Hailing from the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri, the electronic pop duo consists of Dylan Brady and Laura Les. Laura attributes the band’s eclectic style to the two having grown up on the Internet. In our Skullcandy interview, she references discovering secret Pokemon videos soundtracked by Nightcore songs, a genre she simply describes as “sped up songs with high-pitched vocals.” It’s not a bad description for 100 Gecs either. Their debut album 1000 Gecs is a source of never-ending energy that inspires us to do everything but sit still.
Chris Joslin is one of the most exciting professional skateboarders to watch. He’s known to go huge but still remain technical. He’s also the newest member of the Skullcandy team. Listen in to learn about all about the BATB 10 champ — we go pretty deep pretty quick — and his thoughts on possibly being part of the first US Olympic Skateboard Team.
Valee’s unpredictable surroundings have created his zen-like personality, a trait that makes him unusually intriguing. He approaches life calmly and strategically, seeing it as an opportunity to cleverly disrupt tradition. His desire to advance the mundane has now carried into rap music, something he decided to pursue on a whim. Valee never intended to turn music into a career, but his commitment to craft set in and rap became his obsession. Valee’s unorthodox ability to twist vowels and stretch words over bass-heavy beats has won over artists and music connoisseurs alike. Today he stands as one of the exclusive artists on Kanye West’s famed G.O.O.D. Music record label.
Long Beach native Shane Blanchard, better known as Bane’s World, makes music that lovingly captures the sunny vibe of his California hometown. Laid-back and dreamy, his sound is at the forefront of a lo-fi movement known as “bedroom pop”. In our ‘You Feel Me?’ podcast interview, he mentions an affinity for “sad love songs”, which accurately describes his work on Drowsy. A guitar aficionado, Shane can clearly shred, but he also knows how to make his guitar gently weep—and even the solos on Drowsy become another relaxing layer in his silky smooth rhythms.
Jeremy Jones is a legendary snowboarder known for going deeper, further, and higher. Going pro as a 16 year old in the early days of the snowboard industry, as time went on he noticed climate change affecting winter wonderlands he’d frequented. In 2007 he decided to do something about and started Protect Our Winters. For over a decade the non-profit has been fighting climate change with political activism and organization. All the while Jeremy has lowered his carbon footprint by filming some of the most epic lines of all time without the help of helicopters or snow machines. He and his team hike and camp in pursuit of the gnarliest lines humanly imaginable.
0:00- Starting POW
7:35- Getting the message going
10:00- Individual Change
13:00- Getting into the politics
26:00- Winters at home
36:11- Ski bums
42:50- Early Days in snowboarding
56:45- Splitboarding in Alaska
1:04:35- Connecting with nature through snowboarding
1:06:25- Seeking winter
1:08:00- Body Management
Smrtdeath is part of a booming indie scene that’s been frequently mislabeled ‘emo rap,’ but is showing itself to be an amalgamation of a litany of styles beyond emo and rap. The scene has exploded since we first covered it in 2017 and smrtdeath, with his booming voice harmonized and distorted with just the right amount of autotune, has become a staple. But this style isn’t his first foray into music, and at first he had a purist’s aversion to autotune. Tune in to hear us discuss the evolution of his style — music and fashion sense — and the odd jobs he’s maintained while growing his career as an indie musician.
2:10- Growing up North of the boarder
4:50- Being apart of the scene
6:29- Dress for Success
8:05- Finding your sound
14:59- Beat Thief
17:10- Anti Autotune
27:30- Too old for the game
29:10: On the hustle
35:00- Son of lawyers
40:05- Moving to LA
Denzel Curry is Fearless. As a pioneer in the Soundcloud rap scene, Denzel’s had eyes on him since his teenage years. Now he’s a household name and his music has evolved in a way that’s gracefully taken him from underground hero, to mainstream accessibility while maintaining edge and depth of content. From his early days in Rvidxr Klvn, to Nostalgic 64, to his most recent release Zuu, Curry has continued to fearlessly evolve as an artist and take his fans along on the journey. Beyond growing artistically, Denzel talks to us about growing as a human and working through emotions and trauma via therapy. Listen in to hear the Carol City native talk about his move to Los Angeles, coping with loss, and facing his fears.
