THE SPLIT SECONDS FIND THEIR SWEET SPOT IN D.C.

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS BY AMANDA LIN AND MIKE DOBBINS

Hailing from our Nation’s capital,  THE SPLIT SECONDS have graced the stages at a multitude of the District’s well-known music venues including DC9, Tree House Lounge, and The Wonderland Ballroom, among others.  THE SPLIT SECONDS dabble in the punk rock of the 70s while also adding in some modern-day flair with undertones of 60’s pop and garage rock. 

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WASHINGTON, D.C.’S IN YOUR MEMORY WRITE HONEST “JAZZ-NETIC” POST-HARDCORE ON NEW ALBUM, REFLECTIONS, AND PREPARE TO RELEASE NEW SINGLES OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS BY NICHOLAS KARLIN AND AGNES OWUSU

Personally, I cannot think of any bands that combine jazz and punk influences to fuse a new sound as effortlessly together as IN YOUR MEMORY. Based out of Washington, D.C., this post-hardcore five-piece consists of vocalist Omar Veras, drummer Jonathan Bonifacio, bassist Troy Humphrey, and guitarists Casey Allen and Alex Scott. Together, they form one of the most cohesive groups the D.C. area has seen since forming in 2011 in Scott’s basement. Despite a rough start in 2013 with the release of their self-titled EP, the members have switched gears and roles in the band to develop this new, innovative sound on their most recent EP, Reflections, which include three songs that literally reflect where they are as a band with much more honest songs about Veras’ personal life and recovery from alcohol addiction.

In September 2014, your band released Reflections, which is the first new release since your self-titled debut EP in 2013. On your Bandcamp page, you described this three-song EP as “a sum of the last two years of our lives.” Can you explain what you meant by that and how your band has developed since then?

The majority of that was based off of everything that was happening with me when I was drinking, when I had the whole DUI thing happening, also situations that I was put in from previous relationships — stuff like that where I was the “bad guy” in relationships. Long story short, when we went in to record it and [while] producing Reflections, when I was writing lyrics, I wanted to get the point across. I was talking to my producer, and he was like, “Dude, the more honest you are, the better it’s gonna be.” So instead of taking the approach that I took before in the self-titled EP where it was the cliché “It’s about a girl” thing, all of these songs had a different meaning, whether it had to do with “Karma,” “Breaking Habits,” or “Layers of Lies,” that was pretty much the approach. When we took it to the live stage, whether it was a house show or a bigger venue, it was just more believable.

What is your song “Breaking Habits” about?

That was the first one out of the three that we finished, and it is that right there — breaking the habit. That’s literally verbatim of what happened to me when I got not my first but my second DUI, honestly. It was just what was going on in the back of my head, how everyone was talking to me about it or behind closed doors. Also, on the post-end of things, after everything happened, [it’s about] how did I take everything. For example, in the chorus, [I sing], “Is this my Interview, / Feels more like an Intervention.” So it’s like, the more people ask and the more people want to know, it’s just like people are constantly asking, and you have the same answer for every single person.

IYM 1According to your band bio, it describes your music as a “jazz-netic twist” to the post-hardcore genre, while leaning on your punk rock influences. What are some ways that you combine jazz music with punk and hardcore?

I used to play guitar in a band before I started singing, and everything we do instead of [playing power chords], our guitars a detuned down to A#. I know between myself, Alex, and Casey, when it [comes] to writing material, nothing sounds just like a power chord. If we want to add diminished chords or different variations of jazz chords in there just to give it a kind of different appeal or twist to things, we find a way to throw it in. Not only that, but our bass player is coming from a reggae background, so kind of in the punk rock genre you have a bass player following the guitars, while he is kind of doing his own thing. You can feel it, especially in “Layers of Lies” where the bass kind of has its own anthem, its own feel. Not only that, but our drummer does his part too to stay in tune. Circling back to the whole “jazz-netic” piece of things, we make sure we remember our roots of the punk and the rock influences, but at the end of the day, we want to stand out so we add those extra nuances.

In what ways did Reflections expand your audience?

