Taking a slow plunge into filmmaking hip-hop/rap artist Khari Lucas (who performs under the moniker Contour) will artistically challenge your whole idea of what is and what is not—Saturday, February 11th at Redux Contemporary Art Center.
Hearing Contour sing on his new single, "I'll Be," is like slipping into an auditory wormhole with Frank Ocean and the Sugar Hill Gang. The art of his music is in earshot—challenging his hip hop to be intrinsically instrumental and his electronics purely devoted to experimentation. The name Contour itself brings to the seasoned musician’s mind melodic motion—the shape of the harmonic line, the nearness and farness of successful pitches.
Do you see what is happening? Contour, in his unique and palpable way, is opening the iron gates into his mind and allowing us to not only hear his music but draw a visual perspective from his short film, Softer. Backed by a live band, watching Contour perform will be like a night at an art museum. Just make sure to preserve it properly.
What are the themes behind your new Contour album release show and film screening?
My purpose is to inspire people to interpret art more. Artists don't get the chance to explain their work. I try to avoid explicitly addressing a theme to come to my conclusion. I want to provoke feeling and for the audience to see and hear what emotions are being brought out in them. I want to compliment visuals while simultaneously contrasting emotions.
How did you feel while shooting your short film?
I had finished the album. I usually write one song and gradually build my other songs around that. With the film, I was able to do more meticulous planning- to be both calculated and artistic. I didn't want the technicalities of the project to take too much away from the art introspective.
What does the word "Softer" mean to you?
To be malleable. The opposite of hard- flexible. Not passive or yielding. Adaptable.
Do you have a pre-show ritual or post-show routine that you follow?
This performance on Saturday is based on my vocals only without electronics. I will not be as comfortable to have a drink and hang out. I don't want to conflict the quality of my performance. Post show I will disappear quickly to get some personal space. I plan and run my own shows so when it is over I need to draw back to a space to recharge.
Do you have any necessary comforts while traveling or performing?
Have I earned that yet? There is so much energy around us. I try to surround myself with easy going people with a good head on their shoulders. I can't be with crazy while in my recharging process. I have to make it safely from point a to point b.
In your singing and filming process what came first? Circumstance? Dreams? Real life occurrences?
With writing a song I have to produce and compose the instruments to start. That leads to a basis for instrumental conversation. I let the instruments run and find my lyrics through a stream of consciousness. Then I can see what my subconscious is getting from the song.
With filming, I had to really feel it out. I tried to think of the big picture and what role every thought was going to play out. I wanted to pinpoint an exact reason for every shot.
What is your favorite part about performing live?
Connecting with people- super obvious. But communicating art and just listening to make sure I'm experiencing everything. Being a part of a living organization that's the most interesting exploration to have. The more I learn about different disciplines of art I can then draw other forms of art.
Where: Redux Contemporary Art Center
When: Saturday, February 11th
Address: 136 St. Philip St. Charleston, SC
Check out the single “I'll Be” here: http://www.gettingsofter.com/