5:05- Miami Gardens
7:00- A nerd in the hood
17:30- Metro ZUU
24:18- Life Long Friends
25:11- Raider Clan Traction
32:50- Dealing with the trauma
36:00- Police pressece
37:54- Self Reflection
42:00- Rappers I like
43:30- Growth from Taboo
48:15- Live show style
Pink Siifu talks growing up in Cincinnati, getting his start as a poet, and bleeding on the track
Pink Siifu is part of a growing movement in rap music. There’s a sub-sect of artists making deeply personal, poetic, and abstract music over stripped down loops that aren’t necessarily adhering to traditional song structures or rules. It’s a fascinating wave with artists like Mach Hommy, Quelle Chris, Deem Spencer, Mike, and Earl Sweatshirt. Pink Siifu’s 2018 release Ensley a haunting record that will dig it’s way into the bottom of your soul because artists like him are willing open up and bleed on the track.
1:10- raised in the Queen City
7:20- Marching Band
16:50- Spiritual Music
19:18- Waiting for Music
25:30- A new generation of Hip-Hop
29:00- Finding your loops
32:50- YG at the Spliff
35:50-Poetry to verses
44:00- Music changing your life
Cautious Clay is Deep. He's an amazingly well rounded musician known for his poetic lyrics. A multi-instrumentalist, producer, and lyricist, he got his start taking flute lessons from YouTube phenomenon known for playing the flute while beatboxing. His deeply intuitive understanding of music led to Clay preferring to listen to notes, rather than reading them, to learn songs. He eventually went on to pick up the sax, the guitar, and become a formidable producer, even catching the eye of Billie Eilish early on. His 2018 banger “Cold War” got the ever-important Insecure placement, and 2019’s Table of Context was released to rave reviews followed by sold out shows. Tune in to hear us talk about being in the band, bridging the music gap, and rust belt.
5:30- Parents and music
6:36- Outsider in Cleveland
8:50- Movies and Music
17:15- Raised on parents favorite music
19:50- Rust belt
24:50- Were you a band kid?
26:30- Stuck in the middle
29:15- Our nations capital
32:19- Bridging the gap
41:00- Where to find me
Hook is a rapper phenom exploding out of Riverside, CA. Her recently released critically acclaimed debut tape “Bully” — entirely produced by underground pot-stirrer Nedarb Nagrom—is taking the underground by storm. Her ferocious style combined with his upbeat, sample-free 808 kits combine for the perfect soundtrack for a hot girl summer. She’s getting cosigns from your faves left and right, and has a bright career in front of her. But it turns out, as young as she is, she also has an extensive past with music behind her. Hear her talk about the girl group she formed with her sisters, growing up in the IE, and already working with rappers that inspired her to start rapping.
4:14- First out the Riv
10:45- Coming up in Riverside
14:00- Law Academy
15:10- Year long detention
19:30- Growing up a performer
27:40- On the Cusp of fashion
29:50- Releasing a hit clip
33:10- Staying in the game
36:59- Being more than a one-hit-wonder
40:25- Future plans
Soccer Mommy is rad. With a sound rooted in 90s rock and an aesthetic rooted in 90s kitsch, Soccer Mommy embodies throwback radness. Her humble beginnings as a bedroom musician in Nashville were interrupted by the time she got to NYU for college and realized she had some big decisions to make. Music was pulling her away from school, and thankfully for us, she followed the calling from the rock gods. Hear us talk about being head of the class, recording music sans computers and growing up in Nashville.
