An Interview With YOUNGFACE

By: Seamus Fay

YOUNGFACE is an artist best defined by his wide palette of sonic abilities. Whether orchestrating energy by way of hard-nosed deliveries and trunk-rattling production or looking toward a more cathartic direction with a heart-led, acoustic offering, the Massachusetts representative can do it all.

But these talents range far beyond just the diversity showcased in his musical catalog. Whether it be through visuals or in live performance, YOUNGFACE is paving his own lane, one fan at a time, all without compromising the quality or authenticity of his output. He’s charismatic and light-hearted in demeanor yet obsessive when working on his craft, and as a result, this budding act is on his way toward notoriety far beyond his home state of Massachusetts.

He exemplifies versatility in a way that few artists are able to achieve, and by working tirelessly toward his goals and constantly challenging his creative ambitions, it should come as no surprise that 2018 has a been quite the prosperous year for YOUNGFACE.

In order to better understand such a captivating talent, we here at Graduation Music spoke to YOUNGFACE about his upbringing, creative process, ideal first date, and much, much more. Read the full conversation below.


To start off, where are you originally from? What was your childhood like and how did music play a part in your life growing up?

I’m from Woburn, MA. It’s a small city outside Boston. I had a solid childhood. When I was younger, I lived pretty comfortably. My mom and dad were together for a good part of my childhood and had jobs, so we could go out to restaurants, go to the movies, and things like that. It wasn’t until later on when I was 12 or so that things got iffy and I was feeling the effects of being a lil broke boi.

My mom had a car accident when I was 9 and got a TBI (traumatic brain injury), and the next 4 years were just one thing after another. She got diagnosed with breast cancer, lost her mom, got separated for my dad, and some other shit. She handled it so well though — I’ve learned a ton from her. She managed her money well so we never went homeless or anything, but we definitely started budgeting hard and got on food stamps and all that.

When that shit was going down, I had to find hobbies that didn’t require much cause my mom had a ton on her plate. So, I skated a lot and learned to play the guitar. I used to write a bunch of songs that were just rearranged chords from Green Day songs because that was all I knew how to play. When I got older, I started riding BMX and I’d always be listening to music through earbuds. Dubstep was the wave around that time and the BMX kids were always posting new songs on FaceBook, so I started to fuck with it heavy. It was super high energy, and as someone who initially liked older punk stuff, I got drawn in. Soon, I started messing around on FL studio and that was when I started producing. I got chubby as hell because every day I’d get Dunks, come home, and sit on Fruity Loops for like, 5 hours making super ass EDM stuff. It paid off, though, because now I’m nice with the mixing.

You also used to be in a band, right? What’s the story there?

Yeah, I had always wanted to be in a band since I was a kid. In 3rd grade, I’d always try and get my friends to learn instruments so we could get that shit going but it’s hard to get people on your wave. Once I got to college, I tried to start something up with some musicians around here, and I got a lil band going.

We did a few shows, but in doing so, I realized that I don’t really work well with others. I like my art to be a certain way and I don’t really budge on it too often, lol. I take shit way seriously, too. I mean, I’m always having fun when I’m making music, but when someone starts to impede on my shit, I definitely get annoyed. That’s why I barely collaborate with anyone. Not cause I don’t like their music or whatever, I just need everything to be legit.

One aspect of your music that has especially stuck out to me has been its ability to evoke very strong emotion. What is your creative process like when writing songs?

My creative process is all over the place. I don’t really have a set way of working on stuff. Sometimes a dope record will come together in 20 minutes, and sometimes I hold songs for a year before I can get it right; it depends on how I’m feeling.

This year I was in a super low point in my life and I became very detached from everything, so I started to hate myself for a while — definitely the wrong move. I ended up losing a ton of weight and I didn’t really sleep at all. But, I was able to write, especially at like 3AM when the world is completely silent — going on walks at that time can put you into a weird state of mind where you observe everything more and think more. I don’t know if it’s the sleep deprivation or the silence, but it gets you thinking differently. When you go back to write, you have a bunch to work off of.

Do you make a conscious effort to expand your versatility and make songs out of your comfort zone? Or does the heavy variance in your catalog come naturally based on whatever you’re feeling?

It’s definitely based on what I’m feeling. Everyone who tries to help guide me in the music world is like, “ok try to focus in on your sound,” which is definitely good advice, but I can’t. I’ve never been able to. I’m just not a focused person. If something is dope and I want to put it out, it’s probably going out. I love making turn up music, but if I have bars to throw around, I’m going to do it. There are definitely records that made me tap into darker parts that mean a lot to me, though.

