Fresh off the release of his latest album, Young Hot Ebony, The A&R Report caught up with Father to discuss his love for Chevy Impala’s, his favorite New York emcee and the trials and tribulations of being an artist and head of his own record label.
A&R Report: In your eyes, what has been the response to your music? Did you think it would be as well-received as it has been?
Father: No, I didn’t think about it really. I had no idea it was going to head in such a good direction. I didn’t know where it was gonna go honestly. I thought it was gonna hit here, there and everywhere a little bit in sprinkles but I didn’t think it was going to be as amazing as it’s been. I was kinda shocked, like really?
A&R Report: In which direction do you turn your wrist?
Father: Technically it’s to the right, but it’s to the right and then in I guess (laughs). It’s reverse. It’s counter-clock wise. Yeah, counter-clock wise.
A&R Report: In your lyrics, you reference cars a lot. Are you really into cars?
Father: I have a thing for Chevy Impala’s. When I was growing up, my mom always drove Chevy Impala’s. She was always like, “I need a 96 Chevy Impala” and I would be like “Word mom. I do too!” (laughs)
A&R Report: So, Father. Why did you choose that name?
Father: It’s empowering a little bit. It can be conceived everywhere across the globe. I hope it doesn’t come off as oppressive. I’d like it to be perceived as something that’s familiar and friendly. It’s not meant to be serious. It’s fun. I want people to have fun with it.
A&R Report: Let’s talk about the music scene in Atlanta. What and whom are you influenced by?
Father: When I first started listening to Gucci, that did kinda take over for a hot little minute. That’s all me and the whole crew were listening to for a good year. Straight. I remember the year we celebrated 1017. We actually celebrated on that date. We even went to Wal-mart and got cupcakes. But yea, we were going in kinda hard with the Gucci. He’s a big influence. Before that, I was listening to a lot of New York artists. I was listening to a lot of Big L and Big Pun.
A&R Report: Who’s your favorite Hip Hop artists from New York, dead or alive?
Father: Definitely Big L.
A&R Report: Are you or were you a fan of West Coast music?
Father: Oh, hell yeah! But I go through phases. Sometimes I go back and reference music that I like from different eras and areas. I did have a West Coast phase.
A&R Report: From production to lyrical content, how has the culture in Atlanta influenced your sound?
Father: It affects it in both ways. When I first started, the stuff that I was making was a little off-set. It was weird. As I grew and focused on how to bring my music current and on par with what’s popping right now, I adapted after learning certain things like the way 808s sound in a song and certain things like that, that really get parties going. You want to be current but you also want to be original. It’s about balance because you don’t want to be too ahead of your time.
A&R Report: Is all if your production done in house?
Father: It’s all done in house. Everything is done by Awful Records.
A&R Report: Look At Wrist seems to be the fan favorite. What is your favorite track off of Young Hot Ebony?
Father: I really like them all (laughs) but I have two. The first one would be [Why Can’t I] “Cry $$$”. It’s the most different. It’s kind of in its own category amongst all the other songs. I really like that one. Then the second one would be the last track, Comin Back (featuring Pyramid Quince, Archibald Slim and GAHM). It was originally called it “Gone” but I renamed it “Comin Back”. This one is a favorite mainly because of how it comes in. It comes in so smooth because of the homie Quince. Quince laid the intro to that joint and I was just like “oh my God this song is so cold”. It all came together really well.
A&R Report: Your visuals are so far outside of the box. Can you shed some light on your creative process?
Father: Sometimes I have a very nice idea of what I want to do. Other times I have just a rough outline. I usually just throw myself into a situation and hope things will come together organically. So if it’s a thing where it’s like it’s supposed to be a high energy party, we throw ourselves into that environment and aid ourselves with whatever we need to get into the mood.
A&R Report: Thinking of that and the Look At Wrist video, was that the first time you, Makonnen and Key had heard the song after recording it?
Father: That was very much how it happened. I’m actually glad it came across that way on the screen because that was how we envisioned it. It wasn’t anything planned like “hey, let’s pretend that we just made the song even though we made it two weeks ago.” Key had just laid his verse. He was the last to record his vocals. When he was finished he went and sat in the living room. I was like “Man, chances are we’re not all gonna be here in this room together that many more times.” We all kinda just knew that it’s about to get real hectic for all of us.
