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#012: Damu The Fudgemunk

Damu The Fudgemunk

Yo. Want to say thanks for doing this interview, we’ll start with a easy one.

Please introduce yourself and what you do for those that don’t know.

Well my name is Damu the Fudgemunk. I’m 22. I’m a big music head. I started out rhyming and doing graff, but producing just consumed my passion and concentration.

Do you have a story for how you got such a unique name?

Yeah the name Damu is not my government name. When I was rhyming, my MC name was different, but when I started DJing, I had no DJ name. So I took Damu from a famous monk (a.k.a. Damo, Tamo, Tamu). I felt the like the monk of hip hop and my skin is chocolate. That’s when the Fudgemunk evolved around 1999. Like chipmunk, but Fudgemunk ya know. I could go on… Willy Wonka is one of my favorite movies. Wonka makes candies and I make the beats. Identity in hip hop is important. I feel comfortable as the Fudgemunk and being a Willy Wonka extra. Don’t sleep on Damumpa Loompa! He’s got “The skills to pay the bills”.

You are from Washington DC right? What’s the scene like there?

Yes I’m from DC and still a resident. Hahaha. There is a small scene here. Everyone knows everyone and there are egos involved. A lot of talent and frustration make the scene similar to any other city. Ya know the veterans vs. the new breed. I’ve paid dues and contributed tons! I still get minimal respect. All the resources get neglected then disappear and the so called ‘heads’ are ‘bored’. DC is not a city for Hip Hop or any other art form. There are a few outlets occasionally, but this is still ‘the hood’. Radio and the south have always ruled respectively. This is the home of Go-Go and The Soul Searchers. Cool Disco Dan is from here. Cycle used to bomb here and so on… DC is a long story. The arts are slowly getting recognized now that more whites are moving in. Parliament had that song ‘Chocolate City’, not anymore. However throughout the metropolitan area (DC, MD & VA) I have encountered some dope artists of all crafts and races. We’re all ‘big fish’ here… Oh yeah, you can still come up on records though. I haven’t found ‘The Whatnauts’ or ‘Skull Snaps’ yet, but I’ve had great digging experiences.

Your youtube videos are definitely dope, I like the handheld camera style, especially when you start bobbing your head to those beats. What made you put those videos up there, was it your idea or did someone ask you to or what was your motivation?

Thank you. Glad you like them. The camera work is terrible haha. The videos actually happened on accident. I used to cut on my digital camera and hit record. I had no purpose for the vids. I would come home after work and record a beat. ‘MPC Quickie’ and ‘MPC horny beats’ are examples. I just said “hey I wonder what would result if I posted these on youtube?” Yo the response was boomin! I didn’t plan on putting up that many videos. I got so much mail and decided to post more. I have thousands of beats, so at least they’ll get heard. I have to say peace to all the mail and feedback I get. The youtube. The myspace. I value your interest. Respect to all those cats showing love and responding. Thanks for all people spreading the word. I notice it ALL. When I don’t respond, don’t take it personal bro. Thanks for this interview as well.

You ‘remade’ a few beats, Pete Rock and DJ Premier etc? Do you take requests?

Pete Rock and Preem are the greats. I’ve learned a lot from them. When I remake beats, it’s for the sake of our entertainment. If I don’t have the instrumental then I’ll find the samples and get to work. There’s no intention of using them. I post the remade beats on youtube because it’s something people can recognize. Also I do a lot of stage and street performing where they come in handy live.

Your beats have that ‘old school’ boom bap style. Not that it should be called old school but what would you say your beats are? What are your musical influences from past to present, whatever?

My beats are hip hop and how you use the records. I could take records and make something completely different. But why? I get a lot of Pete Rock comparisons? Then again it’s all music. As a DJ, I love all genres and have learned to leave no record unplayed when looking for the perfect beat. My moms, pops, grandparents and aunts are all musicians. I’ve been exposed to so much and it’s a blessing. Coming up during the late 80’s and primarily the 90’s, I noticed when the music changed for the worse. Circa 96! It was my decision to continue the legacy of what I was raised on. Influences are ya know, James Brown, Kool & the Gang, Yes, Genesis, ‘All that jazz’, Frank Zappa & the Mothers, Michael Jackson, Sinatra, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Musical knowledge has been “Memorized embedded, In my think tank”. I love hip hop! I’ve learned so much from it. It’s all about respect. I grew up during the golden era and that’s why I’m gonna snap a certain way. Some people have it and most don’t. Ya gotta be humble when you have it though. I’m still learning from it.

Does anything else influence you? Do you play any instruments?

