This summer, numerous members of the NPCC embarked on a two part two, aptly titled “The Day Job Tour” (or “DJT”). The tour was split into a West Coast and East Coast addition, the West Coast stint culminating in performances at Anime Expo in Los Angeles and the East Coast romp ending at Otakon in Baltimore. For a few of the participants, this was the first foray into the world of touring. The following series of blurbs, broken up into a few parts, will detail individual DJT accounts from various NPCCs.
We’ll start with the O.G.s, the fearless leaders, Mega Ran & K-Murdock.
Peace party people, K-Murdock here. I made a one day cameo on this NPC odyssey at the very tail end of the journey, ironically at an event so close to home yet that I never had the fortune of attending… until the homies Kadesh, 1-Up & Eye-Q summoned me to grace the stage and sit-in on a panel they hosted on behalf of the Collective.
Like I mentioned, attending Otakon eluded me even though I lived near Baltimore, where it happens, for years; I even recall 2 years back when i lived IN the city and was downtown witnessing the cavalcade of cosplay entering Bmore firsthand. My wife was even like, “uhh… shouldn’t you & Mega Ran be here?!?” Thing is, though we have ventured a lot of places and rocked a lot of ‘Cons before, Otakon, as well as (San Diego) Comic-Con have been the two that I always seemed to miss. So when my fellow NPCs reached out to me earlier in the summer about coming out to attend, I knew this was the time to finally scratch it off my “Con attended” list.
The day was long, the weather was BLAZING hot, but the vibe was positive which ultimately made the whole experience for me a WIN! My day started with 1-UP literally being my personal Uber (thanks Manny) by picking me up and driving me to Baltimore for an early soundcheck. I had all the guys’ music and like I do with Ran, assembled it and ran through these and transitions in my laptop so as to be prepared. We made it just in time to get a 5 minute check and then got walk around a bit, and trust me we walked as i made my daily 10K step count EASILY just walking around seeing the sights in the Convention center. Got some Fallout (the game) swag courtesy of Eye-Q and Glitch Gaming and then setup merch for the show.
The set was short but I marveled at how polished Desh, Eye-Q & 1-Up were in trading off and also guesting, choicely, on one another’s songs. It was really a proud moment to see as I feel like what myself and Mega Ran tried to start at last year’s Magfest with the NPC showcase, was further honed now and the camaraderie showed as one minute 1-Up is rapping, next he was blowing sax for Eye-Q. Then i see Kadesh come out with his trombone and riff with 1-Up while Eye-Q encourages the crowd to participate with handclaps. Tt was awesome to stand and witness firsthand, to the point I became distracted and forgot “Oh Sh!@, I’m supposed to be the DJ who keep the music moving!” ‘
After the set, which succeeded in bringing more con goers into the hall, as well as more of them to the front (so it wasn’t just a big vacuum of space between the stage and seats), the fellas sold merch, gave “sweaty hugs” and socialized with a few NEW fans of theirs. Again a proud moment to see as I witnessed that same thing the last 5 plus years touring with Mega Ran and watching his star ascend… very surreal and cool to just be THERE. We then hung out, peeped a couple other acts including Lotus Juice- who does music for the famous JRPG series Persona, before heading to host a panel that was really cool- “being a nerdy person of color”. The great thing about the panel was attendance for it was solid, and the questions we got to answer from the mixed array of con-goers who checked it was really cool. I learned a lot about my fellow NPCs myself that made me just appreciate being part of this talented collective even more !
After the panel, i had to drop a smoke bomb, pause being the “Sound samurai” and revert back to Kyle the husband/father as I headed home to see my VERY pregnant wife and 20-month old daughter, who both anxiously awaited my return. I’m so thankful for because they always let me have my time to chase my music pursuits! Ultimately, the day at Otakon was time well spent as I really got to hang out as just one of the NPCs and i felt so cool wandering around the convention center with my 4-man party of brothers in arms- similar to having your squad stacked with the best characters in Final Fantasy. I know guys like myself & the aforementioned Mega Ran are considered the “OGs” or veterans of the crew but after witnessing firsthand what the guys up next are doing, I’m beyond content leaving the reins to them to lead to the Next, NEXT generation of nerdy people of color!
I was able to help out with two shows in the LA area with my homies from the NPC, which are always a blast to not only perform with, but to be around. The first of which was at Anime Expo (AX), widely recognized as the largest anime convention on the west coast, and one of the largest in the world.
The show was full of surprises and hitches, as with large conventions, talking to the right person who can make decisions is always a challenge. We couldn’t load in effectively, couldn’t get the crew the appropriate amount of badges, and were unclear on our show location.. But luckily with hip-hop, we’re used to thinking on our toes.
The first show was to be a part of the halftime festivities of an 18+ comedy competition. The stage was huge. The crowd was well over 500 people, ready to have a good time.
When I asked how long I should play for, they asked me: “well, about 10 minutes good?”
I didn’t drive 6 hours, tweet and facebook all my friends and supporters and advertise my appearance to play for 10 minutes… so I squeezed for a little more.
We wound up playing 20 minutes and the crowd loved it and wanted more.
Luckily, we were able to give it to them, as we were given a full 60 minute time block at the Lounge the next evening, also an 18+ event.
That show was a MASSIVE success, with all of the NPC leaving with new fans, new supporters and plenty of merchandise sales. It was an honor to be able to utilize my stage time and influence to put fans in front of acts that I know they would enjoy. As they always do, the NPCCs made me proud.