Today Melissa welcomes back writer, director, and producer B Earl with writer, producer, and rapper Taboo to talk about their new comic from Marvel, Spirit Rider. They chat about comics, hip culture, Skyview Way Productions, and more!
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Taboo and B Earl – Interview
Melissa: [00:00:00] This is spoiler country and I’m Alyssa today. I get to welcome back to creators here to talk about their new comic book from Marvel spirit writer, director writer, producer, Benjamin, Jack, and off and writer, producer, and rapper from the black IPS taboo. Welcome
B Earl: back. Thank you. Thank you, Melissa. Thank you for having us, you know, to everybody that made this possible.
Jeff, my wife, I want to salute them too, cause we we’ve been, we’ve been on a whirlwind, but we were very proud to be here. Thank
Melissa: you. Thank you for being here. I know you both are super busy, so I appreciate you taking the time to come out and yeah, thanks to, to Jeff and your wife. They worked tirelessly to get our schedules to coincide, so that is awesome.
Hats off to them. So, you know, last time we chatted was I think back in December, you both had just released a werewolf by night and then translation. It does come out as well, which is such a dope album by the way. And yeah. [00:01:00] And so how is all that being going like what’s been going on with you both?
Taboo: Well, a lot of things, a lot of things we obviously with spirit rider we’re really excited that that is out. You can read it and it’s sold out. So there is a second printing that is coming in, hitting the shelves and you know, we’ve got a lot, really great stuff cooking. I mean, we’ve got another.
Continuation of this story with more, more story to come and that those announcements will be coming soon. And you know, we got a lot of things taboo and I are nonstop work and we’ve got a documentary we’re doing right now and hit the pop and the sunset strip called ballistics. So that’s, that’s in the works and shooting on that.
We’ve got our series, our TV shows we’re developing films, we’re pinching, but at the end of the day, it’s really just about staying constantly creative and keeping building all the time.
Melissa: Yeah, that’s awesome. So, [00:02:00] you know, with the spirit writer, for those who aren’t familiar with it, I’m sure there are plenty cause these that it’s sold out, but for those who aren’t you know, what’s it about what are the origins?
Is it a one-shot, you know, tell us more about spirit.
Don’t eat muted,
Taboo: muted, sorry, spirit rider. We, we got to ask to tell the story cause Shala. Was created several years ago. But obviously she was a part of a much bigger storyline with Dr. Strange and the sorcerers Supreme, and it was this whole big Merlin arc. And so we got the opportunity to take what her story was from there.
You know, that was nicely laid out by, by the creators. And we got to really play with that and we got to really build on that and, you know, spirit rider, is that a story? It really is a re-introduction of Kashaya or an introduction at Coachella because many people don’t really [00:03:00] know who she is. And and also an introduction.
To a lot of newer fans. Cause we, we, we know that there’s potentially a lot of new fans that are going to be coming and reading this, especially because of, you know with black IPS and taboos, you know, fan base and, you know, and what we’re doing, you know, is reaching a different audience as well. So we wanted to make sure that we also introduced John maybe blaze to readers and kind of gave them a better understanding of Johnny Blaise’s backstory as well as his You know, his origins of his spirit of engines.
So that was, that was a big part of telling this story. It was really kind of giving the groundwork and then allowing the fans to be brought in and the readers to be brought in to to understanding cause Shala and who she is and what she’s all about. So that. That’s the kind of that’s the long and the short of it.
But basically the story is, is because is, you know, living a normal life as one does in Burbank, California, if you are a source of Supreme [00:04:00] and spear rider having, having some pancakes with her friends at the Maxine’s mighty Maxine’s our favorite diner. Yeah. Okay. You notice that’s our Easter egg.
We put that in everything we do. So keep an eye out for mighty maxi.
Melissa: I, you know, I didn’t correlate the two, but now it’s making sense.
Taboo: Yeah. Yeah. We had that in werewolf by night. One of the main reasons is because, well, my son is a huge, Bob’s big boy fan. We always go to Bob’s big boy and per bank. So, you know, tablet, I always pull from our family, our family experiences and things like that.
So basically it starts there. Well it really starts with Johnny blaze has lost his mind and he’s like destroying in New York city block. And then Dr. Strange comes in and says, I got to save you here, Johnny. I got someone who can fix ya. And then bring his, brings him to to cashella in Burbank.
So so there you go. That’s the beginning of the story. And from there we, we dive into [00:05:00] Johnny soul and realized that this demon or whatever it is actually has it much deeper connection to cashella. And that becomes the journey that she’s on is to really, you know, kind of find her own inner peace.
Melissa: No. Cool. And this is you know, similar to werewolf by night. This story also has, or the character has native American origins as well. Is that correct?
B Earl: Yeah, she’s an Apache, a matriarch. And as we do with all of our content we try to bring in an authentic, genuine representation. And for this actual comic, we brought in our relatives Tony Duncan, and also Kenneth Shirley, Tony Dunkin being an Apache from the Saint Carlos you know, a band and also can surely be a Navajo just to consult, just to kind of like read through the script and see how we can add.
That personal touch to an authentic, genuine representation, just like we deal with wealth by night. And also we got to work with our brother Jeffrey , who’s an amazing, [00:06:00] amazing native artists been with Marvel for so many years. We championed him. We love him, we appreciate him. And the fact that we got to work with him as well as Paul Davidson and Takashi it was an amazing thing.
So I’m proud of the team and Sarah, Sarah B, our editor, she did a great job with cashella. So hats off to her as
Melissa: well. That’s so cool. It’s so cool. When you can tell authentic stories that actually resonate with people, you know, like, instead of just, I mean, there’s a lot of stuff that just exists to exist, but like, when you can reach back into like your roots and what you’re passionate about, like, does that really help you with the writing.
B Earl: Of course, you know, Benny and I make it a point to always celebrate and honor the authentic voice in genuine representation, although I’m native and Mexican you know, I don’t know everything about you know, when it comes to different nations and different tribes. So the things that I don’t know, I have great allies and relatives that I can reach out to and bring that authentic touch to everything that we create because [00:07:00] of the work that I’ve done, being in the trenches in Indian country meeting the right people so that we always not only tell our story with authentic, genuine representation.
We also highlight these heroes from these communities that are amazing relatives that, you know, we’re using our platform to give them a voice as well, to be part of the Marvel journey with them.
