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..................CRAZY TOWN ..

.* 3/20/ San Francisco CRAZYTOWN

.Interview with SHIFTY SHELLSHOCK of Crazy Town

Q: Your music sounds different than standard Hip Hop Bands ?
A: Yeah. That's what we were basically working on. You know we and Epic have been working together for about 9 years on music together and we started as a straight hip hop group. But we had influences from lots of different places, so our songs always came out with an alternative flair to them and as the years went by we never really got it together to make enough songs to put out a complete CD or even to shop a demo deal, but the songs kept going in that direction. My biggest influence is like the Beastie Boys first record. That's like a blueprint to what I'm doing and I always want to incorporate heavy guitars and stuff. When we put together this band, that was the idea. It was that we are going to try to take our hip hop into other worlds.
Q: Does playing something slower, like" Butterfly" upset the balance of your band?
A: No not at all. Its kind of like a band like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. You know its totally natural for me to go from one mood to another, cause like when I write the songs, I write most of the lyrics and when I come up with a concept for a song, I usually write a song about something that I am going through. So, depending on what I am drawing from, is what kind of sets the standard of how I am going to do it. You know the mood.
Q: How did the song " BlackCloud"come together ?
A: When we went into Black Cloud, its kind of like that song is about karma and superstition and stuff like that. Like when we sat down, me and Epic were like, we want to do it without that, because we love to share. So when I came up with the idea for this song, we wanted to make it sound like an 80's song, but with rap vocals over it, you know. So we just went into the studio and Epic started just from that idea, he came up with that beat, than Fado and Rust Epique and everybody played their parts over it, while I was in the corner writing lyrics to it and everything comes together really naturally. Like we are all a punch of pirana and we all move on like a concept. And we all, instead of ripping something apart, we kind of build it and we all put in our two cents and when we are done we have this really cool song.
Q: How have you been writing long?
A: I have been writing since I was twelve years old. I mean I have millions and millions of rhymes that I have written, but just like anything, practice makes perfect. So, basically, I'm really happy with this stuff that I wrote for this record and the stuff that I've been writing. Its like with every song, I open another door in my mind. So I am always getting better at it and getting more confident in the songs I am writing.
Q: How long has the band been together?
A: We've been together almost three years now.
Q: So LA is your home base, wasn't epic from New York?
A: Epic was born in New York, but he grew up out here (LA.), that's just where his roots are from.
Q: So California definitely influenced you?
A: Definitely. I lived in Boston for a while, Brett came from New York. So when we came from the east coast, we had brought hip hop with us, so we already had this strong break dancing. Brett was break dancing. So when we came to L.A., we were drawn to the kids that were into the same things that we were and you know I was really into graffiti and skateboarding and there was like a whole hip hop community of kids that did graffiti and skateboarding. So, yeah, I think that no matter what kind of music you listen to, you can always find the kids that are into that.
Q: What song is your favorite right now ?
A: Right now it is "Toxic". I think we are going to follow up with "Butterfly".
Q: So whats your next single release, maybe "Dark Side"?
A: It's between that - Dark Side, and Butterfly for our second song.
Q: Have you worked on a video yet?
A: Yeah. We did the Toxic video and its out right now and showing on MTV. If you go into our web site you can see it at You can see a documentary on the making of the record, see the video. Pretty cool.
Q: What were you doing before this band?
A: Epic was a D.J. I basically was getting into trouble. When I found Epic I was an M.C. and it was my passion and that's what I did. I had a skateboard and spray painted my backpack and a blond look and I'd just run around writing my name on everything and get into trouble and writing rhymes about what I was doing. When I found Epic, it was because it was because I was starting - I knew Rollinex(??) from Napinclan(??) and I knew a bunch of M.C. like Cypress and them and that inspired me to want to start making songs and really recording my stuff. So I started working with producers and I got hooked up with Epic and Epic really really like the rhymes I was writing and so me and him decided that we'd start working on stuff, because he was a producer at that point. Then we decided that we would start a group together - you know kind of like Mugs and Be Real, or something like that, Premier and Gang Star. Then Epic, who was rapping was well, decided to rap with me because we wanted to do more of like an old school Beastie Boy type you know Run DMC flavor with bouncing rhymes off of each other. So that's how it came of age. That's how it was born. It's basically me and him like met each other. We both had what the other one didn't have. So it rounded off the edges and we kept at it.
Q: After I start listening to your new CD, I notice your songs sound different instead of the standard Hip Hop sound.
A: Yeah. We wanted to show that we had a wide spectrum of styles. We didn't want to be just labeled as one of the heavy groups or another group. We definitely showed that we can do whatever Limp Bizkit or Kid Rock are doing, but then we like we went into realms of music with "Black Cloud" and "Butterfly". I think that we made a good record and definitely has a lot of good moves on it. It swings from left to right. There is different things on there for people to find.
