An inspiring producer and DJ, an excellent writer, a man with greater musical knowledge that I could ever hope to attain, and an all round really great guy, Pyschodelic aka DJ Wild Wes is one of the most interesting people I’ve engaged with since starting this blog. Check out this interview where we discuss influence, the changing climate of hip-hop, and the importance of genre exploration.
1. Firstly, I’d like to ask you where your interest in listening to and later creating music first began?
I’ve been in love with music since a child and how I fell in love with it was listening to underground tapes, video games, my dad and aunt’s CD collection, watching my cousin play piano, and church. Church made me realize the power of percussion and my mom sung in choirs, so that’s how I also learned the power of vocals. The instrumentation and vocals go hand in hand when it comes to making dope music. If both of them aren’t A-1, don’t expect to go far in music. As far as creating music, I thought about it in the summer of 2011. I didn’t record much though because at that time, I only had access to a computer every two weeks and when I become interested in something, I do it to the fullest. That’s why I didn’t start dropping music like I do now until 2015.
2. Your knowledge of genres as different as hip-hop and black metal is very impressive, it is obvious that it comes from a place of genuine love and appreciation for the art form. How many years of dedicated listening has it taken to amass this?
Hip hop was my first love so it’s been a decade. For black metal, I’ve been listening to the genre for about 6 years. When it comes to both genres, I’m basically self taught for the most part. I got hip to the underground rap scene and all that on my own. I definitely had to get into black metal on my own because I’m from MD and if you’re from PG County, you know we’re about go-go and rap. Metal was the only style of music that I relied on the internet to find out about artists. Whether it’s hip hop or black metal, once I click play, I feel like I’m in an alternate dimension. I really enjoy what I listen to. If someone asks me what I enjoy about an album, I can actually point out those aspects.
3. Who were your favourite rappers growing up, and which regional variety of rap appealed to you the most?
That’s a dope question. You taking me back down memory lane. Word to Minnie Riperton. Growing up, they were TI, Pastor Troy, Lil Flip, E-40, Ice Cube, Brotha Lynch Hung, Scarface, Ganksta Nip, Ice T, Lil Keke, Nas, Bo Deal, Bone Thugs, Public Enemy, Master P, CL Smooth, UGK, Spice 1, Twista, Guru, Gravediggaz, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, MC Lyte, LL Cool J, Cassidy, Common, South Central Cartel, King Tee, Vinnie Paz, Immortal Technique, C Murder, Trina, Mack 10, WC, Poison Clan, Lil Hawk, B-Brazy, AWOL, OG Cell E Cell, Tweedy Bird Loc, Fo Clips, Too Short, BG Knocc Out, C-Bo, MC Eiht, LEP Bogus Boys, Eazy E, Kurupt, Young Jeezy, & Coolio.
Regions that appeal the most to me? Every region has something special to keep it 100, but I have to choose the West and the South. The West just make you groove and they usually have some of the smoothest flows. You can also learn more about funk since they tend to sample a lot of it especially back in the day. I got hip to a lot of funk bands just based off of samples besides going through a family member’s CD collection. They are diverse musically. People sleep on that fact. Mention the West and they automatically think of Compton or Long Beach. California is very big. Northern California exists and you can easily tell they’re different from Southern California rappers. I love the South because they always seem to be ahead of everyone musically. They aren’t afraid to experiment with their music. It’s crazy that people wrote them off back in the day, but their sound is appreciated and emulated nowadays in the mainstream and underground. The South along with the Bay Area is the one of the main reasons why the independent game exists. What I also like about the South is that I can relate to them more and I do have family members from the South so I understand what an artist is saying 100%.
4. Who would you say are the artists and bands that have influenced you the most over the years?
Most definitely DJ Screw, DJ Quik, Pete Rock, DJ Paul, Dr. Dre, Beats By The Pound, RZA, EA Ski, Ronnie Ron, Battlecat, Lil Jon, George Clinton, Sarcofago, Vulcano, Mutilator, Sepultura, Beherit, Venom, Possessed, Mystifier, Keith Sweat, DJ Crazy Toones, Babyface and Siouxsie & The Banshees. This is what makes up the Psychodelic sound. The foundation is hip hop, but R&B, funk, alternative rock, and metal is also in the mix.