A&R Report: Artists like Kendrick, Curren$Y, Dom Kennedy and Nipsey Hussle have been successful taking the independent route vs signing to a major label. What is the vision for Awful Records? Would you consider a joint venture with a major label if it was offered to you?
Father: I mean, really. It all depends on what I want and what they’re trying to take. It’s about how much I’m willing to give up. I’m not willing to give up a lot so it would have to be on my terms. If it’s not something that I feel will be lucrative or if it’s going to hinder me or my team, then I’m not going to go forward with it. If it’s going to benefit all of us, I’d be more than willing to talk out a deal with a major. I’m not trying to be a snooty, hipster where it’s one of those “oh, I need to be independent” type of situations. That’s not how I feel about it. It’s really all business. I want to be able to have control over my business and my creativity with what we want to do. That, I will not give up. I would just want someone to be like, “you’ve made yourself poppin’ independently. Obviously, you know what you’re doing.”
A&R Report: From there, all you would need is more capital to be able to take things to the next level.
Father: Precisely. The music industry is like the drug game. It’s all basically the same thing. (laughs)
A&R Report: Let’s talk about the structure of Awful Records. How did the label come to exist? Who is signed to the label?
Father: There are 14 artists currently signed to Awful Records. There’s Ethereal, Slug Christ, Archibald Slim, KeithCharles Spacebar, Stalin Majesty, Rich Po Slim and Abra, to name a few. Oh and Playboi Carti is also with us.
A&R Report: What challenges would you say you face with being an artist and running a business simultaneously?
Father: You don’t have as much time to be for self. You want everybody else to be for self. It’s like, “hey, worry about you” but at the same time, you’re worried about you and making sure that everyone is all good. You’re making sure everybody’s straight. I have to be so conscious of time. Every time I make a song, I do my best to make sure it’s the best song ever. I can’t sit and make songs all day everyday like a lot of people can and then pick from the best ones. So I have to make sure every song that I make is a jam.
A&R Report: I discovered your music after a friend had turned me on to Makonnen. How did you and Makonnen initially meet? How would you describe the nature of your relationship?
Father: We actually met first. Before Awful Records had became a solidified thing, we were Awful Media Group. We threw parties, did graphic design and video production in the area. Dexter is usually the one who introduces me to new stuff before it pops. One day he played the “South Side” joint when Makonnen first did that, which was like one or two summers ago. Not too long after that, we had him come to a party and we continued to remain cool with each other. Then one day, I saw him on Twitter like “hey, I’m doing verses right now.” And I was like, “What? Man, I’ve got this cool track called Nokia.” I sent it over to him and it was on from there.
A&R Report: Are there any upcoming female rappers on your radar?
Father: Dej Loaf. That’s an obvious one right there.
A&R Report: Money. Power. Respect? In what order would you put those words and why?
Father: Respect, Money and Power. And why? Well, first you build people’s respect and you tend to get money after that. If you have people’s respect and money, then you’ll have power.
A&R Report: Do you listen to your own music, when you’re just hanging out at home?
Father: Of course, that’s how you get better and become more familiar with your stuff.
A&R Report: Who else do you listen to?
Father: We party a lot, so I listen to a lot of “turn up” stuff. I love Young Thug. Peewee Longway and Yung Gleesh. Anything thing that we can turn up to really, we listen to.
A&R Report: Do you make music for the art of it or for fame?
Father: I definitely enjoy making music. I just want to be able to make money doing it so that I can continue to just make music and art.
A&R Report: Love & Hip Hop Atlanta is extremely popular. What are your thoughts on Reality TV? Would you ever consider doing reality television?
Father: Honestly, people only do Reality TV when they’re on their way out. I hope that I will never be so desperate where I’d have to do something like that. I don’t want anyone following me and my family around. I still like to think of myself as a private person and that’s where I’d draw the line.
A&R Report: How would you describe your growth from Lil D1ddy to Young Hot Ebony?
Father: Like a staircase. I didn’t give out more than what people were asking of me at any given time. It was kind of like a 3 then a 6 to now where it’s like a 9/10 with the reception from Young Hot Ebony. I try to keep it, supply and demand. As the demand grows, I’ll continue to supply. Like a staircase. The plan is to just keep building and building.
Young Hot Ebony is currently available on iTunes. For a live experience, Electric Circus + Rocksmith present Rae Sremmurd, OG Maco and Father on October 21, 2014 at SOB’s. Tickets can be purchased on-line at SOBs.com.
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