Interview by Mary Sekela
Teetering on the brink of stardom might sound like a walk in the park, but Chuck Inglish is working his ass off. Luckily, it only took us a couple of tries to find a break in the schedule and get together for a chat—and the wait was well worth it. Chuck is a hell of a guy, and one dedicated artist. We talked L.A. life, the solo grind, and what it’s like to feel the need to slay the radio waves with a new rap genre. (Oh, and his current Internet status as “the reserved half of The Cool Kids.” Wikipedia fail.) Busy doesn’t even begin to cover it, but this Midwest native loves the daily challenge of modern hip-hop production.
So, you’ve only been in L.A. since April of 2011. How do you like the city?
I’ll politically correctly answer this question. I like L.A., but I’m only here for one reason: To work. This is a work vacation for me. I do like this place, though. I like it; I just haven’t fully figured it out yet. I like to be focused, so I only go out when I DJ. I don’t like the distraction of going out to go out. I go out, and I see the DJ booth, and I want to be in the DJ booth.
Where are some of the places you’ve DJ’d?
I’ve DJ’d Greystone, Dim Mak Studios. I’ve done like everything but Supperclub and Playhouse, the big electro clubs, because I refuse to play electro.
So you still consider yourself a hip-hop artist?
Yeah, for sure. Rap is my roots, but the way things are sounding now, that’s just the root. I’m not trying to be in a box of anything. I really want to change the way people classify music, especially rap. Rap is just rap, there’s no sub-genre of rap. Rock’s got all these sub-genres, and I would love to be in another sub-genre of rap.
What about trap?
I like trap, but I never really made it like that. Detroit people didn’t listen to Atlanta shit. Now it’s kind of crazy because the trap movement is starting to blow up, but it’s like electro with spinning high-hats. It’s not really trap; it’s like dub-step with rap beats. It’s trap-step. I like trap-step though. That’s funny.
So how long have you been producing your own solo material?
I was encouraged by Mikey (Sir Michael Rocks) to do it this year. Because I never really wanted to. I love producing for other people, but it doesn’t get me to tour and I love touring. I love doing shows and I love rapping. But the solo grind is different, because I’m used to having someone here and not doing all the work. Now if I do the beat, I gotta write two verses. I used to just do the beat, think of the hook, Mikey would knock out his verse and I’d knock out my verse. But I needed the challenge. I needed to stand on the island by myself and see what I can do.
Have you been reached out to a lot as a producer recently?
Yeah. I’ve made connections with every single person. I think now I want songs to hit. I have songs on the backs of peoples’ albums, free releases. I don’t want this to sound corny, but I want to take over the radio. I would love to give them the sound that no one else has, because the radio is very boring. And I understand popular mass, so I just want my shot at it. That’s why I’m actually in L.A., to keep working and build up to the day when I get that shot, ‘cause I’m gonna kill ‘em. I grew up idolizing Timbaland and Pharrell’s sound, and I always wanted to be the combination of them but crazier.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced since you started your career?
Trying not to let what me and Mikey started get too commercial or out of our hands, where we don’t have it no more, someone took it and now we can’t control it. I’m a big control freak with my music so it’s hard in a game where everybody pays you to have more control. They give you an advance to take control of your life. I can’t do that. So that’s my biggest challenge, trying to keep control in a world full of people who want control.
Have you Googled yourself lately?
Well I looked up your name before the interview and the only thing that it says is that you’re the “reserved half of The Cool Kids.” Do you think that’s true?
I’ll take that. I’m kind of reserved. That’s a very lazy description.
What would be the word you would use to describe yourself?
I’m cool. Cool. That’s kind of why I came up with The Cool Kids, because it was the most obvious thing I could come up with. Everybody’s been calling me cool since I was a baby. I never freak out. Everything’s cool.
Here’s a fun one: If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?
I would have to say Jimi Hendrix.
Right on. Why?
Because, he was the most mysterious figure ever. People are still trying to figure out what he did. And he mysteriously disappeared, so I would want to sit down and talk to him like, bro, what the fuck?
Are there any questions you always wish people would ask you? What do you want to talk about?
This is where the reserved part comes in, because I’m very to myself and I don’t like to give personal stuff away. But I would like anyone to ask me, what’s the next album gonna sound like? So I can tell you you’ll have no fucking clue. You don’t know how crazy it’s gonna be.
Chuck hopes to release his full solo album, Convertibles, soon early 2013.