Taboo: Yeah, that’s awesome. And I think too to that point we always want to be specific. I think a lot of times, you know, especially in the past there was a lot more of kind of, you know, this amalgamation.
You know, what you would say was native. Right? You would just take all. So like Tom and I were talking about this the other day about GI Joe, like your original GI Joe of spirit was his spirit. Right. And how, you know, spirit was like, he had like play blow and Navajo, and it’s like, we don’t want to do that.
Like when we talk about Kashaya, we want to make sure that she is, she is specific. And we got very specific about that, where even her land is, and the tribe that she’s from, you know, we talked [00:08:00] to Tony about that as well. And he gave us that insight and really was, was very informative about giving us the understanding of, you know, where she would be really from and, and giving it that grounding.
So, and again, what we’re doing is building a platform. Our goal is to really give those specifics. So that, you know, when, when someone else at some point, you know, comes into right. Cashella whether it is, you know let’s say that there is someone who is, you know, from the Apache tribe, who was a Marvel writer and really is going to give a deeper understanding of cashella that’s for like, what we’re doing is setting that platform.
B Earl: you know, what was interesting to Melissa is it was a learning experience for us as well. We didn’t, we didn’t know that there was so many bands in cleanse within the Apache tribe, you know, and me wanting to know more about the, the Apache relatives. Tony was like, yo, there’s so many different bands.
And, and, and clans that come from the Apache tribe [00:09:00] that for us, it was a learning experience as well. But to have that, that cultural exchange of information and then bringing it back to the Marvel universe so that we can highlight that and really make it a point that people that do pick that up and they’re like, wow, they actually talked about Sedona while they actually named the area where Michelle is from, you know, those are Easter eggs as well as, as a company, as Skype.
Melissa: Okay. Yeah, I know. That’s so interesting because we do tend to, you know, just with many cultures kind of lump every one thing together and sort of realizing there’s different. As you said, tribes and clients and variations of, you know, the different cultures. I was just reading the other day that, you know, you can actually look up and see where like, what tribe was here, like where you live, you know, beforehand, like, because we don’t know any of that.
We just don’t pay attention. I think that there’s just such a lack of knowledge, you know, for that history.
B Earl: Yeah. So, so in Los Angeles, we always honor the Tongva people of this [00:10:00] land. We always honor the Shu mush and the gab rellenos because that’s, those are the local tribes in Los Angeles that were here prior to it becoming Los Angeles Hollywood, you know, all of it.
So Benny and I make it a point to do a deep dive and actually research. And, and like I said, bring in the right relatives to, to speak on that.
Melissa: Yeah. To be authentic. So like for writing style, you know, what have you learned from, you know, writing werewolf by night now to stare at writer? Like, have you picked up anything new?
Was there something that surprised you or challenged you.
Taboo: I will I will definitely speak to that as you know, when it comes to writing, we do, you know, we listen into what people say. I think it’s really important to understand that we are writing, not in a bubble for ourselves, that we’re writing for readers and that we’re writing for fans and we’re writing for people.
Now, of course, we don’t just like go with the winds of change, [00:11:00] winds and time, whatever people say, whatever. But for us, it’s really important to take what we know. So we’re potential challenges or things that we, you know, maybe didn’t do as well as we could have with werewolf by night. For instance, being our first time.
Writing a series. I mean, that was our freshmen effort, as you could say. And I think the biggest thing learned from that was really the pacing especially the endings pacing. I know we had the challenges of the pandemic because the book was like, you know, scripts one and two were turned in three, was a rough draft and then everything stopped.
And then all of a sudden we get an email saying, Hey, we’re back on. And it needs to be delivered tomorrow. And here’s some notes. And it was like, well, you know, so, and, and we didn’t really, you know it wasn’t as plotted out, especially the ending was not as plotted out with werewolf by night because I think we were, it was such a lot of jumping and, you know, stop start, but with
You know, the way we [00:12:00] work is, you know, I tab and I always, we, we do our ping-pong sessions, like, oh, I had a vision of, you know, certain things, like for instance, this, this one shot was like originally I was inspired by easy rider. And I called was like, yo bro, remember easy rider. And like just the feel of the music and how they’re like going on this road trip kind of vibe.
And so we kind of started with that, like the idea of a road trip and what that turned into a road trip basically into, into Johnny Blaise’s soul. So I think a lot of, for us as learning about how do we make sure that our pacing is on point, that we plotted out in a way that we both are going yeah, I think that’s really the big thing.
Like I’ll just keep pitching tab ideas and he’ll be like, nah. Okay, well, they don’t go, oh, bro, that sounds dope. Like when he goes, that’s dope, then I know we’re on the, on
B Earl: the right path. Hoping about us is, is our trust to be able to bring the right people board, you know, cause one of the [00:13:00] major, major points besides the creative is like who we are bringing a board to consult with us, especially when it comes to native storytelling.
You know, that’s something that’s very valuable to me. Because I know. Without that contribution that it’s really hard to have that authentic, genuine representation. Yeah, yeah,
Melissa: yeah, no, that is super important. When you’re picking artists and pencils and all that, so did Marvel well, first of all, did Marvel approached you to, to do this comic?
Did you purchase them and then like, as far as when you were trying to create that support system of artists and anchors were you, did you have free reign or were they like making suggestions? You know, how did that process.
Taboo: So CB came to us, he believes in and said Hey guys we got a Shala storyline.
We want to do we really are open to whatever ideas that you want to throw to us. So are you interested? And of course having I go, ah, yes, of course. We’re interested in why are we saying, oh because they really liked what we did with, with where our finite [00:14:00] and, and how we took, you know, made a brand new character out of really, you know, tabs experiences and, and even, you know, we, we always fuse our own ideas into it.
So That then became like, yeah, let’s do this. And then, you know, Sarah our editor we were introduced to Sarah because we didn’t work with her on, on welfare night. We worked with Jake Thomas and you know, it was just that thing of, okay. We’ll. They, they basically gave us the artist. I mean, they brought, you know, they said, Hey, we’re going to cast the artists.
And, and, you know, cause I mean, for us, it’s like, we have so many different things. Like we are not like we work as, as writers. We work as producers. So for us, it’s like we trust, I think that’s a big part of our, our company and our team is about trusting our partners and trusting those we work with and we absolutely trusted.
