How did you first get into music? Can you tell us a little bit about your musical background?
Well, I hadn’t really listened to much music before the age of 11. Once I turned 11 I started listening to rap music and some Alternative Rock, but rap was for sure my favorite. The artist who really got me into music though was A$AP Rocky. He’s always been my favorite since I started listening to his tape “Deep Purple.” From then on I was hooked to rap. Despite this, I only started making music in my junior year of High School. I wanted to make music way before that though and I tried to but it just didn’t work out. Throughout High School and even a little before I started, I went through a bunch of really difficult stuff and I was super lonely all the time because I would isolate myself. Music was sort of my closest friend within that time except for a few people I let in. From that I kind of realized that I had never felt a love for anything as I had loved music and I felt it had done so much for me that I had to give back. So I decided why not make some of my own to give back to it I guess. In the summer before my junior year, I took a class at Berklee Online for Ableton but I hated using Ableton, so I started using Pro Tools in a class I took in school. I fell in love with Pro Tools and that’s what I still use today. I actually don’t know how to play any instrument so my specialty is mostly sampling different music I like. Right now though I’m teaching myself piano just so I know at least one.
You’re from New York—where do you go out when you’re back home?
Right now I’m actually still in High School so I live at home with my parents. Don’t get me wrong though, I still do a lot of stuff. I’ve gone out to clubs once or twice but that isn’t really my scene. At least not for now. My friends and I, we usually go out to parties at whichever kid’s house is hosting and play beer pong and all that good High School stuff. But lately, ever since, like, February of 2017 when I really started releasing music, I’ve stayed at home with my music. My friends used to get tight at me asking why I was being such a loner or downer all the time… Until I got them into music. Now a good weekend night is chilling with my friends in my room where I have my little studio setup and just rapping over beats me or my friend Ami have made.
You produce Alternative Rock and Hip Hop. This is a very unique combination can you tell us more about it?
Hip Hop and Alternative Rock have always been my favorite genres of music. Naturally, I just lean in that direction when I look for influences and new sounds. I just figure if I’m going to be making music, I should make music that I really like and that I’m more familiar with. Rock has a lot of influence on the Hip Hop world today so being familiar with it I think is pretty essential. I combine both genres in my music just so that it doesn’t all sound the same and so that I can create my own sound. If I only took from one genre, I’d probably sound like everyone else in that category. I try to use mostly instruments like guitars and pianos just because they fit the natural and intimate sound I’m trying to go for. A lot of my music is pretty emotional and introspective and piano and guitar can convey those, so I sample them a lot. I do still love a good distorted bass or the hard synth you may find in some more trappy rap though, but I guess it just depends on the song I’m making at the time. Also, last thing, I haven’t made any Alternative Rock music even though it may say on Soundcloud that the genre of my music is Alternative Rock. I like to put that because these Florida rappers who I really admire like Smokepurpp used to put that on a bunch of their songs when they were starting out. I think it’s pretty funny and unique, so I thought why not do it myself.
Do you have a favorite VST plugin or instrument?
I actually don’t use any extra plugins aside from the ones that come with Pro Tools. I’ve honestly just learned to find my way using different techniques to change up the sounds of samples I find and like while using very few plugins. Most of my samples come from Splice, which is awesome. I think everyone should have a Splice account if they’re producing. The range of sounds on there is pretty insane. I go on there and just spend hours everyday trying to find cool samples for any instrument. Most of my creative process involves roaming through Splice and the internet for samples and just messing with them however I can. It’s really just the most fun and productive way for me to work for now, so I stick with that method when I produce.
Can you tell us more about your latest EP “dungeon” and the creative process behind it?
