Name/Nicknames: Christopher Smith A.K.A "Topher" A.K.A "Gaijin" A.K.A pretty much anything but "Chris"
Age: Old enough to know better, but too young to let it stop me.
Instrument: Lead vocalist, turntables, trumpet.
Band/Former Bands: Currently the front man for The Acoustipimps (www.acoustipimps.com) and have played with MonteFisto, Runaway Mayzee and Circle of Fools in the past.
How Long On Instrument: I've been singing since I have been able to talk (maybe even before), but I have been seriously pursuing a career as a vocalist for about ten years. I started playing the trumpet in the sixth grade, but switched to tuba in the eighth grade and played tuba through high school and in college, where I also learned the trombone. I started playing trumpet again in 1999 with the progressive funk-metal/hip-hop band MonteFisto. As far as the turntables go, I have been DJ'ing as a hobby for about 5 years and actually put out a solo CD of original jungle/breakbeats under the name Gaijin a few years back.
Equipment: When it comes to live vocal applications, Shure mics are the only way to go! I rock a Getzen horn and as far as DJ equipment, I use a Stanton STR8-1000 turntable with Shure M-44 cartridge and a Numark Matrix 3 Mixer. Since I use my deck primarily for scratching/remixing, I like the features on the Stanton STR8 series better than the "industry standard" turntable, the Techniques 1200.
Influences: My musical tastes are pretty eclectic, so I have been influenced by a pretty wide array of artists from different genres. I would say my biggest influences include Sublime, Buju Banton, Clutch, KRS-1, Bob Marley, Miles Davis, Earth Wind and Fire and Busta Rhymes.
First Gig: My very first gig was at a high-school talent show with the band Circle of Fools. I'd like to think we rocked the house, but that could just be wishful thinking, I know we ended up placing 49th of 50 at the Carl Casper Custom Auto Show a few weeks later...
Hobbies: I like to read and I watch a LOT of movies, so the next question on this list is gonna be difficult and may actually require a follow-up interview... I can't live without my X-Box and I'll throw an open challenge out to anyone that thinks they can beat me in a game of head-to-head Texas Hold 'Em. (Especially Joe and Kaipo from The Acoustipimps!). Other than that, I like to go places that I have never been, particularly places that are rich in history and I'll try just about anything once. Still on my "do-before-I-die list" are wreck diving, jumping out of an airplane (preferably with a parachute strapped to my back) and swimming with sharks...
Favorite Movies: How much space do I have? I'm a big nerd, so I love the Lord of the Rings movies, Star Wars and Harry Potter (Mothers, hide your daughters!). I also love good comedies (Anything with Will Ferrell, The Family Guy Movie, Napoleon Dynamite, The Three Amigos) and scary/cerebral movies like The Ring and The Grudge, both of which scared the living crap out if me!
Favorite Food: I love Asian cuisine, as well as Italian and Mexican, but if I had to pick one, I would say Asian, either Thai or Japanese.
Favorite Place: This is the easiest question so far... There is no place in the entire world that I would rather be than on stage with a mic in my hand and a hyped crowd in front of me!
My Bad Habits: I could sum it up with three words, which are at the root of most of my bad habits:. Attention Deficit Disorder.
What I'm Listening to Nowadays: Mostly early 90's hop/hop classics from Slick Rick, KRS-1, Digital Underground and Das Efx. I have also recently discovered reggae/dancehall artists Damien "Jr Gong" Marley, And Matisyahu, who is an Orthodox Hasidic Jew
Coolest Thing I've Done: I would have to say either playing at the House of Blues in Los Angeles with MonteFisto, or taking the stage and freestyling with Digital Underground in Chicago in front of 3,000 bobbing heads...
Most Embarrassing Moment: Recently, I saw a super hot woman at one of my shows who I thought was someone that I used to work with at DQ in high school. I went up to her all excited and was like "Oh my God!! Did you used to work at Dairy Queen in J-ville??!" She looked at me like I was crazy and replied "Um... No..." after which I pulled the smoooothest of the smooth moves and asked her, "Are you sure?." The look I received as an answer was priceless.