Ever since I joined the band, the critique we would always get would be, “It sounds good, but is it ‘rock?’” Even when we started touring In Your Memory, the self-titled EP, we would always [hear], “The sound sounds good. It’s different, but is it rock?” That was [back] when Troy sang, our bass player. Then things happened, and I started singing after that because I had the more “rockish,” raw tone. As far as Reflections, once we put that out, with the help of out producers Kevin Gutierrez and Martin MacAlister [of Assembly Line Studios], they put us in the right pocket. We all had a big discussion, and we spoke a lot about how we wanted everything to sound from the drums, to the guitars, to the vocals in the front and in the back, even harmonies, and we wanted to make sure that no matter what, if you were to hit play, you would know that this was a rock album. So that was the first thing of [making sure] we got into the right avenue with the right audience to touch base on.

But we were also thinking of things more professionally with more business appeal. We wanted to have something that was a little more marketable, something that made sense not only at a bigger or social media aspect, but also locally. Looking at this area in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, there are a lot of different genres going on, a lot of different bands. So we wanted to make sure it was something where it was true to us, it was easy for someone that wants to pick up a CD and listen to us and make sure they can digest it, but the main thing was when we play shows with other bands, we wanted to make sure it has a good flow from us to the next band. It’s great to stand out, and it is great not to sound the same. But you still have to have a good solid show.

Can you tell me about the Disney cover song you guys are working on, “I’ll Make A Man Out of You” from Mulan?

It’s actually fully done. We finished pre-production back in December [2014]. We got the final copy January 5, and the same gentleman that is going to help us with our next release, Eric Taft, just finished the mixing for it. We recorded it with Martin [MacAlister], who did Reflections with us too. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. Right now, we are in the process of getting the copyrights, and I know Disney is all over the place with that to make sure no one makes money. We didn’t do it necessarily to make money, but mainly to have fun with things because it isn’t something we have done before. We haven’t given any cover, period, any random twist. It got to the point where we started bouncing ideas off each other where this year we want to put out four videos because we’re local. The only way to keep our name on people’s tongues is constant releases. So we decided to make this song one of the next videos that we put out.

What is the theme that you guys are doing for the “I’ll Make A Man Out of You” video?

We want to make sure that we have fun with it instead it just being a band scene. For this next video, we [plan to] take it to the next step as far as comic relief, if I may. We are releasing it around Valentine’s Day for a reason because we take relationships to another step. Plus, the concept of “I’ll Make A Man Out of You,” we give a modern twist to it. Hopefully it’s not expected, and we keep people laughing. But our next video will keep the momentum with the comedy behind them. Eventually, we might do something serious, but I’m not too sure because I’m not too sure how serious we carry ourselves. Obviously we are very serious about how we carry ourselves, but we are all goofballs. IYM 5

Why did you choose to work with Eric Taft of Buzz Lounge Studios (originally known as Salad Days) on recording your next two singles?

We were bouncing a lot of ideas back and forth. We went from recording with the guy that did PARAMORE and this and that. We were thinking about going to the “next step,” but then, we started slowing down and looking at the bigger picture. The point of it is, [we thought], “What is the point of investing all this money, taking a trip, and doing all that stuff if only 15 people listen to it?” Who knows if by recording with this person if it really mattered? So we were like, why not record some place closer to home? Why not work with someone that is already embedded into a scene that we are slowly getting ourselves into, networking more, making friends with bands, and stuff like that. But a lot of bands we already worked with recommended him to us, so it just made sense to use someone that everyone [in the area] has worked with. Personally, I am a big THRICE fan, and I know that the studio he currently owns is where they originally wrote a lot of their records, CIRCA SURVIVE’s records. … Not only that but after talking and relating with him, there were a lot of influences that he listens to that we related with [as well]. His talent, given all the other bands that we’ve heard, it’s mainly to support the scene.

Do they have titles yet for the singles you will be releasing with Taft?

