Komorebi Records Emerges as Both a Creative Outlet and Safe Haven for St. Louis Hip-Hop Artists
Komorebi Records (pronounced Ko-mo-reh-bi) is a spanking new creative project headed jointly by Michael Franco, Jeffrey Hill Jr., Paul Fullerton and Alexis McCoy. "It's a Japanese word. Literally it translates to 'the scene produced by sunlight filtering in through leaves,'" explains Franco, his height camouflaged by a large Macbook and sloped posture. "We try and make it through all the distractions and filters we may have -- people wanting to talk about material things, or things that may not be the purest topics that have to do with art. We're trying to make it through all that and still make it out to you, as the listener."
Under Komorebi, and in conjunction with the label's three other acts, Franco and Hill Jr. make instrumental hip-hop as guitar/percussion duo Franco-Hill. The two were RFT Music Award nominees in 2013, and performed at last June's RFT Showcase to a sudsy crowd at Flamingo Bowl. Hill banged out bracketed beats while Franco demonstrated his reverence for Jimmy Hendrix.
The pair, along with Fullerton (musically known as ill Temperament), "wound up piling up on Wyoming and living and making music together," explains Franco. When the three lived together, the fourth key player of Komorebi, McCoy (a.k.a. Sixela Yoccm) was always there. Yoccm splits her time between Komorebi and another hip-hop fellowship, MME. "We just all made music and hung out with cats, Marvin and King Tut," Fullerton says, leaning over and pointing to a four-eyed feline face tattooed on his arm. "I used to hate cats."
Komorebi is used by the gang of four as both a creative outlet and a safe haven to explore their goals to live with stability as musicians. "You feel more secure making music. When you have a team of people who are working towards the same goal, they are there for you. They don't think you're crazy for wanting to make music. They are going to back you no matter what. There is nothing more important, or healthier, than that." Franco further elaborates on the Wyoming space's creative experience with an anecdote. "We were really, really always in a great mood when we were making music there. There was a period of a month where PJ [Fullerton] would have a new beat, Jeff [Hill Jr., who makes beats as theblackbrucewayne] would have a new beat, and I would have a new beat in the living room. All of a sudden Jeff decided he would start freestyling, all the time."
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