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North Coast Underground : The Kotori Interview

North Coast Underground

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We reviewed the record in the last issue of Kotori and after spending some additional time with the band/ record we thought it would be great to get a little deeper with one of NorCal's most respected artists.
They've been doing it for more that 10 years and they're well beyond San Francisco geographically, so they don't really get classified with the Bay area artists. What does this mean? It means a uniqueness all their own. Lost Coast, Emerald Triangle, NorCal, the sticks, call it what you will. Let's see what they are all about.

Where is Pt. Arena, CA?

NCU: The furthest point west in the Continental United States. Literally. About 4 hours NORTH of San Francisco. Population 400. 420. Literally on both counts.

What's it like up there?

NCU: It's located in the Emerald Triangle, Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity Counties. Pretty much the hub of the herb culture. A lot of artists, growers, and environmentally conscious people. The revolt against genetically modified farming was founded up here and the bio diesel movement is strong up here as well. Pt. Arena/ Northern California in general is very adverse, there's a lot of ways to go about life. Openness to race, sexuality, ethnicities, and life in general is very open. People up here are exceptionally understanding and accepting.

What do you do for fun?

Moto-x thru the mountains, tow in surfing (surfing in general), chasing the biggest storms thru the Sierra Nevada's, fishing, diving, making music.

You've been doing some benefits up in your hometown and even down in Los Angeles. What are some of those about?

NCU: We're just trying to give back to the youth directly. The youth is where the change is at and where the biggest difference is going to come from. We are continuously persistent to helping out with positive
change. There's not a public swimming pool for a 100 miles up here and we are currently putting some benefits together to build a youth center and to keep kids off drugs, meth amphetamine in particular. Just facing the challenges today and overcoming them allows the youth to grow. Even as far away as Pt. Arena, the meth problem is real. In addition to that, we recently played a Burton Snowboards fundraiser for Chill which is their inner city program for at risk kids. They take about 150 kids to the mountains to snowboard each year. Talib Kweli played the New York show and us along with some other great artists (Lexicon, C-Minus, Ras Rebel, Eyesight Project) from L.A. played the Los Angeles benefit. Check out www.chill.org for more info.

What's you're sound like?

NCU: It's like organic live instruments fused with present day sequencing and sampling. Hip hop, reggae, soul, drum and bass are heavily rooted in our music. It's a direct reflection of all the music out there. We like latin rhythms, funk, jazz, house, punk rock, hard rock, just all of it. Just a full experience of the music and culture in Northern California, The Bay, and the world in general. Our music is obviously heavily influenced by our location and way of life. We like and listen to it all. Unfortunately many people frown on such diversity in music likes and styles, but it's what has allowed us to get respect from such artists as diverse as Long Beach Dub All Stars, MC Supernatural, Planet Asia, Wes Style formerly of Hed (PE), DJ Starscream of Slipknot, Michael Franti and Radioactive of Spearhead. Overall, our sound is really diverse. From our first record that had a Sublime like sound to our current record Cadillac Dreams, that takes us more toward a hip hop, trip hop, mentality.

What were some of your favorite shows you've played / locations you like
to play at?

NCU: The Matel Community Center in Humboldt, it's like a 800 capacity venue where all the top artists play when they come thru Northern California. We've played shows with Damien Marley and Morgan Heritage
there. The Phoenix Theater in Petaluma is one of our local favorites as well. We blew that up with Black Eyed Peas one time and MixMaster Mike on another. Reggae on the River main stage a couple years ago was insane. Our hometown crew in that setting is always great. We've also played numerous action sport events, like the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach (2 times), Boardstock in Norcal, the Vans Triple Crown at Big Bear and Snow Summit. In 2001 we were sleeping on floors in Venice for about a year playing down on the Venice Boardwalk and Temple Bar. Those were fun times. Aspen is always a blast. We played the closing day party for the mountain 2 years ago and the Fusion Snowboard Contest this past year. We get a lot of love in Colorado. We're playing October 12th-14th with Swollen Members in the Denver area (Ft. Collins, Boulder, Denver) and the Homegrown Festival at the Matel Community
Center on November 4th.

Any last words, thank you's, etc..

NCU: Thanks to Jackhammer Movement and ManagementMike D @ DVS Shoes, Travis@ Channel Islands Surfboards, Ari@ The Doogood Conservatory, Marvin@Ipath, PJ@ Reef, Joe@ Arnette, Ron @ Rainville Cases, Keith@Alliance Wakeboarding Magazine, Jeff@Dopamine, Kite@ Mendomate', Giovanni @ Freshpile/ Guerilla Union, Karina and Ryan @Chill.org, Jubal@SHC Industries, Deric@Snowmass Mountain, Paul@ 540 Productions, Dave@Metajive, Jimmy @ A.D.D. Marketing, Kelly and Beau@ Freshpark, if we missed anyone we're sorry, you know we appreciate all the support.

Lastly,a message to all the up coming artists and athletes...believe in the people around you and in yourself. North Coast Underground isn't just music/ a band, it's a state of mind/ a movement. Music is simply our vehicle to bring the message to the people. The whole right wind assault on humanity/ the Bush Administration isn't the end of the world. Bands, DJ's, conscious people in general are making a difference
everyday. Our minds, our music, our art are the most powerful weapon we have. Always remember that.

For more information on North Coast Underground, check out
www.northcoastunderground.com or www.myspace.com/northcoastunderground

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