Interview: Psych Ward Druggies
Thu, 05 Sep 2013 16:36:22
Hip-hop goes to the asylum—for real—on Religious Prescription—the whacky, wild, and wonderful new mixtape from Los Angeles rap loonies Psych Ward Druggies. This collective boasts a full band, and they even pop up across the city of angels unannounced for some sick guerilla gigs. At the same time, airtight MC work drives the songs, delivering some of the most intriguing rap to emerge from the West Coast in years. There's absolutely nothing else out there like Psych Ward Druggies. Welcome to their madhouse…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Ryan Anthony and Ryan Bowers of Psych Ward Druggies (PWD) talk Religious Prescription, movies, and so much more.
What ties Religious Prescription together for you?
Ryan Anthony: We wanted it to feel like a movie. From start to finish, everything is how we got into the Psych Ward and how we're trying to get out. Besides that, the dialogue and scenarios in between the songs really tie it all together. It makes it like a feature film in the mixtape. Every story is from each individual. They're all taken from our lives. All of the scenarios are all real life situations. The lyrics are all factual. My friend went to jail and I was taking care of his daughter and trying to figure that out.
Ryan Bowers: We wanted to make all of the interludes flow into the songs. They all fit in with the project. Each interlude can break down into a song right after.
Ryan Anthony: It all makes sense together, and that was intentional.
What's the story behind "Pop it for a Player"?
Ryan Anthony: It's the collaboration song for me and Bowers. That song actually came together within 15 minutes. I just sat down with the producer. We were feeling the vibes, and the chorus happened.
What's it about lyrically?
Ryan Bowers: Females [Laughs].
Ryan Anthony: Lyrically, it's basically like, "I'm a player". That's why I reference football, baseball, and basketball in the chorus. You're telling a girl, "Pop it for a pimp!"
Ryan Bowers: My verse was completely ratchet. I was trying to get as ratchet as possible.
Ryan Anthony: It's meant for the club. It's there to get the party moving. You've got to move when it comes on.
Where did "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" come from?
Ryan Anthony: That's the end. We didn't really die off, per se, but it's like, "This is the end. This is the finish". We're trying to get to the other side—which is the better life. We're trying to overcome the struggle we were in and move on to the next life. We're going through the gates. My verse is like a confession. I know I didn't live how I was supposed to live. I did everything I could, and I was struggling. Let me get through. Let me in there. Just help me.
What's the vision for PWD having a band?
Ryan Anthony: That was always the vision. Dr. Cshlocin who's the producer was the mutual link between all of us. He really brought PWD together with the band. He wanted to have a super hip-hop eclectic rock any-kind-of-genre you want it to be band.
What influences you guys outside of music?
Ryan Anthony: Personally, I get my influence from being in my regular day life. I get a lot of influence from just walking. I think a lot. I also get a lot of influence from producing and making my own beats. When I produce, I go into a different world. It's crazy.
Ryan Bowers: I get my influence from skateboarding and females [Laughs].
What inspired the guerilla pop up shows?
Ryan Anthony: We wanted to do something outside-the-box that no one else is doing. People may have done it in the past a different way. We thought, "Nobody's doing this. We've got the full band. We're going to pop up in these venues where there are other shows going on and perform for the crowd. We're going to take fans of whoever's performing!" We've had a good reaction. When we start playing, people stop and dance with us. It's been really successful.
Ryan Bowers: We just pop up on the outside. It doesn't matter.
What would be the cinematic equivalent of Religious Prescription?
Ryan Bowers: How High…
Ryan Anthony: [Laughs] I don't know. It's like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest mixed with…
Ryan Bowers: Mary Poppins…
Ryan Anthony: Mixed with…
Ryan Bowers: Aladdin!
Ryan Anthony: It's its own movie. It's hard to compare it to any movie because it really is its own thing.
Have you heard PWD?