Q&A with Psychopop of Skrapez
Psychopop of the Skrapez crew has been a producer I have been following works from over the last few years and I have yet to be disappointed in a single piece of work he has created. Based in San Diego and a part of a community that launched out the careers of The Gaslamp Killer, Gonjasufi and many others, Psychopop is one of the rawest producers around. Relying on technology dated ten to twenty years back for the doomsday outskirts of sound he achieves, Psychopop takes the meaning of raw to another level. The nastiest and dirtiest of drums are blanketed inside tyrannical sounds that stretch to everywhere in the spectrum of experimental electronic and hip hop production. The over shades of soul music and other oddly placed genres inside his framework pop out from time to time, showing his penchant for diversity with experimentalism always at the heart.
Psychopop’s work with Gonjasufi on his latest 10″ release MU.ZZ.LE is something that we are still in awe over. Psychopop has been touring around the world heavily with his Skrapez crew (Tenshun and Psychopop) in support of Gonajsufi and his newest Warp release. We caught up with Psychopop about his latest creative musings and this exclusive interview presented below is the results of this exchange. Psychopop is one of the best producers out there and we are overly enjoyed to present an interview with him at Sound Colour Vibration.
SCV: What’s up Psychopop, really excited to dive into these questions. First wanted to say thanks for the time on this interview. I wanted to first ask you about your crew Skrapez, how did you guys form it and what are some of the defining qualities that represent what you guys have created in your legacy?
Sup bro..My pleasure…Well Skrapez was formed in 2002..Me and Tenshun were already good friends bumping underground hip hop like Log Cabin, Orko and all that west coast classic raw shit. I think our qualities that define us would be we never saw anyone do the shit we were trying to do. We were just jamming out making straight harsh noises with heavy drums on top. I’m sure people were already doing that but not that we noticed. We were just fucking around, you know? Our first show was with Sumach aka Gonjasufi. We bumrushed a show we weren’t even on the flyer. Just showed up and started smashing out noise.
SCV: Who were some of the first cats outside of your circles you came to walk paths with where you said, this is it, this is exactly where we are going with things?
I think one of the first cats outside the circle was Bigg Jus. Met him and we started smashing out shows. Skrapez and NMS, also Walter Gross came into the picture too. We’re all on the same shit, trying to blow wigs back you can say.
SCV: It seems like you are releasing albums of various types all the time. What have been some of your last few releases and what is going to come out soon?
My last few releases have been some grindcore type shit called Holysangreciqleta. All live to tape deck shit and all in Spanish. Put out by I Had An Accident Records. A Skrapez beat tape and a new 7″ and that MU.ZZ.LE 10″ on Warp. The new shit I’m working on is finishing up this Psychopo and Scatterbrain album which is going to be brutal as fuck and this other project called Hauntvox with this dope Venezuelan girl Valentina Michealangelli. That’s where my focus is right now. Can’t wait to drop these two albums.
SCV: How did you meet Valentina Michealangelli and what kind of style does she bring to the table?
Me and Valentina were just into the same type of music. I always wanted do work with some female vocals and she’s perfect for what I envisioned. We’re inspired by the 60′s and Trish Keenen. Beth Gibbons type shit for sure.
SCV: I know that San Diego has been your base. Who have been your favorite artists to work with in the region and what collectives, crews or artists are up and coming that you think people should look out for?
I’ve had the privilege to grow up around Masters of the Universe Crew, Kilowatz, MRR ADM aka MHE, IMD, GLK. Shit, a hang of hard fools out of Daygo. I’d look out for all these crews. It’s a circle of fire man.
SCV: I’ve been wanting to ask you about the music you produced for Gonjasufi on his latest Warp LP MU.ZZ.LE. Did Gonjasufi selecte tracks you already had or did you guys build the songs from the ground up together?
We made those MU.ZZ.LE joints in like 2002 or 2003. We were just labbing out and smoking trees trying to get on some shit. It was before we had Pro Tools and even computers man. I had a 4 track and he had an 8 track. We made all tracks on that album around the same time.
SCV: Do you think its important for an artist to put down the computer driven technology and go back to basics or is that only for some people these days?
