Yellow Springs’ Village Fam lights up Peach’s Grill
By Zach Rogers
Yellow Springs is certainly a popular place for any Ohioan to visit, due to a variety of different activities and attractions the village proudly offers. Music is without question at the top of this list, but rap music in particular may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Village Fam – members Brad Benning-Clark, Anthony Carter, Keith Moore, Marcus Polo Reynolds, Issa Walker and Aaron Willis – is out to change that, and they’ve already began making some interesting waves in their hometown, including hosting their very own music festival in the heart of Yellow Springs. The Village Fam Summer Jam took place on the weekend of July 7 and 8, and included an array of performances from local acts ranging from reggae to R&B. Now, more than ever, the group is ready to show that the village they call home has more to offer than incense and door beads.
First off, tell me a little bit about the history of the group. How did Village Fam get its start and how long have you guys been making music together?
Village Fam was started by a group of friends who shared the same passion of making music. Later on we all put our talents and resources together and realized we had our own unique sound. After acquiring a studio in fall of 2011, we were able to all concentrate on our first official project, Taste of Victory. Our first show together was at a New Year’s Eve house party and we’ve been doing shows and making music together ever since.
Who does what within the group? Does one person make all the music while everyone else writes, or is everything pretty much a collective effort?
Everything’s pretty much a collective effort. We write our own lyrics, Issa produces the instrumentals, David (Dae Dae) is Village Fam’s videographer. We all do as much as we can to get our name out and spread our music.
Your video for “All I Know Is the Village” is a front row trip through your hometown. What was it like recording the video?
It was an exciting experience capturing everyday life in Yellow Springs. Being our first video, we wanted to represent our hometown. Since then, people from around the country that grew up in the village have commented on the video and have said that they are proud to be from Yellow Springs, so our mission there was accomplished.
What’s the music scene like up in Yellow Springs? Do you guys feel like you get more or less hometown support for playing rap and hip-hop music?
We feel like there are many talented musicians from Yellow Springs, and there are many genres from this area. We come from a very supportive community and we stand out as a rap group because we represent where we are from.
Is it harder trying to make it coming from a place like Yellow Springs, or do you consider it an advantage?
Coming from a small town, it allows us to be closer to the community and have their support. This is one of the reasons we chose the name Village Fam. So we consider it an advantage because our music reflects the diversity of Yellow Springs.
The group pulled off something pretty unique earlier this year with the Village Fam Summer Jam, a two-day music festival created entirely by you guys. For those unfamiliar, tell us a little bit about the festival and the idea behind it.
The Village Fam Summer Jam was a two-day music festival held in early July at the Antioch Amphitheater in Yellow Springs. The purpose of the festival was to bring music lovers together from all areas to enjoy the talented music scene in Yellow Springs.
Was the festival easier or harder to pull off than expected?
Being the first festival we organized, there were a lot of challenges we had to overcome. But the experience was worthwhile.
How did you feel about the whole thing? Was the festival a success? Will we be seeing more of these music festivals from the group annually?
It was a memorable and successful experience that wouldn’t have been made possible without the support from the community. We plan on holding another festival next year and hopefully we can make it an annual event.
Who would you all consider some of the biggest influences in your music?
All genres of music have influenced us, but one specific artist is Bob Marley. We all inspire each other to become better artists.
Any plans for more new music this year? What we can expect to see from Village Fam within the near future?
We are consistently working on new music. Our latest project, Will to Win, will be released Sept. 28. It’s our most anticipated album thus far. We are having an album release party that night at Peach’s Grill in Yellow Springs. We also have the opportunity to open up for hip-hop legend and pioneer Del the Funky Homosapien, from California on October 28 at One Eyed Jacks in Beavercreek. Shout out to the Skratchmatik Crew and Philly Phill for organizing the event.
Village Fam will be appearing live at Peach’s Grill, 104 Xenia Ave. in Yellow Springs on September 28. Doors open at 10 p.m. with a $5 cover, ages 21 and up. For more information on upcoming events, music, videos and more visit www.facebook.com/villagefam.
Reach DCP intern and freelance writer Zach Rogers at ZachRogers@daytoncitypaper.com