Two artists from opposing genres have joined and created mixed magic. With depth, aggression, and paid homage to the greats, Chino XL and Rama Duke have surpassed boundaries and found a new home for music. That place, the shelter of creativity, is in these creative artists minds. Lucky for us, they not only share it with the world, but I got a sneak peak into their thoughts. Now it’s my turn to share.
Shockwave Magazine: When it comes to musical tastes, have you always transcended genres?
Chino XL: I believe so. Great compositions transcend genre, space, time, and aim high for classic as per literature.
Rama Duke: Absolutely. I was lucky to grow up in a household where my stepfather at the time was a bassist in a band. We had everything from Fishbone and The Chili Peppers to Van Morrison and Stevie Wonder. No matter what genre, if it’s a great song I’m listening to it.
You’ve had history with Red Hot Chili Pepper’s track, “Under the Bridge,” what is it that keeps bringing you back to it?
Chino XL: I think there’s literally a magic inside the song.
Rama: I’m stuck in my youth as far as music is concerned. Blood Sugar Sex Magik was a staple, and I have continued to sing and listen to that whole record to this day.
The press release states your song is about coming out on the other side of addiction as well as overcoming negative childhood experiences; those are very vulnerable subjects and relative to so many. Can you tell us more about what it was like being so open on this track?
Chino XL: Relative, I see what you did there, nice. I’m always asked how do I put myself out there in my music. I think that, maybe, because I was doing it so long, and since I was so very young, I don’t even see the constraints of honesty and vulnerability that other artists might.
Let’s get technical, who did what and how’d they do it; the writing, the arrangement, how did you collaborate this?
Chino XL: The writing, the verses, I did myself. The interpolative, Anthony Keidis course, Rama. The production, Jared Gosling.
Tell me about the moment this idea manifested.
Chino XL: We were all together finally in the studio and Rama was touching up her hooks, and I was finishing up the verses. When I wrote the line, “I tried to step into the light but it was blinding, try’na cover up my tracks like little Danny in the shining,” I knew I was there. When Rama did the “uh huh” ad-lib in the second verse, and when Jared laid the scratches, this thing was realized into a real manifestation.
Rama: In the process of creating my rock album I was in the studio with an arsenal of sick musicians; Gary Novak on drums, Tim Lefebvre on bass, and Orbel Babyan on guitar. Jared Gosselin, who was the producer of the track, told us this was an idea that Chino and him had. So, we rocked it out. From there Chino wrote his lyric and Jared took what we had and made it the hybrid that it is today.
Are you thinking of doing more hybrid tracks? I sure hope you will.
Rama: We absolutely are. Our group will be called A Bad Day for Sorry. We are in the studio as we speak.
Chino XL: For sure, although we don’t see them as hybrids. They are just Rama’s true to form rock and my true to form lyricism.
Can you describe your dynamics working together?
Rama: Chino and I have strong personalities and know exactly what we want. I think we keep each other grounded. We blend extremely well.
Chino: We laugh a lot, cry a lot, and thank God for this gift called music. She writes and comes up with concepts, I add on at times. Sometimes I’ll come in with a concept written and ready.
As an obvious rock fan, what are your thoughts on where the Rock industry stands within mainstream media?
Chino XL: My hope is that underground creativity will find its place deservedly amongst it more.
Rama: You know, I’m not well-versed in music today. I listen to music from my childhood as well as things that stick out to me be it Muse, Imagine Dragons, etc. -Very few and far between. One thing, I can say is I deeply miss bands rocking it out. No gimmicks and raw content.
What’s next on your musical agenda?
Rama: I’m putting myself in different projects to explore my love for all music. I’m looking forward to releasing my solo rock album in the future and finishing this EP is my priority as well. I feel like Chino and I have something very magical and once in a lifetime, so I’m very much looking forward to sharing that.
Chino: We’re working on an EP; the name of our group is Bad Day for Sorry. It’s a throw bottles through windows, set fire to your past, choke the universe till it gives you what you want, nail in the coffin of disingenuous music.
[Chino XL throws the metal horns and drops the mic]
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