VTHH: Where were you at creatively when you were putting together beats for the Outlook EP and working on honing those tracks?
Rico James: This is a loaded question for me. A lot of people don't know, but last September I had an incident and suffered a traumatic head injury which left me with a fractured skull and some bleeding around the brain. The brain is a complicated thing, and took 6-9 months to heal and repair itself fully. When something like this happens to you, you have a lot of time to think and evaluate different aspects of your life. You realize what is important, and more importantly, what is not important.
As I rebounded from this injury, I took a step back with my music making and started making beats for the love again and not thinking about the outcome. I make beats because I truly love it, and I love sitting down, digging through records, and chopping samples. I got to a place with my production where I was overthinking and analyzing everything I was creating, which just leads to becoming stagnant and not ever finishing anything. Once I was able to tune out all the bullshit that comes with artists and egos, and just make beats I like, my productivity levels have been at an all time high and I'm more confident than I've ever been with my art.
Right now, I'm making beats that I like and that I want to make. That's it. That's what makes me happy. The beats from the Outlook EP came from this period of just creating and not worrying about what anyone else is doing. PreciseMC has been a very good friend and fellow creative mind that shares a similar passion so he took these beats and ran with them. This was long before we had the title "Outlook", but that title could not be more relevant than it is to this project. My outlook has changed on what I'm doing and creating, and this EP is a reflection of that to the fullest. We made music we enjoy. We are happy that others are enjoying it as well.
VTHH: Who are your influences in terms of structuring & plotting out albums?
Rico James: A major influence for me on album structuring is Cunninlynguists and the production from Kno. Their albums have such a good balance of some deep, introspective songs, mixed with some light-hearted uplifting songs. That balance is very important. If you go too far in either direction, you'll lose people. They can hit every mood throughout the entirety of their records.
Those records resonate with me and can almost transport me to different times as the record plays. I strive for that. I want to give you everything. Dark stuff, serious stuff, silly stuff. It should all be there. It should be a journey of sorts.
VTHH: When are you guys playing next?
Rico James: We are very excited to be playing at the Mavstar album release party on Sept 21st. This is happening at the Community Of Sound - 4 Howard St loading dock across from Dealer.com.
Other than that, we are just getting to work on our 3rd project as PR DepARTment and we will see where it goes.