#DENTradio interview with Brittany Bosco, @HelloBosco

Savannah bred Brittany Bosco, or now “Bosco” tells us her inspiration behind her music, her experiences abroad and how she has evolved as an artist. Allowing me to interview her at 5am, this woman never sleeps and stays working on her craft. Meet the corky and darling, Bosco.

For those who don’t know, who is Brittany Bosco?
Brittany Bosco is, fun, energetic and a girl definitely. I’m a musician and a friend. I actually hate when people ask me this question because people always end up giving the most cornball-ish answers that don’t make sense. Like I am now, clearly! I’m trying to figure out Miss Bosco daily.

Where are you from?
I’m from Savannah, Georgia. Although the majority of people think that I am from Atlanta, Georgia I’m not. I totally represent Savannah all day.

What brought you to Atlanta?
Actually, I wanted to finish my degree in Atlanta. I went to SCAD, Savannah Campus (Savannah College of Art and Design) and I wanted my last year to be in Atlanta for music opportunities and I was tired of Savannah because it is a small city. I didn’t want to jump from Savannah straight to New York. So one day I decided, “hmm I think I’m going to move to Atlanta” and the next month I just moved.

One of your goals is to move to New York?
OK. This is what I really want to do, I really would like to move over seas, but I don’t know if I can do that because my whole creative base is here (in the states). My friends are all here and I wouldn’t know anybody there. [laughs] I would be so lonely! I guess for now its between LA and New York. I’ll be figuring that out hopefully by May. I really wanna experience and conquer New York on all basis! I’m mostly looking forward to street fashion.

Who are some of your musical inspirations right now and ever?
Oh! I just downloaded some music tonight. I love Amel Larrieux. Her voice is so honest and she’s the only person that I know of who can sing off key, right under the note and it still sound good. I also love Saint Vincent, Feist, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughn and Jolie Holland.

Where do you get some of your Lyrical inspirations?
I love to read. I call myself a blog whore. I’m always on blogs about design or quotes. I get a lot of my inspiration from everyday interaction. I feel like the generation that we live in, dialogue has become obsolete. I love having get-togethers where we can just talk about our views on culture and life and our everyday struggles. I would say mostly right now, the human dialogue is where I get most of my inspiration.

What is your musical background? Did you grow up playing instruments and composing your own music?
I just started playing instruments recently. Let me tell you a story. I became so frustrated at one point about things in my career that I took out all of my savings and one day I was just like “fuck this shit! I’m going to go out and buy everything I need because no one wants to help me so fuck it!”  I took out my money and I brought a laptop, a mic, some drums a keyboard and I started fiddling around with it. I recently started to play the guitar, I’ll say since May of this year. I’ve been producing and arranging my own stuff since May. As far as song writing, I really didn’t start off as a songwriter, I started off as a poet. I would just write things in my journal and I would look through it and think, “okay this sounds good, this sounds good” and so on. I started cultivating my songwriting skills and that’s pretty much how it started.

How did you become so involved with music? Did you always have it in the back of your mind where you thought, “Okay, I’m going to be a singer”.
I knew I was a singer when I was six years old in the adult choir at church. I used to lead in some of the songs. I went to this church called College Park in Savannah. My mom would have me singing Regina Belle and Patti Le Belle and I just remember how it felt to just entertain and give something back to people and at a young age I realized that. I would see how music could change and inspire people. So I just kept singing from the age of about six or seven. I actually gave up singing for a year when I was about 19. I didn’t really know how to start correctly, I was in Savannah, which is a smaller city so I didn’t really know what to do and then I got TMJ. TMJ is a jaw muscle “Thing”. I was singing in chorus one day and my jaw just locked. I had to go to the doctor and get surgery and they told me I couldn’t sing for a while. I just remember thinking, “Fuck, this is a sign, maybe this isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing.” But that’s not true.

What’s your reasoning behind changing your name from Brittany Bosco, to just BOSCO? When I went over seas, I really got in touch with myself. It has a lot to do with that. I started learning things about myself that I never knew. I felt like I was being reborn as a visual artist and as a musical artist. I just wasn’t the same Brittany Bosco that was on “City of Nowhere” and “Spectrum”. That whole overseas experience was like a breath of fresh air. I could see myself and what I wanted to do in all capacities. Another reason why we changed it is because it just looks better. Everyone calls me Bosco anyway.

Would you say the music from your first project “Spectrum” doesn’t reflect who you are today? Oh no! I’ve changed so much but in a good way. I’m evolving and slowing moving in a direction that I’m comfortable with now, and I’ve sent you some music and I’m sure you can tell a big difference.

What are some differences from your first project “Spectrum” from the new upcoming project, “Black”? Why the new sound, changes in style and lyrics and how your European trip inspired the concepts?
Originally eight months ago, we wanted to do this album on a white to grey to black scale. The first four songs would be “white”, which would be very light, very delicate and very ambient. Mostly consisting of lots of strip down sounds, which would then move into the grey area. Grey would be more “hard” and you would hear more heavy drumming and electric guitar and then black would be like rock and roll. I just wanted to have a transition in my album and I tried to think of ways that I could correlate the “art” part of it with the concept of “Black”. Now saying that, the entire direction of my album has changed. I want people to know that I really am trained in these areas. I really think its time for people and artists to just go outside of the norm. I think its just time to change the standard format of what goes into a song. I want “Black” to be an experience. And I want the listener to see an entirely different light. I want the listener to get that standard format of what “Black” music is out of their head. It doesn’t have to be R&B and Rap music. We can do Classical music, we can do Pop, we can do everything. I just want to break people out of their comfort zone. Now, its kind of playing on both sides a bit. The artistic side and the musical side, if that makes any sense at all. “Black” is more conceptual, and a lot more vocal driven. I have a better grasp of who I am as an artist being that I’m playing and helping produce my album and “sound”.

How do you think people will respond to the new sound and the changes u made since Europe?
I think people will like it. I want my fans to grow with me to experience the journey and my fuck-ups. It’s definitely something new, more honest and organic. This sound has come through patience and I’m still developing and nurturing it.

How has the European tour changed you as a person and an artist?
I know for a fact that my demographic is overseas. I had my first sold out show overseas. That’s never happened before. The level of respect that’s they give for your craft just blows everything over here in the states out of the water. They buy merchandise! They fully engage in everything you put out and I love them for that. As far as being an artist, that just showed me that I don’t have to be scared to be who I really want to be. Sometimes over here I feel that I have to hold back or dumb down what I really want to do. I’m not doing that anymore. Either you like it, or you don’t. I just want to share that experience that I had and expose people to something new. That’s where I am right now.

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#DENTradio interviews @MeccaGodzilla : “#hipHop belongs to the universe, period…”

Today we are excited to welcome @MeccaGodZilla to #DENTradio for an in-studio interview.  Originally from Brooklyn, New York and raised in Long Island MeccaGodZilla is a seasoned world traveler who is now on his 5th trip to Japan. Welcome to #DENTradio.

@MeccaGodZilla Hey how is everything @Jayda_b and @TokyoTwilighter

DR We are so happy to have you here. We know how busy you are whenever you get out this way. Tell us about how this trip came about.

@MeccaGodZilla Basically I was working with #YUMEfest for the Brooklyn hip hop festival last summer and this idea was basically a dream of Mike Peterson and he recruited my help and I helped organize some of the back end stuff and then he asked me to perform. The gist of this trip was YUME fest and then it ended up being Japan Music Week as well.

DR You’re talking about the YUME fest that took place in Brooklyn this year, 2010?

@MeccaGodZilla Yeah

DR You performed on the YUMEfest two weeks ago, tell us about  thatexperience.

@MeccaGodZilla Out of the world. Like that was the most incredible event I have ever done in my life. It was crazy. It was in Harajyuku with a nice glass background with a nice lounge area. It was packed. There was so much love and support in the room. And then we ended up dancing and partying. It was great.  

DR What was the best part? What was the highlight?

@MeccaGodZilla No one realized that, like @DJTomoko was going to come up to there in Tokyo and I got her to back me up as a DJ and I got to collaborate with @Ucca23 And you know my friends Q, the dancers. They (the Q dancers) really wanted to be a part of the YUME fest but there wasn’t enough time to get them on the bill so I had them dance with me. It was a great collaborative effort.

DR You seem to have a great love for Japan and the Japanese hip hop culture. What is the appeal of Japanese culture and hip hop for you and why did you adopt Japan?

@MeccaGodZilla I chose Japan for a number of reasons. New York’s market is kinda brutal.  I just like how (it’s) engrained in most (of) Japanese culture, courtesy first. It attracted me to actually visit here and learn more. When it comes to the hip hop culture I just like the idea(that) the young guys now  come from a lineage of tough warriors and samurai and sometimes it
comes out in the music. Shout out to Ryuzo (@ryuzorrated) and Issugi and Down North Camp and R-Rated records. These are some of the tough upcoming MCs that are keeping it real and portraying the tough samurai spirit when they rap.

DR I know you have a lot of love for R-Rated and Ryuzo. How did you meet up with R-Rated and the rest of the team?

@MeccaGodZilla That’s a great question. I don’t know if I should spill the beans (laughs) but 2005 when I first got here I was running around with Monohon records. And Maguma MCs (broken English…should be an emcee from Maguma MCs’ crew) and he gave me his CD. Then I went back to New York and I was at a big event at BB Kings where I was performing with Majesty and I got off stage and I saw this guy in the crowd with this girlfriend. He looked Japanese so I asked him if he was and he said ‘Yeah.’ So then I asked, ‘Do you know Monohon?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, my friend’. And then I asked, ‘Do you know Maguma MCs?’ And he’s like ‘That’s me!” And I was like ‘whatttt?!’ And basically he was real good friends with NOB which was the other half that I’d never met. From there Ryuzo and Akira always kept in communication and told me anytime I came back they got me.

DR I know you don’t speak a lot of Japanese yet, how do you deal with the language and cultural barriers. What do you do to navigate these obstacles?

@MeccaGodZilla That question is tough, I have to say yes there have been barriers and obstacles, but it hasn’t stopped my progress. I have a Japanese tutor in New York. I have dated a few Japanese girls. Shout out to all the Japanese girls, they’re awesome but yeah I actually study. I really study.

DR Do you have any study tips for people that want to learn Japanese?

@MeccaGodZilla Yeah, they can listen to the MP3s I have, the company is called Pimsleur and get a tutor.

DR You’re well known within the Japanese hip hop community. I don’t know if you know that or not, but you are kinda famous. What did you find was the best way to network with people in Japan, particularly a big city like Tokyo?

@MeccaGodZilla All right well comparing Japan to New York. Most New York parties jump off from 11pm and basically shut down, not shut down but people are basically done by 2, 2:30. But here in Japan people party all night so I basically hit the street. Daytime I hit the street, I run around and send a lot of emails. Then nighttime I hit the parties and just keep talking. That’s
the only thing I can tell you I just talk and smile. That’s it.

DR And you have a sweet smile. We love his smile on DENT radio.

@MeccaGodZilla *smiles

DR I know that your sponsor is Applebum. How did this sponsorship come about?

@MeccaGodZilla @DJSarasa brought me to a New Year’s eve party this year. Basically it was a party of who’s who in Tokyo so all the magazines, animators, brands, Djs… Everybody was in that party. I even met someone that animated on this big animated movie, I can’t remember the name. So, Nicholas was there, and I kept talking to him. He looked like Nicholas Cage a
little bit and I was teasing him about that. And his friend was from France, it was photographer named Gon. Me and Gon were talking in French and I guess they just liked my rapport so theyoffered me to shoot that weekend.

DR Whenever I talk with you, you always mention your iPhone; is Apple one of your sponsors?

@MeccaGodZilla Nah, I wish they were. I want the new 4. (laughs)

DR I notice that you use your iPhone and the Internet a lot to promote. How important do you find the web to be for promotion and how much actual street promotion do you do?

@MeccaGodZilla I think the web is kind of like the new age word of mouth. For most of the kids that are out now most of them are online but still for the older generation… there are a lot that are not online so it’s like you have to utilize the technology to get to the younger generation and you have to always be at events to reach the people that are not online.

DR What about the streets part of the promotion?

@MeccaGodZilla For me, the streets situation comes from events. Like in New York city I don’t hand out fliers anymore like I kinda paid my dues not to do that but you kinda gotta to be on the streets after the event to rock the cypher so that people that don’t know who you are or if you didn’t hit the event after you spit on the street they know what’s up. It’s kinda crazy.

DR I want to get your opinion on a recent development in the Japanese hip hop scene. Recently a number of significant clubs such as Vuenos and Harlem have been shut down for night time club parties. How do you think this is going to affect the Japanese hip hop industry?

@MeccaGodZilla I always feel that… like Japanese people are the bomb… seriously. When it comes to new ideas and technology they always… they flip the idea and they enhance it.  So, the club being shut down, I feel like they’re just going to default and go somewhere else.  Vuenos and Harlem are two of the best clubs I have ever been to but now like 27 Destiny is kinda like the new location. Destiny wasn’t poppin the last time I was out here but now
everyone is going there so you know they’re just going to adapt and make the best of it.

DR Where do you see Japanese hip hop going? Coming from NY, the birthplace of hip hop do you ever feel like they’re copying your culture?

@MeccaGodZilla Hip hop belongs to the universe period and whoever gets their hands on it if they have an honest respect for it and they put 100% into it I can’t be mad at what people are doing here. I am just really inspired by @iAMKojoe. Kojoe was living for a long time in NewYork, in the hood. He’s like more ghetto than I am and I’m black. His heart is just so soulful,
from like the Donny Hathaway, from the R&B type of soul and it is coming out in his hip hop. So, him coming back to Japan and bringing this influence of the black culture even more than it already is, is like amazing. He is teaching Japanese kids how to boo, you know Japanese kids don’t boo but he is just bringing a lot of American culture here. It is going to be interesting in the
next year to see what Kojoe does.

DR I was also at a show where he opened for STONES Throw where he taught the audience how to all pick up their cell phones to light up the room during a Guru tribute. Because you know how in the states you see the stadiums or university theaters where the audience is all lit up with lights from the cells. I didn’t know what that was and someone told me ‘those are cell
phones’ but we don’t do that here yet.

@MeccaGodZilla Yeah in Jamaica or elsewhere it would be a lighter. But I feel you.

DR This is your fifth time Japan, is there any advice you with you could give the MeccaGodzilla that visited for the first time?

@MeccaGodZilla What I would say, I was kinda… I won’t say shy but I was really humble. Ididn’t bring any of this boisterous American attitude here I just needed to observe. What I would say I needed to have come out here with an album back then. It would’ve been crazy right now.  It is still kinda crazy right now but it would have progressed a little faster. I should of had a
project done back then.

DR And what is the rest of your performance schedule while you’re in Japan like? Any big shows coming out that we can check out?

@MeccaGodZilla There’s a lot of shows. I have to look at my schedule. I’ve been performing the last week and a half every day. And sometimes I will find out about the performance an hour before. But for now they can go to http://www.ravagenrumble.com and I’ll make sure to have it updated. Also they can hit me up on Twitter @MeccaGodZilla

DR Is that like the Godzilla that chased the Japanese people in the movie?

@MeccaGodZilla Oh no I was the guy trying to kill the other one who was chasing the people.  The Mecca is like the robot that was created to destroy Godzilla so he looks like Godzilla but he’s just steel. Yes I am cho otaku desu

DR We have been so honored to have you on the show with us today. Any last words for our DENT radio listeners?

@MeccaGodZilla Stay tuned to DENT. They are getting more and more connected to Japanese society. They’re going to have all the music about the upcoming stuff and information about artists. And they’re global, it’s not just Japan. Shout to Jayda and shout out to Mariko for doing a great job with DENT radio and YUME Fest.

DR Thank you so much for joining us on DENT radio!

@MeccaGodZilla Thank you. Matane.

#YUMEfest Recap with @Jayda_b + GreenStreet

Check out the behind the scenes interview from GreenStreet live at the #YUMEfest with @Jayda_b in Tokyo!
[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYKOqjsC%5D

@Alivegreenst + @TheBKgoodGuy live in the studio #YUMEfest

Alive and Suahd from Green Street came to the studio to chat with @Jayda_b today to talk about their experiences in Japan and their performances as apart of Japan Music Week and the #YUMEfest!

