While the common hip-hop fan rarely takes rap music beyond its surface value, those willing enough to dig deeper into what the culture has to offer will come across truly intriguing points of view. A perfect example of this is Brooklyn native Goretex, who, along with his Non Phixion brethren Ill Bill and Sabac, consistently brings listeners into a unique world of perception with every verse he spits. Regularly being backed by the brilliant yet largely-ignored production of Necro, Goretex’s bars challenge ear drums with complex metaphors and dusted logic.
Usually granted merely one verse on guest appearances throughout Non Phixon’s catalog, including solo records from Ill Bill and Sabac, as well as Psycho+Logical Records family Necro and Mr. Hyde, the mind of Goretex will finally be given a full platform to exercise with the release of his solo debut, The Art of Dying. Offering a one-of-a-kind journey into realities that too many choose to ignore, The Art of Dying is being met with high levels of anticipation and speculation.
Whatever the verdict may be, though, Goretex is confident that The Art of Dying is an accurate depiction of his thoughts and ideas. How the rest of the world interprets it lies completely within the respective minds of those wise enough to give it a listen.
HHS: When people listen to your verses, they generally say how it’s almost like you bring listeners into your own world with your metaphors and subject matter. Where do you draw inspiration from when you sit down and write?
Goretex: That’s a good question. I think inspiration comes from all kinds of music, from books, from movies, and from reality. Everything that goes down on the regular day-to-day basis. I think every artist, in a sense, wants to create their own world, and their own place where heads can see what’s up. I’m just really exploring a side of my own psyche.
HHS: Every verse of yours is real complex. Does it take you a long time to write a verse, or does the writing mostly just come naturally?
Goretex: I’ll be honest with you, it depends. If I’m in a really fucked up mood, and I feel really shitty about something, it can be a hard time. I think if anybody is stressed out on the regular shit, it’s hard to write a song, or it’s hard to pick up a guitar. If I’m writing to a specific track, once the track is on, it kind of just opens up to me. Usually I get the vibe from the beat, and I’m just trying to get under the beat. It’s like, the minute I hear the beat, I’m already under it.
HHS: Being that this is your first solo album, were there any angles or areas of subject matter that you wanted to touch upon? Like, things you weren’t able to fully cover in the past being that you only typically had one verse on a song?
Goretex: I don’t know. I think all of our solo albums are just different sides of our own personality. What I wanted to say is kind of symbolic to how it has been throughout our career. It kind of depends how you interpret my verses, actually. It’s all up to the listener. I really like to keep the interpretation of my music up to the listeners. If I’m writing about something specifically, it obviously might mean something to me, but for the listener, it’s whatever. It’s more about the intent.
HHS: You mentioned how each of the albums separates you, Ill Bill, and Sabac by your individual personalities. How would you define your personality, shown through The Art of Dying?
Goretex: Someone who says fucked up shit, or maybe someone who just says some other shit. I don’t know. That’s a good question. Again, my perception is different than every other person’s perception. As far as within the group, we all have different personalities. Sabac is wild. When we’re on tour, he parties his balls off. He has a good time, and we all have a good time. We’re out working and trying to make this shit happen. We’re taking these projects one person at a time, and that’s what is taking so long.
HHS: “Celebrity Roast” has been circulating throughout the Internet. What made you come up with the idea of simply bashing a bunch of celebs?
Goretex: I was just basically sitting around, and some people annoyed me. Some people I was inspired by, and some people I wanted to destroy. Basically, it was just for the fun of it. It’s nothing personal. I mean, we all want to eat Jennifer Garner’s ass. [Laughs] The song is pretty nonsensical, though.
HHS: People are coming up with their own interpretations of what the album title, The Art of Dying, means, but I want to know what made you choose that as the album’s title?
Goretex: It’s weird because The Art of Dying can mean a whole bunch of things. I’m not trying to sound vague or superficial, but if it means one thing to me, you may take something different out of it. I look at it on three levels. One, the cover itself is almost like a loss of innocence. I’m not necessarily exploring tangible or everyday things. I’m maybe trying to expound on stuff like supernatural. A lot of weird shit that people don’t really talk about, but they know is this underlying feeling in everybody. I’m the type of person where we don’t do this for fun. I mean, it is fun, but this isn’t a hobby. This is our life and we’ve been doing it for years. Anything we feel we want to put out there, we have to dig it first. Once we’re satisfied, our people hear it and get something special in return.
HHS: See, my interpretation of the title is that living life itself is the art of dying. Like, everyday we get closer to death, so just living is dying.
Goretex: Right, I can totally see that. Yeah, we die a little every day. It can mean the process, of that we don’t really know what the afterlife holds. We all have a lot of suspicions, but I don’t know. I feel like yeah, there is all kinds of crazy shit popping off these days, and supernatural things going on. It is what it is. The whole team is interested in that kind of stuff. I’m not gonna say the occult, but we read a lot of books. None of us really went to college, so we try to educate ourselves. Obviously, the public school system is one percent a none reality anyway. We try to read books, and that’s one thing we all agree upon.
HHS: As soon as news of this album being released was heard, message boards and fans on them were getting really hyped, like, “Goretex is about to come with some real next level shit.” Do you feel any kind of pressure to live up to that, and blow peoples’ minds with your music?