We have two tracks that we just finished doing pre-production. In total, we want to release six, but we in a debate of whether we should put all six on the next EP, or release two singles and do a four-track EP after. If we do that, we do have two tracks. The first track will be called “Solace,” and the next track is going to be called “Decadence.” We won’t make another big twist based on the feedback we heard from Reflections, but it is different. Maybe the maturity and the progression in how much more technical we got [is different] just because of feedback we received. … These new songs are a lot more aggressive. They are a lot more energetic, and even live, we already played these two songs on our last run when we went to [Pennsylvania]. It was phenomenal, with no antics, no lighting, no extra backtrack. It was rawness, and it worked. It’s great when something like that comes to fruition.

When do you plan to release the two singles and then the four-song EP?

We haven’t settled on a date yet. We’ve been talking about a few things here and there. We are going to start to record the other [songs] midway through February, but we are all over the place. No matter how much you want to keep things in line, some things come up. … I can only assume we might release “Decadence” and “Solace” by the time we do our summer run, which will be two or two-and-a-half weeks that Casey is currently putting together. That’s gonna be an east coast run. We are going to have some Ohio dates as well, but it will possibly be anywhere between May and July.

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On your website, you announced that you are booking a tour this spring. Can you tell me more about that?

That spring tour is going to be a quick run. What’s happening is Casey is also doing his part in booking in the Baltimore area as well. A lot of bands that we have befriended in the last few years, he has been booking, and they have been asking for us to come back to their states and towns. When we did that run in [Pennsylvania], we had five or six days there, and we really had a good turnout. They also want us to come back to see some friends and play some shows. It’s just gonna be [another] quick five or six day run, but the big one will be in the summer time.

For more updates on IN YOUR MEMORY, be sure to visit their website, “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and listen to Reflections on Bandcamp.

GRIFF’S ROOM BAND TO PERFORM AT THE NATIONAL WITH BIG MAMA SHAKES FOR “BEST OF THE 804” ON THE VERGE CONCERT SERIES

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY GRIFF’S ROOM BAND AND SAMANTHA FEIN-HELMAN

Though no one in the band is named Griff by nickname or by birth, he has been immortalized for his contribution in bringing fiddle player and vocalist David Adley, guitarist/vocalist Liam Anastasia-Murphy, and guitarist/percussionist/vocalist Michael Cammarata together to form GRIFF’S ROOM BAND. Though the band originated in a dorm room on the William and Mary College campus, they have since relocated to Richmond to focus more time on their budding music careers in one of Virginia’s most diverse and active music scenes. On May 31, 2014, the band released their debut EP, Shut The Case, and they have been busy building a following all over Virginia, Washington, D.C., and beyond. Recently, the three founding members brought on drummer Kyle Osterhaus and bassist Clayton Perry to complete the sound of the band’s live performances.

Who is Griff?

Liam: Griff was a roommate of mine in college, and he had many instruments in his room. He wouldn’t be there very often, so we would go in and play the instruments in his room when he wasn’t there. It kind of started as a joke at first, … but things then got a bit more serious and we started playing a bit more often. It kind of spiraled from there.

How long ago was that?

Liam: That was about three and half or four years ago.

Your music is self-described as “Americana pop,” which seems to be on the rise in popularity . Do you feel like your band has contributed to that in any way?

Liam: Maybe on a micro level. I don’t know.

David: I wouldn’t go as far as to say we’ve had any effect on the larger scene, but perhaps around here in Richmond, I think so.

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Do you guys play often at any breweries or wineries in Virginia or Washington, D.C.?

Michael: We’ve played a lot of different breweries and wineries. There’s one up near where we went to school called Saudé Creek; that was one of the first wineries we’ve ever played.  We love going back there. [We have] a lot of really great fans there, and really good barbecue and wine too, so that helps. We’ve played at AleWerks, also from Williamsburg, Strangeways here in Richmond, Legend, which was awesome, and we have yet to play at Hardywood, which is a pretty awesome spot and a lot of great bands play there. So we’re hoping to get on a bill there sometime soon.

You guys seem to be busy on social media promoting your upcoming show at The National on Friday, January 23 with BIG MAMA SHAKES. How did you end up getting on that show?

