Kung fu Vampire is an underground champion when it comes to creative innovative hip-hop that has no set boundaries or limits. No one can match his style of originality! With the release of “Look Alive” just around the corner we chatted about the new music, who he worked with and more.
How has San Jose influenced who you are as a recording artist today?
Kung Fu Vampire: I’ve always been against the grain! This city definitely doesn’t harvest that and it’s a really big mixed culture. So many different cultures (skateboarding, punk rock, Latin) that have rose from that area. It’s definitely played a part in me wanting to always do my own thing, but sometimes this city wasn’t supportive of that. I like the uphill battle. I like the idea of doing some of this shit uphill and doing my own weird brand of industrial chopper style hip-hop.
What brand of wine would best describe your personality the most and why?
Kung Fu Vampire: Shit man, I’m a blend of everything! So, I would go with Chianti. A nice deep red wine blended with an OP taste. Like some type of red table wine with a blend of different grapes, because we’re a whole blend of styles!
For the unfamiliar where did you come up with Kung Fu Vampire?
Kung Fu Vampire: The name stems from some cultural beliefs and backgrounds that I have and my love for the Asian culture and the art of Kung Fu. And what Kung Fu actually represents! The term means time and effort spent towards enlightenment. Which in latent terms it means someone who works his or her ass off to obtain one goal. I love that and I love the balance of it; Kung Fu being the yen energy and vampire being the yang. I’ve also always looked really young for my age when I was a teenager and I looked like a little kid. When I was twenty-one I looked like a teenager. I would sleep until noon and wouldn’t leave the house until the night and would be up all night; and with my big search for immortality and longevity of health from the Vampire inside of me, there is a little bit of monster there, but mainly it’s about being seductive and healthy. That’s really that side of it. The way I got named that was from some friends of mine and I were in the back of my backyard talking about a Kung Fu movie and we discussed a vampire movie and then we were kind of like, “Oh! A Kung Fu and a Vampire movie!” and then talked about doing a project called “The Kung Fu Vampire Satire” and by the time I got around to working on that, it turning into, “Oh! That’s just my name! This really works. This is who I am!” It represents my Yen and Yang and the balance.
In the realm of fictional vampires what vampire based book or movie influenced your creativity the most?
Kung Fu Vampire: I was never really influenced by any of those. I’ve always thought I’ve been really innovative and I can’t just name myself something that doesn’t really exist, otherwise I would’ve probably been like one of those dude’s with a name that doesn’t really mean anything. So, I had to make it something tangible. Kung Fu and vampire fit the most. But after we started that there were things that I was instantly attracted to and Marvel’s Blade would be the one that I like the most. That’s the storyline that I relate to. I would actually jokingly say that’s he’s the only other Kung Fu Vampire. I love Blade, man! I need to go back and read everything that I can!
What inspired you to write the song “Slice of Life” and how does it reflect your own personal life?
Kung Fu Vampire: That’s a good question, man! The whole “Look Alive” and “Slice of Life” concept is me kind of just barely standing at this point. I got some pretty serious injuries and the Kung Fu Vampire business and brand has been growing further than what I can handle on my own. So, I just kind of felt like I was feeling so alive, but then feeling dead at the same time. Again, it’s back to the balance thing. So, for me that’s where I was with “Slice of Life” and I was just sacrificing a lot. And I’ve been sacrificing a lot for my art and I think any true artist that puts out that level of art, that’s really good quality; not saying that I’m at the level yet, but I want to get to that. But artists like Prince, Michael Jackson, and David Bowie, artists on that level, that’s where the art is just perfect! And I think you have to sacrifice a lot to be that. Like 2pac, guys who sacrificed their lives to make sure their art was f*cking amazing!
Any behind the scene details you’d like to share behind the music video for Slice of Life? It looks to be from the start of the 1900’s or even further back?
Kung Fu Vampire: Good job, buddy! It takes place around 1900 to 1910 and everything in the video is true to that exacta era! So there is nothing in there that is showing anything from modern times at all! If you didn’t really watch, you’d think it could’ve been shot then and you wouldn’t even know. It’s a prequel to all my other videos (“Love Bites” and “Nightmare Walkin”). My boy Brandon, who lives down the street from me, he killed that video! He put his entire heart and soul into it. It’s a story that I don’t want to reveal and it’s a very deep story! It’s going to take people a lot of watches to really understand it. Matter of fact, we did a contest on Facebook to see if anyone could guess the storyline and nobody did! But a couple of people got really close! And that’s only because it’s part of the story and it will be released when we put out more of these videos. It’s a long story! It all relates to the red box that was giving to me by the young boy in “Love Bites” and then in “Nightmare Walkin”, the red box was given to (rapper) Tech N9ne by me. And in Slice of Life you will see that it was taken in a photo shoot by spirit figures and it was used on a ritual site. That’s all I can pretty much tell you, without giving away the story. But we are excited to reveal it to say the least.
What was it like working with Lex The Hex Master for the track “Little Girl Big Mouth”?
Kung Fu Vampire: Lex sent that verse back real quick and we live on opposite sides of the ocean. I’m on the Pacific and he’s located near the Atlantic. I thought he did really well! Matter of fact, I thought he did better on that verse than he did on his entire E.P. I think he smashed it! I just felt like I wanted to help him catch a buzz! I love my Majik Ninja Entertainment family; those guys are my people! I wanted to help him get his buzz up and then it doesn’t hurt me at all either, ya know! I just wanted to show him some love and I thought his voice would sound good on that track and I know people have been talking about him and I thought it would be great to continue that! He was fast and efficient and he killed it!
