My introduction to Serge Severe’s music was through my correspondence with Animal Farm’s Gen. Erik. Due to my recent move back to the region known as the great northwest, I pay particular attention to any music coming out of Seattle and Portland (Oregon, fools), which is were today’s artist hails from. I’m all for coming out with some “new” shit, something that hasn’t been done before, but the further people seem to travel from the “tree trunk” of hip hop, the more the true essence of the music gets lost. Sometimes, I just want to hear some straight up boom-bap, in your face, analog, dusty drum hip hop. That’s exactly what Serge’s latest full-length LP, Concrete Techniques, is straight up hip hop. There is no guitars, auto-tune, or 80′s pop samples. It’s authentic hip hop in it’s truest form.
We thought we’d offer some free music while we work on our upcoming releases, so Serge Severe came through with an EP entitled “Orangutan Slang”, which is a compilation of songs he made while recording “Concrete Techniques”. Download these gems for free and share this with everyone you know:
Trav’s Note: I didn’t hear Concrete Techniques until after the start of the new year, but it’s in the running for the “Slept On Award”.
Buy Concrete Techniques Here:
Serge Severe: Everything is cool in the P right now. I am looking forward to a busy May with shows in Seattle and a just confirmed show with Saigon in Portland. I have been at it for quite a while, roughly 10 years. I came up like most everyone else doing the freestyle thing, which developed into constant writing and recording. I started getting really serious about 5 years ago and here I am.
W: You are originally out of the Bay Area, how did you end up in Portland? How does the two scenes differ from each other?
SS: I was born in San Francisco and I moved up here a long time ago as a kid, so I was basically raised in the Portland area. I have a lot of family and people in the Bay I am close to, so I do frequent the Bay a lot. I did live there a couple years back and have done shows while living and touring th
ere. As far as them differing, the Bay is just bigger, more people, more going on, you know bigger city stuff.
W: How did you get to be affiliated with the Focused Noise family with Animal Farm and Mic Crenshaw?
SS: That came from doing shows consistently in town and getting to know each other. I actually had a monthly going on at a venue and Gen.erik (of Animal Farm) had the opposite weekend at the same spot. We decided to join forces on shows and the rest is history. Crenshaw is a Portland veteran and had been rocking with Gen.erik for years, so that’s how that all came together.
W: Being a part of Focused Noise, how does that help in your role of getting your music heard and picking up shows, since it seems like you guys do a lot of touring together?
SS: Yes, it definitely helps rolling with a team of guys who have been at it for years and are as hungry as you are. Focused Noise has helped tremendously with networking, shows, distribution of music and the overall business side of things. This past year has been really great being able to do shows with The Wu Tang Clan, Method Man & Redman, Dead Prez and many more!
W: Gen Erik did a “Top Five List” for his five worse shows that he performed at (http://www.wydublog.com/2009/04/5×5-day-two-on-road-gen-eriks-five.html) care to give some of the craziest, crappiest, zaniest shows that you’ve been apart of?
SS: Oh man! Where to start? I was a part of a few of Erik’s debacles and I co-sign those. Here is one off the top. We drove two hours to Eugene in 100 degree Summer Weather. We brought the equipment to provide the music and brought the one person that showed up, with us. The promoter literally started handing out flyers 1 hour before show time on the street, but it was a ghost town in the heat wave. The other artists were lying on a couch in the venue watching us, with a few people escaping the heat to go to the bathroom, passing by the stage. Fake promoter and no money= big waist of time. As a matter of fact that same promoter was demanded to go to the ATM in a later encounter.
W: At least you didn’t say the Boise show. You are known to be more of a “throwback” artist, in that you tend to stick with the Golden Age sound. What is hip hop to you and why is it important to keep that authentic boom bap sound alive?
SS: I don’t really think of myself as “throwback” artist, but I was heavily influenced by that late 80’s early 90’s Hip Hop, so I guess that’s what some would call it now. I feel that real Hip Hop will never ever die. All of those artists that came out back then were all different from the next. I feel like that has been lost to an extent. You couldn’t come out sounding like the next man or you would be called the f**k out! You couldn’t follow a little trend and be validated. That’s what Hip Hop is to me, being yourself and having the courage to do so.
W: How was your growth as an artist from your first album, Walk In My Shoes, to your second album, Concrete Techniques? What kind of different elements and ideas did you want to concentrate for the second album?
SS: I really wanted a whole album that could be played seamlessly and flowed together with its backgrounds and lyrics. That is why I worked with one producer, Universal Dj Sect, on the whole album. He has the same influences and interests of Hip Hop as I do, so it was really cohesive. The whole project was just bigger than anything I have ever done. I always want to progress with every thing I do in Hip Hop. Concrete Techniques, to me, is just a solid foundation of everything I want to do with Hip Hop.
W: The album (Concrete Techniques) seemed to get a lot of positive press, from the blogs, to Rapreviews, to Okayplayer. Are you content with the way it was recieved by the masses?
SS: The press has been really positive and feels good to witness, but even if they hated it I would still be putting out my music. It is nothing I can control, just something I have to do in order to stay sane.
W: Coming from the Northwest is a struggle in that the region doesn’t get a lot of shine. How do you tackle that problem in getting your music heard across the entire nation?
SS: You are right about it being a struggle. We have already been through California and went down to Austin, TX for SXSW in 09’. The internet of course is key too. I have sent a out a lot of press kits and cd’s for years.
W: You just dropped the free EP, Orangutan Slang, what does it consist of? The tracks seemed like they could compete with the tracks that did make Concrete Techniques, was their a particular concept you were going with that made those tracks not fit or some other reason?
SS: I recorded those tracks while doing the Concrete record. I knew I wanted to take 6 tracks and have something else to release for the future. On a lot of those tracks I felt like my wordplay was different, hence the “Orangutan Slang” name.
SS: I am recording another solo, so far with heavy production from Universal Dj Sect. I am always recording tracks. There will be some special announcements soon. Overall you can expect a more severe serge.
W: Any last words for the masses?
SS: Check out my album Concrete Techniques online everywhere. Also, if you see a whack emcee on stage, let them know that it’s unacceptable and it is their entire fault that they’re so bad.
W: Hahaha, that’s whats up. Thanks man, best of luck
SS: Thank you