Where do you want to be in five years?

In my bag.

As an artist, do you think about the future ahead often? Or are you more of a “one day at a time” kind of person?

Definitely a future person, but I’m trying to change that. It causes way too much anxiety and depression for me. My head is almost always elsewhere, dwelling on the past or thinking too much about the future. Nowadays, I’ve been better. But from a creative standpoint, I want to put out so many projects and I’m always scheming and plotting. I have a ton of records that I don’t know when will see the light of day or what the best way to release them will be, but Imma figure it out. It’s good to have a plan, but sometimes, like with “Jump In The Beam”, I just decide to put it out.

What has been your proudest moment as an artist so far? 

My proudest moments are probably anytime someone shares what I’m doing. I’ve been making music in some way or another for my whole life practically, and this is the first time anything is kind of coming from it. I’ve never had labels reach out to me before, I’ve never had articles written about me, or anything even similar to that. To see people I’ve never met, as well as all my friends, sharing my stuff is the fucking craziest feeling. It’s so rewarding. I’m grateful, for real. It’s nuts to think I even have one fan.

What is one thing about YOUNGFACE that all fans, both new and old, need to know?

I could live off of burritos my whole life and I don’t think I’d ever get sick of them.

What does your dream first date look like?

Not sure, really. The last first date I went on, I took a girl to get burritos then went to the beach. It was pretty late, and maybe an hour in, this older couple was aggressively making out with their feet in the water in the distance. This really set the mood for me to kiss the girl. Then, when I looked back, the older man was getting some ignorant slop. I didn’t have the same luck. Sometimes old people have all the fun.

Lastly, what can fans expect from YOUNGFACE in the near future?

They can expect me to be rich and cute forever.


Follow YOUNGFACE on:

SoundCloud

Twitter

Instagram

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What IV Boston’s New Commercial Means For Boston

By: Seamus Fay

Boston is a city majorly defined by its success in sports. Surely, this reputation is not without merit, as years and years of championships and dynasties are sure to do this to one’s identity. But in 2018, during a time of flourishing art communities and more than enough creativity coming out of Boston, it’s time that a connection is bridged between these two worlds, allowing the city to prosper as a whole rather than in just one area of entertainment.

Here to accept this challenge is Sean Milliken of IV Boston. By presenting the city’s lesser-known history (by this, I mean the figures outside of your Tom Bradys and Larry Birds) in the context of fashion, Sean has been tirelessly working to pay tribute to the numerous legends that have made their mark in the city’s history over the years. 

His latest act — the first ever IV Boston commercial, equipped equally with scenes of Boston sports culture as it is with Boston arts culture.

Originally aired during the Celtics vs. Cavaliers game on November 30th, this commercial offers cement proof of bridging the aforementioned gap that so many have worked toward bridging over the years. Milliken and his IV Boston team are on the cutting edge of bringing their city’s abundant talent together, and as a witness of this history, we couldn’t be more proud.

We spoke to Milliken about the commercial and the direction of his brand in a brief interview. Read the conversation below.


When did the idea for this commercial come about? How were you able to get so many important figures from the city involved?

I had the idea for the commercial since I started the brand — it’s something I envisioned since the beginning. I still have the notes in my phone dated back to March 4, 2016. Fast forward to this past April/May, I reached out to my friend Gilad (Shadow Lion) who does video work asking him if he would be interested in doing some video/mini-docs for the throwback jerseys I was releasing over the summer. He was down and wanted to get involved. A couple days passed and I was planning the shoot for the Patrick Ewing CRLS throwback kit with Millyz and Patrick’s nephew, Terrance, when Gilad called me. He said he was talking with Tom Brady, whom he shoots a lot of content for, about the brand and said, “we want to make this a bigger thing and shoot a commercial”. As soon as I heard Gilad say those words I was off and running with the idea I always had for a commercial.

We had the camera and crew available for a couple days in May, so I hit up some friends and tried to work out a schedule for the two days we had the equipment, all while knocking out the Ewing stuff, as well. We shot a few more times in the following months when we were able to get everything together at once.

Shoutout to everyone who was involved, it means a lot. And big thanks to Chris Herren for doing the voice over.

How does this commercial communicate the vision of IV Boston?