Goretex: Pressure can either put a flame under your ass, or just destroy you. It’s just a matter of, again….I don’t think any artist puts out an album, and when they are done, they are 150% in love with all of it. Basically, the reality is that Non Phixion has been touring so much, like touring in Greece and Iceland and just running around, that basically Necro and I had to sit down and really make time out. We have been planning this album for awhile. How the album came together is we basically sat down and decided to put energy into it. Both of our schedules are hectic. He’s putting out a lot of material this year, and next year as well, so we really had to make time to do this. We’re even about to go back on tour, and there is more stuff coming up. I wish we had a little more time, but it is what it is. All I can do as an artist is that my album isn’t bullshit, cuz I don’t like to hear bullshit. I wouldn’t want to go out and buy a bullshit album. I’m the most critical asshole, and there are very little things out moving me, as far as modern shit. Back to the point, though, I think its dope. I stand behind it, and I put my heart into it. Nothing is perfect, but I fully stand behind it. Also, sonically, I tried to explore a different side as well. Necro produces a vast majority of Non Phixion’s stuff, if not all of it. At the same time, we wanted to come with something that was a little more open. I’m not gonna say experimental, cuz what does that really mean? It doesn’t mean shit. The next album may sound completely different. I look at this album like a time capsule for right now. This is where I’m at at this point.
HHS: I don’t like asking people what their favorite song is on their album, but is there any song on The Art of Dying that you feel most captures where you at while recording the record?
Goretex: Yeah, the song “Earth Rot.” What my album is really is just a document, and a sonic time capsule. “Earth Rot” touched on a bunch of things. It touches on what our future holds for us, which unfortunately is basically gonna be a nuclear war. It covers the process of that and the aftereffects of that, as well as the general and blatant disrespect that people have for Earth. The fact that there is a lot of shit that’s about to pop off. Anybody that’s alive right, from any generations, we bought a ticket and now we’re about to see a bunch of shit pop off. We’re gonna be experiencing it first hand. These are the things that you’ll hear on the album.
HHS: Now, this album cover is causing a lot of speculation, with people trying to dissect it and figure it out. You don’t have to give it away completely, but can you shed some light on the image seen on that cover?
Goretex: I would say that I was probably not in a very good mood when I put that cover together. I probably woke up on the wrong side of the bed. It’s probably something that I ultimately wanted to get out of my system. People were calling us satanic without even really knowing much about us or the music. You hear a lot of stupid things and a lot of bullshit that you can’t believe would be a reality for people to say about you. It’s nonsense. Not to divert your question, though. That album cover, like I said….I came across the image and it obviously is something that is just a pretty fucked up image, no matter how you look at it.
HHS: Is that a picture that you found, or is it something that you physically constructed?
Goretex: Either way, it doesn’t really matter. It is what it is. I can understand people being like, “Wow, what the fuck is that? What is he talking about?” Obviously, it’s a little psychedelic, and I wanted the album to not really look like an album that would come out in 2004. Music products just seem like commercials, and it’s a really awful time in the industry. I just wanted to put out something that maybe 35 years ago, you could have walked into a store, and copped on vinyl for $1.98. Then, you put the vinyl on, and it’s brutal. It’s brutality. That’s all.
HHS: As far as music goes, what are you listening to right now? What could somebody find in Goretex’s stereo?
Goretex: Let’s see. Probably like some James Brown shit, like “Funky Drummer.” Long versions of James Brown’s stuff. Probably Mars Volta, they are pretty fucked up. They sound like old Rush.
HHS: Do you have any rap in the stereo these days, or do you avoid 2004 rap music?
Goretex: Nah, I’m listening to the new Mobb Deep. Actually, that album is kind of inspiring. The last couple of albums they put out were alright. I’m a fan, and what they did on those albums was their business, like label stuff. This new shit, I really feel like they reinvented themselves. I’ve always been a fan of Havoc, but for this one, I really feel like he went back to the lab. They sound hungry again.
HHS: The whole Psycho+Logical family gets a lot of respect and appreciation below the radar, like on a subterranean, underground level. What do you think it will take for you guys to gain a wider level of acceptance?
Goretex: First and foremost, a music video. A video with a good budget, and motherfuckers that will just play it. The funny thing is, if it got played on MTV2 twice a day, that’d be it. I really feel like it would catch on. Tons of people come up to me, and say stuff like, “Hip-hop is cool, but I’m not feeling a lot of today’s shit, and you guys made me listen to hip-hop again. We have a weird cross breed and cross section of fans. There are 35 year-old, 38 year-old African dudes from like Zimbabwe coming to shows wearing Ill Bill shirts. It’s wild. Punks, and all kinds of heads. As far as what it will take, we’re doing this shit independently cuz we already wasted enough time dealing with fucking labels. We’d have to body somebody. That’s just ridiculous, so we just had to chill out.
HHS: You think you’ll stay independent for the rest of your career, or could the major label move happen again in the future?
Goretex: Uncle Howie and Psycho+Logical are always going to exist, regardless. Numbers talk, and who knows if somebody from a major is going to step up with an offer. At this point, though, to be honest with you, fuck that. We’re just gonna do it independently. That major label shit is over.
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