That Sarah was going to bring the right person to us. And she brought Paul Davidson to the table. And Paul is just [00:15:00] amazing. The first piece of art we got was the Leviathan design. And when I saw that monster, I was just like, I showed it to my son. He’s 10. I was like, dude, this, yeah, this is our monster. And you know, it was just really, it was really great.
And working with Paul, I mean, he just such an amazing artist, such an amazing person. I’m actually about to work with them on another project that we can we’ll, we’ll touch on that a little later, but it was great. And you know, again, you know, we were. Just going on, we’re going to tell the best story that we can, and we trust the process that we trust that we’re going to get the right team.
I mean, Dan brown, our colorist is amazing, you know Joe, thank God for Joe. I can never I, there was a lot of text in this. I’m going to be honest. I know it was a, it was a heavy read, but for me, I always am like, I want to make sure that our readers get their money’s worth for one shot. You know, I think it’s, it’s, it’s $5 is a lot of money to spend for [00:16:00] a story.
And if the story doesn’t have meaning, or it doesn’t have weight or depth or density to it I don’t know. I feel like when I read something like that, I feel like I’m like, man, if it’s, if it’s like light, then I’m like, cool art. I got, I wanted more of a story. I wouldn’t say that more meetings. So I hope the fans love that part of it.
So that was what we did. We just went and we. We wrote, we created, I go in the lab and
B Earl: you know what, Melissa Benny is an amazing genius that like, you know, when you, when he takes all the the banter and all the ping pong session, and he applies his genius to the writing you know, it’s, it just shows how much emphasis, how much detail, how much his own personal digging in the crates, mythologies.
He’s just an amazing partner. And, and I’m proud of all the work that he does, you know, prior, prior to this relationship Skyview way. He’s he’s a director, he’s a writer, [00:17:00] he’s an editor. He’s all that. So to have him, you know, be part of this journey with me, I’m just humbled and I’m grateful to have this amazing partner.
Melissa: Yeah. That’s so cool. You guys have really great chemistry. I can tell there’s a lot of mutual respect and dare I say bromance a little.
Taboo: It totally is. I always tell her, like, I love you, man. It’s like, you know, you find your life partner. I mean, that’s really what life is about. You find the people that you want to, as we always say, build your crew with, and you know, whether it’s the person you marry and have a family with or it’s the person you work with and, you know, create with.
And I think the creative process, it’s very, it is very much like having a family and you’re making, you’re making babies. I mean, these are our babies. Right.
B Earl: And the thing about it is exactly what Benny just said about making babies, creative little babies. Sometimes I have to learn how to just like, let go.
And Benny’s one of those guys that just really reinforces like, dude, it’s all good, you know, [00:18:00] like, you know, cause you get that. It’s called demo love. Right? You, you, you get married to the demo and then you have all these different iterations or different perspectives on what a song is. Right? Cause I’m talking metaphorically with the song because we do this a lot.
We ha we love the demo, but then the final product always ends up being something different or sometimes it is the demo that makes it to become the thing that people, the world hears. So it’s just learning how to balance you know, me being so caught up in the demo love, and Benny’s a great, he’s an amazing, amazing creative that will always be like, yeah, that’s cool.
But what’s the why. So he’s, he’s reassuring, but he’s also very reflective and he, his perspective is something that I really trust.
Taboo: Well, it’s, it’s a mutual, it’s always mutual. I mean, you know, we, we pull ourselves out. I mean, when I start going down, the critic rabbit hole is tacos. He’s like proud. He’s like, come on, man.
He’s like, you know what I think of that TV man. But but you know, that is the beautiful thing. It’s like, you know, I come, [00:19:00] I have such a varied background, a creative background. I mean, I’ve been a film editor for nearly 20 years, you know, which taught me so much because you know, being a film editor, you, you work in a very different way.
And when it comes to the creative process, you’re constantly having to be collaborative and you’re constantly having to kill your babies, so to speak, you know, and, and kill the babies of that director that you’re working with or, or whomever you’re collaborating with. And I think it really is such a.
There are so many different skillsets that we bring to the table. You know, Todd obviously being in the music business, his entire life and career, you know, and myself being, you know, I’ll call it an amateur musician. I mean, I’ve been playing my entire life, but I’ve never played professionally, but we have that commonality of bringing the language that we both speak together.
And I think we’ve, you know, ping pong, call it jam sessions. I mean, our creative process is very musical. It’s very much about, you know, laying down like a little riff, a little [00:20:00] jazz horn solo, you know, that then turns into a little like, you know, there’s a beat coming in, you know, and it’s, it’s, that’s, that’s our process.
And I think we always, you know, say, all right, well that sucks. Let’s throw that away. But that part, that was the gem. That’s funny. Right?
B Earl: Yeah. And the cool thing for all the people that are listening is that we both have the final say of what’s going to be the final product, you know, and that’s, that’s just something that he trusts me when the script is done.
He’s like, yo, I’m going to send you the script before we even, you know, finalize it just so that we could start you know, giving notes, if there’s any notes, sometimes there’s no notes. And we just say, Hey, Benny, let’s go scolding. And he’s like, all right, perfect to our editor. And you know, we start, we start having that process.
But the reality is is that there is no me without him. And there’s no him without me. And that’s what’s have you way is ladies and gentlemen, we are. Duel will continue chipping [00:21:00] away. A lot of people say what’s the creative process. The creative process is that yang, yang and yang. Right. You know, there’s always that balance.
And you know, although Benny has the experience in the comic space and what he’s done as a director and as an editor, like I’m a nerd when it comes to, you know, the, the process of the characters and all the things that we can see envisioning for the future is that can become action figures and toys.
Melissa: Yeah. It’s like a hive mind, really? In a sense of like, you know, I mean, you have so many creative ideas, right? Like that’s really the point. I mean, you obviously want to get stuff down on paper. You want to try to lose some that grip on it and just there’s comes a time when you have to be like, okay, we can’t tweak it anymore.
We have to send it, you know, it’s thought to be done at some point has to go to the editor, you know, but like the ideas you can still keep on the back burner for future projects, you know, deleted scenes things you can kind of build on. I mean, do you have like a file or a folder that it’s like, okay, let’s try this at like a later [00:22:00] time.
