Druture is absolutely, that dude. He is everything you want in a human. He is the nicest guy; so intelligent, on his feet, ready to go, he would be a make a great comic book character. I know that many of you already know, or you think you know. Maybe you do. After reading this completely front down interview, you’ll definitely know. Druture really blessed us with his words. I asked him most everything I could think of. We rapped about the Houston scene, him introducing Little Cloud and Ryan Hemsworth, his time with Grown Folk, indie bands of the early 2000s, southern rap.. it’s all here.
There are so many things I like about this interview. Specifically, his thoughts on collaborating with other artists. I don’t mean to blow the air horn..but you get it. If you haven’t already, go grab Out of Towner Vol. 1 at Live Mixtapes.
I apologize for the tardiness of this post, the tape dropped the first of the month and you haven’t been absolutely melting to this Ryan Hemsworth and Little Cloud produced “Spotless” joint with Kitty on the hook and Sasha Go Hard + Tink rapping, I need you to do that now. That track is hotttt t t t! Druture isn’t even on it ! He made the introductions and just kind of orchestrated the whole thing, power moves, man. Druture brought the Chi-town fam together on Vol. 1, dub him King Collabo.
Without further adieu, gold sweats x druture:
Would you call this project a crossover into hip hop or would you say you’ve been involved with hip hop the whole time?
Hip-Hop was the first music which I had a real connection with, my first CD was 2Pac’s Greatest Hits, my send was Doggystyle, and my 3rd was Jay-Z’s The Dynasty. Over the years I expanded my musical taste to include everything under the sun, and went through just about every scene a teenager goes through. There was a short period in High School where I swore off Hip-Hop in favor of the early 2000s Indie Rock (The Strokes, White Stripes, Interpol, etc.), followed by a diehard devotion to First Wave UK Punk, followed by Post-Punk. The Manchester scene led by Factory Records, was integral in introducing me to synth based music with more of a dance edge, with the legendary Hacienda (look it up), as well as being home to my favorite band of all time Joy Division/New Order.
It was around this time that I started to realize that genre fascism was ridiculous, and I did away with my musical patriotism. I started to enjoy music, based on the merits of how it sounded, how it made me feel, and think, rather than whether it was cool to like. I finally began to listen to Hip-Hop religiously again, and lucky for me Kanye West and later Drake had begun to break down the doors of macho tyranny which ruled much of Hip-Hop, and artists were allowed to be emotional and true to themselves. Around this time I also discovered bands like Justice, and the UK Nu-Rave groups such as the Klaxons, Does It Offend You Yeah?, as well as Australian electro pop acts like Cut Copy. I could tell that there was an exciting trend rising amongst various scenes, I would watch videos of DJ AM at LAX playing b2b with MSTRKRFT, and deeded this is what I wanted to be. So for about 5 years I spent my time at college earning my way up the ranks as a DJ, eventually opening for all the big names in Electro at the time.
Needless to say I got disenchanted with the sound, as it got stale, and much like Metal before it just continued to get harder and harder, without much care for musical development. This is around when I started to listen to the LA Beat Scene, such as Flying Lotus, Nosaj Thing, and their Glasgow counterparts Rustie and Hudson Mohawke. I realized that this was much closer to what I wanted to actually be making musically. To me they were pushing things in new and challenging sonic directions, and were not slaves to the 125-130 bpm 4/4 template which Electro House was. I also had really fallen back in love with Hip-Hop around the time that Kanye West dropped 808’s and Heartbreak and Drake broke on to the scene. So my first real productions were all influenced by these forward thinking beat creators, filtered through my years of being a mainstream Hip-Hop fan.
With Grown Folk, I always tried to infuse some of my Hip-Hop sensibilities into the production, whether it be specific drum patterns or synth presets, I never wanted to just be a purely 4/4 House duo, but rather one with a twist.
Now to finally answer your question I don’t believe I’ve crossed over into Hip-Hop, as I don’t think its as separate of a genre from dance music as people like to believe. Especially when you look at the Southern and regional strains of Hip-Hop in the US, that’s our dance music. They are using Roland drum machines, Korg Tritons or other synths, and are creating primarily electronic beats for the dance. I was always drawn to the more electronic production, such as Atlanta producers like Shawty Redd, Zaytoven, the Memphis Kings Drumma Boy, 3-6, and especially the Houston sound. The Houston sound of the early 2000s, was my first major production inspiration, and it still is one of the biggest influences in the way that I think about music.
(not to interrupt the flow, but this next paragraph is from a later follow up.)
