Saturday Morning Cartoon
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Saturday Morning Cartoon

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF
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"Why Self-Produced Rap Can Work"

Work
There’s a great feature article in Northwest Asian Weekly about a Seattle-based rap duo that’s making a name for itself, complete with self-produced music. Saturday Morning Cartoon features the rap beats – mostly improvised – of John Alvis and Max Youn.

Focus On Hip-Hop

First off, both of these guys have day jobs. They self-produce their rap beats because it’s what they like to do. They’re playing in small clubs around Seattle right now and put on 25 live performances last year, but they’ve still had enough time to put together their first 19-track album, Cereal Box Superheroes. They’ve also put together a collection of mixtapes, which showcase their improvisational style.

They don’t have a major label – or even a minor one – backing them up. They sell their music right from their Web site. If you’re thinking that you can do this, you’re right.

Self-produced music is a growing segment of the music marketplace. Individual musicians and groups avoid the whole music label conundrum simply by eliminating the label altogether. You can produce your own rap beats, hip hop music or whatever genre you like using tools that are readily available.

Sonic Producer is one great tool you should know about if you’re interested in producing your own music. With Sonic Producer, which is available for both the Mac and PC, you can record your own songs, use any of the thousands of royalty-free samples in your music and make your own mixtapes or albums.

You’ll get a professional sounding recording on a 16-track software mixer. If you’re new to the music production scene, Sonic Producer also comes with great video tutorials to help you learn how to use the software and put together great rap beats!

Don’t wait to be discovered to start your musical career. With Sonic Producer, you can self-produce your own music and begin building your brand. Sonic Producer enables you to export your music to popular music file formats. You can share your beats easily with friends and fans, make your music available online or even sell your songs through iTunes or another delivery site.

You don’t need to buy any additional mixing equipment. Use the recording equipment you have on hand, or get yourself set up with a basic setup. Sonic Producer will give you great sounding recordings and a huge sample library to start out with. There’s nothing quite like it on the market. If you’re ready to start self-producing your own music, download your copy of Sonic Producer and make music today! - BeatMaker.Net


"Cereal Box Superheroes – Saturday Morning Cartoon"

From the playful hip-hop minds of Jonnie Storm and Nitro Fresh, the dudes who comprise Saturday Morning Cartoon, comes Cereal Box Superheroes, the crew’s debut album. Beginning today, SMC will leak one (or two) tracks per day for FREE. Each drop will only be available for 24 hours, so stay up on the group’s Bandcamp page (linked below) daily to make sure you get the whole album.

An upbeat and positive vibe is SMC’s general hustle, along with healthy use of the talk-box, which adds a nostalgic old-school futurism to the group’s sound. - 206UP.COM


"Seattle Rap Group “Saturday Morning Cartoon” Releases Cartoon Music Video"

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Seattle Rap Group “Saturday Morning Cartoon” Releases Cartoon Music Video
by Hot Topic Seattle on March 1, 2011

The Seattle rap group Saturday Morning Cartoon has already carved a name for themselves on Seattle’s music scene with their versatility and complete genre saturation: from their online video show “Live from the basement”, to regularly scheduled live performances, to full-out graphic arts and character designs promoting their alter egos. Now, with the release of their new music video, “Something Brand Nu,” the group has reached new animated heights.

Saturday Morning Cartoon is comprised of Max “Nitro Fresh” Youn and John “Jonnie Storm” Alvis. Joining them on this track is Julie “Julie C” Chang Schulman from the group Alpha P.

For this release Nitro Fresh worked with David Toledo, the Director of the Unified Outreach non-profit Arts program, to create a cartoon animation based on character icons designed by Nitro Fresh himself.

The Unified Outreach non-profit Arts program offers free industry level training programs to low income and inner city youth. After speaking with Nitro Fresh David knew that the partnership was a perfect match: “Early next year (2012) Unified Outreach is hoping to present a Festival of Animation featuring 60 minutes of cartoons created by the youth in our program. The “Something Brand Nu” video was the perfect vehicle to get the children’s feet wet, and to show them that they have the ability to be successful doing something they love,” said Toledo.

Saturday morning Cartoon is performing live at the H2o6 Birthday Benefit for Charity: Water fundraiser on Sunday, March 13, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

For more information on the band, as well as music downloads, visit http://nitrofresh.com. The video is currently viewable on YouTube. - The SunBreak


"Saturday Morning Cartoon, a hip hop duo, strive to prove that Seattle is more than rock chords"

In a city hailed for its alternative and indie rock music scene, Seattle doesn’t have much street cred when it comes to mainstream hip hop. However, the underground hip hop scene is thriving as many local MCs eagerly show that the Emerald City can offer more than just rock chords.

