Rap men love batman
Carrying on from my earlier post here
Super Villains (RMC) deliver their music in full costume and masks. They’re not hiding anything – they just like to put on a theatrical performance and bring a bit more life to their lyrics.
They say they’re raising the standard of a typical Friday-night gig – scary costumes, dark masks and loud 90s-style music make the group stand out from the rest. Each performer transforms into a character for their dramatic gigs.
The four group members – Piata Turei, 21, (aka Sweaty Tooth MadMan), Fredrick Bishop, 21, (Mr Bishop), Eden Jouavel, 19, (Dr Black the dark surgeon) and Manu Walters, 19, (Dirty Quarters) – all met at Western Springs College. They grew up in Grey Lynn and are passionate about hip-hop, rap and … Batman.
They started rapping at parties for fun, then friends suggested they take it more seriously.
“The first track we made, I took a sample from a 1960s Batman film. We thought it was a cool concept to talk about super-heroes and villains,” says Eden.
“Once we established the roles as super-villains we started thinking about a narrative behind the idea … to give sense to the music,” says Piata.
The group say there’s a lot more to their music than masks and costumes. Their lyrics prompt the audience to ask: “Who are the villains and heroes in society?’
“There’s a full underlying message to the Super Villains,” says Eden.
Deep and meaningful, yes, but entertainment and performance is the key.
“Our main priority is to entertain, not sound like any other hip-hop group and not look like any other hip-hop group. We focus our energy on the live performances. That’s where the money is in music these days, in the big gigs. We put a lot of energy into having mean theatrics throughout the gigs and we always costume-up,” says Piata.
The group started playing together last March. Since then, they’ve opened for GZA from Wu Tang Clan and played alongside leading Kiwi artists such as King Kapisi, Che Fu and Six60, and at Rhythm and Vines.
“Playing to a crowd of 1500 or having someone know the words to one of your songs, it’s mean,” Manu says.
“A lot of people caught on quickly and really liked our music.”
Super Villains (RMC) don’t have any musical training but they’ve all had a passion for music from childhood.
Eden credits his Dad. “Music has been around my whole life. My dad started off a few nightclubs around Auckland and he DJs, so he has heaps of vinyls. When I was younger I asked: ‘How do you make music?’ From that question I started making beats. I would have been 15 at the time and from then on I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
Piata is the writer in the group. He carries a notebook with him everywhere and writes poetry, which influences his rap lyrics.
“I’ve been a massive fan of hip-hop and rap all my life,” he says. “When I was listening to songs I started to think how cool it would be if I just wrote that or if I got to perform it. So I started to write my own verses and kept at it.”
Fred is the lead beatboxer and he says his musical family encouraged him.
“My whole life is about music. Dad plays the guitar, Mum plays the guitar and my brother does gigs, too, so I really feed off their energy. I learned to beatbox when I was 12.”
Manu’s family also influenced his passion for hip-hop.
“When I was young I started to listen to my cousins and my brother’s hip-hop music. It became my favourite thing in the world and ever since then I’ve been a big hip-hop fan. I love all music though, in my house there’s always music playing.”
Super Villains (RMC) say they’re making music they want to hear, and not trying to conform to commercial pressures.
“We are our own target audience,” Piata says. “We trust among the crew that our taste is good enough. And we trust our music is to a standard that’s tasteful enough to be released.”
Their debut EP, Meanwhile, with its catchy “Riddle me this, riddle me that” line, was released last year and can be bought off the group’s website. On June 8 their new single, The Truth Hurts, will be available to download - free.
Click the following link to listen to The Truth Hurts: The Truth Hurts – SuperVillains RMC Vs DJ Orphan