Artist of the day: Solillaquists of Sound
Orlando’s Solillaquists of Sound are bringing their infectious blend of positive,quasi-political hiphop to Crowbar Friday night, and it’s a must-see for any fan of hip hop or, for that matter, good music in general.
Solillaquists of Sound are the husband-and-wife teams of lyricists Swamburger and Alexandrah with the poet Tonya and MPC magician DiVinci. Soundwise, you could describe them as “similar to The Black Eyed Peas before they sold out and added Fergie.” Swamburger typically handles the rapping duties while Alexandrah provides backing lyrics and handles most of the singing. Their CDs are unlike most hip hop you’re likely to hear on the radio these days, but the energy and magic of their live shows may make you a fan forever.
An MPC is an acronym for “music production center” and by itself, it’s a pretty unremarkable gadget that’s best suited for the studio. However, in the hands of DJ DiVinci, these innocuous boxes are transformed into the stars of the show. DiVinci plays three, sometimes four of them at a time with the elegance and grace of a politician. He plays them with his hands, his feet and, on occasion, even his face. The first time you see it live, it’s hard to believe.
The group performs alongside Spam Allstars, ArtOfficial and Soft Rock Renegades at 9 p.m. Saturday at Crowbar’s Fourth Anniversary Party, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. Tickets are $15. Click here.
We recently caught up with DiVinci and asked him a few questions about his unique style.
The way you play MPCs — was that something you saw someone else doing and decided to try your hands at? Or did you invent it?
I had never seen anyone play the MPC before. I would just make beats in my room and really get into it. By the time Swam and I started making music together we were jamming in the studio, doing a more tame version of what you see today on stage. It worked out really well, so to us it started to make more sense to start doing that in a live scenario as well. So I started to bring my MPC out for shows and we would make a lot of stuff up on the spot. Doing that is what really helped me to develop my current style of live MPC playing. It wasn’t until later that I noticed there were other people playing MPCs out as well.
When you play live shows, how much of the music is performed on the spot and how much is preprogrammed loops?
At any given time within the show anything could be happening. I don’t really have a set way of doing it. Every song had its own process of evolution so every song usually deserves its own approach on how its to be delivered on stage. So some songs I may play the original sequence I made in the MPC while I improvise drum parts or melodies over top of it and others may be all being created or played on the spot. If you watch closely (and have some understanding of how the MPC works), you can probably figure out what is what. Or maybe not? I run into a lot of people that have no idea what is going on technically up there while I’m doing it, they just enjoy the energy. Either way it’s safe to assume at any given moment that I’m working my ass off up there.
For the people in Tampa who’ve never seen y’all, please explain what they’re in for at a Solillaquists show, and break down what your self-coined “FAHEEM” sound is.
I would say that you are in for a really high-energy, epic hip hop experience. We try to incorporate a nice mix of skill, emotion, theatrics and fun in to our show and I think we do a pretty good job of doing so. FAHEEM (Free Astral Hip hop Extraterrestrially Energized Message) is really just our style of hip hop that’s not bound by a lot of the boxes that have been defined nowadays. And in that way, to us, it’s really just a continuation of the sound and spirit of hip hop that inspired us in the first place. Really there are no words that can do any experience justice. So to the people of Tampa, my only words are come out and experience it!
-- Bryan Childs, tbt*