In this exclusive interview; Wojtek Sarnecki, a music journalist from Warsaw, Poland discusses Medieval Chamber and The Almighty with Rugged Monk of the Black Knights. The MC reveals how it feels to be a black knight, how the hip-hop collab with John came to be and what are we to expect from them in the future.
Gotta admit: I never was a huge hip-hop fan. Even though I was raised in the neighbourhood famous for being sort of rap craddle, I just couldn't get the whole concept. But I experienced an epiphany last year, when in January Black Knight's "Medieval Chamber" was released. At first, when I heard about it, I was pretty skeptical. My musical guru of all times, John Frusciante, a former Red Hot Chili Peppers member, suddenly decided to produce a hip-hop music. Though I was afraid, I had to give it a try. And I was speechless. The album turned out to be completely amazing and stunning work. The union between sounds and lyrics is just incredible. Every single track brings a powerful message, which at that point was everything that I needed.
This year, the journey will continue with a second fruit of that unusual collaboration, "The Almighty". And here I am, by a happy coincidence, doing an interview with one of the protagonists of that project, Rugged Monk.
Wojtek: Hi man. I kinda owe you, you know?
Rugged Monk: For what...?
W: Your music made me change my life and pursue my dreams.
R.M.: Thanks for letting me know my words of wisdom gave you inspiration and motivation.
W: So how did it happen? I mean, the very conception... Medieval themes is not a first thing you relate your music/lyrics to. Who came up with this brilliant idea?
R.M.: The concept came from us brainstorming together or Trickfingers puts on a beat and we start surfing the sound waves... And most of the Medieval themes come from us being modern day Knights living in Medieval Times... So it stems over into our music...
W: As you are a part of the Black Knight, please, tell me, do knights are needed in present times as they were back then in the Middle Age? What does it mean to be a knight? Are you a true one?
R.M.: Yeah, Knights are needed more in this day and age, cuz there is so much disrespect for one another, someone is always trying to dethrone the King... And to me being a Knight is "Respect" "Loyalty" & "Honor". Rain sleet or snow, whether wrong or right...(Monk laughs) I'm as true as they come "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted"...
W: I guess I heard in one of the interviews you gave with Crisis that you recorded about 40+ songs with John, right? Did you know back then, during the recording process, how you were going to divide them into albums? I mean, you knew which songs will end up on the medieval-themed record, etc?
R.M.: Yeah, we recorded over 40 songs with Trickfingers [John Frusciante]... But when we started the recording process the formula and format wasn't to make an album or even albums. It just played itself out like that in the course of time the more music we collaborated on...
W: I must say that John's singing combines really good with your rapping, don't you think? It reminds me of the pop/hip-hop scheme: a rapped verse followed by a sung chorus. However, with your extraordinary flow and his unusual voice it's totally innovative. Was the approach different?
R.M.: Yeah, the melodic melodrama of Trickfingers Playhouse and our Killa Cal life style combined very well...it's kind of reminds me of an advanced Euro sound and better quality, and depth than the normal stuff. It has its own lane, but if I were ask to categorize it I would say it's timeless music... Yea, the approach was different, cuz Blackknights come from the Hip Hop world and Trickfingers came from the Rock 'n Roll side of things....
W: And a sampling technique. Led Zeppelin, Anne Murray, El Condor Pasa... Pretty impressive. Was it all John's idea?
R.M.: When it comes to music arrangements and professional production that's all from Trickfingers' Playhouse.
W: As you know, we're all, your fans, waiting for “'The Almighty”. Could you elaborate on a concept of this record? You know, lyrics, themes, recording process.
R.M.: This album took on the weight of the last track which is called "Almighty", plus the Almighty was to show the world our growth musically and lyrically from the Medieval Chamber movement... So we opened up more on this album with features, but went in harder on songs and concepts and rhythmic schemes...
W: And a album title? Where did it come from?
R.M.: So when we was naming the album after listening to it as a collective body of work it just fit perfectly with how the album last track was felt...
W: Can we expect some John's singing and guitar work?
R.M.: Yeah, Trickfingers is featured all over the album doing guitar solos and vocals...
W: Well, you've already told it many times, that there will be a third album with John. When can we expect it? Maybe you could reveal its title?
R.M.: Yeah, there is a 3rd album and more music, but you must stay tuned, cuz right now I'm just focusing on "The Almighty" album...
W: After releasing your first collaboration work, you toured a bit through the West Coast. Will fans from other parts of the USA and other continents, especially Europe, be able to see you there someday?
R.M.: Yeah, we are planning to do a US tour as well as Europe tour and hit a few other continents on way back to the States. For that information go to blackknightsmusic.com or for more information regarding release dates and bookings hit Record Collection...
W: Thanks a lot for your time! Then we have no choice, but impatiently wait for your record to be released! Hope to hear from you soon! My greeting to Crisis and Trickfinger!
R.M.: Thanks for Having me, hopefully I answered most of your questions and if you reading this and don't got Medieval Chamber go get it! "The Almighty" is on its way to a hood near you... I will let Crisis and Trickfingers know you send your love and on that note peace, love and respect! I'm going to hit the BlackKnight Lounge, turn on some instrumentals and put some of this Cali good in the air....PEACE.
DISCLAIMER: Invisible Movement did not arrange, request or participate in this interview - we are just posting it; as the author - a big fan of this website - insisted. This should appear on rhcp.pl in near future as well, as that is the site it was intended for.
It appears that the Black Knights are closer to wrapping up The Almighty, as judged by this Facebook status from earlier today: