There’s an old wives’ tale about going to a concert in the rain when storm-drenched boots line the venue floor and a really ratchet drunk girl double fisting two beers like a champ tries to dance with you and your friends–
While those things totally happened I don’t know where I’m going with this. Also, I’m not totally sure I know what the phrase “old wives’ tale” even means. What I do know is that G-Eazy and Skizzy Mars gave one hell of a performance in that beat up Atlanta joint a couple of months ago and made new fans with carefully prepared set lists, lighting, and live percussion. I had the unique privilege of interviewing G before the show.
Hit the jump to read our interview with G-Eazy… Continue reading “Interview: G-Eazy in ATL” »
When I first discovered George Barnett, I felt as though I had stumbled upon a gold mine. To this day, I love to kick back and listen to George’s music. It’s grand, it’s stunning, it’s representative of modern art, and it’s full. It makes for a great listen, so if you haven’t yet gotten into George Barnett’s music, I highly recommend you check him out. Listen to our interview below. We asked George questions about his songwriting process, specific songs from ‘17 Days,’ what his plans for the future are, what he’d do with $1 million, and more. He even sang a little freestyle clip about Sunset in the Rearview at the end! It was great getting to speak with George – do yourself a favor and listen to his music!
Mikey Mike is one of the many producers that lives behind-the-scenes, writing and constructing songs for major label artists. He has worked with some of the biggest names in music (Wale, Sia, Stargate) and is looking to transition into a legitimate recording artist. Earlier this year he released the amazing Chainsaw Love EP, which quickly became a favorite among Sunset readers. Now, he has given us the privilege of premiering his brand new track “Seven,” which finds the Maryland native in full nostalgia mode. I’ve had this song for awhile, and it’s safe to say it’s in my top five of the year.
Along with “Seven,” we have an exclusive interview with Mike. It covers everything from the arduous process of getting a song approved for a major artist to the story behind the “Chainsaw Love” concept.
Arjun: What is the process for writing/producing songs for other artists? What order of people have to approve a song for it to get through to the artist? And then who makes the final call for whether it will be on the artist’s album?
Mike: There’s a ton of things that have to happen for a song to go through and actually get put out, and the process is a little different with each record. With the last song I was working on, just to give you an idea of how it could go when things go right, I had a rough sketch of a track and a really dope hook laid down. There’s no point in polishing a turd, so besides spending hours tweaking and shit, I sent a rough around to the A&Rs and managers I work with to see if any of them were fucking with it. One of them really dug it, so I developed more, passed it back, then Sia finished writing the verses and Stargate flushed out the production, and then a few days later it’s in a studio in LA, getting played for artists, etc. If one of them was feeling it, they would cut the record, and then it would go into a pile with the other 20 or 30 songs they’ve cut for their album. Then, the A&Rs, execs, artists (if they have clout) put their heads together and pick the best 15 songs or whatever, and then if your really lucky, one day you get a call like “hey your song made the album” and then this is the part where you scream back into the phone “SHOW ME THE MONEYYYY HO!!!!!”
Arjun: Do you generally write a song in a single sitting or do you find yourself going back to an idea multiple times until the song is complete?
Mike: All depends, but generally I do them in pieces, maybe a hook here, verse idea there. But a lot of times I find the best stuff gets written the quickest because when you get in that heavenly groove and everything is flowing, it just kind of writes itself, like someone just kind of planted the idea in your head or your heart or whatever and you’re just transferring it down to paper.
Arjun: What percentage of beats would you say you actually use out of all the beats you produce?
Mike: I usually don’t even flush out a beat or production until the whole song is written if it’s something for myself. So if I have something written and I record it and I still like it after a couple of days, I will finish the track then. So in that sense, almost everything.
One Room is unlike any other group around today. Sunset has been supporting them since day one, and all the way up to now their releases have been nothing short of impressive. Their music is a unique blend of that dramatic Weeknd flare and the grounded, honest lyricism of someone like Kid Cudi. The group consists of Samuel (who released a solo track in March) and recent Indie-Pop signee Chris P. I had the pleasure of interviewing the duo earlier this year, and now you can read the full interview and listen to their brand new song “Tip Toe” in anticipation of their debut EP which will be released this June.
Arjun: How did One Room begin? Whose idea was it?