“God made me funky!” I’m a “Funky child”. I used to play drums and fidget with the electric bass, but unfortunately I don’t play an instrument. What a shame because I’ve had access to learn one. My favorite instrument is the sax. Also I’ve learned to respect musicians / art. Since my music is sample based, there has to be an appreciation. Maybe they’ll respect us beat makers when we respect them first. I’m fascinated with the artists I look up to. I love to compare their work with mine. Whether you paint, sing or you’re like me, we all have something in common and everyone has a story. We’re all influencing each other. Shakespeare has been dead mad long, but years later his work is still inspiring. A big influence has been my brother DJ Underdog (seen in my youtube vid), DJ Cosmo and K. Murdock from Panacea who have helped me mature. Another influence is my friend Ashley Oubre the fine artist. She’s the dopest and I can’t front. Check out AshleyOubre.com. Oh yeah and my man Grap Luva. I owe him as well.

In your videos you pump out those beats pretty fast… have you ever done a live mpc show or beat battle something like that?

Yeah the videos are just me playing the beats live. ‘Track muting’ to all mpc users out there. I’ve done a lot of shows with countless acts. My favorite thing is street performing. I just take my mpc on the street and play beats live. I played beats live for Pete and he was buggin out like I was hearing his stuff. That’s when I could die happy. I had it on camera, but someone stole it the next night at a show with Time Machine. I’ve been in beat battles before. I would love to battle your favorite producer. I’ve thrown some big beat battles in DC. ‘Beat Grinder’ with my crew Tru Skool. Search “beat grinder dc” in youtube or myspace and you’ll see footage from the events. Kev Brown and Oddisee were regulars at this battle.

How long does it really take to make a beat, if you could say on average?

It depends. If it’s a quick one, then anywhere from 15 min. to an hour, but my favorite beats take hours. Going through records wrecking my brain because I can’t remember where I left ‘that break’ or a horn sound. I’m unorganized and that makes things run over. Diggin through my own collection and editing / tweaking is what takes the longest. I have to be able to play it live and that’s in consideration when I’m making joints. Plus I’m not in a real studio, so I have to make it sound its best straight out the box. Sometimes the tedious beats move fast.

You’re in a Panacea video - Starlite - that’s a dope song. Do you do the scratches in that song? How did you come to work with them?

I’m the DJ for the group. I do all of their cuts. I just finished cuts for the next Panacea LPs ‘The Scenic Route’ and ‘Mind on a Ship through Time’. Me and K. Murdock met back in 2001 my senior year in high school. I was an intern at his studio / dayjob. We both loved hip hop and made beats. He had the mpc. I didn’t get my mpc until around 2003. We’ve been boys since. He has a lot of my beat cds. Raw Poetic met us later through a mutual friend K.B. and Panacea was formed by K. Murdock and Raw Poetic It was only right that I was the DJ. I’ve been on all of their albums and remixed a few songs. When they signed to GITD records, Time Machine and I were already cool. Jaysonic set up the video shoot and I did my part. Stoerock, Giant Panda, Shawn Jackson and Time Machine were all there.

Who else have you been working with?

I used to work with local MCs. I was in a group with my homie Flex Mathews. We were an MC / DJ duo. We had a few songs and an EP if you can hunt them down. We had a 12″ maxi single. It featured some of my early production from 2002 / 2003 before the mpc. If I become famous, that record will be worth money one day! Check out Flexmathews.com.
I’m currently signed to Tres Records and working on an LP for release this year. I’m very excited about this. It features Bostonian Insight on rhymes and The Fudgemunk on production. A whole LP of the raw stuff. If you miss Gang Starr and Pete Rock & CL, then you’re gonna flip for this record. Also I’m working on an O.C. album.

In one of your videos we can see you’ve got a lot of vinyls… do you know how many you’ve got? Any particular favourites?

I assume that there are approximately between 6,000 and 8,000 records in my collection. It’s my biggest addiction and the only thing I treat myself to. I’m forgetting stuff that I own. Man, there are so many favorites. I love my James Brown, Kool and the Gang, Klemmer, Heatwave ‘No Halfsteppin’ 12″ uh… any record I can bug out to. That’s very hard and it seems unfair to all the dope stuff I have. Yo I definitely have my favorite breaks and records I return to for sampling. Many secrets as well.

A couple other cats from the forums had some questions they wanted to ask you…

What gear do you use to create your musical collages? You use an MPC 2000 right?

Right now I just use the MPC 2000 with 2 megs of memory. It does not have the fx card installed. Of course vinyl. I don’t use software for beats. Nothin wrong with software, I just didn’t learn on it. Software is dope… I have my turntables and mixer. I have a pc with protools for mutitracking and vocals. I do everything live and I use a Yamaha 16 channel for EQ. No compressors or effects. I would like to get into rack gear and midi, but I don’t know anything about it. I really need to learn how midi works!! Thes One’s studio is a great example and I’m pretty dumb when it comes to all that equipment.

