Get Familiar: The Primeridian

Get Familiar: The PrimeridianThe Primeridian has been rocking the Chicago hip hop world for over a decade. The group has flown largely under the radar, putting out nearly ten releases and working with  numerous artists from the local scene and all over the world. Most recently, See-Me-On and Race have teamed up with producer Tall Black Guy to release the album Darling Lure. Meet one of the dopest jazz and hip hop fusion groups you’ve never heard of from one of the most criminally slept-on music scenes in the country.

Name: Simeon Viltz, Darshon “Race” Gibbs

Age: How old do i look?

Hometown: ChicaGO, ILL

Label/Group affiliations: The Primeridian, Moi’, SFG, Ray Elementary, High Noon, All Natural Inc., Guidance, JUBA Collective, 4 Fingers and a Thumb, #74… GOD

Discography: The Flash Ep (1998 Casette Tape and CD), The Go Figure Ep (2001 CD and Vinyl), The Solid Nugget 12 (2003 Vinyl only) with Higruallahz/PCP on Hedrub Records, Da Mornin Afta (2007 CD and Digital Release), Da CrackADawn (2011 MixP3 Digital Release only), Darling Lure (2011 Digital Release, limted CD release) with Primeridian on All Natural Records

Seems like Chicago doesn’t get much national love for their local music scene. What are some artists people should know about?
Simeon: So many, I will say folk like ADaD, Cap D (All Natural), Pugs Atomz, Psalm One, Nikki Lynette, Rita J, Molemen Camp, Vice Verse and Vic Mensa are definitely getting their name up these days.  I would also have to mention, Rashid Hadee, Wes Restless, Krystal Franklin, Khari Lemuel, Mass Hysteria, Neak, Sincerely Yours, Griffin, Vic Spencer, Jah Safe, Malakh L, DVS (Mike P), Shev Rock, Antar, Big Malcolm Little, Yaw, Phil G, Mreld, Ang-13 and Phillip Morris who are also some of my favs…   I would have a whole other list for producers but there are some of the artists (i’m sure i left some out).

How did you get started making music?

Simeon: I was born into it. My Father is from New Orleans and was a part of the group, Black Lightning (consisting of some of the Chi-Lites and EWF) where he played the trumpet and showed me some things early on. My Grandmother was a classically trained pianist who played in my church growing up. I gained some first hand lessons from her as well. Finally, my Grand Uncle played vibes in the legendary group, The Jones Brothers.

Darshon: Playing saxophone in the school, spinning records at my friend, DJ Jaytoo’s house, later a demo deal as The Late Show with The Twilite Tone on Relativity Records

So when did you start getting into hip hop?
Simeon: I was fortunate to be able to grow up during a time when you would hear, Kurtis Blow and SugarHill Gang at the Roller Skating Rink, watch the premier of the movie “Beat Street” and hear Afrika Bambaataa “Planet Rock” as well as Melly Mel “White Lines” and “The Message” on the radio…  During that time I’d breakdance (i had a mean swipe), and take a stab at Graffiti.  It actually wasn’t until I saw Race (Darshon) kick a rap (that he wrote) in the basement of Ray Elementary (rehearsing for a play) when I was in 6th grade that I actually thought about being an emcee.  I’ll admit that I started by biting most of his rap (integrating my name and so forth), but that was the Genesis and was what made me realize you could actually do it and not just hear it on the radio or see it on TV.  He was the first cat who I saw do that in person.

If you could do something over again in your life, would you? What would it be and why?

Simeon: Hard to say. Life is all about decisions and every decision has consequences. I try to appreciate everything as it’s in Divine order. I would say that if I knew what I know now, I’d probably have matured earlier but that’s the beauty of growth.

Darshon: I don’t think I would do anything different. I am grateful for all my experiences and all te lessons I have learned to date, good or bad. Plus I don’t live with regret, don’t wana carry that baggage.

Tell us about a great music memory that you’ve had.

Simeon: Here are a few: Having jam sessions as a child with my Father who would play vibes while I’d play piano. Being in the studio with my oldest Daughter (almost 3 yrs. old at the time) recording a song for French producer GMJ on The Primeridian’s “Don’t Cry” where she started giving her younger siblings shout-outs and was in the pocket of the record. Being overseas with the JUBA Collective, learning from master musicians Kahil El Zabar, Ari Brown, Bobby Irving (keys; produced for Miles Davis), Fareed Haque, Frank Orall (Poi Dog Pondering), and artist D-Zine.

Darshon: Rocking with Rakim at the Metro Chicago. Rakim and KRS One inspired me to do this.

What’s in the future for you, short and long term?

Simeon: To continue to make music with healing and from the heart as well as fun… More work with TBG “DarlingLure,” finishing up The Primeridian – Rashid Hadee collaboration project, another Primeridian EP with Black Spade, Twilite Tone, Kenautis Smith, Tensei Beats, a solo project entitled Ray Elementary with producer Mulatto Patriot, another project with Ced No (I, Ced), producing a solo album, production work for The Pharcyde, The Electric and upcoming group SFG (be on the lookout!).

Darshon: Projects with Tensei, Rashid Hadee, Kenautis Smith, Twilite Tone and Dj Ron Trent.

You’re staying real busy with all of these side projects and other work. What’s the difference for you between working with different artists?

Simeon: It all varies between various artists/producers.   Some tend to be more free-flowing and in the moment while others can be more meticulous and thought out.   I tend to delve in between.  The best collaboration process is when everyone has humility and has genuine respect for one another and each other’s ideas/talents. With The Primeridian, we’ve been at it for a while so it gets to a point where it becomes 2nd nature.

Check out the video for The Primeridian and Tall Black Guy’s “Whistle While You Work” below. Their collaborative album, Darling Lure, can be picked up on iTunes now.

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