Tell us a few things about your new single “Yeah, No”
“Yeah, No” sonically illustrates the feeling of existential dread and the thoughts that are sometimes hard to forget when life keeps repeating itself and it seems like we are just powerless beings floating around in space. The entire song is written from 2 perspectives of thought and almost every lyric is a double or triple entendre. I intentionally recorded and mixed the vocals to sound as if they are my internal thoughts being transferred through the music.
Your music has an experimental tone. Should music as a form of art always challenge the listener?
I honestly think music should be and can be anything. There is space in the world for all types of music, for all types of occasions. I personally enjoy music that challenges me. I get excited when I hear something new that sounds innovative and unique, especially when it’s anchored in emotion or storytelling. I do realize my music is on the experimental side and I hope the listener can stretch their ear and take a moment to vibe with something different.
How many beats do you listen to before you end up using one? Who is your favorite producer?
I actually produce most of my own music so far. I’m an indie DIY artist and I really enjoy exploring vibes and creating music that has an artful and cinematic quality to it. Those are usually the type of beats that inspire me. That being said, I work with a couple other producers and when they send beats I often don’t spend that much time at all finding the right one. When I feel it, the vibe hits me right away and I immediately start writing.
My favorite producer of all time is probably Quincy Jones. I’m also a huge fan of Pharrell, Flying Lotus, Jon Brion and Trent Reznor.
What would you change in the music industry?
The music industry has its pros and cons and its ups and downs. I would probably change the concept that artists have to subscribe to industry standards to be relevant and successful. Just make music that you like and that comes from a real place.
What was the best film you have watched during the quarantine?
Oh man, that’s a tough one. I watched this movie at the beginning of quarantine titled “Luce” that stars Octavia Spencer and a great young actor, Kelvin Harrison Jr. The film is a powerful and timely story and it shows another side of race-relations in the United States, that I think a lot of people are unaware of. The movie touches on specific ideas of privilege and the model minority myth in America and how stereotypes can be extremely damaging to a person and a community if left unchecked.
Any future plans?
I have an EP dropping at the end of December. With this project, I’m exploring a lot of the same themes in “Yeah, No” I’m excited for people to hear my music in a broader context. This EP is a cinematic, 6-track journey through the mind of Jōviky.
“MADAM$” started as a title track for “The Madam$” series on the Cideshow platform. In what ways platforms like this change the music industry?
Platforms like these give creative people a voice. It connects people to work together in different disciplines. You can submit a show/series and/ or movie ideas for streaming. As a musician that is involved in one of those shows it’s a golden opportunity because your music gets to a different audience that you might never reach yourself.
What is the main topic of your lyrics? Tell us a few things about your creative process.
MADAM$ is all about feeling like you are wearing that crown on your head. In this particular case the topic of the song was already there, so it was up to my co-writer Lars Hempel and I how we were going to translate that. Pretty fast Lars came up with a grungy bass synth line and a badass beat, and then I came up with the hook. I have a thing for spoken word so this turned quickly into a rap. Put it all together and you have MADAM$.
Why sexism, and even outright misogyny, is so pervasive in Hip Hop culture?
I wish it were different and I hope it’ll change more. The concept of image, authenticity, lifestyle-oriented aliases of artists, has been distorted so much to a point that people start to believe it is a standard to hold onto. It’s marketed that way in mass production. I think it’s wrong and I believe that dignity and respect is worth everything. I hope that people will do some soul searching.
What is your favorite album of the past decade?
NAO – Saturn
What is your dream collaboration?
Anderson Paak would be the dream.
Any future plans?
I’m releasing a whole live album in the beginning of next year, so stay tuned!
What is the biggest challenge of being an independent artist today?
The “always on” content creation culture is an absolute nightmare! Building a following and creating platform-specific content across the many social media apps is a massive challenge. All for the sake of directing them to stream/buy your music! It seems that in orderto release a 3-minute song these days, you need to do everything but make good music. Launching a dance challenge, daily Tik Tok skits, and recording every moment for vlog content shouldn’t be a MUST for a song or artist to achieve some velocity. I find it grossly unsustainable and just flat out exhausting. It makes me feel like I’m not doing enough for mycareer because I’m not everywhere or everywhere all of the time.
Ultimately, I rather sharpen my songwriting, production, and other skills that translate intobecoming a master musician, not take on the role of content-creator for the sake of beating an algorithm.
What would be your dream performance venue?
I’d love to play a sold-out crowd in a massive arena like the Staples Center. While I do appreciate the intimacy of smaller venues, playing a large stage just feels right. And with my ego, I tell myself that I deserve it. I know I can make the world move.
In fact, I always picture my performance and the crowd reaction when I write songs. I grew up in the church and witnessed first-hand how “call and response” creates larger than life moments. Anyone who’s ever been to a RaneRaps show knows I leave it all on stage (even at risk of injury haha) for the sake of their enjoyment. The “I” becomes “we” when the crowd is singing back your lyrics, flailing about, and unapologetically letting loose to free their mind,body, and spirit.
And it’s the collective experience that fills me with joy. I love my life as is and derive happiness from simple things, but performing music reminds me how it feels to be alive and I chase that endorphin release continuously.
