Physical Graffiti is a MC from New Jersey. Her first album is called Thought Kryminal. Since then she has released singles and albums on vinyl like her most recent album The Funky Hudson One, which was an ode to her Hometown Borough of Hudson County, New Jersey. The album was very inspired by a lot of New Jersey Native artists like Lords of the Underground, Redman, and Queen Latifah.
Physical Graffiti is always interested in furthering the sound as well as the lyrics. Her whole approach is innovation and tradition. Her purpose is always to make sure that everything in the aesthetic is balanced.
She visited Germany for a four month period in 2015 to work on a new album called Geometry. In this interview she explains her involvement with vinyl records, her new projects and speaks about her impressions of her stay in Germany.
Questions by Vecihe and Fatma Yavuz
Physical Graffiti from New Jersey about her music and her stay in Germany
Kunstnürnberg: You’ve been in Nürnberg for four months. What was the reason for your stay?
Physical Graffiti: Well I started off this summer on the Smiling Street Soul Sessions Tour, with fellow artists Takt, En-MC, Mans1 and Kuchenmann.
It included stops in Switzerland, Norway and of course Germany. I decided to stay here for the extra four months to continue working on an album I had initially started working on last summer during my fist stay in Germany.
This time I was able to finalize and complete the album with the Helium Rangers. I decided to stay here and work on the album because the concept and the inspiration for the album was very influenced by a certain aesthetic that I enjoyed from studying certain artists and art movements that either came out of Germany or were popularized in Germany.
So I felt that it would only be right to actually stay here and not only work side by side with these great producers who are from here but also to work from the very place that birthed and nurtured the inspiration for me to do the project.
Kunstnürnberg: Is there any special relationship to Nürnberg?
Physical Graffiti: I’ve been familiarizing myself with Nürnberg since my first visit last year when I had the opportunity to visit Germany for a few shows. And this year I got to visit Nürnberg for a longer amount of time.
I do enjoy the city and I think there is a thriving art community here and I feel that the overall atmosphere is very artistic.
But primarily when I speak of the influence of Germany I’m very inspired by the Bauhaus art movement and although the school(s) was not exactly located here.
I feel its influence is all around Germany. I’m getting to learn more about Nürnberg, I like it, I like the vibe, the energy, the people. I hope to learn more about it. It has a very chill vibe. I appreciate that. I can also find coffee for 1 euro at the train station here which is very cool too, ha ha.
Kunstnürnberg: What other influences did you experience here?
Physical Graffiti: When it comes to music I don’t like to limit my palette, the colors. I’m influenced by many things:
My biggest inspiration is life in general, the experiences that I face, the experiences that we all face as human beings.
Emotion, feeling – that’s really what influences my music and my writing. Of course there is a bunch of artists that I like.
I love a variety of music from hip hop to trip hop, rock, jazz, latin music, bosa nova. So there are so many different influences with music and sound but I think communication and understanding through the arts is really what inspires me.
The experience of traveling to different countries and not speaking a lick of the language but somehow through art and music we can instantly relate has influenced me greatly and will continue to do so. I also get inspired by certain patterns , certain shapes or colors that I see which I definitely see more of out here in Germany and other parts of Europe than I do back home at least with regards to my taste and those are things that influence a lot of my songs as well.
Kunstnürnberg: A lot of stuff you’ve been doing has been put on vinyl. Why vinyl? What does this medium vinyl means to you?
Physical Graffiti: The transition into vinyl was very natural to be honest. I released my first album independently, self-funded – it was on CD. I had a lot of support within the community and it was a beautiful time.
While working on my first album I had the honor and pleasure of meeting another artist from the same area that I’m from.
His name is Henry Quester and right about that time he was actually starting a record label. Primarily the focus he had was to preserve culture through vinyl.
And this was maybe about five years ago. We began putting together Hip Hop & Art functions in our community, I worked on a song for his album Subject of Eternity, he also helped me work on my first album.
So when he started the record label/collective/ensemble known as Sessions at The P.M. and asked me if I wanted to be a part of it I really didn’t think twice about it.
I mean, he is really one of the greatest and a true pioneer of the culture so there was absolutely no doubt in mind but to do it.
In addition to that as a kid, I was always intrigued by LPs. Primarily because I loved looking at the artwork on the cover from CDs – and vinyl, essentially they are bigger, bigger art pieces. So there was more to look at. I will tell you a funny story:
When I first started collecting vinyl, like most people nowadays I didn’t even have a record player.
I was having a really bad day and I was chilling by a bench on 74th Street and Bergenline avenue, a main avenue where I’m from and I noticed a long trail of record covers and broken records and I just started following it.
I saw a record cover and then I saw a broken record and I just kept following it and that was amusing to me.
So I followed the trail and eventually I found records that actually weren’t broken, and covers that were still intact and so I took them home.
