For the last six years the Feenom Circle has been devoting time and effort toward making a refreshing and distinct version of hip-hop. Hand delivering their music to the masses, they now find their songs emanating from stages, street corners, and passing vehicles. Drifting onto store shelves soon, Souled Separately is their testament to finding inspiration from the uninspiring 9 to 5 robotic drudgery of work life. “Souled Separately” aims for a middle ground with a stimulating and evolving vibe that is neither mainstream nor underground, simply Feenom.See Also:
Elements: So tell us about the group.
Feenom Circle: The group is made up with the following members: Rawj, Sidebee, Tope 1, Boog and DJ Panic. We're signed onto Metalone Music which is owned and operated by the group.
Elements: What was the group’s first project?
Feenom Circle: "Prescriptions" was our initial release. It was sold on the street, at college campuses, and clubs. We were able to sell 2,000 units without the help of a distributor. And, we didn't have any rotation on the radio or any press from any publication.
Elements: How long has the group been involved in the hip-hop industry?
Feenom Circle: The original Feenon Circle was formed in 1993. Rawj reformed the group with new members since 1996. There were 8 emcees initially. It was too much to deal with.
Elements: How did the group reform?
Feenom Circle: Tope 1 and Sidebee at a Junior College here in the Bay. Eventually we all started using the school to record and from there we got more serious. After a while we recorded the album "Prescriptions." Then, we started to work on the release "Souled."
Elements: Who handles a majority of the production for the group?
Feenom Circle: The production is a joint effort. However, Tope 1 handles the largest amount because he's the nicest on the MPC. Also, he can play 4 instruments. Boog also wears a bigger hat, be we all work on handling production. On “Prescriptions”, Rawj, produced half of it. "Souled" was produced by everyone in the group. Everyone in the group is involved in producing our upcoming release "The Pawn Shop."
Elements: What kind of equipment do you use for production and recording?
Feenom Circle: We use the MPC-2000 for phrase sampling, a Korg Trinity as a keyboard. And, we do use a drum set, bass guitar, along with vintage equipment, and a Old Wurlizter Organ.
Elements: I feel like there's something missing.
Feenom Circle: oh yeah turntables. *laughs*
Elements: Hey man don't skip on the dj!!!
Feenom Circle: i'm saying right. The DJ is doing his thing
Elements: So who would you list as ya'lls influences?
Feenom Circle: There are so many which include mostly non hip-hop influences actually. Hip-Hop wise it has to be the Native Tounge's, Organized Konfusion, to Dungeon Family. As artists, the goal is to learn from what other innovators do and then come up with your own ideas.
Elements: I notice that the group uses beat box noises but really subtle which in my opinion is very dope. Where and how did you come up with that?
Feenom Circle: Usually people don't do that. I mean, it's either a beat box track or it isn't. But, usually people don't take a snare sound and that’s it. Rawj experimented beat-boxing using an old microphone and mixer for "Tunnel Vision". Then, we added some feedback and effects. And, the snare used is a beat-box snare.
Elements: Is the group planning on staying a solo collective or is the group trying to branch out and work with anyone else?
Feenom Circle: Tope 1 and Boog make up the duo Super Duper Meticulous. Like on our upcoming release, "The Pawn Shop", we've tried to push the envelop even further. We are always working for other artists to work with. But, it's difficult to find artists with the time or the work ethic that we want.
Elements: Are there artists or musicians that you would like to work with?
Feenom Circle: We're always trying to network with cats. We would love to work with artists on Def Jux, Stones Throw, and also Ninja Tune. We also collaborate with live musicians. We might be trying to record a live album soon. At the same time, we have a lot of work to do internally within the crew to further expand our niche of "middle ground."
Elements: You mentioned that the new album is called "The Pawn Shop." When can the fans expect for that album to hit the streets?
Feenom Circle: We're trying to go with a late summer or early fall release date. As soon as we complete the next two joints, we're going to start hustling the record.
Elements: What plans does the group have after the album "The Pawn Shop" is released?
Feenom Circle: Rawj plans on working on a solo album. And, the group wants to work on a live album.
Elements: Is the group helping to establish any other artists or plan on releasing music by anyone else on the group's record label?
Feenom Circle: Yes and no. It's like we've planted some seeds. But, we only want to work with artists that have drive and talent. So, we're waiting on cats to come around and show us that they're willing to hustle.
Elements: So, there aren't any definite plans as of yet?
Feenom Circle: Naw. Resources and money are limited. So, it's hard to invest in anyone else at the moment except ourselves.
Elements: I think that's pretty much I have to ask the group. If there is anything else you want to add, feel free to do so.
Feenom Circle: Just that we've created our own category called "middle ground" and that "Souled Separately” is our first installment. That's about it bro. Peace!
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