Click the picture to check out the recorded video from Ustream! Yoroshiku~~

#DENTradio Exclusive: Meet “Ethereal”

With an eclectic sound and alluring personality, I got a chance to talk one on one with on of my favorite people, Atlanta producer Ethereal via #Skype. Chatting for about an hour, Ethereal shared some of his personal insites with me about his music, his inspirations and his mother, Glenda. Meet the wheel-chair boy wonder, (which he calls himself) Ethereal.

Who and what is Ethereal?

Ethereal is Obie Rudolph, and that is me, Ethereal is more like an alias, its like a deep music spirit that lives inside of me. I’m always thinking about music. The word ethereal, broken down means being or existing from the heavens, or from outer space, something supernatural and I really feel like that’s where music comes from. It comes from a really crazy supernatural place from my mind. I picked that name when I just turned 17 and I just got into music. I had started making beats and I needed a name. I ran across “Ethereal” in the dictionary and the definition its self just hit me. I thought, damn I’m trying to be and accomplish that, I want to be on another level.

Where are you from?

I’m from Atlanta, GA I was born and raised on the South side and I always went to school on the North side, so I guess you could say I’m a cultured person. I’ve lived in Atlanta most of my life, but I’ve been to many places, pretty much every state.

What High School did you go to?

I went to North Springs over in Roswell, GA. That high school is fucking awesome. It produced so many music veterans and so many talents. We have Lazy Mane and Kosher beats, me, Micha Freeman, I think even Raven-Symone’ went there and I think even Usher went there. I really enjoyed my time there.

Did you play any instruments in school?

I was involved with music heavily since the sixth grade. I played the saxophone from sixth grade to ninth grade and then I found a love for drums. I played drums in high school at North Springs from my junior year and senior year. I’ve always been an avid fan of percussion. If you listen to a wide range of my music you can hear and feel that I put a little more focus and energy in my drums. I program all my drums. Even the samples and I take those, cut them up and reposition them.

Where do you get some of your inspiration from for some of the concepts of your songs?

It really stems from a lot of things. If you know me personally, you know that I love “Funny”. I love laughing I love jokes and I think about funny stuff all of the time. I feel like some of the things I think about, no one else thinks about. I think song concepts come from hidden chambers of my mind that house different events that I may have seen or thought about in life. “Organica Relaxer System Engaged”, that’s a track on my “Electric Kool-Aid Acid” mixtape, that was actually a hair kit. It was one of those kits that you use to relax your hair and I saw it just sitting in my house. I’ll finish a beat and I’ll look at something or the next person I set eyes with I’ll ask them to say something funny or say anything and that will probably be the next song title.

But how does that work for you? Your music is not funny and I mean that in a good way.

Its not all funny, it comes from other places and serious things too. Anything that not only makes me laugh or smile but makes me think or makes me angry. It just comes. Most of the longer songs that I make have a deeper meaning like “Blue Dream” which is eight minutes and “Lets have a séance” which is about 13 minutes. With all of the longer songs I guess I was trying to create a soundscape. When I named those, I put a lot of thought into them, but most of the time I just try to think of whatever comes to my mind first.

What is the process like of creating a new song and what do you feel like is necessary to do before you make a new beat?

It depends. If I’m using a sample, I’ll go digging for some old shit. I really like to sit and listen to every sample and pick about three of them. I’ll honestly make a beat out of all three but if I don’t like two of them, I’ll just throw them all away. That’s just how I am with sampling. I feel like there are so many samples out there and a lot of artists who use them so I’m really leaning toward composing my own shit. I used to sample heavy because that’s what I learned how to do first and that’s my first love. No disrespect to it because that’s a big influence on my style but, If I’m going to track out a beat (by playing it all out on the keyboard) I’ll generally open a symph and listen to about 100 and find that right sound. That’s the longest part of my process. I can knock out about five beats every two days when I have good days.

What was the point in your life in which you decided, “Okay, this is what I’m going to do”.

When I was about to turn 18, during my senior year in high school I was going to get expelled but before I did, I just withdrew myself. I went and got my diploma online and what not but, when I got kicked out, I went home and when your that young, you think dropping out of school is cool, but the reality was I didn’t have shit to do everyday. Then I just got into music. I pirated a couple of music programs and I sat there and taught myself. I would sit in my room for hours and just make music. When I did turn 18, I started hanging out with a lot of people who did music and I learned a lot from them. Just being in that environment I would be going to studios and people would be like “oh you’re a producer, check this out” or they would give me a tutorials. It was just like a sense of, for what I’m trying to do, (producer/lyricist) when I figured out that I was actually good at it, I started to take it serious.

How did you become so open minded about your boundaries of music?

When I was younger, I liked the way everything sounded. I don’t have a bias, well I don’t enjoy country but the sound of it isn’t bad to me. I feel like I can enjoy everything. I grew up around such a wide variety of music I can listen to anything and like it. I feel like that’s what separates me from others. I can find a diamond in a song that no one else would listen to and I can figure out how to flip it and chop it. I usually listen to 88.5 which is here in Atlanta, Georgia State University’s radio station, they play anything you can think of. I try to listen to as much music as possible in all honesty.

Who has been your biggest musical influence to date?