That’s how I started collecting records. It brightened up my day and really just helped me get my mind off of whatever was troubling me at the time.
Thats when I dove more into the record culture and became a casual collector. So again when the opportunity came to put music on vinyl it really was a no-brainer for me. It was like a force. I really loved the idea of having my music on vinyl.
And to make an already long story shorter I haven’t released music on any other medium since.
Both my 2nd and my 3rd solo albums Tripz 2 Minds Eye & The Funky Hudson One were released strictly on vinyl via Sessions At The P.M. along with various singles released on various E.Ps by Sessions as well.
And it’s been cool. A lot of people seem to be buying records and record players as of recently.
But at the time when we began, it was rather refreshing. Not too many contemporary artist and labels were doing it as much a few years ago as much as they are now.
Although vinyl records always has its points where it’s very current and sometimes it’s not very commercially popular.
And then it comes back out and is popular for a while and then it goes back under the radar again.
Vinyl and the culture behind it has strong preservation to it. You know people who collect vinyls are all different types of people.
You have the real big enthusiast and then you have the not-that-big-vinyl-heads. Just people who enjoy music and enjoy having a couple of records.
It’s been very dope, man. Putting music on wax has allowed me to meet and reach different types of people, different types of music-listeners and it allowed me to also explore the visual artist side of myself as well because all PM record covers are custom made and we encourage all of the artists we work with to make some of their own covers as well.
That and so much more personally has come from putting out music on vinyl but overall it was just a very natural thing for me to do being such a music fan and being a consumer of CDs, tapes, stereos, vinyl and mp3s all my life.
Kunstnürnberg: What are going to be your next projects? Especially when it comes to the new album?
Physical Graffiti: Aside from the project I just wrapped up here in Germany I also just completed a collaboration with another record label called Sergeant Records based out of France.
I have an EP with them that should be coming out some time in 2016. It is called In This Diamond Mind.
That’s a real raw project I enjoyed making that very much. So shout-outs to Odweeyne & Gorilla Glock, Chat Noir, Sergeant Records. That’s gonna be a collaboration with Sessions at the PM and I look forward to that coming out.
With regards to Geometry, the album recorded here in Nürnberg we just completed the audio portion of it. There is a whole visual aspect that has a big part to do with the album as well. So now I am traveling back to the States to complete that aspect and once that is finished the album will be released.
The first project that’s gonna be released when I get back to the U.S is going to be a group LP. It’s actually the record labels first group project.
The album is called Gods of the Hologram : Journey to the Dark Matter. That’s coming out in February and it features all the artists that currently work with us at Sessions At The P.M.
It’s a real real dope project. Very potent in its content and beats. It’s also our first double LP as a label and is going to come with some real interesting features in addition to the music. Make sure you check for it at the site: www.sessionsatthepm.com
Kunstnürnberg: You went to some hip hop shows here in Germany, too and you saw some german rappers. How do you like it?
Physical Graffiti: I want to say that I’m limited and at the same time not limited by language.
I feel like there is always an emotional connection with music. You can kind of understand something even if you don’t understand the language.
I give a big shout outs to Kuchenmann and Smilingstreet because I feel like listening to their music really allowed me to be able to listen to other german MCs, appreciate them more and at the same time helped me understand more of the lingo.
Although we are limited a little bit with language I’m still able to communicate with sound and feeling and vibration.
I give a lot of respect and love to Smilingstreet because they are also progressive in their own ways and they allowed me to really feel an even stronger connection with MCs out here in Germany and just music in general.
I’ve enjoyed a lot of shows out here and performed with a few other german artists and it was cool to see that you can still relate without understanding exactly what they are saying.
You can still feel the vibe and I have nothing but respect for artists that I witnessed here. I respect the culture out here in Germany and I respect the record stores out here as well.
There are a lot of dope record stores in Germany. Much love to all the shops worldwide that support Sessions At The P.M. We thank you.
Kunstnürnberg: Do you want to come to Nürnberg again?
Physical Graffiti: Of course, I would love to come back to Nürnberg and continue seeing more of Germany!
After working with the Helium Rangers on the new album it’s actually a must. The way that I was able to create with them was real meaningful for me at this point in my career.
It was great because we had such an open mind that we developed a fast workflow. We were very in tune with each other without having to say to much – very creative.
They are from Germany and I’m sure that I will be back here again in the future and vice versa. Big influences for me reside in Germany and I hope to come back and hope to share the album with people in Germany as well.
There’s just one thing I would like to say, I feel like the country of Germany has been the home for a lot of great artist and visionaries from music, fashion, to visual art so I am thankful for the time spent here and for all the great artist I have encountered a long the way its truly been an exciting experience.
Kunstnürnberg: Thank you very much for the interesting Interview!
Physical Graffiti: Thank you, I really appreciate the opportunity!