I feel like Boston has always had this divide between sports and the arts. We have the best sports teams/athletes in the world and it has always baffled me why no one in these high positions, or positions of influence in the city, have ever combined the two or made a connection for local artists with some of the high profile athletes. I’m happy to see it starting to get better, with Stizz voicing Celtics commercials and things like that. I want to see more of that.

So yea, the vision is showing [Jefe] Replay in Dudley alongside Charlie McAvoy taking slap shots, if that makes sense.

I imagine this commercial has to be a dream come true for you, in some ways. Explain the feeling of watching your commercial play during the Celtics game on live TV and what it meant for you. 

It’s crazy, very humbling. Wouldn’t have been possible without Gilad, everyone involved, and the people who support the brand and see what we are trying to do for the city.

Lastly, what can supporters expect from IV Boston in 2019?

The second collection of “Boston Legends” with the throwback kits. We’re releasing four kits in summer 19, telling that history, and giving the city more stories of the local legends while educating the youth on the basketball culture of Boston and Mass as a whole. Definitely some special things in the works.

Cousin Stizz Talks His Sound, Boston, Social Media, & More With Power 106 LA

By: Seamus Fay

Fresh off of the release of the stellar new 3-pack EP, Cold Times, Cousin Stizz is the subject of every headline right now. He’s a star in the making and an undeniably captivating personality, so much so that it’s always a blessing when we receive a new interview with the Fields Corner native. Today, Stizz hits the Graduation Music pages alongside Power 106 Los Angeles, offering a question-and-answer video all about Boston, his influences, daily life, and much, much more.

Stizz has been quite active over the past month or so in terms of dropping music, so be sure to keep an eye out for more possibly on the way. And if you haven’t already, listen to Cold Times here and All Adds Up here!

Catching Up With WHYTRI

By: Seamus Fay

When I first started conducting interviews for Graduation Music, the hardest part was discovering artists that were actually willing to take a chance on a small website and spend the time to answer a few questions. Not many people were reading the blog, the social media accounts had little to no following, and quite frankly, there wasn’t much reason for an artist to be excited about being featured on Graduation Music in the first place. However, an artist by the name of WHYTRI decided to take this chance early on, becoming the subject of our second ever interview (which you can read here).

Looking back at that moment, now nearly a year and a half later, I can’t help but be thankful for the growth that both WHYTRI and Graduation Music have undergone over time. TRI is making some of the best music he’s ever made, and now ready to unleash his newest project, ABP (A BAD PORNO) on September 30th, we decided that it would make perfect sense to catch up with our old friend and speak about things such as performing, creative process, inspiration, and much, much more.

Read the full conversation below.


WHYTRI! It’s been a minute since we last talked. How has life been? What has been going on lately?

DAWWWGG IT’S REALLY BEEN A GRIP! SMOOTH YEAR AND SOME CHANGE!!!

Life’s been weird, man, I won’t front – it’s been good, though. I’m very happy for all the blessings that came my way from shows to records I’ve been writing to the inspiration level-up from watching my friends and team grow. This 2018 was a WILD ride for me man. A bunch of valleys and peaks but we here, so I’m happy about that. I’m hoping to end this year as strong as I entered it, you feel me?

Thank you for also watching me throughout the time and keeping notice, man. That’s love for real. Lately, I’ve just been working on figuring out how I can level up music-wise and brand-wise. Looking at how WHYTRI can develop more of the fans and give them both the expected and the unexpected of where my head has been at.

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You’ve been fairly active with performing this past year. How important is live performance to you as an artist? Especially with the energetic nature of your music, I feel as though it definitely adds another dimension to the image. Can you expand on this?

Performing is VERY important to me man. I want to be like the new Bobby Brown. All the energy the crowd gives off helps push my music because I get excited to see how all my songs will do live — especially the ones I make with live performance in mind. Going down the line, the goal is to become a very strong touring act.

The WHYTRI image is definitely backed behind strong energy and live shows, so I’m definitely going to continue building on it by crafting better shows and making sure the music continues to hit HARD.

Musically, we’ve seen a lot of growth from you over the past few months. How would you describe the progress that you’ve made as an artist?

I appreciate that a lot man, I started this year kind of in my own head when it came to my music. I felt like I had to figure out what people wanted from me as an artist. So after KAHUNA I just focused on writing and cutting records, really absorbed into the craft. I eventually got to a point where my team was like don’t worry about what people want, just worry about what I want to say and what I  want to do and people will gravitate towards it.

