DJ Form and Unsecret talk Seven Dead Stars!

Today we are joined by JD Form and Unsecret to talk about their music and comic Seven Dead Stars!

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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas

Theme music by Ardus and Damn The Cow

Announcer: Nathaniel Perry

DJ Form and Unsecret – Interview


Jeff Haas: Hello listeners, a spoiler country today on the show. We had a fantastic. Mr. G DJ form and Mr. On seeker, how’s it going guys? How’s it going very well? So, so you guys are both music producers, huh? And how long you’ve been doing it for

DJ Form: too many years to say man

Unsecret: been around for a few too many years. Yeah, exactly.

We’ve been, we’ve been kicking around for a little while, so, you know, under, under different names, different pseudonyms.

Jeff Haas: Now I read that you guys are both I guess a combined Grammy winners on a, on a, on a combined project. Is that correct?

DJ Form: We’ve both actually been nominated for separate projects that we’ve worked on over the years.

So yeah, it’s a different things,

Jeff Haas: but the that’s a nice boot to the ego Honda. You guys, a Grammy nomination

DJ Form: and I mean, it’s, it’s good to be acknowledged, I think, you know, by your peers for sure.

Jeff Haas: So, when did you both first start working together?

Unsecret: I want to say it [00:01:00] was sometime in the nineties, like the midnight.

Form’s got the DJ skills and I was in need of some scratching and some beats and some loops. And I can’t remember, we had a mutual friend and they connected us and he came in with turntables two turntables and a microphone. Like the classic setup, brought out a crate, a vinyl and laid some stuff down and then I edited it and we’ve just connected ever since.

Jeff Haas: So why does this collaboration work so well? What is the secret behind? You’re grouping.

DJ Form: Well, that’s a good question. I think I mean, we’ve just been, we’ve been friends for so long and we have a lot of common musical likes, you know, we, we like a lot of the same kind of things we both worked in film and TV quite a bit.

So we kind of know. That world and know what it takes. And so on secret, I don’t know if you have any, anything to add to that, but,

Unsecret: and I would just, you know, I’ve, I’ve always loved cinematic scores and that kind of stuff, but I’ve always [00:02:00] had an appreciation for pop and for hip hop and forum came more from that side of things, like all the beats all, all those kinds of.

Rhythms and loops and everything. And so that was really kind of the Genesis of some of the music behind seven dead stars was that combination of those beats and those rhythms with SIM, you know, cinematic type score

Jeff Haas: material. So having a background in music for me both when and why did you decide to move into the world of comic books?

Good question.

Unsecret: Go ahead. Go ahead.

DJ Form: I was going to say we, it, it happened really organically for us. We both share a love for. All things, you know, Marvel, DC, Saifai star wars, Lord of the rings, that kind of stuff. And so in just hanging out, when we would work on music, we would naturally talk about those kinds of things.

And so I think it was [00:03:00] always there for us. Something else would come out of the musical collaboration. And I think it just snuck up on us what that would be. And it just happened to be, we started developing characters in a universe and ran with

Jeff Haas: it. So. Well, seven dead stars. Where did the idea initially come from?

I know I read somewhere that there’s inspiration from a lot of the famous space operas. Let’s say like a star wars. And, and, and, and having read it, it kinda remind me a little bit about some elements also of a. Firefly cause it’s one of my favorite shows of a space they shows. So when did the idea come or who did it come to first?

And what about it just hit on hit you guys and said, this is it. This is the story we’re gonna, we’re gonna, we’re gonna launch ourselves with,

Unsecret: well, I want to say that, you know, unseat grit is this helmeted futuristic kind of character. And so that definitely helped kind of, I guess, paved the way [00:04:00] in terms of.

Knowing what direction it was going to be, you know, unseat, grit, just by look, you don’t look it on secret and things like, oh, it’s a medieval warrior. It’s like the secret just looks like this kind of futuristic person. So I think that may be kind of set things in a certain direction. But once we started talking about like, okay, for my who’s for.

You know, who’s this character form. And like all these kind of archetypes came to mind. You know, you think of like different star wars characters, you think of different characters from, you know, and you, you mentioned five planets. Like, you know, there’s definitely some DNA kind of from there too, and all kinds of different things.

