – Transcendence. I finally released music – SYMPHONY I. Hopefully we can do a tour that would spill over into early 2015. We have two shows in Cincinnati. One on September 13th, and one on November 14th. There’s a couple other events that are unconfirmed. Regardless, I will be working on new music this winter. We call that hibernation. My homie DJ Deuce is going to start his mixtape after my album drops, and then I’m going to start production on Jazmyn Aria’s album.
What can people expect from you in 2015, as 2014 has 4 months left?
2015 will be insane. Jazmyn Aria will be releasing her debut album, and so will TDip. We are looking to do a United Legion of DOOM compilation that year too. Our main goal is to play Forecastle. That’s a huge music festival in our city, Louisville. I am constantly communicating with Rames, who handles most of our business and management. We have plans to capture this local scene, then take it above and beyond. Deuce, Rames, I, and others started this collective years ago and it has gotten bigger than anything any of us could have ever imagined. Someone told me our name seems evil, and that makes it hard to appeal. I don’t care. We aren’t really villains. DOOM just sounds dope.
Check 1200 Out
Twitter : https://twitter.com/SirJrthur
Soundcloud : https://soundcloud.com/1200music
Instagram : http://instagram.com/1200music
Wesbite : http://www.unitedlegionofdoom.com/
MY MOTTO IS: IF YOU WANNA WIN THE LOTTERY, YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE MONEY TO BUY A TICKET!
From The 6ix,With Love
Thank You For Reading
Sincerely, Kid From The 6ix
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