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Getting Sirius: An in-depth interview with Sirius Blvck
Posted February 06, 2014 by Seth Johnson
WRITTEN BY
Seth Johnson
ON
February 06, 2014

(photo by Dylan May)

 

With the recent release of Year of the Snvke and an upcoming two month tour of the U.S. with some other very talented Indy emcees, Sirius Blvck reflects on his evolution as a rapper, his Ghost Town Collective brain child, and his overall mission to make Indiana hip hop known.

 

Q: How did you first get started in hip hop?

 

A: I started through my band. I’ve been in a hip hop band since I was like 17. We’ve done music with each other since we were like 15, but we started a band when we were 17 called Indian City Weather. I’ve just been doing that, and then in 2012 I put out my first tape.

 

Q: As a hip hop artist, how would you say you’ve evolved, from when you first started with Indian City Weather to now?

 

A: When I started really writing full songs, that was with a band, so I was writing over live instrumentation and that’s really awesome because it adds a whole new element, and I come up with different melodies that I wouldn’t have come up with. It’s just a team effort, so it flows differently. When I started doing my own solo shit over beats, it was different.

 

It took me a while to find my groove because I had a certain groove over Indian City Weather beats and I was carrying that over to my solo hip hop shit when I started. It was cool, and that’s how my first tape is, Smoke In The Trees. The vibe is kind of like I was rapping over live instrumentation. I hadn’t really found a voice yet.

 

The first thing I did where I felt like I really found my voice, to a degree, was Ancient Lights, when me and [Freddie] Bunz first linked up for that record. That was when I got to test the waters on some different shit. I still love Indian City Weather shit. I’m always going to have that shit. That’s always going to be number one to a certain degree, but there’s definitely been a transition. I feel like I’m more animated and I’ve found my comfortability on instrumentals. I’m not afraid to feel it out as opposed to thinking about it.

 

Q: I know that Year of the Snvke had kind of been a long time coming. Can you talk to me about what went into this release, as well as what you’re proud of pertaining to the release?

 

A: Year of the Snvke, I started on it around this time last year. I originally just wanted it to be a yearly wrap-up of what was going on throughout my life–I just wanted to document my year of the snake. As I started writing and getting instrumentals, I just started going through shit in my life. I went through a break-up, I had a homie pass away, I had family pass away. There were things being taken, but as things were being taken, so many other things were being put in. It was almost like there was a balance to all the chaos. It’s weird that I’m thinking about it because I haven’t really said it out loud.

 

I started on Year of the Snvke long before I put out Rite of Passage, long before I even started writing Rite of Passage. I had six songs recorded for Year of the Snvke before I even wrote a song for Rite of Passage. I went back and listened to those tracks, it was probably like March, and they just weren’t in the right direction that I wanted them to be. Some aspects of it were really bitter, and it just wasn’t what I wanted them to be. So I put it on hold for a while and started gathering new beats for the new project, that way I could sit on it and figure out where I wanted to go with it.

 

When it was all said and done, it turned out exactly how I wanted it to be. If I would’ve continued in the mindset I was in before Rite of Passage, it would’ve turned out a completely different record. Luckily, I held off for a minute and did Rite of Passage and got my head right, and then, I got to come back to it with new eyes and it turned out a lot better.

 

 

Q: Who did you have making the backing tracks on the record?

 

A: Year of the Snvke is strictly myself and Bones of Ghosts, who is based out of California. He’s originally from England, but he moved down to Cali about two or three years ago, and he’s kind of done music on his own since then. My buddy Grizz, who’s in Ghost Town, found one of his instrumental tapes from years and years ago. We ended up listening to it, and we loved the beats and we were rockin’ to a few of them.

 

I ended up going on Twitter one day and finding him. I just asked him if he wanted to do a track. He sent me like five beats and we were going to do an EP, and then that turned into Ancient Lights, which was the first album. Year of the Snvke is the second. We are kind of secretly, quietly doing a trilogy. Year of the Snvke is the second installment, and the third installment is called LITA (stands for Light In The Attic). I think we’re going to try and release that sometime later this year. Bones of Ghosts does all the production for Ancient Lights and Year of the Snvke. These are kind of like duo projects. He puts in just as much as I put in. He does all the beats, and then our engineer Matt Reesler mixes everything now.