It’s a real tough call, honestly I would have to say it’s between MF Doom and Flying Lotus. With MF Doom I started listening to him when I was about 17, Micah (@freemansaid) was 16 and he got put on my some older heads and he put me on. I was in it hard, I downloaded every song I analyzed all of his versus. I would just listen to his music and it was so dope. I would just think about how I wanted to do that so badly. I love Doom’s disposition and his character, he’s just a great musician. He’s pioneering because he’s just in his own lane. That’s what I’m trying to do. Flying Lotus is a really big inspiration to be because I feel like he is one of the greatest musicians in the world. He’s on some other shit and he has a team of monsters behind him. He’s got TOKiMONSTA, Sam I Am, all of those people are genius when it comes to sound production. I want to be like that. I want to innovate something and have a team of killers behind me. I feel like that’s pretty much the nicest label in what I’m trying to pursue. All of that came from Flying Lotus submitting a song to Adult swim. Actually I heard that his mom submitted it because he thought his music wasn’t good enough. To hear that and see where he is now, that is so inspiring because I’ve felt like that a million times.

Do you ever wonder what your music makes people feel?

I do, but I try not to dwell on it. I try not to dwell on if people don’t like it. It’s just an indifference and it’s always on the corner of my mind, but I try to just push out music and be positive. I just know in the back of my mind that people are feeling what I’m trying to do. I’ve read some negative blog posts, but it makes me feel good and brings me back down to earth. I know not everybody likes it. You can’t think about it because that shit will kill you.

What do you want them to feel?

I want my music to be universal. I want people to have dinner to my music, I want people to smoke a blunt to my music, watch TV with music in the background, drive to work with my music, listen to it on the bus. I want them to enjoy it. When they listen to it I just want to give them a reason to listen to it again.

How do you think you have developed over the years as a musician?

I’ve gone through so many changes and I’ve noticed them. Growth is the best thing. I try not to think I’m the best because when you’re the best you can’t get better and I’m trying to get better… forever. I want my knowledge to grow exponentially. When I look back I do notice that I make big jumps. I’ve definitely grown over the past two years. I used to do things my way, but I’ve learned so many things from so many good people who really know what their doing. Managing yourself, keeping yourself in order, being proactive. I’ve learned all this and I know because I can look back and I remember from 2008 and see where I am now, I know I’m headed in the right direction and I’m happy with that. I have these periods where things get rough, but you just have to think about the end of it and that’s what helps pull me though.

Each of your EP’s on your bandcamp have its own theme. Is there a specific idea or concept that you try to get across to your listeners?

Yes. The cool thing is that the three major ones that I have released, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Mixtape, Illetric and Illement (illement is not out yet, sorry to those who have been asking) I thought about those themes when I was younger and they just stuck with me. I’m glad that they have because I feel like they make great albums. With “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Mixtape” it’s a psychedelic album and it’s just trippy. At that point of time I was heavily into electronica, drum and bass and odd tempo signatures. I thought about this concept when I was 17, but back then I couldn’t make the music that I wanted to.  For that name you need something epic but back then I couldn’t make it. Last December when I dropped it, I was on a roll. I was just coming off of one of those periods I mentioned in an earlier question and I was just making music. I was making some really trippy stuff and it was just perfect. Illectric. I put the word “ill” and “electric” together because I’m ill at electronica. That album is more chill than The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Mixtape. It does have some crazy stuff on there but it has that Brittany Bosco song on there, a T-PainETHERMIX on there, that concept was just really chill. Illement came from the words “ill” and “element”. By element, I mean the elements of Hip-Hop. On that album the concept is mostly sampled music. There’s some Madlib type shit on there, Hieroglyphics type shit on there, that’s what I really enjoy because that’s the type of stuff I grew up around. I grew up around skateboarders and they were into Souls of Mischief and that West coast bounce. Illement is really based around that raw sound.

Speaking of Illement, One of our favorite songs from all the ladies here at #DENTradio is “Glenda”. Can you explain this song and the emotion behind it?

Glenda. I made that song in late November of 2007. This was around the time my mom started getting sick. I had just made a song called “Ed Freeman”, which I made for Micha Freeman because his dad passed away when he was younger and I knew my mom was sick. We were listening to Vince Guaraldi, that’s the sample its actually “Christmas Time is Here”, the Charlie Brown song. I wanted to make a song for my mom to show her that I was serious about music. I knew she was sick and I really wanted her to know that I was going to be okay and if I didn’t go to school, because at the time I told her I wasn’t sure about school and I wasn’t sure if it was for me. I just wanted to show her that I was going to be straight if anything ever happened to her. So, I downloaded the sample and I flipped it. It was weird, her name just came to me, so I named it Glenda. She heard it and she liked it. My mom is a big influence on me because I know she struggled a lot, she went through a lot of difficult shit for me, and my sisters. She passed in late April of 2008 and I think that’s when I started conceptualizing for illement and I knew I wanted to put that song on there. I do want to re-master it but I feel like I should just leave it untouched. At that point of my life I don’t even know how I was making music. I was in a different place in my mind. My mom had dope ass taste. She had a huge vinyl collection. She would listen to so many different things and she would always tell me the name of the song and who it was by. One memory I’ll always have is I remember just riding around in the car with my mom listening to music. She would play The Isley Brothers, Luther Vandross, all of that. She played it for me and I fell in love with it when I was young. She passed of various cancers that spread though out her body. It was tough on my family but it was a really tough time for me, and my sisters. It was a tough time for me musically, I couldn’t think about anything and I didn’t have any inspiration. It felt like everything was going down the drain. I started listening to this band called Phish, and if you know me, you know that’s my favorite band. They are an inspiration to me musically because they got me back into music. I would just think about music again and they helped me get back on track. I was out of it for a little while. I didn’t have a computer, my hard drive crashed and everything I made before my mom passed had gotten destroyed. They helped me get though it because it gave me something to think about.**

More on Ethereal check out his music here and hit him up on twitter here.