1:45: Recording without a computer
7:55: Top of the class
11:20: Starting young
16:00: Finding Influences
17:30: Obscure media
19:37: High school musical
27:35: Band camp
30:30: Valedictorian speech
35:20: Getting your first deal
29:49: Recording in New York
43:00: Response to Clean
Tommy Genesis is independent. She emerged from the underground rap scene, stayed true to her vision, and grew a devoted fanbase by doing things differently. She experimented with a multitude of music genres, including emo, noise, and punk, before creating her own: fetish rap. The term isn’t meant to signify the often overt sexual nature of her music, but to highlight how niche her sound is. Tommy is also a visual artist — having pursued post-secondary education in art and film — which is especially apparent in the music videos she often directs and edits herself. Tommy Genesis can’t be boxed into a singular category. She’s unabashedly unique, unapologetically herself, and unflinchingly independent.
Hear her talk about her self-titled debut album, becoming a Fenty Beauty ambassador, and working with one of her idols M.I.A.
Lee Fields’ career as a soul singer has spanned over 6 decades. It started with a talent show in Wilson, NC when he was 14, and has continued to this day. He’s been everything from a cover artist, to a one man band, a real estate manager, to a Billboard charting phenom, and now a living legend and road warrior with his band The Expressions.
Interviewing someone who’s lived so much life is easy, just set up the mics and let them tell their story. Lee had plenty of story to share. Tune in to hear him explain his start in North Carolina before moving to New York at age 17. He goes through every decade of his life with precision and detail, explaining how at times he lived somewhat of a duel life as a family man running a real estate business during the week, and a show stopping performer on the weekend.
After decades of releasing records, the last decade might even be the most fruitful for Mr. Fields legacy. He’s released 5 phenomenal albums over the last 10 years with The Expressions, showing amazing consistency, infinite charisma, and timeless soul. Their latest release, It Rains Love, puts the chops Lee’s developed over the years on full display and is a must listen for soul music lovers.
0:30: Being home from tour
1:50: Wanting to be an entertainer
6:40: Moving to NYC in the 70's
13:00 Performing for the celebs of NYC
14:34: Dress to impress
15:00: Love at first sight
21:00: Fatherhood in tragedy
25:50: Balancing family and tour
30:25: Remaining relevant in music
32:00: Bigger fish to fry
35:10: Recording in the fish shop
Leikeli47 is empowered. She’s taken control of her narrative by hiding her true identity. Now critics, fans, and observers are forced to judge her on the merit of music instead of physical appearance. Admittedly a shy person most of her life, concealing her identity has empowered her to be herself in the music.
47 is the rare all-in-one complete package modern musician. Not only is she an impeccable lyricist and song writer, but she displays a masterful delivery whether rapping or singing (“communicating” as she calls it), and she co-produces many of her songs. Even beyond that, she has a clearly defined visual aesthetic to match her music, making her one of the most well defined and captivating characters we’ve had the pleasure of working with.
Her latest record, Acrylic, is the follow up to her previous Wash & Set and the second of a trilogy she’s dubbed the “beauty series.” Both albums are expansive in their scope, and concise in their clarity. They tackle a number of issues and topics with precision only a masterfully observant wordsmith could provide. Hear us talk about Pharrell watching her perform, finding the right sounds in the world to get the music out of her head, and people not even realizing she’s in the studio when the mask is off.
1:20: Why the mask?
2:18: Cultivating your sound
4:45: Growing up artistic
8:00: Moving to New York
9:30: What to do outside of music
19:00: Concepts of Beauty
23:12: Discount Break
23:17: Atlantic melting pots
25:45: Influences beyond music
29:45: Coming up musically
34:40: Putting on the mask
37:50: Life as a studio rat
42:25: "Girl Blunt" on insecure
43:40: The face behind the mask
Maxo talks Lil Big Man, Def Jam giving him full creative control, and the power of timelessness
People always ask me how I find new music, and I can never really explain it. Finding Maxo was pure luck. A mere whisper in a Twitter thread amongst music journalists where someone said something along the lines of “Maxo’s new one is so good.” It was enough to barely pique my interest. Lil Big Man didn’t have a grand placement in the coveted “New Releases” section of your favorite streaming site, or any major playlist placements I’ve seen…it was just the modern version of word of mouth.
