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An interview with Infared
By Sounni de Fontenay
(more articles from this author)
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So you say that you are tired of always hearing from those that have 'made it' in the business. Well today we bring you an interview with Infared [IR], a lyrical artist climbing the difficult ladder towards musical success.

SD Tell me how you started in the Hip Hop scene?

IR About eight years ago I started to listen to a lot of old school cats, like Run DMC, around the age of fourteen. I started to take it serious when I came to New York because I first started down South, in Florida. I came up to New York, and as far as seriously getting into it, I started in '91.

SD What happened then?

IR I worked with a couple of different producers to try and start a sound that I was comfortable with, that would be in tight collaboration with my style. I met a couple of people and started to do a couple of shows and things like that. I've been on a mission ever since.

SD How would you describe your style?

IR Reality based. I am not commercial based, I just speak about reality and certain views I have on the industry and certain other things. I don't really follow the crowd of everybody else as far as the flashiness and materialism.

SD You come out with more of your own cerebral message. What kind of message is it?

IR How Hip Hop is sorta corrupting the trueness of the music and corrupting the minds of the younger generation. It's basically looking at the artists that's coming up now as pioneers when they get older,. The message that they [younger generation] are getting right now, that's what they are going to think what Hip Hop is all about: the materialistic, the flashiness, the money, the violence and all of that. That's what I'm trying to change. I can't change the world, but if I can change one person then that person can put somebody else on it. Let them know that Hip Hop ain't all about what they see on TV right now.

SD What were your influences, what made you come to this point?

IR I listen to a lot of Bob Marley, KRS, a lot of Roots; a lot of people that basically deal with reality in their music.

SD Since '91 has it been hard for you to accomplish your goals? What are some of the problems that you face?

IR When you have an industry that thinks that materialistic gangsta rapping is everything, they see that it sells and then they see somebody going against that, it becomes hard to get your foot in the door.

SD What's happening with you now?

IR There's a lot of what I have to contribute to hip hop. There's a lot of people starting to see that right now. I think that this is a good time for me to come into the business with what I have. Everything that I speak about, everybody can see it step by step in real life. I feel that with coming down to this millennium it will blend lovely.

SD Are you trying to put out an album at the moment?

IR We are getting a single deal right now but basically we are trying to get an album deal as well.

SD So you are looking to be signed?

IR We are in the process of looking into a couple of record companies.

SD What are you looking for in a record company?

IR Record companies that have artists dealing with the same things that I talk about. If, lets say, I go to Bad Boy, Bad Boy wouldn't understand what I'm talking about.

SD A label that already has your message.

IR Right.

SD You talked a lot about old school artists as your influences, that they kept it real. Do you feel that most of the artists today are 'corrupted'?

IR Even these younger cats that are coming on, they are looking basically to make their money. I'm not in this just to make money. I mean, everybody's got to live and eat and all that but if you're going to abuse the art form just to get paid, you're gonna look at what's out right now and you're gonna be like 'Alright, cool, gangsta rap is selling, flashiness is selling, this and that is selling.' You're going to basically try and emulate that. To me that's foul. Again I don't really knock anybody, you're your own person and you do what you want to do. You can't just be in this for yourself thinking that its all about you, a lot of artists can influence many people. That's when I have a problem, these cats don't really think about that and basically are intoxicating a lot of younger cats that are coming up wanting to get into the business. This is what they think Hip Hop is all about and that's what I'm trying to change. I can't do it a lone but it starts with one person.

SD Infared must have some meaning that links into this?

IR Basically whatever my aims are in life I always try to be on point with them. To always be on target and never lose focus.

SD Do you do your own beats?

IR I have a couple of people doing tracks for me but as far a producer with which I really feel comfortable with his material, not yet. But we are definitely in the works with a couple of people that want to hit me off with tracks.

SD What do you do in your free time, writing, etc.?

IR I started influencing kids that I know want to get into the business and I let them know that as far as what they are hearing right now in the '90's, that's really not what Hip Hop was about back in the day. To me it's a lot more corrupted nowadays rather than back in the days. I basically try to pass on a message of my views to other people that are trying to get in the business as well.

SD What's your set up so far?

IR I have a manager [Disciple Management] and we are basically shopping the material right now.

SD So you're sending demos to the record companies and distributing press releases.

IR Right. With Ric [manager], It's business but it's more of a friendship connection thing.

SD How did you guys meet up?

IR At Gonzalez [NYC] over two Long Islands.

SD A good way to break the ice. So you are both on the same wavelength.

IR Our aim is basically the same: where we want to see music in a couple of years, where we want to see ourselves in a couple of years. Our aims are the same and that's why I seem to connect with him. We have a basic trust that in the beginning that set the stage for everything else.

SD Is there a certain audience that you are trying to target?

IR As many people as possible. There's heads out there that want to see this. You can't dead gansta rapping, you can't dead the Puffy's and all of that. I would like to see more rotation in the mix. More of a balance of how, when people say it is real out there, and this and that and this. Everybody understands that but when it is constantly being drilled in people's heads, I mean, they should also have heads like PRD, back in the days, or like Brand Nubian. Heads like that will balance it out. As far as what is going on with the negative aspect of Hip Hop, they should also pump out some positivity in it as well.

SD Is there a message that you would like to put out?

IR Follow your heart, be a trend setter don't follow trends. Be your own person, don't look at what's going on out there and think that that's what you have to do to basically get on. You've got to look at the bigger picture, the whole spectrum.

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