Chris: One Room came from a deep place inside both of us. It was kind of a mutual idea for us to do music together. Before you know it we had all these tracks we called ours.
Samuel: Yeah. We needed a new creative outlet that combined our individual strengths and talents into one big one. Watching all the awesome music happening around us and wanting to make something different… At first it was more experimentation than anything.
Arjun: What exactly is Heavy Roc‘s role in your music (production, distribution, etc.)?
Chris: The Roc is where it all goes down. Everyday pretty much we would go down to the studio and work. I was one of the engineers. Sam was always brewin’ something up as far as production, so by the time it was done I just had to cross the t’s and dot the i’s on it, ya know.
Samuel: The studio is our center, it’s really the way that we met and began to make music together and our friendship and the creative things began overlapping. We also knew that the HRM blog would be the first place we premiered our music. Everyone at Heavy Roc is really supportive, and we definitely owe them a huge thanks.
Arjun: I don’t think I get this whole set up yet. Who exactly does the production for One Room? And Samuel sings and Chris raps?
(Hit the jump to read the full interview, including who they’re both listening to right now and how Chris ended up being Lydia‘s Valentine this year.)
Reptar came across my radar last year when I got an email from a trusted source with their EP, Oblangle Fizz, Yall, which ended up being dubbed one of the best EPs of 2011 by Sunset, and hit single “Stuck In My Id” was named Best Song of 2011 by yours truly. Ever since then, I pretty much drool at the thought of Reptar. I probably dream of them nightly, particularly the gingers in the band. I’m actually dating all four of them. It’s an interesting relationship, and it might only exist in my head, but the fact is…it exists somewhere, and that’s what matters. So I sat down with one of my boyfriends, William, and asked him some really weird questions about Reptar. We talked about everything from their new album, video games, which Rugrats character he relates to the most, who he’s listening to right now, his choice of superpower, and what he thinks about having two gingers in his band.
Some of the audio quality is pretty poor and it’s pretty choppy in certain places, so I apologize for that…I’m still working on how to optimize these audio interviews that are done over the phone. For now, enjoy this Reptar interview. Oh and forgive me for lying when I said I had one question left. I wanted to keep talking to him! #Reptar4Life
The Dean’s List is comprised of three really good friends from Boston and New Jersey. Sonny Shotz is the group’s rapper and songwriter. Mik and Mendoza handle the beats. It is simple, but it works. The group was formed only 3 years ago and has quickly gained a loyal following on the Internet, thanks to the consistently displayed on their first two mixtapes Undeclared and The Drive In. Just a few weeks ago, the group’s commercial debut Generation X was released on iTunes, and I got to talk to the guys about their new album, their main influences, and the movie Drive.
Arjun: First of all, I got to ask you about “Dear Professor.” That is one of the most played songs on my iPod. What was the inspiration behind that?
The Dean’s List (Mendoza): Yeah, well, “Dear Professor” took awhile. I know Mik found the sample on YouTube, and we kind of really worked with it, and it took awhile. That was probably one of the first records we came across and then probably the last one we finished. It took awhile; it was a really great learning experience moving forward for when we were working on Generation X.
Arjun: Okay, now. About Generation X. Can you tell me a little about the recording process of the album?
The Dean’s List (Sonny Shotz): Well, yeah, basically the recording process will just be Mik and Mendoza working on a beat and then it slowly comes together–either Mik starts it off or Mendoza starts it off. Then, I just give them my input–what I think about the direction it’s going–and then I write the lyrics. It all just comes together like that.
Arjun: What were some influences behind the new album?
The Dean’s List (Sonny Shotz): We listen to just about everything–every genre really. Personally, I listen to a lot of Bob Dylan. He’s my favorite artist. I know Mendoza listens to a lot of John Mayer. Mik just listens to everything on the radio. He’s all about the pop hits. He’s a big Justin Bieber fan.
I got the chance to talk with Andrew Dost of Fun., a young band that is quickly becoming one of the more popular young bands on the scene today. The hit single (“We Are Young”) from their upcoming album, Some Nights, was featured on a Chevy ad during the Superbowl and their fame escalated even further. Some people know the band from one of the band members’ previous band, The Format, and others are seeing this as a breath of fresh air in a world of indie rock that can often be seen as muddled and unoriginal. Andrew talked to me about the band’s origins, where he sees them in the future, his favorite cities to perform in, his inspirations and favorite artists, Some Nights, their tour, and more.
