好久沒有更新歌手訪問的專欄了，不知不覺2016年也過了大半。這次訪談的主角是來自洛杉磯Carson City、前Dr. Dre廠牌Aftermath旗下大將Bishop Lamont。
Bishop Lamont (以下簡稱BL)：My name is Bishop Lamont, a HIPHOP artist representing Carson, California and where ever great HIPHOP and higher consciousness is being created all over the world.
I don't know, it went from being a fan of HIPHOP at 11 or younger, to wanting to actively be an artist creating it. For me it started in phases, different elements of HIPHOP, I was break dancing first (not really great, but I was lol), then being a bootleg DJ on my moms old turntable, scratching up precious vinyl that would be worth quite a penny right now! From there in my bedroom or garage, to djing pep rally's at my high school with equipment from audio/video class, big shout out to Mr. Pappas for allowing me to do it. Doing that, and simultaneously starting to frequent Los Angeles underground HIPHOP spots like Project blowed, GoodLife, Unity HIPHOP shows, watching the cyphers, then finally entering the cyphers.
It was a process, and a journey to arrive at recording music. Back then home studios, or easy access to recording programs were not what they are today, where any and everybody can record music now. So you had to save up money to go to a commercial studio, usually they were in strip malls in certain parts of the city, and for me it was "La Sound" recordings which was owned by this cool cat named Dan, located in Carson off of Avalon right next to a mcDonald's.
BL：我的名字是Bishop Lamont，來自加州Carson - 一個超屌嘻哈樂以及更高的心靈意識層次的催生搖籃之地。我也不確定我是什麼時候開始玩音樂的，但我從十一歲、或更年輕的時候就是個嘻哈樂迷，然後逐漸想要成為一名創作歌手。對我而言，我是階段性、從不同的嘻哈元素切入，最早我是玩break dancing開始的(儘管我其實跳的不是很好lol)，然後再用我媽媽的老唱盤玩起DJ、然後把一些珍貴稀有的唱片胡亂scratch一通，這些唱片現在可是價值連城！然後從我的臥室或是車庫，再到了高中，使用著從影音教室借來的器材在校隊比賽的賽前派對放歌，感謝Mr. Pappas當初這樣支持我玩音樂！當時我也流連於洛杉磯各個地下嘻哈場子，例如Project Blowed、Good Life、Unity HIPHOP Shows等等，看著人們聚在一起cyphers，最後就自己跳進去cyphers跟著開始饒舌。
這都是一個過程、一段旅途，最後讓我進入錄音室來錄製音樂。現在的居家錄音室、或是錄音方法都已經方便了許多，現在每個人都可以用簡便方法錄音，但是在當年可不是這麼一回事，你必須要存了一大筆錢去外面租借營利錄音室(commercial studio)，而這些錄音室常常位於城市裡的某些特定區域、通常都在露天賣場裡，而我最常去的就是"La Sound"錄音室，老闆Dan是個很酷的傢伙，位置就座落於Carson的Avalon大道上、正好就在麥當勞隔壁。2. You are currently running a project on PledgeMusic. Why do you choose "crowdfunding" as the strategy? 你目前在PledgeMusic上展開募資計劃，為何會選擇群眾募資的方式？
BL：Yes, Pledgemusic is way more than a crowd funding strategy!!! Pledgemusic is a new way of being totally indie and having the essentials of a major label, but without the horrible contracts, loss of creative control, and ultimately your financial and physical freedom. There's this illusion that major music labels have used for years, and that's the illusion that we artist need them!!! We don't, you need us, and especially more now than ever. Technology has become our best and worse ally, but more so for the majors than us indie artist. I'm speaking in regards to the Internet, piracy, etc. Majors are really corporations trying to find extra ways to use money they don't want to give to the IRS, or God forbid to our struggling education system, health system, or anything else selfless and for the greater good!lol
Excuse me for getting off subject, sorta, but anyway, my point for us indie cats, we can sell 20,000 to 50,000 albums and be GREAT!!!! To them that's a failure because the majors have spent 100's of thousands, sometimes millions to break a new artist, if they think it really can generate money. So me teaming up with Pledgemusic facilitates my digital album version, pressing up CDs, vinyl, Merch, etc, also in conjunction with an incredible company called Oniracom (who came up with the pledge idea). I also can utilize social media properly, to impact my fans all over the world with my brand and movement. Long story short, it's my own label, point blank period, me directly to the consumer. MESSAGE!!!
