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For the Love of Music Volume 5 : Random aka Mega Ran

So I’m a big Mega Ran fan it’s no secret. I stumbled across his albums right before I finished my senior year of Wabash then Forever Famicom and Mega Ran 9 got me through some tough times in my life when I first moved to Dallas.

Fast forward about 4 years later I have not only have met this respectable fellow multiple times but am fortunate enough to call him a friend. When I was in Phoenix in June for work we got to hang out for a bit and I saw it only fitting this random chat be the next volume of “For the Love of Music.”

Get to know a little bit about the life of an Indie Musician.

The struggles, the balance and what makes it all worth it from the homie himself – Mega Ran.

NPC Collective – Sound Samurai Approved

I would never pass up a chance to catch up with the stealthy sound samurai himself K Murdock. I personally got to meet him almost two years back (at the same show I met Random at) and every time I run into him he greets me like family. Extremely talented producer and a super stand up dude – get to know him a little bit from the NPC Q&A below! 

1. What are you nerding out on currently?

Apps! For my iPhone, for my desktop Mac, I even found some for my Playstation… and I’m so friggin’ organized, like I spend hours (literally) organizing my apps then I barely wanna use them after. lol


2. What’s your most recent game played?

I’m still hooked on Mass Effect 3… its like my 3rd play through but this time I’m finally playing ALL the DLC as I’m very much a perfectionist on stuff I like. Other than that, Hitman GO for iOS is phone, it’s like a turn based strategy game to get Agent 47 to his mark… its dope!


3. What music is on your playlist?

I listen to a lot of beats music playlist and most of those are about classic hip-hop from the 90s or synth-pop/R&B from the 80s. I have been hooked on artists like jazz vocalist Gregory Porter and Odd Future’s The Internet a lot too. Also the instrumental trio BADBADNOTGOOD as I also am always listening for new dope beats for my instrumental podcast.


4. What do you do in your downtime?

Video games and listen to audio books or podcasts… Also i love me some binge watching when theres a new series I’m into.


5. Any past/present involvement in community activities you’d like to speak about?

I used to do weekend tutoring and workshops for inner city junior high kids when I was in college and that sparked my passion for eventually trying to teach and give back. Whether its speaking to kids at a local school or mentoring a young student… Lets go! Most recently, I helped engineer a remake of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On” for The DC Humanities Council commissioned with a group of young adults; Very proud of their message in lieu of the Ferguson incident… So timely! Here’s a link


6. What are you trying to learn to do right now?

How to play chess and effectively manage my time better to be more productive!


7. What should Nerdy People of Color get out of our website and collective?

Let it become a haven for people who are also nerds of color and think “Geez, no one can relate to me.” We have an array of entertainers and personalities from different walks of life, and thats dope to me as it not only shows the beautiful spectrum of us NPCs but also that the content we produce is fresh and positive too.


8. Favorites: (I don’t deal in absolutes)

a) Movie? Big Fish

b) Food? Pizza

c) Website? thats too open, website for shopping, downloading torrents, generating memes? I mean I need more specification! lol


9. What’s upcoming for you?

Finally starting the follow up to Hero Muzik… In time for a certain 20th anniversary of one of my fave RPGs next year! That and working on a new project for my main group Panacea too!


10) Talk about a person or event who made you who you are today.

Easy. My late uncle Melvin Lindsey who was the originator of the radio format “The Quiet Storm” in the late 70s. I grew trying to emulate him, went to the same university and tried to follow his path but my road took me down the technical side of audio. But to be honest there would be no “Sound Samurai” without him. He was a great influence to me and others on and OFF the air!

Shubzilla charging through the NPC Q&A!

Shubzilla : The woman, the Dinosaur, the LEGEND.

Also the wonderful individual who keeps us all on track when we start drifting away. Take a second and get to know this wonderful gem we know as Shubzilla.