Hopefully you and Lex can get a tour together going!
Kung Fu Vampire: That be dope! We might do that. You never know. Maybe this Fall or something. I’ve always got tricks up my sleeves.
What stuck out to you the most when working on the song “Paranormal” with Rhapture, Malaria, & Samson Samson for the “Underground Unleashed” compilation?
Kung Fu Vampire: Ah, yea! Those guys are dope! If I could remember my first line, I could rap the whole verse for you. [Laughs] But I love that track. That’s cool that you found out about it. It’s always nice to see collaborations that I do for people, with people, get noticed and I make sure it gets out there and let people see it, ya know! A lot of times I do collabs for people and I’m not cocky, but I smash on em; most don’t have there lyrically game up. But sometimes like that “Paranormal” track, where everybody kills it equally, I love that way better, man! I’m not cocky at all! I want to be pushed. I want my lyrical boundaries to be pushed! I want to be competitive and I want the people that I work with to be awesome and sound great! Then I feel comfortable with promoting the track for them. It’s cool to be proud of your shit, but I prefer everybody to smash it equally! I think a lot of people on my new record smashed me. I think they killed their verses more than I did. I think I do a lot better when I do guest appearances with other artists. But when I do my own shit, (when I invite guests) the guest appearances killed it! That’s just me being honest. I think they really shined!
You will be touring Canada all month long with Dirtbag Dan! What are you looking for to the most returning to Canada?
Kung Fu Vampire: Just the good food and the good people. We want to see a lot of people come out to the shows and really enjoy this unique amazing thing we put together, man! We don’t just come out there and rap. You’re getting stand up comedy, live battle rap, a live show with a full band, with lights and a lot of action! So, you know, I just really want the fans to show support and get out there and see what we really bring to the table! I feel like we bring a lot to the table and it’s our time now to get that spot light, bro! We just want to be in front of people so they can see what we’re bringing to the table. I think once we do that it’s on! We’re going to get their respect!
Any memorable stories you’d like to share about visiting Canada in the past?
Kung Fu Vampire: I just think it’s funny that people always say, “Watch out for the moose!” and every Canadian friend that I ask; nobody has ever seen one! I don’t doubt that they exist, must be farther north. [Laughs]
You and Dirtbag Dan seem to have a great friendship that’s been building with nothing but maximum positivity. What’s the story behind you guys first meeting and what made exactly made you two connect so great in the first place?
Kung Fu Vampire: We’re both independent grinders from the same city, where I think there are a lot of great emcees, but not a lot of people doing the grind like us. To be able to bring him out with me is just a blessing, because I’ve always wanted to bring San Jose artists out on the road. I’ve been touring six or seven years and it doesn’t make sense financially to bring a bunch of San Jose artists with me, as big as a heart that I have, we’re not at that level. So, to have someone like Dan, who I’m friend’s with, who has skills/brings something to the table that has fans in Canada; it only makes sense! I’m not trying to be in a car with some dick, even if they are a great artist. I don’t want to be in the car with someone for a month if I don’t like them. And I like Dan! To roll with him for a whole tour is a blessing. It’s good! He’s going to have fun and we’re going to have fun with him! So that’s what it all came down to. “Who do I want to roll with for a month with a Van and trailer?” Dirtbag Dan! He’s one man! It’s like when Wrekonize (Strange Music) and I did a co-headlining tour together. It was Dan, Wreck and I with G-Mo Skee. Those guys are all super cool cats! I would roll with all those guys again. We chose well. We got lucky with those guys!
Is it true that you and Esham will be working on a song together in the near future?
Kung Fu Vampire: Well, we talked about it! We’re thinking about doing it! So, we’ll see! He could be on the new record. You never know!
Can you shed some light on what your upcoming new album “Look Alive” will sound like in terms of sound and production? Any guest features?
Kung Fu Vampire: Well, my sound is all over the place. It’s just all over the place stylistically. There is some really happy stuff on there and there is a little bit of dark stuff. I definitely don’t make horrorcore music. I just make a variety of hip-hop styles. I do have a collab with Lex The Hex Master, as people have heard with the first single. Twiztid is on the album; Brotha Lynch Hung is on the album; ¡Mayday! of Strange Music is on the album; to name some of the big named collabs I’ve really enjoyed working with on the record. I got a part two to a very famous song of mine coming out on the album too. It’s some exciting stuff! People are really going to be stoked about it when they hear it.
What would you like to accomplish with Kung Fu Vampire in the next 10-20 years?
Kung Fu Vampire: Shit man, hopefully you see me in movies by early 2017. A lot of it will be me playing myself as Kung Fu Vampire. But honesty, we want to reach that Rob Zombie status! I really want to reach that level! I don’t really want to start this whole fan-base thing; a lot of people are really hung up on that. I just want to get on that level where people love and respect me for my own music and for what I do. I want them to follow me for me, not because I’m part of some movement. I want my own movement to be recognized and appreciated and take it to that next level! I’d love to be playing with guys like Rob Zombie! I want to attain a status based on merit, not based on having money. I got a lot of time left in me. I got 15-20 years left of touring, so I want to make sure that we do the best we can. I want to build up this fan-base properly so we can keep doing it!
Hopefully the fans understand that coming to the shows and picking up a little bit of merch are the most important. That’s going to keep us traveling the world! It’s not about the money; it’s about the quality and the performance!
“Look Alive” is out July8th so grab your copy now at iTunes HERE