I tried something different this time, since I often find myself skimming over interviews because I don’t have time to read the whole thing. So this time around, it’s an audio file. What do you think – is this a better way to go about things?
At the end of 2011, I hosted a poll on the Sunset Facebook Page asking who you guys thought would be the “next big thing.” There were several artists in the running, but the frontrunner, by far, was…you guessed it…G-Eazy. The white rapper from New Orleans and Oakland who makes a name for himself by doing something outright DIFFERENT. There are days when I get so down about the current state of hip hop and who the young stars are, because frankly it’s easy for them to all blend together. White guys who own Macs. They take a popular modern-day indie-pop song, flip it, and rap over it. But the raps are all too often…well, somewhat empty. And at some point, they all start to sound the same. It’s a case of oversaturation. At times you don’t realize it, and you get down and enjoy the music; but when you take a step back, it’s easy to realize that the kiddy pool has one too many swimmers trying to stay afloat.
Enter: G-Eazy. By appearance, he totally fits the bill for this overcrowded genre of hip-hop today. But he stands against conformity and has created something completely unique. He has chosen to build his music off of gems from the olden days: the 50′s and 60′s. His voice is unlike any others out there; a bit raspy, a bit nasal, and a bit addictive. It’s no wonder he was chosen to be the “next big thing” — his fans stand behind him, and it’s for a damn good reason.
The “prize” for him winning this poll was a featured interview on Sunset in the Rearview. We wanted to take a really personal approach to this question and answer session. Skimming the surface wasn’t going to suffice; we got down into the nitty gritty. So here you have an introduction to G-Eazy and a tour of his personal life. Hop on board; the train is about to leave the station.
Sunset: Who are you? Why should anybody care about who you are or be familiar with the name G-Eazy?
My name is Gerald Gillum, I’m 22 years old, from the bay area and yeah, I’m fucking great at rapppiiiiiiing!
Sunset: What’s your goal in your career?
Ultimately – if I can make a living in the music business, and never have to work a normal job, I’ll be happy as fuck. Obviously I want to be the next big thing, and see my music reach people all around the world, but nothing beats making a living doing what you love.
“Runaround Sue” (ft. Greg Banks) – G-Eazy
Download G-Eazy Runaround Sue (Feat. Greg Banks)
Sunset: So let’s be honest. You’re white. You’re young. You’re educated. How did this all start? Are you part of the young white rapper trend?
No! At least I hope not haha. To be frank, the whole ‘frat rap’ thing really isn’t a scene I associate myself with at all. No disrespect, but I’ve been rapping and making beats ever since the 9th grade… It’s something I’ve been passionate about a long time.
Sunset: If you weren’t a rapper, what would you be doing right now?
I’m really not too sure… Quite honestly it’s a little scary to think about. I never really did well in school, so I don’t think I’d do well working at a normal 9-5. I hate taking orders, and I get bored really easily.
Sunset: What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?
Tough to say, I’ve landed myself in some pretty awkward situations. This one time I got a nose bleed on stage during one of my shows, that sucked.
Endless Summer – G-Eazy
Download G-Eazy Endless Summer (ft. Erika Flowers)
Sunset: Who is your dream girl?
Rihanna… I’m deeply in love with her (body) and would do some crazy things to her if / when I ever get the chance to meet her.
Sunset: When you’re rolling in the dough, what’s the first big purchase you’ll make?
I’ll probably just go on a big vacation to Paris, or Italy. I know that’s not the typical rapper answer, but to be honest, I hate cars and I’m not into jewelry.
Sunset: Boxers or briefs?
“Kings” – G-Eazy
Download G-Eazy Kings
Sunset: What are the top 5 favorite cities you’ve performed in?
Oakland. New Orleans. LA. New York City… and Salt Lake City! No, really, they went ham out there. S/o to SLC they really showed me a lot of love when we stopped through on the last tour.
Sunset: What are your favorite pairs of shoes?
To wear: all black vans.
To collect: Black / cement Jordan 3s.
Sunset: Dogs or cats?
Snoop Doggy Dogs all the way.
Sunset: Have you ever had your heart broken?
Something like that.
Sunset: Any pre-show rituals?
I like to have a couple drinks… usually whisky. And if we have the whole original crew around, we do our secret chant, haha.