I pressed play on Lil Big Man, heard the floating lo-fi keys and gentle moaning vocal sample of “Time” and drifted back to a time of cheap headphones plugged into an old cassette deck, with the hiss of the tape warming my teenage soul. It felt like being running into an old friend, but realizing you’re both so much more grown up than when you last met. I love the tape, you can tell it’s recorded amongst friends, with an understanding and inherent comfort that lacks any pressure from outside forces pushing an agenda. Which made me all the more surprised to learn it was released by a major label.
Maxo is quick to smile and easy to talk to. A cool air of leadership and accountability follow him with every large stride of his tall lanky frame. He’s centered himself as the star player on a team of friends he’s had for years. He was able to continue working with the producers he started with even after signing to Def Jam, and rightly so as they’ve clearly learned to make a certain type of timeless magic together. Hear us discuss that timelessness, his signing, growing up in Southern California, and starting to rap a mere 3 years ago.
2:30: Being the middle child
5:10: Growing up in West LA
11:50: Developing your own taste
13:50: Pomona culture shock
16:20: Being a social butterfly
19:06: Starting to rap
20:40: What not to do on stage
23:15: Making music with your brother
31:32: Music around the house
33:00: Whatre you about
41:30: Navigating the industry
Omar Apollo is fresh. Beyond being a fresh face in the pop scene — and a heartthrob to boot — he’s taken a fresh approach at creating music. Perhaps it’s humility or self-deprecation when he claims he didn’t have any natural aptitude for music, but his passion to learn created an absolute phenom. He devoured YouTube tutorials to learn guitar, take singing lessons, and pick up production tips. Like many a young artist, his journey into pop stardom started by accident. The first song he released ended up on one of the biggest Spotify playlists. But the accident repeated itself and didn’t seem so accidental by the time he released his second song.
Now a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and producer, Omar’s fingerprints are all over every record he’s put out. He’s recently found comfort amongst peers in the burgeoning Chicano indie-pop scene. It’s full of like-minded utilitarian musicians, like Cuco and Inner Wave, who not only share the experience of navigating new found success in the industry, but the experience of growing up first generation Mexican-Americans.
Omar’s latest EP, Friends, is a wonderful glimpse into his artistic range and youthful pop presence. His voice is angelic, his writing is relatable, and his beats are danceable. Hear us talk about learning vibrato on YouTube to impress his dad, falling asleep with his guitar as a child, the fresh Chicano indie pop scene and more on “You Feel Me?” Remember to subscribe, and listen to the end for discount codes!
1:10: Hidden EPs
3:10: Teaching yourself music through YouTube
5:30: Pawn Shop shenanigans
7:28: How to get perfect vibrato
11:20: Guitar Center Heartthrob
13:30: Showing off a first song
14:23: Getting to Indiana
17:26: Super Taco
22:20: Growing up in Indiana
23:45: Taking Ballet
27:50: Pressure in music
33:30: Growing up unvalidated
38:34: I love Chicago
41:50: Putting together Stereo
44:45: Meeting similar artists
Travis Thompson has had a busy couple years. The emerging rapper was on tour with with another Seattle rapper, Macklemore, when I met him in 2017. It was his first time on the road and he’d recently quit his job. The tour led to a collaboration, the collaboration led him to appearing on The Tonight Show.
The video we shot upon meeting organically sky rocketed into the millions of views, as did nearly every music video he released after. He released an album that led to a headlining tour, and somehow garnered a cult following in Mexico City without speaking Spanish. Needless to say the labels came knocking.
2018 was a year of press runs, label meetings, battling loneliness, writing rap songs, signing to a major, and planning a career. Now with his first major label EP, Runaways, recently released, Travis is poised to become another name in the long list of heavy hitters from a city with a quietly storied lineage in rap history.
Hear us talk about his busy year, seeing himself on TV, signing his major deal, and more on You Feel Me? And be sure to subscribe and check out skullcandy.com for more music content!