Druture: There were a few years where The Strokes were my gods. and Joy Division is still my top band of all time. My mom is a really “hip” mom, she went to college in the mid 80s, so she had Clash records. New Order. all the new wave stuff” “…when I first heard Is This It, that was a pretty big moment, a kin to when I first heard My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It sounded so unique and fresh. While still paying homage to the linage that they are from. You hear bits of television, Guided By Voices, tons of 70s garage rock, but you know they really made it their own and it really captured the feeling of being young and restless in NYC, slightly distant and removed from life. It’s like a nihilist album but at the same time it has these really poppy upbeat riffs, and certainly a lust for life a wanting for more. I was young at the time, listening to a lot of pop punk so this kind of opened my eyes and ears –and more than anything that album had a unique sonic aesthetic. Another album like that is Interpol’s Turn On The Bright Lights. So yeah, basically I got into all that early 2000s indie rock and then due to my obsessive personality I went and learned EVERYTHING I could about these bands, and their influences, and that’s when I found post punk, which is up there with southern hip hop as my biggest influences.
It’s interesting that the first single would be with Little Cloud, how did you two meet? Where did the idea to cover Chief Keef come from?
I had come across Little Cloud’s Soundcloud through ISSUE’s Twitter page. At the time she was a member of the Teaholics Label. I had no idea that she was a girl, or that she was actually singing, I thought that she was using vocal samples and was really adept at manipulating them. I was really into her sound, so I had to find out more about her process. I added her on Facebook, and within a few hours of talking I realized not only just how talented she is, but also how great she was collaboratively speaking. A lot of time collars happen where one person has an idea, and they ask another artist to help create their idea of the song.
I sort of had the idea of wanting to do a cover of one of Chief Keef’s newer songs, using a singer to really highlight the unique melodies, which he’s been using. When I brought this up to Diane, she immediately started to talk about Keef’s melismatic singing, and the genius of it, and how much she’d love to cover one of his tracks. I let her pick which song she wanted to do, and at first she didn’t know what to do, then all of a sudden she said “Round Da Rosey, it has to be Round Da Rosey.”
I listened to the song a few times, while trying to play along to it on my computer keyboard (yes I use the asdf keys), and ended up deciding to build the beat around an arp. The whole process happened really organically and quickly, I think I created the whole track in around 40 minutes. I find that almost all my best tracks are a product of that kind of rush of inspiration.
From there I sent it to Diane, and she said she loved it, and immediately started to record. When she sent it back I was blown away by what she had done. Not only had she layered the most beautiful vocal soundscape, but she had brought out elements of the lyrics in such unique ways that Sosa himself never would have dreamed of. For example the line “boy you can’t hold me.” takes on a completely new meaning when Diane sings it the way she does, and it was at that moment that I knew we had something special.
Diane has been one of the easiest and most rewarding people to collab with, I think she has all the talent in the world and is going to go places. I hope that we get the chance to work together again, she stayed at my house for a bit, and we spent hours sharing music, including our favorite Christmas songs. So perhaps a Druture x Little Cloud Xmas EP is a possibility.
Wow, ! that would be amazing.
In comparison to Sosa’d how do the rest of the tracks on Volume 1 stack up?
As it stands right now that track ends off the mix tape, and is kind of a cool down and reflective period after the visceral experience of the tape. Chicago has become well known in the past few years for a specific Drill sound, but I wanted to showcase the varied aspects and subtleties of the artists in the Windy City. The mix tape has a really nice balance of club tracks, street anthems, and headphone or car soundtrack music. I don’t pretend to represent all of Chicago by any stretch of the imagination, but I hope to give listeners a little taste of what this great musical city has to offer.
For people that are hearing your production for the first time how would you explain the evolution of your sound; the birth of Druture?
Well I try to never explain my sound, or at least how it should be received, as I truly believe that everyone interprets music in a different way based on their past experiences, tastes and reference points. However, when it comes to the birth of Druture and the evolution of my sound, there’s really not too much of a story. My musical taste and sound is the product of my upbringing, which has been very global. I attended over 16 schools in my life across the globe, and as such am very open minded to all cultures and am always willing to experience the new. Druture, is simply put Drew Kim, it is the truest expression musically of what I am interested in and what I want to bring to the people. While its easy to say that, Druture is a Hip-Hop side-project, its really much more. I simply view everything through a Hip-Hop filter, and make music in a very “Hip-Hop” way. However, I draw influences from my many musical interests across infinite genres. I like to call my music Hybrid, because while it may take the form of a certain style, it always is infused with the DNA of other influences. For example with “Beef” on this tape, I saw a lot of similarities between UK Grime and some of the Beef related Drill songs, so I attempted to find the common ground and connect the dots, while still making a unique piece of music which spoke to the feelings that James and Rell were espousing.
I think as time goes on you will see that Druture is not a side-project but is really just Drew Kim. “I am who I am” God said that to Moses or something right?
I understand Grown Folk is behind you.
