Back On Solid Ground (listen/download)
Back On Solid Ground (review)
“I think most of the heat comes when White people are working in the Hip-Hop genre specifically and maybe through intention or unintentionally cross boundaries and act disrespectfully. I consider myself a Rock and Pop artist who happens to be good at rapping. As a result, I don’t really face many problems or find myself in the thick of the controversy.” – Chris Cape (On Race In The Music Industry) / Fresh off the heels of releasing his debut mixtape Back On Solid Ground, versatile talent Chris Cape decided to allow The Illixer to delve a little bit further into his mind. He shares why he decided to pursue music, some of his key influences, details about the new release, and much more in an exclusive Q&A. Discover what all was uncovered after the break.
The Illixer: At what moment in your life did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in music?
Chris Cape: Both of my parents were music professionals through the majority of my childhood and maybe as a result music has always been a huge part of who I am as a person. The biggest moment of impact I can remember and the one that sealed the deal was my discovery of the Wish You Were Here album by Pink Floyd and The Sophtware Slump album by Grandaddy. Both albums were given to me from my uncle at the same time, and I can still remember that first time I played them. I stayed up all night, listening over and over and over and over.
TI: Who were some of your musical influences growing up?
CC: I had personal influences for example my mom, dad, and uncle as well as South African Jazz legend Shannon Mowday. As far as more specific musical influences go, my biggest were Queen, Pink Floyd, Grandaddy, Dire Straits, Uriah Heep, Iron Maiden, etc. I’ve gone through many phases and that was the first.
TI: For someone who has never heard your music before, how would you describe your style & sound?
CC: I’m a huge fan of 1970’s Rock and definitely consider myself part of that lineage more so than any other genre. The lyrics had a flair that resonated with the huge sound of the music. Pink Floyd’s lush orchestration and drawn out sections, Yes’ interesting rhythmic patterns, and ABBA’s crazy ever-changing chord sequences are all amongst my favorite ingredients to play with.
Another big influence is the Californian indie band Grandaddy, who manage to create the most tragic songs you’ve ever heard in a light-hearted, “kids-messing-around-with-synthesizers” kind of way. I consider Jason Lytle a genius.
The penultimate ingredient is the boldness of someone like Kanye West. I love how he often places his raps in a non-traditional context … it’s refreshing.
The final ingredient would simply be great Pop songs. How does a song like “Teenage Dirtbag” capture the hearts and minds of a generation? I want to know. I think that that song is pure genius and would love to create a piece of art that can do what that song does to me.
TI: Performing live seems to be a big aspect of your career. What do you feel are some key elements in pulling off a good live show?
CC: Knowing the songs. It sounds obvious and it is, but you’d be surprised how much that extra time put into really knowing the material helps. From that point I can relax and focus one hundred percent of my energy on the performance rather than trying to remember which bit comes next! The same goes for running a band: make sure all your players are prepped so you won’t have to worry about them on the night!
TI: Briefly describe the process for putting together your debut mixtape, Back On Solid Ground.
CC: I’ve done several releases over the years, and in all cases they have followed a more traditional Rock process. Write the song on the guitar, record all the instruments, mix, and release. I’d never previously considered doing a mixtape where I put on a pre-existing beat and write on top of it. At the time of its inception, Back On Solid Ground was a relief effort and creative outlet where I could blow off steam at the end of a hard day in the studio, where I was working on more Pop-based material, building everything from the ground up. A lot of this Pop material was being pitched in non-English countries, so my focus was more on the music than on the lyrics. BOSG gave me a platform for the opposite.
TI: What is it that you want people to take away from listening to your first mixtape?
CC: I want people to feel like they know me. These songs are entirely autobiographical. The whole project is, in fact. I’d love for people to listen and know they are hearing me talk about me. Zero front.
TI: Name your top three favorite songs on the project and explain why you chose them.
CC: “Jim Carrey”: I love the unapologetic bar by bar assassination of naysayers and the chorus still makes me smile, even after hearing it a million times. The guitar solo at the end is also a highlight for me as I played it with only one take and no prior planning; it was purely there to fill space until I found the right artist to feature. After hearing it a few times I thought “Hey, I’m leaving that as is!”
“I Only Play The Black Keys”: This song is a pure music geek party. I’m talking about a specific scale I like to write music with and how to play it on the piano (by only playing the black keys). Mid-verse I become self-aware and think, “Hey, why aren’t other music artists like this?” and go on a slightly bitter rant.
“Brixton”: I lived in Brixton chasing my dreams with schemes of getting big in the Rock and Rap scenes. This song takes me back into Brixton (London) where I lived. Pure memory lane trip.
HONORABLE MENTION: “Money”: This could easily be top three on a different day. It’s a list of all the jobs I’ve done and some of them are just ridiculous.
TI: Share any upcoming ventures that you have going on that people should be keeping an eye out for.
CC: For the next while I will get back into recording some new stuff in my old way, guitars and things while doing the promo circuit for Back On Solid Ground. I don’t want to put anything else out in the next while as I’m super proud of this project and would like to give it enough opportunity to shine. Things to look out for from me would be a more Poppy single at some point as well as a collaborative project with Marc 7 of Jurassic 5.
**My Two Cents: This was an interesting interview. I always get a kick out of learning about new artists, especially ones outside of the states. I also enjoyed hearing what Chris had to say about his new tape. One can tell that he really put a lot of heart & soul into his work as well as had a lot of fun with it. And I will definitely be on alert for the collaboration project with Marc 7. Jurassic 5 was a cool group. Back On Solid Ground is out now and available for FREE download. The Sound Cloud link and a link to a review of the mixtape can be found at the start of the post. Be sure to check ’em out when you get a chance if you haven’t already. -MinM