Liam: They contacted us a few months ago and asked if we wanted to do a “Best of the 804” On The Verge series, and we said, “Absolutely.” … Another band playing, called the BROKE ROYALS are friends of ours from William and Mary, and then we know BIG MAMA SHAKES just through the Richmond/Williamsburg scene, because we had been a part of both. David had actually played with the lead guitarist Brady and lead guy for BIG MAMA SHAKES a few times. We really like them, and they’re an awesome band … It should be a really fun show and a really great experience to play at The National.

I love your music video for your song “Corner Booth.” Is there an interesting story behind the meaning of that song?

Liam: “Corner Booth” is kind of a concept song.  I wrote it a while ago when I was at home working in a restaurant, and it’s loosely based off of this fellow who used to come in pretty late three or four times a week to the restaurant and eat by himself. He would just hang out at the restaurant, have dinner, and hang out for a little while, and then leave. It was one of the first songs we ever wrote together as a group. I kind of brought the basic foundation, and it really built up from there once I brought it to the guys.

What would you say is your favorite song to play off your most recent album Shut The Case?

Michael: I’m gonna go ahead and pick my own song, and it does happen to be one of the songs that I sing on — “Could Be,” which is the second track. On the EP is just a couple acoustic guitars, a fiddle, bass, and our vocals all together, but lately, when we have been performing it as a five-piece, this whole new sound with the drums added in has so much energy. It’s just a lot of fun to play, but at the heart of it, there’s still the same feeling there is on the recording, where it’s pretty simple instrumentation and the harmonies. It’s still a very satisfying song and a lot more groovy.

David: I think my favorite to play live is “Corner Booth.” I just really like the energy of that song, and I  think with our new drummer, he plays a sweet intro that really gets things going for the crowd, and for me personally playing up there. It gets me hyped.

I saw that you guys recently played a show at U Street Music Hall in Washington, D.C. How did the audience respond to your music there?

Liam: It was great. That was a really fun show. It was a bit of a funny story. We opened for this band called THE SHADOWBOXERS, and they’re a pretty well known regional act out of Atlanta but they actually just moved to Nashville, Tenn. We got to open for them this summer in Arlington at Iota Club, and the sound was so bad. It was probably the worst show we’ve ever had. I don’t know if the sound guy was having a bad night, but there was so much feedback. The whole set was so terrible. I think they realized it was the sound guy’s problem, and they were very receptive to us opening for them again. This time U Street had incredible sound; it was really fun. It was a great crowd, and they were really responsive. We got to showcase a few new songs that we hadn’t before because we have a pretty good following up in D.C. because Michael is actually from there.

Michael: It was an early show because the way U Street works is they have these DJ sets at night. But despite the fact that it was an early show, there was still a good crowd there for us, which was great, and by the time THE SHADOWBOXERS played, the place was totally packed.

Liam: The other band, WHO NEEDS A PULSE, which is a D.C. based band, was really good.

David: I think for me, that show was one of a handful of times where we got a taste of what it was like to be a real rock band. The crowd was totally engaged, and Liam was standing up on an amp on the last song. The energy was translating really well between us and the audience. Between that and another show we played at Virginia Tech were the most surreal show experiences  we’ve ever had.

Would you say that would be the closest thing to a “perfect show” that you  guys have ever experienced together?

Liam: I thought as a full band, it was the tightest we’ve ever been as a five piece in a live setting, and musically, sound wise, and crowd engagement wise. It was pretty on point.

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Are you guys currently on tour, or are you back home for a while?

David: We’re back here for a bit. We have a couple mini tours coming up.

Liam: And we’re always playing shows. If you want to call it a tour, we’re always playing around Virginia — Richmond, Hampton Roads, and the D.C. area. There’s rarely a weekend we’re not playing.

Michael: We’re doing a sweep through Philadelphia, and hopefully New York in March.

For more updates on GRIFF’S ROOM BAND, be sure to visit their website, “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and listen to their EP Shut The Case on iTunes.