Shubzilla and the NPC:

1. What are you nerding out on currently?
BISHOUJO SENSHI SAILOR MOON IS ON HULU. So there’s that! I’ve been a fan since 1998 and it the one franchise I know hella about so it being on Hulu is a big deal for yours truly.

2. What’s your most recent games played?
I ran through Saints Row 3 and Saints Row 4 in a couple of weeks. It’s such an over-the-top series! They really found their groove to separate themselves from other open-world games with how unabashed they are. However, it’s the music and their usage of that sucks you in to this world. Kudos to the folks that chose the music for these two games!

Since, I’ve picked up Hitman: Absolution. I haven’t played that series since Hitman 2: Silent Assassin so it’s cool to see where they took Agent 47’s story. A far cry from the ridiculous story of the Saints Row series, it’s been one of the most serious in story that I’ve played in a long time.

3. What music is on your playlist?
I have been listening to a lot of MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Lady of Rage, Wu Tang Clan, and Peter Cetera. Guest voices include Atlantic Starr, Hall and Oates, Kanye West, Jay Z, and Tyga. Shoutouts to Pandora and their glorious shuffle feature.

Also! I just copped the download for Sammus’ “Another M” and this is FIRE! Do not sleep on this EP.

4. What do you do in your downtime?
I’ll either eat, game, read, and/or sleep.

5. Any past/present involvement in community activities you’d like to speak about?

I am one of the founding members and the current merchandise manager of the Seattle-based organization GeekGirlCon. I invite and encourage everyone to check us out. The focus is to celebrate the achievements of the female geek in everything from math & science to pop culture and gaming. While the name highlights girl, GeekGirlCon invites EVERYONE to join in on the celebration as they create a space where women and girls are acknowledged for their contributions and what they are most passionate about. We are four years strong and still going! This year’s annual convention is Saturday, October 11-Sunday, October 12 in Seattle, WA.

6. What are you trying to learn to do right now?

I’d like to learn how to sew so I can create my own cosplay. Also, I am interested in learning the production-side of music – composing, sampling, the whole bit.

7. What should Nerdy People of Color get out of our website and collective?

This is a space where you, as a nerdy person of color, are free to collaborate, contribute, and participate. Please do! Our aim here is to celebrate each other and BE VISIBLE in the nerd/geek community. Join us in that mission.

8. Favorites:

a) Movie? Bloodsport. Any time you have two musical montages in a row, you know it’s gotta be from the 80s. This gem also features a young Forest Whitaker as Agent Rawlins assisting in the pursuit of protagonist Frank Dux (played by Jean-Claude Van Damme). Just see it. I could go forever about why this movie is ridiculous and how this is my favorite movie, but just go see it. If not for those two, then see it for Bolo Yeung who straight kills the game as the vicious Chong Li.

b) Food? Pancit palabok. Also most cheese.

c) Website? I’m a fan of the comic Zen Pencils. Artist Gavin Aung Than creates comics that revolve around an inspirational quote. My favorites include his take on Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” and William Earnest Henley’s “Invictus”

ALSO: My Facebook Page

AND: My Twitter Page

9. What’s upcoming for you?

It’s gonna be a very busy few months! Lemme do this in to-do list fashion:

1: Bill Beats and I will be releasing our EP in the next few months. Be ready!!! We’ll be having a CD release party in Seattle in August.
2: Lex Lingo and I are writing the next 9k1 album. Be double ready!
3: Sammus will be joining me here in Seattle for GeekGirlCon’s GeekGirlCONcert July 13 at Seattle’s Barboza. Other acts include 9k1, Death*Star, and Jonny Nero Action Hero. If you’re in the 206 that night, come thru and party with us!

The best thing to do is like my page on Facebook or follow me on Twitter for all the hilarity and updates.

10) Talk about a person or event who made you who you are today.

One event that has made a difference in who I am now is the passing of my maternal grandmother. She was the heart of my very close knit family and she had been battling health issues for years. My mother and her sisters had been taking care of her around the clock and even more so near the final days of my grandmother being alive.