BL： 是的，PledgeMusic其實並不只是個群眾募資的策略。PledgeMusic是個全新的方式，讓我能完全保持獨立、又能擁有主流廠牌的諸多優勢，但省去了許多風險，像是糟糕的唱片合約、創意靈感被箝制、最後你的資金和身心上的自由全部都被剝奪了。許多年來，歌手們都有著我們需要主流唱片公司來幫助我們的錯覺！但是我們才不需要，應該是唱片公司需要我們，尤其是在現在資訊爆發的這個年代。科技的進步可以是我們的敵人或是盟友，但是對於主流廠牌，他們所受到的影響更是巨大，我所指的就是網路、盜版下載侵權行為等等。而這些大公司總是無所不用其極來賺取最大收益，逃避著國稅局，也不會想把這些多餘利益分享給教育制度、健保制度或是任何公益 lol
請原諒我有點離題了，總而言之，我對於我們這些獨立歌手的觀點就是，我們可以靠自己的力量賣出20,000到50,000張專輯、而且做出很棒的音樂！但是對於主流廠牌來說這就是場災難了，因為他們必須花費幾十萬、有時甚至上百萬來發掘出一個新人。於是我最後決定與PledgeMusic合作，來發行數位專輯版本、印製CD和黑膠唱片、周邊商品等等，我也與Oniracom這間令人驚艷的公司一起合作 (集資的點子就是來自他們)。 除此之外我也能善加運用社群媒體來與全世界的粉絲互動，讓大家更了解我的品牌。長話短說，這就是我自己作主、自己營運的廠牌，由我自己把訊息直接傳遞給消費者！
3. What can we expect from the new album "The Reformation”? What's the concept of the album? 我們可以如何期待新專輯"The Reformaiton"? 專輯的概念是什麼？
BL：You can expect the greatest HIPHOP experience you have ever had!!!! And I'm being modest right now! I can't explain the concept of the album, if I do, it will give it away. I guess let's say conceptually its lower self vs higher self, which is a battle as human beings we all face everyday. The information contained in the music is really in the eye, or should I say, ear of the beholder, it addresses almost every social,religious, political,and ecological issue on a global scale. But my task was to simplify it, into a easily digestible experience. And by that I mean, it's not overloaded with wordy wordy, rappity rap stuff, where it takes away from enjoying the music.
BL：你們可以預期這會是一個前所未見的嘻哈體驗！而我已經講得很含蓄了！我不太能詳細解釋專輯的概念是啥，但我想可以說是一個自我的交戰，一個身而為人每天都會面對的挑戰。專輯中所傳遞給聽者的訊息包含各個層面，例如社會、宗教、政治、環境生態等全球性的議題，但是我的工作就是把這些議題簡單化、製作成能讓聽者容易消化的方式來體驗。我的意思是，這張專輯不會是塞滿一大堆文字、或是讓人煩悶的東西，否則的話這可是會剝奪了聽音樂的樂趣。4. You used to get signed to Aftermath. What did you learn from this experience?
BL：Yes I was there for almost technically 5 years!!! I learned so much at the biggest label in the history of HIPHOP music. I learned what really goes on in the corporate offices, I learned that it all comes down to dollars and cents, I learned that artists are very expendable, and at times are treated like perishable goods. I learned how to make songs from the greatest iconic producer in the world, I learned the system top to bottom, mixing secrets, producing secrets, and I learned how to have real patience and perseverance. All priceless gifts. Good, bad, and the bitter-sweet.
5. Are there any interesting stories when you worked with Dr. Dre?
BL：There's a lot of them, but I'm not here to talk about my big bro Dr.Dre. Lol I'm here to tell the HIPHOP fans of Taiwan, about Bishop Lamont!
BL：當然有很多啦，但是我不是來談論我的大哥Dr. Dre lol，在這訪談我是想和台灣的嘻哈粉絲談論我Bishop Lamont！
6. What's your opinion on current West Coast hip hop? Any new artists you want to work with in the future? 對於現今的西岸嘻哈有什麼看法？未來有想和誰合作嗎？
BL：Since Kendrick Lamar released and the "Straight outta Compton" movie released, we have the attention of the world back on the WestCoast, it's a very good opportunity for more new underground artist to be introduced and get shine. For far too long the old regime of artist have remained in the spotlight, when new artist should've been advanced to the forefront. There needs to be a better comradery on the WestCoast, and in how we do music business. I pretty much work with everybody I want to, so I can't say there's any new artist I want to work with.
BL：自從Kendrick Lamar出道、以及"Straight Outta Compton"電影的推出之後，全世界又把目光聚集回西岸上了。對於許多來自地下的新人饒舌歌手們來說絕對是非常好的機會，好好把握住的話將能發光發熱。多年以來，站上檯面上的總是那幾個老屁股，這應該是時候讓新人們能往前一步。西岸應該要能維持更好的氛圍，尤其是彼此之間音樂上的事業來往，我自己是願意和任何人一起共事，所以我現在也說不出未來是想和哪個新人一起合作。7. What's your most favorite record of all time? Why? 你最喜歡的唱片是？
BL：That's a very hard one!!!! That's impossible! I will say that one of my all time favorites is "Change gon come" by Sam Cooke.
BL：這是個非常難的問題！簡直是不可能回答！我大概會說是Sam Cooke的"Change Gon Come"吧！最後也請大家多多支持Bishop Lamont的新專輯"The Reformation"囉！從目前釋出的幾首單曲和MV，以及專輯曲目名單來看，這絕對會是今年值得期待的西岸大作！專輯預購連結：http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/bishoplamont