ABOUT THE VOLUME ONE DOCUMENTARY:
Their documentary starts off with a bang, showing them in New York City below their advertisement on a digital billboard in Times Square. A great display of the completion of their first group project, Stanton Capitol Presents: Vol. 1. Throughout time and within the realm of modern music, I bet you can say very few artists get the opportunity (not in the mainstream) to be put on display on such a big stage as in the capitol of everything and Hip-Hop culture New York City. The five Burroughs of New York have all played their part in the creation of the culture in more ways than you can imagine. So, it is kind of dope to be advertised there in some sort of homage to the greats by doing so.
In the documentary, it is stated by K'Nen that Jafet was sort of the "Bill Belichick" figure of the group that brought them all together. They all worked on their craft individually so that when fate brought them together, they were ready to tackle the new challenge of being in a collective (or group) with one another. The documentary was filmed by Kristi Xhelili in sort of an interview type style delving into the group and their process of creating this first album together. Jafet explains that he was the one that got them all together, he saw they were talented and good people, so he brought them all together and it formed this Worcester, Massachusetts supergroup of three (four when you count GianKno) talented individuals in K'Nen, Danny Fantom, and Jafet Muzic.
Jafet expresses that he wanted to get a group together for the sake of creating something that is bigger than the individual and after hearing Vol. 1, they are definitely starting to do just that. I believe this is only the beginning, barring any dispute that groups often create with one another (it is very hard to keep a musical group together because it is hard to stay aligned with goals, in their creative process, and the balance of their personal lives). Especially when it comes to being in a group of creative personalities that are able to create beats and mad vocals over a track, which all of them can do. This can sometimes make egos collide, but with these guys there seems to be this deep understanding on how they have to change as individuals to mold as one to make this all happen.
It's equally interesting when they show them in their element as they listen to each song in the studio and organically show bits and pieces of the creative process and the hard work that it takes to put all the ingredients of a song so that a mixing and mastering engineer can make it all make sense in the end. Then, do it 14 times until this completed body of work all makes sense one song after the other in the hopes of making a seamless project that goes through each song with fluidity to the end.
The level of commitment that these individuals have coming from the rough upbringing of coming from the projects (for the most part) is the struggle that Hip-Hop grew out of in New York City. GianKno can't be forgotten either, he's basically looked upon as the fourth member of the group and drops his lyrical gifts on a few songs on the album. This album was recorded at Surefire Creative Studios in Lowell, Massachusetts. The documentary runs for almost an hour and a half, and I suggest you watch it to kind of see how a group forms and records music and the mindset it takes to keep them all together.
TPT: How did you all get together? What was the defining moment when y'all knew that you were all onto something great?
K'Nen: So Stanton Capitol all got together through mutual friends, there was a moment where it seemed JAFET was trying to put together a group in the city and he was looking through all the talented artists that we were near and we were all being put into studios together and, you know, through trials, through everything, we were able to really pick out who wanted to do it together and that left us with me, JAFET, Danny, and GianKno originally. The moment I knew we were onto something great had to be for me when we first got to go to the studio together and record some of the first songs that we were working on, I think "Figure it Out" was one of them "Second Sight" as well. And just hearing our voices over the production. Things that we made, things that we curated, things that we...you know, thought about and came together with and seen how successful it was, but also it was how great it sounded. I think that was a moment for me, where I realize is bigger than just one person and that we're onto something great.
TPT: Where was "Stanton Capitol Presents: Volume 1" recorded? What was the deciding factor for you guys to choose that studio over others?
K'Nen: Most of Stanton Capitol Volume One was recorded with Brendan Brady at Surefire Studios and of course, the deciding factor over all that was just the professionalism, talent, accolades' and just the relationship that we bloomed through during a few sessions. Brady is one of one and it's been an honor to work with him, I hope he's on board for the second volume.
TPT: How do you guys come together and formulate the ideas for each song? Explain to the readers the process and how you guys developed your process and what makes it unique to your musical process versus doing your solo thing?
K'Nen: Coming together and formulating concepts for songs was a more natural process than it seemed, all the guys had a folder of beats ranging in producers and some beats just came along the way. When we had those early sessions before creating the group I made at least 4-5 beats already for us - some were springboards for new concepts but we came together for meetings and pitched ideas. "What does this beat sound like" sometimes it was something we agreed upon and other times we just trusted each other's vision. What makes it unique is the element of togetherness. when working alone there's no compromise, it sounds negative but honestly it's what kept balance. It wasn't about an individual voice it was about us expressing the things we share in common on beats. Some days/songs were easier to navigate some weren't.
TPT: How did you guys get that digital billboard up in Time Square, New York? That must've been a cool moment seeing that up there; that's pretty major.
