This is an interview with TekForce, one of the newer artists on the nerdcore-scene. I did this interview a few months ago, in the meantime he's made even more tracks and making more of a name for himself.
How did you get into nerdcore?
I heard MC Frontalot, I think in 2010 or 2011 and was like, man this is kinda dope! Here is a guy talking about everything he loves and he's just being himself. I had already been performing and doing music since '05, but I kept it more what's considered traditional hip-hop, with anime or video game references here or there. But to be honest, the first time I really considered doing it, was when I heard, Megaran's "Black Materia", album, it was really the turning point in my hip hop career. You could tell the project was a labor of love, and because of it, I tracked down everything else he did. From that point on I looked for other nerdcore artists and just loved the genre. But even before then I used to make beats that used samples from older anime soundtracks and video games.
What aspect of nerdcore do you identify yourself with?
I think that's one of the cool things about nerdcore, is that everybody has their one thing they love, but their somewhat familiar about other topics. I would say I'm more old school video games and anime than anything else. I grew up on Macross, Star Blazers, original NES player, hell I even remember playing Colecovision, and Intellivision at my cousin's house back in the day during summer lol. My song "Level Up", talks about my growing up playing old school systems from NES to Xbox 360. The video actually features my dad as an older version of me, and shows my son playing the younger version of me, kinda a time travel-esque/biographical video.
Are there certain nerdcore artists that inspired you? Any artists from outside the genre?
There plenty of guys that inspire me, I think as artists, we should kind of feed off each other to make good music, you know? Well, obviously Ran...but I also dig Richie Branson, Adam Warrock, and Doc Awkward, those guys provide quality music. Plus, my dudes 1-Up, and AlphaRiff, are always providing inspiration for me. As far as outside the genre, well I grew up on A Tribe Called Quest, Common, Nas, and Gangstarr. Those and many more in hip hop influenced my style way before I even knew what nerdcore was.
The genre as a whole is moving forward pretty fast, do you think its a temporary thing or is it here to stay?
I believe nerdcore has always been here in some way. There were emcee's back in the day like Saafir, that made video game referenced tracks like "Smart Bomb". Nothing but old school references in that one. I mean look at Weird Al Yankovich, dude has stayed relevant for 30 years in some shape or form making fun of people or different social topics. I think as long as people want to create music about movies, comic books, or games that they love, it will be relevant.
Whats your favourite topic to rap about?
I would say my favourite topic is talking about my past. My songs deal with things that I experienced growing up. My love of hip hop, video games, anime. All of those defined who I am as a person. Plus I feel like, there might be some of younger generation out there who are going through what I went through as a young dude. Maybe they can relate to it and find something in it to help through tough times.
Are you a self-proclaimed nerd as well? If so, what exactly?
I'd like to think of myself as a nerd lol. It's funny because when people look at me, they think that I played basketball, or football because I'm 6'3 and about 230. I played basketball for fun, but the crazy thing is, I never played for any teams, and I was mostly in the house on my Snes, or Genesis. To me, beating Super Mario World, or Sonic The Hedgehog, was way more important than who was in the NBA finals lol. I love Sci-Fi and fantasy movies too, Star Wars, Star Trek...I'm a HUGE fan of TRON, probably one of the most defining movies in my life.
Could you tell me a bit more about Tron and how it affected you?
I watched TRON for the first time when I was 7, and I will never forget that day. It was the first time I saw CG mixed with live action and even though it looks old now, back then, it was futuristic lol. I loved the story, the characters, and the lightcycles but what really grabbed me was the soundtrack. It was symphonic and electronic at the same time, and was the first that had ever been done. As a matter of fact, I'm doing an album called "The LightCycle Chronicles", and it basically tells the story of Flynn's (red. the protagonist in Tron) journey through The Grid. The first single and video is called, "Stuck In A Bit World", and features my good friend 1-Up.
Some artists like MC Lars and MC Frontalot use satire in their songs to discuss current topics like PRISM etc. Do you consider yourself in that line or do you want to go a different path?
Most of the music that I've done beforehand have been more for fun. I think as of late though, I've been wanting to tackle more contraversial issues. I have a song called "Choices", that deals with teen drug use, alcohol abuse, and HIV. As I've gotten older, I just don't want be a dope emcee, I want people to really think about the content in my songs. But trust, TekForce is always down for fun, tracks like "Princess Problems", show that. It's about Mario being tired of chasing the princess for 30 years, and he's pretty much fed up lol.
Hiphop and rap have been getting a bad reputation due to the culture with people like Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj, who some say are just in it for the money and fame. In retrospect in the '90s, it was a completely different scene. How do you think nerdcore relates to these various cultures and the changing times?
You know as someone who grew up in the 90's, I heard some great artists. Wu-tang, Black Moon, Souls Of Mischief to name a few. But we also had artists like P-Diddy that were clearly in the game for the money but still made dope music. With nerdcore, it emulates more of the underground spirit in my opinion. Literally any subject matter you can think of is covered by somebody. I've seen some dudes videos and songs and been like WTF! But that's what they created from their heart you know. Also with how the different cons like PAX, are incorporating nerdcore artist like MegaRan, Shubzilla, MC Frontalot into showcases and forums, people are becoming more aware of it.
Any last thoughts to your fans out there?
Thanks for taking the time to read this and listening to my music! You guys are great!