Ty Durden is a musician, business man and more! We had a chance to talk and we were impressed with his drive! He is a smart guy who is a true Hip-Hop artist but still looks to the future and has bigger and better ideas than just music.
Growing up in Augusta, what was the Hip-Hop scene like?
Well, I've been making music since '93 so the scene, of course, progressed with the music. But there was always a decent underground hip hop scene out there. To be honest, the city as a whole doesn't really support anything more than just crunk / club music or mainly dirty south. Anything too new or different really doesn't get much play and local artists don't really receive the support that larger cities like Atlanta give. So the local artist scene kind of sucks, to be real. Which is why I'm glad I moved to Charlotte, NC. Nothin but luv out here & the music is more diverse.
You dabble in other things besides music. Explain to us about your WTF Monkey site.
I strongly believe in the fact that its very difficult to generate any real revenue in music alone. So I have always had a "mogul mindstate". I have internet companies (Soulphoniks), a design company, as well as a DJ business where we contract DJs to clients for a fee. I'm also a DJ myself. But one of my favorite internets businesses is WTF Monkey. It's like my personal site for what I find entertaining--- people doin dumb sh**, gettin their a** whipped, rap beef, funny commercials, etc. It's where I go to relax and catch a good laugh.
Who handles most of your music production?
About 85% of my songs are done by my friend & producer, Johnny Streamz. We've worked together over 15 years, so we work well with each other. I literally can just pitch an idea at him and we both iron out a hot track after that. I have also have a producer out of Sweden named Gyver who produced about 2-3 tracks on my upcoming album.
Do you think sites like Myspace are still a great way to promote music? What about Twitter?
What's sad is that social networks are slowly fading out. If you ever notice, about at least half of your friends don't ever bother to sign into their Myspace page, let alone update it. So they damn sure aren't trying to scope around for new music from a local artist. Plus, it's so oversaturated, nobody takes local artists seriously anyway. Myself, I have over 17,000 friends on Myspace and about 1 million & a half plays (No I didn't buy one of those stupid "buy a million plays" packages---I marketed the hell out of the player in many different places online) so I get a gang of friend adds from artists who are online trying to market. And I'll be real, I NEVER listen to ANY of them! I might be missing my next favorite artist--- but it's just like telemarketers.... they might be selling something you ACTUALLY NEED but you don't care because you don't want them bothering you with it. As far as Twitter, it's heading down the same shaky path in the near future. That's why I'm trying to eventually pool all of my fan base to my website at http://www.tydurden.com. If you're a serious artist, you SHOULD have your own site anyway.
What do you think will eventually happen to the CD format of music?
It's gonna be a long time coming before the CD fades out. The reason I say this is there actually people who don't how to do sh** on a computer besides check their facebook & their email account. So stuff like Itunes, digital downloads & even pirating are still mysteries to people. The ONLY way I see the CD trend fading soon is if they just stopped production of them altogether and we were forced to assimilate. But there still would be people who would just burn CDs until supplies ran out.
Are you doing any shows lately?
Actually, I'm in the process of shopping for deal--- I'm looking towards labels where the artist can grow, while at the same time, be free to be creative with their music. The sad part is that my music is alot more expressive than just songs like "Drop Dat Thang" or "Fightin Witcha All Nite" but those are the songs that people seem to dig. My online numbers actually got me two offers from record labels-- one from Wild Wayne Records in Louisiana & from Bad Boy Records. But I guess they think I'm a fool and was gonna sign bogus contracts because I wanted a deal SO BAD that I would sign my life away for next to nothing. But anyway, I'm trying to go to Strange Music with Tech N9ne, I think I would do well there ---and that's when I'll start looking to do shows--- when I can actually get paid for them. Talent shows & showcases are fun & all but to me, they are last resort. The odds are usually too stacked against you & you're not getting paid for it.
Do you still think doing a mixtape is still a good way to promote? or are there too many artists doing garbage mixtapes now that is has saturated the market?
Mixtapes are usually only as good as the DJ who is promoting it, if that's the route you choose. Most mixtapes I hear nowadays don't even have a DJ involved at all! I think a mixtape can be a good demonstration of a MC's skills on a more informal scale but as a whole, they don't have the drive, respect & fan loyalty that they used to---- unless you live in LA, Atlanta, or NY. Here in Charlotte, I STILL barely know who's really hot in the mixtape market--- probably don't care, either. I've been concentrating most of my mixtape marketing online overseas to the UK, Japan, Australia, & even Canada. The US is WAY too saturated with rap artists!
In your opinion, what is the best way for an independent artist to really make money between selling CDs, selling downloads, or doing shows?
I guess it depends on how popular you are as an artist and where your popularity stems from. If your a local celebrity in a big enough city, you might could sell a good 100,000+ units independently and make a killing. If you're with a label, your money more than likely will mainly come from your shows because your label will more than likely rape the other money you get from record sales! And if you're an upcoming artist with a good hustle, your best bet is going with selling downloads--- limits production costs & materials, alot less red tape (no delivery issues, property loss if they are damaged or stolen, etc), & as long as you keep your music is a sturdy shopping system-- you preserve the longevity of your project because stores will eventually take your music off the shelf if it ain't selling. If you're a foot soldier who is selling your CD out the trunk, then it definitely conserves time & energy to sell downloads online. The down side to it, however, you limit your fan base because as I said before, some people only know how to check their Facebook account.
What kind of music do you personally listen to in your free time?
I damn sure don't listen to the radio! I get disappointed every time. You know a song is really hot on the radio if I've heard of it. Hell, I don't even watch award shows or rap videos. Rather than watchin them and hatin about what I see, I just DON'T WATCH IT! People would be amazed how well that works. Because crying about how the industry is messed up isn't gonna help. If we want the bullsh** to stop, we gotta support the movement by either spreading good music to other listeners (rather than just telling the artist their music is hot and moving on without telling anyone about it), provide better music for the people to listen to, or just TURN OFF THE BULLSH** AND LISTEN TO SOMETHING ELSE! As far as my music tastes, I'm one of my favorite artists. If you're not your favorite artist, you're probably frontin' or your music just plain sucks and you're in denial. Other than that, I like B.O.B., Tech N9ne, T.I., UGK, David Banner,Twista, Eminem, Outkast, Mid-90's rap, some R&B (not that typical "same piano riff, slow bullsh**" but something different), Neo-Soul, & a good bit of rock. My favorite groups are Trapt, Linkin Park, Evanescence & System of a Down--- It's my escape from rap, which I think we all need from time to time.
Any other future projects we should know about?
I actually don't plan on being in the rap game long. Hell, I spent 16 years of my life trying to get in it. And I'm sure when I get in, I'll be disappointed with it. So I only plan about 5 albums, & 4 mixtapes past this album release. I plan on using the influence of my music to promote my other businesses & get paid. Like Paul Wall did for his grills. I honestly don't think I want the fame & glamour of being a rapper---I like people staying out of my face! LOL. But my debut album (at least that will be marketed on a large scale internationally) will be set to release Dec.31st at http://www.tydurden.com
T.O.M.A. (Welcome 2 Fight Club). T.O.M.A. is an acronym for The One Man Army, due to me being involved in so much. So I'm excited about it because it's already getting a great response. I know this upcoming year will be a good one because I'm prepared with the music, the auxiliary resources to make money, the knowledge of the business, & a pretty big fan base. So we'll see what happens.
Copyright 2009 Hardcorejamz/Hardcoremix