Still fresh from the breakthrough that in 2019 saw them also engaged in a summer tour in Japan titled The Nice To 三つ: ミツ, hip-hop trio Honor Flow Productions once more puts the spotlight on the album ‘The BLACK Odyssey’ with the release of the single ‘It’s All Love’ and its official video.
Set into casual funky hip-hop, ‘It’s All Love’ sounds like a soundtrack that pays tribute to those places, those people, influences, and experiences that had an impact on the band.
An hymn that refers to their ramified roots in that social and musical culture of the West Coast, with ‘It’s All Love’ H.F.P. bring us a mature work inspired by the melting pot in which they grew up, and that projects them into contemporary vibrations. Here H.F.P. is not reinventing the wheel, but certainly does not need to, because what they offer is beauty for our ears, food for the soul and movement for our feet. This is how the Los Angeles band amazes us with their melodic soundscapes in which they drop thunderous flow, embellished with technique and content.
Faced with such a pure and valuable hip-pop project, we could not avoid wanting to know more. We therefore reached H.F.P. for some questions. We hope to publish the answers soon. These are the questions we asked Honor Flow Productions:
Hi, Honor Flow Productions, welcome to Nova Music blog and thank you for being here. Let’s talk about ‘It’s All Love’: relaxed vibes, the best of good, old Hip-Hop.
The most genuine and classic one, we could say. Do you see yourself in this definition? What are your thoughts about this?
DJisLORD: Ciao Nova Music! We’re so happy to be part of this interview, thank you. I hope you’re all well and protected during these crazy times. We do see ourselves paying homage to the forefathers and those who came before us in Hip-Hop. The individuals and groups that carved the path for us. We thank them because they have left a blueprint to our dreams and allowed us to pursue it the genuine way, as we embark on our own musical journey in Hip-Hop. We draw a lot of inspiration from the past, in order to solidify our present, and secure our impact for the future of Hip-Hop.
ELIMN8: For “It’s All Love,” I definitely agree that it is a very chill and genuine song. Being unapologetically ourselves in everything we do, it’s easy to put ourselves into all of our songs. I wouldn’t call us an “Old Hip-Hop” group though. I think we’re simply a Hip-Hop group. We definitely have influences across the spectrum of music, but I think we just do our thing when it comes to the type of music we make. Nowadays, the moment people hear a scratch on a record, it’s called “Old School.”
DJ Chuck “thE oLd SouL”: There is a genuine approach to how we create and present our music. It’s a term we coined as “Progressive Nostalgia.” “Progressive Nostalgia” is us including our favorite influences from the past, incorporating them in a present tense, and using that to create something for the future with our own twist to it. We are clear products of our influences; as any artist is. But while we wear our influences on our sleeves and always pay homage to those who came before us, as Lord stated above, it’s mandatory for us to carve our own lane and legacy. While we are influenced by classic Hip-Hop, we are also influenced by contemporary and classic music of various genres as ELIMN8 also said above. We’re a combination of an assortment of ingredients. With that said, to answer your question, music is subjective. Everyone interprets what they hear differently, and they are entitled to their perspective. If our music, including “It’s All Love,” gives the listener the feeling of classic Hip-Hop, I personally do not mind it because it’s being compared to an era of music that has stood the test of time. A career goal of this group is longevity. If we are being compared to artists and records that has influenced and been passed on from generation to generation, then I have no problem for us being that conversation. I’ll take that as a complement [laughs].
The song, just like the video, brings in an honest delivery, with a positive and hopeful message.
What is the background of the track and the video’ storyboard?
ELIMN8: This is actually the oldest song on the record. Part of the hook was created during a jam session at one of our practices, when we still had the band element to HFP. The words sort of just came to me. Chuck came up with the rest of the hook. Fast forward a few years later to when I accepted a teaching job in Japan, we recorded the song based on the hook we had before I left. It was easy to come up with our lyrics from the hook to guide us.
