Surely you're thing if you like Ugly Duckling or the Beasties. That's not to say they're simply a clone though. Read up on this dope 3 man crew from New York. They could easily be big this time next year. Proper Bo!
How did you guys hook up together and how long have you been a group?
LOSAKA: Eibol and myself knew each other from our original group "Hand Held Aspects". We started Fingerprint Records independently in 2002. We met Nobs through a CD trade. He was a local upstate NY artist making dope Hip Hop music. After we got to know each other, we realized we all had the same ideals and goals concerning our music. We decided to record and released Nobs' "Typical Hip Hop Shit" EP on Fingerprint Records. Then from there it snowballed. We formed Neanderthal Youth in 2003 soon after Nobs's EP was released.
How did each of you come up with your name, and the group name?
LOSAKA: I've had my name (Losaka) since I first started writing rhymes. It combines half of my birth-name with the all famous A.K.A. acronym.
EIBOL: The name came from a childhood memory of my mom always losing shit. She would always call me to find it for her. She said I had eagle eyeballs and I had a way of seeing stuff that people overlook. Later the spelling changed when I was a TOY graf writer, sorry to all the real wall artists…. hahah
NOBS: It actually stems from my huge knuckles. They look like ET fingers. My friend actually spelled the "knobs" wrong and it kinda stuck.. I've also been told it means "NO Bullshit" "No One But Self".
EIBOL: Neanderthal Youth the name….. Well, the name and the group as a whole came about out of pure boredom. Losaka and I were taking a break form H2A (Hand Held Aspects) projects because Hippo was in Italy studying abroad. I was sitting in my apt. actually smoking trees and listening to Prince. I looked up on top of my wall unit and I had placed a figurine that my ex-girlfriend had copped me from the nuseum of natural history. I got up and grabbed it for some reason I'll never know (divine intuition or high curiosity).... but it was a little caveman. The tag read Neanderthal Youth. AWWW Snap! A light went off. I just thought it was a fresh name "a throw back" if you will, it held all elements of hip hop: raw, gritty, traditional roots. So I called up Nobs and Losaka told 'em the idea and a week later we were digging records and writing lyrics.
Nobs, are you aware of your names general meaning in the UK?
NOBS: Yea, recently someone told me a "nob" is slang for a penis in the UK. I have no comment on that one haha. You think people will laugh at me when I introduce myself in the UK?
Which part of the states are you from and what's the hip-hop scene there like?
NOBS: New York…land of MC oversaturation
EIBOL: We are based out of Ossining. A section of New York known for its maximum security prison system for all the heads looking for our Street Cred.. The scene here is hard you know it's the birth place of Hip-Hop. I have seen old ladies in the bodega rapping, pushing demos.
LOSAKA: I've recently relocated to Ann Arbor, Michigan…scenes cool here…I've met some real cool peoples, DJ's, MC's. It seems like this is going to be a dope scene to be a part of.
How did you come to be signed to Finger Print Records and what have you released so far?
LOSAKA: Well, Eibol, Hippo and I own Fingerprint Records…so we kind of signed ourselves. We've released a lot of stuff for the 2.5 years we've been an actual label. The Neanderthal Youth album was actually the 5th release on Fingerprint Records.
How do you find life as an underground/independant rap unit in the shadow of the almighty majors?
LOSAKA: Tough. It's real tough being independent. The easiest part is recording the music actually. That's the fun part, then you have promotion, publicity, tours, management…all the stuff major label artists don't have to think about, we have to think about and execute. We're the musicians, managers, designers, marketers, etc. We never sleep.
Have the individual members of the crew done any solo work or intend to branch out and do their own thing?
LOSAKA: Yes indeed, I recently released a solo album "Porqueria" which is doing quite well. Nobs has done quite a few solo projects on Fingerprint, "Typical Hip Hop Shit" EP and the "Workin'" album, both of which have done extremely well. This year we will have an Eibol solo album "Karma's Kingdom" and judging by what I've heard so far its going to really get some attention.
How would you describe your album 'Unearthed: The Early Days' in terms of production vibes and topics?
NOBS: The topics are your typical stuff….girls, hip hop and braggadocio….the beats are just hard drums and dope loops…basically taking it back to the way hip hop was…I know a lot of people claim to do that…but it is a fun thing to try
EIBOL: I would describe it as elemental….basic and powerful.. primal to a point. Los and I actually had the privilege of be-friending Troy Hightower (mix engineer of De La Soul, Big Pun, Beatnuts etc.) He said to us ….hip hop started with Drums and Bass. Those are your key basic elements. As long as those hit hard, every other sample you put on is just icing on the cake!! That's what we tried to accomplish as a whole, bass driven, hard hitting breaks with funky RAW samples…..We all came together in the studio and just talked before we wrote… Joked around, threw ideas out and let the beats place a topic in our minds. This record is exactly stuff we talked about outside the studio and occurrences of our everyday lives put into fun rhythms and rhymes….
Who handles your production and what producers would you like the opportunity to work with?
LOSAKA: We did all of our production in-house, literally. Nobs, Eibol and myself produced the album together at Eibol's house, recorded it and mixed it there as well. On other projects we've had the opportunity to work with a few underground producers, Joey Beats, Orphan. We'd definitely like to collaborate some more with other producers. Personally I'd like to work with Alias or Sixtoo.