Taboo: Oh, I mean, I’ve got thousands of notebooks. I mean, I have, so, I mean, I’ll go for a walk and I’ll come up with like three stories. I mean, honestly, the writing process is very fast for us and when it comes to me, scripting, it’s very quick. Like I usually am writing in my head. And walking around and, and a lot of it is like talking and just, you know, and ultimately it comes down to before even pen goes to paper, it’s just really pitching it out and refining it.
And even talking to friends, talking to family and be like, let me tell you a story. And I can always tell, you know, when people glaze over, those are the moments that need work. So when it comes to the actual process of, of scripting and getting it to paper so much work has already gone into that process.
Like I, you know, when I’m editing, I’m already, I see the movie in my head, right? Like, and that’s the same with like writing a comic book. Comic book is really very similar to editing a film because, you know, in editing, you’re choosing your shots, right? You’ve [00:23:00] got all of your assets, you have all your different shots.
You’ve got your master, you know, you’ve got your flow stops, you’ve got your mediums, you’ve got inserts. You’ve got, you know, different, all your different takes. Well with a comic book, you’re just picking those takes. So you’re writing down what those things are and your artist is doing that take. So you’re saying I want a medium shot right now on you know, Dr.
Strange as he’s looking, you know, to Shala and we’re over the shoulder, cachaca Shalla foreground shoulder, right? Like if we’re setting those kinds of shots or it’s like a wide shot of XYZ or, you know, low, you know, low angle looking upwards. So a lot of that is like the process of, you know, thinking it through and watching the movie play out in the head.
Right. So, you know, we pitch it back and forth. We refine it. I mean, you know, I don’t really want to ever go to paper until it’s feeling really good and. You know, my process personally is like, I will kind of almost write the book three times in a way where it’s like, we bounce it out, then it kind of [00:24:00] goes to, you know, kind of figuring out how many pounds do we have per page.
Right? Like what, what has to happen on a page? Right. So like what happens on this page? Okay. We’ve got 30 pages. All right. What happens on page one? All we got to get us right in. Okay. And then, then building from that, and then it’s like, all right, well, how many panels do we want on this page? Like how, how should we pace it?
Because so much has done. You know, and the element of time, right? So it’s like seven panels, you know, you’re kind of moving quickly through time, but if you have two panels or three panels with dialogue, you know, you can slow and change the pace of time. And that is the same with, with editing a film, you’re constantly playing with time and, you know, and you can obviously, if anyone who wants to learn more about the comic book writing process, I mean, obviously we realize there has the great book, you know, that he wrote many years ago and Scott McCloud.
So there’s so much, you know, to be learned. I think from. Storytelling methods, whether it’s film, whether it’s music, how is a song constructed? [00:25:00] So, you know, a song is three minutes, right? That’s your time women on that? A film you have an hour and a half of one shot, you’ve got 30 pages. Well, you know, how are we telling something that feels fulfilling by the end?
And I think that’s really always the goal. And for us, it’s like making sure that it feels fulfilling and we know the ending and it feels good. And then we go to paper.
Melissa: Yeah. Well, and I’ve talked to other comic book, creators and publishers who have actually said that, you know, artists who have a background in like, say script writing or prose writing can actually easily transition to comic book writing rather than the other way around, you know, it’s much harder for someone who’s just doing comics to sit and write, you know, a hundred thousand word novel.
So I think maybe you having that background already in film and being familiar with scripts is probably added to just like your process that you just described, you know,
Taboo: Yeah. I mean, I think, you know, I always say learn everything, like learn as many [00:26:00] disciplines as you can. I mean, I’ve produced cartoons.
I worked with Tim mouse and a cartoon learned that process. You know, having worked in film, you know, writing I’ve read, I wrote a book that I’ve got to get out one of these days. I think it’s just constantly creating and finding the people that you can create with. And I think, you know, it’s great to do things on your own and feel like, all right, these are my ideas and this and that, but at the end of the day, really you’re sharing your ideas.
So the more that we can share with each other, the more that we can banter, the more that we can build, the better the ideas become. Because if we’re just writing from a very myopic sort of lens we lose a lot of opportunities to explore new and different things. And I think that’s how tablets. Always work.
I mean, it is that two Allity it’s these two worlds that we’re fusing together. And then the ideas of who do we bring into the mix and how can their experiences and their [00:27:00] ideas help shape what we’re doing and vice versa. So I think it’s about being fluid. I think that’s really the biggest thing, because the more rigid you are, the less opportunity your story has to really impact people.
Melissa: Yeah. Getting those different perspectives definitely opens your mind more of, of like opening your car, your own creative. Well, essentially now taboo I ride, I think I read that you are writing or going to write a children’s book. How has that happened yet? Or have we lost him?
B Earl: Oh, there he is.
Melissa: You were muted you’re muted very
B Earl: briefly. Yeah. I said, I, I actually have the book coming out on September 7th and I was blessed enough to invest in this company. I partnered up to write this book with it’s called a kid’s company about and the, the, the book side is called a kid’s book about, and it’s all of these different themes from racism to divorce to [00:28:00] voting.
And my book is about identity, and it’s basically me telling me a little bit about my own personal story, my personal journey, but also being inclusive in the sense of having a collaborative effort with the team at a kid’s book about so that we can speak to, you know, not just identity within race or color or creed, but also faith, spirituality, gender.
So that it’s a much more broad perspective. And the fact that I was able to attend that’s in his company was, was an amazing thing because it taught me a lot about. Really belief beyond just writing, you know, like if I believe in the company, I want to be able to be at the helm of it grow. And that’s what, what Jelani memory that the CEO of the company was able to see.
Like, if we can have people contribute, not just on, on a creative perspective, but also like, you know, investing in the company, like, that’s something that I’m very passionate about. I did that with flow water. I don’t want to speak too much about this [00:29:00] because it’s, it’s more about Skyview way, but, you know, I just want to make sure that people understand.
Like I’m really investing in the kids space or in the give back, as we always say, and whether it’s Marvel, whether it’s cartoon network, there’s always a component that either has a giveback or, or we’re personally invested in, in that that’s something that Benny and I are very keen to do.
Melissa: Okay. Awesome.
Yeah. Well, we’ll look forward to seeing that when it comes out and you know, you, you’re both really big on family. I know you are extremely proud of your children and to be fathers. And I know that’s something we talked about last time. You know, now that you have a second comment coming out I’m not sure of your kids are old enough to like read the content yet, but have you, are they excited that their dads are like, oh, they’re cool.
They’re doing comic books.
Taboo: Well, my son has read all the wear of my nights and he read this this good Shala. He loved the Kashaya story. And then I got some of my. And he was like, God, God, he’s [00:30:00] like, I love this dosing, Kevin cover, can you sign it for me?
It’s like, I want to have this forever. I was like, okay. But
it’s, it’s really, it’s really special that we get to share with our kids. And, you know, we always like to include our kids in, in what we do, whether it’s, you know the opportunities to ping-pong ideas with them even throw them, you know, throw, throw names on, on the characters. You know, you’ll, you’ll have to keep an eye out for that.
We have lots of Easter eggs and all of our stuff, whether it’s, you know, naming our kids in our cartoons or in our copies. Well, we did,
B Earl: we did on wealth by night jet Juliana’s daughter, JJ of red wolves partners. So my daughter’s really. Really supportive of everything that I do. She’s like my biggest fan, my older boys Jalen and journey, they’re supportive, but not like my daughter, my daughter does a deep dive in every single aspect, whether it’s black IPS, whether it’s mag [00:31:00] seven you know riding with Benny, like she’s always knowing every single aspect of me as a creative.
I feel like she she’s way beyond her age, because she’s always trying to compete with their whole older brothers. Jalen is 12 and journey’s 10 and although they, they appreciate my comic book contribution. My daughter’s really the one that knows cause Sharla and she knows Dr. Strange. And she’s like reciting lyrics from, from, you know, mag seven songs.
I dunno if you’re too familiar with the mag seven stuff that I did for standing rock, but my point is, is. You know, she does, she’s really invested in every creative aspect of me as a, as a producer, as a writer and as an artist. So I would say my daughter is my biggest fan.
Melissa: Yeah. That’s so awesome. Yeah. And I’m sure she inspires you too, you know, like, I mean, even young kids come up with ideas.
We were like, wow. I didn’t, I
B Earl: didn’t think. I mean, I’m doing a dance you know, a dance movie inspired by my daughter’s love for dance [00:32:00] and musicals. So, you know, Benny and I, we, we started ping pong them this idea of a dance musical, and you know, it’s something that, that derived from my daughter’s influence and her inspiration.
Melissa: Wow. I feel like you guys are building this empire, you know, so much going on. I mean, tell me about the hip hop documentary. I’m I’m a huge hip hop fan. So I would love to hear more about that if you can talk about it. Yeah,
Taboo: absolutely. Cool how it came about because taboo, taboo would always tell me, Hey you know, he would talk about this thing called ballistics, right?
And he’d be like, yeah, man, like you were a ballistics, dah, dah, dah. And so ballistics was this party, but it was also a club. It was a nightclub and it is where black IPS met and formed. And it was this club founded by David Faustino and three other friends Nick Adler, Dan Eisenstein, and Rob Gavin in 1991.
And nobody knows really this story. This is kind of the untold story of Hollywood and hip [00:33:00] hop where, you know we just interviewed Seth from crazy T train shifty and Solei, moon Frye, and Brian Austin Green. And we’re about to go. And I think we’re interviewing be real and just all these people like easy.
He used to go there and that’s, you know, how old. Folks connected. And it was, it was basically two years of parties that, that Dave Oschino AK, but Bundy was throwing. And he was at the height of his career at that time with, with with Mary, with children. I mean the height of his married with children, his young teenage career.
Right. And like everybody who knew, knew bud Bundy, everybody, you know, wanted to be at at David’s party. And it was so cool because it really became an intersection of, you know, kids from Beverly Hills kids from Rosemead kids from east LA kids from just everywhere Boyle Heights. And, you know, it was this, this really [00:34:00] meeting of, of creativity, of minds, of ideas and music that all of a sudden it was all built around hip hop and the love of hip hop.
And it was the, obviously the golden era of, of that nineties hip hop. It was like 1991. So, which is the best,
Melissa: I think still,
Taboo: I mean, it was, yeah, it was one of hip hop, you know, there was stories was being told through hip hop and it was really, you know, in a, in a very In a very nascent stage coming to the masses.
It was really before it became super commercialized. And I think, you know, you had Beastie boys being a big inspiration and a lot of the folks like David, that was one of the first, I think, records he listened to. And Seth too said that, and it was, it was that, you know, Beastie boys were connecting a lot of the, you know, these white kids that were like, what is this to another, you know, group of kids that were living and breathing it [00:35:00] and dancing.
And all of a sudden it became these lifestyles connecting and, and really ultimately I think infusing themselves into Hollywood. You know, you would see things like 9 0 2, 1 oh, and how Brian Austin Green was bringing hip hop to that and gave it with Grandmaster B. So. Yeah. I mean, it’s a really fascinating doc and I mean, we were going into it with certain ideas we wanted to, we really want to explore, but so much of it is as you might, you know, obviously anyone that knows about documentaries, it’s a process of discovery.
Melissa: Yeah. Yeah. Well, there’s so many different avenues you could explore, you know, with the whole culture of, you know, graffiti and break dancing and just how that kind of all ties together as well. And I think it’s also important too. Cause I feel like a lot of like maybe younger generations don’t necessarily know too much about older music, you know, as much as they, as our generation did, you know?
I mean, I felt like when we were young, you know, I knew who Bob Dylan was. I knew [00:36:00] who the rolling stones were, but I have conversations with younger people and you know, they don’t, they don’t know who run DMC are or, you know some of the older music. So I think when these documentaries come out, it’s super important to like, you know, learn like about the origin story.
There’s different types of music.
Taboo: Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s having our talk about this the other day, you know, kind of equating hip hop and skateboarding in skateboarding, the kind of grand master, so to speak the Robbie Mullins and you know, they, they’re known by the younger generation, right? The young skaters coming up, know who Tony Hawk is, not only just because of his video game,
hip hop is different. I think a lot of the young kids coming up, couldn’t tell you a KRS one song or talk to you about, you know morally moral or, or any of these folks that were really pioneers of hip hop. And I think it’s [00:37:00] unfortunate that it’s, you know, that trajectory of the history has been. Really not maintained.
And I think a lot of it is because the stories aren’t told in the way that they were they’re really meant to. And I think that was what was so cool when Todd was talking to me about ballistics and how amazing it was and just the picture he was painting. I was like, wow, like, and you know, every kid should grow up with an opportunity to have a ballistics
Melissa: a hundred percent.
