Pronunciation: the 'pre-z&n(t)s Function: noun
1. The fact or condition of being present.
2. A quality of poise and effectiveness that enables a performer to achieve a close relationship with an audience.
3. The brainchild of resident Def Jux engineer/programmer Nasa, Cirrus, and DJ Pawl.
Fresh off of dropping the thought provoking single “Woke” b/w “Razor Fund” on Definitive Jux records, Nasa took some time to give us the lowdown on The Presence and his new label Uncommon Records.
I went to high school with Cirrus, so we’ve known each other for a long time and we formed The Presence with another kid back in ‘98. Around that time I started working with Ozone studio, [which] was owned by the company that managed Mike Ladd, Company Flow, and Saul Williams. I was doing a lot of recording for those cats and I met Pawl when he came in to do a beat for Mr. Lif called “Front on This” in ’99. At that point we formed The Presence [in its current form] with Cirrus, Pawl, and myself.
I remember [when] describing how certain emcees were dope I always came back to the term, like he has an ill mic presence or a presence on stage, and I wanted us to embody that where we have a presence or aura about the group.
We basically want to create music where every song has a concept, direction, and a point whether we’re talking about something political, something emotional, or something personal. I think that’s a little bit lost today. A lot of cats are just throwing out songs. We want to make our music really organized for people where every time they buy something from us they know there is going to be a point to the song they are listening to.
The way we build highly conceptual songs is by coming up with the title first. We work with the title, then either Pawl or I will make a beat [that matches the title], and from there we can work a concept around the beat and the title.
“Woke” was about how it felt the day everything changed on September 11th with the trade center falling. It’s about that moment that you woke up before you knew shit was going on and your reactions to it as people slowly turned their TVs on, wiped the crust out of their eyes and saw what was happening.
What we want to do with our label is put out artful, musical joints. We will have our album, Common Man’s Anthems, out around Spring ’04, we’ll [be releasing some music from] an ill up and coming producer named Art Sin, we have an MC named Centri that’s putting out some music that I am producing most of, and another group called Stacs the Stamina will be putting out some stuff with us. All of it is just honest music that’s trying to do something positive without being corny. It’s positive because it’s good music.
For more information on The Presence check out their website at http://www.thepresencerunstheplanet.com