Counter Productive Interview @ Voodoo Lounge
“We make hip-hop, for the sake of hip-hip” say’s Counter Productive’s battle tested MC Dirtbag Dan. Jumping on the scene in 2004, San Jose CA hip-hop crew Counter Productive know how to make the beats for rollin’ round town while you’re passin’ em around. Stubble Musiczine caught up with the guy’s right before their packed performance at the Voodoo Lounge in San Jose CA. Celebrating the release of their eagerly anticipated self titled DIY release; ‘Counter Productive’ the crew talks about home studio production, their independent movie release, and not “coming off like a bunch of fuckin’ back packers.”
Stubble: Everyone go around and introduce yourselves, and tell me a little bit about what you do in Counter Productive.
Ichy the Killer: Ichy the Killer, DJ.
Abel Abilities: Abel Abilities, Vocalist/MC
Dirtbag Dan: Yeah, he don’t sing; my name is Dirtbag Dan and we both fuckin’ rap. And uh Skylar G… (Points to Skylar G)
Skylar G: Yo what up, Skylar G; producer/engineer.
Stubble: What’s the Counter Productive sound for the first time listener?
Dirtbag Dan: We make hip-hop for the sake of hip-hop; I think that is the most important thing to note. And uh, I’d hate for us to come off like a bunch fuckin’ back packers, even though Ichy has a back pack on…
Ichy the Killer: I got weed in here!
Dirtbag Dan: (Laughs) …but I mean yeah we make hip-hop.
Stubble: We’re here in San Jose CA at the Voodoo Lounge in downtown, and tonight is the LP release party. Tell me a little bit about the album.
Abel Abilities: It’s a collection of work that we been workin’ on for the last couple of years. It’s uh; it really displays what Counter Productive has to offer and probably the best of us for the most part.
Skylar G: I think that it’s a good all around project you know that we’ve been trying to put together for a minute. We actually released a pre-album and a free pre-album before that, all the stuff that we actually scrapped from the album to make sure that the first release was kind of our shining gem you know our best piece.
Dirtbag Dan: This is the best of like 50 counter productive songs, boiled down to like the best 12 that were the most cohesive. But yeah it’s definitely like Abel said, its where were at right now.
Stubble: Where did you guys record the album?
Dirtbag Dan: Much like everything we do, we are entirely independent. There was like no magical, special studio where we recorded it individually. I think we started at the house where the three of these guys lived together (points at Skylar, Abel and Ichy) in South San Jose and, a couple of different home studios and a couple of different studios that our friends run. Skylar is an ill engineer, so he was able to do all of the engineering at the pad by himself.
Stubble: Any features on the album?
Abel Abilities: Yeah a few of ‘em, we got Marc Stretch from Foreign Legion. We got Anubis 1 beat boxin’ real tight, we got Critical Madness on a track from Florida.
Dirtbag Dan: And then on the pre-release album we have Rasco from Cali Agents, and there’s a track that has like six people; a bunch of different Grind Time* MC’s the homey Exi, the homey Roch. A lot of the San Jose players are on this album, but for the most part the album album, as opposed to the pre release, is kinda mainly us with just kind of a few features sprinkled in.
Abel Abilities: We didn’t want to put too many features on a self titled album you know?
(*Grind Time-Worlds #1 rap battle league. ed.)
Stubble: Tell me about how you guys started Counter Productive.
Dirtbag Dan: I’ve known Skylar since I was in junior high, Abel we’ve known since high school; Ichy we met, actually we had already formed Counter Productive at that point this is like 2003, and we really realized we needed a DJ at that point we were working with a DJ who wasn’t really cutting the mustard. Then we met Ichy at the Sofa Lounge doin’ a, kinda like a…
Abel Abilities: He was killin’ shit!
Dirtbag Dan: …Like a live band freestyle thing and Ichy comes from a battle background so yeah; it kinda worked out, we knew that was the one thing we were missing. We’ve been a full crew, the four of us, since like 2004.
Stubble: So tell me a little bit more about Counter Productive TV.
Dirtbag Dan: Yeah, that’s the YouTube channel!
Abel Abilities: That’s the shit right there, we’re putting up all our videos. You know basically we got a movie, we got it in multiple parts up there, we got music videos, we got battles. We got way too many things so we had to build up a channel.
Dirtbag Dan: I think we’re a media driven crew, I mean we live in a YouTube age, so rather than be behind the curve we’re trying to be on the cusp of what’s happening.
Abel Abilities: We’re lucky enough to be working with RED King Creative Studios. He made our movie; wrote it, directed it, filmed it. All the music videos so…
Skylar G: We also have an amazing photographer, Phil Emerson Photography who does all our photography. Counter Productive may just be the 4 of us but we feel lucky to have a larger group of talented multi media people.
Stubble: What’s next for Counter Productive? What you guys got going on in the lab?
Dirtbag Dan: Music video for this album, movie this summer and um gonna kinda evaluate the situation, and move from there you know.
Stubble: Dirt, think I could hear a verse from the 420 Maryjane tribute, the hook, lemme hear the hook…
Dirtbag Dan: Yeah yeah. (Starts rapping) First we smoke two joints then we take two bong rips, packin’ bowls if you feel like the song fits; and get lit with yer San Jo buddies. Roll another one and hit them South Side cuttys.
Stubble: Where can people find Counter Productive? Pick up the CD?
Abel Abilities: CPKrew.com, Krew with a K. We got all of our stuff there; music videos, CD’s, our pre-release album which can be downloaded from there. All of our information is there, you can go there, go to our YouTube page, YouTube/CounterProductiveTV.
Dirtbag Dan: We live in the digital era, you can get hard copies of the CD through CD Baby, but we’re on iTunes like everyone else so. Our whole catalog as well too. But yeah, CPKrew.com is the best place to find our stuff.
Ichy the Killer: Yuh!
Stubble: Any last words? Shout outs?
Abel Abilities: Big ups to the fuckin’ Se! We love you!
Dirtbag Dan: 408!
Ichy the Killer: Yuh!
Skylar G: Yeah!
Stubble would like to thank the guys for taking the time on a busy night to talk with us and spit a verse or two. To download a free pre-release album, get the CD, view the movie, battles, music videos and find out about all upcoming Counter Productive events go to:
CPkrew.com Official site (LIMITED TIME ONLY free download of the pre-release album
Interview, and photos by: Mike Hill
Transcription, intro, and editing by: Josh Kutras
Photos and editing by: Jeff Longo
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