Jae Havoc “Kamui” Video Premiere
We got a chance to catch up with Jae Havoc and talk about his latest album, as well as his new video “Kamui”. Read on to hear more about what it was like recording at Hideaway. Don’t forget to catch him performing live on November 8th at Canvas and Chardonnay, it’s only a $5 cover to get in, and you’ll catch Jae and a grip of other talented rappers hailing from Fargo to Minneapolis, as well as some up-and-coming hometown talent.
MTMM: How long have you been working on the album?
Jae Havoc: This project was originally an LP that kept growing and changing until I eventually decided to take some of the best tracks and polish them up in a more professional way than I had prior. The oldest tracks that landed on the EP date back to 2017, though.
MTMM: When did you start recording and where?
Jae Havoc: We knocked out all of the vocal tracking in a day last July. I drove up with Rochester native emcee Octavio Cortes (featured on the EP) to The Hideaway Studios in Minneapolis and had Montana Filoteo (a great singer and a local friend of ours—all three of us are Mayo High alumni) meet us there for some additional vocals.
MTMM: What was it like to record at hideaway?
Jae Havoc: It was great! The Hideaway is where Minnesota staples like Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Doomtree, Dem Atlas, etc. have recorded a large portion of their discographies. The place is in a historic Grain Belt district warehouse, but the studio itself has a very warm and comfortable vibe to it. The owner/engineer Joe Mabbott is great and has been behind tons of amazing records from some of my favorite artists (interestingly, even including Snoop Dogg). We knocked out all of the vocal tracking in just shy of four hours (the benefit of coming ‘mostly’ prepared).
MTMM: Are there any people in particular you worked with on this album that had an impact?
Jae Havoc: Absolutely! Joe (engineer) was a calming presence during the session. Montana added a dimension that would have been missed if I had sang her vocal parts. She’s very talented and was receptive to our direction.
Octavio gave a great verse and performance on “Winged Clocks”. He was also an amazingly helpful additional set of ears in the studio and had an impact on the final version of Kamui (including being on backup vocals on the “gang gang” part).
Luke Austin did a terrific Job on the artwork for the EP cover, as well.
MTMM: Tell us about this new video, the scooters and city shots looked like a lot of fun?
Jae Havoc: The video was a lot of fun to shoot. We shot most of the video over three consecutive days in September that just happened to have amazing weather. We open up the video on a close up shot of an MPC and I’m playing the beat, then we back out and see this whole vista. We’re in the woods on top of the world and it’s like we step out of my mind to show you the world…but on scooters.
The scooters were lit. They are nearly everywhere so it was relatively easy to find them wherever we wanted to shoot. There were some moving shots where Chris of Wondercloud Media was on rollerblades, so I’m sure whoever saw us was thoroughly confused. I think the video turned out great!
MTMM: You’ve worked with Wondercloud on a few videos. What is it about the team that keeps you going back?
Jae Havoc: Great people. Chris is a good friend of mine and it’s very easy to talk to him. It’s like, we’ll hang out and come up with an idea for a video and then we just plan things and shoot. They are very professional and have great quality gear. It’s never stressful shooting with Wondercloud.
MTMM: We always ask, but what are your thoughts on the current state of the Rochester music scene, and what do you think its strengths and weaknesses are?
Jae Havoc: I feel like this last summer had some great events. Every year, things get a little bit better, but some are slower than others. It’s kind of tricky in the frosty north where half of the year it’s an uncomfortable mess to get out to see live events. There are so many talented artists and groups in town, and with the younger generation participating in the scene things are staying relatively fresh. Thankfully we have venues like The Castle and Thesis now where we have more opportunities to see music in better conditions.
I suppose the weaknesses are the same as always. It can be tricky sometimes to get people out to shows, especially with all of the streaming options out there now. The coming winter doesn’t help matters, either. We have some organizational problems that we probably need to work on as an arts community, as well as the greater local government. We need more funding and emphasis put on the local arts, as that’s the culture that helps keep all of the implants here for medical reasons, and the people who invest in Rochester. Artists provide a vital service to a community, in my humble opinion, and we need to show them support. I think the community is growing and getting better at all of this, though.
MTMM: Thanks for talking with us! We’ll see you this weekend at Canvas and Chardonnay!