Q&A with Flawless of Fresh Breath Committee

Back in 2008, we named Boostwell Crew the best hip-hop crew in Denver. Headed by SP Double, the crew consisted of local emcees and producers, Flawless, Fo Chief, ManDaMyth, Catch Lungs, EMB, Purpose, Procise, Kontrast and a few others. Shortly after the recognition, a number of members left the crew and launched the Fresh Breath Committee (FBC). Lead mostly by Flawless, FBC is a collective of like-minded solo artists, who, at first, came together to support each other but quickly realized the chemistry they had together as a full-fledged group. The group is now preparing to drop its debut album, CPR, this month. We caught up with Flawless (aka Paul Padilla) and talked about the new crew, the new  album and hip-hop in 2009. Read the entire interview after the jump.

Westword (Quibian Salazar-Moreno):  How did Fresh Breath Committee form?

Flawless: Five of us [Flawless, Fo Chief, Kontrast, Purpose, Catch Lungs] linked up though a former crew we were a part of in 2008. We branched out on our own as a result of creative differences with other members of that crew. We brought DJ Skip Ripkin on board, along with female vocalist Crystal, and producer Hi Res, and the sound was so amazing. We knew we had something special.

WW: So what does the group name Fresh Breath Committee mean?

Basically it was a name that defined us as a collective perfectly. We want every word spoken, note sang and completed track to be a breath of fresh air, nothing ever sour or false. And that is what this committee of artists can bring to the hip-hop culture, thus giving you Fresh Breath Committee.

WW: The name of the album is CPR, what's the science behind that title?

CPR is a metaphor for what this album represents. The real hip-hop culture has been on life support, struggling to stay alive. With this album, FBC is breathing life back into the game, giving it the fresh breath that it needs for true hip-hop music to be revived and saved.

WW: What do you think today's hip-hop lacks? Why does it need CPR?

F: I think hip-hop today lacks the true passion for where it all began and what it started from. It started from expressing true struggle and people with a voice speaking the truth to send a strong message. Real singers, MCs, turntablists, b-boys, etc. It needs CPR because of the people who have almost turned it into pop music. So we need to save hip-hop. We want to bring back the element of fusing many types of musical genres into one.

WW: Other than the crew, who else makes appearances on the album?

F: We were very fortunate to work with the legendary Masta Ace on the track "Save the Day." Masta Ace is everything you could want in a legendary MC giving you real hip-hop music. We also have a track titled "Turn It Up," featuring the ReMINDers, which is a Colorado-based group. They are truly genuine people who share our love and passion for the music.

WW: What was it like working with Masta Ace?
F: To say it was a blessing is an understatement. Words can't express the honor we feel to have worked with such a historical figure in the Hip Hop culture for many many years. He's definitely a big influence for us.
WW: Are there still plans for each of the members to drop solo albums as well?
F: There is definitely many projects to come in the future, some solo, some collaborative. We don't want to give anything away, so let's just say we have no intentions of stopping now and we will definitely have some surprises for our fans in the future. Be on the lookout!

WW: Was the entire album produced by you or were there other contributions?
F: The main Producers for FBC are myself and Hi Res. We pretty much equally produced the album. I think I produced ten tracks, and he produced six, as well as a track that was co-produced by both of us. We also have two tracks produced by outside producers, O.D. out of Minneapolis, and Damage out of Colorado Springs.
WW: With so many members in the group, how are you able to decide what gets done or recorded without conflict?
F: At times it was difficult, but I think one reason we formed is because we all shared a very similar viewpoint on making music, so most of the time it was natural agreement. And also, with a group of this magnitude, it is all about compromise. We all exercise that, and things get accomplished.
WW: On the production side, was it difficult to settle on specific beats for songs? How did that process go down? Not everyone could feel every beat, right?
F: Most of the time we were in agreement on this as well. But if for some reason someone wasn't feeling a beat, they just wouldn't get on that song. Ultimately though, we loved most of the beats after they were written and recorded tracks regardless, so naturally everything evened out well.
WW: How would you describe each member's lyrical style?
F: Oh man, I wouldn't know where to start. I think myself (Flawless) and Purpose give you a dose of everything. We got the writing locked down on all aspects, the freestyles, and we are also premiere battle emcees. Kontrast is the intelligent one who will give you that verse that you might have to rewind a few times to get the full meaning. Fo Chief has that piercing voice with the "acrobatic" style, flippin words and cadences to give you that raw vibe, with a freestyle here and there. Catch Lungs is the wild style MC. He also has the writing locked down with crazy wordplay and rhyme schemes and will freestyle for days. Each of us are connect well and can take care of all your MC needs!
WW: What are your feelings on the Colorado hip-hop scene in 2009? What would you like to see?
F: I think there is a good side and a bad side to every scene including ours, but just from the good side in my opinion, we have unbelievable talent. I find myself listening to nothing but Colorado hip-hop all day sometimes. The true hip-hop culture has a strong presence here and I feel our time to shine has been long overdue. I would like to see better marketing, and more albums released. A mixtape can go a long way, but an original album speaks volumes.
WW: Other than your own crew, who are some of FBC's favorite local artists?
F: Wow, once again, where do I start? Our favorites include The ReMINDers, 3 The Hardway, The Procussions, Whygee, The Pirate Signal, Distrakt, Food Chain, charleyBRAND, Jewell Tyme, Maneline. Shout out to One Eyed Kings (Cheyenne, WY based but Colorado loved), Sick Illutions, Spoke In Wordz, Joe Thunder, Kid Hum, and many more. We apologize if we forgot you but there is just too many to name in this scene.

Fresh Breath Committee, CD release show, with Masta Ace and other special guests, 8 p.m. Thursday, October 8, Fox Theatre, 1135 13th Street, Boulder, $10, 303-443-3399.

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Quibian Salazar-Moreno