Adriansings talks about life, creating out of his comfort zone, and his evolving sound in part one of our interview on NewH2O. It’s been a year since we last had a conversation with Adriansings. There’s been a lot of new things pop up in his life, and he also just released a project recently, Come Out And Play. In part one of our conversation, Adrian talks about what it took to create this album as well as the obstacles that can sometimes get in his way as an artist.
Come Out and Play I I think, is my favorite project from you. I’ve probably listened to that the most of any album that’s come out this year. I just love the way that you weave melodies in there but you can spit really well too. How do you come up with and write melodies like this? Are you just constantly singing memos into your phone?
Yeah, so… this actually might come as a shock, but this album was very hard for me. It was very outside of my comfort zone. I come from a Christian background. I’ve been a worship leader for a big majority of my life. Now I just serve at my church on the sound team. I want to pursue Hip Hop and give all my talent and ability and efforts to that. But, I’ve spent a lot of my time as a worship leader and so melodies in worship songs and Hip Hop songs are totally different. Sometimes they can come together, but it was really challenging for me to step outside the box of what I felt like I had put myself in.
With Odyssey I and even with No More Birthdays, they had that almost low-fi trap wave sound and there was a lot more freedom there to sing, the way that I wanted to and sing rap essentially.
But with this album, what pushed me to do it was I had dropped that single earlier in the year. Actually, I dropped it in 2018, in December, “Come Out and Play” featuring Big Yae.
I remember dropping that song, and I remember one of my best friends heard it. Britton, who is one of my most trusted partners in music, was laughing with me, and he was like, “Dude, ‘Come Out and Play’ is the best song you’ve ever made.” And I was like, “No way, Dude. You’ve heard my whole catalog. You know even the stuff I haven’t released. You can’t tell me that’s the best.”
He goes, “No, I’m dead serious. It’s the best, I think it’s the best song you’ve ever done. And it’s because you really just, you came out with it and you really did something that really felt, like, it was Hip Hop and it was fun and it was flavor like you brought your sound to it. But it wasn’t complicated. Anybody could sing along to it, anybody could rap to it. And it just felt really good.”
Britton encouraged me to press in to get that sound. He told me that I need to do stuff that’s just one hard track after the other. Just, you know, on to the next and to pursue that. So in trying to get these melodies, man, I worked with one producer almost exclusively on the whole project. His name is Harrisxn, he’s a, I think, 15 or 16-year-old kid out in Arizona. Dude’s just crazy talented. And his beats, I mean, they’re just super crazy. They’re very melodic, they’re very punchy. I think with his sound, I rap better on his beats than I do anybody else.
We’ve kind of formed this nice partnership. I remember he would just send me beats and I would load them into my phone and into my notes, and I would just sit there. I mean, it all started out as verses. Because you know, for me, I’m so used to writing hooks and then kind of building the song around it.
I just kind of started rapping these verses and eventually I’d kind of get to the end of the verse and think, Okay, what have I been talking about? You know? How do I turn this into a hook?
It just all kind of started out with me mumbling different things, like in different tunes and trying to keep it as simple as possible. That’s where once I got to that recording aspect it became even more difficult. I do all my own mixing and mastering so, I think that was the hard part was kind of converting it from just humming this really monotone, like boring line into something interesting.
How do I bring this to life? How do I make this into a hook that is going to be catchy and memorable? Whether that be layering some melodies in way deep in the background that you can almost not even hear but that they’re there and still present. Maybe it’s adding some ad-libs that are the catchy part of the hook. So maybe the hook gets overlooked but everyone’s remembering those ad-libs that kind of spice up this or that. It was like, just humming until I found something that felt repetitive and catchy and then trying to actually produce that and make that a reality.
Where are you drawing some inspiration for these melodies, for these sounds? Or you feel like you’re trying to create a unique sound?
No. I think that at some level anybody would be lying if they said I don’t have any inspiration like it’s all original. There’s nothing new under the sun. I kind of started listening to, when J. Cole dropped that single “Middle Child,” it really impressed me to see an artist of his stature, stepping out of his comfort zone and doing something totally different.
For him to go auto-tune in a hook, which is something I hadn’t even really heard before. I knew that in that song, particularly there was kind of like a meta reason why he did that and he was trying to make a ploy at like the mainstream media. But it ended up being a top-charting song.
Of course you also have these Andy Mineo references in some of your songs too. I caught some of that. Did you even realize you were doing that?