And it just, you know, blossom. From there, you know, we took the T these two characters who kind of were always at odds. You know, one person said it’s like, they’re kind of like an odd couple in space. But it just kept growing. And one of the things that really intrigued both of us, we were both kind of science and arts too.

And through like this one website, I got connected to an astrophysicist who we actually spoke with about dense stars and about [00:05:00] magnitude. And he was talking about harnessing these Magna-Tiles and how in the future, there’s the possibility of doing that? And we just thought that’s such a kind of cool idea of this idea of fantasy, but it’s kind of like science at the bleeding edge looks like magic, and we were just kind of intrigued by that idea.

Jeff Haas: So can you give our listeners what the pitch is for seven dead stars?

Unsecret: Rick. Do you have the pitch

Jeff Haas: sheet?

DJ Form: I don’t have it right in front of me, which I should.

Jeff Haas: Well, I mean, like if you were to give it a short rundown of really what the actual issues are about, what how would you

Unsecret: describe it? I mean, I can, I can jump in with some of that.

Yeah. This is thousands of years in the future. Mankind had their time and, and help with the others kind of build the seven that starts, which was meant to be this galactic power grid. It was going to be this endless source of resources. But things went a little wrong and as things began to get off the tracks an alien race called the [00:06:00] Scorpio regime came up, wiped out almost all the humans and took over.

And so, so now the Scorpio regime along with. Rules the galaxy and unseat grit and form, and a few other stragglers kind of comprise this Renegade party, trying to figure out how to work outside of the bounds. So we’ve got these you know, rebels kind of on the run. And meanwhile, like the Scorpio regime is ready to wipe out everybody.

So, but we’ve got some big secrets, including, you know, if you, if you saw issue zero, then you’ve got to see buses. Our little blue alien dog character. Lester’s got some major, major secrets coming out. They’re going to be revealed. We’ve got some, I’m just going to say we’ve got some quantum craziness in store for fans and feature.

Jeff Haas: That sounds really cool. Really one of the most fascinating things about your projects, seven dead stars is that it’s described as a music universe. Now, what does that mean? Exactly, because I don’t think I’ve ever heard that term applied to [00:07:00] comics before a music universe.

Unsecret: Yeah, I don’t, I don’t know that I’d heard that term used either.

Jeff Haas: I’ll

Unsecret: let Rick

Jeff Haas: jump into

DJ Form: this one. Yeah. I would say that for us. It’s more of a thing where our music background and, and our work in film and television and in over the years has kind of led us to. Present this score, this EAP in a way that helps tell the story. And so maybe that’s why that, that term was coined.

We, we basically are one of the only that I know of that basically can come in and, and develop a story characters, a universe, but then also. Speak to all of that and, and help tell the story through music as well. And I think that’s one of our main goals was to just really have the music [00:08:00] speak to what’s happening.

In each issue of the comic and hopefully we’ll be able to play that out over many, multiple

Jeff Haas: comics. I’m not sure if our listeners know that you are making an EAP that goes, that coincides with the comic book. Can you go into a little more about how that word.

Unsecret: Yeah, the, the we’re already releasing songs.

If you go to Spotify and you look up or, or wherever you get music, apple music, you know, wherever you look up seven dead stars. You’re going to find some of these tracks. They’re already coming out. We had another one come out today, but yeah, same day as the comic books, September 8th same day, we’re going to have the EAP come out and the EPE is really a soundtrack accompaniment for the comic books.

So, you know, the perfect scenario would be. You know your own Comicology and you get the comic up and you’re looking at it and starting to read it and you hit play on the EAP in the background. And everything’s kind of happening at once. The EAP is driven by both cinematic score and by hip hop beats and stuff.

And [00:09:00] so, and there’s vocal samples and everything. So there’s the real intermeshed kind of thing happening between the images and the story and just the fun of the.

Jeff Haas: As, as those as guys who have experienced writing music, are there similarities in writing for comics and writing from music, something either and how either.

Or maybe in how you go and write your sentences and Paris scripts. I mean, are, are, do they, is there a way that they overlap in the skillset?