Yeah. I wish I had done there.
Taboo: Yeah. I mean, it was amazing. I mean, times would speak more to it. Obviously. I wasn’t there. Yeah, totally. You
B Earl: know, what’s crazy is I was thinking about what Ben was just saying about, you know, the, the the fact that a lot of the newer generation, and this is not a disk. This is just an observation are so disconnected from the pioneers of hip hop that, you know, trolling and being more [00:38:00] controversial is more popular now.
Then it was to understand the history of hip hop and were the forefathers honoring and celebrating the forefathers where it’s like, the noise is much more of a spectacle when it comes to the likes and the followers. And who’s trolling who more than that’s a dope you know, a dope song or yo you heard those bars.
It’s not about bars anymore. Bars are not the first thing people look at. It’s more about like, yo, did you see that? You know, that guy trolling. And for us coming from the golden era, we didn’t have a cell phone to troll. There was no trolling back then. It was. It was like, I’m a battle that MC and I’m a battle this dancer, or I’m a, you know, I’m going to get up on this bus and put my tag on it.
And that was how you text, right. That was the text. The text message was like, yo, did you see a cab or Chaka or [00:39:00] sub on that bus? Yo, did you see him on that, that you know, that heaven on the freeway, the passing, the one-on-one, that was a text to let you know that that guy was putting in the work the night before.
And I’m just speaking from a hip hop perspective, how hip hop has become, you know, less about the culture and more about the trolling. And that’s, that’s the reality. And I appreciate the youth. I appreciate the new cats that are coming up, but when we disregard. The history of the culture for how many likes you have or how many people you’re trolling.
I think it’s you know, it’s, it’s, it’s it’s kind of disrespectful because then you have these people, like not really understanding the hard work it took to build the culture up. We didn’t have the, the hip-hop categories in the grounds. You know, now we have a whole gambit of categories that are hip hop artists winning the grants.
So it just goes to show how the [00:40:00] evolution of the culture is, has gotten really big, but also like it’s diminished because people are more caught up with how many likes and how many trolls and how many followers you have, which you don’t want it. Which you also want to make it a point to understand and inform people about the history of it.
And I think that’s what ballistic was. Ballistics was a place where you got your shorts, your, your sword sharpen, you, you built a network of folks, whether they were in the acting space or they’re in hip hop culture, as b-boys, as pre-sell dancers or MCs or DJs. And you. This amazing community of folks.
Melissa: Yeah. Yeah. There’s definitely a different vibe now. I mean, I, I don’t go to shows anymore cause I’ve been home for two years, but thanks to, you know, the pandemic, but yeah, I remember going to underground shows when I was younger and it was just a different feeling. The music was different. The people attending were, everyone seemed to kind of just put their differences aside to like, just hear music.
[00:41:00] And we didn’t have, we never took out our phones, you know, it was like your phone was, we didn’t, first of all, for first part of the nineties we’d even have one, but you know, and then we just didn’t have all the little fancy gadgets on our phones. Like literally you would use it to like, you know, call someone, you know, call a cab or whatever.
But now it’s like people are just. Not even really experiencing the events. They’re just holding up their phone the whole time. Like when you go to concerts, you just see like a bunch of phones, which is unfortunate because there’s something to be said about like living in the actual moment.
Taboo: I mean, To that point and to the point of being about community.
So many people are just about how can they show that they’re at a place, right. Let me take a picture in front of those angel wings on, you know, it’s like, it’s just, it’s about how to get the hashtag, as Todd was saying how to get the likes, how to get to this, you know, the interesting thing kind of going back skateboarding and hip hop, which I think, you know, I always like to equate the two because they’re [00:42:00] both found art forms from the street.
You know, skateboarding was, was basically a found art form from, you know, about a surfing, right? And same with hip hop where it was like, it was a discovered art form by figuring out the merry-go-round and finding the breaks. Right. And then all of those things built around that. And I think, you know, there was real skill and talent that had to come into being a DJ back in the day where you had to be skilled and you know, like grand master flash, like you had to keep those breaks and you had to be.
You know, know how to work a turntable. And now, you know, it’s so easy to make a beat on your phone, you know, get into fruity loops, do this, that the other thing, and, you know, have your 32nd note triplets on your high hats and do a mumble rap over it. And like nothing against that. Like that’s a form in and of itself.
But the question is, is where does the skill come from? Like a kid on a skateboard that can do a tray flip down a six there [00:43:00] versus a kid who can make a, you know, whack B you know, it’s like, there’s real skill. Like you could break your leg doing that down to six there versus like a kid who’s like, yo, I’m just going to make this next beat and troll, blah, blah, blah.
Like that. It’s like, that’s where the difference is like that sick, that trick that you did down that sixth air was built off of, you know, tricks that were built from Rodney Mullen and you know, all these different folks that came up, you know in, in that culture. And that’s,
you know, you got, Chris Christian is soy. It was just such an amazing, like, he was very, he was straight. He was, you know, and you got these guys. I mean, I, I always go back to Rodney Mullen because Rodney was the one who really invented, you know, that, that, you know, the flat Ali and the, and the, you know, the kickflip and all those things.
But it’s amazing because you can see all the stuff that was built on the backs of the culture, right. On those, the founded it, [00:44:00] and that hip hop had that for such a long time until it didn’t, because it was then about how much money can we make off of these people. And then it just became about recycling, recycling, rebuilding, and, you know, and not, not being, you know, being innovative and, you know, things like that.
I think it needs to have community. Like, I will always go back to that and that, you know, I know we had talked about before we started recording was. Community is key. And I see this in the comic book space and in the creative space, in the film space, you know, and what I’m, I’m relaunching, I’d done it for 10 years, comic book Sunday, I’m relaunching it now as a way to connect, you know, kind of elder statesman elders that have created, you know, folks that they’re not elders in the way of like being old people that have done it.
People that have been in it and connect it to younger generations, connecting to kids that feel, I have something to say. And I think the biggest thing is, is showing the way having mentorships. I think that’s really key and crucial because so often [00:45:00] it becomes about, you know, these rat races that are just, how can I get as much money, you know?
Melissa: Yeah, exactly. Well, that’s what I love so much about the black IPS, because I feel like over, you know, since the beginning, until now the music has always been authentic, you know? And I feel like that’s something, I mean, tablet, when you go there. Collaborating and working on music. I mean, is that something that comes up in discussion or is it just like, you know, off the cuff?
