HHUG: Kraftwerk is the Snowgoons latest installment that was released on December 7, 2010. Can you tell us a little bit about how that project initiated?
DJ Illegal: Sicknature and the Snowgoons are been on the road half the year. We toured with many of our familiar artists like Ill Bill, Arsonists, Lord Lhus, Reef The Lost Cauze, or Sabac Red. When you are always traveling, you have a lot of time so we talked about a possible songs and collabos. Around the summertime we realized we got crazy songs and the energy reminded us of the Black Snow album. Until the last minute, we mixed and changed details of the songs just to perfect it.
HHUG: Your music production has been described as gritty, eclectic symphonic and melodramatic. How different is the sound of Kraftwerk as compared to your previous albums?
DJ Illegal: I think Kraftwerk combines all the other albums we released so far. We not trying to bite ourselves but after The Trojan Horse album, we wanted to come back with a more epic album like Black Snow. We are really proud with the turnout of Kraftwerk because we were working hard on every song and brought it to the next level!
HHUG: You have mentioned that this album is possibly the best Snowgoons album. Why is that?
DJ Illegal: Like I said it combines all of the other albums we already did. I think we weren't able to do an album like this three years ago. It took time to grow with all the songs we did and now with Sicknature on the team, we are better than ever. But I know this is just the beginning. The expectations are always high when we gonna drop an album but that's why we are working so hard!
HHUG: For those that are unaware, Kraftwerk is also an influential and revolutionary-sound electronic music band from the 70's and 80's from Germany. Can you elaborate on the connection between Kraftwerk and your latest album's title?
DJ Illegal: Yeah the title "Kraftwerk" leads from the German electro group - Kraftwerk - and they had a big influence in the hip hop scene in the 70's/80's, so we are trying to be an influence to the hip hop scene of today! But also Kraftwerk translated means powerhouse and if you listen to Kraftwerk, it gots a lot of energy! High voltage hip hop!
HHUG: The album features a diversity of underground hip hop artists from up-and-coming, to luminaries from the 90's. What can you tell us about the featured artists?
DJ Illegal: We got many 90s artists if you wanna call it like that from UG (Cella Dwellas), FT (Fuc That) or AG (DITC) but also new artists like Fel Sweetenberg, NBS,LordWillin, and Banish. And no doubt we got the usual suspects - the fam from Ill Bill, Reef The Lost Cauze, Freestyle, Slaine, and Outerspace. I think is the mix of all the artists we bringing to the table which makes a Snowgoons album so unique.
HHUG: How does Snowgoons choose artists to be on projects?
DJ Illegal: Well we talk about which artists we like and hit them up but also sometimes somebody hit us up and want to work with us. But at the end there must be a connection somehow. We don't wanna just buy a verse from somebody! If you are not down to work with us then is all good. We don't force anybody or beg to work with us. Mostly it comes naturally.
HHUG: Being from Germany, how have you been able to transcend as an international artist, most notably working with established American artists?
DJ Illegal: It all started with my job as a tour manager. I was spinning for Virtuoso around 2001 on tour and he was also the first artist ever recorded to one of our productions. Big Virt invited us a year later to Boston and since Det has some family over there we decided to spend two weeks there. We met up with many people from Mr Lif to Illin P and more. Once you made a connection twith an artist, the circle gets bigger.
HHUG: Since most artists you work with are American, would you ever work with any German rappers? How is the hip hop scene in Germany?
DJ Illegal: We first started in the late 90's with German artists but somehow most of these cats told us our beats sound too much American! We were like "WTF!" Okay then lets be focus on American artists." The German hip hop scene went down since fake gangster rap took over. Most kids that listen to German "rap" don't even know what hip hop is. But we worked with a new crew called Antihelden and they released an album this year which got heavy production from the Goon camp. We are working now on an album too with just German artists, specially for the German hip hop scene. Maybe we can bring back some real Hip Hop over there!
HHUG: If given the opportunity, would you work with any mainstream rappers? If yes, which ones?
