Blending abstract, punk-influenced Hip-hop with soulfully catchy melodies, this five-piece alternative rap group, based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico continues to bend genres and turn heads. Vagabond Mafia is the name that rings bells as their output has been a balancing act between purposefully distasteful to honest and sensitive; blurring the distinction between the extremes.
With no regard to modern trends, Vagabond Mafia continues to push boundaries creating an interactive world for the weird, unaccepted, and troubled listener, breathing fresh air into an often hedonistic and shallow music genre.
Ending 2020 off with their latest album, 'All the Things You Miss,' they pay an ode to the experiences that they have lived through by putting forth their most mature collective of work to this date. Placing the spotlight on, “Chemical,” the first record to be heard on this body of work, the recruit Baby Tuna in order to put out the ultimate soundscape of atmospheric uniqueness.
Dabbling into a poignant dispense of elusive lyrics coming through in a rich and contemporary manner, we are drowned in symphonic melodies with a range of striking notes hit. The back and forth between the wide vocal range gives us a taste of what all the members of Vagabond Mafia have to offer up. The distinct grace of the lyrical dexterity that simmers in the hard-hitting verses pulls us into the messaging that they’re sending out as a collective. In a medley of slow-tempo ambiance that dives deeply into our own earnest sentiments, we find emotional connectors that allow us to easily relate to the talent of this genre-bending group.
Painting vivid imagery of what their album, 'All the Things You Miss,' has in store for listeners, Vagabond Mafia ensures that we are exposed to a medley of honesty, hope, and an answer for the disarray of 2020.
Welcome back to BuzzMusic, Vagabond Mafia, it’s always a pleasure when we get to chat with your group. Congratulations on the release of, 'All the Things You Miss.' Let’s zone in on the introductory single off of the album, “Chemical.” We are exposed to a variety of genres and messages in that piece alone. What is the meaning behind the record and the ambiance set behind it?
The production of the music was inspired by calmness and serenity. The synthesizers, in the beginning, brought on a smooth, gentle vibe. There wasn’t a true set intention when it was first produced. The song was created at a 5-day writing camp that took place in Ruidoso, New Mexico. The conception of the song happened outside with a close friend and local artist named Baby Tuna. We wrote the hook, and it all just came from that. Our music is always open to interpretation. To each of us, the song holds different meanings. To you, I hope you develop your own meaning and connection to the song. Jeffrey Misfit spoke- “It’s not drugs that create an addict- it’s a need to escape reality. The production of this song as a result of using music just for that.” I think it was important for us that the first song on the record set the tone of the whole album. To show vulnerability and to showcase the softer side of our discography. Everything that followed was just a following of that display of emotion.
Could you please share a glimpse of what it was like creating this album through a pandemic? Were there any challenges that you had to overcome?
The album was started at a 5 day writing camp with VagabondMafia. When we got back from the camp, word started hitting the US about COVID-19. We had a big wave of inspiration and momentum coming out of the camp but had to learn to transition our communication and work ethic to a more virtual setting. It came as a big challenge, but ultimately I believe it showed us a lot about ourselves, Social distancing and the guidelines of COVID were big challenges when it came to all of us 5 in the room together. I feel like we took shows for granted, and became more grateful for the small things when it comes to music. Being able to be in a room together, networking, playing in front of a live audience, etc.
What is a common misconception that you get as a collective in the genre of Hip-hop?
One of the biggest misconceptions is that we are just strictly a rap group. I think songs like chemical, Mary Jane, ladders, and others showcase a more vulnerable, musical side of the group. Each of us was able to experiment freely not only musically but lyrically, and hone in on vocal techniques that contributed to the variety of sounds and genres heard on the LP. The biggest misconception is that we give a fuck about what other people think of our music. In a group of 5 strong opinions, there’s no room for others.
With listeners taking in all that, “Chemical,” what themes and messages can they expect throughout the album of, 'All the Things You Miss?'
#1. Don’t expect anything. The best way to experience our music is with an open mind, and an open soul.