When the rap duo Butterfly Toungz takes the stage at Birdy"s on Saturday as part of the seventh Indianapolismusic.net showcase, they"ll be a little more nervous than usual. Not because they"ll be playing for a large audience or even an audience not accustomed to hip-hop, but because it"ll be their first show in more than two years.
Jonas O. Tuck of Butterfly Toungz
"This show means a lot to us," says leader Jonas O. Tuck, also known as Sub-One. "We"ve been practicing for more than a month to get ready. And we"re ready to go. We feel like it"s our time to shine." The group has been absent from the live scene for several reasons. They took a hiatus because of Tuck"s studying audio engineering in Arizona and interning at a top studio in Atlanta, although Tuck and his partner, DJ Germ, never stopped working on tracks. During this time, the two collaborated on songs that would end up on Butterfly Toungz"s recently released third album, Wide Open Spaces. "We just wanted to take some time away and focus on the music and making a good product. We"ve spent the last two years just working on the album," Tuck says. The wait was worth it. Wide Open Spaces is an engaging and accomplished album that, in a loose way, traces Tuck"s life from a child to the present. The beats and rhymes are airy, positive and not unlike the music of their idols ñ the Native Tongues movement of the early 1990s, which included groups like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest. Their name is drawn from the Beatles and the Native Tongues crew. "The Beatles are a big influence on me and I kind of wanted to do a play on the whole insect thing. We listen to the Native Tongues albums and studied the samples they used, and the little tricks they pulled off. We listened to that and tried to be creative in our own way." They also draw inspiration from old-school R&B and hip-hop. "The old-school beats are a treasure," Tuck says. "We try to stick to the old way of doing things and try to put a new twist on it, although we want to keep all of the original elements." Wide Open Spaces is arranged chronologically, representing different eras of Tuck"s life in rhyme. "It goes back from the time I was young until now," he says. "It deals with things that people are afraid to talk about. We just didn"t want to say, "We"re a hip-hop group and this is all the things we hate." We wanted to cover topics. One of my favorite albums of all time is Sgt. Pepper and what I love about it is the Beatles were able to free themselves by becoming another band. They were able to address topics they normally wouldn"t touch. Our album"s layout was a way to free ourselves. We wanted to have a way to expand our spectrum." The group addresses issues such as teenage pregnancy and other social issues. "There"s not a lot of positive messages in hip-hop today," he says. "They talk about all the money they have, or how they have a baby, but they don"t talk about turning a negative situation into a positive." The Butterfly Toungz song "Love Letter" starts off with a man being irresponsible about his personal life but then growing and evolving into dealing with adversity in a positive manner. "I thought it was a good idea to instill as many positive messages into the songs as we could," says Tuck. "I have kids myself and we wanted to make sure there was something positive that people could take away from the album," Tuck notes. "There"s a lot of fun stuff, too, but we wanted to make sure people could get something positive out of hearing the album." Besides messages of empowerment and self-determination, Wide Open Spaces contains more than its share of whimsical interludes, such as "Peppermint Schnapps and Chocolate Milk" and the title cut, which features a guest appearance from EMI recording artists Maddwest. The song "Richard Nixon" is a dis song directed at the former president in a humorous vein. "We put it on there for a laugh," Tuck says. The album also deals with personal tragedy in Tuck"s life. The song "Butterflies in My Stomach" discusses the death of his infant daughter in January of this year. While some artists might not want to use such an incident for a song, Tuck felt compelled to write about it. "I wanted to deal with that subject in a track. It was in me and I had to get it out," he says. "It"s been very difficult over the last year. But I know that God has a plan and there"s something bigger there I don"t see." He says, "While I was completing the album after losing her, I felt like she was telling me to get this thing done. She was looking over my shoulder. There were so many late nights where I couldn"t even figure out how I was doing this, but she was the angel on my shoulder helping me get it done." The group came together at IUPUI in early 2000. "I was playing a solo gig at the Emerson and DJ Germ happened to be in attendance that night. We were in a class together at IUPUI, although we"d never really met. He saw me on stage and asked his friends who I was. They said, "He"s that guy in your class." We hooked up from there and we"ve been making music ever since." They stuck together while Tuck received his master"s degree in audio engineering at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Arizona, as well as interning at DARP Studios in Atlanta. While the album has been positively received by press and radio, Butterfly Toungz is busy working on its next project, an album described by Tuck as "somewhat darker" in tone than Wide Open Spaces. While doing that, the duo hopes to line up gigs with similarly-minded groups across the Midwest. Tuck especially looks up to the Mudkids. He and DJ Germ solicit their input as often as they can. "I"m a really big fan of theirs," Tuck says. "While we"re not trying to copy anyone, I really like the way they approach their music and keep things positive. If we could have just a fraction of their success, I"d be happy." With an amazing new album, they"re on their way. Wide Open Spaces is available at Karma and several other local record stores, as well as through mp3.com.
IMN Showcase to feature diverse array of acts
The seventh edition of the Indianapolismusic.net local music showcase, which will be held Saturday at Birdy"s, will feature a wide array of acts. Since its inception one year ago, the IMN showcases have been dedicated to spotlighting the widest possible array of local talent. Saturday"s show will be no different. From the punk sounds of The Giggies to the hard-rocking sounds of The Mumble and Hellwinkle to the return of Medicated Becky, one of the most popular acts of the 1990s, the IMN showcase has a little something for everyone. Cost of the show is $5 at the door. The doors open at 5 p.m. and the evening will be hosted by Jeff Sample. For more information about the acts appearing Saturday, go to www.indianapolismusic.net. 6-6:30 p.m. Model One 6:30-7 p.m. Sidereal 7-7:15 p.m. Roger Baker (unplugged) 7:15-7:45 p.m. Hellwinkle 8-8:30 p.m. F-6 8:45-9:15 p.m. Leonard Patterson 9:30-10 p.m. The Giggies 10-10:15 p.m. Butterfly Toungz 10:15-10:45 p.m. The Mumble 11-11:30 p.m. Blue Moon Revue 11:45 p.m. -12:15 a.m. Archies Address 12:30-1 a.m. Medicated Becky 1:15-1:45 a.m. Gogglesphere 2-2:30am a.m. Counter Clockwise