05 Jul Creative Pick!: 5 Questions for Brent “Munch” Joseph (DC HHTF Edition)
The DC Hip Hop Theatre Festival takes place July 7-July 14 this year and we figured what better way to show our support than tap a few of the festival’s featured Creatives in our 5 Questions series. Brent “Munch Joseph is one of DC’s cultural pioneers. His events have often run the gamut from intimate gatherings to large-scale productions with music being the ever-present tie that binds. The person responsible for Australia’s break-out stars, Haitus Keyote’s DC debut is no stranger to bridging the gaps between music and the culture it ultimate creates. His DC Loves Dilla event is featured as part of this year’s Festival, so of course, Kat had questions for this DC powerhouse. Check out his answers.
Risikat Okedeyi: Eight years ago, you started producing DC Loves Dilla. Share the moment when you realized you had to create an event around J Dilla.
Brent “Munch” Joseph: Jon Laine, the band leader approached me immediately after Dilla’s passing in Feb of 2006. We were already familiar with each other and had worked together through artists on the scene but never worked this closely until now. We respected each other’s grind as creators and music appreciators especially Dilla’s and started planning for our first Dilla Tribute. It was held June of that same year at Mirrors Nightclub, where I was already doing an event called Pookie’s Gallery.
RO: There are several events produced in honor of Dilla, what do you think your event adds to the continuing tribute?
BMJ: It takes alot to put this thing together: artist relationships, marketing, production value, a whole lot of creativity and sensibility, faith and money. Dedication to all those and more have to be synchronized in order to pull this off. We bring in dedication and passion to develop this as a live music event, nurture the baby if you will, and then ensure it’s something fans, family and Dilla himself would be proud of–that is our special ingredient.
RO: How do you and musical director Jon Laine decide on the show playlist? How do you select the featured artists?
BMJ: Dilla’s catalog is full of greats. We review the discography, and look to see if there are special nuances like anniversaries that we can incorporate. We also give artists the freedom to choose. If it works then we roll with it. Featured artists are based on availability and costs.
RO: How did you hook up with the DC Hip Hop Theatre Festival?
BMJ: The Theatre fest relationship goes back to Howard University where Kamilah and I graduated. Kamilah Forbes was a Theatre Major and MC. She did a piece called Rhyme Deferred over 10 years ago which I was involved in. Looking back, I’m not sure what the hell I did but anyway, that was the beginning of Hip Hop Theatre as we know it. So since then I’ve been a part of the creative side as a performer and soundtrack producer with Hip Hop Nightmares of JuJu Be Brown. When the HHTF came to DC, our other endeavors Groove Gumbo and The Movement at Bar Nun, now Pure, were happening, the events and marketing side, were tapped for marketing and adding nightlife events to the Festival’s offerings. The Dilla Tribute was just a natural fit to their commitment to providing dope programming.
RO: What are you most excited about for this year’s production?
BMJ: Excitement vs Stress; you say tomato, I say tomato. Excitement is for the concert goer moreso and that’s cool by me. I suppose I’m most interested in how the show will look and translate at The Howard Theatre. The music takes care of itself. I trust Jon, the band and the artists to the fullest. I just want to make sure everyone from top to bottom has a great experience and walks away inspired.
The 8th Annual DC loves Dilla Tribute will take place on Wednesday, July 10th at The Howard Theatre as part of this year’s DC Hip Hop Theatre Festival. Click here to purchase tickets. For more on Brent check him out on Facebook and Twitter.
DC Loves Dilla (2011) featuring The Pharcyde: