Q: Shwayze, very nice meeting you and thank you for joining me today. Let’s start out with your history: how did you come up in the music game and how did you and Cisco end up teaming together?
A: All of it was by chance and essentially being at the right place at the right time. I’m from Malibu and so is Cisco, so I had heard about all his stuff early on. I would always go and watch him perform, and was impressed by the way he did things. I mean, he was at all these clubs, there are mad girls at his show, you know, I was a rapper, but we ended up breaking up because of school and stuff. I came back and was trying to find a band, someone to collaborate with. I ended up on Cisco’s couch after a party and I was like, “you want to make some music?” And he was like, “yeah.” I was introduced to Dirt Nasty, Andre Legacy and Mickey Avalon and was kinda like a little kid in the crew the whole time. I was just coming up, I only had a couple of songs, so I asked Cisco if I could intern, and it was a wrap. I was so impressed by the way he could just lay down a track in one night — I mean, produce, spit, and then be knocking that shit in my car on the way home the same evening. Shit was crazy. So pretty much, they couldn’t get rid of me.
Q: You mention fellow rappers Dirt Nasty, Andre Legacy, and Mickey Avalon, all of whom are associates of yours and Cisco’s. What do you think sets your group apart, if anything?
A: I think that not taking yourself too seriously is a big thing, and having comedy intertwined in the rap. A lot of rappers are talking about cars and diamonds and hoes and what they do at the club, and how they pop bottles and shit, that’s so boring. You can’t really connect with it. The difference with us is that we’re a lifestyle. People who listen to our music are actually living it. Not that many people are ridin’ around in Maybachs and shit, so it’s difficult to put yourself in that position where you’re rich and shit. People want to hear the real stuff.
Q: So what do you think of this lifestyle that you speak of, this LA scene?
A: It’s pretty interesting. You think that the hype is just a fad, but I guess not, seems like it’s going to be a pretty big thing for a while. I guess people are just really interested in the lives of others. I guess if it takes your mind off the bad things in the world, at the same time, you gotta do it. But as far as paparazzi and shit goes, I feel as if celebrities just use that as their own press, that’s how their career keeps going. I want my music to speak for itself.
Q: Tell me about your creative experience. What/who inspires you to write the songs that you do? What about for your videos and overall production?
A: The first thing that got me into music was obviously girls. It all started in middle school, when I started writing poetry to try and impress this one girl that I was really into. It was, like, classic childhood shit, you know? I would leave stuff by her locker and write her notes, and it was real cute. But that kind of morphed into songwriting, and I just continued to take that energy and those feelings and put it on paper. Once you’ve written a lot of songs, you try and find inspiration in everything. Like, a lot of the time, I find myself not going to the club for fun or for myself, its work. I can go out to a club and consider myself working. It sounds crazy, but it really is work. It’s like, I’m actively researching to find some new material for my songs. But honestly, a lot of times for inspiration I just spend time at home. I just recorded “Let it Beat,” (the new record) and most of the inspiration generated from that was at home, with the homies, and around LA.
Q: Tell me more about your album.
A: “Let it Beat” drops on November 3rd, and it features artists like Snoop Dogg, the Knux, the Cars, and more dope artists.
Q: What was it like to work with Snoop?
A: Snoop is classic, I mean, you know, where can you go wrong? It’s like getting a stamp or approval from the king of the west coast. Were trying to come up as the West Coast thing, too, so obviously it’s an honor. There’s amazing west coast artists out there, and we want to be known as one of those.
Q: You’ll be at UCI on October 16th for Shocktoberfest. What do you plan on bringing to the concert? How do you plan on changing things up and making the show your own?
A: No one’s like us, man. When Cisco and I get on stage, we mob; its crazy. We’re almost like a rock band. We bring that lifestyle to you, which you guys already understand, because its Cali, and you guys are from Cali so you get it. The live show is gonna be insane though. We got my boy Mark Schmidt who is a one man band working the stage, we got a DJ, and Cisco picks up a guitar every so often, I rock out on the drums and shit, we keep it real musical. We like to keep our live show as a representation of the record.