A Moment With One Of VA’s Finest: PHZ-Sicks (Q&A)
“As every emcee experiences, your first rap name is always horrible, so you have to come up with something new. I believe I was in middle school and I just had the idea that I was going to grab my science book, go to the glossary, and whatever my finger lands on will be my name. Fate was going to decide my rap name. Good thing it didn’t land on opposable thumbs or amoeba. Physics can explain everything about life. It’s essential to it and I feel like that’s my role when it comes to music. The spelling and hyphen were all just done for aesthetic purposes.” –PHZ-Sicks (On his stage moniker) / Thought it was high time that readers got to know PHZ-Sicks a little more in depth as they have been exposed to a good variety of his music. So The Illixer took advantage of the opportunity to pick the artist’s mind about everything from his career influences to his college education to what his supporters have to look forward to off of his upcoming project. Peep the exclusive Q&A after the break.
The Illixer: At what point in your life did you decide that you wanted to pursue a career in Hip-Hop and why?
PHZ-Sicks: I was probably 14 when I knew this is what I wanted. When you can’t see yourself doing anything else, when it’s on your mind 24/7 and you can’t sleep until you get your art out, that’s when you know this is what you’re going to be doing. I will say five years ago is when it got serious. Before then, I was battling everyone I could, taking victories, and making money off selling mixtapes. Now, here we are.
TI: Name a couple of your biggest influences on your career and explain why you chose them.
PHZ: My family and friends. They are my backbone and what keeps me going. We all hear the stories of aiming for success so that your family doesn’t want for anything. I really want for my Grandma to be able to see her grandson on TV. To know that she can get whatever she wants. To know that I truly appreciate all of the foundation she’s built for my family. And my friends are the biggest supporters of this and I couldn’t see myself without them. The second is life experiences. I really feel that using what you’re going through to influence your music is what makes music timeless. In this ADHD fast food music industry of today, we don’t allow artists to breathe and take in life to create new music and something genuine. It took me two years because I wanted to truly have something to write about.
TI: Share one of the most memorable learning experiences from your career thus far.
PHZ: I think all of my true learning experiences come from watching other people fail or do stupid things which allows me to avoid. I’m kind of meticulous and go over things in my head over and over again or practice my sets obsessively. I’m always prepared but I got that from seeing others that do Hip-Hop not be ready, seeing those artists who haven’t done much feel so entitled, and then hearing how the promoters basically blacklist them from their events. I’m really trying to climb the mountain top here and being unprofessional will not be the reason why I don’t make it.
TI: How does the education you received at Drexel University tie into your career in music?
PHZ: I’m a Communications Major so it has allowed me to communicate and be able to read people I deal with in the industry. I can easily communicate what I want and get it done the way I want it. Also, being a Minor in Film has allowed me to visually paint my ideas on digital celluloid.
TI: Briefly describe the creative process and inspiration behind the single “Coming Down” off of your upcoming offering The Moment?
PHZ: The beat led to the inspiration of plucking the moments from my life. The soulful beat produced by Best Kept Secret transported me to when I was a kid riding around in Mississippi with my uncles. I felt like the prince on his throne when I was with them and I wanted to give that feeling of nostalgia and love. I jotted that down and the second verse is where I’m at now; which is riddled with pop culture references and a sense of history which is only a glimpse of the person I am.
TI: What would you like listeners to take away from the single?
PHZ: I would love for them to be transported to the South and able to connect with the experience or that feeling.
TI: What else can people expect from The Moment?
PHZ: They can expect the last two years summed up in 15 tracks and who I am. I’m constantly growing and this is me putting my growth on the canvas with the paint brush that is my pen. Expect a great project.
TI: How does The Moment differ from your previous works like The Laws of PHZ-Sicks?
PHZ: It differs in sound with Stompboxx Music, Kajmir Royale, Epik The Dawn, and Best Kept Secret running the boards. It differs in content due to it being a collection of my life the last two years as well as it being more political and personal. While The Laws of PHZ-Sicks was a celebration following the growth of my Less Than Zero project. The Moment is the confident, reassuring, ‘I-don’t-give-a-damn-what-you-think-I’m-going-to-speak-my-mind,’ PHZ-Sicks.
TI: Your website bio states that you want to make music that is long lasting. What are some of the qualities that you feel an artist and their music must possess in order to stand the test of time?
PHZ: One word: Soul. You look at any music that has stood the test of time, there was soul in it. People were making music to capture their moment, not to capture the moment of what was popular at the time.
TI: What are some of the ventures you have planned once The Moment is released in November?
PHZ: Do as many shows as possible and create great visuals for The Moment. Maybe put out some shirts and jerseys here and there, but I’m mostly going to be focused on my music and getting it to as many ears as possible.
**My Two Cents: I enjoyed this interview a lot. PHZ-Sicks has a deep relative perspective on things. Also, I think readers will gain some new and interesting knowledge about the Virginia resident. The Moment is coming soon, so keep an eye out. Also, more with PHZ-Sicks is available via: Band Camp, Sound Cloud, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. So be sure to check him out on the web as well. -MinM