Q&A With Inland Empire Based Hip Hop Aritst PsiloSage
Congrats on your latest EP release “DiorPsilo” . What motivated you to create this style of music.
Thank you! Respect to UGHH Blog for this interview. This style of music, what I call PsiloScribblez really came straight out of PsiloSpace which was a place/vibe full of creative freedom that originally existed only on painted canvas. Around 2012-2013, I was painting a lot and releasing these visual Scribblez on Instagram and Tumblr. This coincided with experimenting with entheogens, (usually at random people’s homes that some friend of mine was house sitting) and me discovering that I could paint with a brush in each of my hands at the same time; creating a symmetrical image similar to an ink blot. I treated these as visual recordings of the left and right sides of my brain and then tried to interpret them.
After creating over 100 of these Scribblez I began to feel like I was mapping out my subconscious mind. Similar themes would come up in the art, and I realized that through the practice of letting go or not thinking, the subconscious mind could release naturally on the canvas in a state of flow. This led to me collaborating with local clothing brands, art shows, and zines. Around this time I was also connected to a collective of underground artists online known as Basedworld. Through their guidance, as well as an experience I had that blurred the boundary between sight and sound; I realized that music is just audio painting and that if i wanted to fully express myself as an artist, I would have to learn its language as well. I became just as obsessed with creating, sampling, and recording sound to represent my subconscious mind (PsiloSpace) as I was with color and visuals the years prior. This included diving into my favorite video games, movies, and cartoons for samples that represented me and freestylin constantly.
And how did you come up with your MC name PsiloSage?
PsiloSage was the name that was given to that inner voice that spoke on those first freestyles or Audio Scribblez. It was friends close to me that originally blessed me with that title, seeing the growth of PsiloSpace art they said it was only right I let the Sage speak through the music. Sage is really just the main character in my story and the one that interprets all the various experiences in my life. Although I have accepted it as my MC name, it is not something I think of as myself being all the time. It’s a title that represents me at my highest form of creativity and freedom. Most of the time I’m not quite there, but I strive to be more like PsiloSage daily; and the art is created as a way for me to get in touch with that side of myself and let him speak freely. Originally the art was only for myself, sort of like a journal or collection of memories / personal truths. But I ended up releasing some of my Scribblez to the public because of the similarities between every human, and the small chance that my art will help someone else in the same way that it has helped me or at least uplift their mood. It is meant to inspire, if my art isn’t doing enough, then maybe it will be the fuel for someone to 1-Up it and create something that is.
Tell us about your first Hip Hop memory?
Every creative moment in life is a Hip Hop memory to me, like first learning how to speak, or draw, or really any way of expressing yourself…that’s Hip Hop. But as far as established Hip Hop culture, I was probably introduced to Hip Hop celebrities through TV. Whether it was seeing Flavor Flav / Ice Cube on Criss Angel’s MindFreak, or Waka Flocka / Gorillaz on the Andy Milonakis Show, I was also watching shows like Sucka Free Sunday, Yo Mama, and Pimp My Ride. The next phase of Hip Hop hit me in junior high when I had access to Myspace and Youtube and was able to find more underground artists like Jay Electronica, MF Doom, Living Legends, Jedi Mind Tricks, Mac Dre, Wu-Tang Clan, Madlib, Three 6 Mafia, and Bone Thugs n Harmony. The internet was my gateway to hip hop culture as well as other cultures and philosophies that weren’t in my immediate environment. I spent a lot of time in highschool watching music videos, getting inspired that many of these videos were low budget or shot themselves. Hip Hop has always been in my life though, embedded in every fragment from skateboard culture to graffiti art, even anime, and film. Anytime there’s creative energy that pushes boundaries…that’s Hip Hop.
What specific city in the IE are you from? Who does your city embrace your music?
It’s always been weird having to pick one “city” I’m from, maybe It’s because I grew up so connected on the Internet and have really always seen myself as a global being coming from the Earth. Or maybe because I’ve spent so much time between various cities along the coast of California, which really has given me a sense of unity between California as a whole. With that being said, I know it’s always been an important thing in Hip-Hop to rep where you’re from. So what I’ll say is this, I was born in San Francisco, which I later moved back to and really consider the place where I honed in on my sound. The birds there, the sounds of the city, the wind, the smells. It all affected my music and how it manifests. But as far as growing up and where I was raised, Snoop said it best “I got a house in The Hills right next to Chino”. And let me tell you… the sounds of the cows, the crickets, the rabbits, the coyotes, the snakes, the owls, the eagles; it all influenced my art.. Where I stay in SoCal, you have the ocean to the west, the mountains to the east, the forest to the north and the desert to the south. It’s a great place to feel centered and in tune with nature in all its forms. Whenever I record music in a new location I feel more in tune with that place and often the music seems to be coming more from the environment then from me. I’ve also been heavily influenced by music from around the world, a lot of times music has taken me to places much further than I have gone physically. There have always been a few rare collectors of my art from the beginning that continue to give me feedback and confidence in my work. At the end of the day it’s not for everyone though, it’s only for those who resonate with it.
