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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Hip-hop-electronica band Anti_Theory joins the ranks of Boston’s musical innovators

Anti_Theory at an underground birthday performance. 

Anti_Theory at an underground birthday performance. 

When was the last time you heard a piece of authentic music? In the modern age of mainstream radio where artists of every genre drown in a sea of sameness, it’s difficult to weed out actual talent from the mockery of noise. Although most cases result in the ladder, there is a glimmer of hope that music can still be fresh and innovative. That said — our eardrums will know when the moment comes.
University of Massachusetts Boston graduate student and staff of the Center of Survey Research Rumel Mahmood and digital technician of commercial photography Odi Jin are two musical artists who break away from the traditional discourse of mainstream music. Through forming their band, Anti_Theory the collaborative duo combines the booming elements of electronic music with the rhythmic beats of hip hop to create an overall powerful sound.
Inspired by artists of the musical underground, Anti_Theory resists confinement to any one genre or category — they are a product of musical fusion.
“There are theories of what good music is supposed to be like and what helps you sell records,” Mahmood said. “They go by clear, traditional genres whereas we genre bounce from hip hop to electronica and even a little alternative. We’re the alternate theory.”
The foundations of this ‘alternate theory’ took form nearly 20 years ago when Mahmood and Jin first met. The artists recall meeting in the sixth grade while riding the bus to the middle school they attended together in Cambridge. From that moment on, the two instantly became friends and began collaborating on musical projects soon later.
Mahmood and Jin discovered the underground music scene during the era of Generation X, when most youths were heavily immersed in the grunge and alternative rock culture. Jin remembers being first inspired by the Chemical Brothers, which led to him focusing on aspects of rhythm and harmony. Mahmood, on the other hand, considers the Golden era of hip hop to be the primary significant influence of his music career, and was particularly inspired by rap artist KRS One.
Although the duo found their sources of inspiration on different pillars of the musical underground, this diversity is an integral component to what would become Anti_Theory.
Mahmood and Jin take on distinctive roles throughout their collaborative musical process. Jin finds his passion in creating the powerful elements used in each arrangement while Mahmood is the brain behind the lyrics.
“It’s a collaboration based on respect,” Jin said. “We work very well together because of this mutual understanding.”
Anti_Theory also utilizes a different method of recording their music compared to the formula used by most musicians. “We work kind of backwards,” Mahmood said. “The lyrical flow is raw and all free-style and I go back to write the lyrics down after hearing it from the recording.”
When Mahmood begins to free-style, Jin centers in on the passion and message heard in the lyrics in order to create a veracious musical backdrop that complements the song’s core. Both the lyrical and musical style is hard-hitting and derived from the pure emotion that transpires from the band’s stream of consciousness.
Setting them apart from modern artists, Anti_Theory is dedicated to conveying a message through each of their songs to raise cognizance among humanity. “The lyrics are in your face yet intellectual,” Mahmood said. “We balance emotion and tenacity of the freestyle with the consciousness of the free world.”
The dynamic between lyrics and instrumentation for each song successfully garners attention from listeners due to the alternating electronic beats and fluid rhyme scheme.
“Sometimes we think we’re too electronic for the hip hop crowd and too hip hip for the electronic crowd,” Jin said. “Our genre should be considered ‘hiphonica’.”
No matter what genre Anti_Theory is classified as, the band receives positive feedback whenever they perform for a live audience. They enjoy opening up for both rappers and electronica artists, and often interact with the audience after a performance to hear their opinions on what they believed the moral of the song signified.
After releasing their debut self-titled album a few years ago, the band is currently in the process of working on their sophomore album which they hope to release by the end of this year. In the meantime, Mahmood and Jin just returned from a show they played in Utica, New York, and will continue to perform at local venues in the Boston area.
On a final note, if you’re looking to hear some new gratifying music, check out Anti_Theory.
For more information on upcoming live shows and more please visit:
http://www.antitheoryboston.com/
http://www.soundcloud.com/anti_theory
http://www.reverbnation.com/antitheoryboston
https://www.facebook.com/antitheoryboston
https://twitter.com/anti_theory
http://www.myspace.com/antitheoryboston