THATLOWD spent some time with our longtime friend Merch, an eclectic artist, actor, rapper, musician, gamer and computer genius who just came out with a self-produced project called “The Beautiful Before.” He also just released a track through THATLOWD, “Made Me,” which you can listen to exclusively below. Enjoy!
So… who’s Jennifer?
My inspiration for the song was Imogen Heap. Hide and Seek is one of my favorite songs of all time. Imogen’s middle name is Jennifer. Watch the music video and read the review of Jennifer here.
How did you get into making music?
I think the first verse I wrote was at 14, and the first song I recorded was at 15. One of my friends growing up was rapping, and I thought he was cool, so I wanted to rap too. I felt like I had a lot to say, I probably didn’t *laughs*.
What were your inspirations growing up?
Growing up I was heavily inspired by Kanye. I grew up in the Bronx, so most of the rap I grew up listening to was New York. I listened to a lot of Cassidy, Dipset, Dmx, Papoose, and Jadakiss. Once I realized I would never be as hood as them I started rapping less until I discovered Kanye. He showed me I didn’t have to be hood to say what’s on my mind.
What are your inspirations now?
I’m inspired by a ton of stuff at the moment, it really is everywhere. If I were to boil it down to people I would say, Kanye, Donald Glover, Jordan Peele, Jerrod Carmichael and Zane Lowe. I’m super inspired by artists who are able to express themselves and excel in multiple mediums. That balance to me is incredible and something I’m trying to figure out every day.
What are your biggest fears in getting into the music industry?
Not being fun anymore.
What are some of the biggest struggles you are experiencing in chasing this career? What are the best parts of chasing it?
It doesn’t really feel like a chase to me. It’s just self-expression. My ultimate goal in music is to be able to fully express myself sonically. I think that shit takes years, and is really hard. Sounding like yourself is the biggest challenge I think right now for a lot of artists.
One of your lines in “Jennifer” reads “Didn’t wanna give me beats so a nigga learned that shit.” Could you elaborate on this and on how much you feel relying on yourself is important vs. relying on other people while in the quest for your objectives?
I found myself in a place where I wasn’t a fan of the production I was hearing. It didn’t sound like me. I found myself changing my sound and style depending on the beat, as opposed to me actually trying to represent myself and say what’s on my mind. After so many years of looking for beats and producers to work with, I figured it was time to just learn it myself. Make the type of music I wanted to hear.
I think at the end of the day, no one will care about you or your goals as much as you will. Ultimately I would love that close-knit partnership with another creative where we can just go into the studio and make an entire album together. (Drake and 40, Michael Jackson and Quincy, Eminem and Dr.Dre) But until then, I’m not excited by waiting around, and I’m starting to like the stuff I’m making on my own *laughs*.
When will you know that you have made it?
Hmm, hopefully not ever. But buying my mom a house would make me feel like if I died I wouldn’t be mad.
As your music video for “Nuerons ” and your gaming videos show, you are a gamer. How big of a role do you feel music has in the world of gaming and how do you see the two working together in the future for you and other artists?
Yo in all honesty, I think the best producers are also gamers [laughs]. I think gaming is similar to movies. It’s one form of art influencing and inspiring the other, and vice versa.
For me, I’m not quite sure fully how I’ll be able to blend the worlds. To me they’re already blended. So whether I’m composing for one or voice acting in one, I think it’s already there.
What’s Spiderman to you?
Spider-man to me is the idea that no matter what circumstances you came out of, you can be something greater than yourself, and still being a good genuine person to people. The struggle is a beautiful thing that makes for an even greater story, and positivity always wins….always.
He’s definitely my favorite character in fiction.
What’s your motto?
Let’s figure it out.
Could you tell us more about your beat-tape “First Fantasy”? What made you decide to make a beat-only tape and what was the process the guided you through it?
I started producing a little over a year ago and wasn’t sure what to name my beats so I started to just name them numbers. I wanted to track my journey as a producer and by the time I made 14 beats, I was really proud of the work I did. I think a huge way to track your journey is to release your work. Because then it’s no longer yours, you have to move on at that point.
So in order to make sure I moved on, I released the first 14 beats I made into a project. It’s a play on Final Fantasy, but since this is my first project I’ve ever released I called it first fantasy. There was also 14 final fantasy main games out at the time.
You just came out with a new tape, “The Beautiful Before.” Tell us a bit about it.
The Beautiful Before is the beginning portrait I’ve always wanted. It’s me starting this journey of self expression through music in body of work form. It’s me being extremely excited for the future while talking about exactly how I feel right now. The beat tape was a stamp. Me charting the beginning of my production journey. But as an artist this is 100% my first project.
What about the exclusive track you released with THATLOWD, “Made Me.” What’s that story there?
Made Me is track with an ex. I think that says the most ever. We’re still cool and I like her, but that energy of having an ex lover on a song talking about love is so special to me. We’re not even talking about each other on the record, but that energy is there.
Wow, after listening to “Made Me” and its lyrics I think that the fact you sung it with an ex makes it even more powerful.
I’m as vulnerable as possible vocally, and I’m saying stern things. It’s a duality
What is your dream collab?
Childish Gambino, Ludwig Gorranson, Imogen Heap, Billy Joel, Lido, and Kanye West. All on the same track would be even better.
Who is your favorite emerging artist?
What was the first concert you went to?
Puddle of Mud with this girl I had a crush on but was totally in the friend zone.
What’s the craziest concert that you’ve been to?
Yeezus tour in Staples. Went twice, both times changed my life.
What have you got going on now?
I’m acting a lot at the moment, and going on a tour at the end of November for The Beautiful Before. It’s really weird, and all over the place. So I dig it. Details to Merch’s tour below!