DJ Chuck “thE oLd SouL”: That was actually the first beat made for the album. It was composted February 2013; with the intention of it being at first, the instrumental to a remix I was creating for a contest I was entering. This was 2 months after the discontinuing of the live band line up and me finding my groove again in producing beats. The more I played I played the track, the more I fell in love with it and realized we needed to keep this for ourselves and not waste it on a remix contest [laughs]. The jam session ELIMN8 referred to was one of the last practices for the band line up a couple months before that. It was in Lord’s backyard, where we would practice the majority of the time back then. I was the last one to arrive to practice that day because I was coming from work and I walked into the band playing this new arrangement that they had just come up; with ELIMN8 spitting the first part of the hook. The music sucked, point blank; I can’t even lie [laughs]. But ELIMN8’s words were profound and really stuck with me: “This is dedicated to the ones we love. To the ones down here, to ones up above.” It was a very powerful couplet I knew we were going to revisit in some form down the road. When the concept and lyrics for “It’s All Love” started to be fleshed out in that 2013 demo, the first part of that jam session hook came back to me and I filled in the rest. “It’s All Love” set the foundation and standard for The B.L.A.C.K. Odyssey as an album. It something was not as good as that track, it did not make the album.
ELIMN8: As far as the storyboard for the video goes, I like to think we trusted out director, Andrew “GreenGreeem” Choi. We’ve known him from our time at Marymount California University. He’s done great work over the years, and we were happy to work with him.
DJ Chuck “thE oLd SouL”: This is the second straight music video we have shot with Andrew, with “Elevation” being the first. Since college, we always wanted to work with each other and the stars just aligned right with these two music videos. Our process with him is very much throwing a list of ideas to the wall, based on the concept, musical sonics, and lyrics theme of the track, and seeing what sticks. With “It’s All Love,” given it’s an ode to our upbringing and the people and places that made us who we are today. That combined with the music being very breezy with a West Coast feel, we wanted it to be up close, personal and bright in colors.
DJisLORD: This is a love letter to our loved ones who have been there for us through thick and thin. The song is about the intricate and diverse backgrounds of all three members; specifically Chuck and ELIMN8. Chuck’s closeness to his family, his early influences in Hip-Hop, and shooting it at sentimental locations for him. ELIMN8, on the other hand, tackles his struggles as a child being born with acute deafness and how he overcame that struggle. This song animates our words; giving life to its storytelling style. Those lyrics were brought to life as it transpires in our music video. As a group, we wanted to represent Los Angeles in a special way. We wanted to present the city we were born and raised in not only as of the backdrop to the music video, but as the fourth character to the narrative. L.A. has shaped and molded us as men.
DJ Chuck “thE oLd SouL”: For me, “It’s All Love” is maybe my favorite video we have shot thus far because it’s so personal. Having my moms and little sister in the video, shooting scenes on the basketball court at my junior high, the place where I first started to rap, was a full-circle moment. And that is just two Easter eggs from all 3 of us that we incorporated in the video. We shared so much ourselves on-screen that upon multiple viewings, you’ll learn something new about H.F.P.
Your innovative touch is exquisitely set into the most classic hip-hop, yet it sounds so in step with the times! Now, many artists lose themselves in wanting to be alternative innovators at any costs.
From this comes the logical question: how does one emerge like you did, without the need to reinvent the wheel?
DJ Chuck “thE oLd SouL”: A constant observation I have had of contemporary music in all genres is so many artists are trying so hard to be different, but are forgetting to be dope. A lot of people are out here, to borrow an acronym I recently heard Swizz Beatz use, are absolutely “D.T.M.” Which stands for “Doing Too Much” [laughs]. The theatrics and pageantry of being a musician is incredibly important to establishing your identity as an artist. It’s an essential part of the journey of artist development. But at the end of the day, it does not mean a damn thing if you do not have the songs. The songs are the foundation and drives everything. And too many artists are out here right now with more theatrics and less great records. Theatrics only will grant you 15 minutes of fame; or maybe now 15 seconds given things move faster in the information/instant gratification age [laughs]. But theatrics plus great songs will give you a career. And that’s how we approach everything, it starts with the song first. If we are creating from a genuine place, everything else will fall into place.
