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LAist Interview: LIFESAVAS

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Lifesavas are a rap trio that come from Portland Oregon, and they're playing a show in LA, June 12th @ the Roxy. Members Vursatyl, Jumbo, and Shines have been proving that you don't need the cliché bling, bitches, and 40's to make great rap music. All you need is to keep it real, bust your ass, and make better music than everyone else. Easy, right? We sat down with Vursatyl to ask him what's crackin'.

LAist: What do yall do for fun with so such a hectic touring schedule?
VURSATYL: When we're on the road Shines & Jumbo usually are diggin' for records at whatever local used record store. Me (Vurs) if we have a day off, I go catch a flick. I'm somewhat of a movie buff.

How did yall come to first know eachother?
Jumbo and I met at Concordia College in Portland at a Basketball camp. We played ball all of the time at various parks in the city. Jumbo introduced me to Shines after they met several years later. They met thru a mutual friend who knew they shared an intrest in records.

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What inspired the concept for "Gutterfly"? Whats the overall story?
Blaxploitation Movies and the soundtracks to them were an inspiration. Movies like, The Mack, Superfly, Let's Do It Again all had soundtracks enitrely performed by a sole artist. Willie Hutch, Curtis Mayfield, and The Staple Singers to name a few. As well the opportunity to use a movie concept to express song ideas and musical directions we hadn't attempted before was inviting.
Gutterfly is about three fellas who come to Razor Blade City (Portland) and want to make a name for themselves in the big city. While living there, one of the guys is killed by Pharoahs' assassins. Bumpy & Sleepy want to take the evil Pharoah down and they succeed. All the while empowering the people of Razor Blade City to fight for what they believe in.

Can you believe Tango dumped New York like that on the finale?! Or what's the teevee shows you guys like?
I can believe Tango dropped her. You can't talk bad on a man's Mom and expect it to be all good. Just really saw a few of those episodes. Not really feelin that show though.
I'm a boxing fan. When there's time I like to watch old and new bouts. I'm a Floyd Mayweather fan.Whats the hardest thing about being rappers from Portland Oregon?
Credibility is always a hurdle when you're from Portland. It's not as glamorous as some of the other regions. So we have to go the extra mile to be on top of our game so that the first thing that comes to mind when you see or hear Lifesavas is "these guys are dope". Then, when you find out that we're not from LA or New York etc. it's refreshing.

Do you guys like LA? What do you like and/or what are your impressions of LA?
We have fun when we come to LA. We spend most of our time in either the Leimert Park area, or Inglewood eating at M & M's, or in South Central, mostly Watts cause our homeboy is from there.
Our impression of LA is like any other city. We don't mess with the tourist side too much, we enjoy where the real people get down. So we like that side of LA a lot.

What non-rap music are you guys into?
Shines and Jumbo listen to everything from Brazilian music, Turkish Funk, Prog Rock, Psych Roch, everything. I'm into new and old Soul music. Everything from Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Al Green to D'angleo, Bilal, & Dwele.

Is it hard to rap with sunglasses on in a dark nite club?
That's a question for Jumbo. He got the Alien jump-offs. I would say it's No Prob. He pulls it off without a hitch.

What's next for you guys... Got any new projects or collaborations?
Several things... Shines has a rare groove Mixtape series he's continuing called "Today's Good News".
We're collectively involved in recording our artists new album his name is Libretto. I (Vursatyl) will be collaborating with Jake One for his new album. As well I am working on a solo album. Jumbo has a Producer album in the works. Jumbo and I will also record an entire project with Vitamin D. That should be BANANAS!!!

Any gossip you can reveal about Strange Fruit Project?
Strange Fruit Project is real dope. We were diggin their record before there was any thought of touring. But once we finished our record and we were approached with touring, they are artists we wanted to work with.

Whats the best and worst thing about being in Lifesavas?
The best thing is having a group of cats that share an outlook on Hip Hop and music. It's the perfect creative outlet. The worst thing is waiting. Waiting for everything that we visualize for ourselves to happen. We get impatient man!!!!

When i see your show can i buy yall beers?
You can buy me a Cranberry juice. Easy on the ice!

Do you have any parting words for the readers of LAist?
Support independent music and independent artists.

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