After their early set at Sasquatch!, Seattle’s very own hip-hop trio — Brainstorm, S.E.V. and Fearce Villain — along with producer Bean One sat down with Nick to talk about the rap game, their past and their future.
So how are you guys liking the Gorge? Have you been here before?
Bean One: No! This is all of our first time.
Oh yeah? How did it feel?
Fearce Villain: Super sick! The energy’s great, the weather’s great, the stage is great, the sound is great.
You guys really filled up that main stage pretty fast.
S.E.V.:Yeah, for the first act. I think sound check helped us a lot because then people knew something was going on.
So you guys have been going since the ninth grade?
Fearce Villian: Pshh… more like the summer of eighth grade. We all just turned 22. Well, besides Bean One, he’s a fossil.
Bean One: I’m a fossil, ha! I’m 32.
I saw a picture of that homemade studio you guys made way back — does it feel like you’ve come a long way?
S.E.V.: Fuck yeah. A long way.
Bean One: All that they did, when they came to my studio they were so ready. They were some of the most professionals I’ve ever dealt with in the studio. You know what I mean, just from all that hard work they did prior to that.
“Space Music,” as far as compared to the rest of the Seattle hip-hop scene — I don’t know if harder is the right word — but it’s different, not like that Blue Scholars, Gabriel Teodros… do you think that’s an important thing for the Seattle scene right now?
Bean One: Yeah, I mean equally as important as their sound is, you know it’s just another representation of the art form. The high energy, to me, it relates a lot more to what people are typically used to hearing somewhat sonically, as far as the high energy and the aggressiveness of it. But at the same time it’s light hearted. You know, half the people put us in a party group, and I don’t know what the other half put us in.
Brainstorm: Some would say we’re “too hip-hop.”
Bean One: It’s definitely a big difference from Seattle because I was, you know, in a part of 10 or 15 other hip-hop groups in Seattle and it’s always been more of a mental and slow…
Brainstorm: And emo. I’ll say it. It’s emo shit.
Bean One: Yeah it has been. It was that era of hip-hop at the same time but the shows weren’t lively in the same way that these guys bring the live element to it.
So you guys have been playing some big shows lately… you did Pit Bull, Scarface…
Brainstorm: We actually backed out on the Scarface.
Bean One: The promoters called us to hook up the show and then waited until like two days before the show to ask us what we needed and the typical stuff and we didn’t think that was a professional attitude. We’ve done a lot of shows, like we went to Canada and did Mos Def and got kicked out of backstage. We didn’t get any drinks or anything.
S.E.V. After a lot of that we just don’t deal with bad promotions.
Bean One: But after the show they were so nice to us!
Fearce Villain: Yeah after they seen what we could do, because they didn’t know what we could do.
S.E.V.: Always, it’s always that way man when we walk in the spot they kind of just give us that look, but when we walk off it’s a whole different story.
Fearce Villain: That curiosity, you know what I’m saying, they’re already judging you as soon as you walk in there, looking at you like “What can these guys do?”
Do you feel like you have to prove yourselves a lot?
Fearce Villain: Yeah, well that’s what I love about it.
S.E.V.: It’s not even about proving, I mean it proves it but we go out there like we ain’t trippin’, like “think what you want.”
Bean One: We enjoy the challenge. Most of the crowds thatwe thought would be the hardest ones to win over have been the easiest.
Fearce Villain: I think our goal is kind of to make it hard for whoever’s going after us. Like, we make it really hard for them to put on a good show. So we like “You want to put us first? You sure?” and we go out there and do our best and make it real hard for that next person to come up.
Brainstorm: (laughing) That happened at the Pit Bull show. We’ve done that a lot.
So, me included, there’s kind of this white suburban fan base of hip-hop. Out there that was kind of all it was, how do you guys take that?
Fearce Villain: We never started saying we were making music for one set area. You know, we come from different parts of Seattle, and it’s not like we’re trying to make straight hood music. We’re making universal music for everybody. It feels real good when we can get that love from all parts. I mean, we love it.
Bean One: And like I said, I’ve noticed we get more from that than our own genre.
S.E.V.: Exactly. Like if we did a regular hip-hop show at Chop Suey, it’s cool but it’s not the same energy at all. But when we do a show out in the middle of somewhere where nobody really knows too much about who you are it’s just a whole different scene and whole different element. It’s crazy to be actually able to win over that type of crowd. It was definitely a good experience. It makes me feel good, shit, I won’t lie.
What are you guys expecting from your Warped Tour stops?
Bean One: Man! Fun, and a lot of people.
S.E.V.: Yeah, I think we’re coming back here again so I’m excited. I love it here, it’s crazy.
Fearce Villain: Definitely, it’s a real good venue out here.
So kind of back to the Seattle hip-hop scene, staying locally relevant is pretty huge. When you start to blow up — I mean you already are — but when you start to blow up a little more is that something that sticks with you?
Bean One: Yeah man! Seattle hasn’t had an icon visible to the nation since Mix-A-Lot. That’s like 20 plus years ago. And not that he needs to get out of the way or anything but you know it’s time for something new. Where every other city flips over monthly or yearly whatever, you know when we would take the record to record labels they’d be like “Oh, we thought you guys would sound like grunge” and it’s like “You know we actually do hip-hop out here too.” But Seattle has so much influence on our music, and you know the northwest doesn’t have a signature sound yet.
Brainstorm: We will be that signature sound real soon. Real soon.
So I have to ask you guys about the song “Let It Be”— I really connected to that song, I liked it a lot. What’s the story on that?
Fearce Villian: Man, to be honest, you know I had a lot of stuff built up. And that song wasn’t intended to do anything. I just wrote it and came out to Bean’s and was I like “Man I just want to get this off my chest. The sample was actually flipped totally different, that song didn’t really sound like that, and after I made it I was like “This is cool and I’m glad I got it off my chest” and then like two days later he hit me up and was like “Man you got to hear this song.” I think as a matter of fact I was picking up D. Black from the airport and I had the CD with me and I played it to him and was like “Damn, this song is actually good.”
Bean One: It’s one of the most requested songs at shows and stuff. It’s ridiculous. But that says something too. It’s so honest of a song. That’s the type of music that lasts forever.
Brainstorm: It’s some real shit.
S.E.V.: When we speak about the mixtape, there’s a lot more stuff that ever since we got started with “Space Music” til now, we’re getting more personal with our music. So with the mixtape you’re going to hear a lot more about what Dyme Def’s really about on the personal side. We’re just stepping up. If you like “Space Music,” you’re really going to like this new album. With the mixtape, we looked at that and it was our baby but you got to grow, the next album has got to be better.
When’s that going to be dropping?
Bean One: June 22, at the release party at Nectar. All ages. I think Kublakai, Neema, JFK, The Physics are all there.
There some big collabos on the album?
Brainstorm: We got one, well I got one with Young Buck. We got a lot of good drops and stuff from people, we got a drop from Bun B.
So what’s in the future for Dyme Def?
Bean One: It’s almost more just the future of the record industry. It’s like, where can we find an opening to do it? We’re ready. The album is ridiculous — nothing on the mixtape is making the album. These guys are definitely not lazy.
Brainstorm: We on some Pac shit. (laughing) It don’t even matter if it’s a song that’s going on anything, if it’s a song that needs to be recorded it’ll get recorded.
So you guys are pretty prolific, been doing a lot of recording?
Bean One: As much as possible. It’s tough with everyone’s life; I’m married with two kids, he’s a club monster, he’s got kids. We’re really all aiming to where we’re can make money so that’s all we can do. Just wait ‘til we can unlock that potential.