Modern Griots Interviews: RebelMatic


RebelMatic, a New York City punk/hardcore band with a hip-hop twist, are coming out with their album, Elephant Amnesia, the next one after Prey for the Vulture. I asked them a few questions about the inspiration for the album and it’s cover:

1) In the wake of police brutality and killings of people like Kimani Gray, what specifically inspired you to write your latest single and video, “Survival Gathering?”

Survival Gathering was inspired the tenacity and perseverance of individuals who overcome a lot of obstacles.  It’s really inspired by New York City. But,  Survival Gathering was written and recorded and the video was shot before the Kimani Gray incident.

2) You have a new album, “Elephant Amnesia.” What is some of the inspiration for the album?

It’s inspired by New York City – the sounds, the smells, the people, the environment, the past, the present, the future, the rock, the funk, the hip hop, the punk, the jazz, the salsa – everything.  When I say New York, it’s the diversity of New York, it encompasses all – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

3) The cover of “Elephant Amnesia” is from an event in which a circus elephant Mary was hanged, but it is put in the context of a lynching. Besides it being an elephant, how does it relate to the album?

It’s actually a juxtaposition of two events – the execution of Mary the elephant in 1916 and the lynching of Thomas Ship and Abram Smith in 1930.  Mary’s body has symbolically replaced those of Thomas Ship and Abram Smith.  Elephants are known to have a very good memory;  Mary’s body signifies the not forgetting.  Elephant Amnesia, although any oxymoron of sorts, brings to light a past that people pretend to not remember.

4) What can listeners expect from the new album?

Unadulterated, honest music.

5) Creature has worked with a number of artists, like MF Doom and Immortal Technique, and has published a book called the Underdog’s Manifesto. How has working with those artists influenced your music now and how has writing a book differed from music writing?

I don’t know if working with MF Doom and performing with Immortal Technique has influenced my work in any aspect. I respect both of them as artists, but I don’t think it influenced me at all.  As far as creating music and writing a book, songs tend to be a lot more concise.  So, both forms of writing need to be approached in very different ways.

6) In your opinion, what makes you stand out from other music bands?

We blend genres naturally. Our music is created very organically. And we’ve got a really good live show.

7) Where can listeners find out more about you?

facebook/rebelmaticNYC

8)What are some of the future plans for the group?

Touring overseas in the very near future.  More videos. Licensing deals.  Festivals.  More albums.

“Survival Gathering”

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