 

Q: I know that Ghost Town is kind of your baby. What is Ghost Town and why does it exist?

 

A: I wanted to do a hip hop crew. When I realized there was a real hip hop scene in Indianapolis, I started coming up and hearing crews. Of course I heard Heavy Gun and Rad Summer and all those guys. I basically was wanting to jump into the ranks of one of them, like, ‘Hey one of you guys should pick me up.’ Nobody really was, and it wasn’t like a situation where nobody wanted to. Nobody knew who the fuck I was at the time.

 

I was like, ‘ I can do this.’ I basically just wanted to do my own thing and start a hip hop art collective, have rappers, poets, artists, painters, photographers, videographers, all under this one umbrella name. We’d kind of just build together from the ground up and get a mini conglomerate because that’s what people want to see. So I was thinking business-wise, and then when it came down to it, I realized how many talented people I had around me. It was like a no-brainer thing. I just wanted my own crew of homies and people moving and working toward one goal, moving substance in the city hip hop-wise. There’s so much out here. It was just getting me and my homies heard honestly.

 

(photo by Ted Somerville)

 

Q: I’ve been to shows where you’ve been featured with Oreo Jones, such as the Oreo Jones & Friends Listen Local show at Broad Ripple Park last summer. How did you first come in contact with Oreo and how has your relationship developed since then?

 

A: It’s weird because Oreo’s the first real hip hop cat I had heard of, like somebody mentioned his name. That was the first name I really heard, so I checked him out. Somehow amidst all of it, around the Gateway 2, my band was playing a lot of shows and we opened up the Gateway 2 show at the Earth House. I talked to him then, and he said he had heard about my band and stuff before then, which was cool.

 

Basically through that, when the Gateway 3 happened, I hopped on that, and linked up after that. He’s a mad cool dude. He’s my favorite hip hop artist in this city. I think we have a mutual respect for one another, and we’re going to do some music together soon hopefully. He’s just a down-to-earth dude. The fact that he even invited me on this tour is mad cool. I was not expecting that at all. It’s my first time ever going out and shit, so I’m excited.

 

Q: What are you excited about and what goals do you have with the tour?

 

A: I’m really excited about seeing everything, I’ve barely been out of Indiana, so it’ll be nice to see an ocean and be around some sand and stuff. I’m excited for the grind of it. This is like 100% DIY, so I’m excited for all that. Honestly, mostly I’m excited for growing closer with these dudes because we’re all friends and cool, but after this the camaraderie will definitely be there a lot more. And I’m really excited for people to hear this new shit that we’ve been working on—everybody in general here has worked really, really hard.

 

Q: I’ve interviewed Oreo a number of times over the years, and he always speaks to the fact that he is trying to champion for the state and make Indiana hip hop known. Do you share this mission?

 

A: Yeah I definitely do. 110%. I come from an Indy punk background. I was going to shows when I was like 15 or 16. That’s how I know a lot of the members of Ghost Town. Grizz was in a hardcore band called Opponents for 10 years before anything else. So I’ve always had a DIY mentality about music, and when I met Oreo he shared the same thing.

 

 I think we have so much here musically, and I’m sure that’s everywhere else. But specifically for Indiana, this is my home. This is where I was raised. All my people are here. These are my roots, so I see all of it. There’s so much light to be shed here. Coincidentally, which it’s not by coincidence at all, but I somehow seemed to be getting linked up with all these people who share that passion. We have something here. There are so many voices and so many things that we have to say that need to be heard. It’s nice that the universe is linking me up with people who feel the same way.

 

Q: What goals and plans do you have past this upcoming tour?

 

A: I’ve been going big for 2014. Ghost Town, Heavy Gun and Rad Summer, if we all push, there’s no doubt. I see myself touring overseas by 2015. 100%.

 

To just really push Year of the Snvke. I want to push as much as I can for this record because I’ve constantly released record after record after record. I haven’t really given myself any time to really push one, so this is the one I’m definitely going to take my time to push while we get the third installment together. And really, just build, build, build. We’re going to do an official Ghost Town Collective album in 2014. Stamps and I have plans for Piggy Banx 2. Other than that, just playing shows. I’d like to do some more, hopefully build a little bit of a fan base outside of the city. That’d be nice.

 

Also check out: MFT's review of Year of the Snvke

 

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