EIBOL: I'd like to collaborate with J-dilla, Rick Ruben, DiamonD, Madlib….
NOBS: I'm working on an album with Joey Beats (Non-Prophets) right now. Its called "Smack" and it should be out by summer 2005. So that counts…right?
What studio set up do you guys have and how long did it take to build that up to what it is?
NOBS: I make beats on an MPC…the studio is at Eibols place though….he's the lucky one.
EIBOL: We Record on 32 track Protools Digi001 Mac G4 set up with numerous on-board effects, Revox reel-to-reel, Mpc2000xl, Korg Kaoss Pad KP2, Ensoniqe ASR
10, 73key Fender Rhodes, full jazz drum kit, Technique turntables, Vestax Pmc 05Pro mixer, Focusrite Platinum Penta outboard mic pre-amp/Compressor, Blue Baby Bottle and Rhode Nt1 microphones…How long did it take?...... Instantly (thanks to bank loans)... but still growing!!
The stuff I've heard from you sounds as though your live shows are really entertaining. What goes down when you're on stage?
NOBS: Anything and everything. I recall one time we came on stage with monkey masks and Christmas hats right before the holidays and started singing "Jingle Bells"...people started booing us but then we just cut it, jumped directly into "Electric Uprock" and there was an instant moshpit.
EIBOL: Yea man, We give off more energy than on the record for sure, you have to..... We do everything from stepping on stage in gorilla masks with clubs. Throwing out candy and cd's…. we feed off each other's energy well… so if you even catch us in a small local bar with 10 people and everyone is there just listening, we still will be acting a fool to where the crowd feels like they are odd for not moving
Are there any plans for a UK release of your album and some live dates over here?
LOSAKA: Definitely, there are a few online stores that carry our product out there. We have distribution in Switzerland, working on other European spots as well. We have a 7" single "Electric Uprock"/"You Oughta Promote" dropping in April as a limited European release…only 200 copies!! The live dates will soon follow, keep your eyes peeled.
Which artists and groups have been an influence on you guys?
LOSAKA: During the making of the Neanderthal Youth album, we were all on a strict regiment of early 90's Hip Hop. Souls of Mischief, Gravediggaz, Wu-Tang, Show & AG, DiamonD…too many to rattle off right here. Just trying to capture that vibe.
NOBS: Smif n Wessun too.
You've been asked questions on Ugly Duckling and Beasties tons of times already right?
NOBS: Actually no. We've never been compared to anyone as far as the Neanderthal album goes. Just as solo artists have we been put up against another artist. But since you said it, I guess the next interview…well you know haha.
What current hip-hop music do you enjoy listening to, and for that matter, anything from other genres?
LOSAKA: I'm starting to dabble a little more and more in other genres as I get older. I usually stick to the classics as far as hip hop goes. But I don't discriminate, I listen to it all…well, ok maybe except for adult contemporary country music.
NOBS: I honestly don't listen to much hip hop. I've been bumping a lot of down tempo stuff…classic rock.. psych and old school hip hop…..a lot of the newer stuff doesn't appeal to me. I give it all a fair chance though.
EIBOL: I'm Bumpin' J-dilla "Welcome to Detroit".... Mos Def "New Danger" Tribe Called Quest "Beats Rhymes and Life" Grand Puba "REEL TO REEL" and Diamond "Stunts Blunts and Hip hop"
Do you agree that hip-hop is long overdue more entertaining and humour based, or simply non bling and gangster based releases?
LOSAKA: There are groups out there doing the fun and humour based styles. I think it will all crash into each other and it will all be out there. These big companies are starting to pay more attention to the underground scene, it may just go POP. Hopefully not…time will tell.
Are there any other aspects of hip-hop which you guys are or have been involved with over the years?
LOSAKA: I started out writing graffiti when I was 12. I don't do it much anymore.. I'm mostly about the music now.
EIBOL: I have had my hands in all the aspects pretty much. I used to try to write for a while cause I would go out with all my boys who were nasty but I left that to them. I hold down the turns a lil' sumthin, sumthin, but I am no Grandmaster Roc Raida. I would say the only other element I have been really good at was: B-Boyin'. I taught and performed at a school for about 2 years on a professional level. Now I just rap and make beats and lost my dancer's figure…. thank you, comfy studio chairs, weed and beer.
NOBS: I am the most untalented of all of them. I cant paint, I dance like your typical white dude and my fingers warp records.
How prominent is graffiti art these days in NY? I wont pretend I know what I'm talking about, but Style Wars ended with a big clamp down on sprayers.
LOSAKA: To quote someone famous…"Can't stop, won't stop." Especially now with the commercial exposure it has received.
Are there any shout out's or plugs you want to throw into the world wierd web?
EIBOL: Shout outs to all the supportive fans that come to shows! Everyone who influences me but might not know it (People in the street, my old boss who yelled at me for being late, idiots who drive like my grandma when I'm trying to make it to nobs crib before he calls me 800 times to see where I'm at) Planet Pizza, Big Dave and Moses! and everyone who is waiting for the solo to drop "Karma's Kingdom" out this May 2005
LOSAKA: Visit our webpage Fingerprint Records Drop us a line on our message board, download some songs.
NOBS: Nobs & Joey Beats "Smack" Summer 2005!!