Oh yeah, my EP. Well, there’s a lot to it because nothing I put on it is by accident. All the way from the little drawings in the water on the cover art to the way I say certain words is all on purpose. I worked harder on this thing than anything I’ve ever done. It pretty much consisted of days spent alone during the summer just recording hundreds of takes into the late night and finding the right sounds for the songs. Summer 2017 was pretty much spent in my room making “Dungeon.” This EP was sort of my way of finding myself as an artist. It means more to me than anything else just because of that. The first project in my eyes is the one that’ll really define the direction an artist goes in, so I had to make this one real. I call it “Dungeon” because I found myself both in the darkest of times and a lot of my most happy times locked away behind the door of my room. So it’s my dungeon. I’ve found myself to be trapped by the room, but also by the darkness behind a lot of what I’ve felt, and now this music. But I like being trapped in the music, so that gives it a good connotation as well. Most of the EP talks about the stuff that runs through my head. Not just now, but from the first time, I felt love, to when I started worrying about my childhood being over. It’s essentially a recap of my life over the past few years and how I’ve dealt with things and progressed. The EP is structured as a narrative as well to lead the listener through it all. There’s a beginning, there’s a climax, and there’s an end. I start out the tape with the song “First Days” by talking about how I think back to simpler times where I really took everything for granted. It then leads to my struggle with love in the song “Royal Wine,” which features my friend Jeanne who has a phenomenal voice. “Party 6” is about my struggle with friends and just other social challenges I’ve dealt with. The fourth song, “Stone Room” is then the escalation of dealing with myself after all of this, as well as me finding a safe place in isolation in my room, which is where the title comes from. It really begins the climax of the tape. It’s funny though because currently, the part that I wanted to convey as the climax to the tape is the least popular part. The lyrics are my most vulnerable I’ve written so these songs mean a whole lot to me and can actually be sorta hard to listen to. That’s sort of because I go into more detail with issues with substances that had a big effect on me. Also, a big theme throughout the tape is how I’ve seen myself as my own biggest enemy, so that song brings in those aspects. The interlude “11” and the song “Wood Room” are the continuation of the climax, leading to the song “Full Circle/ The End.” This song is very, very heavily packed with hidden meanings, but the basic premise of it is basically just the stuff I talked about with my friend Juli one day during the summer. Juli is a very curious kid and he loves talking about stuff like conspiracies and spirituality. He’s super interesting so I get a lot of ideas from him. That day though was sort of the day where everything changed for me with my thinking on childhood ending and how life had been over the past few years. It was my way of entering into a world where I could think that everything would be all good. That’s basically when I made the song “Dungeon” with my friend Julian who goes by FLA$H. That song sums up everything in the whole tape with a big screw you to the world for judging me. From there, after finishing this tape, I’ve found a new confidence in myself where I can just worry about what I think and do whatever I want. I hope whoever listens to the tape gets that from it in the end. Everyone should honestly just believe that they’re a cool person without the need for approval from others.
Do you have a musical inspiration?
My two inspirations for this tape were A$AP Rocky and Mac Miller. Hands down. I’ve been a big A$AP fan since day one and I always will be through the good and the bad times. Mac Miller I started liking much more recently but he probably has more influence on this tape than A$AP does. The influence I get from A$AP is just the attitude he has towards the world. The sort of don’t-get-in-the-way-of-me-or-my-craft feeling that I want to have as an artist. He gives me that drive. Mac, on the other hand, is much more relatable as a white rapper who seems to have gone through some of the same feelings I’ve felt. His mixtape “Faces” which is my favorite tape ever had significant influence on “Dungeon.” Juli, the same friend who inspired “Full Circle/ The End” put me onto “Faces” and ever since it’s had a huge impact on my way of thinking. I took “Faces” and basically studied it and structured “Dungeon” to fit its format. Mac inspired me to make a tape where I can just spill out any dark stuff I’ve been hiding in me. To embrace fear and anything that comes at me. He tells the story of his come up and struggles with fame, so I wanted to talk about my come up in life. Honestly, if you haven’t listened to “Faces,” you’re missing out.
What are your plans for 2018? Any projects/collaborations we can get excited about?
For 2018 I have a lot of stuff planned. The group that I’m a part of, 11 BLOC, has a lot of good stuff coming up. My friend Ami and I made the group way back in the beginning of my junior year when we were both looking for people to start making music with. Since then we’ve recruited four other members who are our other friends from school. They go by Thomasé, FLA$H, Pablo Blanco, and Renni. We’ve all been working mostly as independent artists since the summer just so each of us could build a name for ourselves. I just put out my tape, so now I’m helping the rest of my group to make their own music. FLA$H has been working a lot and I’ve helped him out with making his whole tape which he plans to release before 2018. I produced all of it except for two songs and I think people are going to really like his stuff because he’s really talented. Pablo Blanco is also making a small EP which I’ll produce most of. It’ll probably be released in early 2018. Thomasé and Renni have a bunch of songs coming out too that I produced and I’ll also be on a few of them. Ami has been mostly producing for a while now since that’s his true specialty, but recently he’s been back to rapping and he’s really doing well so I think he’ll put out some great music in 2018 too. As for my own personal stuff, I’ve been working on my mixing and mastering skills because I’d like to try to mix and master all of my group’s music so that’s been a big part of my work lately. I have already started working on my next tape. I have all the production done for it and a few songs are written, but I plan to make a ton of songs and just choose from the best. My next project will definitely have more songs than “Dungeon” does. It’ll also be about different topics and have a very different motive behind it for listeners to grasp. I think now is the time that I really have to prove myself and show that reub can rap. reub can produce. reub can lead a group and also stay on the sidelines when needed. But most of all, reub is still just reub. I’m just me and I just wanna rap and make music and do what I want. No one will stop me from doing that, and I really hope people just like what I make along the way and get something from it that they can keep with them forever.
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