[The Holocaust / Warcloud Interview]

Interview Date: 28th. August. 2006

Conducted By: Dark 7 Invader

Special thanks to Kingston & Young god (BSBD), and  Greg Fraction at Babygrande records


Best of both worlds, imagine two legends placed together, think Beethoven meets Shakespeare, think of the purest from the underground that hip-hop has ever got to offer, then you would understand the impact the pairing of these up and coming talented production duo Kingston and Young god of Black Sky Blue Death with that of the Shakespeare of hip-hop would have when the album drops. 

Blue Skies Black Death stepped on the scene early this year with the release of their double CD debut release, A Heap of Broken Images. Comprised of producers Kingston and Young God, this San Francisco tandem explores the nether regions of brooding hip-hop, meshing dark samples, vocal snippets and live instrumentation into an album that holds its mood from start to finish. The group has worked closely with the finest artists in hip-hop such as  Jus Allah (Jedi Mind Tricks), Wise Intelligent (Poor Righteous Teachers), Guru (Gang Starr), Chief Kamachi (Army Of The Pharaohs), A-Plus (Hieroglyphics), Holocaust (Wu-Tang affiliate) just to mention a few. Blue Sky, Black Death is the dynamic new production team of Kingston and Young God. Sharing a penchant for tasteful instrumental hip-hop and traditional underground emcees, the two work as complimentary halves the same mind. Since 2004, Kingston has built a solid reputation with his work on albums by Boston legend Virtuoso, Babygrande's flamethrower Jus Allah, and Philadelphia truth-teller Chief Kamachi. He has found an ideal partner in Young God. The Bay Area studio maverick's attention to detail, vast beat library, and audiofile ear have helped Kingston step his productions to the next level. Their combined productions stay true to classic hip-hop foundations while incorporating left-field elements that are all their own.

Holocaust, also mainly known as Warcloud, has been putting in work since 1996 after getting signed by The RZA on Wu-Tang records as a member of the first Westcoast Wu-Tang Killa Bee group, The Black Knights. Holocaust was featured on the gold selling compilation RZA Presents: Wu-Tang Killa Bees - The Swarm, which sold 139,000 copies on its first week of release, landing at ..4 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. Holocaust then went on to feature on numerous Wu-tang projects, providing deadly and much talked about verses on the Killarmy project Dirty Weaponry, as well as the Bobby Digital In Stereo, The Sting and Black Knights albums. Released 2 underground albums in 2002 (Nightmares That Surface From The Shallow Sleep and Smuggling Booze In The Graveyard) online that remain sort after and heavily bootlegged to date. Warcloud is popular for his ultra-detailed multi-layered poetry, and correct English pronunciations. He walks with a limp due to truck accident many years ago during a lone visit to Japan. Without any major albums out, Warcloud has retained a massive cult following and has remained the subject of heavy internet debates and discussions. A very versatile emcees, Holocaust changed his rhyme style just about the same time he adopted the Warcloud name, a style referred to "free verse pattern"  was born, where rhyming is unnecessary and mostly sporadic. In his own words, he names this new rhyme style as "Mixed Forest Zone", whereas his old style was referred to as "Old Jail Pyjama Room".

The Black Sky Blue Death presents The Holocaust album is an unprecedented pairing of some of indie hip-hop's most original and promising new talent.  Inspired by the early Wu-Tang style, though it showcases a unique and raw sound unfound in today's hip hop music. Blue Sky Black Death provide dark cinematic soundscapes as the back drop to The Holocaust's diabolic verses. Manically shifting from haunting imagery and fragmented tales, to the most savage and vicious of battle raps ever conceived. Album drops on the 5th of September, 2006. 

While most of the Wu-Tang fans might know about Warcloud, little is known about the men behind the classics beats heard on the album, Wu-International caught up with the dynamic duo Kingston and Young god to find out how it all started, how they connected with Warcloud, the album, future works, being part of possibly the best label (Babygrande) in hip-hop right now and lots more, Enjoy the interview below!

Peace, I like to say thanks first and foremost for taking the time to answer these questions, and will also point out that nothing will be altered, edited or changed when this is published online.

