Throughout history, the art realm has given rise to some characters which chose to distance themselves from their work – some have published creative work in anonymity. Take Banksy for example, who is the world’s most recent street art icon and has created some of the controversial pieces of street art which has, in many ways, offered an uncensored critique of politicians, society and other powers that be.
In music, you can mention artists like MF Doom and the French powerhouse duo Daft Punk, who have respectively chose an anonymous route in how they present themselves. In an age where people are constantly dishing out details about their personal lives-which often leads to a point where we know what one loves to eat, where one likes to eat and we can even stretch that to a point where we even know what one likes in bed. Weird you might say, but we are all overwhelmed by the power of social media and in many cases it feels like it is a bare necessity. When an individual decides to stay off social media and be completely offline, it may be seen as a brave and revolutionary act. The act of breaking down the chains that social media has on society can be a significant one. We are all aware of the power of artists-whether we deny that notion or not-the fact remains, art is powerful. When an artist chooses anonymity over fame, it is rather odd and unfamiliar, but powerful.
Through using our techniques of finding music online, we managed to uncover an artist that is not a fan of social media and is not phased by the grip it has on people. The artist is none other than, Nemek. The Phoenix, Arizona based artist recently spoke to us and we got figure out who he is and what his trade really is. He may not be an artist that chooses to conceal his identity, but he is a silent force to be reckoned within the beats scene-who is adamant in his decision to live offline.
We always kick off our interviews with sending out love to the artists. We would like to extend our appreciation for taking some time in your schedule for this interview. We came across your work online and we were immediately converted into fans. Who is Nemek and where are you currently based?
Nemek: The name “Nemek” was created back in middle school. It’s my name in the graffiti “world”. I also have a passion for graffiti art despite of being a music producer. Friends & people started knowing me as that, and that’s what I went by, till this very day. Just a human being that has a passion for music and art, simply an introvert low key type of guy. Phoenix, AZ is where I’m from.
How has your upbringing shaped the artist that you are today? Do you sometimes source inspiration from your childhood memories?
Nemek: Honestly, being an upcoming music producer, it simply just happened out of the blue really. Didn’t really have any intentions having being what I am as a kid.
Your soundcloud profile has the following description “Creating new instrumentals combining Hip Hop, Jazz, Soul and R&B”, which is quite intriguing because you have a distinct sound which is a blend of those genres. Tell us about your creative process and
why you chose to combine those genres?
Nemek: I grew up listening to jazz, R&B, & soul. Growing up as a kid my father would always have those types of music playing in the car, especially jazz. As I got into my teen years that’s when i started listening to more artists from those types of genres of music, along with hip hop, boom bap especially, as well as late 70’s hip hop. Overall I was intrigued and captured by these types of genres. Jazz is my main one. I found that combining these genres created a unique distinctive sound. Creating and combining them.
When did your journey in music begin?
Nemek: I grew up in a christian church. Around the age of 12 that’s when the drums got my attention, where the journey of my music started along with becoming a drummer. By the age of 13 got my first drum set, and was playing in the church band. Realizing that I had a thing & a passion for the drums, along with percussion. From there my drumming expanded. Different styles of drum grooves would intrigue me & simply drumming ever since then, until this day. It’s about 11 years now that I’ve been drumming aside of producing music. Now I just drum at home, I’ll either play jazz, funk, & fusion type music.
Who are some of your musical influences? The ones that basically laid the foundation for you to do what you’re doing now.
Nemek: One of the first musical influences was Dr. Dre when I first heard his album “The Chronic”. Realizing that he was the one who produced that album and he created G funk. The way he equalized his beats and how he would use the moog synthesizer, blew me away honestly! From there it was Q-tip, J Dilla, DJ premier, & pete Rock. Producers that I found out about as my knowledge for hip hop music grew. These producers, firstly, Dr. Dre, were the ones that influenced me in where I am today with producing music. Their styles & techniques.
What do you aim to achieve with your music?