I feel like I developed my own style of rapping very well and figured out my way of attacking records and crafting my best work every time. I’m less afraid to put out records, because now it’s like if I drop and it HITS, then word, let’s keep it moving. If it drops and it MISSES, then word, let’s keep it moving. I feel I have a great potential and I’m just focused on hitting that mark then surpassing it.

We need to talk about the new project. What has been your creative process throughout its making?

Well, this new project is actually a Digital Cassette tape, making it two sides. Sonically, I wanted to do something a bit different from KAHUNA but I also wanted to distribute it in a different way, as well. The first half of ABP holds fun, obnoxious, out-of-the-box energy all in your face. I love everything about it.

A lot of this inspiration came from watching old Bobby Brown videos while listening to records. I’m a huge Bobby Brown/James Brown fan because of their unapologetic attitudes and in-your-face approach to entertainment. It’s a level I aspire to meet. 

A lot of that touched this project. Also, the vibes of the late 70s/early 80s were so fire. I wanted to make something fun, bouncy and unapologetically myself while still being raw and loud. However, I also wanted to give it a little back-in-the-day type of vibe because so many people are focused on being “rockstars”. Just be yourself and you’ll be okay.

How did the idea for the tape originally come to mind?

ABP started from me being in the studio just cutting records and listening back. The project didn’t really coming into fruition till my sessions with C-SPRING. We made TIPTOEJOE & YERRR and I immediately wanted to turn it into a project. After that, I just continued cutting records and looking at other ones that could fit the energy. It wasn’t until I had a conversation with my friend Dexter who told me that records such as “SNORKEL” and “BITCHRUDUMB” were super raunchy and sexual but still funny and grimy that I really got the idea for the project. From there, the title punched me in the mouth and just felt like nothing I had ever heard of before, so I worked around it and created everything!

Sound-wise, what were your main inspirations for the project?

Bobby Brown and James Brown, bouncy melodies, and neck-breaking drums. I LOVE my drums bro — if the drums don’t punch you in the mouth, it’s not for me man. My focus for ABP was to just make a project full of bops. Something you can break your neck to, especially on the hooks. I actually did a lot more rapping on this project more than I expected to which was tight.  I also feel like ABP was my first attempt at trying to craft an album. I feel like each song flows into the next and sonically, it’s super cohesive — every idea has a solid start and finish. I’m working on treating my smaller projects like albums so that when I get to that album level it’ll be some great work.

What do you want listeners to get out of the tape? What does it tell us about WHYTRI and the direction that you’re headed?

I just want listeners to have fun. This is something to bump when your down and want to feel good again — get your spirits in a happy order, you feel me? This is me showcasing a lot of my personality and being real with myself while also telling some real stories. We live in a time where many aspects of life feel super serious, so I just want to put out some amusement and entertainment for everyone. Just know that when the B-Side hits it’ll be a completely different vibe from this one.

When you sit down and write a song, to what degree is personal experience of importance to the process? Your lyrics seem to dig quite deep, emotionally. How do you go about translating your emotion and life into lines on a song?

A big thing I wanted to work on this year was becoming more honest with myself.  With records like VOMITBWOY I feel like I’m starting to understand the importance of saying how you really feel because people truly appreciate that. Personal experience is very important to me because I don’t want to put out or write about experiences that aren’t me. I want to be as honest and genuine as possible in my records. My music isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so I don’t expect everyone to like it, but I at least want to know that they will respect it which matters even more.

Lastly, what’s your personal favorite song on the project? Which song was the most fun to create and why?

GUESSWHOIDK  for SUUUUREEE! It was the first time me and my dawg BEATO got to do something together that wasn’t a show because he’s usually my DJ. That song came so organically — I was driving around and he FaceTimed me saying he had some heat. Played it over facetime I was like “oh yeah we need that”, drove up to Providence the next day, made the song, and laid it down. Me Beato and Nino, who helped bring the visual portions of ABP to life, looked at each other like “yeah, this is the one”. We ended up making it the single for the project. That record is just so tight. It reminds me of my version of Bobby Brown’s “Humpin Around”.


Get ready for the forthcoming release of ABP on 9/30 and connect with WHYTRI on:

SoundCloud

Instagram

Twitter

Catalyst For Growth: Underground Underdogs Takes On Boston

By: Seamus Fay

Boston is an interesting spot right now. As compared to just a few years ago, the city is going through a musical renaissance, but even so, Boston still falls under the radar when brought into the context of the national hip-hop stage. Half of the fight comes from finding artists who represent Boston to go out and spread the word to the rest of the country, while the other half arises from giving national, more accomplished acts a reason to hop on a plane to Boston in the first place.

