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Gavin's Underground

Urban Lounge Hip-Hop Showcase: Part 2

by Gavin Sheehan
- Posted // 2011-12-19 -
Did you miss Part 1? Click this link here to read interviews with Emerson Kennedy, Dumb Luck, Sick Sense & Skinwalker!

Yze

Gavin: Hey, Yze. First thing, tell us a little about yourself.

Yze: Gavin, what's good? A little about me ... proud father, progressive hip-hop artist, music producer, touring act ... NO DRUGS!

Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Yze: Music was always very loud in the house I grew up in; everyone played an instrument at home. Both my older brothers played drums and guitar. My mom played jazz and blues. There was a very very old upright piano in the basement that pretty much took up the majority of my free time. I heard more classic rock than any other type of music as a kid. The Beatles, Billy Joel, The Eagles, Elton John, Bob Seger ... I still jam out to this stuff.
Gavin: What drew you toward hip-hop and rap and what was it like for you breaking into the local music scene?

Yze: I was always writing stories or poems as a kid; I've been writing nightly for as long as I can remember. I listened to whatever rap songs that were playing on MTV -- I grew up a white kid in the '90s. Hahaha! What do you expect, right? I will say this, though, when I started listening to Nas, everything I wrote kinda turned into raps. Breaking into the local scene was hard to do, not very many people showed any love at first. Earning the respect of the peers that were around locally when I started wasn't easy. The beats I made and wrote to were different than what a lot of the local emcees were doing at the time -- people were always like, "I dig the lyrics, man, but your beats aren't hip-hop enough." Pat Maine was the first local emcee to show any interest in what I was doing. I met Pat like four or five years ago at a basement studio in Orem; we've been kickin' it and rockin' shows together pretty much ever since. Pat actually put me on the first local all hip-hop show I ever played. From then on, I started booking shows at every bar and coffee shop that would allow hip-hop from Provo to downtown SLC.

Gavin: In 2009, you debuted with the album People Like Us. What was it like for you recording that album and what issues did you deal with while making it, and what did you think of the public reception to it when it was released?

Yze: Ahhh, the People Like Us album ... I started recording my own songs in my basement. Every four or five songs I would record, I would get them printed and just label the CD "People Like Us" and sell them at my shows. After I recorded 20 songs, I put them all together, pressed the album and called it People Like Us. Most of the music on the album was based off of the charity I started while I was making it. I would play as many local shows as possible and save all the door money to help out "people like us" in need. The main focus of the charity was buying Christmas for families in need every year. Hip-hop heads responded really well to the album. It was a sophomore album like all other independent/underground sophomore albums ...shitty recordings, makeshift mastering, and cheap production. Hahaha. I'm proud of the music on it, though. All of the heart and eager excitement that I felt for it really shines through the songs, and that's what I think people liked about it.
Gavin: That year, you also went out as a headlining act for the Alive & Well Tour. What was that whole experience like for you and what did you learn as a performer along the way?

Yze: The Alive & Well tour was amazing! It was the follow up to the Four O' Clock Shadow tour that MC Pigpen, Pat Maine and myself went on the year before. We played shows in major cities where we were usually one of 10 nationwide touring acts that shared the bill; we learned how to make a live show LIVE. It was a learning experience to walk out on stage in places like Los Angeles and say, "Hi, I'm from Salt Lake. Most of you have ever heard of me, but I’m about to show you why you'll listen to my music." The Alive & Well tour was MC Pigpen, Pat Maine, myself and the addition of the family, Dumb Luck and Dusk. I couldn't ask for better people to be on the road with -- that's the family right there! Everyone brought something different to the table; we all grew as artists just by feeding off of each other's inspiration.

Gavin: You followed up with Out Of Many in the spring of 2010. How was this album different from the first one and what was it like putting it together with beats from various producers?

Yze: I never set out to make Out of Many ... it just kind of happened. It was very different from the People Like Us album, and probably very different from anything I think I will ever make again. I was on tour in winter 2009 for 30 days straight. During that time, I filled up a notebook; all of it was written on the go, I couldn't stop writing. I wrote lyrics in the backseat of PigPen's ride, in various hotel rooms, and people's houses we crashed at. If I wasn't driving, performing, or sleeping, I was writing; I had a bunch of beats and a notebook full of lyrics. I hit the studio and recorded everything in about a month. I didn't really know what to call the album. I named it Out Of Many because all of it came from so many different places and people.
Gavin: Over the past year, you've started becoming a big supporting artist for up-and-coming performers in SLC and Provo. What's it like for you having that kind of role in the scene and helping out those coming up?

Yze: It always makes me really happy whenever newer emcees reach out. A lot of really talented acts are coming up locally and I do whatever I can to support that. I remember what it was like to start out, I ran into so many rapper egos and people I thought were complete assholes. I don't ever want to be looked at like that. I'm happy to be in a position to promote other people who I think make really good music.

