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Interview: rapper Ghostemane talks death metal influences

Posted by on August 23, 2016

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A Florida-based hardcore kid moves to LA to find better acceptance for his producing and artistic concept, and there he thrives. Ghostemane may be the first hip hop artist I’ve ever seen sport a Deicide shirt while spouting off about “broke motherfuckers” in a tone that takes me back to being seven and screaming every word to Bone Thugs N Harmony’s “No Surrender.” I support the combination of metal and hip hop, it comes with a great deal of gratitude actually. If I were stranded on an island and could only listen to one discography for the rest of my life, it would be Aesop Rock, who is a man who wrote a very powerful song about his ministry loving brother and has quite the compelling taste in rock. I’m also someone who falls asleep to Cannibal Corpse and Headcrusher, so my sincerest apologies to the elitist. This article is not for you. This week I sat down with Ghostemane and we talked all things metal.

 

So, who are your major metal influences? What songs, or I guess which artists did you grow up relating to the most and then what are your preferences with hip hop?

Unfortunately, since I was born in 1991, I sort of missed out on the “golden age” of death metal and all the pioneer bands while they were in their prime, which I got into later down the line thanks to my cousin Ron (Deicide, Death, Carcass, Mayhem, etc.). I spent most of my teenage years neck deep in the early 2000’s wave of metalcore. Bands like Atreyu, Beneath The Sky, As I Lay Dying sort of laid the foundation for me before I became a stubborn hardcore kid in my early 20’s. Hip hop came way later for me. Besides, Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, I didn’t get heavy into it until I got into some dirty south groups like Dirty Boyz, Bone Thugs, Three 6, etc.
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In the realm of success, how is LA different from Florida? What pulled you in the direction of LA and how is that scene receiving your work?

Florida is a tough scene to come up in, like any scene. What makes it difficult when it comes to hip hop is that there wasn’t strong local support at shows. Most of the people at the shows were artists themselves, or direct friends or family of the artists. In LA, there’s a stronger scene since it’s one of the main music hubs. And I guess for me I didn’t have to “come up” from the ground here, I moved here to be closer to existing fans.

 

What are some major differences and similarities between metal and hip hop? What is your take on the current state of both genres?

I think nowadays the classic differences between both genres are fading. Artists and kids are more open minded than ever which is enabling new creative music to be born. Speaking on the genres separately; I think even tho hip hop/rap dominates the radio and mainstream culture, metal/hardcore is still very alive.

 

When you produce what is the writing process like? Where do you begin with the creative process?

It varies a lot. Sometimes I just sit down and pump out a few instrumentals I’m happy with, then write to them in the next few days. Other times I spend four days on one track. It depends on if I feel like trying to break ground with something new, or just expand on a certain sound I’ve been utilizing. Usually the initial inspiration comes from whatever band I’ve been listening to or book I’ve been reading, game I’m playing, etc.

Do you think it’s a good thing that artists can now produce from home?

Definitely. The act of creating something is so much more accessible now than it was even five years ago. It’s good because it enables talent to be put to use. On the negative side, anyone can just go buy a mic and download beats off YouTube so the internet can eventually get oversaturated, but it is what it is.

 

What’s in the future for you? Are you aiming for any tours?

Yeah I’m doing a little Texas tour in late August. Then hitting Denver and some other cities. Something extensive will definitely be put together around Spring 2017. Other than that just coming out with new stuff.

 

What are some local acts, both metal and hip hop, you would prescribe to our readers?

It’s been awhile since I’ve kept up with my home scene. But I’d highly recommend a few bands depending on what you like: Seven Serpents (Doom/Sludgy/Stoner Metal), Cinderblock (powerviolence/heavy shit), Every Passing Dream (bouncy heavy groovy shit).

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