Richie Branson is a nerdcore artist currently living in Texas. He started making nerdcore tunes back in 2012 and is one of the biggest players in the #BringBackToonami campaign that saw the succesful return of Toonami/Adult Swim on TV.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Where youre from, how you got into the nerdcore culture.
I'm Richie Branson. You were probably expecting the Virgin Airlines CEO, but I'm just some guy who records rap songs inspired by his favorite pop-culture influences.I got into nerdcore after I decided to make a rap song that sampled the score from Star Wars: The Old Republic.
You're a pretty big name there, was it difficult to get into it and how do you feel about this accomplishment?
It didn't seem very difficult, but the progress was overwhelming. I started my nerd-influenced rap career in January 2012. Seven Months later, I was touring with mc chris. There's a certain feeling of "career vertigo" that happens when you come up too fast, and I definitely felt that. I wasn't prepared for everything that happened as a result of making nerdy rap songs, and I think I'm still trying to grasp the awesomeness of this whole thing.
Nerdcore is gaining momentum in the US. Why do you think its becoming such a popular genre? And how big is it in the US?
It's definitely gaining some steam, largely in part to the fact that the internet is making it easy for underground artists to self-publish their own work. It's entirely possible to go from your bedroom to the billboard charts With a bit of savvy PR skills and a solid album.
What or who would you consider your biggest influence to making your music?
Timbaland would be #1. I started my musical journey as a producer and it was listening to all of those Timbaland-produced hits in the late 90's/early 2000's that prompted me to start making beats. As far as the nerdy influence in my rap songs, Mega Ran is the biggest inspiration in that regard. If not for seeing his progress, I'd have never given any serious thought to releasing that first song based on Star Wars video game.
With people like you, MC Frontalot, YTCracker, mc chris etc, pretty much on the frontline of this, do you think the genre will get even bigger?
Eventually, but it's going to take an artist to find success on the mainstream side of the music business for nerdcore hip-hop to make any further significant strides. It's already happened in rock (I Fight Dragons), so anything's possible!
You're of course known to be one of the instrumental reasons that Adult Swim came back with #BringBackToonami. How important was this for you?
That was one of the greatest moments of my life, hands down. If nothing else, it showed that hip-hop can help affect positive change.
What do you hope to achieve in the coming few years?
I hope to bring nerdcore music further into mainstream acceptance. Could you imagine how epic it would be if Def Jam signed Mega Ran or myself? Boom!
You seem to focus a lot on animes like Gundam and Cowboy Bebop. Any particular reason?
I've been a huge anime junky ever since the golden age of Toonami. I tend to have a bit of a bias towards anime, lol.
As a fanatic player of SWTOR, I loved the Star Wars tunes you made and make sure my fellow players come across them lots. Any plans of making more or any other particular game?
I'm working on something based on the Final Fantasy series...there's also some DayZ stuff in the works! Stay tuned!