By Daniel Paiz
Hello Cypher Sessions readers, and welcome to the 25th post from Cypher Sessions! We are going to celebrate our 25th post with an interview from one of the most interesting and skilled artists out there today, Edgar Allen Floe. We are extremely excited to share this interview with you all, and along with the Q&A section that will follow, we will place music along the way. Without further ado, sit back, relax and enjoy:
What new projects do you have coming out, or what projects are you planning on working in 2013?
For 2013, I’m working on releasing a new project called “Kings Stay Fresh”. It’s going to be the very first album of its kind ever done in Hip Hop. I can’t get into specifics right now, but what I can say is that the album will be completely organic and original. I’m always looking to release material that gives listeners a little more than my last project. The last thing I want to do as an artist is be predictable. But at the same time, the creativity, skill, and most importantly, the SOUL of good music will always be in any project I drop. In addition, 9th Wonder and I have been talking about working on a new EP. So it’s possible that could be released this year as well.
What is the biggest thing that you try and do when you are creating music, is it trying to get a single message across, or is it part of a bigger concept? Basically how does your creative process work?
I consider myself a thinker. I think about every and anything before I choose to speak. When it comes to music, I always try to make sure there is a message. Even if it’s something as basic as “flex pure skill and don’t play on this microphone”, or it could be something more involved. But ultimately, it’s all about motivation. If another artist can listen to my music and be influenced to improve their own work, that’s partly my mission. And also, for just a fan of good music, I want to give them more than just the “norm” or the current “trend”. I value creativity that people can feel, and I also value having fun with the music. When The Justus League started out releasing material, all we wanted to do was be heard, have fun, and get better at our craft. It’s as simple as that with me. I don’t try to do anything that’s too weird or left field. So just being able to do my part in taking music to a higher level, that’s what I’m all about.
For the artists out there today that you see coming up, what advice would you give to them, since so many artists that are coming up don’t really seem as capable of dealing with the impact, stress, successes, and failures?
When I’m online, I think that at least 85% of the time that I log onto Twitter, I try to give advice to other artists. I can simply look around and notice so many artists that are frustrated with how the game is run right now, and they should be. There are a ton of artists out there who have the talent, the vision, the marketability…the complete package…yet most labels aren’t looking to actually develop that talent.
I feel that a lot of artists follow what many of the established artists are already doing, which is a problem. If you want to stand out, the last thing I feel you would want to do is mimic what’s already out there. I know it may seem like the best way to be seen or heard, but it’s not. If you value your originality, you are murdering yourself artistically if you attempt to emulate someone else. Yes, you can learn and be influenced by other artists. But you don’t want to take it so far that you forget to do your own thing.
I think many artists get frustrated because they know for a fact that they are just as good, if not better, than the artists that they see on the TV or hear on the radio. That’s why I say that artists need to devote more focus and time on their own moves, and not what someone else is doing. You never know how much that established artist may have had to sacrifice to get where they are.
Many don’t have the artistic integrity, the creative control, very little business sense, or their entire career is truly not theirs. The artists who actually have control over their careers should see that as power. Yes, you will have to be more hands on, but the possibilities you have are endless. New artists have to learn how to think outside the box, not just with their music, but with their career as well.
Another big thing is the “numbers” game. Of course, it’s cool to get a million views on YouTube for a music video. But what are you doing to capitalize from those views? Is this what you consider being a success? Have you connected with any of those people who viewed your video? A million views does not equal a million in record sales. But many underground artists are hustling backwards by thinking this way.
Even if you only get 20,000 views on a video, you can still capitalize and further build your fan base. You just have to learn to work smarter, not harder.