Exclusive interview with Chilly-O

I had a chance to sit down and talk with Chilly-O this past summer while I was visiting Atlanta. Chilly-O and I talked about his life, the Chilly-O brand, and pretty much everything in between. Yes, I understand the interview is long, but it is well worth the read. For those of you who don’t already know, meet Chilly-O. Yoroshiku.

Who and what is Chilly-O?

Chilly-O is a lifestyle at this point. Of course we like to say we are an apparel brand, its mashed up between different variables, and sensibilities as it relates to music which is Hip-Hop. Urban, which is our linage and urban fashion. From Grand Master Flash, to Sly and The Family Stone, to The Stylistics, to just urban fashion in general. We try to have some element of sex appeal, which goes hand in hand with fashion and culture.

We’ve been around for five years, just on a path to exploration. Its like following that dark path with faith and vision like saying…”we gon make it” every 10 feet you never know what’s going to be ahead of you but we’re still trooping.

Where are you originally from?

I was born and raised in Pittsburg. I was supposed to be born in Nigeria.  My mother was pregnant on a student trip, but she couldn’t acquire health services from a tribe in Nigeria, (my sister is half Nigerian). She had to rush back to Pittsburg where I was born. Soon as I was born, we went up to New York until I was two years old, then we moved to Baltimore until I was about four. Then, we moved back to Pittsburg until I was eight, then out to LA.  Back to Pittsburg when I was 10 for about five or six years, then I moved to Stanford, Connecticut when I was about 15 or 16 and I stayed there until I moved to Atlanta. Somewhere In the process of me being 15 to 23 I went to college and ended up in Virginia for four years.

That transient behavior was due to a lot of family problems. It built a lot of character, and I became well versed in a lot of languages. East cost, West coast, down South I guess that’s why I’m so fluid with people. Most people move around because of military, but we moved around because of family problems. I just thank God that we had people to take us in.

So wait a minute, your mother came back to the states, while she was in labor?

Yeah!

Seriously?

Yeah. They used to call her white girl and they didn’t want to give her health services over there. She was over there with my father, I’m probably talking too much but my father was a professor and she was a student and she was pregnant in Africa.  They were over there for a few months. When I have to explain this to the Nigerians, their like “Oh no no no” they don’t believe it but you know, why would she lie? But that’s in the past.

She was also involved in the drug game hard, which ultimately (almost) lead to her demise, but she was able to fight back. She’s been clean since 1989. Her story though, I guess a lot of drug dealers, you know the same thing that happens in Atlanta today. These guys with money woo these girls and they end up with a habit and participate in whatever they do. When they get older, if they don’t get wise, they have a habit, which usually leads to something crazy. So I grew up around that.

When you were 15 or 16 you came to Atlanta?

When I was 15 I ran away, because I was with my grandmother and I was getting to that age where I wanted to run around in the streets and she wasn’t having it. I got into a fight at one point with my uncle because he was trying to discipline me.  My mother’s side of the family, are all educationists and social workers and my father is an educator.

I grew up in a dichotomous situation, I knew my mother, I knew my father but my grandmother, aunts and uncles, friends and family raised me and I’m sharing because I think the world needs to know in what builds my character its crazy where its like, growing up in a world of drugs and poverty on one side, and your father is like this profound educator… you know?

When I was 15 I ran away, he scooped me up, my father, and that’s how I ended up in Stanford, Connecticut, which is blue blood America.

Ten percent of the people who pretty much run the country reside in Connecticut and that taught me a lot and a lot about America.  I partied with kids who’s parents where gone for the summer and they threw parties in their basements next to 50 Cents’ house. That area housed people like Donald Trump, Diana Ross and you know, parties in their basements, pools, dance floors, bars, rich kids, long money… seven generations.

So he (my father) saved me from going down that wrong path. Where I ran away from, they were starting to get involved with gangs. Pittsburg was probably one of the first cities on the east coast to have the Blood and Crip issues. New York got it maybe 10 years later and now it’s on the whole east coast. I got exposed to that about 1988 1989.

How did you end up in Atlanta?

Cheap rent! (Laughs)

How long have you been here?

I was fortunate enough to make it through college, and back then we all made a pack to move to Atlanta. I guess FREAKNIK was a catalyst as a young man, you know, for everyone to be exposed to Atlanta. I wanted to go to a black college because of all the girls, and then I messed around and got an education. I wanted to move to Atlanta because of FREAKNIK and then I messed around and became somebody. We all made that pack like, “black people are doing well in Atlanta, we need to go there” and I followed through. In Connecticut studios were about $700 at that time, when I first moved to Atlanta in 1994 they were about $350 here so that made a difference too.

What would you say Atlanta as done for you?

Atlanta humbled me. I served about 10-12 years working in the communities out here in the College Park projects, Red Oak projects, Boat Rock projects and Huff Road and I worked with families and kids, from babies all the way up to the age of 18.

Atlanta taught me about soul, taught me about people. A lot of people move to Atlanta and not know what Atlanta really is. When I was here, eight out of 10 people were from Atlanta now it’s different, those eight people are from somewhere else.

Atlanta still holds on to Martin Luther King’s values compared to any other city in the United States. Whatever he left in this city, its still here. When I say that, people cordial to each other, people speak. You still have the crime element like any other metropolitan city, and now we pushing six million people. When I first came here it was about two million and Atlanta has tripled the population after the Olympics. You also have to look at it in the way it relates to African Americans. The wealth per capita… it doesn’t exist anywhere else in the nation and its like… I’m proud of that fact and to see communities of middle to upper class African Americans. If you go to LA you have to go to Baldwin Hills, you go to New York you have to go to Harlem, if you go to Philly you have to go to Winfield, German town…all of these places, but here its like every other place… hundreds of these communities. I think that has a lot to do with people still treat people like humans here. That aggression is not here. I don’t know if it’s a space proximity type of situation, but it allowed Chilly-O to cultivate entrepreneurly which I don’t know if I would have had that opportunities in any other city.