THE DC GENTLEMEN BRING THEIR RAW PERFORMANCE TO THE WASHINGTON, D.C. MUSIC SCENE, INCORPORATING A VARIETY OF GENRES INTO THEIR MUSIC

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS BY RAW ARTISTS WASHINGTON, D.C.

Prior to forming THE DC GENTLEMAN, vocalist Ryan Lucas had a desire to create music with like-minded individuals. Therefore, through Craigslist, he began his search to find equally talented musicians with a passion to create. Through his endeavors, he found keyboard and keytarist Jehrel Pickens, drummer Daryl Dudley II, and bassist Trevor Waling to be the best fit for his project. Since forming, the band has been featured in the the RAW artist showcase and has played many shows and music festivals in the District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, and the surrounding areas. Currently, the band is in the recording studio producing their debut album. We spoke with the band regarding how they began and how they interacted with each other, how the city of Washington, D.C. influences their music, as well as how the Washington, D.C. music scene compares to Virginia.

How would you describe the brand that you have created as THE DC GENTLEMEN?

Ryan: Basically when we say THE DC GENTLEMEN, we are representing the region. We established the band in D.C. a year ago.

I know you guys have the t-shirts with your logo on them that you wear during your performances, but how do you think you represent gentlemen of Washington, D.C.?

Jehrel: We’re really nice people (everyone laughs).

I heard that you guys originally met through Craigslist.  What was it the first time your guys interacted with each other?

Ryan: Basically, I put the band together. I created a body of music producing on my own months prior to getting together. I decided that when I was going to start performing, I needed to have a live band to back the music. Daryl, who is the drummer, is my cousin, but I met Trevor and Jehrel off of Craigslist. As far as our first interaction, basically I sent them the music that I wanted them to perform, which was about six songs, to practice on their own and to interpret the music that I sent them. Then they came to the first initial meeting ready to perform and jam. Really we were focused on a particular show. We didn’t necessarily worry about building friendships [at first]. We had a mission to perform for this show in Charlotte, N.C. We gave ourselves about a month to practice for it, and we started putting it together.

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Which of your band members live in Virginia, and who lives in Washington, D.C.?

Daryl: Ryan and I live in D.C.

Trevor: Me and Jehrel live in Virginia.

Do you guys have a second vocalist?

Trevor: It’s just Ryan for that. We actually had another vocalist that was with us for a little while, but due to his work schedule, he had to drop out. We’ve continued on with just Ryan since then.

One thing that I really love about your band is that you use a keytar in some of your songs. Why did you guys decide to go with that instrument since it is so rare in music today?

Jehrel: For the versatility. There was two things: one, being able to move. We don’t pull it out that often, but we do some dance moves. You just feel a little more like part of the band if you can move away from the keyboard, and the other thing was that we have been trying to use more analog sounds. The pedal that I run through is called a Monophonic Synthesizer, so it can only play one note at a time. So with the keytar, I can put effects onto it with my other hand. So I use one hand to play notes and the other hand to manipulate the sound.

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Since you guys live in both areas, how does the music scenes in Virginia and Washington, D.C. compare to each other?

Trevor: We definitely play a lot more in D.C. There are a lot more shows, especially for our genre of music.

Daryl: I feel, like Trevor said, we get a lot more shows in D.C. If we got more shows in Virginia, we could see how it turns out, but I think D.C. is mainly where everything goes down at.

Can you tell me about how you got involved with the RAW artist showcase and what it is about?

Ryan: We got involved with RAW Artists because I had been to a number of their showcases prior to them selecting us. Pretty much, it’s a showcase for up and coming independent artists, and they give them a platform to share their work. It’s not just music. It’s [also] visual art, poetry, films, short films, modeling, makeup, [and] fashion. They bring all those different elements together once a month, and it’s not just in D.C. It’s all around the world, I think. I know they do it all across the country, and they do have some places outside of the country where they get together. So basically, after going to their events, I saw they had a sign up for new talent, and I signed the band up. They took a look at the music that we had posted and our Facebook page, and they selected us to be a part of their showcase. It’s a cool thing because they only have a couple of artists from each genre of art, and they also film the performance and post it on YouTube. They also took photos of us that we could utilize for our own promotions.

