ARTIST CHAT: PHILLIP MORRIS
Phillip Morris fuses social and political commentary with nerdy humor. His Ten x Ten contribution, "Second Guess", was developed in collaboration with cartoon artist Joe Tallarico. Here Colin and Phillip discuss touring, nerding out, and the Ten x Ten process.
Colin: You just did three shows in Spain. Can you briefly share how the tour came about?
Phillip: The tour actually came about as the result of a much larger tour that was being planned that ended up not happening due to complications. I really only had 2 contacts in Barcelona, one of which was Raquel Delgado...and the other being my boy Jan (aka Delorian) from De La Rue Squad. So despite the setbacks, with only a few weeks of planning we were able to organize 3 shows. 2 shows in Barcelona (Sant Boi & Santa Coloma) and one show in Zaragoza, Spain. All of which were phenomenal.
Colin: Was it your first time performing out of the country? How was the experience there similar or different to performing in your home town?
Phillip: This was my second experience performing outside of the US, the first time was last year when I was invited by America Libre to be part of the 3 day America Libre Hip-Hop Festival down in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In terms of differences, when I perform overseas the crowd seems to be much more excited and enthusiastic to hear my music. Not to knock Chicago, I've definitely had many incredible shows here. But overseas the crowd reactions are more intense, and vocal. Since hip hop originated in the states, I think that we tend to take it more for granted here. Often other countries tend to look towards American Hip Hop as a blueprint or guide map of sorts. This is a prime example of why, as artists, we must be careful and precise with the music we make. Not only future generations, but other cultures are always paying attention to our music.
Colin: You just had a show at Reggie's with Kool Keith and Kid Static. You've said that this is your only Chicago show lined up for the year! Can you explain?
Phillip: I currently don't have any more Chicago shows lined up, and I will attempt to keep my Chicago shows to a minimum this year. I will however continue to use my time to plan more events outside of this city and outside of the country. I believe this is where i need to be focusing my efforts in an attempt to maximize the area of influence that my music has.
Colin: Does this mean that Ten x Ten won't be able to get you on a bill in April or May for a release event?
Phillip: Well, considering that Ten x Ten was a project that I was already working on, I'd definitely love to follow through and be a part of the release. When Dan Sullivan originally contacted me about this opportunity, I was really excited that I was selected to be a part of the project. I had never done this type of collaboration before...plus so many audio/visual artists that I respect and enjoy are a part of it which has me really eager to see and hear the finished product!!
Colin: When we matched artists up for this project we put you with Joe Tallarico. As it turned out, you two both knew one another from way back. How did you guys meet and how long had it been since you had seen one another?
Phillip: It had been years since I had seen Joe Tallarico, I met him through my friends Parker Gindele and Max Gold. They used to have a group called Readymade, and we had done quite a few songs together. Also Max played bass in my band Dubasaurus.
Colin: How did you two approach the song and print?
Phillip: We first chose a beat, which ended up being a lovely piece of music created by Herma Puma. Even while listening to the beat, Joe already was drawing and coming up with loose concepts, and we discussed how exactly the beat made us feel...and pretty much agreed that there was an overall spooky and foreboding feeling to the music. I sent Joe lyrics as I came up with them, and then he sent me the sketch he came up with. I continued to cater the remainder of the lyrics and the chorus of the song to the sketch, making slight adjustments where they were needed. I'd say the song and the screenprint ended up complementing each other quite well by the time we were finished.
Colin: I'd like to post your video for "Get my nerd on" because I remember at the initial Ten x Ten meeting Joe was joking that we had paired up the two nerds to collaborate. As two self proclaimed nerds, you produced a strong political song and print. For you, where do nerd-ism and politics intersect? Are the compatible?
Phillip: Oh yeah, Joe is definitely an uber nerd. I believe once we discovered we both own "Marvel vs. Capcom 3" his first words were "I'll destroy you." Hahahaaa. Like damn, that's nerdy and gangster. But yeah, i think politics and nerdism totally intersect and are compatible with each other. A perfect example of this would be Anonymous, who uses their nerdisms to spread political awareness, like when they shut down the websites of SOPA supporters.
Colin: Any final thoughts or shout outs?
Phillip: I'd like to thank everyone who took part in this project. I'd also like to shout out my favorite artist/tattooist everrrrrr Katie Kroeck. I'd also like to shout out Waffle Gang. I'd also like to thank Raquel Delgado, Delorian, and everyone in Barcelona, Sant Boi, Santa Coloma, and Zaragoza who supported my efforts.