Needless to say, it’s a work in progress, but thanks to a number of key figures in the music community, our city has made some monumental leaps toward growth in recent months.

Quite possibly the most prominent of these developments is last month’s Underground Underdogs show featuring Coldhart, Zubin, Horsehead, Fantasy Camp, a number of opening acts, and several special guests. Blending Boston artists with bigger names from several different parts of the country, this show gave people a reason to see what was happening in the city beyond the few standout acts they usually hear about. In such a way, Underground Underdogs provided a strong sense of community and further so, a chance for some native artists to really get their names out there — both of which brought over 300 people into one room where geographical identity was strong, positivity was ample, and a visual manifestation of the future of our city became a reality.

That said, it’s important to thank those who were behind such an important night for Boston. Although we here at Graduation Music were unable to attend, we spoke with the three central minds behind the show — Jack Angell, Nathan Copes, and Disorder Ming — all about how Underground Underdogs came together, the goal of the show, the future of Boston’s music community, and much, much more.

Show some love to these much-needed catalysts for growth and read the full conversations at the link below.


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Jack Angell (@jackimissyou)

Explain your role in the process of putting together the Underground Underdogs show. How and why did the idea of throwing a show come up in the first place?

So I definitely can’t take credit for throwing the show alone. My friend Nathan Copes, who has made a name for himself taking photos of GothBoiClique, came to me around July asking me if I wanted to throw a show with him. Being from Boston, I really wanted to throw a show here, since I’ve done shows in other cities already.  After we decided to start organizing it, I used my connections through the Underground Underdogs and Copes used his connections through photography to ask artists if they wanted to perform.

Once we booked everyone and finalized a lineup, our buddy Disorder helped get us the venue. After that, it was more or less just promotion, and I had a lot of help from my design team to make some great posters and videos — basically using our formula for promotion that we’ve done in the past. I felt like there was a such a demand for a show like this in Boston, and everyone involved just pursued this idea full speed. We completely did it ourselves.

You mentioned on Twitter that this is the first show you’ve thrown in an actual venue. What other places have you thrown shows in the past and how did it feel to see such a DIY vision turn into something that could sell out a 320+ person venue?

It’s honestly surreal going from a warehouse show in Watts, Los Angeles to a fully established venue in Boston. I loved that LA show, it was super gritty —  dirty subwoofers, broken mics, and even a kid in the crowd spray painted all the walls in the ‘venue’ lol. That show was just a group of 70 or so people that loved music. I also did a show in Chicago at another warehouse, but that was on a much bigger scale. It was a concert that transitioned into a party, and something like 600 people got into the show, but another 500 or so people were lined up and didn’t even get in. It was like a line for a nightclub or something, it was absolutely insane.

This Boston show was definitely nice being in a venue since I didn’t have to worry about security or soundcheck, and most importantly didn’t have to worry about the police showing up. Plus I’ve seen some great shows at the Sonia, so it’s one of my favorite venues.

Every show I’ve thrown has been unbelievable to me, since I never anticipated throwing shows in the first place (I don’t know what exactly I was anticipating with Underground Underdogs). Looking at a crowd of fans moshing and singing at the top of their lungs is one of the most rewarding feelings, knowing that you have a room full of people that are there because you had the idea to throw a concert. It’s pretty amazing to have people to come up to me and say that they had the best night of their lives or something like that, cause I really just feel like some dude who impulsively decided to put together a lineup that I wanted to see as a fan myself. It’s a beautiful feeling to see that these shows have a positive impact on others.

Boston isn’t necessarily known as a hub for rap music to the rest of the country, and it has certainly remained below the radar for rising talent in recent years. I suppose in this sense, I would definitely consider it an “Underground Underdog”. How did the idea of Underground Underdogs come together?

I’ve always been into music discovery, no matter what genre. I guess I would have been classified a hipster a couple years ago (I was a “you probably haven’t heard of them” headass). Eventually, I got into the SoundCloud scene in 2013/14. I was really into a lot of that stuff, whether it be in the GothBoiClique vein, SadBoys, or Goth Money. But Underground Underdogs started in my dorm room. Not a lot of people know this, but UU was only an online college radio show for a while. My roommate was applying to our college radio station do some indie rock show, and the idea of a “SoundCloud rap” hour came to mind.

