Yu-Gi-Oh! cards line Eugene Chung’s keyboard, which produces a pulsing hip-hop beat. His one-eyed pitbull, Gucci, lays beside the keyboard as Chung and his rapper, Tåsi, spit verses over a loop track. The pair practices in Chung’s house, known as “the Dojo,” which functions as a practice and recording space.
By Belicia Luevano
Chung provides steady beats as the drummer for Summer Salt and Backlegs, but he started his own hip-hop venture in May. While he primarily performs under the moniker Eujitsu, his other personas include Bruce Lean, Yung Chung and Pretty Boy Kaiba. Eujitsu creates loops for other MCs to rap over, and employs the help of Magic Chronson, Dali Kasshu, Tåsi and Slouch. Together, the crew performs under the name Knifework.
Looping is the process of recording a track of a specific length and playing it on repeat, adding multiple layers to create a rich, dense sound. “After I make beats, I meet up with [the rappers] and show them the loops, and they freestyle over it or get a vibe for it and write down some shit later on,” Chung says. “Most of my shows are a lot of them freestyling over the loops, which is ridiculous to me because I don’t have ability.” Although Chung is unable to freestyle rap, he creates all of his instrumentals live. His only pre-recorded sounds are the beats he’s created and recorded on his drum machine, which he combines with keyboard and guitar to create the loops for his crew to rap over. “Being able to freestyle musically is cool because I run out of songs, which is like five,” he says.
Rapper Marlon Hedrick, who performs under the name Tåsi, also appreciates Chung’s spontaneous instrumentals. “There’s this super flowy energy that you just get from watching him perform, and the fact he’s doing it live, you feed off the energy,” he says. “The vibes I get when I rap are very personal for me, because I feel he puts his heart and soul in it.”
Eujitsu is part of a community of fellow loopers known as the Infinite Loop Series. Linda Lola, who makes loops with her violin under the name Violinda Lola, created the series to feature local artists on a show every few months. Other artists contributing to the series include Honey Sun, Sum Times and the Electric Clarinet Experience.
In August, Eujitsu posted his first release to Bandcamp: four tracks of instrumental loops all recorded in the Dojo. In September, he added two singles, “PURG” and “Sprite,” that represent the duality of his music. “There’s two different vibes in Eujitsu right now,” Chung says. “We have the very chill, more like, philosophical conscience rap with very jazzy, laidback, chill beats. Then we have hype, trappy, kind of dirty hip-hop.”
Chung draws inspiration from an unlikely source: first-generation Pokemon games. “I used a lot samples from the 8-bit sounds they have on the original Pokemon Red and Blue,” he says. “A lot of my trappier stuff sounds like really dark, 8-bit video game music.”
Chung currently has his hands full with a variety of projects, but he’s aiming for a new release in the spring. “It’s gonna be an EP or small mixtape that I put out with trappier hip-hop songs with the same video game vibe, very 8-bit sounding and chip-tuney,” he says.
Beyond the new release, Chung’s current goals are to play more shows, record more songs and see good things happen to his rappers. “I just want the crew to prosper and my rappers to make a name for themselves in the Austin scene,“ he says. “There’s hip-hop in Austin, but there isn’t hip-hop like this.”