DIANE: I know we talked about this at the shoot on Tuesday, but how did you all meet one another for those that don't know? Dame, I know you said you are the hub! Can you tell us how long each of you have known one another?
SORAYA: I actually met Dame through our friend Dork who is one of the first people I met in LA. We met at a recording studio Downtown and he was dressed so crazy. He was so friendly and we soon became buddies. Dame was too cool for me in the beginning. But after he came to his senses we became best friends and I met the others through him. I have known Blaison and worked with him for about a year now.
DAME: I've known Soraya for about three years now. I ended up brushing her off when she sent me friend invite on Facebook about doing music. I still feel like a dick to this day! Haha. We eventually met face to face at a 4th of July party and she kept it classy as she always does and the rest is history. I met Blaison Maven through Dork, my boy from my crew, The Dorks. I've known him for about a year and half now.
BLAISON: – Through Dame I was able to meet and work with Soraya. I met Soraya last year at her studio when Dame invited myself and my cousin Dork to listen to his new shit. And we just built a relationship after that...I met Señor Homme [of Jeanleon] two years ago at The Hundreds [shop], I don't think he remembers though, ha. But we were actually able to thoroughly meet last year when he came to my show (he was there to see Dame perform) and he liked my performance and so we connected after that. I met and began working with Leon Swanks [of Jeanleon] through [Umi of Jeanleon] in the beginning of the year.
DIANE: What's it like when everyone's together (Jeanleon, Dame, Soraya, Blaison, KT, etc.) – Are you guys often creating or hanging out together, or is everyone kind of doing their own thing then looping back in, sending each other new music, etc?
SORAYA: I have a studio in Hollywood so that has kind of become our spot to get together and have meetings or record or whatever. Sometimes I'll get a dope idea and start making a beat and I'll hit Blaison or Dame and they will come lay down a verse. We work spontaneously a lot of the time and I like that the most because it's always the realest music. Sometimes Blaison will come to the studio with songs he has written and recorded already and I'll add some production or tell him my ideas for the song. Me and Dame work a lot from the ground up ill just start playing the piano and we go from there. He pushes me a lot in my production and he is a key person in helping me develop my sound. I'm really lucky to work with such talented guys. It's definitely hard for a female Hip-Hop producer in Hollywood to be taken seriously by a male-dominated industry, but all these guys only judge me on my beats and that's what I love about them. They are my brothers.
DAME: I know Blaison & I work a lot and bounce Ideas. Soraya is the genius in the lab so she's in the studio always creating and when we are able to get some of her studio time, Blaison & I work together or individually with her. Jeanleon is like the "secret agent man." This niggas be in the studio every day and you never know when they are going to drop music. We have done a song or two but I'm sure there is more to come. Haven't had the pleasure of working with KT yet but I like what he's doing right now.
BLAISON: Myself and Dame work together a lot and with Soraya as he stated individually and collectively..If we're all in the studio she may start something and we all just bounce ideas and see where it takes us depending on the vibe of the music. No different with Jeanleon, we bounce ideas and just go in.
DIANE: Soraya and Blaison – I know you two have worked together in the past, what's up next for you both? Will you guys be collaborating on anything soon?
BLAISON: We actually are partnering up as far as putting together my next album. We both have something individually valuable to bring to the table. She has alot to contribute to the world. I enjoy working with her, she's creatively inclined.
SORAYA: [Blaison's album] is going to be amazing, that's all I can say. He is the truth. We will be performing something new on Friday night so people will get a taste of what's to come.
DIANE: What is a trait that each of you admires about one another, creatively or just in general?
SORAYA: Dame is always trying to help everybody and make sure everyone is good. He is not the kind of person to push others out of the way. He is the reason we all work together and the reason we are all playing this show together. I respect that he isn't insecure about his talented friends. And he pushes us all to be better.
Blaison is one of the coolest geeks I know. When he raps and performs, it's a completely different person from the Blaison that I hang out with. He is a star. When we are just kicking it, I'm usually the loudmouth one. He is all sweet and chill, but when we raps he becomes King Blaise and it's like 'Wtf, is that the same guy?' He has an awesome ability to pull from his life and become this whole character and he conveys it so well in his music.
DAME: For me, I love working with Soraya because she has the most amazing out-of-the-box ear. She can hear shit that I would never hear in a record. She's the ultimate producer and we are best friends so we argue and piss each other off and it seems to take the music to places I've never been able to take with other producers. I've worked around super producers like Boys Noize, Poet Name Life & even Will.I.am. I think she has one of the best ears, as far as music, that we have right now in Los Angeles. With Blaison he's like the "rapper's rapper". He can rap his ass off and you believe every word he's saying. He represents the Los Angeles in 2013. I think through his experiences and his storytelling he could be one of the greats in the Hip-Hop Community.
BLAISON: Everyone just does what they feel. That's why we are able to create together and enjoy doing it. Soraya makes different stuff just going off of how she feels and Dame can make a fun record everyone can fuck with and make a serious record about the struggle he's been through while staying true to who is he. Both are pretty versatile.
DIANE: Who is on your guys' radar right now?
SORAYA: I'm liking Sango at the moment he has a dope sound. THC are my brothers and I don't think anybody is on their level on the West Coast right now.
DAME: I'm really just focused on technology and how we can optimize it. I think a lot of people are not utilizing the internet to its full potential. There's a lot room for the space to grow and for artists to live in those particular spaces. There's also a lot of cross-pollination via fashion, music or art that people are missing opportunities in. Although I have to say as far as fashion, Jill Sanders & Norse Projects' Fall13 lines are out of control!
BLAISON: Only thing on my radar is finding the time to play and beat this GTA video game, to be real.
DIANE: What are you guys most excited about for this Friday October 18th at "On The Rox" at The Roxy?
DAME: I'm excited about bringing people together. I am trying to bring Hip-Hop back on the Westside. There is really nothing like this except Bananas or Low End Theory. Los Angeles needs something that can bring Hip-Hop to the forefront and create a community we can build on. JBC had their thing, a couple of other brands built something, but I think it's always fun to bring something new to the table.
BLAISON: I'm looking forward to everyone enjoying themselves more... so everyone who's gonna come out to see us. There will be people on Friday night who may have seen myself, Dame, and Soraya but who haven't seen JeanLeon or KT Terrible live. And vice versa. And there will be people there that haven't seen any of us [perform]. It'll be an experience for everyone.
SORAYA: I'm just happy we all get to share our music with people who want to hear it. I know we are all going to put in hard work and love to show people a good time and have some fun.
DIANE: Where do each of you feel most SUSPEND-ed?
DAME: – When I am performing. There really isn't anything more fulfilling then being on stage. I think I may even like that more then recording! Haha.
BLAISON: I'm most in the zone when I'm recording or writing. I turn the world off and go into another realm where time is non-existent.
SORAYA: My studio is my escape from the world. That's where I feel the most suspended and where I feel that I have a voice that may potentially be heard throughout the world.