“Most great art can’t exist without pain” – Blueprint aka ( PRINTMATIC )
When you listen to music does it inspire you? Does it challenge you to get better ? When I came across Blueprint’s music, it did all of the above. His positive overtone took me on a journey that no other hip-hop artist had done in quite some time. I have not always gravitated towards artists that test boundaries, this thought process was just recently incorporated over the last couple of years and it has drastically improved both my thinking and my drive.
They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. For years I have witnessed musicians doing the same old routine, playing the same show, circling the social cycle with the same post, thus acting and thinking the same way. When I came across Blueprint, I was relieved to find an artist that was anything but the norm. His lyrics have encouraged and inspired my growth. “You can fly too if the right price is paid.”
Blueprint will be releasing his first film documentary titled “King No Crown” and I recently had the pleasure of connecting with him. I chose to reach out because I wanted to understand what he was able to learn from stepping outside his comfort zone and exploring an unknown industry.
Unfamiliar territories usually scare and re-route artists back to their chosen paths. When you are able to take on new challenges that are foreign to the mind, you plant seeds, seeds that turn into roots that create new ideas.
If you really want to up your game, take a deeper look into other industries. This insight will help you learn, and more importantly, see where new connections can be made. I hope this interview helps unlock any artistic holding pattern.
When you were writing “King No Crown” did you envision the album as a documentary?
Not at all. When I was making the album, I was just trying to capture vibe musically and really focus on songs that were about the theme of the record. I didn’t have the idea about making a film about it until about six months before the King No Crown album was released. Even then, I wasn’t sure if it was possible so I shot some interviews first, just to test the idea and see if anything was there. But we didn’t shoot any footage for what would eventually become scenes of the movie until maybe two months before the album was released.
What has been your greatest challenge with producing this documentary?
The entire thing was a big challenge, but I would say the biggest challenge has been post-production. All the fun is at the beginning of the process when you’re shooting and editing, but the process of getting the sound and look of a movie down is a very tedious and boring process. There is nothing fun about that part. This isn’t a film that I made and sent off to somebody else to do the color correction and sound, this is a low-budget or really a “no budget” film where I had to learn and do almost everything myself. Coming from the music realm, I learned really early that the expectations of sound for film are completely different. For example, you can make lo-fi rap music or leave some hiss in a vocal track for effect, but doing that in film will ruin it for the viewer and make you look like a complete amateur. I had to do a lot of studying, but I learned more than I ever imagined going through this process by myself.
What skills have you been able to transfer over from the music industry to the film business?
Primarily, I would say the work ethic. As an artist and music producer, music has made me really comfortable with sitting for long periods of time being really focused on small details. That patience and work ethic makes sitting down to edit film much easier. In the last 4-5 years I’ve had to take a very slow and methodical approach to learning about the various aspects of filmmaking. Some aspects are very interesting and others are very boring, but what kept me focused was the work ethic that I had already developed from my music career. There are a lot of aspects of beat-making that are boring too, but since I learned how to power through them in music it made it that much easier in film.
Could you visualize any of your other studio albums as a documentary?
I would say Adventures in Counter-Culture but I’ve already written a book about the making of that album. I would like to eventually do some sort of film explaining the making of my 1988 album. I’ve had the idea in my head to do something that really focuses on the production and the process that I went through in producing each song on the record.
Are there any differences in the promotional side of the film and music business? Do you feel that one is easier than the other?
I may have a different answer at the end of this process but, as of right now, the promotional side of movies and music is very similar. The way you create awareness is very similar to music, but the way you roll out each is different. With albums it’s all about one release date with one product, but with film there seems to be a more staggered approach to releasing things where each platform a film is released on has a separate window, then eventually the film is available everywhere. When an album is out it’s usually out everywhere in every format at the same day. But besides that, I think there’s a lot of similarities. There are some things from music that you can bring over into the film world that they don’t really do as much, like creating more interesting physical products or how you coordinate a screening tour. I’m still figuring out the angles on it, but I’m seeing a lot of potential there.
Has the film industry provided any takeaways that you could utilize on your next album?
The main inspiration I’m getting from the film industry is just a huge reminder of how important visuals are. Releasing an album without any visual representation is doing your music a big disservice. So I may go even harder on the visuals for every album I release from here on out.
Will “King No Crown” the album serve as the soundtrack for the documentary or did you create any new songs for the film?
The songs from the album are used as the soundtrack, but I did do some original scoring for the film.
Did you use the same kick ass cinematography that you used on your music videos?
I certainly tried to! What I learned early on is that making a real documentary, where shots are not staged ahead of time like many of the big budget and television documentaries are, means you have less control over what you’re shooting. I more or less had to follow the action and accept whatever light I was given as opposed to really preparing ahead of time and having control over what I got. But I certainly did my best to make the film look as dope as possible, and I’m really happy with it visually.
Where can we find “King No Crown” at ?
People can find the King No Crown album on iTunes or anywhere that sells music, and the film will be released this fall. They will be able to preorder a physical copy of it later this month once I start taking preorders on my website printmatic.net and weightless.net.