10 Questions - Del The Funky Homosapien & Amp Live
Two veterans of the Bay Area Hip Hop scene, Del the Funky Homosapien and DJ/Producer Amp Live (one half of the duo Zion I) joined forces earlier this year to drop their album Gate 13. We caught up with them to discuss their collaboration and how project came to fruition.
What influenced the birth of this album and can you describe that experience for us?
Amp: We are both from the Bay area (San Francisco) and have been around each other for awhile, so honestly, It kind of just made sense to collab. I actually opened for Del/Hieroglyphics a few times as part of Zion I. Del and I always bonded over talking about equipment and just tech stuff in general, so we were naturally kind of on the same vibe. This album came together with that same organic approach. I was talking to Del about some new beat I had made and if he was down to get on it. Then he was telling me about the vibe he had been feeling and we were both on the same wave-length. One song led to another, then another. Then we were like "let's just do this album..we are both feeling the same way, we've got time..why not?"
What was the first step of the recording process and what was the last?
Amp: The first step started with an initial track that was for another project - that kind of set the tone for the album. Del heard the beat, wrote a verse and then sent it to me. The last step was arranging, mixing, and mastering. I wanted this project to be the beginning of a book or a journey - the arrangement and how the songs flow was really important
Del: I was feeling what Amp was talking about and then I expressed what I was thinking. He sent me some basic layouts of the track and I wrote verses to them. Basically from that he then moulded the songs and sounds to what you are hearing on the album now.
What do you eat/drink/smoke (if anything) during the days recording?
Amp: We generally try to keep it cool. Your vocal quality is important so you don't want to mess with anything that will interfere with your recording tone. No diary, no smoke. Light meals with salad.
Who is this project directed at, if anyone?
Amp: It's not really directed towards anyone in particular. The project is kind of like a journey and description. Some of the songs may seem to be like that. Those songs would basically be to people who aren't being true to themselves. No room for fakers up in 'ere!
Do you both have a favourite track off the album?
Amp: My favourite is Humble Pie. The subject matter of the song is pretty awesome!
Del: Definitely Chilli Sauce. I like to see people move and dance when it comes on. Plus it sounds like some real Oakland shit.
Is there anybody that shouldn't listen to your album?
Amp: Hahaha...interesting question. That's a first! Shit, I guess if you don't like Hip-Hop and Rap then this definitely will not appeal to you. Besides that, I think it touches different people for different reasons.
Who or what are your biggest influences in life and music?
Amp: I definitely like being able to influence peoples' vibe and outlook. I like to know that I have made a positive impact in someone's life. That's my driving force. To hear that as feedback about songs I have been involved with is great. In general though, definitely my family as an influence.
Del: My influences would be just stuff and situations I am around on a daily basis. Also things I saw and went through growing up.
If you could be transported back to your favourite era in Hip-Hop and re-live it, what would that moment be?
Amp: We would like to definitely be around in the 80s when so many new elements in Hip Hop were being discovered. Every decade something is expanding with Hip Hop but back in the beginning it just seemed like things were more exciting because the genre was new and fresh.
What's the craziest thing a fan has sent/said/taken from you?
Amp: Well, back in the Zion I days, we had a female fan actually snatch the big Zion I banner off of my set up - without knocking over my equipment, and while we were on stage! Never seen anything like that. We turned around to leave the stage for one second, she was in the front row, jumped up and WHAM! The club had it on their video cameras too...haha.
Any positive words of inspiration for humanity you wish to share?
Del: Communicate with each other effectively. The world needs WAAAY MORE EMPATHY. Also listen to more music, it heals!