Recently Murder Dog magazine was able to seek out and conduct an interview with Strange Music CEO Travis O’Guin along with the vice-president Tech N9ne. The interview starts out very informatively as Travis lays out the ways of the music business and how Strange Music has made built its success by playing by its own rules, not that of the big record labels that so-often pimp their artists out of the money they make:
“I tell these guys, a lotta your favorite rappers are broke. That’s the reality. So many of your favorite rappers that are on TV and radio don’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of. A lotta times these dudes do these deals where they’re only getting 8 to 12% of their royalty rates, and of course the major labels take the majority of that and say it got spent on this, that, or the other. When they’re hot, they’ll get hot for a short period of time, they’ll make some money doing verses. They might get an endorsement deal or two. But when that shit’s over with and the label moves on to the next young hot thing, then you’re left there stuck. Because you didn’t know what was going on around you, you were busy buying jewelry and fucking cars, when the shit stops you’re stuck with a big-ass mortgage payment, a whole bunch of car payments, and bunch of tax bills, and you don’t know what the fuck to do.”
Furthermore it seems that even the likes of 50 Cent are paying attention to the success of Strange Music. Trav elaborates:
“E-40 was on the phone with 50 Cent the other day and 50 Cent was telling 40, ‘Hey man, I gotta get you out to Kansas City and meet these folks called Strange Music, this Tech N9ne dude.’ He’s telling 40, “‘You know it’s the number one independent label in the world and they’re out there in Kansas City?’ 40 was like, ‘C’mon man, that’s my folks, that’s my people!'”
Also noteworthy is the stark difference between attendance of a Strange Music show compared to those of multi-platinum-selling artists:
“On our last tour there was a major artist out at the exact same time that we were. This major artist has sold millions and millions of records. This artist overlapped us in 6 different cities. Denver, Colorado was one example. That particular artist sold 1,482 tickets; we sold 3800 and sold it out. You see what I’m sayin?”
If anything the interview portion with Travis O’Guin reads like an excerpt from Music Business 101, as he separates fact from the fiction that most artists don’t understand. Definitely a must-read for anyone wanting to break into the business. Click here to read the interview.
Tech was also able to talk to Murder Dog for the second portion of the interview. It seems that despite the all-time success of Strange Music, Tech N9ne’s ride in the music business is just getting started. The interview highlights his recent trips to Europe to perform for huge crowds (of Tech N9ne fans), the possible signing of Jay Rock, and even drops a few hints of what’s in store for his upcoming solo release All 6s and 7s. Tech N9ne’s reaction to praises from 50 Cent:
“I’ve never met [him]. He’s just talking about us and it made me feel good, that somebody of 50’s caliber would be talkin about me.”
Tech’s production choices so far and possibilities for All 6’s and 7’s.
“I just chose 7 beats as of now. The first two I got from a producer in St Louis named Koko. The other five I got from M80, she’s really dope. I’m lookin for some more tracks. I want a Rick Ross track, I want something from Psycho Ram, I want Sick Jackin. I’m looking to get Hi Tek to do something for me. This is my big album.”
On his die-hard fan base:
“We count the pictures that come in of tattoos that are Strange Music related. At last count in January of this year, there were 3,680-something kids with tattoos of either Tech N9ne or Strange Music on them. It’s like some wild cult following. This is like the Grateful Dead movement. I love the fact that people love this music so much that they’re puttin it on their bodies permanently–for life!”
Click here to read Tech’s portion of the interview.