5. How long does it put together one of your mixes? And which would you say is the best you’ve put together so far?
The process normally doesn’t take very long and to be honest, I do find it weird in a way. Once I start Virtual DJ up, I normally don’t go in with a plan. I just brainstorm. I got a lot of music on my computer so I’m just clicking on random songs and when I hear a good part of a song, I go from there. I sample that and get the instruments to finish it off. I would say it’s a good 5-10 minutes. I take a little longer if I’m recording a full length though and that is when I have a plan.
The best project I recorded IMO is Funk Voyage. I was going in with the slow downs, beats and blends and what’s crazy is that I didn’t plan on making it. I made two songs on a Thursday evening and said well damn, I think I have an album to do. Just from those two songs, I knew what the title was going to be and everything. I always listen to Screw, but at that time last year? Screw was the only artist on my phone, so when you listen to it, you can tell the inspiration but at the same time, I did things my way.
6. Your Twitter and Audiomack are great plugs for obscure and underappreciated music. Anything you’d like recommend in this interview that you’ve been on recently?
Here’s some crank for people to check out:
Triple 6 – Hustlin 4 My Paper
Mokenstef – Azz Izz
NLand Clique – IE Riders
OTR Clique – Streets Deeper Than The Grave
OG Boys – Jugg Brovaz
Big Macky – Rent Due
CIN – 94 Mobstas
Meshell Ndegeocello – Plantation Lullabies
Joi – The Pendulum Vibe
Bloodstone – We Go A Long Way Back
Kloud 9 Posse – Represent
Mo B. Dick – Gangsta Harmony
Scientifik – Criminal
Poor Righteous Teachers – New World Order
Young Dre D – Troubled Mind
Pizzo – Heaterman
Fatha Dom – Oaktown’s Finest
J Mack – Crime Rate
Rappin Ron & Ant Diddley Dog – Bad-N-Fluenz
ROA – G 4 Life
Point Blank – N Tha Do
Junior – Ji
Miles Jaye – Miles Jaye
Marley Marl – In Control
Sadat X – Wild Cowboys
Willie D – Play Witcha Mama
Heltah Skeltah – Nocturnal
Insane Poetry – Blacc Plague
Also shout out @DaCoolOne_843. Dope rapper from South Carolina and has a lot of knowledge on down south rap. I learn from him at times. Been at it since the 2000s. Support his work!
7. When did you start doing interviews? I feel like we share an interest in giving deserving artists shine and that’s dope to see.
I started doing interviews last year because I thought it would be cool and when you keep hearing about how bloggers aren’t really doing much for the underground. that’s the moment I knew I had to step in because I have a lot of love for the underground and I agree that there needs to be proper representation. There’s a lot of nonsense that gets promoted, so I’m here to keep things grounded.
8. Who have been your favourite artists to see come up in the 2010’s? I’m interested in your thoughts on how hip-hop has changed since then too.
There are a lot of dope artists to come in this era. My personal favorites though are Schoolboy Q, Freddie Gibbs, Big KRIT and Dom Kennedy. I remembered when they weren’t known like that. Now, they out here selling out shows and dropping straight gems. Much love to them. Hip hop is always changing. In every era, there’s going to be new things introduced. What I noticed today though is people who are considered outcasts are more accepted. Back then, you wouldn’t see a rapper who has anxiety or likes anime get a lot of praise. They would be looked at as lame. In 2018, that has all changed. Kids look up to the outcast just as much as any other type of rapper. Another change I noticed is artists can blow up off the internet. It makes sense because there’s a large amount of platforms where you can upload your music. Before the internet was like this, you had to sell music out on the street and I remember that. You had to hustle real hard and deal with people who didn’t want to hear you every time you asked to buy their music. With the Internet, there is room for everybody.
9. Aside from writing and mixing, what do you get up to in your spare time?
I like going to the gym and reading books. I need to buy a new book though. It’s been a minute. Might have to buy J. Prince’s book. Shout out to Rap-A-Lot. One of my favorite record labels of all time.
10. Any shout outs to finish off?
Shout out to my family, The Most High, High Quality Band, Taco El, Undaworld Records, BMB, Doomshop Records, Southern Gawth Mobb, Darkness League, Wavy Money Records, Milklord, Ruci, Apoc Krysis, Stevie Durag, and shout to you for this interview.