I just don’t like when people come here an criticize Atlanta because its definitely an anomaly. Not even from an African American stand point but there is just a lot of success here for people in general. It’s a good affordable baseline. They are not trying to jack the prices up and charge 30 dollars for a 5-dollar parking spot like an LA or New York or Tokyo. You get what you pay for here.

Would you move?

I can’t see myself moving from Atlanta. I can see my self with other homes in other cities. Its too many things aligned with who I am here that I don’t see in other places, but I don’t want to be that shallow and say I don’t want to explore and see other places. I want to see the world. There’s all frames of inspiration as you travel and see how other cultures live, and think and be. I think I would be in a state of ignorant bliss to say I never want to leave Atlanta. I didn’t get to grow up with that patriotic attitude like most of us had, ”I’m from Houston, I’m from Miami, I’m from Philly!… Brooklyn!” I never had that fair opportunity and pride about a place because I always had to leave… get up in the middle of the night. As a grown man, I chose Atlanta to be my home. I know Atlanta is like “where the real Atliens at?” and all this but I chose this to be my home when I had the choice to. I Never had a fair opportunity to grow up in one neighborhood and be like “its all about this neighborhood”. Really that’s like a Willie Lynch way of thinking, especially if your not doing anything to build, promote or help the community that your in, just living in a box.

How did Chilly-O begin?

We started with hand painted t-shirts. They have always been around, since the 60s 70s. I guess there was a trend in the early 90s where people wanted to wear customizable product and the only thing we could manipulate was paint. We started out with hand painted t-shirts and we were pushing them to a lot of celebrities in Atlanta. They were wearing it, Lil john and the Eastside boys, Titty Boy from DPT, and TI. He probably doesn’t remember, but he brought a Bankhead street sign shirt from me.

I don’t know if you remember that trend where everyone was wearing those street signs? That was me who started that. People started to mass-produce those, but all the originals street sigh shirts that you see in the videos where all hand painted. My ex-wife and I started that project.

I started to see the early principles of that through the hand painted shirts, when it comes to branding and stamping. Like okay, I’m building a demand for this product and I started to think now okay how do I take the person to start identifying with the actual label? In the beginning I had an artist that was doing the street sign shirts and I let him rock his name on it. I didn’t care because it was my idea, actually it was me and this guy named “light skinned Jamal’s” idea, but I executed on it and I was letting the original artist, Azelle, pretty much get all the credit. Then he kind of started doing it himself and I was like…”whoa… hold up! I employed you to do this for me” so the way I think, I’ll just do it myself… I’m straight DIY. Chilly –O wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that kind of attitude. Whenever there was a barrier, we just learned to do it ourselves. We started painting ourselves because we are artists first before anything.

People just started fucking with the name like, “Chilly-O” “Yo, I like that name” then we just started putting statements on shirts like food for thought. Its popular now, but back in 2004, cats in street wear weren’t really doing that. They were using lion heads, earth tones graffiti, turntablism and microphones, things of that nature.

We were coming with these big bold statements like “ I’m a fucking Star” or “I’m a fucking genius”. People were digging that I guess because at that time, people wanted to express themselves. The white-t culture was in effect everybody was the same, I think we kind of started to bring individualism as a style to where people wanted to separate themselves from each other, because everybody were like robots. Everyone kind of looked the same and I’m talking 2003.

Blue Jeans, white tee, white on white air force ones

That was just coming out of the throwback era when everyone was wearing them.  Everybody wanted one of these shirts so we started to screen print them and we started to incorporate the graffiti esthetic to the actual word shirts. And it started growing from there. Couple of the street brands like on karamaloop that were real popular were like… “oh ya’ll are a novelty brand” and then we started to see them duplicate what we were doing and I was like “oh! I thought we were novelty brand!” We had on the same thing!  Then that challenged me to start doing shirts just based on art. Then we just wanted to start selling shirts that said Chilly-O on them, just straight staple brand shirts.  People started wearing those, and these are all sighs saying that we could make it. Thanks to my street merchandising days, it thought me the psychology of how consumers think, and then I started coming up with these quotes. “Hard to get easy when you know how” and “KEI” like we keeping it exclusive. I think this was the protected shell for Chilly-O because people knew that it wasn’t just going to be floating around like that. We learned that from Japanese culture. When BAPE first came out, I’m talking 2001 before it became popular in like 2004 here. My man Ace put me on to that. He started to explain that to me the culture of what he (NIGO) did. How you could only buy one thing out of the store and how you had to find the store. I thought that was fly because it’s a certain offering of protection of your brand. That’s how we run Chilly-O to this day. We want the mighty few, we don’t want everybody in it.

You tweet that!

Yeah! People say “oh that’s an arrogant statement” but really, we are going on six years as a result of that attitude. People already have to search for it and find it, and when you wear it, you get a lot of new friends. Like “what you know about that Chilly-O?”

Yeah! It’s something in common!

Yeah, everyone knows I represent positivity, people may look at them stickers on your laptop and ask you what you know about that Chilly-O?  That’s the attitude that we build and orchestrated from humble beginnings. We were buying shirts on retail. We would buy from Lux Tee’s and paint them which was another five or six dollars but we were selling them for 50 or 60 dollars for Chilly-O shirts in the beginning. Then we dumbed it down and sold them at 38, and now we are moving into the action sport market, which is like the 15 to 25 dollar range.

