Rapper RZA has never settled for doing just one thing. The founder of the Wu-Tang Clan is recognised worldwide as a multi-faceted talent for his skills as a producer, director, writer, rapper, and actor; simply put he is a creator. Even after crafting multiple masterpieces over two decades in various mediums, he doesn’t stop striving and creating. Making ideas and creativity come to life wherever he can is how he rolls.
Whilst in post-production for 'The Man with the Iron Fist', a film he directed, starred in opposite Russell Crowe, and co-wrote with Eli Roth, RZA has collaborated WeSC. 'Chambers by RZA' sees the artist collaborate with the street fashion brand to create a range of next level headphones. As the range was unveiled in Bread&Butter last week, we sat down with the legend to learn more about the collaboration and hear about just how many pies he has his fingers in...
Dazed Digital: RZA, it's an absolute pleasure, how have you been?
RZA: I'm good. From 2010 I took it really quiet and just worked on two things, these headphones and my film. It took a lot of energy out of me, I've actually lost about eight pounds. I'm wasting away man. I'm enjoying it though. They say 'with great input comes great output'.
DD: In terms of the headphones themselves, what was the catalyst for the collaboration, was this something that you've wanted to do for a while?
RZA: It was suggested to my buddy, Tyler Childs who represents me and we both just thought it was something we had to do. We didn't want to take the same route as everyone else, we wanted to create something fresh. He brought me together with Gregor and we had a great meeting over dinner and it was just great energy, they had to kick us out of the place. Business or not it's nice meeting a fellow spirit. I just had to work with WeSC. The great thing about all of this was that they didn't move without letting me put my stamp on it. It wasn't a case of "hey, we made these so just put your name on it", I was involved during every step. Ofcourse, this was all happening during my movie, I was sitting in production answering all of these emails and pitches. After a few attempts we got it to where we wanted to get it though.
DD: What was the starting point for Chambers by RZA?
RZA: Most things are made by people who don't use it. For example, you buy a beat machine but the guy who made it doesn't make hip hop beats and that creates problems, if they work with a hip hop artist, they work much better. I'm a user and for this project started by looking at everything that I didn't like. I'm hip hop, so look was important, I looked at the style of the street. In terms of features, how many times have you been with your girl and been listening to music and had to pass your headphones back and forth?
These headphones eliminates that problem, you just plug up. One thing, just for the hell of it were the LED lights. Back in the day, you can remember lights going off in your car stereo, you could be in the back seat, maybe you're high and you'd be watching the lights, so why not on the headphones? Another problem we faced and erased was the battery problem. So many great headphones with noise cancellation just die with the batteries, our headphones can still be used as headphones that sound great, even if the battery dies out. Those problem we faced, those problems we erased. We incorporated as much as we could in to these headphone but we got a few other things that have taken more time to develop, so they will be there in the second or third run.
DD: So is Chambers by RZA a long term partnership?
RZA: If life permits, this is going to be a long process. There's one thing that I wish I could talk about because it's something they say is impossible but I'm going to push it. I'm trying to make the best headphones just like Thomas, from Tom and Jerry, was all about building the best mouse trap.
DD: The name obviously draws on your past...
RZA: I call it Chambers because first of all because this is my chamber music. I brought 36 Chambers in to this world with Wu Tang, that was my idea. Also, I think every man goes through his own chamber. We aren't just launching with one colour, we're launching with multiple colours and tiers, you can step to in any chamber you want, baby.
DD: Finally, what's next? You've been working on the film which is feted for release in March 2012...
RZA: The studios control the release date and all I can do it is finish it and give it to them. I've just got to complete my job. Also, I recently secured a season with the TV show Californication and I actually shot an episode on Monday in LA. The producer actually came to me and asked if I could get him some headphones for the show, I was like "Of course you can, cool." There's a cross pollination of coolness right now.