I didn’t think so. I know that there are times where I kind of hint at other rappers. Andy Mineo is probably one of my biggest inspirations. His projects recently, like the Arrow and the Sword and all that, those projects really stood out to me, especially at the really hard time in my life. I just found myself throwing those on repeat and so I think when I would step into the studio, that was the kind of vibe and the energy I wanted to bring.
I’ve always considered Andy Mineo to be like a very serious artist, but at the same time, he brings such a playfulness, in his own personal life and in Instagram, to the studio. He’s just somebody that I want to hang out with. I think there was a lot of that, that’s probably why there’s a lot of references to a lot of Andy Mineo stuff in there. A lot of his lines and verbiage and the way that he talks and something.
I’m just influenced by a lot of the greats. You know, it’s funny how we were talking about “Middle Child.” One of those lines that J. Cole says, “I copied your cadence/I mirrored your style/I studied the greats/I’m the greatest right now.” That’s kind of one of the themes that I try to embody in like my song “FaceTime” which was like, thank you for all the greats and all, you’re blessing what I’m doing because of what you’ve done you kind of walked so that I could run.
Man, I think that guys like KB and Andy Mineo and even Lecrae, a lot of these guys have really paved the path for, I hesitate to even say just CHH artists, I mean they’ve paved the path for all kinds of artists just to be able to do what they do. Positive and inspiring artists, to come up and talk about real life and things that are truth and are sometimes hard, but they’re also sometimes just real. I think that’s why I embody so much of that in my music.
Maybe there was some of these Lost Boys references that kind of parallel the Neverland thing too though. So can you talk more about what’s going on with Lost Boys? Have you kind of put that on the back burner right now?
Yeah, it’s interesting. I actually had a kind of a meeting, a strategy meeting, that sounds really formal. It was very much not that formal. It was just me and Britton sitting across from each other in a room talking. Lost Boys has really become more of a collective than a team. I’m not as active on the Instagram anymore. We both have kind of been pursuing different paths musically and so, you know I’m kind of holding onto it more as a collective than a team of people. The only two people that are really active at the moment are me and Britton.
It kind of felt like for us, it was a lot of confusion. As friends we’re very involved in each others lives on a personal level and then our music level, we have Lost Boys which is kind of like supposed to be this collective where we meet in the middle. But you know, for me, I’m not going to shy away from the fact that I’m a CHH artist. Britton is not, he’s a secular artist. And so, that’s been a way of ministry for me and to kind of just be a light for him. What’s funny is now I mean, he’s really almost taken to this Christian Hip Hop industry.
So, I actually found you on SoundCloud like circa 2012, 2013.
Oh, no. Did you find Adrian Gonzalez music?
Dude, your sound has changed so crazily. How does that even happen though? So I understand you took this hiatus from like doing that and then you came back and all of a sudden like… Okay, I know you don’t like the 1995 stuff necessarily, but No Se had some good vibes on it. Like, how do you go from sounding like Adrian Gonzalez music to your Adriansings stuff? How did that transformation happen?
Dude, by the grace and mercy of God –I don’t know man. I think then it was just a lot of raw energy that I didn’t know how to hone in. I actually remember back then, I think I was just doing what worked.
If that makes sense. So I kind of found this like, this kind of like boom-bap rap style that I was doing a lot more as Adrian Gonzalez. And it really was meshing well. I think for the time too. Back in 2011, and 2012, we didn’t have all the Lil Uzi Verts and stuff.
Maybe we did and I was just too young to know about it! For me, I think it was just a blending of the times also with just the fact that I had all this like raw un-tailored energy to do music. Especially for my age, I think people were just more impressed by the showmanship of me, like the fact that I was 12 and 13 and producing these projects in my bedroom.
I think people were just like what? You know I was just cranking out mixtapes. I did the same thing I do now, put out way too much music.
I just have all this raw energy to just do that and keep going, keep making this music. For me I think the way that my sound changed was a lot of humility, because I think I’ve also changed as a person. You can even hear it in the themes I wrote about in my early music. To me, it’s just, like I go back and listen to it now, and I think I like talked a lot about things like purity and drinking and just partying and different things like that. And I talked about them in such an almost like very derogatory way.
I was very anti those things. Almost anti anybody who did those things. I think there was a lot of pride in my music, but I would say there was also a lot of pride in my life at that time. And that was something that I was really fighting and dealing with, and God had to humble me a lot with life experiences, and different things like that. I think really what changed my sound the most is just the fact that I’m no longer the same person I was then.
Next week we’ll wrap up the conversation with part two. What are your thoughts on Adriansings’ music? Comment below.