Kodoja with Keith Foster

I need to point your gaze to a man by the name of Keith Foster.
I got news that Skeme Richards, Lance Pilgrim, and the Hot Peas and Butta crew were collaborating with Keith on a Big Monster project called “Kodoja: Terror Mountain Showdown“. Keith kicked off Kodoja as a multisensorial comic book-driven storyline accompanied by a break-pressed musical score. I was very excited by this project, mostly because I loved the idea of a music-backed comic book. I’m always searching for creative people and new projects to absorb, and Kodoja was something I had to get into. So I went to Philly and met up with the crew.
I first met Keith (writer) and Rory Smith (artist) at their Kodoja booth at Philly’s Comic Con, along with Skeme. I bought their first issue of the comic book along with the Kodoja 45 and a poster. This first package got me hooked. And today, I met up with Keith, who was visiting SF for the weekend, to reconnect. We hung out at Rooky Ricardo’s and played some cards before heading down to Bi-Rite with my friend Liz to get some delicious ice cream. We talked music, big monsters, and upcoming creative projects. I’ll keep hush on these but I will say that 2013 is definitely a year to keep tabs on Keith Foster, his band “Big Pimp Jones”, and the Hot Peas and Butta crew.
I asked Keith to write a piece on the Kodoja project (read below); it is always revealing to hear what a creator has to say about his own work and I’m thankful that he made time to oblige. It’s definitely worth a read.

Keith Foster at Rooky Ricardo’s

[Some Words On Kodoja by Keith Foster]
While the comic, music and art surrounding Kodoja just hit the shelves a few months ago, I feel it’s been a long time in the making and just needed something right for the pieces to come together. In terms of concept, the band I’m a part of (Big Pimp Jones) has been making funky music for the last 20 years; of recent we released a fake Blaxploitation soundtrack in 2009 (Bad Bad Jimmy Ruckus) and its sequel in 2010 (Jimmy Ruckus and the Five Fingers of Death). To accompany the music we worked with a plot to the two ‘movies’, some lines of dialogue and backstory. When I was younger I did some acting and wrote a screenplay, experience which came in handy for the Jimmy Ruckus records due to their cinematic nature.

At the same time I’ve been a comics fan since I was about 15. I remember the exact comic that hooked me – Secret Wars #4, the cover of which has the Hulk holding up an ENTIRE MOUNTAIN so it wouldn’t crush him and the other heroes. From that moment on comics were for me, and I don’t just mean the content and the stories.  Comics as a *medium* fascinated me, not only for the traits similar to other media (they look like art, read like a book and play out like a movie) but for the traits that are more uniquely “comics”.  So much action in a comic book story happens in-between the panels as you continue the story in your mind; you can create a passage of time and pacing to a story that is much more difficult with other art forms; and so many more. And, your budget is zero yet unlimited; your only constraint is imagination!  Can you imagine how expensive and time-consuming it would be, special-effects wise, to have the Hulk hold up a mountain in a film?

Giant monsters have been there the whole time. Saturday afternoons in front of the TV as a kid watching Godzilla turned into countless hours spent as an adult watching and re-watching those films, soaking in the giant monster destruction. Yet, as great as the movies were visually, it was the music that really drew me in. So ominous, so powerful, and in some cases – so hip-hop. Pharaohe Monch tapped into that with “Simon Says” and the hip-hop influence weaves in and out of Godzilla scores whenever they get just the right BPM and hang out in 4/4 time for a while.

It’s the intersection of Godzilla scores, hip-hop beats and funk that created the basis of “Terror Mountain Showdown”. It took no time for us to go from one song to fifteen! And once we completed the music, we figured we’d just do what we did with the Jimmy Ruckus records – give the record the whole ‘lost soundtrack’ vibe, create a few lines of dialogue and imagine it as a Godzilla soundtrack that never saw the light of day until now.

Except that’s not what happened this time.  Some research and a few random events led us to an idea – what if we created our own character? What if it was a giant monster? What if I wrote a story around it?  And what if we told it in comic book format?  The answers to all those questions led to Kodoja and then the comics, records and art out there now – courtesy of Hot Peas and Butta, Elroy Jenkins, Rory Smith, Skeme Richards, Record Breakin Music (Junior) and Big Pimp Jones. It took a while to happen, but man we’re sure glad things came together the way they did! And the best part (at least to me): we’ve got a whole lot more story, comics and music that needs to be told as part of Kodoja.
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