Published on Thursday, 15 November 2012
“This is what music is about. Touring and making it happen yourself.”
With being one of the most prominent artists in the wicked shit, Kung Fu Vampire knows what it’s like to grind. The San Jose artist first made his presence known on Esham’s “Helllava Night” tour to promote his album “Dead Sexy” to awaiting Acid Rap fans at the urge of Reel Life Product artist Daniel Jordan. At the time Kung Fu Vampire’s band consisted of guitar players, chello players, female backup singers, drums, bass and keyboard players and more. Every night the gothic howls of his signature style would possess and draw people closer every show. His sound was not quite horrorcore, but a sexy gotic sound that was crazy enough that it quickly caught on and caught the attention of Bay Area rap label Mad Insanity Records. After countless shows, and tours it was announced that Kung Fu Vampire would join to represent the brand at the premier of his new iCount music video. The buzz quickly spread when the artist opened for the likes of Anybody Killa and Tech N9ne. The iCount video went viral in the community. It seemed everyone wanted to know more about the South Bay artist. One group in particular was more than interested. Twiztid wanted Kung Fu Vampire to open their “Slaughterhouse” tour. Every night Kung Fu Vampire destroyed the stage winning over the Juggalo crowd night after night. With the re-release of “Dead Sexy” and the song “Dead Girls Don’t Say No”, the underground made room for their new star.
But this isn’t the begining of Kung Fu Vampire’s success story. The Bay Area was well aware of the hard work and amazing performances Kung Fu Vampire had boasted over the years at huge festivals and local clubs across the Silicon Valley. He was voted best band in San Jose by the public three years in a row. It was only a matter of time until he found his nitche and hit the ground running. The year 2012 was a monumental year for the artist. First he joined Suburbnan Noize artists Potluck touring the country once again winning over the crowd night after night. With a cameo apperance in E-40′s “Zombie” music video along side Brotha Lynch Hung, and Tech N9ne, he announced his 50 date national tour for “Love Bites” with a front page article in every major Bay Area newspaper. While most people read the newspaper eating breakfast, he was up booking one of the biggest independent tours in his genre entierly by himself. On October 31st he dropped his brand new release “Love Bites” to eager fans and hit the road performing new material of some of the rawest material yet. The point is, most artists think of rap as a hobby and are quietly in hopes that their career is boosted by a quick oppritunity of a helping hand but hardly make the effort to be seen. Kung Fu Vampire makes it happen himself. He breathes every ounce of energy into his craft and wither it be his intense stage show, his crisp masterpiece of a album, his huge promotional campaigns, or doing things a little bit louder than most, you will take notice. Once you take notice, you endulge and find yourself seduced by the vampire. Will you invite him in?
How is the “Love Bites” tour going so far?
The tour is going great. We are out here doing it big! We hit every city possible. If a promoter in Timbuktu wants us, we will go there. We have done what you call major markets like Denver, Salt Lake City, and Phoenix to really small towns like Beardstown Illinois and Allentown Pennsylvania. I’m out here with really humble and respectable musicians. This is what music is about. Touring and making it happen yourself. Not sitting around in your hometown waiting for someone to knock on your door and do it for you or performing at cafe’s and hating on the people around you following their dreams. This shit is for tough skinned driven people. Love Bites is the longest tour in the wicked underground that isn’t connected to a major or major indie label.
What would you say your favorite cities to play would be?
My favorite cities to play are places like Spokane, Washington, Salt Lake City, Utah, Jacksonville, Florida and of course in my hometown San Jose. I like every city or different reasons an have met really cool people in every city we have played.
One of the most talked about performances when people bring up Kung Fu Vampire is that you’ve played at the Playboy Mansion. What is it like there?
The Playboy mansion parties vary depending upon the occasion. I’ve had the pleasure of performing there and partying there on 3 separate occasions. The time we performed was on September of 2006. It was quite the experience. First we toured the entire estate and checked out all kinds of animals from monkeys to rare exotic birds. We were walking around with lobster skewers while we did this. Oh yeah! Then we took photos and performed for the party. After our first performance set we wandered off and pow wowed a bit in the game room. After our second performance happened things got really blurry. I immediately jumped into the world famous pool and grotto where I was groped and eventually pinned down by a hot female band member of mine at the time. The women at the mansion on this day varied in many ways. You had your bunnies, your ex-playmates, your hot drunk regular party girls and then my whole band. I was being served Bloody Mary’s at 2:00 PM in the pool by playmate of the year for 2002. I think she had a crush on me which wasn’t very surprising seeing that me and my band mates were the only younger fellas at the party. A lot of the dudes there were in their late 40′s and early 50′s so us young studs were slim pickin’s! I started to drink my face off until we left the party in a limousine back to our hotel. The whole experience was a serious check mark off of the bucket list. Thank you to the powers that be for a wonderful experience that is the Playboy mansion.
