Skizzy Mars Talks "Phases"
Thu, 11 Apr 2013 10:57:14
Skizzy Mars is about to lead the next Phase of hip-hop.
His latest release Phases elegantly weaves together airy production and synths with an impenetrable poetic flow. It's undeniably unlike anything out there, and it's the perfect way to get to know Mars. Get ready to fly to outer space with one of the most infectiously intergalactic rappers of the 21st century.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Skizzy Mars talks Phases and so much more.
Did you approach Phases with one vibe or vision in mind?
I was really inspired by Kendrick Lamar's album and other complete pieces—so to speak. I wanted to make something strong from start to finish. Not only is it a better listen, but it tells more of a story. You can listen to it forever. It's timeless. Basically, I wanted to compile a bunch of songs that were relevant in my life for the last two years and make them into a story arc. I wanted to blend them. I made sure there was a similar vibe throughout. The vision came along slowly. Once I found the vision, my sound, and what I was going for, it came together really nicely.
What ties everything together for you?
There are tracks like "Douchebag" on there, which I made when I was 17-years-old. You have a track like "15" as well, which is my introduction to the world. I did that when I was around 17 too, but there are tracks that span all the way until 2013. I did "Phases" with Conner Youngblood three weeks ago. It covers two years of my life. They range from my growth being a senior in high school to dropping out of college to going on tour. So much has happened in my life over the past two years.
What's the story behind "Insomniac"?
It's a stream-of-consciousness track about the power of the mind and things that were worrying me at the time. If something worries you, it can really fuck you up. I wasn't able to sleep, and that allowed me to write the song. It's something deeper than my fans have heard from me before. We vibed out, and it was natural and honest. The second verse is one of my favorites that I've ever written. I'm talking about nine-to-five classmates and comrades. That's about my friends. I feel this disconnect with them recently because they're looking for jobs and I'm rapping. You internalize things, and then they come out eventually in whatever form that may be whether you can't sleep or something else. I touch on a lot of personal things like that disconnect and my grandfather's passing. It's one of my favorites.
Where did "Delusional" come from?
It was about literally going crazy and seeing things from a totally drugged-out point of view. It's about lying to yourself and saying everything's alright when it's not. We expanded on that idea.
What does "Phases" mean to you?
It's the second record Conner and I did together. I wanted to have a strong title track. For some reason, title tracks are often weak and lazy. We made "Phases" from scratch thoigh. I named the project Phases because I wanted to document my life musically over the past couple years and the different phases we go through. This project might not be the same as the next project or the one after. Life will change, and different experiences will happen. Through all of the ups and downs to the bangers and sad tracks, I wanted to end everything on a strong note. The last lyrics are "Oh my God, what have I done?" I don't know what the future holds, but we'll see what happens. I don't know what my next project is going to sound like, but that's why I do this.
Is it important for you to tell stories with the songs?
Yeah, it's important for me to convey what's going on in my mind. That's often interpreted in different ways. For example, "Douchebag" turned into an anthem. It's super dope live, but the message might've been misconstrued a bit. I got my message through. It's important for me to do that and let kids respond in their own way.
What artists shaped you?
Rap-wise, I was a big Kanye West fan growing up. Also, I was a huge Kid Cudi fan. Then, bands like Phoenix, The Killers, Vampire Weekend and Beirut shaped how I approach songwriting now.
If Phases were a movie or a combination of movies what would you compare it to?
That's a really good question. The cover was actually based on The Truman Show. I'd say maybe Kids or something with a lot of youth. It's that idea of misguided youth.
Snag Phases from Skizzy at his official website!
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