"You have to make sure you are feeding the crowd energy from start to finish. The goal is to make the crowd excited for the next time they get to see us perform again." - Marc Mostro
"It’s all about keeping the vibe where it needs to be and coming with a proper set. At the end of the day it’s about captivating the crowd." - Doc Obvious
"It starts with passion . . . and finishes with focus, preparation and presentation. It's like serving a great dinner." - Cove Blackbelt
Those are just a few tips from a handful of EV III members about what goes into putting on a quality show, the latter coming from Joe Vasquez (aka Cove), one of the founding members of long-running hip-hop collective Essential Vitamins Crew. And given the schedule that Vasquez and company have put together for this summer, that passion will be on frequent display.
Originally forming in 2008 in the basement of DJ Optimus Prime, along with Made Dukez and Cove, the crew (which includes a grab bag of DJs, emcees, tattoo artists and others) has entered its latest phase, the EV III Posse, one that is set to act as an "umbrella" for a growing collection of art, music and media.
"EV III Posse is the total family collective that we run with, most of whom rubbed shoulders in constant passing and decided to brand ourselves," said Vasquez.
"We were three different crews coming together: Prime Example (Old Souls), Koolie High and EVC," explains Posse DJ Pro.Gram, aka Mike Kane, of the birth of Voltron III, one of those growing units that falls under Vasquez's umbrella. "We’ve all been boys for a while now, so the whole crew thing kinda just came together naturally."
The EV III Posse has a busy couple of months ahead, ones that include a new Prime Example record, a Pro.Gram/Cove collaboration, a handle of shows and various projects that are currently in "the vault." Kicking off one of the first Voltron III contributions to the EV III summer is "Leaders of the New Kool," the latest record from Toneyboi, the moniker of Koolie High member Bryant Toney.
"I've had 'Leaders of the New Kool' in my head for about two years now, and almost scrapped it because I couldn't really find the sound I was looking for," begins Toney. "Then I met this kid Neckbone Rollins, who, might I add, is a very...special character. We ended up working on this sound for almost a year and we're both really pleased with what we're putting out.
"This is Neckbone's first release, so it's going to be fun to see him enjoy it," he continued, adding he has shot three video for the project with local filmmakers, along with a Silo Session that will be coming out this summer. The release party will also act as a going-away party for Toney who is moving to Orlando to finish school at Full Sail University at the end of the month.
Toney and the rest of the EV/Voltron crew and friends will be taking over Waiting Room Saturday evening to give him a proper send off as well as celebrate the release of the "Leaders of the New Kool" record. Additional entertainment will be provided by Koolie High, Gldn Girls, Prime Example, Optimus Prime and more. Further event details can be found here.
Despite his upcoming relocation, Toney sees a hungry future for the current EVC phase.
"The future holds good things for EV III," said the departing Toney. "I think we're all at a real creative [point] in our lives and have been through the ins and outs of this music business to make something work for the Buffalo hip-hop community. Even though we are three different groups, we all have the same goal. It may be different how we want to get it, but we all want for our music to do numbers. I mean who doesn't? And if you don't, you're in the wrong game."