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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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July 2010 - January 2013
Artist Of The Week – Phenetiks
Monday, April 14, 2008

Phenetiks is the AntFarm Affiliates group made up of (pictured from left to right) Deto-22, DJ Sir.Cumference, Protégé and Roc-one. Chosen as one of the Rawkus 50 last year, these are four men from four very different backgrounds who have come together thanks to a shared love of Hip-Hop. “Come together” actually understates what they’ve done as three of the members of the group live at different corners of the state of Connecticut with Deto-22 in Wolcott, Protégé in Waterbury and Roc in Danbury, while Sir.Cumference is even further away in Boston, Mass. Despite these logistical issues Phenetiks has still managed to consistently rock stages as a group and put out two albums in two years. When they finish Dirt it will be three in three years. This week I caught up with all four of them to find out more about how they linked up, what it meant to be named to the Rawkus 50, and why they feel they’ll make a lasting impact.

Adam Bernard: Start me off by telling me about the formation of the group. When did you meet and when did you become Phenetiks?
Deto-22: Back in the ‘94 some friends and I wanted to be huge rap stars. I had already been making beats for a few years and was looking for vocals to cut for a song we were working on as I was a DJ then, as well, when I came across a line that Prime Minister Pete Nice of 3rd Bass said in the a capella for "Derelicts of Dialect," "phonetics on phonograph’ll prime your petrol." The light bulb went off, toaster dinged, there was a video montage of flowers opening, rockets taking off, trains, tunnels, all that shit. So I wrote it down and spelled it phonetically with the first "e" upside down to represent the schwa. Phenetiks was named. Fast forward a few years and that's when I met this hairy bastard.
Roc-one: Deto and I met at a lake one day while we were all skipping school back in like ‘98 after this big ass cypher we were having. He told me he made beats and hit me with a tape. We got together and he wanted me to be down. You see Phenetiks is Deto's baby and I helped him raise it. It wasn't until 2001 that we added a third member, who is no longer with us, and then Pro and Sir came on board in 2005.

Adam Bernard: How do each of your backgrounds differ? Did you all discover Hip-Hop in the same way, or are your stories radically different?
Roc-one: I would say the biggest difference is that we are all of different races and cultures. As for me, I'm half Dominican and Puerto Rican born and raised in Brooklyn, NYC, where the rest of my crew is from CT. Growing up in Medina I discovered Hip-Hop at around four years old. It wasn't until my moms bought me LL Cool J's Bigger and Deffer and Eric B. and Rakim's Paid In Full that I went nuuuuuts! I didn't have a stereo of my own and mom dukes wasn't trying to hear that shit so all I had was a Teddy Ruxpin. It might sound funny but this thing was animated man. It moved its mouth to the words and all that. I felt like this mechanical teddy bear was performing for me every time I pressed play. Needless to say I was in love. I played around with rhyming and whatnot as a child but when Black Moon's Enta Da Stage came out, that’s when I decided to take this shit serious.
Sir.Cumference: Hip-Hop has always been a part of my life. As far back as I can remember I have loved music, especially rhythmic music. Because of this I have always wanted to be able to reproduce it for myself, so I picked up a beatboxing habit in elementary school. I didn't fully embrace Hip-Hop, however, until the mid 90's when I was making my transition from middle school to high school. I remember one of the first albums that my brother came home with, it was Beats Rhymes and Life by A Tribe Called Quest. That album really took me to another place. From that point on I have been a student of Hip Hop, learning and dissecting the culture and analyzing how it has evolved over the years.
Protégé: Interestingly enough DJ Sir.Cumference and I would have never become friends if it wasn't for Hip-Hop. I remember we had art class together in 7th grade and people were talking about their favorite Hip-Hop albums. We had both just copped the Soul Assassins album and that topic came up. We talked about that album for the rest of the period and we’ve been friends ever since. My relationship started with deto-22 in the same fashion. We both had mutual friends for a while but never met. I had heard his work and said to myself "this is the guy I gotta have produce my project." Just before the original Ant Farm Studio closed down I recorded “A.F.” with Spaz and Roc. I think it was like two days later I caught deto-22 in the studio for the first time. The first thing that came into my mind, "oh shit, he's a white dude makin all those dope beats."

Adam Bernard: Ha ha, surprise! Another surprise for you was being named one of the Rakwus 50. How did that affect you?
Protégé: I think as new artists who just entered the underground scene in 2005 we were pretty excited to get that kind of recognition from one of the most influential Hip-Hop labels. At the same time it was like, OK now we know people are listening, its time to step our game up. We invested in new equipment, we worked on our live show, and we have grown and matured so much since being named to the Rawkus 50. All in all, being named in the Rawkus 50 made us work harder.

Adam Bernard: You are also part of another team, the AntFarm Affiliates. How many artists are in the AFA and what do you all have in common that brings you together?
Deto-22: The AFA consists of us, Workforce, d_Cyphernauts, Expertiz, Quest, Spaz, Sketch Tha Cataclysm, Cee-Reed and Pruven and what's dope is it's almost what’s different about us all that brought us together. True, everybody's really focused, hungry and on the same page, but artistically you couldn't get a better spectrum.
Protégé: We were also genuine fans of each other’s work before we even put our heads together creatively.
Roc-one: Me personally, I can't work with anyone I don't respect on a friendship level and as a whole we all share the same ideals and goals and have the same visions as far as the direction the world is going in. Hip-Hop has brought us together in many ways, but I would say it’s the trials and tribulations that we have gone through individually that puts us all on the same playing field.

Adam Bernard: Why will Phenetiks be a group that makes an impact and leaves a lasting impression?
Protégé: Because we are all extremely good looking. DUH! Seriously, though, Phenetiks is a group that will continue to push the envelope when it comes to sound. We concentrate on making music before Hip-Hop. You can see it in our performances and you can hear it in our voices, we love what we do. That’s the only thing that matters.
Deto-22: No washed down, hyped up, fame addicts here, just good people making good music for themselves that like to share it with ya’ll.

Related Links

MySpace: myspace.com/phenetiks

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