VMPRMYTH: Everlasting Beat

Pronounced ‘vampire myth’, while lacking in vowels VMPRMYTH doesn’t in talent. First coming across the phrase ‘vampire myth’ in Timothy Ferris’ seminal 4-Hour Body, he found a strong connection between the meaning of the term – an idea, or myth, is more immortal than what is real – with what he is trying to do as a musician. As for the lack of vowels? He’s pretty matter-of-fact about that, “[it] was to make it look cool. Guilty!”

VMPRMYTH’s current sound is rooted in instrumental hip hop, but his production doesn’t necessarily conform to what you’d immediately think of the moment you hear the words ‘hip hop beats’. A visit to his Soundcloud would enlighten you a bit on what to expect; guitar music by way of Low End Theory (and some Hifana). Like a lot of the most interesting artists out there, regardless of medium, he’s a bit on the neurotic and self-effacing side.

“I began making music as soon as I could speak, the only problem was it was trash.”

And this seems to be the constant trait in our conversation with him. VMPRMYTH tells us that he grew up in a pop culture-ridden household. “[My dad] was an avid culture consumerist, especially with music,” he says. Continuing that his father would play tapes by local artists he’d picked up during their travels; “I didn’t grow up with much MTV but I did grow up with Albanian, Lebanese, Thai and American country music through most of my childhood.”

“By the time I was 12, it was a true battle of the genres,” he tells us. VMPRMYTH didn’t immediately start with hip hop, he picked up the guitar first, which he learnt solely by ear without any training and understanding of tabs. Despite that he described it as “the most difficult and rewarding” time of his musical growth. It wasn’t until a good friend of his, Jeff Racaniello, whom according to him is a man of “severely different perspective”, told him that his music was bad. “So he gave me two CDs; 2Pac’s All Eyez on Me and Notorious B.I.G’s Life After Death,” he reveals to us.

This fact seems to be the genesis of his almost genre-less sound – he was completely engulfed in guitar music and hip hop at the same time. And as he put it, “these 2 camps didn’t exactly collide well.” This didn’t immediately make him want to become a producer though. It was years after playing in bands and appreciating hip hop that he finally let up performing and began investing in studio gear, it helped that digital production became affordable in recent years too.

This is when he began attempting to coalesce all his influences with his beats without sounding forced. But that was 2 years ago, JUICE believes VMPRMYTH has succeeded in avoiding the proverbial cheese that comes with mix-mashing genres, and then some. Some of his tracks like ‘Isolation’ are guitar-based, sounding something like vocal-less morose singer-songwriter dirge. While others like ‘Momohime’ recall the production styles of Japanese hip hop producers.

Despite having the creativity to do so, VMPRMYTH doesn’t want to be just a producer who is his own artist. He has produced for others before, namely Nadhira and Rac, and in doing so he gets satisfaction from a different kind of challenge. “Knowing that a peer wants to infuse your vibes on their record is a strong motivator,” he says. On the flip side, producing for himself is a bigger challenge, “I’ll admit to creating so many styles I often get told to have a more focused record. I guess it’s a problem being in the studio alone when you’re highly critical of your own production.”

VMPRMYTH doesn’t have any official releases planned in the offing. However there will be a single within the coming months, which according to him sounds something like old school r’n’b at the moment. Beyond that, he tells us that he will go back to performing live and penning tracks with Kuching’s Justin Powers – a massive producer in his own right, according to VMPRMYTH. In fact, the 2 of them just released a mixtape hilariously named Straight to the Vagina as Muscle//Machine.

It’s hard to come up with comparisons to VMPRMYTH’s music, and we probably failed at doing that. Even if you asked him for his production style, he would simply answer “a complete lack of standardisation.” So we are refraining from attempting to pinpoint his sound and instead, like the best of myths, we want you to discover VMPRMYTH yourself.

Check out VMPRMYTH at www.soundcloud.com/vmprmyth. Listen to the Straight to the Vagina mixtape here.