Necro (AKA Ron Raphael Braunstein) is a rapper from Brooklyn, who is influenced by everyone from KRS-One and LL Cool J right the way through to Obituary and Slayer, and, during a collaboration with Suffocation drummer Mike Smith, became the first ever MC to rap over a blastbeat. M3 got in touch to talk about the death of the album, and why the claim that there’s no money in record sales may be greatly exaggerated…
M3 – First of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself, and what it is that you do?
Necro – My name is Necro and I am a rapper, producer, label owner and actor/director.
What inspired you to start making music? What is your own musical background?
I just loved music since I was a kid, from Hall and Oates to Metallica to jazz fusion to hiphop to metal, I love good instrumentation.
What would be your preferred medium to listen to music (eg. Vinyl, CD, tape, MP3 etc.), and why?
I dont mind either of those, I listen to shit on iTunes the last year or so and its fine by me – low fi seems to be the new shit, no-one has the ability to hear hi fi so we just settle for what we can get fast and cheap and free.
Do you feel the idea of an album, as a piece of art that people will listen to from start to finish, has been undermined or forgotten about in the digital age?
Yeah its basically the past, think about it, I never listen to Beatles albums start to finish. I got the albums but I will skip to the songs I like, no fans love entire albums anyway, they wanna get to the heart of the hot shit, plus who cares about a format anyway? All I care is that my fans get pleasure from my music, whether its the album or the single, or mixed, who gives a shit? When you make the album you are into the process but once it’s released it dont matter, fans pick and choose what they really like. That’s why iTunes is so popular because the fan can now spend $2 on what he likes as opposed to being forced to spend $10 for maybe an album with only 3 good songs.
Much has been made of the supposed death of the record store in recent years. Do you believe the digital age has killed the record store, and if so, do you think that this is a necessary part of progression, or a tragic loss?
I dont really particulairly care for stores, I love the internet and online, amazon, all these sites are awesome to me, so I dont feel a major loss. Maybe in sales I feel a loss but that’s because I am an artist, but as a fan of music, I feel I have access even faster now online and can cut through the crap, fans only want GREAT now, if its less than great forget it, they wont care.
Many people have claimed that there is no longer any money in record sales, and that touring is the most efficient way to earn an income as a band. How much truth do you think there is in this sentiment?
It’s nonsense ‘cuz I didn’t tour the whole year of 2011 and lived off my digital hahahaha – if you are not poppin’ you are not poppin’ – if you have classic music and a classic catalog like I do, my digital will be an annuity for life.
I obviously want more and it will come, I made so many mistakes, my goal is just to profit off my albums and I believe I can profit big time being smart, I got the game figured out for my genre and my world.
Do you think traditional copyright laws are still enforceable in the digital age, or do you think we will have to rethink the concept of copyright itself?
Yeah its all new, the issue is all the labels are in denial and wanna live in the past where they owned everything and robbed artists, now shit is more beneficial to the artist and I think it’s gonna get better and better for us, because the internet is all about access and knowledge and interaction, all the shit the majors hid from artists.
What is your take on the recent SOPA/ACTA controversy?
I wasn’t for it, but at the same time I have heard some arguments that it would have been good for artists, because its technically about protecting us from being robbed – its a double edge sword and obviously not what the people wanted, we can create some of the most sophisticated software and machines on earth, so I’m sure someone can figure this out eventually.
What would you say are the main challenges facing an up-and-coming musician/band in today’s cultural climate?
Most of them are not about quality, they want instant feedback online for their ego so they release crap and try to build a career off garbage and approval from their 10 friends, back in the day you had to be AWESOME to get any play, now some cornball can be online forcing his crap on people, so its harder than ever for a good artist to shine in a universe full of crap, eventually this should also level out and things can be great for artists like me, soon.
Finally, what does the future hold for Necro?
The world is mine chico and everything in it!! Hahaha! I just put up a pre-order for my new EP, called The Murder Murder Kill Kill Double EP + Limited Edition T-shirt, go to www.necroproduct.com and order it. Support the underground real shit!