Whenever my grandmother was hospitalized, I would volunteer to stay at the hospital with her as I usually stayed up later and had a more flexible schedule than my mother and elders. It was incredibly difficult seeing one of the strongest women I knew in health and in faith reduced to a shell of her former self.

My grandmother’s passing did bring my mother, my aunts, and I closer. We made the promise to my grandmother that we will uphold our family’s traditions and ensure that family always comes first. In fact, my elders have even come to some of my shows for our “family nights (Their favorite song is “Hello Kitty Swag.”).” Keeping the fam close is something that I have especially held true to, as my nears and dears will tell you. While family is a community you are born into, the family that you create is one that holds equal merit.


Sammus steps up to the plate next to answer the NPC Q&A!

Not only one of the fiercest and smartest MCs I have ever heard in ANY genre, but also one of the nicest people I’ve met in a long time (but don’t start acting crazy on her now because she will tell you what’s up).

Somehow she always makes time in her busy schedule to help the cause so get to know a little bit about Sammus


1. What are you nerding out on currently?

Recently I’ve been watching a lot of Portlandia. I know I’m super late to the game, but in my defense working on a PhD for the past few years is a pretty good excuse. I finally ended up watching Portlandia on Netflix at the end of the semester and immediately connected with the show because the town in which I was raised and am currently living while I attend graduate school – Ithaca, NY – shares a lot of similarities with Portland as it is portrayed through this utterly ridiculous sketch comedy show. Also, shout out to Mega Ran for the feature of “Splash Woman” on the episode “Aimee.”


2. What are your most recent games played?

I’ve been playing a lot of SNES games lately on my tablet. F-Zero is probably my favorite right now — super fun and I love the music! Because I like to balance out the light with the dark, I’ve also been playing lots of Blackthorne.


3. What music is on your playlist?

I’ve been spinning Open Mike Eagle’s latest project, “Dark Comedy” nonstop! I have also been listening to quite a bit of Homeboy Sandman, Dam Funk, Fleet Foxes, and instrumentals from Ivorian producer Chuk le Garçon. Finally, I’ve been bobbing my head to Mega Ran’s track “Infinite Lives” featuring D&D Sluggers.


4. What do you do in your downtime?



5. Any past/present involvement in community activities you’d like to speak about?

From 2008 – 2010 I worked as a teacher in an underserved community in Houston, TX. From 2011 – 2012, I served as the Community Service Chair for the Black Graduate and Professional Students Association at Cornell University. Since then I’ve been devising new ways to get involved despite my schedule – this weekend I will be performing at the Southside Community Center as part of their annual Juneteenth celebration.


6. What are you trying to learn to do right now?

I’m currently trying to learn how to mix and master tracks professionally. As a producer and the person responsible for recording my own vocals over the past three years I’ve had considerable experience with basic mixing, but I am now trying to commit more time and energy to it. Although I find mixing to be tedious and annoying, it’s also been frustrating leaving the job to other people as I’ve done for the last two projects. I’m hoping by year’s end, I’m a one-stop production-recording-mixing shop.


7. What should Nerdy People of Color get out of this website and collective?

First and foremost I think Nerdy People of Color should visit the website and follow the stories of its members for inspiration. I am constantly inspired by all of the great work of my peers in the NPCC. Nerdy People of Color should also check out the website to stay updated on what we’re doing – more specifically when we’ll be in their areas so that they can come out, support, learn more, and hang out!


8. Favorites:

a) Movie? Recently, I was a guest on The FanBros Show and was asked this same question. At the time I said that “Good Burger” was my favorite flick, but I’ve since reconsidered – I actually think “Hot Fuzz” just may be my favorite film. #TheGreaterGood

b) Food? My mom’s porkchops. Actually, anything my mom cooks.

c) Website? http://sammusmusic.com


9. What’s upcoming for you?

I just released a seven-track Metroid EP that’s been getting a lot of love thanks to my friends and fans so now I plan on promoting the project until I can promote it no longer. I’m going to be shooting the video for the EP’s first single, Power-Ups, on July 1st, promoting the second single, Crown, heading to perform at some out-of-state-shows, and preparing for my third full length-album, which is currently untitled.


