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Tonedeff - conducted by Hugo Lunny  

The Archetype

February 2005

MVRemix: What's going on with The Plague and E-Famm?

Tonedeff: Extended Famm is on hiatus until everyone drops their solo albums this year. We already have an album's worth of concepts and they're already above and beyond the bar we set up on 'Happy Fuck You Songs' - and to me, that's pretty impressive in itself. The tentative title is 'The Second Coming. Pause.', but we'll probably change that.

Substantial's still workin' on his 2nd album, 'Sacrifice', which is already insane. He's definitely the most slept on member of the group. We're rapping up production on PackFM's 'WhutduzFMstand4?' and people are gonna be really surprised by how much Pack has grown as an artist. His album really evokes that wild/fun feel of those early Redman albums - real NYC style hip-hop shit. Session won't be on the next album.

The Plague is a super-collective of solo artists/groups from NYC that includes: Pumpkinhead, Bad Seed, Extended Famm, Hydra, Mr. Mecca, Kameel-Yen and DJ DP-One. With 12 members, it's difficult to get everyone together, but we still intend to lock ourselves in a studio for a month or two at some point and knock out the 'OUTBREAK' LP we've been intending to do for years now. I've just been so busy readying for QthousaN5 that I haven't been able to focus on The Plague project. Everyone's committed to the, it's just a matter of time. But with that roster of talent, it's safe to say that I'm excited about it.

MVRemix: What about Chico and The Man?

Tonedeff: Chico & The Man a.k.a. CATM, is essentially my next album project entirely produced by Kno (CunninLynguists). For those that have been following QN5 for a while, they know that when Kno & I work together something beautiful happens. He has an amazing ear, and I feel that he is the most talented album-producer currently making hip-hop music right now - period. (Just wait till you hear the next CL album). He really is gifted and it's an honor for me to work with him for an entire album.

He's one of the few people that I completely trust musically, and he's the first person that I allowed to listen to Archetype.When I got the celly message a few weeks later saying, "Tone, it's a really beautiful record...I just wanted to let you know that," I was relieved as hell. So, I remember the first conversation we had about doing the CATM project, and he told me, "Tone, you wear a million caps, and I know how difficult it is to relinquish creative control over the music... so if we do this project, I need to put on your MC cap and allow me to craft this album as the producer." I didn't even hesitate to agree.

Now that Archetype is about to drop...I can focus 100% of my writing energy into CATM. All the concepts and beats have been laid out and it's just a matter of me finishing the writing and recording. All I can say about it right now is that this album is going to be something really, really special.

MVRemix: How did your speed rapping originate?

Tonedeff: Haha! I was waiting for this question to pop up!

Really, it's something I just naturally excelled at. It's a style I picked up as a kid and always incorporated into my style from the jump. I started recording and performing in Miami as a kid back in 1989, and all there was back then was Gucci Crew, 2 Live Crew, MC Shy D, and the rest of the Miami Bass music scene. I literally learned how to freestyle to beats over 120+ bpms, cause that's all we had! It's funny in retrospect, but I always liked how it sounded.

It's a skill element and challenging to write effectively without resorting to gibberish - that's one thing I pride myself on as a writer, because even when I'm going warp speed, I'm still sayin' some witty shit. Ironically, I don't even do it on too many songs, yet some folks seem to focus on it. Still, it's just one element of my style, and I don't ever want it to overshadow my lyricism, because I put a lot of thought and heart into my words.

MVRemix: A la "Fight Club," "If you could fight any celebrity, who would you fight"?

Tonedeff: I would give a pinky toe to put a shotgun in Ashlee Simpson's mouth and ask her to sing.

MVRemix: Everyone has a certain selection of music they revert back to every now and again to relax or reflect. What material do you revert back to every once in a while?

Tonedeff: Anyone who knows me, will tell you I'm a music fanatic. It's wild, because I literally grew up on a 100% hip-hop diet. That's ALL I listened to growing up. And it wasn't until I was 18 that I started listening to different types of shit. Now, you should see the look on everyone's faces in the tour van when I'm playing Bjork or Interpol mad loud. When I'm really flipped out and want to off myself via my living room window, I listen to Radiohead, Tori Amos or Jeff Buckley. I'm a sucker for a sad song.

MVRemix: Which movie impacted you the most?

Tonedeff: 8 MILE! I would never have started rapping if I hadn't seen this inspirational film! [Sadly, someone will ernestly say this in an interview one day]

MVRemix: What's your favourite Radiohead song?

Tonedeff: That's a tough one because they have so many amazing songs. I think it's a toss up between "How To Disappear Completely" from Kid A, "Paranoid Android" off OK Computer or "Steet Spirit" off of The Bends. I could go on forever, but those are the first ones to come to mind.

MVRemix: Your hands are always in different fires, aside from Archetype what else have you been attaching yourself to/creating?

Tonedeff: Right now, CATM is my writing focus, and I'm finalizing all the work on PackFM, Mr. Mecca & Session's albums. I just started pre-production and planning on Asterisk:Four (our annual compilation album), and have been doing production work for other artists outside the QN5 camp. Needless to say, I'm a busy dude. I do have a few other tricks up my sleeve, but right now, my main objective is to get out on the road and promote the living fuck out of Archetype. So, be sure to come check the kid out at a show near you!

MVRemix: Any last words to fans or potential fans that are going to be reading this?

Tonedeff: Yes sir! I definitely want to thank all the blue-schoolers and auralarians that have supported myself and the QN5 camp all these years. They see the vision and it's a beautiful thing. I've poured my entire being into this music and this label and these albums, and I hope that everyone, non-fans included, will really listen and let the music sink in.

For those that haven't been up on QN5 Music yet, you've got a fuck load of homework to catch up on...but luckily, you've got a kick ass site and community that'll help you get up to speed at I'd also like to give a shout out to MVRemix for letting the Latin kid get his interview on.

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