DJ Form: That is a great question.

Jeff Haas: No. Thank you.

DJ Form: That’s an actually a really good question. Absolutely. For me I’ll let secret speak to how he feels about it. But for me coming from a production standpoint, a lot of what I do in coming from the hip hop world, the pop world electronic world is I, a lot of times I’ll [00:10:00] create a track before. The artists even comes in to write melodies and lyrics.

And so I have to try to start telling a story that they can continue telling through the lyrics and melodies. And so that’s, I think the way that we approached a lot of this was we started making these tracks and we were like, man, this really feels bigger. And like it’s telling something and speaking to something larger.

And so I think. That was just a natural progression from my standpoint of how I typically approach trying to help create a track that will allow an artist to tell their story when they write the lyrics.

Jeff Haas: When, when you are sitting down to and you’re conceiving obviously of seven dead stars from Atlanta from running standpoint.

Cause once again, like, as you mentioned earlier, there’s, there’s an EAP that you’re doing music and you’re writing. With what comes first in your conception, is it [00:11:00] writing or plotting out the comic book or developing the EAP and then deciding how the comic will play into it? Which one has more influence over the other?

Unsecret: You know, I, I want to say, and for me you can correct me here, but w we kind of went back and forth a little bit with this first story in the museum. And you know, one of the things that was the same between them as we would have this initial time of what I would call riffing and sketching, where we didn’t have kind of a fixed point in mind, but we were like, what are some cool scenes?

What are some cool sounds? And so there’s a lot of similarities there. Cause there are some things that you just, you know, you find. Some crazy beat that you want to be on the song. You’re like, Ooh, that, that is just now generating all kinds of new ideas. And in the same way with the story, you know, once we discovered Busta, we’re like, Ooh, this is just a great vehicle for even more storytelling.

So, and then there was that process of like refining and kind of figuring it out past them, like, well, what now? You know, how do we get to the next step now? [00:12:00]

Jeff Haas: Are there any moments where. Either the book or the music interferes with one another. In other words, is there a point where something works as an EAP, but when you’re already in the story, you say, well, that doesn’t function, but you don’t want to lose the song or is there a song that is there was something in the common book that works, but you haven’t thought of how to properly form it into the music company mint yet.

Do they ever have conflict in, in the two spheres that you’re working in?

DJ Form: I don’t, I don’t think we’ve had that problem yet. And hopefully we won’t. I think from our standpoint, the only conflict might be you, you know, like on secret said, you, you pull up the comic on Comixology or whatever, and you, then you start the E the EAP.

I think our only conflict would be how fast people read according to how fast

Jeff Haas: are you ever considering putting a time ticker on the scene. So they know where the song is supposed to pop [00:13:00] up. That would be amazing.

Unsecret: Do like the old school. Like I actually had way back in the day I had like a captain America and Falcon, like. I, I never thought about this, but this was like, it had like a record, like a little vinyl in the back.

It was like a comic book with like a little bottle. And it was like, I think it was like paying or something, you know, I think it was the page or something, you know? So we need,

Jeff Haas: we need something like that. I’m just throwing that out as an idea. When, when you, when your next issue have the the ticker for the next song to pop up, so they know when to start it.

There you go. I like it. So is if you’re timing it to reading, does that, or does that also affect the length of your song that you’re using? Are you forced with four smaller chunks of music for your time to time it out to those particular scenes?

Unsecret: I kind of, you know, the way I’ve, because this isn’t animated or a film or something like that.

We really just wanted and really we wanted some openness for interaction. [00:14:00] So, you know, you might have a little different idea of what song fits with what scene than somebody else. So here’s the ability to create your own playlist. You know, maybe people could bike, mix it up a little bit, or even submit to us.

Hey, I actually liked the songs in this order, or I’ve played this one, three times in a row. Cause I just wanted to like sit on that middle crazy scene in the comic book for a few minutes or who knows. So, I mean, there’s, there’s some interactiveness there that I think is great. And you know, in a, in a film it’s a fixed thing, but with this there’s a little bit more to play with

Jeff Haas: and well, the combo looks absolutely terrific.

The artist is cliff Richard, is that correct? Yes that the artwork is, like I said, it’s a phenomenal artwork. It, it, it definitely is starting to look at

Unsecret: that’s all. I mean, we were, we were blown away. I mean, it’s no understatement to say. When foreign, I started getting pages, it was like, whoa, you know, you dream it and you [00:15:00] think about it and then you put it down and, you know, you get the words on the page, but you just don’t realize what level of excitement is going to be there.

Once it translates from words into images and then the color and then everything. It’s just unbelievable.

Jeff Haas: So how did he get in get involved with seven to seven dead stars?

Unsecret: I have reached out. I. Had some comic book, friends and everything, and did some poking around and was just asking and got connected to a guy, David Kim PD and David was instrumental in kind of lining up and he’s awesome.

David campy, he’s a great guy lined up you know, this team, he realized kind of what level we wanted to go to. And we had long conversations about trying to make sure it was somebody who understood. There’s some of the static elements to the look of this comic. I think, you know, we really weren’t.

Wanting to harken back to kind of seventies and eighties and kind of those earlier comic books, the ones that we kind of grew up on. And I think the art style kind of reflects that a little bit. [00:16:00]

Jeff Haas: What another, another cool thing about the combo is that the main protagonists share your name. So it’s and form as the names of the characters.

Right? So how do you close? How close are they to you guys?

DJ Form: Closer than you

Jeff Haas: would think. Oh no, it’s just a little bit rough at times.

DJ Form: Yeah. Well, the cool thing is, is when people read this issue, number zero. I mean, it’s it on the surface, it feels like, oh, this is a really fun, cool thing, but it’s not too deep and whatever.

And that was kind of, our purpose was just introducing the characters and the universe and the art and the style and all that kind of stuff. But like on secret has said in some of our, in some of our other press things, is that there’s just hundreds of secrets hidden in plain sight. And so. For us, it was just really [00:17:00] cool.

To be able to do that, but. Introduce ourselves a little bit into the characters. I mean maybe in real life, we don’t, he and I don’t have quite that antagonistic,

Jeff Haas: if that was real. I don’t know how that team has stayed together that long because there’s some, definitely some friction between those two and the

DJ Form: story, and you will see more

Jeff Haas: for sure.

Unsecret: I told for one. I want to write on secret as badly as pop. Like I’ve really want him to be quite terrible at times. And it’s like, I think, you know, I’m not really like that. I mean, I definitely share some unsecured stuff in terms of like, can be OCD can get, you know, love, love to make a spreadsheet for something like all that kind of stuff.

And, and you know, and I think, and then we just took it and it kind of exploded. Further, but, you know, it was just fun to like kind of start from one place and then push things way past where they normally would go.

Jeff Haas: Like I said, they’re [00:18:00] fun characters to see and to see them interact with one another.

And they pardon me. I was wondering because again, you’re, you’re both writers on this Friday night and they’re named after your, after you guys, are there ever like Eagles involved? Like, no, no, no. I want my form is going to be the hero of this particular scene or no, this, this is definitely an secrets moment to shine.

Is there a conflict of like, oh no, I want my character with my name to, you know, obviously shine bright is at this moment.

DJ Form: Not so far, we haven’t had that. Like we, I think for us, the importance is telling a great story. And so because of the types of stories that have captivated us over the years, the star wars.

You know, Lord of the rings all the Marvel stuff Firefly, like you said, you know, all of those kinds of things, the importance is servicing the story. And so, however that has to happen, we try to do that. And, you know, w we do go back and forth on, well, maybe forms should [00:19:00] be, you know, doing this part of it or maybe on secret, but it’s always a thing of let’s look at both sides of.

And see, based on where the story’s going, who would be best in that scenario to do that? I think so far.

Unsecret: Yeah. I in some ways we’re totally fine to be upstaged by somebody, you know, Buster steals the show in my book for, for issues zero. And it’s like, you know, we have other characters and other situations kind of in mind coming up that, you know, I want to, we both want on secret and informed to share time and be interesting and keep people guessing.