After a while, I realized interviewing artists was something I was interested in. I did a couple interviews, and eventually bought the website domain. I had no idea what I was doing or how I was going to do it — I just kind of wanted to write about people that weren’t getting written about anywhere else, and to do it on a basis of talent, not pay-per-article type of shit. UU really was just a passion project that eventually became bigger than myself. I wouldn’t be here without some luck and a lot of help from the UU team.   

In your eyes, what does a show like this mean for Boston?

As you said earlier, Boston is a true Underground Underdog. I feel like everyone who gets successful gets out, or they leave and come back successful. I know people will disagree with me, but in my eyes, there’s not much opportunity here as far as music goes. Yet Boston has such a demand for a music scene and its already full of talented creatives doing what they love. The hip-hop scene nowadays is so URL, all online. I think a show like this is important since it gives people the opportunity to see their favorite artists in person. Once again, a show like this is bigger than me, it’s bigger than you. It’s just an example that a group of kids who really care about music can do something all by themselves — no promoters, no external help, no bullshit. I hope Boston recognizes that.

We don’t need to wait for anyone else to bring a music scene here, we literally can create it ourselves. It’s surely not going to be easy, it’ll be stressful, and you’ll make mistakes on the way, but it’s possible to manifest your aspirations and make it a reality.


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Nathan Copes (@nathancopes_)

Explain your role in the process of putting together the Underground Underdogs show. How and why did the idea of throwing a show come up in the first place?

My role in putting together the show was putting together part of the lineup and funding the event. I hit up my friends Coldhart and Horsehead to see if they would be interested in a doing a Boston show and then Jack [Angell] and I hit up our friends in the music community and built the lineup from there. Jack and I were talking about doing an Underground Underdogs show for 2 months before pulling the trigger on it.

In your own words, what is the mission of Underground Underdogs?

We would like to have more shows like this in the future and are already in the midst of talking about who will be apart of it. The fact that we hit capacity so early in the night just shows that these types of lineups and events are what people want to see and although hard to coordinate so many people on a lineup are worth it in the end.

How did you select the lineup and why did you decide that you wanted to throw the show in Boston of all cities?

Both Jack and I are greatly influenced and take interest in the goth/emo side of underground music. I do a lot of photography for the genre and seeing a lot of the shows first hand I get a pretty good idea to what the community wants to see in a show. Jack, Ming, and I agreed that we wanted this show to be a showcase where every act was anticipated and not just 1 headliner how a lot of shows are. We decided Boston because in the past 1-2 years we’ve seen an enormous community built of people who love the underground music scene. Jack and Ming are also from Boston and I am from Connecticut.

Was there any one moment during the night where the importance of the show really hit you? If so, what was it and why was that a moment of realization for you?

I would say talking to a lot of people, afterward, helped me really realize the importance and excitement the show gave for the people who came. People told me the crazy distances they traveled to get there and to me, that really put things into perspective.


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Photo Courtesy of Sushi Sanders

Disorder Ming (@disorderming)

Explain your role in the process of putting together the Underground Underdogs show. How and why did the idea of throwing a show come up in the first place?

I told Jack earlier in the year that when it came time for him to throw his first show in Boston, we were doing it together! I am so proud of the growth I’ve seen from Jack in the past year. I remember meeting him last summer through him wanting to take photos of me and the shows that I was either throwing or apart of. (RIP JACKSVISUALS) He was so driven that his success now makes perfect sense in hindsight.

Why did we throw the show? Because Underground Underdogs Shows have happened in LA & Chicago — Jack’s hometown was just the logical progression for his 3rd show.

How? The show came together extremely quick, Jack & Copes hit me up and told me to find a space. I made a call, and we had Sonia booked for 8/29 in about 15 minutes. We reached out to the artists, confirmed the lineup and sent out contracts. Artwork and a marketing strategy was created. The show was announced about 3 days later.  

You’re also a DJ that has performed in numerous shows around the city. How did Underground Underdogs compare to other shows you’ve thrown? What made it special?

I know I have been saying this a lot lately, but it’s important. Disorder is a duo when billed as a DJ.  I am one half & Fred is the other (@bstnfred). DJ’ing is just fun for me — I don’t care about how the crowd reacts, I just play what I feel. There are days when I want people to dance, there are days when I want people to mosh, and there are days when I want people to leave. I’m the only DJ in Boston that will play Sheck Wes directly into Joy Division — I like to make people think.

