After years of slugging it on the fields of the music industry, independent hip-hop artist Marz is finally starting to make things happen his way. His most recent release, TGZ Nation The Mixtape, finds the Chicago-based musician settling into the groove he always wanted to be situated in.
Its not to say that Marzs musical history was a complete wash. To the contrary, its perhaps the fact that he had such a remarkable resume, best highlighted by his two previous releases (Lung Fu Mo She and Gorilla Pimpin) and his heavy involvement in other genres (including a stint playing guitar on Ministrys Filth Pig and Dark Side Of The Spoon albums), that gave him the motivation to finally move forward in a decidedly more centralized hip-hop direction.
My influences are about 80% hip-hop, 20% rock and they always have been, Marz notes. I had got caught up with Ministry and the whole industrial thing and by the time the dust settled, I was like Holy shit, Im in the rock scene!
It wasnt that much of a bad thing, though. Growing up, Marzs listening palette featured Slayer and Exodus as well was LL Cool J and Run DMC. But his interest in rock music waned throughout his formative years, while hip-hop remained a stable element, and ultimately became the focus of his musical career.
A multi-instrumentalist, Marz got his start as a drummer while in high school. The motivated, self-starter found himself dabbling in other areas as well he learned how to play bass, program a drum machine, DJ records and produce his own material. Mainly along, because as he says, nobody else would want to work at the same, break-neck pace that his temperament required.
However, a chance encounter with Ministrys Al Jourgenson while working at a Chicago recording studio put Marz to the test and in the hot seat as a musician and engineer. Marz went solo after five years with Ministry, releasing his debut Lung Fu Mo She on E-Magine Music. Though Marzs hip-hop elements were prevalent throughout the release, Lung Fu Mo She still found Marz with one foot firmly planted in the rock arena.
Things didnt change all that much for Marzs second solo effort, Gorilla Pimpin. Hooking up with Korns Jonathan Davis and signing to Davis Elementree imprint further drove Marzs rock-heavy rap.
Even when I was in Ministry, I really didnt listen to any rock, Marz recalls. Then I hooked up with Jonathan Davis from Korn and went out to Cali, and that made the last album go heavy. The whole time I was like, Man, Im tryin to do some hip-hop! It was cool, you know, everything happens for a reason. And just what was Marzs reason for putting together a decidedly rap-based third effort?
The reason I did it was because I came back and hooked up with a bunch of hip-hop producers because I was like, Im done doing all this heavy shit. And being in L.A. and hanging out with people, I was around a lot of the rock scene, and thats not who I am. I kind felt a little bit out of place. So when I came back, I hooked up with all these hip-hop producers. They sent me their tracks and they sucked. I wanted to work with main motherfuckers like Timbaland and Dre and I was like, how can I do that? I could grab their instrumentals and see what I would actually be able to do. Can I do just straight hip-hop? And it turned out dope. . Were getting an incredible response out of it.
TGZ Nation The Mixtape is just that a compilation of Marzs most recent works: there are party jams, serious, straightforward talk and positive, realistic viewpoints. I love booty music, but I also love music that has a little bit of meaning, music that has a spiritual uplifting quality to it, Marz explains. Thats what moves me. But I also know the music industry is industry. I love art and moving things forward stylistically and conceptually, but thats not what the music industry is all about. It really is like 80 or 90% business. My new songs are going to be hip-hop but it wouldnt be generic. I think through all the bands and things Ive done, thats helped me be a good songwriter and to me, thats whats important, having some meaning behind it.
And its Marzs conviction and penchant for song development that has placed him to a vastly different plateau than many of his peers. He didnt utilize the proper avenues to create his foray into the hip-hop realm. After all, hell be the first to admit, I dont know one person who came through the game this way. And perhaps its that road less traveled that really has made all the difference here.
Yes, all over the country....check out http://www.marzgorillaz.com/ for the latest tour dates.