How are you dealing with this whole nationwide lockdown due to Covid-19 CoronaVirus? Has this affected your music career in any way?
It was definitely an unexpected change, I had originally planned a live show in July where I wanted to debut my new EP live, which had to be cancelled. But we’re accepting the change and going with it! Isolation is nothing new for me, and I rarely go out to crowded places as it is. So I’m really just taking this time to focus on physical, mental, and spiritual health and learn more about myself. I’ve been spending a lot of time in nature and just paying attention to the little things. I also have been studying a lot of older music, developing new skills, and reading up on the business side of things such as promo and collecting royalties. I’m also working on new videos, beats, and even a book. I’d say this time period has definitely brought out some more serious topics in my newer music, and it’s interesting for me to see how my art reflects the changes this virus has brought to our society.
Who are your biggest Hip Hop influences?
It’s definitely too many to name them all, and there’re a lot of founders of the craft who’s swag was passed down without me even realizing the influence. So shout out to everyone who came before me. As I’m typing this it’s actually the 47th anniversay of that DJ Kool Herc Party that started it all, so major respect to all the roots of Hip Hop. But for me it would have to start with groups like System of a Down, Lincoln Park, Rage Against The Machine, or Gorillaz that blended other genres into Hip Hop. As far as my process of creating music and my drive towards the craft it really all stems from Lil B “The Basedgod” and his Based Freestyles which totally demolished my conception of genres or boundaries between styles of music. Meeting Lil B really broke down this limit I had put on myself of only creating visual art, he told me the rap game got plenty of room for me and that I should hop in when it feels right. Once I did I never looked back, and having him featured on Based in Space this year made everything feel like it’s come full-circle. I definitely came out of Basedworld, but my sound is versatile in influence. I practice multiple styles and try to keep those skills sharpened so that I can flow over anything and spit with people from all different environments and backgrounds. Some examples of artists that have inspired me over the years include: Quasimoto, Atmosphere, Slim Shady, Odd Future, Kid Cudi, Chief Keef, Yung God, Sheikhy Chic, Cartier God, Clams Casino, KeyboardKid, Sham Blaq, Bones, Xavier Wulf, Lofty305, Self Provoked, Cartier God, Mac Miller, Main Attrakionz, DJ Smokey, Lupe Fiasco, Charles Hamilton, Lil Wayne, Thundercat, Lee Scratch Perry, Del the Funky Homosapien, Immortal Technique, 2pac, and SpaceGhostPurrp (and many more).
You recently dropped a new EP “DiorPsilo” across all streaming platforms! Please give us some background on that project!? Could you tell me the inspiration behind the project and artwork?
“DiorPsilo” was created naturally as a collection of positive vibes (recorded in 2019) that were intended to set the tone for 2020 as being full of opportunity and wealth. The way this year has played out though, caused it to become more of a time capsule or “treasure chest” of golden vibes that may not have manifested outwardly in the way I originally thought, but instead took on a more inward meaning. I chose the word “Dior” to describe this tape because it is French meaning “Golden” and also because the designer brand “Dior” has always had the connotation of wealth and being established. A continuing theme throughout the EP is “gold hidden within the soul” and I feel like 2020 with all this social distancing between myself and other people has caused me to look inward and really get in tune with that Space. Trying to manifest a year of outer wealth, I instead received what I asked for in the form of the inner wealth of Self Reflection. The artwork is really just an ode to that highest part of the self, with that golden halo representing that pure royalty in me. The spaceships were included on the cover in respect to PsiloStreetWear.
How does social media play a role in pushing PsiloSage music? Especially on Instagram.
