What was the earliest hip hop memory you can recall?
Not sure what the first hip hop I listened to was, but I had siblings a decade older than me in the house that would bump it as far back as I can remember. My first tape was Da Brat’s Funkdafied, haha. Definitely remember playin’ the shit outta that. First CD was Silkk the Shocker. But the first defining memory was listening to DMX’s song “Damien” with my oldest brother. He snuck me out to roll with him to a high school party & I was about 8. Rollin’ to the party & him playin’ me that song on the way struck me in a way I can’t forget.
Who’re some of your biggest musical influences?
It’s definitely a mixture of what I grew up with. A lot of soul & funk in mom’s house. Bill Withers & Parliament & what not. A lot of classic rock & metal in my dad’s. Pink Floyd & Black Sabbath were big in that house. All kinds of hip hop & punk rock from the older siblings. As far as directly effecting my rapping goes I’d have to attribute Eyedea & Abilities, Rage Against the Machine and CeeLo. Definitely three big motivators & influences.
Where did your moniker originate?
It comes from being like ClockworC in regards to some unhealthy activities. And works with the fact I ended up being like ClockworC on the beat.
Tell me what it was like growing up in Gilroy
That’s a big question man. Gilroy is definitely my home & where my heart is. Growing up I had some pretty questionable priorities. Tried to do good but ended up gettin’ wrapped up in drugs, alcohol, violence, women & the hustle. Like a lot of us. Fortunate to say I’ve made it through & get to raise my kids here today with a whole different perspective.
How did you cross paths with Tomás Carrillo?
I met Tomás when I was 18. We were both rockin’ in bands in Gilroy. We started collabin’ with each other’s groups & became good friends in the process. Played lots of shows together back then. He ended up moving to LA to go to LA Recording School & becoming a producer & engineer. Since then he’s worked with artists like Rihanna, CeeLo & D Smoke just to name a few. Also done music for movies & TV like Dolemite & La La Land. The guy is a beast & an all around great person. I’m extremely fortunate to have him as a homie & make quality tunes with him on our Them Chains project.
You’ve been dropping a lot of singles lately. Can we expect a solo album anytime soon?
Yea man I’ve got a massive amount of music on deck. I enjoy droppin’ singles cause it’s unlike any approach I’ve done before & I feel it gives a chance for songs to shine individually. I definitely have a full body of work that’ll be coming by year end or early next year as well though.
How are you dealing with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic?
Just taking it a day at a time. I’m fortunate enough to have my family happy & healthy during this time thus far. Also fortunate enough to have a home studio to give me the opportunity to be as productive as I can & provide people with music to help them through this. Trying to stay informed but not stress that which is out of my control. Keeping positive. Making that choice daily. I know this too shall pass & we’ll all come out the other end stronger because of it.
Our most important question: What is your definition of underground hip hop?
Underground hip hop is hip hop that’s put out & controlled by people who either make the music or truly love the genre. Outside of the control of major labels ran by people who are purely interested in the dollars. I have nothing against whatever route people take to build their brand though & am a firm believer in the concept to each his own. Staying true to yourself is what I believe is the best course of action to take when it comes to anything you do period. Whether that’s music or anything else. I’m lucky to be involved in a musical community of people where all the music really means something to them. From artists to listeners. I’m not big on labeling shit though. In the end it’s all music. If it’s good to you, listen to it with no apologies. If it’s not, act accordingly & move on. Don’t like trying to complicate simple things.
Could you tell me if there’s anything else you’re working on right now?
At the moment I’m working on singles & a full length ClockworC album like I mentioned before. Touching on all styles with it. If I’m feelin’ it, I rock with it. Got a grip of features coming with it too from some certified spitters. Taking it at my own pace but working on it everyday. Also working on singles & a full length album with my new project Them Chains. Having a lot of fun with it thus far. It is no way connected to, or like, anything I’ve ever done before. Including my ClockworC music. It’s a clean slate musically & approaching it that way. Fuckin’ with styles I haven’t really delved into yet. Stoked to start gettin’ it out.
Lastly, do you have any advice for those trying to set their foot in as recording artists?
Make sure your shit’s dope. If it is out the gate, than keep honing in your craft & get better. Never settle. If you’re not dope out the gate, then put the work in. Either way it’s about consistent work. Have thick skin. Not everything’s gonna go your way. Failure is a part of the process. If it’s what you truly want & know is for you than let nothing deter you. If you’re smart, it’s all just lessons. Learn the business side. Never expect anybody to work harder for your dream than you. Set the tone & keep it. Set the bar high. Don’t limit yourself. Most of all, just don’t stop if you know you got something legit. Respect to all taking the journey.