How influential is the city of Washington, D.C. on your music?

Daryl: It definitely does inspire us. In D.C., we have an art form called go-go music, which we are trying to implement into some of our songs now. Also, when you go to bars in D.C., you hear a lot of different sounds, and we take a little bit of what we hear and try to make it our own sound.

I know that you guys are currently working on  a new album. What can your listeners expect from that?

Ryan: We are still in the early infant stages of it, meaning some songs haven’t been created yet that I think would go on this project, but what the direction is now is a fusion of different sounds. It’s sort of like a hip-hop, R&B, soul, rock, house, and electronic sort of mixture with the music, and I am laying over the music with the lyrics of the “every man” and the comings and goings of instances of living the city/suburban lifestyle. That’s pretty much my perspective on it.

Jehrel: I guess as far as the process right now, we have been tracking it live. So it is still a lo-fi recording where I guess we would go back and layer the sounds. That’s still to be seen, but hopefully it will be close to the way our performances are, which is why we wanted to record [this way] because we noticed a difference to the recorded product that compared to how Ryan produces. It’s very polished, and the live show we put on is a little more raw.

Do you guys have a projected release date for that yet?

Trevor: As soon as we can get it done (laughs).

I noticed on your Facebook page that you guy have been playing a lot of shows and festivals. When is your next show?

Trevor: Right now, we are just concentrating on getting these songs recorded, so we’re not focusing on the live music quite as much.

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Where can people listen to your music?

Daryl: They can go to YouTube and our Facebook page.

Jehrel: We can add you to our email too.

For more updates on THE DC GENTLEMEN, be sure to “like” their Facebook page, and visit their RAW Artist Profile.

BUCKY MALONE AND FA$TLIFE MILITIA AIM TO DOMINATE THE VIRGINIA RAP AND HIP HOP GAME WITH THEIR UNIQUE CHEMISTRY AND RELENTLESS WORK ETHIC

bucky maloneINTERVIEW BY CHRIS SUAREZ

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY BUCKY MALONE

VIDEO BY THE CLASSIC LP

Hip-hop in Northern Virginia is a genre that has yet to be really documented too well in the area in previous years. While Washington, DC and parts of Maryland are certainly a hot bed of hip-hop, with rappers such as FAT TREL and WALE, Northern Virginia has been largely under represented to larger audiences.

Attempting to break the mold and become the representative of Virginian hip-hop is Manassas’ own BUCKY MALONE. Founder of the FA$TLIFE MILITIA, Bucky and several of his long-time friends formed a team of artists. Over the last year, members of the crew have released a number of mixtapes and videos, with members participating in everything from rapping, producing, and documenting the work of FA$TLIFE.

The 21-year-old emcee recently dropped L.I.F.E. 2: Rise of Little Tokyo and has earned some modest attention from the hip-hop community online. This weekend, a chopped and slowed down remix of L.I.F.E. 2 by Houston native DJ SLIM K will be released on April 20th.

When did you start rapping? What influenced you?

Back in the day, when people were still using dial-up Internet, I was recording myself on the voice record on my computer and playing around with it. I was always listening to music. When I got older, around 13 or 14, my homeboys had a studio, so I started recording tracks and everything started coming about.

Around that time, there was a lot of artists that were poppin’ like LUDACRIS and 50 CENT. TUPAC made me want to rap. Period. That’s my overall influence. What he did for the culture, the generation, he left an impact. I also love BONE THUGZ N HARMONY. That’s my favorite group. That’s what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer. I’m trying to spit.

When did FA$TLIFE start? How did you get everyone together?

FA$TLIFE started with my friends. They were all there when everything started coming together. At first, we had a couple different names, like “Enterprise” and “Novakane”. It was a collective of two different groups, but some guys seemed to be more about themselves.

FA$TLIFE came about two or three years ago. I was talking to all my guys. Me, personally, I always wanted to part of something bigger than me. I wanted to help my people. I believe that we can take over.

