We celebrate episode 260 by featuring EQ. He has a new mixtape out that is ear candy for hip hop heads like myself (Oh, you thought I just liked films?). Someday Soon, the title of the mixtape, although cliche it may sound, is an all original labor of love. A body of work that revolves around the unmeasurable promise of time known as “Soon.” Unmeasurable but simultaneously inevitable, Someday Soon unfolds tales of perceived fate regarding love, livelihood, triumph and doom. I read on Earmilk one line from a bio that really struck a chord with me, which was that Bay Area artist EQ was at a point in his life when the road began to split- should he take a 9-5 and live a life of rhythmic comfort, or should he risk it all and pursue a musical journey into the unknown? I’m sure all creative people have been at a similar crossroad, myself included. Read below as I chop it up with him about a variety of topics…
What is EQ all about? If you had to define yourself as an artist…
EQ: I’ll try to answer this question without being super abstract and below the surface as I tend to communicate in analogies and philosophies quite a bit. If I had to define myself as an artist, the phrase “transparent smoke” is something I can coin for this answer. I formulate my song writing process purely around emotions that are so honest I can’t help but feel the need to outlet for my own well being. While these emotions may be extremely real and seem sovereign, my interpretation of these emotion tend to be contain a sense of delusion. This is due to the fact that I believe to be an individual with a heart of gold I also possess an unhealthy grandiose caliber with the egotistical belief I am just plain better than the average person. Again as I said I can say this openly, hopefully without seeming like an asshole as I am just trying to be honest with myself. This is long I know but if I had to define myself as an artist, I’m just a mere beautiful mind with a tortured soul that just happens to know how to write and make music quite well.
I love how you referenced Big Seans line ‘Whats the perfect girl if it’s not the perfect time’ as that was one of my fav lyrics of last year. I know you listen to alot of non hip-hop but was curious who your inspirations were in terms of rappers on radio today?
EQ: Excuse my language but I plain love rap. I mean I can list almost everyone for this answer. Drake, J.cole, Kendrick, Kanye, Big Sean, Schoolboy Q, Macklemore, T.I, 2chainz, I’m going to stop because as a rapper trying to make it make it, maybe I’m just inspired by those who made it just doing them?
You said that rap today is ego-based, and listening through your album its evident that you keep your circle nice and small and stay grounded with your morals. Do you feel your stand-offish approach to the genre you are expressing yourself in could backfire from major label execs and potential guest appearances from other artists?
EQ: Hmmm,I didn’t intend to have a standoffish approach to the genre as rap IS egobased, without my grandiose complex (question 1) I wouldn’t be able to rap like I can. My approach is merely honest and you can tell the album is all over the board in terms of content and emotion. This may be perceived as me just emulating different shit but the truth is every single song was made from a real real part of my mind and soul. Shit, I made “Out of Control” completely blacked out. I woke up in the studio and saw it on the computer like yo what’s this. Then I just mixed it better than my wasted self. Hey Ernest Hemmingway right.
You are following a pretty forward-thinking marketing campaign where you are giving your album away for free but also allowing people to pay what they desire. How has this set-up panned out so far and do you feel it is the best way to expose your music through the cyber world?
EQ: Honestly not much thought has gone into the pay/not scale model of the release, more thought has gone into the way we are approaching the press. Me and my manager Marco are full scaled marketing professionals that are heavily experienced in both the agency and corporate in house world. If one thing is pretty “forward” in the sense of the marketing is, that we are handling every aspect without a third party. From media pitching, graphic design, webdesign, etc.
What are some of your favorite Asian films?
EQ: I would definitely say Battle Royale, I know there’s the whole hunger games copied it or whatever thing but I thoroughly enjoyed hunger games as well. Battle Royale really spells out something about the two type of human beings in the world. Those who help each other get ahead and those who sacrifice others to help themselves get ahead. I see the movie as a satire of how shitty people can be.
You’re quite young! Why so interested in song writing and story telling? Most artists your age tend to get commercial packaged and rap about what can get them the most shine or airplay. Was staying geniune something that is important to you as an artist?
EQ: I can’t “make” music. As stated before I can’t cook music in a cauldron, every single lyric is real. I honestly don’t care about the audience that looks for mainstream catchy type of dumb down shit because those fans will follow on their on eventually. And the truth is everyone has a little mainstream in them, it’s the 1 4 5 chord progression drilled in our brains at birth. “Aww shit the troll god” is pretty commercial in my opinion but still 100 percent genuine. Be yourself and you shall be alright.
Of course we like Nakama, what it stands for and the lead in into the song ‘circle’. Hearing the reference to One Piece and Naruto in your songs, this is pretty crazy! Are there some ideas swirling around about how to incorporate anime and hip-hop together?
EQ: [Laughs] I’m really glad you appreciated that. I mean as a story teller I love great stories so I can’t help but love one piece. One idea I have when budget permits is to have a one piece based music video drawn and directed by oda that’d be sick. When that happens ill know I made it hah.
I know you are currently enjoying the success of the mixtape, but looking ahead, what can people expect from you?
EQ: Two more music videos will be releasing this much. A second project is on its way and will be releasing in the next few months and its nothing and I mean NOTHING you’re expecting.
Yo, thanks for coming through!
Thanks a whole bunch for the love!
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