Why not achieve bliss on a large stage in front of thousands of fans? The more happiness I can impart on the world in this limited time that I’m allowed, the better.
You have already been featured in Spotify editorial playlists. Is Spotify the musicindustry’s new Gatekeepers?
Spotify is premier in breaking artists. It’s the nature of the game when so much of the industry is run by the algorithm, numbers, and playlisting. Granted you’re not guaranteed along career if you land on Rap Caviar but a Spotify cosign can create stars seemingly overnight. It’s the possibility of discoverability that keeps us musicians chasing success with playlists – most notably Spotify editorial playlists. And being discovered for one good song and following it up with another can take you from mom’s basement to label meetings and now the cover of that very playlist you were first discovered on. Slow growth (which most of us experience) is better than no growth but who could say no to accelerated growth? Sign me up and sign me up now!
Best Hip-Hop album ever?
A tough one indeed! I love so many albums for different reasons but I’ll go with OutKast’s “ATLiens”.
ATLiens caught my ear, from the instrumentals to the lyrics themselves. I spend a lot of time alone and the storytelling in their songs sounds like thoughts you’d have on a random Tuesday at 3:43pm. Oddly specific description I understand but my point is aside from late in the night, that’s probably when you’ll catch yourself reflecting on life and assessing all of the wins, conflicts, and more surrounding you at the time.While I don’t agree with all of thegroup’s stances on certain issues, I love their willingness to hold steadfast to their individualand collective identities, deliver tough love much like an older brother would, and vulnerably ponder life in front of us all as if they were thinking aloud.
A close second would be A Tribe Called Quest’s “The Low End Theory”. I listened to this album a lot in high school, but what made it special was the carpools to school with my younger brother. Our commute was at least 35 minutes each morning, so we had a lot of time to bond. It was magical trading lyrics with him to our favorite ATCQ songs. Seeing him happy and enjoying life made me cry tears of joy inside. Til this day he knows those songs just as well as he did then and I can hear him bumping them on occasion.
What was the best film you have watched during the quarantine?
Fun fact: I usually binge movies about every 5-6 weekends when I need to recharge creatively. However, I haven’t watched movies so much in quarantine, so the films I’m choosing from are a bit slim. The best film would have to be Sweeney Todd. Yes, I’m just now seeing it in 2020. But, I can explain! That movie traumatized me since I first saw the trailer. I love gore but as a kid, it was simply too much. Earlier this year I was speaking to a friend about it and she revealed that it’s in fact a musical of all things. In true RaneRaps fashion, I added it to My List on Netflix and put it off for another few weeks.
When I finally dug into it, I had the time of my life. The grim story drew me in and the aesthetic… *chefs kiss*. The building tension to Johnny Depp enacting revenge on LordTurpin was a tough one but my desires were finally met. And while it didn’t inspire a song(dear Lord, I hope I wouldn’t be role-playing a demon barber lol), it refreshed my creativity and allowed me to push onward in my quest to unite the world under this groove.
Any future plans?
My main plans for 2021: create more brand awareness with singles and release my debut album. My fan base knows exactly who I am: a wild man who happens to make wild music. I type this as I chant adlibs to myself… Anyways, the world at large (aka a large slice of theinternet) doesn’t know I exist. I want to change this by delivering singles that showcase myknack for catchy tunes that remain authentic to my life story. And when I’ve imprinted upon this larger audience great music and bring them into my world, I’ll deliver my debut album. Regardless, the album is coming Fall 2021 or earlier. And some may call me biased but thequality of music… it sounds like a greatest hits. I can’t wait!
As a bass player, would it be safe to assume that your tracks start always with the bass line? Tell us a few things about your creative process.
No, I unfortunately left my bass back home in Italy, therefore here in LA I can’t do that yet. Usually my tracks start more with keys, since that is my main instrument but it can also start with drums or with any exciting sample. “Peach Flavored Vodka” is actually the first song I started with a bassline but I’ll definitely do that more in the future.
Since I’m a producer, I love to start producing and writing at the same time. The distinction between the two often blurs for me, since production gives me endless possibilities of where a song can go. Other times I write piano songs and then turn those into hip hop beats. All the first songs I wrote were mainly piano songs.
Your video describes your 15-year-old past self. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Enjoy every moment while it lastsand embrace your age.
Favorite rapper, lyricist and producer?
Kanye West (both)
Moving from South Tyrol to Berlin and then to LA, which are the main differences between these places and what do they have in common?
South Tyrol stands basically for small town / countryside vibes. It is very quiet, peaceful, people are very friendly but there’s not really an artistic open-mindedness. The mountains, even though they’re beautiful, unfortunately block people’s horizon.Berlin and LA, on the other hand, are major cities where you can be whoever you want to be. Berlin just has the downside that its music business is still limited in its variety and you won’t find enough support to sustain your career in every genre you’d like to create.In LA you have the wholemusic business and that’s why it became my current home.Aside from artistic freedom, it is also the center of the music industry, which inspires you to keep pushing because you know there arepossibilities forsustaining your career.
Do you have an artist that you would describe as a hidden gem that we should know about?
Favorite music related film?
Inside Llewyn Davis
Any future plans?
Becoming successful in the industry, either as an artist or as a producer.