But at the same time to unsecured inform and their kind of journey. Is the, is like the pathway for all of us to experience what they get to see and do. So whether that’s Buster and, and you know, this civilization that they encounter in issue zero or the grand scheme of things that we have planned next.

Yeah, I mean, there’s, there’s kind of a bigger thing in play, [00:20:00]

Jeff Haas: so, and then I really like how, in many ways it’s their connection between the two characters form and. And they’re friction and liveliness one another. It feels like that is a large part of what drives a narrative. Would you, would you agree?

Do you think it’s that relationship that drives it? Is it more of the plot that’s driving it at the moment.

Unsecret: I mean, I, I, I definitely think it’s the characters here and it, you know, it’s kind of funny cause it’s like a lot of times I’ll dream up some ideas. So, and you know, when form and I are kicking around ideas, we’ll talk about some concept, you know, or some kind of fantastical idea, but we’d love characters too much, you know?

And when we talk about different movies that we love and different comics we love and whatever, it always comes down to. Characters. And so we really wanted a character driven first story. And even as we’re growing this next thing, we always kind of, we started with characters. We didn’t even talk about like what the plot was [00:21:00] going to be until we started figuring out who these characters are going to be

Jeff Haas: and, you know, and, and I, and I really enjoyed it.

And then, and I will agree with you that Buster comes out to be the the shining star of the latter part of the issue. How bad-ass is busts are gonna prove to be.

DJ Form: Oh, just wait

Jeff Haas: without giving too much away. Is he the same species of the bigger monster or no?

Unsecret: Let’s, let’s just say there’s a connection between


Jeff Haas: two of them.

DJ Form: Okay. A

Jeff Haas: very big connection. Have you ever read the comic book? Yeah. And how big and famous from that series lion Cappy came, I can totally see Buster the same way where it’s such a grabbing of your attention, that character, that I can see him on, like so many t-shirts and stuff like that was that when you made them, there was a, like a all shit moment where like, this is the character that’s gonna be all over the place and copied.

Unsecret: Yeah. I mean, we were pretty sad. Yeah. I mean, it’s like, you [00:22:00] know, I’ve, I’ve already like, I don’t have any printed here, but I’ve, I’ve already like mocked up a t-shirt or two for myself,

Jeff Haas: Buster or Buster and whatever that other thing was,

DJ Form: we’ll just have to wait and see. Oh, no,

Jeff Haas: but it’s such a cool character.

A cool visual Is the cast going to be expanded further on, on the board speaker? That is if the member is on secret ship, correct. He owns the ship.

Unsecret: Yeah. On secret ship is the albatross. Yeah. And they’re going to, they’re going to be leaving that world. Yeah. We’ve got lots of characters, lots of alien races.

It’s it’s it’s gonna be pretty

Jeff Haas: great. Yeah, the cool thing

DJ Form: is, is, is, and this, you know, I don’t know, it’s, it’s almost, we don’t want to spoil anything, but

Jeff Haas: this is

DJ Form: just a small glimpse into what we already [00:23:00] have written. And there are so many more characters and so much more story that is already ready to go that way.

Like chomping at the bit to get out to everybody. So

Unsecret: a forum helped me remember, I think we’ve got, you know, we actually spent time with cliff and the rest of the team. We’ve already got another, I think, 15 or 16 other main characters that we’ve developed and. Yeah, we already have artists that, you know, it’s like, we wanted to really spend some time with that.

I don’t even know if that’s going to ever release to the public, to be honest, we really wanted to just make sure we knew the pathway forward and really got to live with these characters. And it’s transformational. I mean, when you get to, you know, it’s one thing to write a character to talk about it in the room.

It’s another thing to have. Drawn and putting full color and you look out and be like, oh, this feels real.

Jeff Haas: And one let’s I was about the first issue is that [00:24:00] there’s so many directions that it looks like as, from a reader’s perspective that it can go. I mean, there’s so many things that you’re curious about subject to score people.

Regina, as you mentioned that your. You know, the first thing I thought it was, you know, what is it, how does it function? The details of it, it, it, it opens your, your, your imagination of what all this could be. How soon will readers get a glimpse of the Scorpio regime?