10) Talk about a person or event who made you who you are today.

I often talk about my older brother and his influence on my personal growth, so I’d like to start talking a little more about the role my younger brother has played in my life. Although we didn’t always get along, my little brother was definitely my road dog for my childhood and a lot of my teenage years – especially as my older brother began to spend more time outside of the house with jobs, school activities, and band practice. So much of the geeky stuff I consumed was because of his influence. We spent countless mornings and afternoons watching everything from Pokémon to Reboot; I shared all of the stories of the cartoon and video game characters I created with him, often exclusively; we spent whole summers seated next to each other watching poorly animated Hanna-Barbera cartoons and catching mistakes in everything form the plotlines to poor animation. One thing I’ve always admired about my younger brother was that even though he is incredible at doing so many things, he has always remained humble and generous. I remember sometimes playing against him in Street Fighter, and knowing that he was holding back so that I could at least get in a few hits. It was so nice having such a dope partner in geekdom growing up and I often draw on those memories for inspiration.

An NPC Q&A With Mega Ran



Photo by Cathy Weaver

Every week, we’re going to give you an exclusive Q&A with a different member of the NPC. First up, its founder and most likely to bring a Mega Buster to a gun fight, Random aka Mega Ran.



1. What are you nerding out on currently?

Sounds weird but I’m nerding out on my health. I’ve been in the gym hard for the past 2 weeks, now that I’m home for a stretch, trying to get a habit going. I’m already feeling better (when I’m not sore), and I can see improvements in breath control and the overall stage show.

2. What are your most recent games played?

Man I can’t stop playing Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. I play it every night before bed and so I never get to bed on time. It’s an addictive game. Also been playing Titanfall, Guacamelee and Bravely Default. I just opened my Steam account so I think it’s curtains from here.

3. What music is on your playlist?

Mostly beats for my new album, or collaborations that I owe people… but besides that I’ve been listening to Garfunkel and Oates, Dirty Projectors and a lot of classic Snoop Dogg lately. But in the gym it’s R&B or straight ignorant rap.

4. What do you do in your downtime?

What is this downtime thing you talk of? When I’m not recording, I’m making time to see my friends, play games I haven’t put enough time in on, or planning my next music moves.

5. Any past/present involvement in community activities you’d like to speak about?

From the time I resigned from teaching until the end of last year, I worked as an after school tutor and mentor to young kids, and I’d like to get back to that as soon as my schedule opens up a bit. I love chatting with them and knowing what’s challenging today’s youth… It also keeps me young, being around the kids.

6. What are you trying to learn to do right now?

I’m trying to learn how to record myself, mix myself and fully produce my own records. Hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have it down. YouTube tutorials work wonders. I’m also picking up new equipment to add to the live show to help the experience constantly get tighter and more interesting.


7. What should Nerdy People of Color get out of this website and collective?

They should find a place with people like them, explaining their struggles and successes, favorite things and most hated things, and letting them know that they have a friend, a peer or even a role model out there who looks and thinks like them, and that they’re never alone.

8. Favorites:

a) Movie? Black Dynamite

b) Food? Lasagna

c) Website? This one? haha, well, maybe Kotaku or Geekologie.


9. What’s upcoming for you?

Recording recording recording, a few big shows coming up in Orlando, San Jose, Toronto, and more. megaran.com/shows!

10) Talk about a person or event who made you who you are today.

My Mom’s involvement in my life. She had always told me to get my education and not to let anything hold me back, so I did, I went hard at college and finished through some tough odds. When I decided to quit teaching and make music, I was afraid to tell her for months… when I did, she totally had my back, came to my shows more than ever and has supported me like a champion.

Viva la NPC!

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