Q&A with Rock/Hip-Hop group Kontraband…
First off, what’s up with the name Kontraband? How did it come about and does it have any significant meaning?
Our DJ Unorthodox brought it up in one of our first band meetings because it provided two different meanings. One, the music was the Kontraband; hence Kontraband Muzik. Since we mash up different genres, we aren’t conforming to the one-dimensional sound that the labels have been pushing recently, and therefore have to market and promote our sound by any means necessary. Two, It eludes to us being a different kind of band. Against the type of sound you normally think of from your standard band, we are able to play anything from a rock song to a club joint, since we include samples.
We first heard you guys a couple years ago and you all were a pretty solid band. Fusing rock, hip-hop and a deejay mix all together to create the Kontraband sound is like poetry; it flows. How did the five of you get together?
Well, all of us are from Indianapolis. And, initially, we were all in different projects. The guitar player was in his own band. The DJ and singer were in a separate band. And the drummer and bass player played in various projects around the city. Fortunately, the guys were put on the same bill in these different projects, and came to respect each others abilities. The timing just turned out right where everyone had been on a break from their respective projects, and we came together in a jam session, and liked the vibe, so we stuck with it.
How is creativity split between the group and is there one specific person who does all the writing?
It’s really an open forum for ideas, but Nate does most of the lyrical writing, and Jeremy does most of the producing. However, each member has contributed creative ideas on certain songs whether it be lyrically or musically.
Who are some artists (past and present) that inspires your creativity?
Stevie Wonder, The Doors, Jay Z, 2Pac, Biggy, Outkast, Otis Redding, Queen, Prince, and basically anything from Motown to today are some artistry that inspires us. We love the energy of classic rock, the lyricism of hip-hop, and the passion of soul.
You all have been independent for quite some time now, is this the road you plan to stay on or are you open and looking for major options?
We’re always looking for opportunities. We would definitely get with a major if it was the right situation, but have no problem staying independent, as well.
What are some upcoming projects you currently have in the works and who are some future collaborators?
Earlier this year, we released our EP, “Aural Pleasures”. It’s available, exclusively, atalong with our debut record. We’ve also got two mixtapes available at our shows, that we’ll put online soon: “Gangsta Rock” and “Aural Pleasures”. We’ve collaborated with Don P from Trillville, who produced “Believe You,” and 8 Ounz formerly with Block Entertainment and now Black Eight. We did a couple joints with Twinn and Fatt Kidd from Broken Equipment, along with a track with Soulja Boy called “Wyllin.” We’re trying to collaborate with as many artists as possible, and by the time we finish the record we’ll hopefully have representatives from all over the globe.
What is a five year plan for Kontraband Muzik?
Touring around 200 dates per year both in the U.S. and overseas. To put out the best music possible, keep grinding, and hopefully get recognized for our hard work and talent…and hosting and performing on Saturday Night Live.
If you could play with one major artist, who would it be and why?
Jay Z because of the spectacle of his shows, and his constant commitment to live music and incorporating a band in hip hop. He’s done it with The Roots, Linkin Park, and even Phish. “That would be a fun collabo!”
Contributor: Nate of Kontraband Muzik
Photography By Katie Moon, styled by Lesley Jane and Lynda Sayyah
Copyright 2012 USL Magazine