Wu-International: Hello guys, how are you today, thanks for the interview, for those who donít know who you are, please introduce yourselves?

BSBD: Kingston & Young God.

Wu-International: How did the two of you meet to form the group Blue Sky Black Death?
We met through a mutual friend, and at some point we were both
living in SF and started collaborating on songs together.

Wu-International: Blue Sky Black Death, whatís behind the name, any deep meanings to it?
BSBD: It's a skydiving phrase describing the opposites of the sport.

Wu-International: How did you both get into your respective craft (producing)?
Kingston: I first started messing around on a friends mixer that had a sampler on it making simple beats for fun. I didn't end up getting my own gear and start making music on a regular basis until around 98 or 99.
Young God: I started making beats so my friend and I could rap on them a long time ago, but then I figured out that making beats was a lot more satisfying to I stopped rapping...I was never serious about that.

Wu-International: So how long have you been making beats?
Kingston: I've been making music seriously around 4 years, although I've made music off and on for a few years before that.
Young God: Itís only recently become a reality that I might do this to make a living in the last couple of years, but Iíve been making beats for probably 6 years at least.

So what type of producers are you, how would you describe your
BSBD: We can only describe our style as versatile. We are capable of making several styles of music, the Holocaust record is one style. Itíll be a while before the whole spectrum of our sound will be heard.

Wu-International: I have always wondered how 2 producers work together on a beat, what is your creative process like? Do one work on the kicks and other on the melody, or you individually make produce the beat separately etc, how do you two work together to make tracks for artists?
Kingston: Either one of us may start a beat, and the other will finish it, or add elements/movements to it. Sometimes we just provide samples for the other to brainstorm with.
Young God: On a lot of our rap tracks weíll just work on them separately and may do a little post production afterwards, but itís usually more of the instrumental stuff that we really collaborate on.

Wu-International: You guys bring something quite different to the table right now, however no one does anything without having been influenced by others, so which producers would you say are your influences?
Kingston: Its hard to escape being influenced by the some of the best: DJ Premier, Mobb Deep, Dungeons Family, The Bomb Squad, The Rza..
Young God: Iíd have to add Shadow and other non hip-hop groups/people like Godspeed and Steve Reich...we have influences from all over the place, but as far as hip hop I think we take a lot from that 90ís era aesthetic.

Wu-International: So if you were to list 3 top producers in the game right now
beside yourselves, who would they be?
Kingston: DJ Premier, Kanye, Just Blaze...
Young God: Thatís a hard question...whoís making the most money and dope at the same time? Is that top? I donít know. Premo is always dope, havenít heard that much new Rza... Just Blaze is pretty dope. Who made that Rick Ross joint? That beatís sick. Stoupe impresses me. Thatís too hard of a question.

Wu-International: What equipments do you use in making beats?
BSBD: Aside from samples we use a combination of guitar, trumpet, cello, violin, piano, keyboard, a drum kit, and a few other instruments here and there. Some tracks are minimal, others can have a hundred layers to them.

Wu-International: What is the difference between BSBD and the string of producers
out there right now?
BSBD: Versatility.

Wu-International: where do you get your inspirations from?
BSBD: Life, music, boredom, hunger.

Wu-International: Your music is quite dark if I can label it so, it is definitely
not for people who want to shake their asses up in the clubs, I personally
think a lot of fans are crying out for that originality in hip-hop, do you
think hip-hop is missing a much needed dark element to it or do u have tracks on the album that caters for ass shaking fans too?
Kingston: Its safe to say there's no club tracks on the Holocaust album. I think there's still an audience for grimy hip hop.
Young God: You might catch our shit banging in the clubs in the future though. Probably not..
Wu-International: You donít have a typical trademark sound as in say Kanye West or 9th Wonder, how do you keep up sounding so fresh?
BSBD: I think itís also because we draw from so many different influences
that we have trouble and rather dislike to have to conform to one style.

Wu-International: On ďA heap of broken imagesĒ Young god was credited as the one mostly responsible for playing the instruments such guitar, bass, piano etc,
is it an advantage for producers to play their own instruments? Or rather how important do you think it is for producers to learn to play different instruments?