We are competing with brands even though they are commercial. I admire brands like DC and Zoo York, even thought they are commercial now, I still like how the success that they have entailed of coming from nothing and now its cooler brands out but I like what they did, how they took their dream and made it big. We dropped the price for the economy and the cats who rides bikes and skate board are not dropping 38 dollars on a t-shirt they are trying to get a t-shirt for like 18 bucks and rock it till they cant rock it anymore.

Why the name “Chilly-O”?

I got that name when I was in college like from this street dude because I was always chill. He used to say “you always cool and so laid back, I’m gonna call you Chilly O” because my name is Omar. Cool Omar, chilly o, and when I was trying to think of a name for the brand I thought, “I’m going to use my nick name!” I got that name in 1991. A lot of people knew of the name Chilly-O before then brand in different states, so I thought why not!

Everyone always has such good things to say about you (in my experience), why do you think that is?

I don’t know. I guess that’s just the talent I was given. Everybody has abilities that are surreal and I think that’s just one of the abilities that I was trained for.

I’m very fluid and I guess I convey those lessons. A lot of people withhold it but knowledge is to be shared.  Any civilization that you research like the wealthy people or kings and noble men, they were all very good teachers and wise men because they shared knowledge and I believe in that.

People who don’t want to share knowledge for a positive outcome, are like basically energy takers. Sometimes I’m unaware I guess. Whatever people see in me I don’t see in myself. How are things going to grow? How are things going to build? I have a different attitude I’m not trying to burn myself out or try to over extend myself but at the same time I’m not trying to like not see a positive outcome because I’m trying to hold on to my chips or hold on to my situation and so on and so forth.

I just feel like understanding the importance of cultivation, especially with the youth, because it’s not happening. Even with my own kids, they don’t see it. Sometimes I even feel like they don’t know who their dad is. I have to trust that they are going to replace some of the information I’ve put in them because they are going to eventually replace me. When you study abundance, wealth and positivity, laws of attraction and how people with success think, you learn that you have been taught wrong. I don’t want to think wrong anymore, so I guess there was a shift that took place. The way I execute is through actions and not through talk, even though I’m talking a lot right now.

I don’t know everything and I’m not running around here trying to be a know it all, I’m not trying to be the person that hoards the information, I’m trying to be the person that shares the information. I think that person who shares that information is usually sitting on the top.

What inspires you?

It can be anything. Sometimes I’ll get on my bikes and just ride though the city fast. Sometimes it might be somewhere taking a risk, knowing I could get hurt or messed up right now, maybe something magical could happen! It could be observing another group of people…I get a lot of inspiration from art and a lot of shapes, simplicity, and shapes. I like Picasso, I like a lot of his work, even though he’s well versed in expressing realistic art, I like how he kind of took what people were doing with the fancy art, how he took it and simplified it through shapes.

I like pop art I like predictive art. I like art that looks like a little kid drew it, like what it’s expressing and what kind of story its telling. I like color. I love extreme sports. Extreme sports inspire me. I want to see someone jump off a building. I want to see someone take a bike and jump that thing like 80 feet. I want to see people do corky sports. I like seeing crazy things. I like knowledge, I like science fiction, I like line art I like pointillism, I like a lot. Anything can inspire me. I like socialism I like how people socialize. I like to see how kids express themselves. I like people who aren’t scared.

24 hours in the life of Chilly-O

It depends on what point of balance I’m in.  If I am in seeking mode then I might not wake up until 3:00pm in the afternoon, but I may have been up until 8:00am that morning before. I’ll come to the lab, I’ll do research and if I’m feeling inspired, I’ll indulge in some art, whether if its photography, video or some type of illustration.

I’ll look at and study trends, I’ll do my social networking, may close a few deals, may look at some planning then it will be about 10 or 11pm, I’ll probably end up in some bar somewhere. Bars, clubs, house parties or some private event. The core reason for that is to find some type of inspiration or networking. The night is definitely my creative period. I’m more of a night person. All of my creative energies are concentrated at night.

If I’m balanced, usually I’m more left brained. I’ll get here in the office, schedule meetings, talk with my partner, sit here and just plan on how we are going to role everything out.

So its something structured versus less structured?

Yeah, its like I have a battle. It’s my dichotomy. I’m a walking dichotomy. I’m a cancer and sometimes its like water and fire, everything I do is Yin and Yang. Everything I do, I might be hypocritical, or I might walk with execution. I live on both ends of the extreme.  It’s just a certain sense of acceptable craziness.

It’s just apart of the human experience.

Yeah! Creation. When you create something, sometimes your mistakes are your best creations. There’s no format for me. When I don’t have to worry about small problems, I’m the most creative. When I have to worry about the micro things, it stunts my creativity. I have to wear different hats and get into my left-brain. It stunts my creativity, like when I have to do executive left brained shit. It’s just a certain type of process that works with me, certain rituals, I want to get off the alcohol, I don’t do hard-core drugs, I never did. I know what that will do to you. Alcoholism runs in both sides of my family so I don’t know if that’s something that’s inevitable or something that I can control but I definitely want to leave the alcohol alone. I don’t know though, 24 hours for Chilly-O is unpredictable.

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Coming up! Interview with @CHILLYOATL

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Shout out to @CHILLYOATL for my awesome new keychain!

You can catch @jayda_b interview’s with him on episode two of #DENTradio airing Friday, October 30th at 10pm Tokyo time/9am Atlanta time

You can also check out his website www.chillyo.com