As far as choosing the name, FA$TLIFE, it was most relevant to how we’re living. We wanted to be true to ourselves. We all got our struggles, we all living day to day, just trying to survive. We got a couple of additions. We just got THE REAL KWAME, CHAD THE GENIUS and CATASTROPHIC. We’ve been recruiting heavy. We got a whole bunch of talent together.

What do you look for when you’re adding artists and musicians to this crew?

Chemistry. I got nothing against the guys we used to run with, they’re still my brothers, but it’s all about chemistry and how you work with a person. As a whole, we work so good together. When we’re all together, it all just goes perfect. That’s the really important thing. Also, the quality, chemistry, and work ethic have to be there.

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How have you gone about booking shows? Trapped in the Whop shows seem like they’ve all been bangers and bringing tons of people out.

For real, you got to know the event coordinators and promoters, and artists as well. It’s all about networking. Trapped in the Whop shows came about because of who I’m cool with. My homie puts on those shows. Trapped in the Whop 4 is going to be June 7th. It might change, but we’ll see. I’ve been performing in a few other places. I go to school in Norfolk, so when I’m not in DC, I do showcases at clubs around here, trying to be humble. I don’t always have to play the packed shows. I hold my shit down. The biggest show I’ve done was opening for JUICY J last year. That shit was definitely a new experience. It was about 5,000 or more people there. It was the real deal, but other shows have been getting bigger. The crowds have been bigger. It’s always a plus. Showcases and stuff like that, staying around and mingling, you get to meet new people. It gives them more of a feel for you. You can hear a lot about a person, but when you see them and they’re true to themselves, you’ll know ‘em better.

What new material do you have coming out?

L.I.F.E. 2 Chopped Not Slopped by DJ SLIM K is the main focus right now. It’s coming out 4/20 at midnight for all my stoners, who want to get high and download that on Livemixtapes.com. I’ve got other stuff coming out in May. It’s going to be exciting, showing what I got in store for everybody.

Who is Little Tokyo? Where does the name come from?

That’s my alter ego. It’s the mode I get into when I’m making music. It’s foreign. The name also comes from all my life; people thought I was Asian because I got eyes slanted as hell. I smoke hella weed now, so that doesn’t help. Growing up, I got teased about it a lot, people had shit to say, but I kind of took it around and ran with it, “I’m Little Tokyo, these niggas think I’m Asian, but I’m Little Tokyo.” I thought it was swag. In the past four or five years, I’ve just been going with it as an alias.

What have you been listening to lately? Who are some of your favorite new artists?

I’ve definitely been listening to that new YG album, My Krazy Life. It’s just got an old-school feel to it. Overall, I’m a big 90’s hip-hop head. I came up listening to A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, TUPAC, and BIGGIE. It’s always what motivates me. When I heard the new YG album, I saw he was going with that. I like the whole Chicago movement regardless of what people are saying. I’m a fan of LIL REESE, LIL DURK, CHIEF KEEF, LIL HERB. I fuck with A$AP MOB too. ROCKY, FERG, all of them. I listen to just about everything. I also like CHANCE THE RAPPER. I fuck with a lot of people.

I frequently hear people talking, saying, “I don’t even listen to these new cats, I’m only worried about my shit.” But man, if you’re not listening to what’s out there, then how you going to know what’s hot? Not that you have to follow the trends, but you got to know what’s the style. I be telling others and those in my group, regardless of whether you like these guys or not, this is your competition. It’s like sports, you watch game film, and you see what’s out there.

What else is next for you and FA$TLIFE?

Everybody got a project they’re about to release, so we’re about to swarm the market. I’m currently the executive producer on skyyHiRY’s new project, Summa School. That’ll be out soon. SOLO THE MISFIT, I know he’s working on some crazy shit. Honestly, the big thing we’re working on is a whole project as FA$TLIFE. We haven’t really dropped a whole project yet together. We’re all on each other’s projects, but we haven’t all come together. I think that’s what the people want. We’re hoping to have something like that out by the fall.

For more details on BUCKY MALONE and FA$TLIFE MILITIA, be sure to follow him on Twitter.