|2Mex's fan base will destroy you. Just look what they did to that deer.|2Mex
is the kinda guy who likes to put his money where his mouth is. Two months before the November release of his new album, My Fan Base Will Destroy You
(on Sage Francis' label, Strange Famous Records
), this veteran LA rapper is prepared to show us the truth behind the album title.
On Sep. 18, he'll be jumping on stage at the Fox Theater Pomona along with 30 of his favorite acts for the mammoth line-up of SunGod Summer Sunfest. Partnering up with LA promotion company Project Sweatshop, 2Mex (born Alex Ocana Jr.) crystallized his dream to throw a festival of hand-picked acts ranging from ska to dub step, reggae, rock and--of course--underground hip hop. He even named it after one of his many hip-hop monikers, SunGodSuns.
Capitalizing on a cross-section of LA, Inland Empire and OC fans, this all-day festival spans from 4 p.m. to midnight. In a brief phone interview about this genre-bending show built from scratch, 2 Mex clues us in on the particulars of an event that promises to flex his fan base and fuck with people's heads.
OC Weekly (Nate Jackson): The event website mentions the fact that the show was designed to satisfy an LA crowd. Explain that.
2 Mex: I've been wanting to throw my own festival for a couple of yeas now. My goal has been to throw a festival with bands I like, whether they're old or new, as well as a lot of up-and-coming groups that I like. My partner Orlando [Padilla] said we should mix it up. We were kind of dreaming big about having this festival that isn't just hip-hop. Everything I do ends up being "LA-friendly." It's a little something for everybody and at the same time, it's not something you see everyday. We put our money where our mouth is and went and found groups that I grew up listening to.
You've got one of the headlining bands, Cultural Profectica, coming to us all the way from Puerto Rico. How did you choose them for the festival?
They're pretty amazing--they're a really conscious, really heavy reggae band. I dunno if they're gonna go last, but I wanted to put a peaceful chill on the end of the night with all the frantic energy of the underground hip-hop. I think it took like 10 seconds for me to say, "yeah, I want these guys."
There's a lot of ska bands in the line-up. Is that a genre you grew up with that's close to your heart?
The ska that I grew up on was more like Madness, the Skatalites, bands like that. Checking out the new ska scene, it's still so young and energetic. These kids aren't really like the punkers of the past. They're not all rude and pissed off. They're more about the music. I think the show is all about frenetic energy. We wanna see ska kids trip out when the Visionaries are moshing, or giving rap groups their first experience of groups like Matamoska.
So the plan is to fuck with people's heads a little bit?
There's no excuse to not come. If you like the new underground, you've got Machina Muerte and Cheschi Ramos. If you like the traditional LA stuff, you got Busdriver and the Visionaries. If you like old-school, east coast hip-hop, you got Camp Lo and the Beatnuts. It's a little bit of everything...This isn't an event to come and be seen or jibber-jabber at. This music is gonna hit you in the head like a sledge hammer. I hope that people who love music and who are open-minded are gonna come to this. I hope it's not just our usual crowd. It's gonna be an interesting clash.
You're throwing the show with Project Sweatshop who also threw the LA's We the People Festival two years ago--a show you performed at with your band Look Daggers. What inspired you to work with them again?
Padilla, the promoter, has always believed in me and has always given me the opportunity to play in front of festival crowds. He believes in my art and thinks I should play bigger shows. I was definitely inspired by Murs' work with the Paid Dues festival. And I feel, to some degree, that I have a really loyal fan base in L.A. In fact, I have a new album coming out that's called My Fan Base Will Destroy You. So I'm really trying to be tuned in with the people that support me. We threw a Christmas show last year with no fliers, just word of mouth, and 700 people came. We knew that if we threw something with great promotion and a great line-up that people will come. I know they will.
How did you decide on the Fox Theater Pomona to host the show?
It's a good middle ground. I originally wanted to have it outdoors in LA But because of the city's GCS [Globe Clothing Stores] stores and 10-15 years of established support out there, Pomona has been great. It's a venue all the kids know. I do a lot of ghetto house parties and underground, boot leg stuff that people don't always get to see. So whenever I get to play places like the Fox theater or the Glass House or House of Blues, people always come and support. And with the ticket prices, we wanted to be able to give people 30 bands for 20 bucks. This show is isn't really a profit-making show. We're just trying to do it as a labor of love.
You have a lot of bands in the line-up that you've collaborated with (Free Moral Agents, Bus Driver, Shape Shifters). Any plans to jump on stage with other acts in addition to your set?
I'm friends with so many of those groups that I could be there all day rapping. But this show's kinda now about me like that. But I'll do a decent solo set and also play with the Visionaries. When it comes to the Shape Shifters and Free Moral Agents, I'll probably be on the side supporting...jumping around and acting like a fool.
SunGod Summer Sunfest at the Fox Theater Pomona, Sep. 18. 301 South Garey AvenuePomona. (877) 283-6976, www.foxpomona.com. $20. 4 p.m. All ages.