How long have you been making beats?

I’ve been making beats for 5 1/2 years, DJing for about 7 and diggin about 9 years.

Any plans for any releases? EPs or LPs?

I’ll be releasing the Tres LP. Also my instrumental LPs are done, I’m debating putting them out or not. I told myself I would release a CD / LP this year because I’m sitting on too many. We’ll see based on the amount of requests I get. There are a few projects I could drop, but I’m really focused on the Tres record. Stay tuned.

Oh and you’re up on your kicks… what shoes are you rocking at the moment (along with that green wig)?

I love shoes as well. Sneakers are really boomin now. I never would have imagined the whole hype and culture behind shoes these days. I admit I have tons of shoes. I’m wearing Airwalks. You asked this because of the ‘Major’ videos on my youtube? My brother opened a shoe boutique with his partner Dukki. The store is called Major. It’s really blowing up. They used my youtube account to post videos. The store has been in Sole Collector magazine, artists like DJ Clark Kent, Nas and EPMD come through. Check their official youtube MajorDC. Also check the myspace.com/majordc. You’ll see me in some of those videos.

Oh yeah and you got a new website yet haha? Any final comments?

The website new will launch June 1, 2007. Funny you know about it. Thanks a lot for this interview. Putsonline is on point for this. Yoyopo is the man. This is the first official interview, so this is historic in a way. Shout outs to Dub and Thes. Those are some funny cats. I’ve got to track down the pictures of us.
Last, thanks again to everyone on the internet state to state, country to country checking for me. I’m definitely thinking of ya when I’m at work. When something does drop, I won’t disappoint you guys. I’ll also post some new vids soon. Also if you’re on myspace, please subscribe to my blog. Whenever I update beats or do anything, I post there first. Myspace.com/damuthefudgemunk.
Later.

Damu the Fudgemunk

Thanks a lot man, we’ll look out for your stuff coming out. Peace!

- - - - - - - - - -

Damu also included some exclusive beats just for yoyopop! readers. Check them out! Thanks Damu!

beat #1:

beat #2:

beat #3:

- - - - - - - - - -

Links:
Fudgemunk’s Wonkabeats
Damu on Myspace
Damu’s YouTube videos
Panacea on Myspace
Y Society (Damu & Insight) on Myspace

16 Responses to “#012: Damu The Fudgemunk”

  1. natural Says:

    props for this interview yoyopo and damu! the instrumentals are a nice conclusion to the interview… on! is creamy, cant wait for the damu LP(s)!
    peace!

  2. L.I.V.E. Says:

    DAMU IZ DA MAN IM LOOKING FORWARD TO HEARING HIS HIPHOP IM STUCK IN THE GOLDEN ERA OF HIP HOP AND I WONT CHANGE EVER PEACE DAMU IM SPREADING THE WORD LET REAL HIP HOP LIVE 4 EVER

  3. gerald walker Says:

    dope

  4. Creative Destruction Says:

    Cool interview and beats Damu, you truly are an inspiration to our group, not just on a musical-level but on a raw energy basis too. Looking forward to the new site and your new LP man. We’ll spread the word all around the UK and good luck for the future man. Stay ill! Props and peace out from N & J a.k.a. Creative Destruction.

  5. Mr.Browns Bakery Says:

    Nice interview, nice questions…but big respect towards Damu !
    Im diggin that oldschol/soul hipop vibe your spreading in this world. Keep um comming and keep posting those awesome videos.

    Greetings from Holland, i’m giving everybody your name
    so they go and check it out !

    Gr, M…

  6. Tom Says:

    I can’t believe this guy thinks he needs more encouragment to release his shit!

    Damu - You the man! Do it!

  7. Moe Says:

    I’m lookin forward to getting that Y Society LP whenever I can find it. Definitely spreading the word. Jus keep on keepin…

  8. Emilie J Says:

    DAMU IS TOTALLY AWESOME!
    seems like a reallly cool, layed back guy!

    LOVE YOUR BEATS DAMU!!!

    xoxox

  9. kaydeebeats Says:

    love your beats and music mister…are you makin original soundtrack niccas should know that is our music…whats in a nicca? insanity and depression…

    love your spare time album gone buy your album mister and help us promote our drums in movies any kind of drum as far as we can go…earth… space…thanks again

    damu summer 2009…for us by us ! what the twat? there’s balloons to be fly in europe for all those mamzelle pollution…

    thousand thanks man

    have a nice summer hope to see you nex year for the world cup of soccer.

    so much things to say…my dear may the deta’s shine on you…

  10. Dobie Says:

    How can I download the beat #2?

  11. Joelwi Says:

    I really want to download those beats, or buy them on vinyl. How to download them?

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