Social media plays a huge role in pushing my music, Instagram and Tumblr were the first places I got attention for my art, and it made me realize that there were a lot more people out there with similar taste as me. The internet is awesome because you’re really able to find like minded people that you would have never run into in day to day life. Most of the first producers I ended up working with were from other states, and some of them even from other countries. Coming from such different environments I think this made the music more diverse. The reach that’s possible over social media is cool to me, and how the ability to go viral is always possible to anyone online. To be able to spread art at such a fast rate is a beautiful thing, especially if there’s good intention behind the art. I usually will preview any new videos on my instagram as well as post when a new single or tape is dropping. I also have a mailing list for my more serious supporters, and soon there will be a Patreon with various levels for the top supporters to stay connected and up to date with upcoming projects and opportunities.
What are a few different moves you’re making for 2020 when it comes to your music career?
My focus right now is just on creating as much as possible and working on some technical aspects to improve my sound. I’ve been producing my own beats, as well as drawing out storyboards for new videos. I also want to work with new rappers, videograpers, producers, clothing brands, and really anyone who’s into art or tryna experiment with new styles. Be on the lookout for new projects like SpaceForce, Angels & Echoes, and HillzHavEyez. As well as new PsiloStreetWear, new canvas paintings, and the first rare collectible PsiloStuffedAnimal.
We have to ask, with all this social discourse and revolt in the USA, protesting and rioting, exposed police brutality toward blacks and BLM, how do you feel about this? We would love your perspective on the climate we are living in right now?
Yeah, this is extremely important. I feel like the present is always an important time for change. And now especially with so many issues coming to the limelight. I think at the very least we need to make sure we pay attention. It’s critical to listen to opposing sides, and really focus on actual solutions to problems. Many of these issues have been going on for a long time, and seem very complex. I think this quarantine has definitely been a time of change overall so I think it’s about time we also update our systems that have been outdated for a long time. At the same time we are very divided right now, I think it is important to remember we are all human regardless of skin color, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or monetary status. We need to remember the importance of conversation and listening, as well as the importance of understanding and action. Hip Hop has always led the conversation as well as sparked the revolution, it all starts from your thoughts so respect to all the artists that have been bringing up these conversations in their craft, and taking the time to pause their personal promotion to speak on greater issues.
Our most popular question….What is your definition of “Underground Hip Hop”?
Underground hip hop is something that takes on many different forms depending on where it’s coming from, but I think the essence is the same. It’s Hip Hop that is created for the sake of Hip Hop, it’s the thoughts of the everyday working man, it’s the dreams of the girl who’s stuck in her hometown. It’s creating something out of nothing. It’s taking the cards you’ve been dealt, and playing them as if they’re the cards you picked yourself. It’s the sketches of the people, and where you find it you’ll feel it, and then you’ll recognize it, even if it’s completely other than what you’re used to. Because Hip Hop is all One even though it takes many names and forms, the essence is the same. Underground Hip Hop is speaking your mind,either through spoken word, or through the sound, and expressing yourself regardless of judgement. To me, being an underground artist means that you create without letting your craft be compromised by the opinions of the mainstream; and I think this mentality can be maintained even with a big following.
Where can our BLOG audience find your music and follow you on social media?
Any Shout Outs?
Shout out Basedworld and Lil B “The Basedgod”
Shout out DD (Ghaus, Ru, Cy, Sanch, Dev, Galaxy, A.Ho)
Shout out Sheikh Makki, Bflex, AE Budis, Twamp, Dixonator, 01tat2, Wop, Kaine, 100p,
Shout out ElloDollo, HNRK, KeyboardKid, Lou Pocus, Enzo, GradientG, Terio, 3pac, WillieJ,
Shout out Brendan, Griffin, Nic, Steve, Merkabah13, KemetDank, CatxScan, Ethan,
Shout out KillaGr1ff, ShawnHits, EastGhost, Marvin Cruz, Sham Blaq, EmeraldEyez,
Shout out Taylor Vinton, Lolokeys, XenGrey, YBR, Ssunno, NickP, Hobo, 101Darwin
Shout out Authentic, Maco, Big Z, J.Hellmold, Myke, Juan, PrimeLifeCC, The Hillz,
Shout out Nati, Cody, Brandon Burk, Cooper, DemPasswords, Robleto, Javi, Richie
Shout out PsiloStreetWear, EmersonStone, Aaron,Robbie, Sara, Zoo G, Robert,
Shout out Brooke, WeirdoRaq, Katie, Mireya, Sarah, Dani, and Anyone Who’s Supported My Art
Shout out CoFax, John, Josh, and Jordan, Jacob and Carys
Shout out My Parents, Grandparents, my Ancestors, and the Most High!
Shout out Everyone who Passed Away, the Animals and the Oceans!!
Shout out Underground Hip Hop !!! And all the Blogs holding it down !!!