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NFR PODCAST - Interview

Nearly every Thursday night, we would park our cars at Comps and have a listening party for which ever rap album we chose to listen to when the clock struck midnight...

Interviews
Interviews
NFR PODCAST - Interview
ETHEREAL.PRESS

ETHEREAL.PRESS

Date
December 4, 2023
Read
9 mins
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ETHEREAL.PRESS

Tell us a bit about the NFR Podcast.

NFR PODCAST

We are a contemporary media brand and platform dedicated to fostering conversations that not only celebrate the essence of quality music but also entertain and enrich our audience. To our devoted team and the vibrant community we've built, NFR Podcast transcends conventional labels, going beyond the boundaries of a typical hip-hop show or journalistic network.

We take pride in the realization that we've succeeded in establishing a diverse and inclusive epicenter for hip-hop and music enthusiasts worldwide. We stand in unison with our community as a cultural movement that champions the spirit of innovation and purpose-driven artistry.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

Talk to us about how you started the NFR Podcast.

NFR PODCAST

Are you ready for an origin story as compelling as Bruce Wayne’s? Well, buckle up.

Looking back on how this all came together, it truly feels like we were destined to start this. When we were eighteen-year-old college kids, our group of friends would hang out in this hidden parking lot of a local business that we called “Comps” short for Company.

Nearly every Thursday night, we would park our cars at Comps and have a listening party for which ever rap album we chose to listen to when the clock struck midnight. We would have a blast sharing these moments and would spend hours talking about the music we just experienced.

As time went on, we kept debating each other’s music takes and we would have barbershop-style conversations until we had our lightbulb moment. Why not film these conversations for fun? And from that point on, what started as a hobby and passion grew into something beyond what we could have ever imagined.

As our ambitions grew, so did our team as well as our plans for the project. We’ve gone through multiple phases and we’re looking forward to our continual evolution. It all started with a few good ol’ Canadian boys with a dream.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

Why do you choose to post your content from a long-format approach?

NFR PODCAST

The short answer is that we’re all about substance. The emergence of TikTok and short-form video content has taken the digital world by storm. We’re grateful to have built an incredible foundation through this relatively new format.

With that being said, we like to offer our viewers and listeners an all encompassing experience, across various platforms. When it comes to delivering articulate, thought-provoking conversations, we need more than sixty seconds to execute that! A lot of our series like our album reviews, song brackets or blind rankings get to thrive through our long-form content on YouTube.

We also love sharing our music recommendations and the personal connections we have to various songs and albums, on our audio exclusive podcast. For an NFR super fan, our short-form content is the appetizer and our long-format episodes are the main course.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

During the first half of the year, no single project charted #1 on the Billboard200 or Hot 100… since your channel has been following almost exclusively hip-hop, what do you make of the conversation around hip-hop’s relevance fading in 2023? Or is this just an over-exaggeration?

NFR PODCAST

In 2007, Nasir Jones, the greatest MC of all-time, made an album called “Hip-Hop is Dead”. At the time, that’s genuinely how he perceived the state of hip-hop. A decade later hip-hop became the most dominant genre in the United States…

From a commercial standpoint, yes, this wasn’t a strong year and most blockbuster hip-hop releases were underwhelming. At the moment, it feels like hip-hop is frozen and that many mainstream artists have hit a wall creatively and are struggling to bring us fresh sounds. But so what?

Music and hip-hop in particular go through cycles. We can’t dismiss the incredible heights the genre has reached over the course of the last 50 years, after one poor year and a decline in sales. We have faith that a new golden era will be upon us soon and that new talented stars will emerge, enjoy great success and create timeless bodies of work.

Also if you’re tapped into hip-hop beyond what radio and major playlists co-sign, then you are well aware of the abundance of talented hip-hop artists that are actively cooking.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

Much of what we see/focus on at Ethereal as the most compelling rap projects include more underground experimental/abstract hip-hop or jazz rap aesthetics. This includes figures like Armand Hammer, Ghais Guevara, JPEGMAFIA and more.

What are your thoughts on the experimental/abstract rap underground and some of your favorite figures?

NFR PODCAST

A lot of the hip-hop music that is moving the needle and keeping the genre refreshing in this decade comes from the experimental underground hip-hop scene. We’re definitely fans of all the artists you mentioned. I’m glad you mentioned Ghais Guevara, we feel blessed to have discovered his music this year!

Love how he has a lot of characteristics of a traditional rapper yet his sampling selection and techniques are completely left-field. Some of our favorite figures right now include Paris Texas, Mavi and mynameisntjmack.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

What rap/hip-hop projects have stood out to you so far in 2023?

NFR PODCAST (LUCA)

Man, I’ll tell you about the one album that truly blew my mind this year. It’s “Generational Curse” by West Coast rapper IceColdBishop. This album instills fear in you and creates a feeling of claustrophobia and paranoia, in the most entertaining way imaginable.

It has the sonic makeup of a horror movie score, complete with nocturnal instrumentals, eerie strings and panicked vocal inflections. It’s spectacular.

NFR PODCAST (ANTHONY)

66689 BLVD Prequel by Kipp Stone. The most underrated album of the year by far…

ETHEREAL.PRESS

Could you both give me an example of albums considered universally mid or disliked that you personally enjoy?

NFR PODCAST (LUCA)

I’m gonna go with NAV’s self-titled album from 2017. Too many people hate on NAV! With this album, he built a world where he’s partying every night and living carefree. From the atmospheric production to his endearing auto-tune laced melodies, this became one of those albums that was the soundtrack to my senior year in high-school.

NFR PODCAST (ANTHONY)

I’m a big fan of Honestly Nevermind. I love the production and I feel like it’s a unique gem in Drake’s catalog. Soundtrack to my summer of 2022.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

Do you plan to interview rap artists in the coming up?

NFR PODCAST

We actually dropped our first artist conversation this year on our YouTube channel with EarthGang, one of our favorite duos in the game. It was a lot of fun to get out of our element, both physically and creatively, to treat our fans to a new experience. In terms of who’s next, just know that we’re cooking.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

What is your approach when reviewing or listening to an album?

NFR PODCAST

When it comes to reviewing albums, we make sure to let the music marinate by listening to a project multiple times, in different settings. It’s pretty interesting how your environment and method of listening to an album can have such a strong impact on your feelings towards the music.

Aside from the obvious areas of focus like lyrical content, musical composition and vocal delivery, we’re always eager to look at the artist’s intent and the overall coherence of their album.

We’re always 100% honest and try to provide a well-rounded perspective.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

Why rap music?

NFR PODCAST

Well, why not rap music! Since its inception, hip-hop has been one of the most varied genres sonically speaking. We love how it constantly evolves and absorbs influences from various sources.

We also fell in love with this music because the rhythmic and poetic nature of hip-hop allows rappers to be highly expressive in their verses. We also love the art of storytelling. And in our opinion, the best and most intricate storytelling tracks come from hip-hop.

ETHEREAL.PRESS

What’s next for NFR Podcast?

NFR PODCAST

Our main priority will always be to continue to serve our community. We’re working on a few different projects right now. The plan is to continue to bring in new content formats that our audience has never seen before. One of those ideas involves us performing at live venues.

We want to keep things exciting and fresh. Those are some of our upcoming plans!

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