I’ve thrown a few classic shows this past year in Boston, but I will say that none have compared to the UU show. On both the performer side and curator end, it was fucking lit.

What made the UU show special was the fact that we were starting full-on circle pits during our set, and the fact that I dropped a few Taking Back Sunday songs & the crowd flipped out.

Plus, I was passing out Cane’s chicken all night (Shoutout Owen for sponsoring my addiction to Cane’s Chicken.)

How would you describe the sense of “community” that exists in Boston, particularly in the underground music scene?

We all support each other. Buying tickets to shows means a lot, constructive criticism means a lot too. I look at 2018 Boston underground & feel the same way I felt about 2012 Boston underground. 6 years later, it’s amazing to see the growth & the success of everyone from 2012 on a musical and overall creative level. We are now living the second renaissance — 6 years from now, who knows? Hopefully, we will all have left a profound effect on the youth that inspires them the same way our local heroes inspired us to create. Anything is possible. If you asked me 2 years ago where I would be & what I’d be doing, I never would have imagined any of this.

I struggled for awhile with finding my role and channeling my creativity into something that I can live off & be happy with myself over. Looking back on it, the past few years were all learning experiences that molded me into who I am today. You just don’t realize that until after its over.

In your mind, what is the impact of throwing a show of this magnitude in Boston, of all cities?

Boston consistently gets dubbed. Most of the booking agents in this city are completely out of touch with the underground. Venues would rather book “safe” and reliable mid-grade national talent than take a risk on something they might not understand. Shows like this happen weekly in LA, but it’s oversaturated in LA as well. We can do this in Boston once a quarter and sell out whatever venue we chose, but if we keep doing these too much, the market will oversaturate and the idea of seeing something “rare” dies, which will decrease attendance and ticket value.

We set this show up in 48 hours & sold out Sonia. We booked a cohesive mixed bill of regional and national talent that had enough crossover to appeal to a broad spectrum.

While it’s cool throw a huge show like the UU show, never forget that we sell out the Middle East Upstairs consistently with LOCAL talent only. You can put together a great show in so many different ways.


Thank you to Jack Angell, Disorder Ming, and Nathan Copes for their participation in this article and for throwing the Underground Underdogs show in the first place.

Just look back at Boston’s sene in 2012 compared to now.

We got this.

An Interview With Lil Cxxp

By: Seamus Fay

An artist by the name of Lil Cxxp first crossed my screen just a few weeks back thanks to the anthemic single, “Forever”. Immediately, I was taken back by the conviction and emotion behind the rising talent’s voice, and considering the way he was able to translate the energy of a rock singer so seamlessly into the sonic direction of a rap song, I knew that I had stumbled upon something special.

Since then, I haven’t been able to keep Cxxp’s music off of repeat, as he’s already made two appearances on the Graduation Music pages in the span of just a few weeks. It only follows that we had to do an interview with the highly-talented act, so we’re here today to offer up a conversation with Lil Cxxp about his influences, creative process, goals, and much more. Read the full interview below.


To start off, where are you originally from? How did you first get into making music and who were some of your early influences?

I’m from Boxford, MA – a small town like 30 minutes north of Boston. I got into music one night during junior year of high school while freestyling at my boy’s crib. Next day, me and my friend Conn went to Guitar Center and bought some cheap equipment. Never looked back since.

Growing up, I was looking up to Lil Wayne, Kanye, and Kid Cudi. My stepdad bumped Snoop, Jay Z, and Biggie, and my dad would put me onto every type of rock.

What does your creative process look like when creating new music?

Once I have the beat I want, I usually freestyle the hook until I find the right melody. Then, I’ll write through the verses. A lot of songs I just freestyle through because I used to write every day for 3 years.

Where does your inspiration stem from?

I’m inspired by life, bro – everything I see, I take it in and reflect on it through music, the good and the bad.

Whenever I listen to your music, it brings forth a kind of energy that certainly shows parallels to that of rock music. Do you have any rock influences? If so, how do these influences translate into the style of music that you want to make?

For sure, Rolling Stones Stones, AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Linkin Park, Nirvana, Foreigner, Green Day, Blink-182, Foo Fighters, The Killers, Paramore. I never really dove into all their albums but yeah it’s like a blend between all the generations. I just loved the energy that all brought. They made me wanna yell and just go hard while using my own flows and different approach. I’m a fan of good music and being able to blend rock and rap wasn’t intentional. It just came out one day.

What’s the most rewarding part about being an artist and why?

Probably seeing everyone enjoy my music and having fans DM me saying that I’ve helped them get through something. That’s all that matters.

Your bio on SoundCloud includes the phrase “Introverted Dreams”. What do these words mean to you?

I consider myself an introvert. I like to be alone and in my own head. I’m always thinking about how I’m gonna make this music shit work and sometimes it drives me crazy. No one can take away the power of your own mind, though.

What are your goals for music? Ideally, where do you want to be in five years?

I want to be one of the best of our generation besides X and Peep. I’m really just taking it one step at a time. I wanna make sure all my family and friends are good first. I’ve got a long road ahead.

Lastly, what can fans expect from Lil Cxxp in the future?

A bunch of singles, music videos, and a project before the end of 2018.


Connect with Lil Cxxp on:

SoundCloud

Instagram

Twitter

An Interview With Danny Diamonds

By: Seamus Fay

In all my time covering new music for Graduation Music, the artists that have always stuck with me most are those who never seem to compromise the quality of their music just to increase their output. These are the artists who seem to care most about their art, and naturally, by releasing only once in a while, they tend to make much more noise when a new song or project finally does come out. Such is the case with Massachusetts-based artist Danny Diamonds.

Diamonds has been on my radar for over a year now, and by staying true to himself in every sense of his artistry, it goes without saying that his stocks are rapidly rising. This budding talent has always been a Graduation Music favorite, so it only makes sense that we reached out to him for an interview. Read our conversation about Danny Diamonds’ beginnings, creative process, hair, and more below.


To start, where are you originally from? How did you start making music?

I grew up on the edge of Brookline/Allston, MA. One of my best friends in 5th grade started rapping and he got a lot of attention at school. I always thought I could do better than him, so that was kinda why I started writing music, to affirm myself.

What has been the proudest moment of your career as an artist as of yet?

Honestly, the completion of my song “The Fall” is up there as probably my proudest moment. I’ve never been so diligent with a song before, in writing or recording. Every lyric is such a clever bar (double, even triple meanings) and the background vocals are so dense and perfect. One of my favorite tracks that I’ve ever made for sure.

Who are three of your dream collaborations?

Medasin, Monte Booker, Snakehips.

Explain the creative process behind your latest EP, For The Record. How long has it been in the works and how did everything come together? What was your mindset while creating the project?

The theme of the EP was actually based around “Stuck” which was the first song I finished on the project maybe last December. The concept was to sort of make a collection of songs that were all about my romantic encounters with women, but from different chronological parts of the relationship. The writing of each song is in a different tone and describes a different situation but they are all based around that raw emotion that develops from investing a lot of time into someone whether it’s “I don’t give a fuck anymore” or “let’s figure this out”.

The project didn’t flow as cohesively as I had hoped so I decided to rename it as an EP. Now it’s more of a collection of what I’ve been working on as of late and really a statement about where I am as an artist + how much I’ve progressed in the past year. The theme is still somewhat there though.

We have to mention it — everyone loves the hair! It adds some individuality to your image. Who is an artist that you look up to in terms of the way they rock their own hair?

Thank you bro, I don’t really look up to anyone really for hairstyle. I’m honestly just feelin the long hair right now.

How and when did you and Chase Murphy meet? What made you decide to join forces and create Golden Boy Music Group?

I met Chase when I was a Sophomore in High School. We did a lil freestyle session at his crib the first time we chilled and he said he wanted to start recording my stuff at his place. We recorded a bunch of my old songs on his lil bedroom setup and became really close during that time.

One day I came to him with the idea for Golden Boy and he was invested immediately. I think GB really perfectly embodied what we both wanted to accomplish with our music overall, especially from the standpoint of being from Boston (a city not very well known for Hip-Hop). Our image plays into the branding really well too.

Lastly, what can fans expect from Danny Diamonds in the future? What can we expect from Golden Boy Music Group?

Now that the EP is out I want to really branch out with my music in terms of genre. Right now I’m focused on kinda pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I also want to get back to my electronic roots a little more — that was always my favorite type of instrumentation to write to.

Any fans of GBMG have a lot to look forward to! Chase has some really amazing music on the way and we’ve got a lot of shows planned in the upcoming months. Look out for that new Golden Boy merch and also a website that we’re hoping to launch before the year is out.


Connect with Danny Diamonds on:

SoundCloud

Twitter

Instagram