Exclusively for Talker, Che has solicited and is conducting interviews from about 50 Rochestarians working in a diversity of creative fields.
So far, Che of The Town interviewed Britton Bradford, a professional basketball player, visual artist and occasional actor and model who graduated from the School of the Arts, Josh Pies, a local cinematographer and Executive Producer, Creative Director and Head Writer at C47 Film Associates, Tom Tubiolo, a local artist, local photographer, Matthew McArdle , musician Alyssa Trahan and hip hop artist Yanna Forrest.
In today’s highlight we focus on local musician/lyricist by the name of MF SKUM, (born James Kegler). I asked James a little background on the peculiar alias. Here is what he told me:
When I first thought of the name “MF SKUM” I had this idea that I wanted to be disgustingly good at every aspect of music. To this point where people hear my music and scrunches faces, no matter the sound. Also, I wanted to the truths about stuff like the government and world in a brash way, and embodying them at the same time. It’s something very skummy about a side of history the masses doesn’t know. Not to mention it sounds cool.
MF SKUM is definitely someone to keep an eye out for! With conscious lyrics and an ability to tell a story with said lyrics, MF SKUM proves he has what it takes to leave a mark in the music industry. I also asked MF SKUM what are some of his influences musically. Here is his response.
I pull influence from everything/everyone I hear that has a certain level of musicality I look for. I honestly can’t say I pull certain amounts of influence from specific people but definitely from eras of music. Mostly 80s/90s Hip Hop, Soul and Punk.”
These styles are very noticeable in MF SKUM’s music, But where did he grow up? What were some of the challenges he faced as an artist? I asked MF SKUM a little background information, here is what we discussed.
Q.Tell us a little about yourself, where your from, grew up, what H.S./College you attended etc.
I am native to Rochester, raised here too. Every since I was younger, I referred to this City as “The Lost Boro” because of the music, art and urban culture here. I was able to capitalize and submerge myself amongst the different arts/artist easier than most, the high school I graduated from was an Art school. That’s were I accumulated most of my influence and motivation to pursue music. From there I enrolled into MCC for Cimena, dropped out and now I’m going back for Web Dev. haha.
Q. What inspired you to be an entertainer? Early experiences worth sharing.
When I was a kid, I can even remember what age, I remember telling my oldest brother a rap I came up with. It went something like “Red, Dead, F*ck the Feds” along those lines, and he turned to me and told me “That sh*t was wack” and laughed in my face. From that moment on I knew I was chosen haha.
Q. Talk about a time where you have faced adversity/conflict and have triumphed
Let me see. Not to brag or anything, but I rarely faced any kind of adversity/conflict personally to the point where it stuck with me. Damn near my entire life I’ve been in a flow, a frequency of positivity. But I guess low points in my life period, depression, times where I lacked acknowledgement of self power. A subtle or slight change in perspective and it all becomes triumph.
Q. What do you believe sets you apart from other entertainers
Maybe how I view music, it’s purpose as a whole. I recognize that music has a certain power over people, influence to the subconscious aside from the entertainment aspect it’s used for. That being said, I make it a personal responsibility to speak about things on a regular that maybe most artist wouldn’t, articulate it in ways most artist wouldn’t. I also take an experimental approach, destroying the idea of genre effecting my music. Every song can start a project, a different sound category, multi dimensions.
Q. Do you have other interests or hobbies
Yes actually, I like visual arts. I also like philosophy, studying different cultures and their “truths” and finding similarity. I enjoy studying the indigenous ones and their lifestyles and perspective on existence to reflect on what I experience.
Q. Any projects you have out or currently working on?
My first project called “Civilized Genocide” is pretty cool, next level. I was about 17 when I created it. After that came “The Lucy Experience”. Then “The Last Days” EP and I even have an instrumental EP called ” UnAlt. Conditions”. My current project that I’m working on and dropped a couple singles to is called “The Fallen Angel”. Loads of different sounds pulled from different genres, definitely a Astral experience all in all.
Q. Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself being a new voice, pioneer of music of all kinds. A leader of communities and the world as a whole. Just living life spreading positivity, vibing higher, knowing oneself as apart of the universe, you know. Lastly, being rich. Not just financially, but mentally, spiritually and physically. The trinity.
Q. What advice can you give to aspiring artists/entertainer?
Stay focused. The hardest thing to do is to keep from being distracted by the external.
Q. How can we follow along in your journey? Social media?
It’s “mfskum” basically on all mediums of social media. To find me on Facebook you can find me at “James Kegler” ha. Instagram @mfskum. Twitter @skummavelli. YouTube @mfskum