Rappin A$$ Rappers (ft. G-Eazy & Meta) – Mod Sun
Download Mod Sun Rappin A$$ Rappers ft. G-Eazy & Meta (Prod. by Adam Ivy)
Sunset: Where do you see yourself in 1 year?
Rolling in the dough! Or at least somewhere with a roof over my head, food in my belly, and weed in my pipe, paid for entirely by music.
Sunset: What would you do for a klondike bar?
Drive two pretty blonde dikes in a car. Or ride bikes to the bar. I don’t know, something to that effect.
Connect with G-Eazy:
Dylan Owen has been taking names on the streets of New York since middle school. After releasing his first album Senioritis last year, he aims to take 2011 by storm with his Keep Your Friends Close EP. I had the pleasure of being able to interview him a few weeks ago.
Arjun: When did you decide you wanted to be a rapper?
Dylan: I honestly didn’t know that I wanted to do this for a living until probably my junior year of high school, even though I had been writing and performing for a while at that point. I always had a mix of dreams and goals which incorporated writing — but that wasn’t fully materialize until, I suppose, one day, it hit me.
Arjun: The way I see it, you could have taken your rap anywhere. What made you choose to make your lyrics more personal and introspective? Who can you list as your inspirations?
Dylan: This was really the only route that interested me (and still is). I don’t see the point in making music that’s not genuine or inspired; that shit would be no fun at all. Inspirations, definitely Sage, Eyedea, Witness, guys like that who opened my eyes to rhyming about real things. And Uncle Kracker.
Arjun: Glad Uncle Kracker made the list. Which artists are you listening to right now?
Dylan: Let me check my recently added to iTunes… I’ve got Kin Ship (very talented local band from Ithaca NY whose drummer is a dope hip-hop producer named Kid Vision), Solo’s new mixtape Dear Future (met him at a recent Gramercy Theater show, gotta support), and some Willie Nelson. I’m eclectic. I’ll bump The Wonder Years one day and Jenny Lewis the next. And I love the new J. Cole, especially the second half of the album.
Arjun: Definitely agree about the second half of Cole World. Do have any big collaborations on the horizon?
Dylan: Well, my boy Kinetics is going to be featured on Keep Your Friends Close. Y’all ready for this? I may possibly have tracks in the works with Reef of Fortune Family, PJ Simas, Ashworth, Chance Fisher, Skizzy Mars…some peeps.
Arjun: Damn. All of those artists are awesome. You recently tweeted that you made a beat. I’m really curious to hear it. Want to give Sunset readers a sample of your production skills?
Dylan: I would be so down, but the shit’s straight up whack. People read my twitter? Do not follow @DylanOwenMusic.
Arjun: Where do you record your tracks? Also, where do you find time to record tracks around your busy (college) schedule?
Dylan: Funny question, because I don’t really have a definite answer at the moment. Back in Goshen, I record at my producer Nico Marchese’s in-house studio. Sometimes, I record with my own equipment. Sometimes, I go to DJ Mikey Good’s apartment near the West Village. We make time!
Arjun: I’m just starting the application process. Should I apply to Cornell?
Arjun: Tracklist? Release date? Tour? Want to drop a single right here?
There are 9 tracks on the upcoming free EP. I also think I’m going to put a few of the songs on iTunes in advance so people can grab copies if they’d like to check it out before the drop. As for shows, I just got done with a whole string of ‘em, played in NH, CT, and Washington, D.C. for the first time and got to share some stages with Yelawolf, Logic, Skizzy Mars, and tons of other awesome talent. So keep your friends close and check http://dylanowenmusic.com/ for updates. Let’s just say I’ll be hitting you with a Christmas present this year. Peace, Sunset!
WAIT! Before you go, check out the promo video for Keep Your Friends Close and try not to be hyped about the project. The video offers a glimpse into Dylan’s life in New York City and features a snippet of a song called “Bookmarks” from the EP. Swag on swag on swag.
A couple of months ago, we had an interview with the duo consisting of the rapper/singer Cal and multi-genre producer Rob, better known as Timeflies. That was then. Fast forward to this past weekend, and I’m sitting in their hotel room, recording an interview on an iPad (classy, right?) before their concert in Dayton, Ohio (which was fucking awesome by the way).
