‘Conscious Hip-Hop’ – An Interview With Everyman & Dubvirus

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Acapellas, Bay Area magic, and raunchy rap lyrics. I had the pleasure of catching up with Evan Shafran, a.k.a. Everyman, and Sacha Dubvirus about their collaboration and newly released EP, Combat the Wack. Spreading the awareness of “conscious hip-hop,” Everyman is an LA-based MC with a slew of projects under his belt. While he’s best known for his appearance on Pumpkin’s “Good Day” track, Everyman has a solo album, a side project with Pumpkin called Little Giants, and upcoming releases with Love & Light and Kiran Notez. Based out of San Francisco, Dubvirus is an up and coming producer who creates “floor shaking robot crunk baselines” with a glitchy, groovy twist. Between the smooth build-ups, crisp transitions, and his ability to produce such intricate sound without being overstimulating, it’s clear why Dubvirus is making moves in the West Coast bass scene. Combat the Wack is Evan and Sacha’s first collaboration EP, and is available to download for free at the link at the bottom of this page.

[LiS] Tell us how Everyman and Dubvirus began collaborating.

[Sacha] Evan and I met after a show that he, Lux Moderna, and I were playing in LA. It was really amazing how quickly we hit it off, and as someone who has never had a lot of luck collaborating directly with other artists, I was very eager to get something going with him. As soon as I got back to San Francisco, I began working on a track for Evan to feature on. Immediately we could feel a flow, and I got him in the studio to do a full EP.

You’ve described your music to me as “conscious hip-hop.” Can you explain the genre and its similarities and differences to trap?

[Evan] There are some aspects to my music that one could consider “trap,” specifically sound elements. I see trap as a sub-genre of hip-hop. When I refer to the “conscious” elements of hip-hop music, I am referring specifically to the lyrical elements of the song. So whereas in some “trap” tracks you get samples of the MC’s saying “make it rain on these hoes,” in my music I am saying, “be the change you wish to see.” I choose to be positive with my lyrics. I feel that when we use a word like “hate” or “bitch” we are sending negative energy into the universe. On a side note, I DO enjoy a great deal of “trap” music. I just really don’t enjoy negative samples…Why do artists feel the need to add negativity into the world? This truly confuses me, especially in our incredibly conscious music scene. It’s always been quite ironic to me to see liberated women dancing around to songs of people singing “bitch shake that ass.”  That’s a whole different topic though… Maybe another time. :)

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At LiS we feel there is a strong connection between expanding our consciousness and our well being through the music we listen to. At Burning Man and at West Coast festivals like Sonic Bloom, Lightning in a Bottle, and Symbiosis many people attend lectures and go to workshops to learn from others. Both of you have attended and performed at many of these festivals, and Evan, your lyrics are powerful and have a lot of meaning. Can you talk about what your messages are for your listeners?

[Evan] I lost my mother at the age of 14. She was a singer and was the one who helped me discover my passion for performance. She always supported my love for performance and creativity, along with my father. “Don’t Quit” was my mother’s motto, and she passed it on from my grandmother to me. I am a big believer in manifesting one’s destiny. I feel that we have the power to create our own happiness and my goal is to share this through my music. I am blown away by the like mindedness of the individuals within the scene. From what I can see, we all want to use our music to help create peace, knowledge, truth, understanding, and love. There’s always a challenge as an MC not to sound too preachy. I mean every single word I use from my heart. I believe that if we are unhappy today, we can begin to change that right this second. I feel truly blessed that I am allowed to take the stage and share my message with the masses. The feedback I get from fans makes it all worth it. We are all in this together after all.

[Sacha] My message has always been about helping people find their own true purpose and resonance through experience. What makes music so unique as an art form is that it has the ability to instill and communicate states of being. Rather than tell people a specific message, I offer them an experience that I hope will lead them closer to their own personal truth. Since I’ve never considered myself much of a lyricist, I tend to rely primarily on melody. When I met Evan, I immediately saw an opportunity to get the full package – powerful musical moods with uplifting, positive lyrical messages, and I feel like we’ve accomplished that.

There are three songs on the Combat the Wack EP, and they have both acapella and instrumental versions for “personal remix and mash up use.” Who is the target audience for the album?

[Evan] I am honestly excited to see producers chop up my vocals and remix my work. Sacha’s production stands alone. His instrumental tracks are beautiful pieces of music by themselves. I am proud of my lyrics, and the fact that they can stand alone makes me very happy.

[Sacha] Our target is anyone who resonates with what we are creating, musically or lyrically. It was important to us with this release that we enable other people to make their own creations or variations of our material.

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Bass music is growing exponentially – new sub-genres are created everyday, from glitch-hop to “crunky bass.” Although there are producers all over the world, it seems there is something special about the Bay Area in relation to the growth of electronic music. What impact does living in San Francisco have on your music?

[Sacha] I think what the Bay Area has above anything is a sense of community and unity in art, vision, and celebration. Many of us in the Bay share similar affinities for the progress of conscious evolution and authentic expression, especially through art and music. We also lie at a crossroads amidst the network of West Coast transformational festivals, and as such we are a hub for connecting and perpetuating the ideals of the larger festival community. Musically, we are eager to grow, learn, and bring new artists into the fold that are in line with these ideals. As a modern electronic musician, I can’t imagine a more supportive community and family to be a part of.

To download the free EP, click here.

Be on the lookout for upcoming tour dates from Dubvirus on his facebook page, and an accapella pack from Everyman on his facebook.

Dubvirus SoundCloud

Everyman SoundCloud

Little Giants SoundCloud

Photo credit: Bass Tribe – Julian Fontanez
Mind’s Eye Images – Josh Choma

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