Friday, March 26, 2010

Marvel Us Music: New Alaska rap label and release spur tour

Hip-hop and rap performers Daniel Buitrago, known as Soiled Seed, and Josh Boots will perform Friday night at The Hangar on the Wharf. Opening for them at 8 p.m. is Sea Life with DJ Judo.

The show is part of a statewide tour inspired by Boots' and Buitrago's new enterprise, Marvel Us Music, a label that replaces their previous project, Arctic Flow Records. The show also celebrates the scheduled June release of Soiled Seed's first collection "Tree Top High." Boots wants the fans to be excited about their show, promising to give 110 percent.

"We definitely earn our money - it's not going to be a few minutes show, it's going to be a couple hours show," said Boots in a phone interview. The duo will stop in Sitka, Juneau, Girdwood, Homer, Kodiak, Kotzebue, Bethel, Fairbanks, Valdez and Anchorage.

"We're really excited about doing the Alaska tour," he said. "We've been to Sitka and Juneau before, but now I actually have my own CD to sell. I'm really excited to go to villages like Kotzubue and Bethel and the Island of Kodiak." The group will then tour down south from Wisconsin to the West Coast.

Buitrago wrote his first song when he was 13, but didn't start taking song-writing seriously until he was 20. He said he was influenced by Latin music such as salsa and merengue because of his Columbian heritage, and by gospel music because of his religious mother. He eventually found rap in the '90s, liking Woo Tang, early Outkast and Most Def. Now he also likes Lupe Fiasco, Nas, Notorious B.I.G., Dizzie, and Tupok for their lyrical style. After simmering for years, these influences emerged when he and Boots formed a group in 2000.

"Josh Boots and myself started a local group called 'Star Spangled Grammar' and we made a demo that ended up being an LP," he said. "The response from that was so good we just decided to keep it going," Buitrago said.

They started selling their CD's on the streets of Anchorage.

"We would be everywhere - UAA, the mall, hockey games, anywhere there were people, we would go sell them," he said. "People would start burning them and duplicating them for their friends and pretty soon it ended up in the hands of Jeremy, who called us up and said, 'Let's try and do something here.'"

It seemed natural to join forces.

"Jeremy, 'AKream,' was doing the same thing with his single and we decided to form a label and just basically put all our equipment together and make a name for ourselves, for all of us," he said. "That's how Arctic Flow Records was started."

The label had five releases and the rappers performed hundreds of shows but it ran its course. Now Boots, Buitrago and new partner Jason Zastrow are starting something new.

"We decided to split ways (with AKream) and he started doing his own thing with his company, and Josh Boots and myself started Marvel Us Music in 2010," said Buitrago. Akream will be releasing music through his new label, Ice Box Entertainment.

Buitrago likes the symbolism of Soiled Seed representing their fresh start.

"It means a new beginning, like a new seed that's planted that's going to begin to grow. I thought about where my music was headed and I thought since it was just the beginning I'd just go with that."

Buitrago also pointed out that a seed is grounded and rooted. "My head isn't in the clouds," he said.

When he isn't creating music, Buitrago teaches English to Spanish-speaking elementary students.

Josh Boots' third album, "Built to Last" will be released in October, and will be followed up with "Soul Matters" in May of 2011.

Boots said his new projects are more soulful because of a life changing experience.

"One of my sons just got diagnosed with cancer five months ago and that whole process kind of influenced the new music, which is more soulful and more reflective and mature than anything I've ever done," he said. His son has B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Buitrago's favorite song on "Tree Top High" is "Blue Music," also influenced by challenging experiences.

"I had three friends of mine and a cousin die all last year, Buitrago said. "It's a sad song explaining my feelings about how I didn't leave on the right situation and you never know if the person might be gone the next day." Buitrago had a falling out with all three friends a month before they died.

"It is also thanking all the people that have helped me out in my life, my family, Josh and Jeremy - overall thanks and forgiveness you know."

Not all the songs are sad, Buitrago said

"The opening track called 'Whose Listening,' says, I'm here, this is what I got, I want you to listen to me because I'm doing this for a reason, I want people to hear my music and I want to influence people with the things I'm saying."

• courtney nelson can be reached at nelsonfamily@acsalaska.net">nelsonfamily@acsalaska.net.

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