The independent Hip Hop scene is still very alive, in fact arguably more so than ever. L.A. is easily one of the juggernauts with labels like Quannum at the forefront of the movement.
Having already made a name for himself through working with L.A. Symphony, and his solo efforts including the intriguingly titled "Pigeon John Is Dating Your Sister," Pigeon John is set to release his first album through Quannum this Summer entitled "Pigeon John and the Summertime Pool Party."
MVRemix: What's the biggest mis-conception people have of you?
Pigeon John: That I'm all Mr. Funny man all the time. Candy rapper. To each his own. I try not to correct people’s opinions… just try to keep my head down, keep working and enjoy life.
MVRemix: What's your first memory of Hip Hop?
Pigeon John: Waiting for 4 hours by my little radio in Inglewood, CA to try and tape
the Fat Boys "In Jail". Alone in my garage, and when it finally came on
and I got it. It felt catching the biggest fish of my life.
MVRemix: You have an overall happy, "Ah well, that's life" attitude in your
music - do you feel in Hip Hop that is considered a niche?
Pigeon John: No, I think that songs like "Emily", "Sam the Goat", "Draw Me" etc. are
not overall happy songs. So as far as a niche I may fit somewhere if you
look at me from a distance. And that's ok, but I hope that people sit
and drive with the tunes and realize that it’s more than happy tunes.
MVRemix: Your live show is quite the expansion of your music/character - which
artists influenced your live show?
Pigeon John: I'd say KRS One, as far as mic control, The Pharcyde as far as
excitement, and Sammy Davis Jr. as far as overall classiness? Maybe. I
just like giving the crowd an experience that involves them, instead of
a show. Me in your living room - versus me on stage.
MVRemix: Do you remember the first time you saw your name on vinyl and do you
recall the feelings you had when you saw that?
Pigeon John: Man I remember seeing old LA Symphony vinyl in 1997, the first one.
Actually it was a FLYNN single that I produced and I felt so proud. I
hung it up on my wall and said, "Look at that...will you just look at
MVRemix: Tell me about your forthcoming LP on Quannum.
Pigeon John: Well its called "Pigeon John and the Summertime Pool Party" and its the
bomb! Nah, but I really like and I can't wait for people to hear it.
It my classic California record. I tried to capture all of the
bitter sweetness of Summer. It’s my Beach Boy Hip Hop album. And I got to
work with greats like RJD2, Great Jason, Brother Ali, DJ Rhettmatic,
J-Live and others. I'm excited about it and it comes out in August
MVRemix: What was your mindset going into this new album?
Pigeon John: I imagined if Brain Wilson of the Beach Boys were young and made a hip
hop record today... and had Q-Tip help out. I just set out to do the
Classic Summertime album.
MVRemix: How did you initially hook up with the label?
Pigeon John: I went on tour with Lyrics Born and he saw the show and heard "Pigeon
John is Dating Your Sister". We talked after that and said he wanted me
on Quannum. And I said for sure!
MVRemix: Describe a day in your recording life five years ago...
Pigeon John: I'd wake up at 7AM to go and work as a stock clerk in downtown L.A.. Get
off at 5PM, head out to West L.A. and work at Trader Joes till 12AM. Head
over to the LAS studio by 1AM and rock a song, quick and fast, and then
wake up to go to work again in the morning.
MVRemix: And compare that to today
Pigeon John: Wake up naked with dried Vodka poured on my chest and a large Bible to
my side - at 4PM. I slowly walk to get ready and then by 6PM walk my
pit bull, Budda. By 7PM I eat. Then I play video games till 9pm...Then I
hit my studio to make the hot, hot hits.
MVRemix: What’s your main goal with music?
Pigeon John: To make a certain type of Hip Hop. My type of Hip Hop, that me and
friends like to listen to. Like you said before, I'd love to create a
niche for myself, a slice of Hip Hop I can all my own. I'm sick of
following others. And I'd love a rep for doing bomb live shows. KRS One is the greatest
and I'd hope to be as good as him one day.
MVRemix: Does it shock you that independent artists have such a strong
following? I saw a guy in his early 20’s wearing a Pigeon John shirt in a local
cafe last night…
Pigeon John: Man, that's crazy and exciting. I think because Hip Hop had grown so
popular and everybody can get into at any time with no threat at all,
it’s creating hunger for more. People want a scene or a record they can
call their own. Something you can't get at any mall in America. And that
is the indy Hip Hop now. It’s special and young and secret and ours! We
laugh at all the Hip Hop videos we see on BET and MTV. We think they're
hella corny and fake. Weak gangster/pimp wannabes. They are all
jiggaboos. I'm not a part of that rap. They can have it. We are our own
scene and movement and we don’t need them.
MVRemix: What are your thoughts on Hyphy?
Pigeon John: I'm all for new things in Hip Hop and that scene is dope because it
exists without TV or videos (or it did exist without). It’s a real scene
and it’s from Cali, so I gotta support. I think its dope.
MVRemix: Tell me about your now sold out book, "South Bay Blues" and how that
Pigeon John: Well when I worked in a bookstore for 5 years after high school, I got
hip to a lot of writers like Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukouski, Langston
Hughes, Bret Easton Ellis, The Beat Poets, etc and feel in love them.
They were great and silent and those words stuck! So I wrote a ton of
poems that I never put out until years later this small publishing
company Skeleton Key hit me and asked if I'd written anything ever. I
said yes and they liked what they read. So I slapped an ep together to
accompany the book and made it happen. We are repressing it this year.
Thanks for asking.
MVRemix: Which movies have been most influential to you?
Pigeon John: ”Ferris Buellers Day Off,” “Say Anything,” and “Goonies.” Come on, you put any
one of those bad boys and feel the heat!
MVRemix: Where were you when you heard that Three 6 Mafia won the Oscar?
Pigeon John: I was making love to a young Mexican boy in Torrance, CA.
MVRemix: What are your thoughts on that?
Pigeon John: I loved it. I know it was the Oscars trying to be cool. But I loved it.
This is our rock and roll. It’s dangerous, stupid and our parents aren't
supposed to like it. I'm happy some young brothers got an Oscar and I
love the movie it was a part of.
MVRemix: A la "Fight Club," "If you could fight any celebrity, who would you
Pigeon John: Phil Collins.
Pigeon John: 'cause he's a fake bastard.
MVRemix: Would you win?
Pigeon John: What do you think? Of course I'd bash his forehead in....while
"Invisible Touch" blared through some speakers.
MVRemix: Aside from new LP, what else do we have to look forward to?
Pigeon John: Just the new record my man. It’s gonna be big "Pigeon John and the
Summertime Pool Party." Guaranteed to sell 76 copies! I swear!