Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Super Friends

There’s a lot of stress inherent in crafting a sophomore release.

Will it live up to the expectations of fans? Exactly how far can an artist stylistically depart from his premiere effort without seeming insincere or reactionary? Will it be a creative step forward that spreads the musical message further, or an aural disappointment that alienates the core audience?

Undeterred by such speculation, international hip-hop twosome Dual Core recently released the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Zero One. Never afraid to monkey with the formula, int eighty and c64 elected to make this effort, the heroically-themed Super Powers, more of a mixtape and invited nerdcore staples YTCracker, Beefy, ZeaLouS1, and MC Wreckshin to participate.

I’ve already shared with you my overall impression of the album, so, rather than linger over the details of the creation process, Dual Core agreed to participate in a less-than conventional interview. As this is their second album, Dual Core is still very much a new group. Though eighty and 64 have known each other for a while, Dual Core itself is a relatively fresh venture. They are, indeed, in what we might term their honeymoon period. As such, this seemed like as good an opportunity as any to get my Bob Eubanks on.

As such, this interview will be conducted Newlywed Game-style, with int eighty answering for c64 and c64 answering for int eighty. How well does this happy couple really know each other? Let’s find out, shall we?


Image by Matt Radel[int eighty]

You live in the Cincinnati. Where does c64 live?

Westhoughton, Bolton, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom.

What is his day job and does he enjoy it?

Graphic designer. I think he enjoys it, at least the paycheck part.

Could you describe c64's recording setup?

It's a vibrant room with a poster of the little green dragon from Bubble Bobble. He also has a computer, MPC 1000, CD-turntable(s?), record turntable, mixer, and studio speakers.

Who are his major musical influences?

Based on his beats, I would have guessed mid-90s underground hip hop from the east coast and midwest. However, I know he likes several east coast hip hop artists as well as some of the great drum & bass acts from the UK and Europe.

What did he have for breakfast this morning?

Cereal? I would say tea and strumpets, but that's later in the day I think.

Um, I think you mean crumpets. A strumpet is actually an immoral woman, and those are almost always best enjoyed after dark. ;)

But moving on, what was the first record (or cassette or CD) that c64 ever purchased?

Hmm... I would guess Ready To Die by Notorious B.I.G. Either that or something by the Beach Boys.

How long has he been making music?

Just a couple years; he's a fast learner.

Zero One is characterized by uniformly slick production, but also by a myriad of aural textures. What is c64's favorite track from the album?

He did particularly enjoy "War Games", as well as "Rule Them All." I'll go with "War Games."

In the future, with whom would c64 like to collaborate?

I know he likes Optimus Rhyme, as well as other artists we've worked with such as Beefy, YTCracker, and ZeaLouS1.

BTW, kudos on not ending the sentence with a preposition.

Thanks. I try.

If the choice was his and his alone, what would he call the next Dual Core album?

"c64 Presents: Dual Core! A c64 production starring c64, with music by c64. Never before heard c64 beat wizardry and c64 wax manipulation. New c64! Also int eighty."

The title of your newest release is Super Powers. Does c64 have any super powers of his own that fans should be aware of?

He has the powers of Iceman and the Human Torch. But both of his powers are always on at the same time, so they cancel out and he walks around like a regular person.

A hero is nothing without a villain. Who is 64's arch nemesis?

Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo, an extremely short-lived character from The Simpsons who was a patron of Moe's Tavern. One night, a stormy night at that, Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo was caught selling imitation c64 beats in a law enforcement sting operation (codename: Codename Operation Codename Usually There's Only One Codename But This Operation Is Just That Special, or COCUTOOCBTOIJTS for short). Joey Joe Joe pleaded not guilty in federal district court, and ended up being acquitted on a technicality. Following the trial, he disappeared; and to this day, nobody knows the origins of the haunted bridge at Mystery Lake. What was the question again?

It was actually “How many haunted bridges are their in the greater Mystery Lake area?,” but I’m afraid we have to move on.

Who is c64's favorite super hero?

Thomas Edison

He did invent the phonograph.

BONUS: Who would win in a fight between c64 and proto-nerdcore rap outfit Commodore 64?

Seeing as how Commodore 64 only released one album, and we are working on our 3rd, I'll go with c64 of Dual Core. Plus, it's c64; he is pretty much indestructible from what I've heard.

 Image by Matt Radel[c64]

Dual Core is an international duo with you located in the Manchester area. What city does int eighty call home?