YES, BRENDAN AND I HAVE DECIDED TO GO OUR SEPARATE WAYS, FOCUSING ON OUR SOLO CAREERS, DRUTURE FOR ME AND MOTIONS FOR HIM. I AM VERY PROUD OF EVERYTHING WE ACCOMPLISHED TOGETHER AS GROWN FOLK, BOTH MUSICALLY AND OTHERWISE. WE LEARNED A LOT OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS, AND GOT TO SEE THE WORLD, I HAVE NOTHING BUT FOND MEMORIES.
What has been your main goal in defining yourself as Druture, away from Druture as completely separate, different entity ?
I haven’t really consciously tried to separate myself as a different entity, I think that Drew of Grown Folk and Druture the solo artist aren’t all that different. Hell I wore the same Rick Owens hoodie in my press shots for both. More than anything I’ve been able to express myself, and my tastes to the fullest, without having to worry about how it may affect the “brand.” I definitely feel more free to be myself than I did when I was a member of Grown Folk.
Have you noticed any changes in your style of production?
Obviously this is one area where there have been massive changes. Brendan is an incredibly talented producer, especially when it comes to melody, while I’ve always been more inclined to drum programming. We used to swap Ableton files back and forth based upon who had free time, then we would sit down for a few hours and hammer out aspects of the track, or do mix downs. One of the beautiful things about being in a duo is that you always have a second set of ears to tell you whether something is sounding rad, or if you’ve gone crazy. Also the weight of success doesn’t fall completely on your own ego, as you share the burden with your partner.
That being said, its been a bit of a challenge adapting to the new production style, but I’ve enjoyed learning this new method. I’ve always liked to work in loops, and I’m one of those people who will all of a sudden hear the train of inspiration about to pass me by, so I have to run to the computer and get down as much as possible before its too late. So yeah, I have a TON of 8 bar loops, probably close to 40 8-16 bar loops on my hard drive. I like to get down the basic groove and melody, then save and quit the program for a bit. I’ve found that slaving over a track for hours isn’t the best method for me. I export every loop and put it on my iPod (iPhone), and listen to them on shuffle throughout the day. A lot of the time I’ll hear something that I can fix, or hear a new progression that I could build off of the loop. I then sit down and try to flesh out the 16 bar main section of the track, then work on the breakdown, intro and outro through subtractive means.
Of course there have been times where I sit down and bang out a song in under and hour, and those are some of the best tracks I’ve ever made. A few of them are on this mix tape, and here’s a little secret. High Tide, arguably our most popular unreleased Grown Folk song was made in about 2 hours from start to finish (save the keys which Brendan added to the breakdown.)
What can you tell us about the remainder of the Out of Towner series?
Well I actually just had a long chat with a major player in the next volume of the Out of Towner series, in fact I’d say he’s my partner on Volume 2, SKYWLKR, producer and DJ for Danny Brown and the Bruiser Brigade. Skylar and I met while I was on tour with Main Attrakionz at the Denton 35 Festival in Texas, and we bounded pretty much immediately. We’ve been discussing working together for quite some time, and when I came to him with the idea of doing the next volume of Out of Towner about Detroit he was all over it.
Without giving too much away I can reveal that we will also be bringing on Detroit native producers Black Noi$e, an incredibly talented dude who I met at last year’s SXSW, and the enigmatic and mysterious Matrakz, who is going to really turn some heads. Bruiser Brigade will also be involved, as will Out of Towner Vol. 1 standout Kitty. Other than that, we can’t divulge too much, but this will be a very exciting project. Expect to see a lot of facets of Detroit’s musical history represented in some form or another. Detroit did invent Techno right?
I hear you’re looking to move to the states? That’s exciting. You’ll be in a great position for collaborations. What work are you most looking forward to?
Yes, I’m nearing the end of my stay in London. I absolutely love this city, but its incredibly hard for an American to get a Visa. If any smart, attractive girls want to do a little wedding swap for an American Visa, hit me up on twitter ;)
In all serious though, I will be heading back to the States, first Atlanta for the rest of the year, where Helix and I may be working on a future Out of Towner… My grandparents also live there, so we’re doing one of those big holiday get togethers.
In 2014, I’m looking to move to NYC, I can’t go into too many details yet as there’s a lot of stuff still up in the air, but I’m beyond excited. NYC is quite possibly my favorite city, and it just has an energy about it which always seems to get me on my A-Game. LA is also an option, but that’s further down the road.
In terms of work I’m most looking forward too, not much will change music wise, except for the chance to do face to face studio time. So much is done over laptops and the internet these days. I am however excited to pursue some of my other interests in the creative fields, such as the Television and Comic Book industries.
Shouts to all parties involved. Benjamin Staxx for lacing Druture with the Chi-town connects. Thanks again, Druture.