Another week, another installment of The Whole 9. This one takes us to the home of the late, Muhammad Ali…Louisville, where we interviewed artist 1200. This artist/composer has a Hip Hop background, but has worked with the likes of Louisville Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony and Pittsburgh Symphony. He recently released two albums at the same time, titled Séance and Spirit, channeling Heaven and Hell. Check out the interview below.
the9elements: You recently released two concept albums titled Seance and Spirit, with the former depicting hell, and the latter depicting heaven. Where were you mentally, spiritually or both that got these two projects made?
1200: Both albums were inspired by movies I’m working on. Séance is the horror film while Spirit is the romantic film. My mission as an artist is to spark conversation about our world’s issues, provide solutions, and bridge people who are culturally segregated. These albums are what that mission sounds like – one song I’m a child in my bedroom playing with Legos, another song I’m the ghost of Michael Brown.
Those two examples alone tackle topics from the lack of imagination in children, to parental disobedience, to systematic racism, to police brutality. Heaven and Hell are places that we eventually end up due to a series of choices. Not everyone believes in these places, but everyone is faced with making choices.
T9E: You represent the city of Louisville, Kentucky, and even attended the University of Louisville. Was there anything about the city that you’re able to put into your music, positive and negative?
1200: Most of my lyrical content is a direct reflection of life in Louisville. In the song Secular on Spirit, I rapped, “When it comes to adversity I’ve climbed a lot of mountains; catch me drinking from the ‘whites only’ water fountain.” I’m making two statements. 1) I will literally drink from the whites only water fountain and 2) I’m tasting success that many people of color do not.
Unfortunately segregation still exists, and my city is no stranger to it. The positive is that we have leadership in Louisville working to make the city equitable and more compassionate. We are known as “Compassionate City.”
T9E: On top of being a producer, you also teach music at an elementary school level. For those who don’t know, you were a self-taught producer. Being that it may, what’s it like teaching young children music?
1200: When I was in elementary school there was no music teacher, so my best gift to the world is the one I didn’t receive.
T9E: Even though you produce Hip Hop, you also love classical music. You’ve worked with in the past, the likes of the Louisville Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony and Pittsburgh Symphony. Where does your love for classical music stem from?
1200: Dr. Greg Byrne at the University of Louisville. He opened my eyes and taught me value in being a well-rounded musician, not just classically but in general. This is a mindset that everyone should adopt, because if we limit our love of art, we limit art as a whole.
T9E: With your love for music, you have a love for your community, working as an event curator for City Collaborative, Speed Art Museum, Louisville Downtown Partnership, and many more Louisville organizations. Where does your love for so many different things stem from?
1200: Your community is your home.
T9E: I know we’ve touched many of your talents and passions. With that said, do you have any more talents and passions that you want the world to know about?
1200: I’m a master at Google Calendar and Evernote (laughs).
T9E: What can the world expect next from 1200?
1200: The world can expect the least expected.
T9E: I really appreciate you taking the time out to chop it up. Any last words?
1200: 1200llc.com and 1200llc on all social media platforms.