ELIMN8: If you want to be number one, you got to be odd. Or, at least not afraid of being odd. Today, being odd is just being yourself in the most sincerest terms. We make our music for many reasons, but at the end of the day, it’s to express ourselves honestly over some dope ass beats in a way that resonates with people. I think this will take us a longer way than trying to be things we’re not.
DJisLORD: Personally for me, I never wanted to reinvent the wheel. Although, I always wanted to modify it. As a DJ, I’m inspired by many things, not just music. We draw inspiration from art, movies, video games, sports, pop culture, TV shows, current events, books we read, relationships, heartache, heartbreak, life lessons, and the people we encounter. When producing music and writing lyrics, I observe Chuck’s nonchalant laser focus to simple details and how he builds from a simple beat pattern and thought process in his writing. Then I observe ELIMN8’s cerebral process to his writing and lyrical wordplay. When it’s my turn to develop the scratches, I hear the beats being constructed and the songs being produced. I look into various sounds and scratch samples that would match the mood and tone for the specific song.
2019 seems to have been a great year for Honor Flow Productions, with a tour that took you all the way to Japan.
What can we expect for 2020?
ELIMN8: Surviving this Covid-19 pandemic! We’ll have to see how things turn out for the world, and the music industry. I think a lot of artists’ plans have been sidetracked with the current state of affairs. This has definitely hit artists very hard. But where there is a will, there is a way. I think this is going to cause artists to get more creative in how music is put out.
DJisLORD: 2020 has been very weird year for everyone, not just for us. Especially the way the world has been during this pandemic. Although what I can say is this, HFP will continue to work hard silently behind the scenes. We are always going to continue to create more music and content. Hopefully, HFP can be a beacon of hope for those during these troubling times. Our music was created to uplift the human spirit and show to others you are not alone in this. Let’s all continue to practice safe social distancing to help with this situation. End of the day, as humans, we crave human affection and touch. So in time in the meanwhile, let’s continue to be kind to one another and I hope Honor Flow Productions continues to touch lives and provide a soundtrack of hope. When the dust settles, let’s hope we can perform to you, the Italian people.
DJ Chuck “thE oLd SouL”: For everyone worldwide, including the three of us, this has been a world wind of change both professionally and personally. This has been an incredibly surreal and unpredictable moment in history, where the goal for humanity has been to find some kind of solid ground to operate and function on. All we can do at this point is take it day by day and take care of each other. These are the moments in time where humanity and compassion matter the most. Music has saved my life so many times and in so many ways, it’s saving it again right now; and I know I’m not the only one that feels that way. So while our original 2020 plans, like all of our peers, have taken a major detour, we intend on staying creative and staying connected to our supporters. How that’s going to come to pass, you’ll have to stay tuned and see. Furthermore, we intend on being an active part of the conversation within the music business on how to rebuild and elevate beyond this deadly worldwide paradigm shift. The business was already in a shaky place before Covid-19; especially for independent artists such as ourselves. Independent artists, labels, and production companies have taken the biggest economic hit in the music industry due to Covid-19. So it’s going to be an uphill battle reestablishing and progressing the careers we all had before this. However, this is where that genuine love we talked about earlier comes in to play. We love being musicians. It brings us joy and brings joy to people we play our music for. As long as that joy remains, the music will never die, only multiply. But that conversation will be for another day and time. Until then, the most important priority for 2020 is to continue to be good to one another, be good to yourself, and keep the faith. All love to Italy. All love to everyone worldwide.
Find out more about Honor Flow Productions and their music, checking the links below: