During the pandemic and this time of managed retreat, Music City is presenting a series of Offerings & Reflections from musicians, music teachers and students, music lovers and music enthusiasts. If you’re interested in contributing to the series, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our first Offerings & Reflections is a brief interview with Ray Sykes. Ray is a prolific producer, organizer, and artist who performs under the name Sykez. Ray has uploaded his extensive discography to bandcamp where you can purchase everything for only $40! Today, Friday May 1st, bandcamp is waiving their share of all revenue, so that all money spent on bandcamp goes directly to the artist. We encourage you to check out Sykez work and purchase his discography today or next Friday!
You’ve just uploaded a lot of your music to bandcamp. Is this your complete works?
It’s not everything, some of this stuff is actually hidden, like my first projects are hidden. But this goes back to 2012, and uh, it’s just kind of most of the projects that i’ve put out together with the ones i was working on but never put out. Some of it is compilations- a B-tape, compilations of songs with Idris (Asad), Dre, and my brother (Juice). A couple of EPs.
If you were to recommend three albums to listen to, which three?
The most recent, Pink Flowerz, BoomBap Diary, and maybe the earliest, Politically Incorrect.
Can you tell us a little about those three?
Pink Flowerz is from last summer. At that point it was supposed to be the last project of a bunch: Amonnie’s (Chill Tyler) Overflow, Juice’s Volume 2, Idris’ water kolors, … I was the producer for all of these, and mine was the last one. Its definitely one of my favorite projects. It felt more intense to make it. I had just come off of getting my computer stolen, and i had to get a new one in the middle of working on the project. Probably the hardest project to put together, because I was working so much on the other’s projects, time for mine felt squeezed. I wrote some of this stuff in hotels, just to get away from everybody. Just like my brian on 100, just reaching. As far as the sound, its kind of all over the place. But the sequencing of it is a mood, almost. I can’t quite figure out how to get that mood again. I still go back and listen now and it sounds different to me every time. I think the song writing is kinda well balanced too. I didn’t try to force anything, and I took my time more.
BoomBap Diary – this was a pet project I had in my head for a long time. That was just kind me putting together lyricism first and foremost without worrying about anything else. Just lyricism at the forefront, not stuff that you necessarily dance to but like hear cool sequences of words and just nod your head and stuff. Its kind of for the hardcore underground hip-hop fans. I’m in that subgenre of fan. That’s where I come from. I never was the mainstream guy. I always liked the old school boombap, guitar, drums, soul samples and stuff like that. It was me focusing in and dedicating a whole project to that.
Politically Incorrect is from 2012, December. This project was like, I had done projects before this, but being in the group SoundBox, it was kind of like, I took the garbage time, almost. After we [Soundbox Bandits] were done working on a project I would just sneak off and make a song. A lot of those early projects were rushed or half finished, just 30 seconds of a song, all over the place. So that summer, we came back to Ironworks and it was my first project where I sat down and focused on the mixing, locked myself in the booth. I was working, and when it came out this was the project that made me realize “oh i think i’m pretty good at this, I think I can do this….” This was the project that gave me my confidence. I pretty much hide all of my earlier work. This is the one that’s the beginning. I feel it’s the beginning of my solo career.