By Tribe Down South
After Tribe Down South landed his "Dreams Aren't Real" on our latest compilation, we were curious to hear what else he's been working on. Now, here we are with the wonderfully curated "Alchemik" EP where he expands his musicality and style to its limits and beyond.
"Much like the mystical study of alchemy that has now become the stapled forerunner for chemistry, my constant experiments and practices have lifted that supernatural veal of incomprehension. That enticing, energetic feeling of possibility and making a discovery within your own realm of creation is what it’s all about. Pure alchemy." - Tribe Down South
Alchemik EP starts off with "91 Cressida". As you can tell from the name, for Tribe Down South, it represents the nostalgic car ride vibes. A unique drum swing gives a very strong groove to the whole track. This beat is completely resampled from a tape, which glues all the ingredients together and makes the artist's vision come to life.
The second track on the EP is called Thankful. A sample behind the heavily side-chained drums adds that extra swing and groove that compels you to bump your head to this track. "I have even seen some local artists quit when it came to starting putting in work or when the first problem arises in putting yourself out there. I called this beat Thankful as a reminder, that what I have in my life so far is a product of the work I have put in." - Tribe Down South
Time slows down as we move onto the next half-time recording, TickTok. Heavy feelings on this one. This song has a constant sound throughout the track, that is very similar to a clock ticking rhythmically to the beat. The name and song feel bittersweet because time itself is bittersweet. "For most, we love and appreciate our fond memories but grow uneasy at the thought that our time isn’t limitless. We all gotta go someday, but that clock will stay ticking." - Tribe Down South
Next one up is Breathtaking - 2nd cassette driven beat. The compressed but sentimental feeling found when listening to magnetic tape is, well, breathtaking. "So, I remembered the Keanu meme, added it to the beat and she was ready!" - Tribe Down South
The 5th track on the EP is called PK [Brainshock]. The track hits us with a bit-crushed piano sample with its very familiar and unique textures within the first few seconds. A spaced out drum kit instils within us an airy feeling, urging us to explore the textures and elements of the song on our own. "It’s not a Tribe Down South mix without at least 1-2 references to my favorite SNES game of all time, Earthbound. I feel like hearing the tracks from this game growing up, is one of the many reasons that lead me down the path to low fidelity" - Tribe Down South
Freckles - Funky drum grooves won't let you go in this one. The sample work is very unexpected, but also makes sense with the song as a whole, and take you on an adventure - new edits every couple of bars. "Girls with freckles have always been my weak spot, so hearing the flow from the female vocals in the beat with that sensual sax sound, gets me daydreaming." - Tribe Down South
As we're getting close to the end on the EP, we hear Impulse - Tribe Down South represents the roots of the true classic Boom Bap era. "I can go for dusty lo-fi sound any day, but something about those classics from RZA, DJ Premier, Easy Mo Bee can always draw me back down to earth. Nothing but respect for the OGs." - Tribe Down South
BlueBlueBlue - Definitely a closing track. Chords and beat merge together to create the theme of an ending story. Completely composed from scratch, the artist shows his musical expression capabilities on a very high level. "To know something can make me feel dejected at the moment means that something equally amazing came from it and I’m alive from experiencing this sensation, a beautiful sadness." - Tribe Down South
We started our year strong with the release of Alchemik EP by Tribe Down South. It is a fresh, new style lo-fi Hip-Hop experience with the right amount of musical ingredients. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your musical background! How long have you been making music?
I’ve been playing guitar off and on since 2008. I picked up lessons for about a year for a jazz band in high school and after two years, I had a band with some friends, where we played 2 shows and then stopped. I have always been dabbling, singing and playing until about 2 years ago when I picked up beat-making in GarageBand after hearing some old Nujabes and Adult Swim bump playlists I had burned to CD. I bought an SP404sx six months later and it was a game-changer for me.
Who are your musical idols? Tell us where you draw your musical inspirations from!
When I was guitar-driven, I was studying and learning licks from anywhere from John Mayer, Underoath to Closure in Moscow and Dance Gavin Dance. But in terms of beats, Nujabes, Prefuse 73, Fat Jon and Mr. Scruff had caught my ears in my highschool days. It was great artists like bsd.u, Joji (as Chloe Burbank) and Mac Demarco that had turned me onto the Roland Samplers and dusty, fluttery based sounds. Shout-out to the local label and friends at Soulejukebox! I believe all these great artists are what have driven me to do what I do.
What software or instruments do you use for your music? How often do you collaborate with other artists? Who would you want to work with the most?
I started with GarageBand and worked up to Ableton. Most of my work, in the beginning, was strictly hardware. The Sp404sx and Kaossilator are still my go-to when I feel screen exhaustion. I play guitar and sing some and am working to be more comfortable with drumming, bass, and keys. I would say I collaborate at least 2-3 times a year so far (something special is in the works right now and should be done this year), but I am trying to always work with artists on Community Mixtapes that are open for anyone to submit. It’s a great way to meet new musicians and hear fresh sounds. The latest is a Valentine’s Mix that dropped on the 14th. So probably, Mayaewk, Stxn.x, or Marcus D, but I would be extra happy making a beat for Freddie Dredd too.
How do you see yourself at the highest point of your career? What would be your ultimate dream to accomplish with your work and when do you see that happening?
I would love to support my livelihood and myself. Whether it is selling beats, giving music lessons, streams, playing sets, making cassettes or a mixture of both. I see this as my passion and goal. I have no idea when it will happen but I am determined to see the bigger picture and plan for the future.
How often do you perform and where could we see you live? Can you tell us a little about your upcoming shows?
3-4 times a year, but it should be more often starting this summer (working on a live stream setup as we speak too). Eyes are set on controllers as well.
The next set will be with Soulejukebox and their latest event happening at the end of February.
Finally, we would love to ask - What would you say to up and coming artists who want to pursue their passion?
Make little plans leading to the big goal and follow through; The only one stopping you is yourself. Show patience but never be afraid to experiment (especially in the beginning!) and to think creatively in your approach in everything you do.
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