Nemek: Recognition of the passion that I have for producing music, make it a living, not so much for the fame and money. But for the passion that i have for it. Although yeah fame and some money would be nice, nothing wrong with that. & Also to become a recognized producer of where I’m from. Arizona isn’t really recognized for much, other than the grand canyon, but more so music wise when it comes to undiscovered producers. Plus from what I’m aware of, there aren’t really much producers out here that have the same taste as I do creating music. The producers that are here throughout Arizona mostly do the same thing, which is creating trap music, and follow each other rather than creating and having their own style of producing. That’s just me though.
The global instrumental Hip Hop scene is growing rapidly and it is great to see Instrumental Hip Hop producers get the accolades and recognition they get. On a personal note, do you feel that the growth of the genre is a good thing? For a long time, the scene was quite small and now more people are starting to listen to the genre.
Nemek: The fact that Hip Hop is becoming more and more recognized and that it is growing, I most def believe that it’s a good thing. However if people are gonna be listening to hip hop they should really know where it came from and how it was originally created. To have somewhat of some knowledge behind hip hop, how it has evolved ever since. How it got its name, recognition, what it means, & the culture behind it.
We connected online and the internet is what made our connection and this interview possible. How are you leveraging the internet’s power to make sure that your music heard?
Nemek: I always take advantage of the internet to a certain extent of course. Honestly though, Soundcloud is the only site online where I have my work posted for the world to hear. Even though there are various other websites where I can have my compositions posted on. I’ve just been content with Soundcloud, I know I can have more sites where my music can be heard.. just haven’t really looked into it.
On the topic of the internet, it has been increasingly difficult for artists to monetize their music as piracy is relatively easy on the internet. Is monetizing your music a priority for you or do you form part of the large amounts of artists who are losing a lot of potential earnings due to internet piracy?
Nemek: There are times where I do consider or fantasize of making money off my work that I have done. At the same time though, I don’t, because its a passion that I have for it. But if I’m going to be investing time into each production that I compose, I suppose I would want to monetize my music. However I would also have to agree on losing a few potential earnings due to internet piracy.
For someone who may not be familiar with your sound, how would you describe it to them?
Nemek: I would describe my music as… Boom Bap from the 90s east coast Hip Hop era. How back in the 90s some hip hop beats would consist of a good amount of reverb. Giving it that echoey sound on the snare, bass drum, the Hi Hat or even on all the channels on the mixer. For example, how Pete Rock would equalize his beats or Q-tip. Along with a jazz & soul feel to it.
Can we expect a new project from you? Are you working on new music?
Nemek: I’m currently working on a few tracks, however I have been procrastinating due to my job. They’re in working progress though. Like I’ve always said “You should never rush the composition of art, because then it won’t come out how you wanted it to be.” Art takes patience. Lastly, I’m thinking of making a new project sometime soon next year, most likely. Therefore yes, i’ll keep you guys informed when it is finished.
Do you live by a certain motto when it comes to your creativity and life in general?
Nemek: I really don’t have a motto that I live by when it comes to the creativity of my music. Whenever I find a nice unique sample I’ll put it into work and create something out of it. I’m not the type of producer where I say “okay I’m gonna sit down and produce a track.” I’m more of the type that simply lets the creativity come its way into my mind or whenever it strikes me at a random moment. When that happens, thats when i mostly end up creating something new! The motto that I have for my life in general is, don’t sweat the small stuff, when it’s all the small stuff. to take life one step at a day, because we are all learning students in life.
Photo credit: NEMEK
In closing, where can people find you online? Do you have any words for people that have been following your work and those that are going to be introduced to your work?
Nemek: Soundcloud is where the world can find me at online. Other websites like Social media sites don’t really appeal to me. For example, Facebook, Instagram, etc. The following people that i do appreciate and i would to thank are: KreamBeat, Crl Wthrs, Crate Digger, BoomBap Sorcerer, & You guys, Nusoulhub Radio. Much Love.
And for the those who will be introduced to my work, Thank you for taking their time listening to my music. The best is yet to come for all of us.
Listen to the a project Nemek released in 2016 called Rhodes below:
Follow Nemek on Soundcloud here.