Enter Saturday Morning Cartoon (SMC) — a local hip hop duo made up of John Alvis and Max Youn. These two have been shaking up the local scene with their on-the-spot beats improvised during performances, a feat that is uncommon at most live hip hop shows.

Known to fans by their stage names Nitro Fresh and Jonnie Storm, Youn and Alvis, respectively, met in 2008 at a mutual friend’s rap show.

At the time, Youn was trying to network with other people in the industry by distributing CDs of his self-produced music. Alvis received one of the discs, listened to it, and decided to invite Youn out for coffee to discuss the possibility of creating music together — just for fun.

Improvisation as a way of creating and performing music

Then one day, on a whim, Alvis proposed the idea of performing and working together.

Because he is an avid toy collector, the group’s name was inspired by his collection.

“I have so many [toys], and each one is all over the place. They’re free-range,” said Alvis. “And much like cartoons on a Saturday morning, I wanted our music to reflect our fun and out-of-the-box thinking. We didn’t want to be limited.”

“From our live shows to mixtapes to [our group] name, many of the things we do are improvised,” added Youn.

A flexible mindset dictates how SMC approaches their music. While the majority of hip hop MCs bring a pre-produced CD for a DJ to play at a venue as they rap over it in live shows, SMC sets their music apart.

They produce all of their music on-the-spot, giving their songs a more organic sound and feel.

While Alvis typically raps in shows, Youn creates the unique beats that set the backdrop for Alvis.

“When we perform live, we use something that is more like what I’d call our ‘hip hop instruments,’ ” said Alvis of Youn’s production work. “Audiences are always surprised by what we do because everyone expects to see performers use CDs, mp3s, or iPods in a live show,” said Alvis.

In any live performance, Youn utilizes a drum machine called an MPC, which produces percussive beats. He also plays a synthesizer keyboard and uses a talk box, which is an effects unit that combines a musical instrument’s sound with a person’s voice.

Alvis and Youn performed more than 25 shows last year and believe that Seattle audiences are accustomed to spontaneous live music performances, as influenced by many of the live shows put on by rock bands that come to the city.

“We got to be on that same level of live performance,” said Youn. “Seattle audiences are used to that energy [in a show], so that’s why we bring a high level of love, spontaneity, and improvisation to our performances. You need to give people something they’ve never seen before, but still meet their expectations for a good show.”

Defying profile expectations in music

Beside surprising audiences with their original live beats, SMC also challenges the general audience expectation of a hip hop group.

“When people hear our CD before they see us live, [due to our group name,] they think our music comes from white guys,” said Alvis, who is Black. Youn is a 1.5-generation Korean American. “People see us on stage before the show begins, and they think we’re just going to do some comedy rap. It’s just the way Seattle is.”

But Youn and Alvis enjoy showing the crowd what they’re capable of, despite first impressions.

Delton Mosby, a local hip hop artist known by his MC name Delton Son, has known Alvis since high school. Despite years of friendship, even Mosby admitted that he was taken aback the first time he saw SMC perform.

“When you see SMC on stage, it’s like looking at two formal businessmen,” said Mosby. “You have no idea that they’re MCs, let alone [two MCs] working together. They’re like night and day. And then [Alvis] starts spitting rhymes and [Youn] plays his beats, and you realize it’s the look and the music together that sets them apart from other artists.”

“My cousins came to one of our shows, and they didn’t expect me to be working with an Asian guy,” said Alvis. “After the show, they raved about [Youn], saying, ‘That Asian boy is [awesome]!’ ”

Likewise, Youn’s parents are unperturbed that their son is working with a Black musician.

“My parents are more annoyed that I focus on music as opposed to who I’m working with,” joked Youn.

Neither Youn nor Alvis has met anyone who has questioned their working relationship. Alvis said he encounters more racism in his day job as a maintenance technician for the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority. Because he routinely checks on buildings in the International District, Alvis meets and encounters many Asians on the street. Most are nice to him. But a few are not.

“That’s why what we have is a beautiful thing,” said Alvis. “We can just get together and make our own noise and not talk about race. And show that two people who don’t look alike shouldn’t be limited to stereotypes.”

Despite racial differences, Alvis and Youn both grew up with skepticism from their parents about their respective music endeavors.