K'Nen: I have to give the billboard move to JAFET & Danny. JAFET had a connection with DOMINGO and his team - they gave us the opportunity and Danny made sure that it was something we could experience. Both of them put in work with the right people and it all came together perfectly. Seeing it was surreal man, I can't really put it into words, but it was along with a handful of moments that showed me how possible it is to obtain a dream. Seeing our logo alongside the bright lights of Time Square is still something I hold on to when it comes to motivation and being proud of our achievements.
TPT: How did you guys come about selecting the producers of the beats for this project? Was it all people you already knew or did you guys search them out through beat diving on social media outlets, how did it come together?
K'Nen: I had the honor of producing a good 8-9 joints on the album, I wouldn't say any of it was premeditated, I was just deep in a producing bag and it matched up with everyone else's work. The way we put beats together on this album freely, we had an idea of what we wanted to sound like, the groups before us. WE were heavily studying for this album. With all our info and just understanding US we set a foundation. ES, GianKno, JAFET, & 8bza all enhanced it and intensified what we already had.
TPT: How do you guys go about promoting your group? Does one of you guys spearhead your campaigns on getting the word out or do you all help with the process? I guess too, what roles do you guys play from behind the scenes, like singularly? Do you guys have a manager even?
K'Nen: If there was a thing I know we can do better or atleast I know I can do better is be a promoter. As of now we have no formal management (HOLLA AT US) but I'd say JAFET does a huge amount of promoting and building our name/ getting us opportunities. Danny also, he wears a big hat in investing in us and providing us ability to make merch, get spaces, just him being who he is. Just knowing Danny opens doors for people. Having him being apart of us is a whole different world...
ME I SUCK hahahaha, I pitch in with being a voice in the group. Mostly creative directing but the guys all do that too so honestly on that end I can do better. For Vol.1, it was a mix of all those things that made it a success.
TPT: How do you guys go about getting your shows? What is the setlist like (when you perform together), is it all songs from "Volume One" or do you guys throw in solo songs? Do you guys just play your more popular songs or the songs you like best or do you just mix it up?
K'Nen: Shows get offered now which is dope. Slowly getting paid to do what we love on a local/regional scale which is amazing. Once again I gotta give it to the guys. Their promotion and work ethic provides us opportunities. Making sets is mostly about introducing ourselves with solo songs and then making sure we show them what we do as a unit. We might go acapella or tell a joke or two but its still very organized and it tells a story. We also try to make sure we do few songs at every show to get people used to it IE Mysterious Maiden, we want to get to a point where people know what time it is when they hear it. SO yeah man we mix it up but also keep it strong.
TPT: What's the hardest thing about keeping the unity together and staying on the same page? How do you guys go about keeping the communication lines always open with each other? Do you guys hang out a lot outside of the music?
K'Nen: You used a lot of key words man. Unity, Communication, and hanging out - those are things that help us. Do we always do it - hell nah man but there's many variables that come into play. Just real life, all having to make sacrifices or being in the pits. It's all important to still love your brother in these times and hold each other accountable in maintaining this thing ALSO growing it. Continuing to learn and evolve together. It's all a continuing mission - day by day.
TPT: As a group, what are your ambitions when it comes to music? How far do you want to take it? Like do you have any ambition to seek out a record label and if so, would it be a major or like a Loud Records (Wu-Tang style) total control type a deal? What would they have to offer you for you to accept?
K'Nen: WE WANT IT ALL haha nah man we believe we have the stuff...the sound, the story, the look. It works man and we want to see the world and make this our full-time professions. As far as deals go, we look at anything as a unit and decide if it works but of course the dream is a known label that doesn't screw us and gives us FULL CONTROL on some Loud shit. It ain't the 90s anymore tho so we have to chisel a deal of our own out of all the deals we get. WE want to distribute though we want to be a label/ group that releases ALL of our art. It isn't about what glimmers the shiniest but what gives us the most to make FOR OURSELVES. But if Roc Nation or Shady or fucking Rostrum hits us up... were gonna take the meeting.
TPT: Are there a lot of shows coming up now that the Covid closures are over or are you guys just taking it slow and concentrating on the next phase of projects, which hopefully includes a volume two? What is your main focus moving forward with your new projects and shows?
K'Nen: Great minds think alike man.. we're gearing up towards this time. Building catalogues and exhibits to open to the people. Sooner than later. We just want to create and make it move. We all got projects we're finishing and we're beginning the early stages of Vol.2 so we can REALLY have a summer tour for 2023...solidify the brand. Connect with artists and supporters alike and make it happen. You ask great questions man, they sometimes coincide with answer and its dope man...we appreciate the time and ability to express ourselves.
Well there you have it, K'Nen of Stanton Capitol Recordings, thanks very much for the interview and I hope all the readers enjoyed it as much as I did! Thanks for the kind words as well!