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Blueprint: Hit The Ground Running

blueprint top Blueprint: Hit The Ground Running

“I was trying to get the feeling of Enter The 36 Chambers and Supreme Clientele. But I felt like I hit a wall with that. Like even if I would have killed it, it wouldn’t be better than Supreme Clientele or 36 Chambers,” says emcee/producer Blueprint, when speaking on the first studio sessions he had in 2006 in his creation of his newest LP Adventures In Counter-Culture. Feeling that his classic rap sound was too outdated, Blueprint began producing sample free material after being inspired by such electronic artists like Kraftwerk and Daft Punk. Explaining that a key part of counter culture is identifying the norms, straying away those and finding your own voice, Blueprint has created a piece of art he feels best represents his voice and beliefs over that past few years musically and content wise.

In his most recent interview, Blueprint delves into what inspired him to create such a different sound, and takes us back to the days of his early work with RJD2, before he became affiliated with the indie-hip-hop heavyweight Rhymesayers Entertainment. Ready to journey on tour with Atmosphere starting early next month, the Columbus, Ohio born Blueprint is anxious to hit the ground running and spread the message he has toned since the beginning of recording the new album in 2006. “But that tour, I think will be huge. Atmosphere hasn’t released a full record in three years, and my last solo album came out six years ago, which is crazy for me to even think about. So, I’m just happy to be out there and do my part to make it a classic show, and do something no one else is doing.”

RubyHornet: You recently got back from doing a couple shows in Florida, how was that?

Blueprint: Florida was great man, it’s one of those spots people don’t hit a lot. So I just took a week, went down there and did about four shows and did a bunch of music with some friends down there. The shows were fun and the response was very good, especially for the new material.

RubyHornet: Who did you link up with down there as far as creating music?

Blueprint: Soliloquists of Sound.  We actually stayed with them the whole week in Orlando, we drove to Miami and back, and in and out to the shows.

RubyHornet: Can you speak on your relationship with Rhymesayers and how you decided to start your own label based in Columbus, Weightless Records. How did that come about?

Blueprint:
My relationship with Rhymesayers came from me doing work with Weightless for so long. You know we were from Columbus so getting signed wasn’t an option. Like back when we were starting the ideal thing was getting signed by Rawkus or any of those small labels, but none of them were really checking on us. But when we started putting out our own stuff, we became popular within Columbus & Cincinnati. I lived in Cincinnati and the rest of my crew lived in Columbus. So whenever crews would come through there, we would open up, and there was a three month period where we did shows with Atmosphere a bunch. And once we started playing with them every time they came through, we played some other shows out of state with them, and we all just sort of became friends after that. And at that point they didn’t have any acts that weren’t from Minneapolis, and right after that I was working on Soul Position stuff with RJ, and we would all trade tapes, me, Plug and  Eyedea, Aesop, and guys started hearing the Soul Position stuff and that was really how I ended up being on Rhymesayers.

RubyHornet:
You’ve been recording countless material for a while now with different producers. But what is different about the new album, Adventures in Counter-Culture. When did you start recording it and how did you decide on the title.

Blueprint:
I started recording in 2006, originally, and then I was trying to make what I’ll call a regular rap album. It was more sample based, using the MPC 2000. I was trying to get the feeling of Enter The 36 Chambers and Supreme Clientele. But I felt like I hit a wall with that. Like even if I would have killed it, it wouldn’t be better than Supreme Clientele or 36. But at the same time, I was dabbling with these other instruments and started to get back into playing more, with sample clearance issues and laws like that, so I started doing more experimental, progressive weird, I’ll call it weird, but at the time it was. I remember letting close friends hear it and go, ‘This s**t here, this other s**t, if you can perfect that, just try, instead of doing another original rap record. So I decided around 2007 to say ‘f**k It’, and do a record that symbolized music, not just rap music.

blueprint mid Blueprint: Hit The Ground Running

RubyHornet: So to you is that what represents the counter-culture? Like some people can say right now counter-culture could be political like the ‘Tea Party’, but what is the counter-culture you are describing within the album?

