Fab da Eclectic aka Tobias Moran to discuss his new album Bombshell, attempting to make music a career, and if he has any concerns about the visual content associated with his production for outlets like CBS, ESPN, and HBO. And like Heath McNease (who Fab has produced for in the past), he’s switching his sound from hip hop to pop.
Sketch: I've noticed that you often given credit to the original Christian hip hop journalist, Richie "s/ave" Douglas (founder of ONEMIND Magazine and DaSouth.com), for providing some early guidance to your music career. Can you share a little bit more about that relationship and your thoughts on his legacy?
Fab: s/ave was the first person I ever sent one of my beats to. I had heard of ONEMIND, and heard that they were the "guys" I needed to send my music to if I was to get heard. s/ave was very cool and kind in critiquing my music, but also blunt and gave me some good pointers. I often sent beats to him for his approval. If s/ave thought it was wack, I tossed it and started over again. That's how highly I thought of him.
Over the years, we exchanged emails. In the last email I got from him he told me that I had turned into a very solid beat maker and that I'd go far. That meant a great deal to me. I believe Richie was a very integral part of helping me understand how to make solid hip hop music. I wish I had the opportunity to sit down with him one more time and let him know just how much he meant to me personally. Christian hip hop lost a good guy when we lost Richie.
Sketch: In the past, you've done a lot of hip hop production and vocals but Bombshell finds you heading in a more pop-music direction. Why the switch?
Fab: I had been sitting on lots of songs that were just gathering dust coupled with the fact that I was a little disenchanted with the 16 bar spoken hook. I wanted really to make something that I would enjoy listening to by myself. So I decided this time around to put those songs to music and make them catchy. I figured, maybe a hand full of folks might like some laid back, catchy acoustic hip pop. But honestly, I just wanted to do something different...something...chill.
Sketch: Bombshell appears to be collection of relationship story songs. What drove you toward that theme?
Fab: The first song I wrote for this record was the title cut which is about my wife. I played it for her and she cried! And then I thought, "You know, everyone relates to relationship songs." So I took some of the ones I had written, changed them up a bit and recorded them.
I thought if I put together catchy hooks, someone out there could relate to at least one of the songs. Everyone's had a break up. Everyone's felt pain. Everyone's had a moment where they miss someone. What better way to grab the listener than to write a song about something they're familiar with? It just so happens that I've had quite a few folks email me and tell me "Oh my gosh, that song is about ME!" So perhaps it worked.
Sketch: You have some high profile production credits on your resume’ including spots on "CSI," ESPN, and HBO. As a Christian, did you/do you ever have any fear about the lyrics/images/stories that will be told in conjunction with your music? Just curious if you have any qualms (or even much control) over violent or sexual images and dialogue that might be tied to your work.
Fab: Not really. I believe God puts us on a path and opportunities lie along those paths everywhere. God is good and I believe we have several choices along the way. I believe if we are truly set apart and predestined, whatever path we take is God's will in the long run. I was given opportunities and I took them. Who knows what's going on behind the scenes with the music? Perhaps someone may hear one of my songs on TV, search for me, find Bombshell and have a song speak to them. I make the music and let God do with it what he chooses.
Sketch: Your song "Goodnight" tips its hat toward Christian rap pioneers but also seems to be your "Dear John" letter to hip hop? How did those trailblazers impact both your faith and music and are you really done with this genre?
Fab: Gosh....Soup, PID, Stephen Wiley, and Michael Peace were the first tapes I had in my collection. I am forever indebted to them for their ministry and music. I played those tapes until they were worn out, they impacted me so much! Those four in particular inspired me, not only to make music but what they were saying MEANT something. In a time where hair bands saturated radio, I had a little slice of something I could relate to when Christian hip hop hit. I have never been fortunate enough to work with any of them, but that would be a dream. I'd love to sit down with them all and just say "Thank you."
Done with the genre? You know, I don't really know. I know I'm done making "hip hop" records. I want to move into a more musical and catchy genre. I also want to make music that sells...music that radio will play. I know we're all tired of being broke with our music. Well, then we need to start making music that pays us back.
I love hip hop. Hip hop is in the blood. I'm sure I'll drop a beat or two here or there in the future! Just not sure when. Perhaps I'll try to push other artists to make their hip hop a little more musical.
Bombshell was released on February 15, 2011 and is available now on iTunes, Bandcamp, and Amazon.