Gavin: Rumor has it you may be working on a new album, but we haven't seen anything surface yet. What's the official word on recordings?

Yze: I am in the middle of recording the next project, Ugly Picture Perfect. I am very excited to get this done and ready for the people. I produced all of the beats on the album myself. It's a different sound than what people are used to hearing from me. I'm planning to release it March 2012. The promotion for it starts next month so keep an eye out for music videos and song releases.
Gavin: Going statewide, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, and is there anything you believe could be done to make it more prominent?

Yze: I think that the music scene in our state is better than ever right now. Acts from every type of musical genre are becoming more and more recognized on a nationwide level. I think that the music scene in Salt Lake has enough talent and potential to be what Seattle was for grunge music, or Minneapolis was for underground/indie hip-hop. Everything just keeps growing and becoming better. I think the worst thing that hurts the scene here is the crabs-in-a-barrel mentality. There is a sense of entitlement that some artists get that really drags down the scene. Some emcees will no doubt read this and think, “Yze doesn't deserve to have an interview, this is bullshit, they should be asking me!” That type of thinking drags everything down. You are entitled to receive what you get back from the amount of work you put into your craft. I'm really bothered when I hear local musicians or artists bitch about either Salt Lake being not cool enough or that other local musicians and artists are just not as talented as they are. To me, that type of small-minded thinking hurts the scene way worse than anything else that happens. Aside from all that, I am very excited to see what happens to our scene in the next few years.

Gavin: Not including yourself, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

Yze: My favorite acts in the scene right now  -- hahaha, how much time do you have? I listen to a lot of local music. In hip-hop, I gotta shout out Pat Maine, MC Pigpen, Dumb Luck, Dusk, KonSICKwence, Burnell Washburn, Task & Linus, Chance Lewis, Apt, Emerson Kennedy, SyncroNICE, Young Sim, Definit, Lyrical Mindset ... too many to name.
Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio and how it affects local musicians?

Yze: I have tons of love for the community radio, KRCL has helped local music thrive for a long time. Shouts to Roots Rawka and the “Fallout” show, also Ebay Jamil! It's fresh that they play all types of music from mainstream to indie to local. The fact that they do play local music is great for the scene. What I like most about it is that they aren't selective to just a few artists here and there, they play local talent nightly.

Gavin: With so many sources out there to get music off the Web, both for publicity and sharing, what are your thoughts on putting out free tracks for anyone to listen to?

Yze: My experience with this has always been pretty simple. If people want to buy my music, they will. If people want to get it for free, they will. All my music is on iTunes so people have the chance to pay for it if they want. Music sharing is great for promotion and getting your name out there; no matter what, though, people will find a way to get it for free. I think that the more people who listen to your music, whether they got it for free or not, helps your career out. If people like your songs, then they are coming to your live shows, and your getting money that way. It's a good and bad thing with a lot of different ways to look at it, I'm not too bugged by it, though.
Gavin: What can we expect from you going into next year?

Yze: Next year the new album drops, I’ll be touring it in the summer. New designs for T-shirts and hoodies. A lot of charity work next year, as well, with the music, trying to put together is big benefit concert for the summer. I want to play more local music festivals so I’ll be grinding on that, as well.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

Yze: The PigPen & Pat Maine album drops Jan. 19th at Urban Lounge. I have heard the sneak preview and it is everything it's hyped up to be! Don’t miss the release party, I'll be rockin' the show with 'em, as well. Dumb Luck and Linus also have an album coming out. KonSICKwence is dropping an album soon. Mr. Beny records is bringing back the Grindtime battles again Jan. 20 at Bar Deluxel, be sure and check that out. If you haven’t heard my music check it out on iTunes. Be ready for my new album Ugly Picture Perfec t... coming soon.


Pat Maine

Gavin: Hey, Pat. First off, tell us a little about yourself.

Pat: Well, Pat Maine is my real name and I'm currently reigning light-heavyweight champion of the world in everything. I represent a movement called Alive & Well based out of Salt Lake City. I've been an active member in the hip-hop scene here in Utah since 2006.

Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Pat: As a kid, I really liked Michael Jackson. Oh, the irony. Seriously though, I moon-walked in my socks on the kitchen linoleum with the best of 'em. When I moved to Utah in 1997, I had a stepsister, bless her heart, that got me listening to a lot of Tupac, Bone Thugs n' Harmony and lots of Metal. Attended lots of hardcore and hip-hop shows in my teens. I've always been keen on struggle music but my biggest music influence/act out of my whole life is Tech N9ne. I'm just gonna say Puddle Of Mudd because I feel like people forgot about them. Although they had absolutely zero influence on me or anybody, they needed this plug. Now back to forgetting them.
Gavin: What drew you more towards rap and hip-hop and how did you start coming up with rhymes and beats on your own?

Pat: Hip-hop has always been appealing since I was a kid. I'm not sure why, though. My daddy DID rock 'n' roll and my momma DID dance to it. I wasn't raised around it, by any means. I remember hearing Westside Connection in like fourth grade and thought "big fish in a small pond" is a cool thing to say in a song. Maybe that’s it. As much as I dislike it now, rap on TV was only thing I had to get me into it. I started writing two years before I called it poetry or rap. I didn't even know what I was writing when I think back to it. I was just writing. I'm sure it was what you could imagine a nine year old writing about. A couple of years later, my friend said, “We should rap." We did. He stopped, though, and I continued ,BUT we did make like 40 beats in our multimedia class and I wrote songs to all of em. I haven't made a beat since high school. Mike Booth says he has one still. I'd love to hear it.

Gavin: How was it for you breaking into the music scene, and what made you choose the name KiNNetiK at the time?

Pat: Fortunately for me, I found that name in the dictionary when I was like 13 or 14. Read that till you catch the sarcasm. For the record ,Gavin, I was really creative then and misspelled it and incorrectly capitalized it on purpose so it looked cool and new … KiNNetiK. Man, I used to be awesome. Maybe that’s why it was tricky to break onto the already existing scene. My perspective on getting onto the scene then sucked. I felt like nobody wanted to reach down who were already existing in it to pull a newbie up. I naturally found people that were new and fresh to all this show biz stuff and started building from there. Did most of my first shows in Ogden. That's when I met Devise, who is producing as Yoga Flame Kane now. Then after that, I booked a small coffee shop in Salt Lake called Bada Bean. I'm glad nobody reached down, though, now. I feel like me and mine have built a much more solid foundation because of that.
Gavin: Back in 2008, you released the album Substratum:Headstand. What was it like recording that album and working with Devise and Camden?

Pat: I don't know how many times I've tried to tell every artist I've worked with to go to Kitefishing Studios to record with Camden. That guy is awesome. Substratum was made when recording was so new to me, my style was very undeveloped and Devise had been on the beats for only a couple of years, but it was the most fun out of every project I've put out. It was a huge learning experience since Camden had been doing that for a while. I could tell I tested his patiencr in the booth. I love those people and still work with them. Kitefishing Studios recorded my last EP and it had a Yoga Flame Kane/Devise beat on it.

Gavin: When it was released, what did you think of the reception to the album and the exposure it received locally?

Pat: I think that it was received as equally as it was pushed. I was 18 when it came out. I knew nothing of how to get press or anything. We sold 100 copies our first week, all to our friends and family. So, of cours,e it was received well by them, and the few hip-hop friends I had made by then were pretty enthused about it. The song "Bottom Of The Lake Bed" featuring Calhoon was like the Salt Lake anthem for a minute! Ha!
Gavin: What influenced you to head out with artists like Yze and MC PigPen to do all-local national tours like Alive & Well?

Pat: The next level. Ever since I was 11, I've wanted to be on tour and rocking shows and spreading my music. It was simply the next step. MC PigPen was looked at like a crazy guy when he'd be talking about touring full time. Yze and I had already been trying our luck doing out-of-state shows and Pig landed an opportunity and brought me and Yze on immediately. The Alive & Well Tour lineup is and was unheard of coming out of Utah hip-hop. It was made up of myself, Pigpen, Yze, Dusk, and Dumb Luck. It really elevated the game for the rest of Salt Lake hip-hop artists and I watched a lot of people step there hustle up.

Gavin: Since then, you've had a lot of opportunities to tour outside of Utah over the past few years and work with a lot of major and indie artists. How has it been for you getting your name out across the country?

Pat: I mean, what can I say to that besides it's been an amazing experience? I feel like I've been hanging onto the coat tail of my dreams and that bastard has dragged me through hell just to pick me up, dust me off and throw me on a stage somewhere. Trying to make a name myself by running across the country and back has been the hardest thing I've ever willingly put myself through. It's also been the most gratifying because of that. The fact that you, Gavin, have taken time to do your research on me to ask me these questions is a result of all that work/hardship. All of that hard work has at least gotten your attention, and that is pretty big to me.
Gavin: What made you eventually change to your formal name and how what's it like for you performing around with a kind of dual identity?

Pat: Nobody really calls me KiNNetiK anymore. I ruined that by having a chorus where a female vocalist sings "Pat Maine" to a catchy piano. Then PigPen ruined all that when we got the very first tour by giving all the promoters my name as Pat Maine. KiNNetiK to me represents a certain era and style I've grown out of. I'm more myself in my music these days so might as well just be Pat Maine. Though I still refer to myself as KiNNetiK in some my songs. I'm bout to be on some “Me, Myself and Irene”-type shit soon. You won't know who's rapping.