Like, this is what we’re going to do? Like how does that work when you’re, when you’re trying to create new music?
Oh, there you are. Yep. Can you
B Earl: hear us? Can you hear me? Yes. Yeah. Can you guys hear me? Cause I’m driving now. I apologize. All good brother. That’s okay. Is it, is it all scattered?
Taboo: No. No, we hear you’re good. You’re good. Maybe a little scattered, maybe a little scattered.
Melissa: Now we’re in the [00:46:00] void. I know, right?
Oh my gosh. We’ll wait for him. As we’re waiting for him to get back. Tell me a little bit about some of the film projects you have going on. I know I’ve seen you post a few things on your Instagram and, you know, comic book collaborations with, with taboo. Like I know you guys are probably going to do something new with Marvel or
B Earl: yeah, we do have something.
Taboo: We do something new at Marvel that will be announced very soon. We also have something else that is in a very, very baby phase, very nascent area of. Ping pong, Inc. We’re really excited to, to kind of get into that mix again. I’ve also gotten I’ve. I mean, this is kind of an interesting space and I know it’s been blowing up the NFT space.
I was in the crypto space back in 2017. And we were working on a big project and ultimately it was just too early. And right now I’ve connected up with a company in Belgium called . And looking we’re, we’re, [00:47:00] we’re building a really, really cool project that will be community driven and creatively driven.
And I brought Paul Davidson on as well. And then we’ve also got a project with with David Vaugner that we are talking about. So, you know, these are things that we’ll be announcing soon, but we’ve got a lot of really cool stuff. And, you know, Tom and I are always very forward-thinking and we always look at things as how can they be utilized in a way that connects people as a community.
And I think that’s, that’s how NFTs can be used when they have an actual utility to them. And the exclusivity of them allows to really curate a great community because I think that’s also very. Key part to it. So yeah, those are some of the things, obviously that we have the ballistics project that is actively shooting right now.
Documentaries can be so difficult because you’re on the schedule of everyone else. It’s not like you can say, all right, we’re going to go shoot this movie for 30 days. We’re going, you know, we’re [00:48:00] in these locations it’s yeah. The production scheduling is challenging to say the least, especially when you’re interviewing all sorts of different actors and musicians and, you know, all ranges of people that are busy with their own lives and with their own jobs.
So that’s challenging, but, and then we’re in development on a lot of projects. We’ve got a lot of, we’ve got cartoons in development. We’ve got a TV series of scripted series and development. We’ve got a feature film we’re out pitching right now. Yeah, I mean, we just taken over the world, that’s it?
You know, it’s, it’s. If it’s cool, we’re getting, you know, if it gets us excited, we just want to be building and telling stories and really building platforms for a lot of folks that maybe don’t have those opportunities to have their voices share it. That’s a big part of what we want to
Melissa: do. Yeah.
That’s really cool. Awesome. And you’re still partnered with flow water as well?
B Earl: Yes, definitely. We ha we actually sponsored Benny’s event yesterday comic [00:49:00] book Sunday, which I’m really proud. Ben. He wants to talk a little bit about yesterday.
Taboo: Oh man. Well, yes, flow water. We got flow water sponsors, ton of delicious flow water.
And there’s the fun, I mean, honestly, flow is such a great brand in such a really like, I wouldn’t just be like saying it like everybody, there was like, oh my God, like, wow, this is, this is amazing water. Those that hadn’t tried it it’s really good. And so, you know, we can, we can speak honestly to that. Not just, you know, sh you know, plugging it.
But it was really cool. I, I brought in a charity called yes, I can. I’ve worked with them in the past. They work with kids with autism that want to get into entertainment. So I, I did a silent auction to raise money for them. So we, we actually had dark horse comics donating a ton of books.
So I was able to use those books to facilitate the silent auction. So big shout out to dark horse you know, Tim mouse, animation studios, I’ve known Chris P for forever. I used to throw the comp study parties [00:50:00] at Titmouse many years ago. And Chris was such a a gentleman and a scholar to, to let us bring it back to Titmouse.
We did it in the outside. I don’t know if anyone listening has ever been to Titmouse and smashed parties, but we did it in that, that area of Tim house and they’d been renovating and it looks amazing. So it was just like such a great venue. And you know, we also have a Legion M involved with us Legionella film company.
They’re awesome. They’re great. Dave Baxter, we’ve been talking to and how we can really involve them. And, you know, we’re also talking with San Diego comic con as well to bring that bring comic Sunday into, into that mix. So the goal with Columbus Sunday is to build a. I guess, I mean, for all intents and purposes, it’s networking, but it’s not really, it’s just really about building a community, a community of people that are creative people that work in the, in the industry that are also of the same like mindset to mentor a young up and coming creatives.
And as we say, [00:51:00] send the elevator back down I think that’s really important. And especially working with kids that are, you know that are not as, you know comfortable in social environments. I think my biggest goal is to always create a really warm and welcoming space for anyone and allow those everyone to feel themselves.
And, you know, I remember when I was a 17 year old kid, you know, still figuring it out and going, oh my God, I’m going to be going off to college. And what does that go with? Like, you know, I think it’s, we’re always defining and redefining ourselves. And I think when you have a really wonderful, supportive community to connect with and collaborate and create.
It, it gives you the guidance you need. I
Melissa: mean, a hundred percent. Yeah. And just because there’s, there are people in the industry that are unapproachable, or maybe like closed off to, to people. And I think that’s really cool that you have this like openness to, you know, help help other others succeed, you know, where you have [00:52:00] and that kind of thing.
I think that’s really cool.
Taboo: It’s yeah. I mean, it’s been really such a special event and special community. I mean, it saw, you know, one of my dear friends, Jason Brown, you know, when we met, he was an intern, like it was like 10, 12, 12 years ago. And now he is you know, the show runner of the Witcher.
He is the one who put that all together and is working on some amazing projects. The expanse is his series. And I always love seeing, you know, all of these folks that we all came up together and now they’re doing it. Chiller projects and just, you know, really the movers and shakers of Hollywood. And it’s, it’s really because everyone came together with no intentions of like, Hey, I’ve got this really great script.
