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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Interview: Mr. Carlos Hawkins

MW: For this week’s interview I’m lucky enough to be speaking with Mr. Carlos Hawkins, a rap artist out of Alabama. Thank you Mr. Carlos Hawkins for giving this blog some of your time. 

MCH: Hey and I appreciate y'all interviewing me. I love talking to the people.

MW: I know a lot of readers are curious about your creative process. Let’s start with the beats – do you do your own, or do you work with a DJ? 

MCH: actually I work with Producers! I could make my own, but I'd much rather just smash em. I write a lot without beats. So most of my work is recorded on custom beats.

MW: At the beginning of your song “Don’t Look Right” you begin by saying “I’m gonna say the shit they’re scared to say.” I’ve noticed that in several of your songs, you aren’t shy about speaking your mind. Are there any subjects that are off limits?

MCH: No. None at all. And that saying is apart of my brand. Along with "I can't wait to hit them folks with 

this shit". 

MW: Where do your ideas come from?

MCH: All my ideas come from a life experience or something life inspired. My life story real enough. No need to make shit up. Or rap about money and jewelry I don't have. 

MW: I’d like to go back to the beats for a moment – It’s easy to hear a lot of organic sounds used in the tracks – kind of like the way the organ plays a big role in “Don’t Look Right” – was this influenced by music in your past, or is it just something that emerged?

MCH: Definitely influenced. Because its just something about an organ that makes me go in. I was memorizing lyrics for that song while the beat was being made. The organs were added in later in the mix. And it set it off! 

MW: Many of the readers are interested in technical aspects of recording – could you let us know what some of your favorite gear is? What is your recording process like?

MCH: hmmm. No favorite gear. I just need some good headphones that don't leak sound. A good mic. And an engineer that has an ear for the individuals sound. I do prefer Mac. And wireless keyboards which allow me to record myself. My process usually starts with Rolling up that Wiz Kahlifa. Then just going in. My best comes out in the moment. Nothing is ever final with me cause I hear hundreds of words that could always go in some spots better. So I just let it flow. Dig?

MW: You keep your webpage updated very well and it’s clear you do a lot of performances – I’d like to know if you think of yourself more as a studio artist or a live performer?

MCH: I'm Both! I put my all into the studio so I can one day perform it. But when I'm live I go Live and I pride myself in being professional. 

MW: Are there any live performances you consider to be especially memorable?

MCH: Definitely. Killed a club called Classic Wheels once or twice. Pulaski Tennessee. Wow. Real fans. Wanting autographs and pictures. And Black Arts Fest 2013. A lot of Signed Artist were like "dude you got it".

MW: I couldn’t get out of this interview without mentioning the song “Arrogant” – could you talk a little about how that song came about?

MCH: Lol. Arrogant of course puts you in the mind of Arrogance. But honestly I'm very confident. Not so much arrogant. Yea I'm cocky cause I know my abilities. And that song is telling the people how I feel. What I want. And how I think. I know a lot can relate. 

MW: It seems like you’ve done more than a couple collaborations – are having guest MC’s on your tracks ever problematic?

MCH: Oh yea. Cause some of these dudes act like shows and promotion aren't important to them. Which is why I no longer work with artist who have no track record. Then its hard to push collabs in general. Future collabs will be local and signed artist who are Moving forward. Not just saying they making moves.

MW: Are there any artists out now who you’ve been enjoying?

MCH: I've definitely been rocking with K-Camp. Thugger. Of course the regular names you always hearing. My Folk Majo paper who just dropped #D4L. And MYSELF. I love my Music!

MW: So, what is next for Mr. Carlos Hawkins?

MCH: Headlines and worldwide video releases. Endorsements and major deals. Hundreds of thousands and millions. Just watch and wait on it! #PumpFake #NoRoomForErrors and several singles. Lock in. And buckle up. The Game's in my cross hairs.