I don’t know if it’s important to put down the computer music programs. I’ve heard some amazing stuff coming from a computer but for me I like the MPC, actual drum sets, and real instruments. I like the buzzings and the air, it feels organic to me. It’s just what I know. People look at me crazy when we set up my old ass equipment.
SCV: I know you have mentioned Gonjasufi has been a mentor in your career so far. What are some of the most powerful things he has taught you and shown you?
Well, Gonjasufi pretty much manifested destiny. We were talking about all the things taking place way back then. It makes it more important. He believed in himself and me. So that’s rad. We were just some fools making shit in a small ass room. Everything that has happened he said it would while we were barely even having money to eat food once a day. It’s beautiful man and crazy how shit works.
SCV: Process is always different from artist to artist. Do you try to change up your process depending on the style of track you are trying to achieve or do you have a set in routine that let’s you dive into your creation more focused?
Every time I make music it’s pretty much a different process. I just dive in; sometimes nothing happens and sometimes it be really quick. Like it’s too easy or just meant to be.
SCV: I was really hyped when you told me you would be touring with Gonjasufi with your group Skrapez. Where have you guys travelled so far and how have the shows been?
So far we played the Moca in LA opening for Thom Yorke. Brazil and Chile. I think we were able to get loose and have at all the shows. Mixing Skrapez dirty ass sound along with Gonjasufi’s grime too. The first time me and Tenshun had a Skrapez show Gonjasufi played with us too. Full circle. Were trying to play these gigs like jamming out in the bedroom. Improv, live raw MPC shit. Back to the basics.
SCV: What kind of atmosphere do you generally experience off the stage being around your tour mates?
My tour mates are two of my closest friends so it’s to hang out with those fools. We go digging for wax pretty much everywhere we go. went to Brazil and came up at the dopest spot I’ve ever laid my eyes on. Pretty much if you’re into wax.
SCV: I always try to stay out of record stores when I travel or I will spend all my money. What kind of music did you come up on with this last touring trip you did with Gonasufi and Tenshun?
We went digging in Brazil and Chile. The store in Brazil was like that DJ Shadow cover and we got a bunch of everything really. Bossa nova to heavy rock shit. In Chile we got everything from Spanish folk to church records. It was fun, that’s what we do is dig for wax.
SCV: It’s always a challenge to truly define your purpose on this planet. The more you make music, does this purpose become more focused or more of a blur?
I love making music, it’s like I have too. I think my purpose is to give love to people man. I like when people are comfortable around me. Homeless crazy people to heads that are into the music. Anyone man, I like to do creative shit. Music to painting graffiti. I need all that shit all the time. Love, peace and dirty drums. If nobody even heard of me I’d still be doing the same shit in my bedroom.
SCV: That’s something a lot of people don’t consider, how far a person had to go to achieve their goals when they build everything from the ground up, something I struggle with daily in terms of having the financial security to eat right and all of that. When you look at those times, would you take back anything despite the hardship of not always having a meal?
I wouldn’t change anything. When I’m down I always have my friends, family and crews that will never let me suffer, seriously. I remember my OG’s Odessa Kane and Autopsy straight fill my fridge up with food and I’ll never forget that. We’re all in this shit together and I got made love and inspiration around me every day so it’s easier to keep it moving foward. It’s the only way pretty much. In our music, we didn’t change anything for anyone so to me that’s rad.
SCV: I wanted to say thanks again Psychopop, your time means a lot. To finish this interview, I wanted to ask you about the sacrifices that have to take place for you to have done what you have and to continue on. What have been some of the biggest sacrifices you have had to make in the long run for giving yourself to your creative processes and do you feel their is an art in mastering the balance of this sacrifice and maintaining a normal life?
Some of the sacrifices I’ve had to make would be quitting jobs for tours, driving hours and hours just to practice, putting all my money into dropping Skrapez wax… This is my life so it’s not even a big deal to us it’s just what we want. Gotta do things to make other things happen I guess. It’s all worth it to me. I feel like that job (9-5) doesn’t make me feel good at the end of the day so I really want to put all my time and energy into that. I like money but I gotta feed my soul at the same time. My mom told me to follow what I believe in, so here I am.