Cincinnati, Ohio.

How many languages does he speak fluently?

I'd say 2 for definite - English and Nerd (if it isn't classed as an official language then it should be!). And possibly Spanish.

Throughout your debut album Zero One, int eighty demonstrates a careful, calculated flow and a truly solid grasp of songwriting. Which track from that album is his least favorite?

Least favourite is a difficult one, as the album is full of nothing but great songs. Maybe “Give Me Wings.” We initially weren't sure about putting it on the album as it deals with the subject of Red Bull and Vodka, which can of course be enjoyed responsibly by anyone over 18 in the UK or over 21 in the US. We didn't want to influence our younger fans and lead them into a world of alcohol, guns and drugs. But then we thought "don't be silly, it's a great song", and put it on the album.

Who are int eighty's favorite MCs?

Probably Jay-Z, Joe Budden, some underground hip hop guys, and MC Hammer.

Please, eighty, don't hurt 'em!

How long has he been rapping?

Our official answer would be 'Since a hotel party a year or two back where he got coaxed into freestyling, and did really well'.

Does he play any musical instruments?

He's amazing on the computer, and that is used to make music. So technically, yes.

How does int eighty feel about the designation of "nerdcore?" Does he apply the label to his music?

Indifferent? As Dual Core we just make music about whatever we feel, and if it falls under the definition of 'nerdcore' then that's cool!

What color are his eyes?

Brown, I think.

Does int eighty participate in any musical projects or collaborations outside of Dual Core?

Some. If I told you about them I would have to kill you.

When he performs publicly without you does he still bill himself as Dual Core?

That's what he tells me. So unless he's a dirty cheat then I'd say yes.

What would be int eighty's ideal super hero codename?

I think he'd keep it as 'int eighty', as you will hear on the song “Day's Work” on our new album! It's a fun song about a day in the life of an incompetent super hero.

Excellent plug.

In the halcyon days of his youth, what was eighty's favorite cartoon?

Probably Thundercats, He-Man or BraveStarr. For a better idea, listen to the song “80s” on our new album (another shameless plug)!

Indeed. Well played!

Spider-Man gained his powers after being bitten by a radioactive spider and Green Lantern's spectacular abilities come from his ring. How did int eighty acquire the ability to flow so effortlessly?

I'm guessing his most spectacular flows also come from his ring...

BONUS: How tall is int eighty?

Shorter than me (like most people). Maybe around 5' 9”?


A sizable portion of my favorite modern hip-hop is crafted through the combined efforts of artists with little or no actual physical contact.

The masterful collaborations of Baddd Spellah and MC Frontalot for Front's seminal release Nerdcore Rising were crafted virtually, across the expansive breadth of North America. Likewise, the three-man powerhouse known as Metamystiks, Incorporated consists of Myf and Super Dragon X (who live on the east coast) and DJ Snyder (who lives on the west).

Still, pound-for-pound, it’s hard to outdo Dual Core. With MC int eighty living in Cincinnati and producer c64 calling Manchester home, their output is instantly impressive given the logistical concerns they must overcome just to get a track together. But when one considers the superlative artistic merit of that output, it’s nothing short of awe-inspiring.

This exercise, as ridiculous as it seems, really serves to prove a simple point: that the artistic prowess of this duo is not hindered in the slightest by their utter lack of geographic proximity. eighty and 64 are bandmates, but, more than that, they’re friends, and they share the same commonality as any friends, despite their physical distance.

The Dual Core experience isn’t fascinating simply because it represents the gestalt of two very different, very talented individuals. It isn’t enjoyable simply because they work so well together, but because of how they work so well together.

Just like Red Bull and vodka, when you mix them together you’ve got a good thing.


Matt S said...

So how did they end up doing? Do they know each other as well as they think they do? I mean come on, that was the whole point of TNG. It was like an 80s version of Jerry Springer with out all the white trash.

Church said...

LOL. My reaction exactly. "When do they flip over the cards?" Good on Z for shaking up the format, though.

eighty said...

c64 and I have decided to stay together. Hell we don't even need counseling, we're just going to make more albums :]

Z. said...

Yeah, Matt & Church, I pretty much cock-teased ya there, didn't I? I just thought it would be kind of funny to have all these odd (and uncomfortable) questions plaguing eighty and 64 for the rest of their musical career.

And, eighty, I knew you kids could work it out! ;)