MW: I’m sure everyone will be looking forward to all of that! Thanks so much for your time today.

MCH: hey and again thank y'all. Before I go let me just shout out my Hoods. GrantTown. Where either you gator or you gator Bait! Annidope, anniston Al. West side. 15th and Walnut forever!!!! DDot Georgia. Douglasville. Cross the Tracks. Byrd wat up. Love ya boi. Ryan. All my nigghs who hugged them streets. My Ace boon Quincy Wells. So many to name. Rip Hott. DoeB. Dreq. Takeem and all the ones who names I can't say. Free my big bro Nukie. #Hawkins

To hear more of Mr
Carlos Hawkins please visit his website here:

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Interview: Santa Semeli and the Monks

Thank you for engaging in this brief conversation today, it’s wonderful to have you.

I read from your bio that the two of you met on the set of a film – what kind of influence do you think visual media has on your artistic perspective?
Semeli: We like to tell stories in the most interesting way. Both our lyrics and music strive to visually capture our audience’s imagination and convey messages as clearly and beautifully as possible.

Do you think that eventually your musical and visual arts endeavors will merge? Or have they already?
Semeli: They already have. We love sharing stories and our passion lies both in music and film. I think it is a great combination. We are already working on various film ideas.
Haraldur: Also to add, we are working on our music videos which we will produce and direct.

Your music has a very energetic, almost improvisational edge to it, do you find that you had to work to achieve that sound, or did it emerge more organically?
Semeli: Totally organically. The only thing we have to constantly work on is our own personal development. The rest is a walk in the park...You can imagine how hard we need to work!
Haraldur: We love to be spontaneous and have fun!

Many readers are interested in the technical aspects of music creation – can you describe your equipment or recording setup?
Semeli: I wish I could. I am not very technical.
Haraldur: We write most of our songs on an acoustic guitar (we call her ‘Judy’) and we’re lucky to have a great recording engineers that we’re collaborating with.

Let’s move to the single “Arrivederci Bob:”

Can you tell us who “Bob” is?
Semeli: Bob is a metaphor. He can be anyone to everybody else, just a name so to speak but to me he’s someone very dear. As Shakespeare beautifully put it: ‘What’s in a name?’
Haraldur: Bob is great!

What kind of musical writing process did you go through to create the track?

Semeli: I had the lyrics to the song from a while back. One sunday afternoon Haraldur and I decided that it was time to finish the song. We had a beat in mind so we recorded a little demo on my iPhone and wrote the whole song in one go. We then went into the recording studio and recorded it. Bob’s your uncle! Since you asked who he was...

Are there any artists from the past that influenced you as a duo (I know that Semeli's father was a composer)?
Semeli: All art influences us and so does life. Where to start? Well, I grew up being exposed to a lot of classical music.That already set up the bar quite high. My father was a brilliant musician, teacher and a friend. He taught me a lot. He used to say that there is no such thing as bad music. Only people who write bad music and play music badly. I agree with that. Music does not lie. That’s the beauty of it.
Haraldur: Iceland has a strong tradition in music. My parents have always sang in choirs so music is like second nature to me.

What about current artists you enjoy?
Semeli: My friend has three young daughters who enjoy writing songs. They are brilliant and I’m looking forward to following their musical development.
Haraldur: Certainly nothing coming out of X Factor...

I understand there is an album coming out later this year – are there any other projects you are working on that we should look out for?
We have material for about four more albums at the moment which we will gradually produce. We also have a few more dance singles that we want to put out there and we want to produce a show which will be fully orchestrated and directed. We have so much music we want to share, it’s sometimes difficult to keep up with ourselves.
Haraldur: We want to make tunes that people will still whistle two hundred years from now because they make them happy.
Semeli: Exactly that!

Thank you so much Semeli and Haraldur, I'm very much looking forward to everthing the both of you will be producing!

To learn more about Santa Semeli and the Monks, please visit their website here: