DJ Tony Drake Sits Down With MFR To Discuss His Animation “The Indies”

Watch out anime fans a new series is on the rise. The Indies created by Dj Tony Drakes takes us to a dystopian future where hip hop is still alive and well. What will one up and coming rapper do when he gets more than he bargained for? Read this exclusive interview with the creator to find out!

The Indies, is it a comic or cartoon?

It’s a little bit of everything.  What I’m trying to do, the ultimate goal is to get an animated series green-lit, but what I’m doing right now for the kickstarter is doing an animated short to kind of introduce the characters to people.  On top of that what I’m going to be doing throughout the kickstarter campaign is releasing a free web comic.  The web comic is just kind of something to say thank you  to everyone that’s been supporting me, and also i know that when other people do kickstarters you have to wait months and months to get something so i kind of just wanna say yo if you found out about The Indies here is a free reward already.

What is the comic about?

So it takes place in a post apocalyptic dystopian future, but hip hop’s still around.  The main character Slick he really wants to be the universe’s biggest rap star and he’s willing to do anything to make that happen.  So one day he winds up meeting a DJ who owns his own independent label and then the DJ says you know what if you sign this contract, i can make all your dreams come true.  Slick doesn’t read the contract and come to find out not only did he sign up for a record deal, he also signed up to be a hitman for hire.So now he has to navigate being a hitman and releasing his debut album all at t he same time.

How did you come up with the name?

It’s because it’s really about independent labels and really in this world the different labels are really just fronts.  Kind of like the mafia where you have a restaurant, but it’s actually the business joint that’s laundering money.  So these labels kind of go to war against each other so that’s actually where the name comes from.

Are there any similarities between your real life self and the main character Slick?

Yeah.  i think it’s not just me, but i feel as though a lot of people will be able to kind of have a connection to him, because he’s kind of at that point where he’s trying to figure himself out, and i kind of think that everybody has gone through that.  And I want to say especially where Slick is at in his life he’s about 19-20 years old and I feel that’s the time where people are moving out of the house and pretty much coming into their own.  They don’t have their parents there anymore to say what’s right and wrong, you’re kind of coming to that conclusion for yourself.  So i definitely took my experiences from that and put it into the character.

Why is it important to you to get it out there and make sure everyone sees it?

Very important for it to be out there. I feel there’s not a lot of…whether it be cartoons or television shows that speak directly to the hip hop culture without exploiting it. And so I feel as though we need something on television that actually represents us. So I think  that’s super important and there aren’t a lot of cartoons that are hip hop based. So if I’m able to get this out there and get people interested and show that people still want to see these cartoons… I feel as though that’ll help everyone else even after me to make it  it a little bit easier.   You have Samurai Champloo and Afro Samurai they did an amazing job. It was like super dope animations now all we hare are the re-runs they’re not on air anymore. There’s this void there and I’m hoping The Indies can kind of step in and fill that void.

How long have you been working on this project?

Around 2010-2011 That was when the idea came to me and then over the years it kind of grew because all the stuff that I’m doing right now I had to teach that to myself. I had to really go in and really study and learn and make sure that I was doing it the right way, because I want everything to be as quality is possible.

And I think around 2012 2013, That’s when we were able to go through and do the character design. And then we worked on animation for a year and a half. And then at that point we had enough to where we could use the art work actually influenced the music that we had.

And then after that it was like actually going out and pitching it to different investors , going to executives to get to this point where it was so good that we had enough momentum to successfully do a Kickstarter.

Speaking of the music, are there any artists who have influenced the characters?

Not actually, what I was doing was taking people in my real life and the different interactions that I’ve had with people and using that as fuel for the character design because I wanted to make the characters seem as real as possible so that hopefully when people watch it they can actually connect to the characters.

Are there any artists you would like to make music with for the series?

We actually we did record the E.P. and we do have some artists that are actually already on the project, and I don’t want to release that just yet, but some of the artists are signed into like Def Jam or Sony Universal.

So we do have like a lot of really dope artists that are on there now. But for like future seasons… I’m a huge fan of Cole Kendrick. My ultimate goal with this would be to work with really dope. Artists that are into animations and anime, and understand how important it is to be able to set the mood in a show like the indies and have the music influence what’s going on throughout the show.

So now I’m curious. When are you going to tell us who you worked on the music with?

When the first song comes out and we put it into the animated short you guys will see who’s on that track. But probably a little bit later I kind of want to see where the kickstarter goes and see when it’s the best turn to drop the E.P. but it’ll definitely be before we the before we release the animated short.

Do you have a date for when the short is going to be released?

July 6, 2018.

Where can we watch it?

That has yet to be decided. If you are a Kickstarter backer you’ll be one of the first people that gets to see it. The reason I say that I’m not exactly sure is because we are going to be doing a festival run. And so we want to go through do the festival runs. The first one will be on July 6. And then after that really going to the different festivals and hearing it there.

To find out more about the series and how you can donate to the kickstarter, follow the links below!

Parish Hodges
Parish Hodges
Hi I'm Parish! I'm an entertainment news journalist and avid TV watcher residing in Nashville, TN. I've dabbled in all things media including, radio, production, and TV. Follow me on Twitter to keep up with all things pop culture.