Unsecret: Good question, you know, I mean, we’re, we’re we’re contemplating a lot.

I’ll tell you what, I’ll tell you this much. We’re currently working on a 10 issue. What we think will be a 10 issue season one. You know, cause I think people could read issues zero, I think, oh, it’s going to be like each episode will just be a rehash of the one before, you know, they go to a planet and something happens and dah, dah, dah, dah.

But that’s not what we’re doing. We’ve got. We’re still gonna keep it character driven, but we’ve got a big plan for this next kind of upcoming season. And that’s what we’re real excited about.

Jeff Haas: What good question I [00:25:00] definitely had about. Having read the press release. It’s introduced as being a issue zero of a universe that centers around the seven to seven dead stars.

Is this a universe within the ongoing series or is there going to be split off into multiple different storylines and be, and become a cohesive universe of sort of like, DC Marvel, where they have like the unified versus,

Unsecret: Yeah, I mean, I would, I would characterize this. And for me, you can speak to the suit a little bit more like, you know, Lord of the rings in space or something where it’s like, we’ve got multiple planets, you know, we’re already kind of plotting out.

What’s the race of creatures that lives on this planet? What do they look like? What’s the environment, et cetera. But it’s, it’s not going to be endless or at least it isn’t right now, we have a, kind of a, more of a fixed number of the types of aliens that we’re dealing with. And they’re all going to interact and they’re all going to be in an, in an adventure together.

So, you know, could that split off into [00:26:00] other things like. Maybe, but what we’re looking at next is really unseat, grit inform going on a journey, an unexpected journey. That’s got some pretty deep layers to it. Buster’s going to be there too. Buster’s a big part of what we’re going to do next. But maybe not in the way people would anticipate.

Jeff Haas: Yeah, I agree. Well, let’s say it looks, it looks really cool. So my understanding, so you said there’s 10 issues when, or when would the release of these or they expanded this to me, like a bi-monthly monthly.

Unsecret: We are currently still working out the plan for that. So, yeah, we’re just, we’re hoping for people to take in issues zero and just kind of immerse themselves in that world and those characters and familiarize themselves with the music and get into it.

And then just start dreaming with this, you know, We’ll we’ll begin to talk about it more as we get things moving along right now, we’re working on all the scripts, but our art team is chomping at the bit. Ready to go. The minute we pull the trigger. [00:27:00] So yeah, we’re, we’re hoping to jump into production and not too long.

Jeff Haas: When can our listeners grab issue zero from Comixology

DJ Form: on the 8th of September next

Jeff Haas: week. Oh, very cool. That’s soon it’s coming right down the pipe. That must be really exciting for you guys.

DJ Form: He is unbelievable. Yeah. We being comic fans our whole lives and, you know, fantasy, Saifai all of that stuff for me.

It’s just, it’s just kind of one of those things where you go. I never thought I would be here, but it’s perfectly logical that

Jeff Haas: Has so far, has the finished product reach direct affectations.

DJ Form: Oh, so far

Jeff Haas: beyond,

DJ Form: like so far beyond. Yeah.

Unsecret: Yeah. I’d say the same. And you know, and musically too. I mean, the Greg Townley mixed for us and he’s done all this.

Like [00:28:00] he’s a Hollywood guy, you know? I mean, he knows that world. And so, and that’s what we. Wanting is like a big symphonic sound, but with all these beats and stuff, and I haven’t had to approach him, I was like, can you pull this off? Because this is really different. And he’s like, oh man, I love a challenge.

Let’s do it. So yeah, everything has turned out far superior. Do I think, you know, either former, I thought it

Jeff Haas: was going to be. Well, like I said, issues, arrow, and a pleasure to read it. I thought it was really well done. I enjoyed the characters forming a secret or, or very cool. I really enjoyed the interaction between the two characters and obviously Buster is fantastic as well, so, yeah.

Thank you so much for talking with me. I look forward to seeing future issues,

DJ Form: man. Thank you so much for this.

Unsecret: Thanks so much.

Jeff Haas: Yes, it’s totally my pleasure guys. Thank you so much. Have a fantastic night. All right. You too. You too.

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