By Ashley Bennett
AFTRDRK (vocalist, mixer); Often accompanied by DJ Ethos. “As far as instruments go, I play the human mind and vocal chords, the MPC 2000XL and keys, but mostly in a studio setting while producing,” says AFTRDRK.
CITY OF ORIGIN:
“I’ve really been influenced by the arts in general. From jazz music legends such as Donald Byrd, Herbie Hancock and Bob James to soul brother number one: James Brown. A lot of visual artist from Picasso to Mear One have influenced my creativity. But the insane genius of Hunter S. Thompson has really given me the green light to let thoughts spill out without fear. My list is vast; I can say Hendrix and Johnny Cash have played a role in my artistic freedom as well.”
Upon Deaf Ears, Label 32 (2012).
Being a day-person is overrated. Night owls have a bit more character; those whose creativity unleashes into the night of the warm Inland Empire summer evenings that enhance their minds and tongues for quick rhymes. Every once in a while the IE has a rapper make him or herself known and the genre rejoices; AFTRDRK is your new nighttime remedy for late-night cravings for rhymes.
For AFTRDRK’s talent of hip-hop/rap, nighttime has always held precious epiphanies. “I grew up in Rialto so hip-hop music was always the soundtrack in my city. Naturally I gravitate to creative arts and since I was born a writer, writing rhymes was almost second nature. I literally would stay up all night releasing how I felt on paper . . . One day I realized that I needed to put out material if anything was going to manifest from this passion. With that I needed beats, so I took it upon myself to purchase the MPC2000XL and taught myself the techniques of producing music,” shares AFTRDRK.
It’s pretty obvious that AFTRDRK’s music reveals a pretty raw passion for expression. As an artist, he’s not letting a moment go by without rapping right down to the soul. “When you come to an AFTRDRK show you are going to feel the essence of hip-hop period. You’re going to see me rocking with my DJ and the beats are going to be slapping your ear drums. The content of the music isn’t going to be sugary or watered down. What you will get is honest and intense music that speaks loud and without reservation,” says AFTRDRK.
The region is dominated by rock bands (this fact is old news), so when it comes down to finding a decent hip-hop show, you’re not always so lucky to find one happening every week but “The Cipher,” as this new show is called, will be hosting both MCs and DJs alike. You’ll find many talented IE artists performing all unified under the banner for hip-hop and rap lovers everywhere. “What I do expect is that everyone is going to bless that stage and the night is going to be a success, allowing for more shows in the future,” says AFTRDRK. Keep it fresh, yo.
AFTRDRK with Richard Wright, Ramone Jones, Rhythm Section, Celphi, Sau and Azma & Paradox at DBA 256 Gallery.Wine Bar, 256 S. Main St., Pomona, (909) 623-7600; www.dba256.com. 21+. Sat, June 30. 9pm. Free.