Nine5Four Feature: Fresco Sounds: Back to tha future
Welcome to Nine5Four Magazine Fresco, how’s life treating you? Thanks for this opportunity. I feel great as of recently. My music & the promotion aspect of it have developed a LOT in the past year and I feel good about that. This year has been about getting the Fresco Sounds brand more recognition and I’m hyped about our progression from live shows to the studio.
Is there a story behind how you got the name Fresco Sounds and what does ODM stand for? Fresco, in my native language Portuguese, is slang for being a “wise-ass” and that’s what my mother used to call me…haha! It’s just a simple family thing. ODM was a 2-way acronym I wrote in a line that became a name for “One Drop Matt” (drop a song once & have it be timeless) and “Only Dope Music.” I keep the brand related to the music cause that’s my main focus.
You were born in “Money Earnin’ Mt. Vernon” the same as hip hop heavyweights Pete Rock, DMX and Heavy D (R.I.P). Did these guys have any influence on your decision to get into the rap game? Absolutely! I want to do justice by my hometown and having names like that back up your city, you gotta make sure you raise the bar to Hip Hop like they did. It’s tough to come up as an artist in Mt. Vernon, especially nowadays when everybody wants to pick up the microphone and rap, so I feel I have a responsibility to prove to my city that I’m somebody that stands out and somebody they can be proud of. Actually, my first music video for my single, “Used To Be,” I shot in Mt. Vernon, so I’m making sure I stick to my roots.
I really dig the fact that you take chances musically in your tracks…it’s very refreshing. How would you describe your flava and what it brings to the industry? I appreciate it. As far as style goes, I think my music is pretty soulful. I get personal with the lyrics discussing matters like letting down my mother, bringing my music aspirations to fruition, and most importantly not counting on anybody to do your work. I’m a fan of older soul artists like Marvin Gaye, The Isley Brothers, Nina Simone, Curtis Mayfield, and Bobby Womack to name a few. That’s a sound that’s already accepted by Hip Hop when sampled and respected by older folk so it’s great to recreate that sound in an original way. I think authenticity is needed in the industry and with live instruments used in our songs and rapping about my personal encounters, I can deliver a sound accepted commercially while being true to what I want to produce.
And lyrically, you have a lot to say when today we get great beats and no lyrical content. Who would you say that you patterned your lyrical wizardry after…if anyone? That’s tough man. I don’t necessarily emulate but I vibe to and study Andre 3K’s writing cause it’s real original. Even Kendrick Lamar, as a newcomer, still has an impressive lyrical style that is his own sound. B.I.G. has an untouchable flow, raw as hell. Lot of my lyrics also stem from story-telling with clever metaphors and it’s artists like Nas or Big L you listen to if you want to catch witty lines with real messages.
What are your thoughts on the current state of hip hop music? I think there was an era only a few years back where Hip Hop didn’t have household-named artists really making their mark but I think it’s great where it’s at now. Artists can leak their albums and still sell over 100,000 copies which is a lot for today’s internet age. It’s gotten a lot easier to put out your music and in result everybody is trying to be a rapper but that just tests those who really want to stand out and create their own fan base. Hip Hop is at a state where artists have to think on their feet in regards to promoting themselves and that is the best challenge you can offer me. Plus the music is poppin, lots of new talented artists along with veterans are working together and putting out great records. I make the music that I’m lucky to say I’m still a fan of.
Hard to believe that your only 20 years old (as of Aug 5th). It’s like you are an old soul and a throwback to the 90’s hip hop era when the music was “fun”. Where does it come from? I just try to stay true as to why I make music. It’s the “in-the-moment” times when we’re freestyling in a cipher or a battle or my co-producer Max Ash will play something out of the blue on the guitar or bass and have it sound hot. We try to capture those times when everybody’s living in the moment and nobody’s spittin something that’s prewritten and THAT’S real reminiscent of fun 90s-earlier Hip Hop.
I understand that you are currently a college student as well. What school do you attend? I’m studying at the University of Maryland in College Park and I’m a Communications major. It’s been a good experience for me so far.
How have the students on campus received your musical talents? The advantage of College Park is that it’s a real diverse and large crowd. Fortunately, I’ve been receiving nothing but great feedback. College students can be a difficult crowd to please because they’re the ones I’m directing my demographic to and yet my music can sound very old school, but I’ve opened up for Pac Div and have done other performances at my school that have given me an opportunity to gain exposure. One student came up to me and recited back one of my own lines after a show saying it was crazy, that was a real gratifying moment.