Gavin: You recently released the Nighttime Medicine EP. What was it like for you recording that album and what's the reaction been like to it since it dropped?

Pat: I love this EP. I finally get carried by exotic women to and from everywhere I go. Probably gonna live out my life like Eazy-E. I bought a house on Saturn, too -- no big deal. Really, though, I am so happy with this EP. People that have been following me since the beginning say it's the best I've done and that makes me the happiest. It broke me into a few new fan bases locally. I feel like Burnell Washburn fans knew the name, but once this circulated a,little though, I watched 'em show a lot more love. Holla back.
Gavin: Now that you've established yourself in Utah, what's the next move for you as far as furthering your career?

Pat: Canada, Europe, and the North Pole. I will go to these places and tour and become a god amongst elves. Change Christmas to PATMANIA and on Dec. 25 for PATMANIA 2012 I will blow up overnight. O r... just plan on increasing quality on all levels, from the art to the business side. I have so far to go still and so much to do that it overwhelms me to think about. But I've built a platform from 2009 to now with touring and I just plan to use that platform to keep building. Southwest to Northwest tour coming Feb. 2012 with WakeSelf and DJ Young Native from Albuquerque.

Gavin: Moving on to statewide stuff, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Pat: I'm not very versed on the local music scene in its entirety. We have a state full of brilliant inspiring artists. The versatility in sounds out here is very impressive for how relatively small it is. Like every other scene I've seen, the beauty is equally matched by assholes full of undeserving self entitlement. It all depends on what you want to focus on. Every Utah artist, on the hip-hop side, anyway, has this preconceived notion that it's too "cliquey" to build with each other. I completely disagree -- well, not completely; it can be kind of a crab bucket. But I've reached out to lots of people in this hip-hop scene and everybody so far has been more than willing to work. We all have something we can offer each other in one way or another. Don't be afraid or too lazy to climb that wall 'cause it's your own wall.
Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it more prominent?

Pat: Spread your wings and fly. Fly fast. Fly furious. Only way to make this music here bigger is to do it bigger everywhere else. Find your support teams, invest in yourselves and get the hell out of Utah. Then come back. And kill whatever ego you may have. That shit is played out. That "I'm better then you 'cause I'm a musician" thing gets you nowhere with real people that you are going to NEED to network with.

Gavin: Not including yourself, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

Pat: There are other people beside me? Interesting. Well, if I were to guess the names of some people that sound like they'd be from this scene you speak of, I'd say for rock it's Red Dog Revival, Holy Water Buffalo, and I Capture Castle. For hip-hop, I'm really biased because I know these people but I dig what Yze has been doing with his self-produced approach. He's got his own sound because of that and he definitely killed it opening for Common Market. Emerson Kennedy is a new fave.
Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio and how it affects local musicians?

Pat: By community radio you mean KRCL? I think KRCL is awesome. Bless Roots for holding down the “Fallout” show 'cause without it very few hip-hop artists in Utah would get a chance to even experience being in a radio station. The biggest thing I think it does is allow the people supporting us be able to just turn the radio on and say, "These guys are local and on the radio." Much easier to do that then to drag people to a show most of the time. A lot of people that dig what I do don't make it to shows, but when I get a chance to hit the “Fallout” show they tune in and show the same love and support.

Gavin: With so many sources out there to get music off the Web, both for publicity and sharing, what are your thoughts on putting out free tracks for anyone to listen to?

Pat: Support it if you love it. Don't support it if you don't love it. I believe there are people that support and there are people that just don't. Either way, I hope they are enjoying good music and are talking about that good music so that it does spread to the supporters. Artist would love to make a living off of this music stuff. I understand that if my music is free it will spread. Then the people that truly appreciated it will throw money at me down the road. As a matter of fact, Substratum:Headstand is available for free on my Website.
Gavin: What can we expect from you going into next year?

Pat: Porn and lots of it. PigPen & Pat Maine album, The Last Year, dropping Jan. 19 at Urban Lounge. Another solo album produced entirely by Vividend called A Bell & A Straight Jacket end of summer. Alive & Well movement! Positive clothing company and Alive & Well will be releasing a hoodie to commemorate the beginning of this movement for the New Year. I'm stoked on that.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

Pat: Your Mom. Zing. Not Gavin's mom … YOUR mom. I love SLC hip-hop. Dumb Luck for president. Linus Stubbs released seven projects in 2011 including The Movement with Task. Seven projects, Linus? For real. Red Dog Revival album coming sometime before spring. Mic Masters is the new battle league in Utah. Most importantly, check out Gavin's Underground. So much good stuff. Thanks for this opportunity, Gavin. We appreciate what you do for all of the scene. Alive & Well!


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