Kung Fu Vampire Succeeding on His Own Terms
Mars sits down with Kung Fu Vampire and discuss him succeeding his own terms, Halloween and so much more! Find out what all he as to say in the interview.
Mars takes over MCD as of today! Cancel your Halloween plans because you’ve got nothing as scary as a typical day for his horror interview subjects. Against all safety concerns, he cornered Kung Fu Vampire in the studio recording his album Look Alive. After a miraculous escape, he reports that KFV will be headlining HalloweirdFestival Ocober 30th in Marysville, CA.
When I first met Kung Fu Vampire I was invited to join legendary Acid Rap and horrorcore godfather Esham’s Helluva Night Tour where KFV was the opening act. Working with Esham had always been a bucket list item for me for several years so I was excited to be able to tour the West Coast with him.
But it couldn’t have come at a worse time. I had like maybe 40 bucks to roll up to the first date. My homie J RZ was like “!*(% it! Let’s just go anyways!” We budgeted our alcohol intake very wisely. After all, we were going to play places like the Viper Room. We might be able to be the guys that overdose in Hollywood on their sidewalk and become legends. This was going to take careful planning.
I walked into the San Jose, CA venue where Kung Fu Vampire’s band was doing soundcheck for the first date of this particular leg of the tour and seen this dude with cello players, drummers, guitarists, singers, keyboard players. It wasn’t just a band; this dude had an entire orchestra. I was like “What the !*(%? What is this guy going to do up there?” To top it all off most of his band was made up of the hottest chicks ever.
When it was showtime, this dude came out in a robe with dark eyes, contacts, blades on his fingers and rocked the !*(% out of the show in with gothic-sounding opera hip hop music. It was so close to what horrorcore was doing image-wise, but the sound was funky, and almost positive party music. He got my attention right away. I also took advantage of the free beer backstage and left with $40 emergency drunk money. Score. I later found out it was his personal stash. Oops. My bad.
He was doing things plush as hell when we all were just trying to scrub it out on tour making it from date to date. He got everyone’s attention. Kung Fu Vampire was spitting gunfire-rapid verses, and had the presence of a mainstream artist in these little clubs we were playing.
I wanted to work with him. He was going to be the biggest thing in horrorcore if he would only went a little bit in that direction. So the next time I had the opportunity to tour, he was one of the first people I called. I immediately hopped in with his caravan and talked horrorcore with him the entire tour. He was super cool. Player $#!+.
We got along so good the first few days, I asked him to be a part of Mad Insanity Records with me. This was around the time all the Syko Sam murders. I took him to the news with me, and made sure he was on the follow up horrorcore segments. Horrorcore needed to see this guy overtime the genre was brought up.
When he got the bigger artists’ attention he hasn’t stopped touring since. He’s shared the stage with every big artist in our circle around the continent. In horrorcore, he is a haunted household name. But he never changed his sound. Everyone loves him anyways. Dope don’t need a title. Dope sells itself. But really this dude is one of my best friends. !*(% the music $#!+. The first interview in my take over for Man Cave Daily is with Kung Fu Vampire.
Mars: Halloween is right around the corner. What do you have planned this year?
KFV: On Devil’s Night I’m headlining the third Annual Halloweird Festival in Marysville, CA and on Halloween Night, I’m throwing a small party for all my friends and family that have kids. Naturally, Halloween is my four-year-old daughter’s favorite holiday!
Mars: What does your daughter think of her daddy being a vampire every other day of the year for a job?
KFV: She wants me to call her “Lil’ Kung Fu” and already has plans to become the next Kung Fu Vampire. She’s faced her fears and stared the dark side directly in the face and embraced the balance between Good and Evil.
Mars: Coming from San Jose, with all these artists trying to make it being gangster rappers, do you think it pisses everyone off trying to “keep it real” and keep it hood while Kung Fu Vampire is the biggest band or rapper from their city and totally doesn’t try to do that?
KFV: It’s kinda a different reaction than that. At first people tried to pass me off as too alternative or “doing his own thing” instead of hip hop. This way they didn’t feel like they were competing with something that was clearly “more honed” than what they were doing. Truthfully we were way ahead of our time and it was obvious. In a “tough to break out of” city like San Jose, I was able to be one of the few that gets the respect earned and deserved. At this point I feel that Kung Fu Vampire is an undeniable force and The Zae is behind us.
KFV: Nothing is missing but the emphasis of what is hot is in the wrong place. There is so much great hip hop out there but people do not know how to find it. A majority of what is fed to the masses is subpar, easy to digest garbage. A popularity contest.
Mars: You are often labeled as horrorcore, but you call your music gothic hip hop. What do you think the biggest difference is between the two?
KFV: I actually just call our music hip hop. I have pulled zero influence from the horrorcore sub-genre despite being one of the genre’s most notable artists. Originally I thought our music was different enough that it needed its own name like “Gothic hip hop” but as I grew wiser I realized Kung Fu Vampire is music, no genre just an evolutionary entity free-floating through any style he would like while keeping it hip hop.
Mars: Your Love Bites album has so many styles, yet still has the signature Kung Fu Vampire sound. If somebody was going to listen to a KFV song on Halloween, what would you say would be the one to listen to?
KFV: “Abra Cadaver” off of the album Blood Bath Beyond is dark and aggressive. “Transactions” off of the album Dead Sexy is spooky and gangsta, bringing out my Bay Area roots. “Dead Girls Don’t Say No” is silly to me but fun and def. should be bumping loud at every Halloween Party this year.
Mars: I remember pulling up to your house, and there was a wrapped KFV SUV, two wrapped trailers, a 15′ passenger van, and a tour bus parked out front. What do your neighbors think? Are kids allowed to play on your side of the street?
KFV: I’m the strange guy and youngest guy on the block. Everyone says hi to me and in my heart I know behind the smile they are giving me as they walk by with their labrador they are thinking “I’ve seen your videos young man and you are !*(%ing evil.”
Mars: Yeah, !*(% them. Once the alternative hip-hop market got wind of you, you blew up pretty fast. What do you think the formula for your growing success is?
KFV: My formula, straight up is not giving two $#!+s what the consumer wants and just doing what I think is cool music and expresses what I want to express. People gravitate towards stuff like that and you build a deep connection with the supporters/fans and they build the same with you. My music is all over the place, like my personality.
Mars: I know around this time it gets busy for the more established artist of this type. What kind of events do you have coming up after Halloween if people want to go to your show and check the $#!+ out?
KFV: Halloween is a busy time but we keep the momentum going all year long. November 21st I’ll be in Reno, NV for Brainfest. Then on November 27th and 28th I’ll be doing headlining shows in both Bakersfield and Fresno.