2:06: Runaways EP
2:36: Getting noticed
4:45: Being on The Tonight Show
11:44: Writing with meaning
14:40: Working on Films
18:05: YNW Melly
18:45: DIY Production
24:40: Being on Sway
31:29: Meeting with labels
37:19: Being home
40:09: Tour Plans
44:40: Meeting other rappers
- Nick Waterhouse’s warm recordings take me back to hearing my dad’s records in the basement as a child, where his vintage Sansui stereo made everything sound like the soundtrack to a Scorsese film. He blends influences from days past to make records that deal with modern problems in a classic way. His latest self-titled record takes everything he’s learned over the last three and perfects into a masterclass of precise minimalism. Nick’s approach is admittedly utilitarian. He purposefully makes sure not to get too obsessive with guitar mastery, so that he can worry about less about how technical his licks are and more about making the instrument emote. He understands and acknowledges the limitations of his voice, but makes sure every grunt and growl an extended note brings takes the listener on the same emotional journey he’s on. He works with what’s accessible to bring the sounds in his head to life. I talked to Nick about his upbringing in Orange County, and his coming-of-age-movie-worthy summer job in the dying days of the major record store chains. We talk about his pivotal days in San Francisco post dot com boom, pre new tech boom, where he DJ’d in a very particular rock n’ roll warehouse scene. We also discuss the misconceptions people have about him as an artist and the stigma of being labeled “retro.” All that and more this week on “You Feel Me.”
0:28: Becoming a record store nerd
1:45: discovering music through sampling
3:40 Bro culture in Orange County
6:34: Music post WWll
7:05: living with a death wish in Southern California
12:55: growing up in an LA family
19:40: High School jobs
25:08: First Band Experience
31:54: Moving to San Francisco
36:12: Author dreams
43:45: Digger hip-hop shows
46:43: Producing music post college
49:14: Life as a working musician
54:15: The content business vs the music business
57:43: Releasing a self titled album
Music makes us feel elevated, and we chose West Atlanta natives EarthGang to represent that feeling. Johnny Venus and Doctur Dot have been elevating their craft together since their high school days. Having self-released a bevy of records and acquiring a cult following, EarthGang signed with Dreamville in 2017 poised to take their next big step.
On the verge of releasing their major label debut, Mirrorland, we sat with EarthGang to talk about how they’ve elevated their style, and remained elevated above the pitfalls of a music industry that can be reliant on cheap stunts and clout chasing. They’ve stayed the course since their college days of releasing music, and 2019 looks to be the year of the big pay off. Spillage Village peers like J.I.D. and 6lack have been on an exponential rise, and Mirrorland has the potential to elevate EarthGang into the stratosphere as well.
Listen to them give behind the scenes insight into one of the most talked about studio sessions of the year in Return of the Dreamers III, how life has changed since signing to Dreamville, their unabashed love for their home city, and much more on “You Feel Me?”
4:30: Atlanta coming out for Dreamville Rap Camp
7:30: Staying grounded in the industry
9:50: Naming your strain
11:10: Signing to Dreamville
16:20: Fans of comedy
20:15: Misconceptions of Atlanta
26:50: Working with local talent
36:46: Surprise musical tastes
43:10: Touring with Billie Eilish
45:10: Parents in the pit
Rico Nasty was our first and only choice when looking for an artist that embodied the word “bold.” Not only is she the perfect artist to set off our 12 Moods project, but every decision she makes — from her visual aesthetic, to her ear for beats, her lyrics which are often scathing anti-hater incantations, to her fashion choices — all seem to radiate boldness. She has a magnetism that screams “look at me” paired with a disposition that seems to say “but I don’t care what you see.”
1:23: Rico’s Home talent shows
9:30: Moving schools and the balance of being academically and
socially driven to survive.
12:27: Myspace Scene Day.
13:38: Finding influences in Shrek.
17:40: Getting expelled from boarding school.
21:25: Talking about the difference of being sad and being depressed .
26:20: Making her first mix tape at 15.
37:10: Rico’s Personas.
39:00: Meeting Malik.
46:00: Releasing Hey Arnold.
48:40: Don’t slide under the radar.
50:20: Which School system is better? Private or Public?
53:15: Being on BET