Most youth group kids in the late 90s and early 2000s were listening to rock music and punk bands on popular and cool label Tooth & Nail Records. You had bands such as MxPx, Project 86, Spoken, Blindside, Slick Shoes, and on and on.
Real Christian Rap didn’t have much of a home yet within the popular labels of the industry so Tooth & Nail and one of their subsidiaries, BEC Recordings, began infusing some hip-hop into their labels. Early adoptions were KJ-52, Manafest, and Furthermore – the subject of this article.
Because these hip-hop acts were surrounded by rock, punk, and hardcore bands, they’d often be the awkward opener on tours or at events. For whatever reason though, it worked. Youth groups would play these rap albums in their rotation with the bands, and popular Christian music stations TvU and RadioU would play the newest songs and music videos. That’s where I, a youth group age kid, first saw a music video for Furthermore in what I’d guess would be the year 2000.
Furthermore was a three-piece rap group from Utah consisting of Daniel Fischer (rap vocals and production), Pepe Lee (singing vocals), and DJ Jason Jester (DJ and background vocals). To describe Furthermore is difficult. Fischer makes reference in a song and calls the style “pop rap” but it’s a little more nuanced than that.
You can tell they have a deep understanding of hip-hop through some of the technical rhymes and production, but they also liked to have fun, be silly, and be catchy.
The first album was called Fluorescent Jellyfish and was released on November 18th, 1999. The album features an eclectic dose of hard-hitting rap vocals, pop choruses, and scratchable rock mixes. It is truly an underrated fun hip-hop album. It probably isn’t for everyone though. The first single from that album was, “Are You the Walrus?” which is the first song I heard and saw. You may not get the song, but there is no doubt you’ll be singing along with it.
After the initial success of “Fluorescent Jellyfish,” it was time for Furthermore to release a second album. On January 8th, 2003 they released “Sheandi” or “She and I.” The new record saw the departure of DJ Jason from the band, which is how it got its name.
Fischer and Lee powered on and released an album that is a solid and enjoyable listen from beginning to end. Lyrically, this album cuts into more of a storytelling experience with a consistent concept of “love” at hand. The album is a bit more poppy than the first one, but no less powerful as it changes from fun-loving lyrics to a more serious tone.
Overall Furthermore was a fun group that introduced a slew of youth group punk rockers to hip-hop music. They never blew up like many of the bands on their label and disbanded shortly after their second project. The sound and style might not be for the serious hip-hop head, but I think you’d find elements in it that you’d enjoy.
One of their most lyrical tracks is a love letter to Marvel and superheroes and this is before the MCU existed. The song features some sampling, scratches, and some of the best rhymes Fischer could muster.
Back in 2010, I had my own music blog. I had sought out Fischer and found him and sent him an email Q&A. He was generous enough to respond. (Since I own the blog, I’m stealing my own work here. Plus, I wasn’t a professional journalist yet…)
What artists/bands are you influenced by, and did you aspire to be any of them?
I’m yet another kid who lived through/was influenced by the golden era of hip-hop, although I always liked early waver stuff such as OMD, ABC, The Smiths, etc. as well.
When did you start getting serious about music, and what were your first projects?
I used to record songs tape deck to tape deck in junior high, but my first real group was called the Numbs (Utah hip hop group still around today), we released an album in 1995.
Tell me about Furthermore. How’d you start, where’d the name come from, what was it like, why’d you end?
Another member of the Numbs and I left the group and started Furthermore in 1997. We split the following year and Furthermore became just me for the most part with help from my friend Jason and Pepe (who did some singing on a number of songs and managed the band). Pepe actually named the band by opening a book and pointing at a word with her eyes closed.
What was it like being on Tooth & Nail and did you get to work with people you were big fans of?
I never heard of anyone on Tooth and Nail except for MxPx when I was signed. It was a great experience and I enjoyed touring with a number of bands.
“Melted Vinyl” is one of my favorite songs ever. What’s the story behind it?
The song was originally a Numbs song, although I added two more verses and reworked the beat a little. I was really into collecting comics and action figures at the time. I also loved watching the X-Men Saturday morning cartoon in the early ’90s when the song was written (1st verse that is).
Did you always make beats and produce or is that something you picked up after Furthermore?
I made all the beats on the Furthermore albums (Jason co-produced one of the songs on Fluorescent Jellyfish). Barry Poynter helped polish and add some live elements to them. I’ve put a lot of focus into producing more so than rapping over the years.
What’s the songwriting process like for you?
I dig for records, find a little nugget that excites me, sample, add to, rework then write to it or give it to someone that I think would fit it better.
What is your biggest rock star moment?
A rock star/failure combo moment was when a couple of girls came to a show wearing homemade Furthermore shirts. I was never the best at small talk or being social. So it was a little awkward talking with them after the show. They ended up hanging out with the boys of All Wound Up whom I was touring with at the time.
Do you still perform live or are you strictly doing studio stuff?* (As of 2010)
I’m in a band called Rotten Musicians and we have performed locally a handful of times in the last few years. Everything else thus far has been “studio stuff.”
Listen to Furthermore Below: