UNKNOWN HERO is a musical creator on a mission. He combines his extensive musical talents, which include composition, production, keyboards, and voice, with his lifelong love of animation, heroes, and their stories to offer unique and inclusive musical and visual experiences. His debut album IN MY HEAD will be released in stores and online worldwide through his own label Unknown Hero Music on October 13, 2017.
Growing up a fan of comics, anime, film, and video games, UNKNOWN HERO was disturbed by widespread lack of broad representation. He was particularly dismayed that comic-lovers were offered almost no heroes of color to look up to. Using innovative combinations of music, visual imagery, and story, UNKNOWN HERO has set out to right this representational wrong. Inspired since childhood by comics and Japanese animation, and more recently by musical artists who connect music with animated characters (The Gorrilaz, Kanye West’s “Heartless” and 2NE1’s “I Hate You”), he creates musical and visual worlds that invite music and story lovers of all ages, genders, and hues to engage in visionary fantasy. With IN MY HEAD, UNKNOWN HERO offers fans the first glimpse of one such world, rich with possibilities for further development.
Each track on IN MY HEAD has a place in a dystopian drama unfolding in the year 2125 on the Planet Altarz, where Lord Kraven and the UNKNOWN HERO are moving toward a showdown. Years before, Lord Kraven abolished any practice or mention of music. But recently he has learned that a mysterious figure known only as the UNKNOWN HERO has been depositing strange music-generating devices around the city. A growing band of rebels are plotting ways to support his apparent mission: to give music back to the people. The cast of characters in this musical space odyssey include a middle-aged, newly rebellious DJ Go Ji; her son and conflicted Kraven-protector Ken Ji; a half-human, half-Altarian Bounty Hunter; and mystical warrior, secret songstress, and New Revolt member Z’oa.
IN MY HEAD is an electronic album that blends elements of Downtempo, Trap, Dubstep, Rock, Funk, R&B, and Hip-Hop. Its wide variety of tracks, many of which blur genre boundaries, offer fresh takes on familiar elements. In the soulful and compelling “Ask Me,” UNKNOWN HERO expertly intertwines Dubstep and Trap beats, horns, choral background textures, and chopped vocal samples, all behind lead vocals reminiscent of R&B, Pop, and Soul. On “Hero Beware,” he creates an up-tempo Dance track that is both relatable and new, weaving together layers of EDM/Techno and Trap beats, modulated Dubstep baselines, and choral vocal elements. IN MY HEAD also offers mood-suggestive instrumental tracks such as the Hip-Hop inspired “Hero’s Groove,” and the smooth, downtempo “Going for a Ride.” Also on the album are more traditional Pop or R&B influenced songs, such as the 808-heavy “Be Alright” and “Close My Door,” which features rich vocal harmonies and piano melodies. The album is sprinkled with UNKNOWN HERO’s signature soulful vocal samples.
Music, story elements, and characters from the planet Altarz are currently available at www.unknownheromusic.com, and UNKNOWN HERO will develop new musical, narrative, visual, and video content to be released over the coming year. Beyond Altarz, UNKNOWN HERO will continue to develop new music and stories, so fans can look forward to more dynamic, broadly representational, and engaging content for years to come.
UNKNOWN HERO has a long musical history and has collaborated with many great artists. Having grown up as his San Francisco neighborhood beat-maker (using Roland 626 and 505 drum machines with Casio and Korg keyboards, all mixed down on a Roland 4-track mixer), his music has always been a creative outlet. Over the years, he has created tracks and back beats for countless rappers, vocalists, and burgeoning music makers. He collaborated with producer/engineer Dave Beigel, and later continued independently, professionally producing music for a wide range of independent local artists who were looking for alternatives to large, commercial studios. Recently he produced Bay Area Artist Reform and has provided music for other artists, including the highly-esteemed avant-garde choreographer Erika Chong Shuch.
As a young rapper and beat maker, UNKNOWN HERO performed around the Bay Area, including at San Francisco’s iconic DNA Lounge. While performing with Dave Biegel, he was spotted and recruited to join the group Mystery Tramps, with whom he worked on a remix of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” currently available through Hot Trax. Inspired by iconic vocalists like Seal, Michael Jackson, and Stevie Wonder, UNKNOWN HERO began to explore and develop his expertise weaving together rich vocals with instrumental melodies, expanding from beat-maker to songwriter, and developing the signature elements that continue to be a through-line amongst his eclectic catalog. More recently, UNKNOWN HERO teamed up with the late Dwayne Calizo, a local legend, vocalist, and vocal coach, to develop his range and expand his vocal repertoire.
For more information about UNKNOWN HERO and the IN MY HEAD release, please visit the Unknown Hero website and social media pages via www.unknownheromusic.com.