Interview - Beardless
In an interview with Beardless, we discuss his roots as a rapper, ILLECTRIC GOLD, and recently relocating to D.C. Read below to know which elite hip-hop group he would be apart of and what to expect from his set at TNT. CSDC: You're a fairly new rapper with only two projects out, when did you decide you wanted to rap as your career? Did you have any different aspirations before?
Beardless: I decided that I wanted to create music at a higher level around five years ago when I was a senior in High School. Before that, I was always interested in the idea of creating music, and I would mess around with some online programs, and just strictly try to have fun with creating patterns in the beginning. I had people around me that were taking their music seriously though; my brother Sterling (aka Pharaoh of Darrow) was already making dope tracks with a friend, and at one point I felt like I was not able to reach the same level that they were at until my senior year in high school. By that time I had a certain sound that I had developed from all those times just trying to have fun with the music, and I realized that I really wanted to continue to build on that.
Before I ever thought about music I was so focused on film and television production. That was like my favorite thing about school, and I knew I had to be involved in our program because I was so intrigued by all the things that go into creating a film. I am currently still heavily involved in film/television production; I still love it. Most recently I finished an independent film that was shot in Atlanta titled “Maggie's Farm” where I received story writing and acting credit. I’m glad that Jacob Vinnes and Kyle Korzonowski helped bring that idea into reality.
CSDC: You are apart of the Atlanta collective ILLECTRIC GOLD. How did that form?
Beardless: Yeah, I’m currently a part of ILLECTRIC GOLD. Recently, we’ve been trying to convert the title from being a collective into being more of a label. Each one of us agreed that we are trying to grow more as individuals. With that being said, we would prefer to be seen as individual artists just so we aren’t expected to have all of our music being done together as a group. Don’t get me wrong though, we still are going to make tracks together, do hella shows together, and we’re all feeling stronger than ever with our progress. But, we just don’t want people to expect that we are always going to make group songs.
ILLECTRIC GOLD formed after Sterling (aka Pharaoh of Darrow), Dallas (aka Dallas Winston), Ben (aka We$o) and myself made a track together during a random session that we had. We didn’t really know that we would end up creating music with each other, and achieving as many things as we did. We kind of just understood each other and we all knew that we had something different that drew us together. Before ILLECTRIC GOLD, we were friends from school and had mutual friends, but we didn’t see one another as often as we do now. Sterling and I would run into Dallas at like random shows in Atlanta. I think the first time we spoke to Dallas about making music was at a Flying Lotus show. We used to see Ben at hella house parties, and one of those parties we spoke about music. He was in a rock band at the time, but he also had raps written and maybe one rap recorded. So, Sterling created a group chat with us, and asked them if they wanted to just meet up and listen to what we’ve all been working on individually, and maybe even record something. I remember when Dallas played a super dope beat for us and we recorded that night. Ever since then, we knew we had something.
CSDC: Tell us how being in DC influenced the creation of your upcoming mixtape, "Care Less."
Beardless: Well, by moving to DC, it was a continuation of my outlook on life. The title “Care Less” describes both how I create music and how I live by not caring so much about the what-if’s, and doing exactly what I want to do.
CSDC: You claim Chicago, Atlanta, and now you're in DC, so you have experiences as an artist in each area. Which area has your favorite local music scene and why?
Beardless: I grew up in Evanston, IL, just a bit north of Chicago, but being from Evanston we obviously were in the city often. Chicago is raw. I love that place. A lot of my favorite artists come from Chicago, but I don’t think the current music scene in Chicago was better than Atlanta’s for myself. I began creating music in Atlanta, and I have tons of friends that also do music in Atlanta. It was easier to start working on doing shows because in the Atlanta scene, there is music everywhere, all the time. Also, I feel like that scene has open ears in some cases meaning that they are open to hearing new sounds and not just one specific thing. ILLECTRIC GOLD'S first performance ever was at a house show with a line up full of rock, and indie music, but our friend Drew Kirby (guitarist for Mother’s) who curated the event put us on the line-up, and sort of trusted that we would get it lit. Now when we do shows in Atlanta, it feels so comfortable and we have people that are willing to come support us.
CSDC: Who are your top five rappers?
Beardless: This is always the most difficult question for me to answer. I love way too many mc’s to pick just five, but for the sake of the question, I’d go with Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Blu, Kendrick Lamar, and Method Man. It’ll probably be different after this interview.
CSDC: If you could be apart of any classic hip hop collective (Diplomats, Wu-Tang Clan, Bad Boy, etc.), who would you chose and why?
Beardless: I’d go with Wu-Tang Clan. First, you get an endless supply of RZA beats. Just listening to their music, they always seemed like they were having so much fun in the studio and that would’ve been a wild thing to experience. Plus, I think the idea of putting someone’s nuts on the dresser, just their nuts sitting on the dresser, and bangin' them with a spiked bat would be raw.
CSDC: What can we expect from your performance at TNT?
Beardless: You can expect brand new music. You can expect ILLECTRIC GOLD producer Dallas Winston to show up lit and ready to down some brews. You can expect myself to also down said brews. Sharing is caring.
All photos by Magdalena Papaioannou for Capitol Sound DC.