Interview With: One Block Radius

Editor-in-Chief Jessica recently got in contact with L.A.-based indie hip hop trio One Block Radius. One Block Radius is not your typical hip hop group; they’re self-described as “if Steve Winwood, Hall & Oates, Earth, Wind and Fire and David Bowie listened to some Sublime, The Pharcyde and Tribe Called Quest [and] got high.” That alone should make you more than curious to read what these guys have to say!

Jessica, PopWreckoning: Hey, fellas – I hope you’re all doing well. Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for PopWreckoning!
When did each of you begin to get involved with music and what kind of support did you find in friends and family regarding your musical endeavors?
One Block Radius: We have all been surrounded by and creating music since we were youngins. I’m sure a lot of our family members were having their doubts for awhile…. but overall everyone was mostly supportive of our dreams and goals. That’s pretty much what inspired “You Got Me.”

PW: How did the 3 of you come together and decide to collaborate musically?
OBR: When I [Marty James] moved down to L.A. in 2001, MDA was actually my neighbor. We had some mutual friends who introduced us and we started kickin’ it. Eventually he joined my old band and we became best friends.
When that band fizzled we decided to start something new. In 2004 my boy up in Chico had been telling me about this cat named Z-Man up in Frisco. He sent me some of his four track tapes and I loved them. I reached out to him and he was down to be part of what would become One Block Radius. We put out our first album Long Story Short in 2005 and toured hard as we could on that.

PW: You describe your sound as “Pharcyde meets Steve Winwood meets Sublime meets Outkast meets Hall and Oates” — quite a variety of acts, which absolutely shines through in your tracks. Who else would you cite as influences to each of you personally and to the group as a whole?
OBR: Cypress Hill, DJ Muggs, Premeir, Tribe Called Quest, Queens Of The Stone Age, Jack White, Stereolab, The Police, Sinbad, Gallagher, Paula Poundstone etc…

PW: Is there still a big East Coast-West Coast rap/hip hop rivalry? What are your thoughts on it…keeping in mind that I’m an East Coast girl? 🙂
OBR: No thats a wrap, in our opinion.. Real artists ain’t getting involved in that stuff. We do this for the love and appreciation of music.

PW: I agree absolutely! Rivalries just take away from the music you’re making, which is so silly.
Your self-titled album drops in September — what was involved in creating the record and what have you learned from making this album that you’ll keep in mind for the next one?
OBR: Well truthfully the album was made from June 1st to July 4th 2008 because we wanted to keep the momentum from the single going. We worked at an insane pace to get it done. Next time we would like to maybe take a little more time with it but it was an incredible experience.

PW: Would you please explain a little bit about the current “16 Bars with OBR” WeMix contest? How did you hook up with Ludacris to judge the contest?
OBR: Well Luda is our labelmate and we think Wemix is a sick website. Basically there is an open 16 bar verse and we are looking for the most creative, crazy verse possible. The winner will get on the exclusive remix to be sold on iTunes and win some money and stuff.
Being that we know what kind of grind it takes to make some noise in this business, it’s nice to be able to give back an opportunity to a fellow up and comer.

PW: That’s pretty awesome. I’m glad you guys are running it!
It seems that hip hop is the most collaboration-friendly genre in the music game — who would you most like to collaborate with and why?
OBR: We would love to collab with artists of all different genres. From Kanye to Andre 3000 to Dave Grohl to Jack White. Anyone who is looking to push the boundaries of music creatively.

PW: What are your plans for touring the new album?
OBR: We plan on touring hard. Especially colleges and clubs so we can get to really know our supporters. Maybe open for The Rolling Stones, too.

PW: Haha, it would be sweet to kick it with Mick [Jagger] and Keith [Richards] on the road. I’m sure they’d be able to give you a run for your money when it comes to partying. If the Rolling Stones/One Block Radius tour doesn’t pan out, what acts would you love to tour with (any artist/band living, dead, etc.)
OBR: It would be incredible to open for KISS 1977 style! Sublime, Run DMC, The Clash, Bad Brains etc…

PW: What are you currently listening to?
OBR: Lots of old stuff. Ambrosia, Doobie Brothers, The Pharcyde (still), Public Enemy, Schooly D. A little bit of new stuff too: MGMT, El-P, The Grouch.

PW: Rad stuff. Thanks so much for your time, guys. I look forward to hearing the record!

One Block Radius: website | myspace | WeMix contest

Photo: Todd Russell

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2 Responses

  1. sound like down to earth guys

  2. […] One Block Radius One Block Radius :: interview with […]

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