When he was young, Alvis’ father, a Baptist preacher, viewed the hip hop genre and musicians as a fad.

Upon his parents’ insistence, Youn went to law school, but he didn’t finish because he knew it wasn’t for him. Though both sets of parents hoped only to protect Alvis and Youn from the instability of a music career, both men still pursued music on the side.

“I bought my first keyboard without telling my parents, and I had to hide it for a week in the back of my car,” said Youn about his college days. “And I had to come up with some excuse to my parents every time I went out to a rehearsal or show.”

These days, Youn is a consultant with a business strategy consulting firm. He also helps his brother run a beer and wine specialty store.

On the horizon

This month, SMC dropped their 19-track debut album, “Cereal Box Superheroes.” From party tunes to hardcore hip hop, the songs focus on all aspects of life, such as listening to one’s inner voice during times of doubt and overcoming obstacles to achieve positive outcomes.

SMC will also perform locally during the next few months, including a special show called Arts in Fusion, where local artists collaborate with musicians. In the show, artists will paint while musicians perform alongside them.

Along with Mosby, Alvis and Youn coordinated this particular show to provide an outlet for minority artists and musicians not only to create and perform, but also to expose Seattle audiences to hidden talents within the local arts community.

“These visual artists don’t have many places to showcase their work. Some of them are literally unknown,” said Mosby about the event. “We’re hoping that Arts in Fusion will give voice to these minority artists, just like hip hop does with its music.” ?
- Northwest Asian Weekly


Discography

"ABC's & 123's" (Mixtape)
"Cereal Box Superheroes" (LP)
"Illustrations" (Mixtape)
"Cereal Box Superheroes - REMIX" (LP)
"Little Birdy" (Single)
"Run & Tell Dat" (Single)

Photos

Bio

SATURDAY MORNING CARTOON is a Seattle-based hiphop duo formed by Jonnie Storm (MC/Vocal) and Nitro Fresh (Beats/Talkbox).

Seattle-native (born & raised) Jonnie Storm, then known as JonDoe, started rapping in high school. He formed a group called Lyrical Influence with his brother LRC the Man, D-Frost and Bloddy Passion. After a couple years of exposure and a brief experience with a local music label, SeaSick Records, JonDoe stared performing with Sir Kado and Maanumental (of Giant Panda). They later launched a label called Ukenjam Records which JonDoe and LRC the Man released several albums as Blak Swan with. JonDoe decided to reinvent himself as not only a rapper but a musician and changed his name to Jonnie Storm shortly before his EP release.

Born in Seoul, Korea, Nitro Fresh’s musical career began in his high school years. He was a rapper/producer formerly known as M.A.XX. (Musically Appealing Xtraordinary Xpert) in a Korean-American community as well as in the University of Washington. As a founding member of Rapsori Project, a hiphop group consisted of first generation Korean-American immigrants, he released two albums on MP3.com. Starting in the late 90s he concentrated more on electronic music such as techno, trance and house genres. Under his solo project named Creamy Revolution, he co-produced “E.F.O.”(Electronic Flying Object), one of the first electronic music compilation releases in South Korea, and Cosmic Ally. While he kept himself busy producing and remixing many international artists, he decided to work closely with local artists mainly in the genre of hiphop.

Jonnie Storm and Nitro Fresh had first met in 2008 at the local album release party by the rapper Soul the Interrogator. It was when Jonnie Storm put out his EP, “Rain Proof”, and consistently performed at various venues. It was also when Nitro Fresh had just returned to the hip hop production after spending 7-8 years as an electronic musician and DJ. After greeting, Jonnie Storm and Nitro Fresh exchanged their CDs and were immediately impressed by each other’s skills and potentials.

Jonnie Storm and Nitro Fresh realized they both had similar passion and tastes in music. The two decided to combine their forces and formed a duo, Saturday Morning Cartoon. As a group, Jonnie Storm writes majority of rhymes while Nitro Fresh does 90% of production and engineering as well as a talkbox. They are known for their unique performance on the stage where Nitro Fresh plays his MPC drum machine and a talkbox while Jonnie Storm raps and hypes the crowds. “We try not to do the typical rap show where MCs rap with their instrumental CDs played by DJ in the background,” say Jonnie Storm and Nitro Fresh. One often sees Saturday Morning Cartoon as a “Seattle version of Blu & Exile with a hint of Roger Troutman” who are some of Saturday Morning Cartoon’s heavy influences.