Blueprint: I am describing a lot of it, but on a more musical level. Challenging a lot of the expectations people have in me, and what they think this s**t is that we do. Like a lot of people may look at Rhymesayers like, ‘yeah this is what they do..’ and I think when they hear my record, they’ll see a completely different route and hopefully it will widen the picture of what we are. But then on content, it’s about breaking away from all these expectations, because of what everyone else is doing is not being yourself, and I think that is one of the most fundamental parts of counter-culture. That is something we all learn at a very young age, but kind of forget as we get older.

RubyHornet: What inspired you to work with these new synths and keyboards? In an interview last year you stated you were listening to a bunch of Kraftwerk. Are you still listening to electronic music?

Blueprint: The funny thing is, in the beginning it kind of came from necessity. I was seeing all these people around me getting sued for samples, and I knew how to play, but I never used to because I was on some ‘super keep it real s**t haha’, like you had a sample, you can’t be writing your own melodies and that silly s**t like I was doing. But it kind of started there, where I was like, ‘you know, I need to broaden my horizon and stop worrying about what people think, and just do you, your music and have fun.’ So I just made songs, and didn’t think like ‘This is a song for this, and this record is for that’…I was like ‘This is the song I’m going to make today.’ To try and make a great song, not a rap song or a club banger or whatever. I didn’t want to to that, only what came to my mind, free of any expectations. So, this time I went back and started listening to early electronic s**t, Kraftwerk… some Daft Punk. I started listening and that inspired me, I was like ‘Ok, this is the s**t they were doing back than, but it’s still dope now.

RubyHornet: A couple months ago you released your first directed music video, can you explain how you got into that venture creatively?

Blueprint:
When I got out of college, I was into videos. I was interested in video editing, my degree was in computer science. And once I started working as a computer programmer I didn’t have time for anything else. It was, go to work for 13 hours a day, come home and make beats. It was an after-thought. But in my last year of work, I was just making music drinking and s**t, and I knew I needed to add to my hobbies, so I started reading anything I could on editing, and the next thing you know I was attached to video production, something that just stuck of the s**t I read. So I kept reading books on color, documentaries. My mind was up to the challenge. Similar to music, like engineering, beat making, mixing, it all has lots of levels to it and is hard to learn, like film, I needed something to challenge me.

RubyHornet:
Can you speak on the upcoming Family Tour with Atmosphere, will you have a camera in hand, documenting the trip, as you’ll be on tour when your album comes out?

Blueprint: Yeah, it starts two weeks after my album comes out and one week after Atmosphere’s comes out. But yeah, I want to bring some sort of film. To at least take photo’s and document the events, because that is sort of something I regret not doing on tour before. But that tour, I think will be huge. Atmosphere hasn’t released a record in three years and my last solo album came out six years ago, which is crazy for me to even think about. So, I’m just happy to be out there and do my part to make it a classic show, and do something no one else is doing.

RubyHornet: Can you speak on your basement where you make music at? It’s been in some music videos of yours…I feel like there is a certain vibe reached while creating in that space. Do you make beats on the road as well?

Blueprint:
I make most of my music at home. The last couple tours, I’ve brought enough equipment for me to write a couple things on the road. But at home, I live in the house I grew up in. My mom was real heavy into arts & crafts, and my studio space now used to be her sewing space. And my bedroom growing up was right around the corner. So growing up, my basement was all I knew. I would play with my toys down there, but now it’s become my studio space.

RubyHornet:
You got to pass it down to your kin!

Blueprint:
Yeah, someone’s got to takeover, I don’t know what their hobby is going to be though, haha.

RubyHornet: So after the tour and promotion of the album, what can fans expect from Blueprint in 2011.

Blueprint:
I want to tour again, get a headlining spot. As of now I am touring up until the summer, and I won’t tour in the summer, but in the fall I may go out again and I would like to look at headlining. Really trying to take the show up a level, because I haven’t really done a fully headlining show in a long time. My goal is to stay on the road all year long, and push the album. But I also want to have my next album done by the end of 2011 and not take anymore breaks like I did before.

blueprint bot Blueprint: Hit The Ground Running

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