I’ve never written anything else. And here’s my script. You should read it. It’s more about like, Hey, you know, I just, I’m doing stuff. I’m creating stuff. I’m working on this project and doing that, but it’s not even about that. It’s like, you know, you’re already doing it, but you’re meeting people that are, [00:53:00] are also doing it and you’re growing together and you’re, you’re connecting.
And at the end of the day, it’s really just about building those friendships. I think more so than trying to go in and say, I want to, you know, have a business relationship. Can you hire me? I think, I mean, look, that’s what really ultimately, you know, Tab in my relationship. So special it’s that we come from a place of family.
We come from a place of, you know, love and connection of wanting to share our creative communion with the world. And I think that shows in, in our storytelling and in our projects at any time we pitched people are like, that’s the story we want to hear. Even when we have other writers, it’s always, you know, it’s about us, you know, kind of condensing and crystallizing those stories so that the writers that we work with or that we hire or whatever it is, you know, they can communicate those ideas and that energy into, you know, the bigger projects and [00:54:00] the other things
Melissa: we’re working on.
Yeah. Yeah. And your, just your shared love of storytelling, really. So, yeah. That’s awesome. And taboo, if you’re still with us before before we lost you earlier, I just wanted to ask about. The black IPS and on the music you’ve got coming up and coming out and I was just commenting how it’s. One of the things I love about the black IPS is what we were talking about earlier with, with hip hop, you know, kind of evolving and, and it turning into something else.
I feel like the black IPS has always kind of consistently maintain that stance.
Taboo: Yeah. We’re
B Earl: always evolving. Where’s the food in some music and culture, especially international frequency. We never get isolated to domestic thinking as far as like our creativity, because a lot of times when you’re only thinking what’s hot in the states, then you lose track of how we started.
We started on it with the international perspective because the Apple’s from the Philippines. So we always knew we wanted to make music for the world and not limit ourselves to only what’s hot in the us. So even [00:55:00] with our last album and translation, you know, we traveled the world and we saw how amazing the, the Latino frequencies and Afro-beat frequencies were happening around the world.
And we just wanted to contribute, you know, we never say that we’re Latin artists because we’re not, we’re just conduits of, of John rhe bending, you know, we’re the guys that can be started in the, in the underground as backpack, backpack, rap, and then continue to evolve and grow. That’s something that we learned.
People like the jungle brothers who started you know, doing house music. And it was okay because they still had the foundation of hip hop. So for us, we just always wants, wants to con constantly grow and evolve and not limit ourselves. And we appreciate,
Taboo: The world perspective.
Melissa: Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely.
And your, you said you have a new single coming out soon. What can you tell us about that?
B Earl: Well, we were still working hit it with lately ponds and sweetie, we’ve had a lot of great attraction with, with Tik TOK and [00:56:00] just the things that we’re doing you know, keeping the dance alive and, and all the social media interaction on Instagram.
And just making sure that we worked with the single, because I know that not being able to. It’s hard for us to really maximize on the level of impact, especially when you’re not performing the song, because what happens is usually when you have a record out or a single out, you’re able to work the record by doing shows or tours.
And the reality is we don’t really have any tours lined up. We have a couple of spot dates coming up. So we’re relying on YouTube, Tik, TOK, social media, and other platforms to be able to get the the excitement of the single going right now. We’re fine tuning the next one so that we can have that in the chamber, but really I’m just focused on, you know, the, the hidden single and everything that we’re doing with Skype.
Melissa: Okay. Very cool. Well, yeah, translation, I thought was amazing. It was my favorite album, actually. It’s [00:57:00] 2020. I mean, you guys just frickin nailed it out of the park. It’s super fun. And, and, you know, it was just like a really good dance album, but with like messages as well, you know, not just dancing to dance, like it was, it was really well done.
So I’m really excited. Yeah. For the new, the new single. Super excited. So, you know, before we go, like just, you know, let me know what else, what do you got going on? Tell me anything else you want to promote before, before we head out, because I want to make sure everyone can find you
Taboo: both. Well you can always find me a beat Earl, which is it’s funny.
You know, people, I was, I was at my complex Sunday and, and Ryan from golden apple, I was talking to Ryan and he was like, oh, wait your beat. Like he didn’t. I think people like Mike, my name being Ben, Jack, Benjamin, Jack handoff, whatever, you know, the know the name has changed. So like be Earl. Cause I know you’d introduced me in the beginning as, as Benjamin Jack and off.
I’m just, no, it’s all good. It’s funny. It’s it’s it’s that shift. So, you know, people can find me a be Earl, right? [00:58:00] On Twitter and Instagram, you know, and that’s, that’s the best place to find us you know, check out Envoy networks, I’m going to do, give them a plug. Cause we got some really cool stuff getting announced with with Envoy and you know, just, just a lot of great stuff.
And I also want to just, you know, as we always tap it, I always make sure we give our, our shout outs to know Matias and, and, and everything like that. We just want to shout out to Robbie Thompson and Javier Rodriguez for, for having created cashella. Cause I mean, she’s such an amazing character and we’re really grateful to have been able to take on her story and be able to bring this, this new story of hers, to the
Nice, awesome. And spirit Raider. You can get on. I know you said sold out late on the paperbacks, the hard
Taboo: basket in the back. There’s a reissue. Yeah, there’s a re-issue with a new car. Okay. And, but they could
Melissa: get like the digital version right on oncology.
B Earl: Yeah. And I, I want to personally thank all the folks on Twitter that have been like championing the idea [00:59:00] of a possible werewolf by night TV series for holiday.
Yeah. You know, so, so, you know, even whatever, whatever the outcome, whether it’s happening or not, I just want to say thank you to everyone that’s been, you know, chime in and having your perspective and your views and, you know, at the end we just want nothing but the best for, for the overall brand and, and everything that is Marvel, we support and we love and appreciate all Marvel universe and everyone that’s affiliated Disney.
We just want to say thank you guys. That’s all
Melissa: awesome. Thank you both for coming on. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you. You guys have such a great energy and you’re inspiring. You have always doing something creative. So for everyone listening, you know, go check out spirit writer. It should be back in stock soon, but you can get it digitally young comic solid gee, I’m sorry, Amazon as well.
And yeah, just thanks again. And you know, you’re always welcome here.
Taboo: Thank you so much. We really appreciate it. Thank you,
B Earl: Melissa.
Melissa: Definitely. And thanks for.[01:00:00]