Your album “Love Bites” was just released on Halloween. What can fans expect from the new project?
Expect the unexpected from Love Bites. Expect everything from super lyrical East Coast flavored classic Hip-Hop, to West Coast gangsta rap, to Caribbean beats, to Super Horror Esq Gothic macabre! This album is loaded with high quality production only commonly found on commercial albums but with all the heart and soul of a garage band demo tape! This album speaks to those who’ve been burnt by friends, battled with alcoholism, love lost, love gained, death and prosperity. It talks about how hard touring is as well as how irritating the world of complaining ungrateful bastards are! Buy this record not to support a hungry artist but because I think it’s that damn good!
I know you worked a long time on the new album, and the new sound is amazing. What was the process of writing and recording this album and how did it differ from Dead Sexy?
The process in the beginning was similar. One big difference is that the entire record was mixed, recorded and overseen
by my good friend and Kung Fu Vampire drummer Chris Paxton. I also lived a lot of life experience between records that gave me the energy to explore various topics. I didn’t produce any tracks on this record like I have in the past. This time I solely focused on lyrics and singing.
“Love Bites” was a great album, and the tracks each of the guest features appeared on were a perfect fit. Who are some artists that you haven’t worked with that you would like to next time around?
People that I have always wanted to work with are artists like George Clinton, Metallica, the remaining members of
The Doors, Die Antwoord, my homies Tech N9ne and E-40 and of course Outkast!
“The Kung Fu is Yin energy positivity and enlightenment. The Vampire is the Yang energy the dark side the evil in all of us.”
You recently made a cameo in E-40′s music video for “Zombie” featuring Tech N9ne and Brotha Lynch Hung, how did you get linked up with them?
How I got to appear in the Zombies video was because E-40 put a call into me early the morning of the shoot asking for a favor. He said I was perfect for the voice of the chorus. I shot up to Petaluma, California and 40, Lynch, Tech and myself banged out the video in 10 hours. I get a lot of props for it but truthfully, I would have murdered that beat given the opportunity to spit a verse on it!
The Bay Area has a certain hustle that allows many independent artist to flourish. What do you think it is about your region and the mentality of the artists there?
That’s a hard question, in Hip_hop only so many people from the Bay Area seem to be able to break out and do something with their Music. For me I have always been driven even as a young Bat Boy. My hustle stems from a really strict up bringing mixed with athletics. My dark style stems from that and then seeing things as a child that a boy should not see! I think drugs and pimping are a big part of Bay Area rap. That’s how these guys get out there and be heard! I stick to good old fashion hustle and grind.
Your name sticks out so much from others in the genre, but is taken and interpreted in many ways by people who hear it. Explain what Kung Fu Vampire is and means to you.
The Kung Fu is Yin energy positivity and enlightenment. The Vampire is the Yang energy the dark side the evil in all of us. I put them together and create a blend that people can relate to. Kung Fu vampire is a lifestyle not a band. It encompasses hustle, respect, love, music, live instruments, clothing and a way of life. A sub culture that others with the same thoughts can be a part of. A lot of people globally connect to us because they are now part of it. Certain types of woman, cars, outfits, sayings, etc.
For this era of your career you have a new look, without the paint. I’m sure a lot of people want to know, is that for good?
It’s an era. The future holds something different and yet to be revealed. The unexpected will keep happening as long as I’m making music. I felt people needed to see the raw me and for the most part I wanted to spend all of my time at shows interacting with fans before and after the show. Not spending it putting on make up and contacts and etc. This music shit makes me feel fantastic and I want to share that with people who take the time to come see me.
What would you say the ultimate goal in your career would be?
To do it all. I want to shoot music videos in Paris. I want a weekly Vegas show. I’d like to be in films, score movies, write more scripts, play live on Conan O Brian, tour with Cypress Hill and I can keep going on and on!
It seems that between you and Mars, Mad Insanity Records is always making big moves. What is the secret keeping the label a prominant force?
We aren’t bitches. We aren’t egotists. We aren’t afraid to do shit others run from. This is a world filled with watered down scaredy cats. We are the truth. Mine and Mars styles are so different from each other and we just do us! We ave a brotherhood that’s real. No griping. No whining no bullshit. We cut out the middle man and do everything ourselves. Publicity, booking, art. Everything!
Will there be any new additions to the Mad Insanity Records roster?
There will be. We have 3 different artists we are looking at now, but once we announce them it will be official and we don’t want no half steppin’. We want people who can work hard and understand the basics of the independent record hustle. Anybody looking for a handout will not be signed. It’s the people who make it past the drama. The hump. Past the complainer hump! If you are out on tour with us and try to act like a diva and don’t know how to rough it, then we ain’t working witcha! It’s the artists we like an respect.
Whats next for Kung Fu Vampire?
The next thing for me is doing music videos for the album “Love Bites”, and many more things that we don’t wanna talk about. We just gonna be about!
- All photos by Heather Worcester