Apost Khan interviews his longtime friend and co-star Asoka in the video sensation that has landed him in some sweet limelight.
Apost: You’ve been supporting Conan for a long time now. When did your die hard fandom begin?
Asoka: During the “Late Night” days. I use to stay up late and watch his show during high school. Could have used streaming back then. (laughs)
Apost: Yep no Hulu Plus made for some tired mornings back then.
Asoka: oh yeah! (laughs) But it was worth it. I always felt he was the funniest late night talk show host.
Apost: You were very vocal during the whole Leno conflict as well.
Asoka: We were already working on the song before that happened. We actually put it out a day or two before the conflict with Leno occurred. But like most people, I was sad to see that situation go down. But he bounced back!
Apost: So it was more of a perfect storm then? Everything happening all at once.
Asoka: Yeah, the timing was spooky. Someone working on the show actually told me that even they thought it was one of the first support videos. Which was kind of cool.
Apost: It is always good to know that the people working on the show are taking interest in what you’re doing. How did that feel, to have them reach out to you after the song came out?
Asoka: It was an honor man. I actually reached out to them and some of them responded. I didn’t think I was going to get a response. But it was a beautiful feeling. It’s just surreal, you know?
Apost: I could imagine.
Asoka: Like I’ve been watching this show for years… and the people behind the product have actually heard my music. It’s just wild. It’s a blessing.
Apost: How have other fans of the show responded to the song and video? The community as a whole.
Asoka: They’ve been really supportive. Most fans always say: Conan needs to hear this! Or This should be on Conan’s show! I love it!
Apost: Thats great to hear!
Asoka: And at this point in my career… really everything is just word of mouth. The song got thousands of hits alone on you tube and we just put out the video for it, which is in the thousands as well.
Apost: Previously we collaborated on a Mario themed music video for your Mario themed track. What draws you to create your art around things you are a fan of?
Asoka: Well basically… As an artist, music is our expression of thought. It’s what we do, I write down lyrics almost every day. Even if it’s just a little scribble here or there. And a lot of times my music is self reflective and can sometimes be heavy. Sometimes it’s nice to just take a break and have fun with it creatively and incorporate the things that I like or am a fan off. You know. Like we grew up on Mario, most of us who were born in the 80’s. I still play Mario to this day. (laughs) It’s a part of our culture. And the Conan song came up because I was going through some hardships and… It was a tough time in my life. But you know how they say laughter is the best medicine? That’s kind of what that was. I would watch Conan and for that one hour I would forget about every thing and just enjoy the show, and laugh.
Apost: Personally I really like that about your work. It is refreshing. Most artists seem to be too egotistical to admit being a fan of anything but themselves. I think it helps people connect with you more on a personal level. It makes you more than a product. More than an image. It gives the fans something tangible.
Asoka: Thanks man, I appreciate that. I definitely think with social media and how things are today… We can’t pretend to be one dimensional.
Apost: I agree.
Asoka: And that’s one thing I always take pride in with my music. It’s well balanced. If I want to do a song about Mario… I’m going to do it. If I want to do a song about what’s going on in the world. I’ll do it . I think (Joe) Budden said it best, “Music is just what feelings sound like.”
Apost: You’ve also recorded a theme song in the past for the professional wrestler Sonjat Dutt. With that as well as the Conan song and video and the Mario song and video, you are reaching out to audiences that may not be big time hip-hop fans. Is that something you were conscious of before recording those songs?
Asoka: I don’t feel that’s necessarily the case. When I do those kind of songs, I’m still reaching the hip hop heads. Just in a different market. If you like wrestling… that doesn’t mean you don’t like hip hop. You know what I mean? Some of these wrestlers are like the biggest hip hop fans. So when I do something like this, out of the ordinary, I’m just reaching hip hop fans through a different channel, a different route. I’ll give you a good example of this… When you go to a hip hop show, everybody is passing out CDs. You get out of the club and you might have ten CDs on you. But I can go to a wrestling show, talk to the fans, and give them my CD there. At the end of the night, I bet that CD gets heard before any of the CDs people might have gotten at the hip hop shows.
Apost: I meant that more people than just hip-hop heads would be listening to and watching those videos…
Asoka: Yeah, I definitely agree with you on that too. People who normally wouldn’t listen to hip hop might enjoy those kind of songs too, because it’s about something they enjoy as well.
Apost: Its always good to be inclusive.
Asoka: I don’t do songs like that too often, it has to be something that I REALLY enjoy and like. But as far as what you’re saying I agree. It’s just thinking outside of the box (when it comes to hip hop)
Apost: What all went into the creation of the Conan video?
Asoka: Oh man, it took me forever to do that video! (laughs)
Asoka: Because I do everything myself. From story boarding, to lighting, to shooting, to editing/post production… Everything! It took me almost a year to piece that video together. We had to re-shoot the video about three times because the lighting wasn’t right on the green screen. It was a learning process. But with something like the Conan video, it was always fun. I had a few friends who helped out with the video and that made it that much better. My buddy Big Santa Pimp is in the video, he’s the one doing the adlibs on there. We also had my buddy Chad dress up like The Flaming C, a character form Conan’s show. Basically Conan’s Super Hero alter ego. (laughs) And professional wrestler Colt Cabana did a shout out for Conan on there too!
Apost: I think a lot of people take that for granted. Just how much work goes into a music video like that.
Asoka: Yeah, most definitely. The littlest things can take hours to perfect. But now… because I’m more familiar with it. I think I could do it a lot quicker. But everything was home grown on here man.
Apost: Nice! After watching the video and seeing what a good job you guys all did, it made me want to do my own song and video for Attack Of The Show! (laughs)
Asoka: (laughs) That would be sick! I love Attack of the Show! I miss Olivia Munn though.
Apost: (laughs) Personally I I think Candice is much better!
Asoka: I hear you, but you know what I’m saying. (laughs)
Apost: Well before we wrap up. What can the fans expect on the horizon from Asoka? (Besides being featured on the re-release of my debut album “Orator Colossus” dropping in May that fans can download at www.avillain.com)
Asoka: (laughs) I actually just put out a new single with Stat Quo. It’s called “For My Soul“ and it’s off my upcoming album titled “Heart Of A Lion“ that will be out in late August. Before then, I’m thinking about wrapping up the “Before The Legend series“.
Apost: Sounds like people need to check that out ASAP. Like the cheap plug I threw in there?
Asoka: (laughs) yeah. Yeah, and that song just went into rotation on VH1! And it’s online on my website too! ReliveHipHop.com
Apost: Well it sounds like you have a bright year ahead of you. Any last words for your fans or people reading this?
Asoka: Yeah, I gotta thank the fans man! They’re as essential to what I do as the actual music! And for those that are new you can keep up with me at ReliveHipHop.com or on Twitter.com/TheAsoka or Facebook.com/Asoka213 or even on Youtube.com/AsokaTV. And thanks for the opportunity to you guys too!
An up and coming video producer and music mogul, Avillain mostly sticks to Sports games and television articles on the site. He currently co-hosts the web-series 'The Dorm Room Live @ Couch Campus'.