Kingston: Although it can be very beneficial, I wouldn't say its important to every producer, it really depends on what sound you are trying to create.
Young God: Yeah, Primo  has been making bangers purely out of samples for how long
now?, and there still good.

Wu-International: Ok, lets talk more about the album, ďA heap of broken imagesĒ was
this your first album, and how well was it received?
BSBD: "A Heap Of Broken Images" has been out around three months, the press is always slow on a debut album but its got a great response from URB, Rock Sound Magazine, Vapors, and a lot of other publications.

Wu-International: You had crazy talents out there from Jus Allah to Hieroglyphics and of course Warcloud aka Holocaust, why did you choose the artists you used on the compilations?
BSBD: We made our decisions on who to collab with on that project based on artists we respect or see as innovative it was an honor to work with everyone on there.

Wu-International: Which other artists would you like to work with, now or in future that you have not worked with?
BSBD: Tragedy Khadafi, Thirston Moore, AZ, Bjork, Godspeed You Black Emperor, MOP to name a few.

Wu-International: The album features mostly emcees, are your music strictly just for
hip-hop artists or have you or will you be looking to produce for singers, and non hip-hop acts?
BSBD: We have a lot of non-hip hop plans.

Wu-International: Alright, moving on, letís talk about your upcoming album, BSBD presents The Holocaust, how are you feeling about the album?
BSBD: Think our styles compliment each other and it came together really well on that album.

Wu-International: What can one expect when they pick up the Holocaust album?
BSBD: We feel like this album is very unique. Expect some next level imagery, lyrics and production.

Wu-International: So it is basically a collaborative album between BSBD and Warcloud
aka Holocaust, Please tell us more about the album, as in, is Warcloudís vocals on every track on the album, how many tracks are on the album, any featured guests, concepts etc?
BSBD: Holocaust does vocals on every track, there is no guests, its a very focused project.
It was a deliberate decision not to have any guests. We all liked the idea of it being old school in the sense of it being focused...as in: hereís the producer(s) and hereís the rapper.

Wu-International: How did you meet with Warcloud aka Holocaust?
BSBD: We initially contacted him to appear on "Heap Of Broken Images" and he laced us with "I Catch Fire", from then on we started working together on an album.
Wu-International: Donít know if you know this but Holocaust has an extensive and intense cult following from US, Japan to Europe, especially within the Wu fans, and when I say cult following, that is somewhat of an understatement, where you aware of this, and what lead to both parties deciding to work together on the project ďThe HolocaustĒ?
Kingston: We are aware of the all the Warcloud material, and we decided to
work together for one reason: To put out a high quality/album showcasing Holocaust and showcasing our production. We did a lot of work to get this project out, and we hope people can appreciate that and hopefully they will
enjoy the final product.
Young God: I guess weíll really find out how big his cult following is when it comes out.

Wu-International: Please tell us what itís like working with Warcloud?
BSBD: It was an honor working with him, his music genius.

Wu-International: Before the Holocaust album was announced, Wu-international caught wind of a 14 track album you were both working on called ďThe death coast LPĒ is this the same as ďThe HolocaustĒ album or something totally different, if it is different please tell us more about the death coast LP as well?
BSBD: This project has gone through a lot of name changes, but it is The BSBD/Holocaust collaboration. We didnít use every track that was recorded.

Wu-International: We asked about the death coast LP due to the rumours online that both parties have parted ways and are currently not working together, can you shed any light to this please if true?
BSBD: We believe Holocaust is currently working on a Lost Children Of Babylon project, he's got an amazing work ethic and is always writing and working on music. BSBD has about 5 projects in the works as well.

Wu-International: The songs I have heard so far are pure genius, your tracks definitely provide dark cinematic sound as the back drop to Warcloudís diabolic verses like no one else has ever captured, did you make the beats with Warcloud specifically in mind or did he listen to the beats and choose which ones he wanted to work on?
Kingston: A little of both, some were made specifically for him, and some tracks were made to fit around his verses.

Wu-International: My favourite out of the classic 4 samples out right now is ďCrashĒ, but there are all very good, do you both have personal favourites from the album you like to share with us please and what will the first single be?
Kingston: Holocaust killed every track... I cant pick one song.
Young God: My favorite shifts a lot, but I donít know if my favorite is one of those 4 posted, however The Ocean is the single and No Image is the B-side.

