Munch - Interview
Ann Arbor's very own Maher Hachem, a.k.a. Munch Music, a rapper, will be opening for Sam Lachow and Futuristic this Thursday, April 9th. From the Detroit area, Munch is continuing to make his mark on the local music scene. In 2013, he released his first EP titled The New Kid, and some time in the near future Munch will be releasing Beaches, his second EP. Recently, I had the chance to chat with Munch about his songwriting process, influences, inspirations, and more! Be sure to read it below. There’s a chance that Munch will be dropping some new tunes from Beaches, so you definitely don’t want to miss out on this. His set begins at 9:30pm. Tickets are inexpensive and you can buy them here!
MttM: What is the significance behind your stage name? Why Munch?
When I first started making music 6 years ago, I started as a duo group with my friend Cameron. We wanted to find a name that would stick so we thought of Crunch and Munch since my name starts with M and his starts with C. Eventually, he realized music wasn’t for him so he stopped, but I thought Munch was a dope name so I kept it, and it caught on. Nowadays, I’ll be walking down the street and random people will call me Munch so I dig it.
How did growing up in Michigan influence this project and your music in the past?
The most important thing growing up in Michigan taught me is that there is a whole other world out there for me to see. Both my parents are foreign so I’ve done a lot of traveling, so I’d say seeing the outside world really influenced this project. I continuously try to experiment with sounds that may initially seem foreign but have a unique aspect, and it’s attracted a lot of people to my sound.
When did you begin making music?
I started recorded professionally and really honing in on my craft about 6 years ago. Before that, I was recording in my closet just experimenting with rhymes as a whole. I’ve built a relationship beyond artist and producer with my sound engineer since I’ve been going to him for 6 years, and he’s one of the only people I trust with my vocals. His name is Sugar Shad and he’s based out of Windsor, Ontario (shoutout M.A.D.!!!)
What’s your songwriting process?
It really depends what kind of mood and emotions I feel that day. If I’m feeling hype and want to make a feel-good track that people can throw on and just rock too, I’ll do a lot of freestyling, seeing what I like, and going from there. On the contrary, if I want to make a song with meaning beyond the words that will have you hittin’ the rewind button more than once throughout the song, I’ll find a little getaway spot and get lost there for a couple of hours.
What is your favorite verse that you’ve ever dropped?
My favorite verse I’ve ever written and recorded is probably the first verse on the first track “Fengshui” on my new project “Beaches”. The reason I hold that verse so close to me is because it was the first verse I had written after taking a year hiatus from music. I recorded the verse almost 2 months after writing it and it always brings be back to a place of understanding myself, and that’s why I love it so much.
Who are your biggest influences? Musicians? Authors?
When making music, two musicians that initially made me want to make music were Tupac and Jim Morrison. Tupac’s attitude and perspective towards the world made me realize the influence music has on the masses because even after dying almost twenty years ago, his voice is still heard today! On the other hand, Jim Morrison’s live performances showed me what it was like to really lose yourself to music. His poetry was real and that really inspired me to be myself and speak about how I feel, no matter what other’s think.
Is there a different genre, other than rap that you strongly connect with?
Surprisingly, rap isn’t even the genre I listen to the most. I tend to try to find influence in other genres that I can cross into hip-hop, whether it’s lyrical content, instruments, sound design, etc. Most recently, I’ve found myself listening to a lot of jazz and blues music. More specifically, I’ve been watching live Duke Ellington and BB King performances – they were able to surrender themselves to music and create an energy in the room that put everyone on the same frequency.
What can we expect from Munch on this new EP? What’s on it that we haven’t heard in the past?
On my new EP “Beaches”, the listener can expect to be taken on a trip that takes them away from reality to a more relaxing environment. From start to back, I’ve been fine-tuning every piece of each song so it keeps the same flow and the sounds are more fluid. My previous work involved a lot of me trying to understand the sound I wanted to go for. Now, with this new project, I feel I’ve found that sound and I’ve mastered connected that sound with my message. I can’t wait for the world to hear what I’ve been working on!
What was the inspiration behind “Beaches” for the new project?
One night I was sitting in the studio trying to figure out a title that would properly showcase the sound for this project. I wanted it to be a title that would sonically and visually connect with people that listened to the music. So I thought about a place where not only I, but almost anyone can go to escape from the stress of everyday life. The first thought in my head was the beach. At a beach, you’re able to connect with yourself where the land meets the sea. The beauty of a beach is unparalleled because anytime you’re able so soak your feet in the sand, you can easily find yourself forgetting about all the stress that held you down before. Each person I’ve showed the project to tell me they’ve found themselves getting lost in the music just like they’d get lost in their thoughts at a beach. And that’s why I called my new project “Beaches”.
Why should one attend your show? What makes the experience so special?
The experience is special because I try connecting with the crowd as much as possible. I want the crowd to feel my energy when I step on the stage and perform a piece that represents what goes on in my head everyday. The ability to hold a mic and have a crowd react to you is one of the main reasons I continue making music – it’s what makes music one of the most powerful drugs today.
On an ending note, where do you hope to see your music and yourself in 5 years time?
My main goal as a musician in 5 years time is to have my first full-length album completed and shared throughout the world. In the process, I would love to continue doing shows, expanding, and connecting with crowds from different cultures throughout the world. That would not only allow me to be happy everyday, but it would give me proof that the vision I’m chasing is possible to achieve.
By Ben Schechter