DJ Illegal: Of course. We would never limit ourselves and just work with underground artists. The only difference is that we would never change the sound to get somebody down. It would be interesting to work with artists like 50 Cent or Nas on a real epic Snowgoons production.
HHUG: DJ Waxwork left the Snowgoons earlier this year. What caused that decision?
DJ Illegal: Waxwork decided to go his own way cause he wasn't feeling the Goon movement anymore. Det and I are always team players as with Sicknature. Sometimes you need to step back for the cause of the bigger picture in a team. If u cant accept a compromise in a crew then you shouldn't be in a crew!
HHUG: Sicknature has collaborated with Snowgoons on two albums, including this one. Is he (or will be) and official member to the team, or just a guest producer?
DJ Illegal: He is definitely more than a guest producer. The only reason why we can't take Sicknature 100% into the Snowgoons, is that Sick is already too much of a individual. At the end it doesn't really matter to us who is in or not. We want to make good music and that's what we are 100% down for!
HHUG: There are also two music videos for Kraftwerk for tracks "Snowgoons Dynasty feat. Freestyle" and "Global Domination feat. Lord Lhus, Sean Strange, Sicknature, Psych Ward", which incorporates a cinematic feel. Can you elaborate on that?
DJ Illegal: First "Snowgoons Dynasty" was directed by Alter Prod from France and was a really spontaneous thing! Sick and I was on tour last month with Ill BIll and Arsonists (Freestyle and Dstroy) for the "Goons On Fire" tour, and we had a show in France. So our fam from Alter Prod came over and we banged out the video quick. They also did the whole artwork for Kraftwerk! The second video "Global Domination" was directed by Tom Vujcic and his team from Reel Wolf in Canada. Once again, Sick and I went on the Snowgoons tour in Canada last October and Tom came up with the whole idea. He got the RedCam (same camera they shot the whole District 9 movie) and a professional film crew. It was really fun to "act" in a video like this. It's dope that we could do this video for a really low budget, and also it was a great experience to play around with guns and all that. Some people will complain about it because the whole video looks like a gangster movie, but that's what movies are about. Most of them are not real!
HHUG: Kraftwerk is released under Goon MuSick and iHipHop Distribution, as oppose to Babygrande Records from previous releases. What can you tell us about these labels?
DJ Illegal: The album is released over Goon MuSick and in cooperation with iHipHop as a distributor. The connection is based on our old contract with Babygrande that's apparently iHipHop now and switched from a real label to a distribution.
HHUG: Any touring plans for Kraftwerk?
DJ Illegal: Not directly but we be on tour end of January in Europe with PMD and Sean Strange! Stay tuned.
HHUG: What is in store for Snowgoons in the near future?
DJ Illegal: We are working on so many projects at the moment that is crazy. But i can tell you 2011 will bring a lot of dope music from our camp. We just finished the "Iron Fist" album which is the second album with Savage Bros and Lord Lhus. We're still working on the Snowgoons and Reef The Lost Cauze album, Krush Unit vs Snowgoons is also coming as well, a new album by NBS (Natural Born Spitters) from Boston entirely produced by Goon MuSick!
HHUG: What influences you in crafting your beats?
DJ Illegal: Most of the times Det brings the samples to the table. It's always the groove. All types of music can be useful, all types of music from all eras and from all around the world. But it has to have a certain groove, something that catches the attention. A dope melody, some powerful cords or strings, epic sound waves, whatever catches the attention.
HHUG: Who are your top 5 favorite music artists? Top 5 music producers?
DJ Illegal: As far as artists I really don't have a top 5 but I always listen to Ill Bill, Reef, Slaine, our whole camp! Pretty much everybody we worked with so far. And producers top 5 are:
4. Stu Bangas & Vanderslice aka Brutal Music
HHUG: Thank you for taking the time for this interview. Would you like to give any closing comments or shout outs?
DJ Illegal: Thanks too! Always watch out for new Snowgoons / Goon MuSick projects and visit our website: www.facebook.com/snowgoonsmusic that is the number one page to stay up to date! Peace to all the hip hop heads worldwide!