Wu-International: Warcloud has numerous styles, personalities and alter egos, from
Holocaust, Alcatraz and more recently Warcloud, where you aware of his styles, and if so did that awareness influence your work or the way you worked with him towards completing the Holocaust album?
Kingston: I have always been aware of all of his material, his lyrics are unmatched, I think we just basically tried to provide a cohesive sound to bring it all together.
Young God: He would spit verses for us on the phone to show us what he was working on before he came up to record and then one of us would make a beat and think it might be perfect for the certain content he was rapping.

Wu-International: I think the style portrayed so far on the 4 songs from the album is more of Warcloud than Holocaust, hence the question, why have you titled the album The Holocaust, does it literally mean BSBD presents The Holocaust as in the artist, most fans already think it's Warcloud returning to his old style as in Holocaust, or is there entirely a different and deeper meaning to the title of the album?
BSBD: He always wanted to be called holocaust when his official album dropped, not Warcloud. I think it might have to do less with style and more of just a preference of name that he wanted to go by. The album is a mixture of the holocaust and Warcloud style though, and you donít capture the entirety of the styles from the 4 songs people have heard. So sit tight.

Wu-International: I think I speak for most of the Wu-Tang fans when I say we all look forward to the album, moving along, how did you hook up with Babygrande records for this project?
Kingston: I initially started connecting with Babygrande when I did some work with Jus Allah's "All Fates Have Changed" album

Wu-International: Babygrande seems to be the home of talented artist, No group or artist on their current roster is just average, they are all extremely all talented, how do you feel joining Babygrande and are you looking to work with other acts on the label as well?
BSBD: Its humbling to be alongside all the talent on the roster, some of hip hop's greatest talents have worked with Babygrande.

Wu-International: So after this project is out of the way, whatís next on the menu for BSBD?
BSBD: We can't say specifically what we are working on but we have some exciting projects in the works for next year.

Wu-International: Are you Wu-Tang fans, if so who is your favourite member from the
Kingston: The core members are all extremely innovative and talented.
Young God: They're all dope. my favourites are probably Ghost, Rae, and Deck, but then again I think at one point theyíve all been my favorite or have had some of my favorite verses at one time or another.

Wu-International: If you were to do a collaborative album with a member from the Wu,
not just the Clan members but also from the extended Wu-Tang family tree (Wu Killa Beez) who would you like to produce a full album for and why?
Kingston: It's hard to say, I have a lot of respect for many of the artists.
Young God: Iíd like to an album with Deck, because I donít think he ever got the best beats on his albums. Iíd also do an album with Priest.

Same question as above but not specific to Wu-Tang, if you were to produce a full album for any artist, hip-hop or non hip-hop, who would you like to work with on a full project?
Kingston: Outkast.
Young God:  Thatís a hard question. I think weíre capable of producing for a lot of different types of artists. I canít name one.

Wu-International: What do you guys get up to when not working on music?
Kingston: sleep.
Young God:  Social activities.

Wu-International: How does it feel to be included amongst the prestigious next 100 on URB Magazine?
It feels good, its not easy for new artists to get recognition.
Young God: Its cool for what it is, but that doesnít mean much to me quite yet. We still have a ways to go.

Wu-International: You are both producers, do any of you emcee as well or do any of you ever plan on getting on the mic any time soon or in future?
BSBD: We only have production plans.

Wu-International: Thatís pretty much it, thanks for your time and agreeing to do this interview, anything else you might want to add that we have forgotten?
BSBD: The album drops September 5th.

Wu-International: Any last words to your fans and potential fans, shout outs?
BSBD: Peace.

Wu-International: Thanks very much.

Blue Sky Black Death drops 5th September, Go out and get your copy, its available on most online stores as well as any major stores around you, You can read up more about BSBD by visiting them on their website www.blueskyblackdeath.com/ or myspace account www.myspace.com/blueskyblackdeath.

Related Interviews
[BSBD / Hell Razah] - Razah's Ladder Interview [October 2007]
[BSBD] - The Holocaustic Journals Interview [September 2010]

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