Let’s talk about your new mixtape entitled “High Hopes Drunk Faith” which is a very clever title with I’m sure a clever meaning behind it. “High Hopes Drunk Faith” was a line I wrote in a song called “The Real Thing”, that was written, “High hopes, drunk faith. Lookin like…no one’s safe…” The whole underlying theme of the album focused on not being satisfied with where you stand and working with hope and faith that you’ll make it to where you want to be. Drinking yourself away and getting high constantly can hinder that process of moving forward that’s why the title is ironic. Also, no one is safe once I put out the album cause were wrecking sh*t up!
What has the feedback on the mixtape been like thus far? Off the bat there was nothing but great reviews on it by blogs such as Street Khemistry, Radio Revolt and more which is always good to know complete strangers vibe with your music but I would like more constructive criticism cause I know there’s room to grow from my first EP. Overall, people have been saying it has an old-school 90’s sound and while I didn’t see that myself at first, that’s probably the best compliment I could receive. We put on 20 hour days sometimes to get this album in masterpiece-mode and I’m really glad people have reacted well to it. I’m fully aware that after my career grows more, people will dig through the crates to find some old Fresco and appreciate how well put together it was, being that it was our first project.
Talk to me about your producer Mike Spits and how instrumental (no pun intended) he was in helping you create these classic tracks. Mike Spits is the ONLY producer on the entire album. I can’t name you many projects where you have only one producer and one artist. He’s worked with artists like Fred the Godson & Cory Gunz. We have great chemistry in the studio and know each other’s sound well. I would bring the samples to Mike and we would both shoot ideas for how to approach each song. Mike is also the sound engineer and in that aspect he’s Mr. Miyagi that helped me learn the mixing and mastering process in post-production. It’s a great time whenever we’re in the studio and I’m fortunate enough to have had an experienced and musically-inclined virtuoso on this project.
Ok, if an interested A&R or Music Exec is reading this article and you had to pick one track for them to listen to, which track would that be? I would suggest “The Autobiography,” which is the last track on the album before the bonus songs. The beat was the hardest beat I had written to at that time because I wanted to cover a beginning, middle, and end story about how I foresee my career and literally talk about how I want to put the soul back in the music when they say the thrill of it is gone. I’ve performed it to a few A&Rs and label representatives and everybody, thankfully, has really vibed with it.
Have you had any record labels show serious interest in you yet? Yeah, this year especially I’ve been booking myself for showcases where A&RS from Bad Boy, G-Unit, Konvict Music, Universal, and more will judge your music and performance on the spot. Most of the time, the feedback I get is to keep pursuing my career because there’s a lot of talent and room to grow. They also have given me performance tips which have helped me develop better stage presence. I’m making sure they know I’m relevant and on the come-up.
How did you and your London based manager Matt Dodds hook up and have you done any performances in the UK? Dodds is a close associate I met in the United States through an old high school friend of mine. He’s helped me with promotion opportunities recently. I have yet to do performances in the UK, that is definitely a goal within the next few years considering Hip Hop is a serious movement in England.
I know this is only your first EP but where do you want your talents to take you in the next 5 years? I want to grow as a performer. This past year, that has been my main way to extend a fan base aside from using the social network sites. I want to reach the West Coast and also go international with spreading the music but I know the process takes time. Overall, I just want people to consider the music a timeless classic and that’s a tough request but this is what I live for so I’ll dedicate enough effort until I’ve reached that goal. I also want to work with other talented artists in the next five years. Networking and making good relationships with people in the industry can take you farther than you can imagine.
Where can the readers go to download your mixtape and to keep up with your promising career? “High Hopes Drunk Faith” can be found to download at www.frescosounds.com. Youtube Fresco Sounds for the videos & ESPECIALLY follow @frescosounds on twitter to keep up with any information on performance dates, etc.
I have to say thank you Fresco for bringing back a tasted of the golden era of 90’s hip hop music. It’s greatly needed so people can have fun listening to music again. Your future is bright and we are glad to have gotten this opportunity to talk with you on your way up. Oh and Happy Birthday! Is there anything else you’d like to add in closing? I’d like to thank you guys at Nine5four honestly, for being optimistic about my career. That adds to the drive and effort to push myself forward. Without the contributions of Rob Tanchum, Mike Spits, Max Ash and Glock, the album wouldn’t be near the level of quality that it’s at now. Special shoutout to friends and family being my first fans and going to every show I do. I hope readers enjoy the music & videos. FRESCO LETS GO!