It should be clear to anyone in Shenzhen that Adrian Blackstock aka Black Dragon aka VaChina is one of the most talented and hustling musical artists in the city, if not the most. So when he dropped his latest album ‘VaChina II” on Valentine’s day recently – we were all ears. After digesting that, we hit him up with a few questions…
Sup Dragon. How is life and how are you doing upon the release of your 2nd solo album?
I’m so thankful to get a chance to play the music that I love and release what’s been inside for a long time!
VaChina is a bridge between two worlds. Fill some people in on the Virginia (VA) side. Where’s the inspiration coming from?
Timbaland, Missy Elliot, Pharell Williams & The Neptunes, Pusha T. & The Clipse, Teddy Riley, D’Angelo, and DJ Quest are all Virginia inspirations. Virginia is the Middle East of America, often forgotten but a pivotal part in the beginning of America. Where I’m from is where the division of the North and South ended a long time ago and is now where the South begins.
How did you produce the album and what was the recording process like?
I sampled a lot of the tunes on the album from old chinese records, old video games, and random afro songs that I torrented. I made most of the drum patterns, added some small pieces and then I got friends like Maarten, Jubil, Jon, Uran, and Curt to lay down layers on top. We recorded all of the vocal tracks at The Dojo/Beltran Family home studio at the time and it was awesome. The ‘Born Without Words’ tracking was the most fun for me out of all the songs.
I’m really smitten by Or Something. What’s your favorite song on the new album?
The Vibekiller, right now but it’s always changing, because it’s a song about overcoming with teamwork and the new choreo for it is dope!
Who’s killing it the most right now in the Shenzhen music scene?
MOTT is killing it right now, they just put out their album, and Matt Dowling’s stage presence inspires me. Also Peter Kruse, he’s always putting out new music videos. Shady Monkey Hip Hop though sets the precedent and those guys are always one step ahead and working their behinds off. Daniel Power is killing it now too, Sector underground is super legit!
What’s the next in store for you this spring? Will you keep VaChina going?
We’re being more selective about when and where we play this spring because we’re realizing it’s so important to have the right elements for our live show and we need all of The Essence to be there.
Tell us a little bit about the lovely ladies supporting you.
They’re called The Essence because in an old kung fu film a master drank his wife’s wine and all the men in town loved it…they loved it because as she mixed the wine her sweat would fall into the batch sometimes and the master noticed this..he commentead “the men love your wine because your essence is mixed inside” They are the essence of what VaChina is all about and they are six lovely dancers named Bea Abad from Spain (also our choreographer) Rachel Gao from China, Henrietta Akindele from UK, Faye Yijian from China, and Shyanne Valentine from USA.
When are you leaving China and where will that take you?
Yes we’re leaving Shenzhen in November and will be traveling a little then returning to Virginia and Spain for the holidays to be with my family and Bea’s and then not sure yet. Thinking about Toronto in March of 2018 but not sure. We’ll go wherever the universe leads us but we want to explore our talents in another pond for a while so that we can have more to contribute to Shenzhen whenever we come back.
Anything else to add?
Please check out the albums VaChina i and ii at www.VaChina411.com or VaChina.bandcamp.com and our music is all over the internet so it’s not hard to find! Thanks Jesse for everything you gave to our community, Fresh Crew, DJ Quest, MuzikBOX and everything else that’s super cool that you’ve done! Peace & Blessings.
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