So check out the latest interview that will leave you with a few laughs and a better understanding of Timeflies as we discuss topics such as the college tour, Timeflies Tuesday, The Scotch Tape, and more!
- Jordan | @JDimerrr
Oliver Tank. Twenty-one years old, Australian, mop-headed. Musician. The adjectives can keep coming, but all of them lead Oliver Tank to be unassuming of so much talent. I’ve compared him to Bon Iver and James Blake. He doesn’t seem to get the comparison, but I think that’s just him being humble. The second I heard his music, I had to talk to him. Who is he? Where did he come from? Where does his music come from? Why am I just now hearing of him? Why oh why is he so talented? Well, wishes came true and I got a chance to toss a few questions at Mr. Tank. We discussed everything from his musical interests, inspirations, and sexual fantasies. Well..okay…maybe that’s extreme. Read on; find out for yourself.
Lydia: Well hello, Oliver. Thanks for talking to me. To start out with, I’d like to ask a question that I received from a fan of yours…who just so happens to also be a fan of this music blog. What did you listen to as a kid?
Oliver: My mum and dad used to have a huge collection of music on tapes, I remember listening to stuff like Simon and Garfunkel and Michael Jackson when I was really young. In primary school I listened to Blink 182, Eminem and Limp Bizkit. As a matter a fact ‘Chocolate star fish and the hotdog flavoured water’ was the first album I ever bought.
Lydia: Nice! I’m a huge fan of Simon and Garfunkel. So can you tell me where the inspiration for your music comes from?
Oliver: I try really hard to create something unique and original, I feel like at the moment the most original music being made is electronic music. So that is where my inspiration comes from. Artists like Nosaj Thing, Boards of Canada, Jon Hopkins and the list goes on.
Lydia: And where do you typically write and record your music?
Oliver: Mostly in my bedroom, sometimes at uni [*Lydia insert: that's college for those of us who only speak Americano] but the majority of time I just do it at home.
Lydia: Simple as that, huh? Incredible. Can you explain the song “Last Night I Heard Everyting In Slow Motion?” What does it mean to you? When did you write it? Is there a story behind it?
Oliver: A lot of people ask me questions about this song. It was actually a uni assignment, originally it didn’t have strings in it and I felt it was a bit lacking so I asked a friend of mine to add strings and she did a fantastic job. Thank god I put them in cause it really makes the song.
The song itself is about being unsure about something to the extent that it plagues and consumes you.
As far as the name goes, I was at a friends house drinking and getting blazed and I remember listening to “One” by Ratatat, I could swear I was hearing it in slow motion. So I wrote down in my phone “Last Night I Heard Everything in Slow Motion” knowing that I would read it the next day having no idea what I was talking about. I felt like it suited the song so thats what I called it.
Lydia: Wow. Well it’s artistic and unique. Thanks for sharing the story. Badass.
Is there anybody out there who you dream of working with?
Oliver: I’d love to work with some hip hop artists from the US. Weezy, Snoop, Dre. I really like the production aspect of hip hop and I feel like my music combined with theirs could be something really cool and original. Of course I’d love to work with electronic artists like James Blake as well.
Lydia: Okay and who do you straight up dream of?
Oliver: Straight up, I dream of fish and waterfalls.
Lydia: I have compared you on Sunset in the Rearview to Bon Iver and James Blake. How do you respond to this?
Oliver: I don’t really think I sound like either of them that much. I guess I had it coming using auto-tune and I was listening to a lot of James Blake when I was making “Last Night…” I think they are both phenomenal artists so it’s a huge compliment, but I’m just doing my own thing. The EP which will be out soon has a pretty original sound I think.
Lydia: I really look forward to hearing it. I trust you can pave your own path. Let’s take a little turn here. Katy Perry or Lady Gaga?
Oliver: Katy Perry, but mostly because I don’t like Lady Gaga.
Lydia: Me neither. I don’t think. But I’m scared she might come after me for saying that. Slap me in the face with some raw meat or something. Who am I kidding…I am nobody to her. Here’s another: Tupac or Biggie?
Oliver: Probably Biggie. Other than that I much prefer West Coast.
Lydia: All the way from Australia, and partial to West Coast. Awesome. Biggie for life.
I highly recommend listening to Oliver’s music. It’s an incredible experience. I expect a large future for this young musician.