Q: When you first started out did you play at a lot of clubs?
A: Actually, we are fortunate enough that we knew enough people that we never played out. I mean before and Epic did with our other groups. But with Crazy Town, we basically had our own studio, we locked ourselves everyday for a year - we just kept working on songs and we didn't get side-tracked. We got about ten songs demoed and ever since we had about four songs recorded, we were sending them to labels and having people listen to them and there was a point when we had like eight songs and we weren't getting any feedback and I was really getting frustrated and I was like "we're supposed to get signed after four songs". And then, two songs later, everything fell into place. It was like we put the right organization into the songs. Every label started calling back. I think it was just a matter of paying our dues. I think it happened when it was supposed to happen. It was a lot of hard work and a lot of thought went into this.
Q: You know a lot about mixing and production work?
A: Definitely. I am learning more and more about it. Epic is the one who's really been doing that, but I'm learning.
Q: Is the song"Revolving Door", a reflection on an bad experience you have had?
A: Yeah. I think "Revolving Door" is about being single and living it up while you are looking. In the middle of the song, I say "this is what its like for me right now but this isn't necessarily how I want to be for the rest of my life." It's kind of like that promiscuous having fun period, but at the same time you are kind of looking for something, you not just out there. You're like having fun but you always have that one eye open looking around for that girl who's something.
Q: Anything new coming out ?
A: I have been writing a lot of stuff for the next record and I can't wait to hear it when it comes out. There's a bunch of different producers that I'd like to work with.
Q: This seems to be the banner year for combining Rock with rap. !
A: Yeah. We are rock-hip-hop. I like to think of it as punk-hip-hop. Sure. We are combining a lot more than that. We have influences from all different directions. We are unpredictable. One song could be one thing, but the next song could be completely different, but at the same time, it'll still be Crazy Town. It never loses that consistency of songs. Like all the songs make sense together, but normally if you heard one song and then you heard another, you wouldn't think it was the same group.
Q: The name "Crazy Town" was that selected by chance ?
A: I put some thought into it. Being working on the group for a long time, we went through a few names, but when I thought of Crazy Town, I knew that was it. It just had a ring to it and it was the name that best explained where we are about and where are from.
Q: I like the cover of your new CD- looks like Betty Boop.
A: Yeah - kind of like a punk rock Lolita.
Q: Any added members of your group?
A: Yes. We do have two vocalists and D.J. that are add on members.
Q: Is there a organist in your group?
A: No there isn't. Actually, our D.J.'s can play support stuff like on "Black Cloud" and on "Lollipop" he's going to have a keyboard. We are incorporating all that stuff. So he is going to be more than a D.J.
Q: So your off touring with Methods Mayhem now ?
A: Yeah, we are going on the road with Mayhem, which should be cool. I think it will be fun to be on tour with them. Hopefully I won't wind up in jail with him. " Tommy Lee"
Q: I read you feel like Sid Vicious ?
A: I mean, when I'm explaining my versatility like Kurt Cobain and Sid Vicious and Biggy Smalls. Those are a lot of my influences and they're all gone now, but I like to think that they rubbed off on me in ways.
Q: Did you pick the songs on this CD ?
A: We picked it with our management. We made such a diverse record. It's got so many different things on it, that it was like it was touchy, the first song. We didn't want to put out the biggest hit song at the beginning and lose all credibility. We wanted to build up a fan base and we wanted to slowly get a following before we let out other kinds of songs. So to start with a song like "Toxic" is kind of like its not too different from everything else that's out right now. It's kind of like a good stepping stone for us. You put that out. People get an idea of what you are doing and then they buy the record and then they are like wow, and then they are ready for whatever songs you choose to put out after that. So, it's like we are not like trying to get real big real quick. We're trying to be one of those bands who are around for a real long time. So to put out songs and make the right decisions with the songs, we don't need to get big until our fourth song. We want the kids to discover us and when we get big, happen naturally.
Q: Did you know Ice Cube and Everlast?
A: I never knew Ice Cube. Epic knew Ice Cube. I kind of got kicked out of all the schools I went to. So I was like waiting outside of the school for Epic to get out of school on my skateboard. Epic has finished school. I had a problem with that. Everything I wanted to do had nothing to do with school. After I learned the basics in about 10th grade, I think I took off.
Q: Are you working on the next C.D.?
A: You know, right now we are going to be promoting this album for the next year and a half. But I am always working on the next record and will never let my chops get dusty. I'm writing songs consistently. I have my eyes and ears open and have a lot of material in the works. I learned so much making this record, that I can't wait to see what we do on the next record.
Thank You for your time keep Rocking

Also check the new Crazy Town Interview with Epic Mazur

By Randy Cohen

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