Windchill Interview

Last week I had the honour and privilege of interviewing an amazingly gifted MC by the name of WindchILL. If you are not familiar with this cat’s music, please check out this interview that Gamma Krush and I did Dope FM. It is available as a podcast so please go download it for free and enjoy the vibe.

As usual, I have spent several hours typing up this transcript so you can choose to read the interview as you listen to it. Or you can just scan it and check out some videos that I have embedded. The coolest thing about checking it here on the blog is that I drop a few videos and songs that didn’t air on the show.

I hope you enjoy this interview.

GAMMA KRUSH: “Yo, what’s going on everybody. This is Gamma Krush, a.k.a L. La R. We also got Chase March here.”

CHASE: “What up?”

GAMMA KRUSH: “And who we got up on our phone lines tonight?”

WINDCHILL: “Yo, what’s going on this is Windchill of Artists Over Industry and After.Words. United States in the building. Pennsylvania. What’s going on fellas?”

GAMMA KRUSH: “So where you at right now, right this second? What you up tonight specifically.”

WINDCHILL: “Tonight specifically is actually the Central Pennsylvania Music Awards. It’s going down. It’s where I reside here in the Central, kind of the centre part of Pennsylvania. Otherwise know as Central PA. It kind of encompasses the cities of Lancaster, York, Gettysburg, Harrisburg, and of course, any and all suburbs included. But I think it’s a fairly big event. it’s a music awards. The third annual Central PA Music Awards they’ve been doing it for three years now. As I said before, I’m Windchill form Artist Over Industry. Artists Over Industry was my first group that I got started with way back, and we’re actually up for an award tonight, and we’ve got a 45-minute time slot to rock. So I’m out back of the venue with now just pulled up got everything in line. Chop it up right here on Dope Fm for a minute, head in here, my DJ should be here any minute, get our tables set up and do our thing.”

CHASE: “That’s amazing. I’ve been doing some research on you. I’ve heard the “Before the War” album from After.Words a lot. And I saw that you actually took home solo album of the year at this award show last year for your ‘I Have Arrived’ album.”

WINDCHILL: “Just to be specific, there’s two types of awards show they do here. One has the actual hip hop award label on it where it is all hip hop and that’s where I took home the album of the year. It’s still a big event,. don’t get me wrong. It goes down in the forum in Harrisburg right down in the heart of the city. Yeah, I’m really proud of that, but that was actually two years ago now.

My album came out in 2007 but I actually won the award in ’08. But, yeah, I won album of the year. That was pretty cool. I was definitely not expecting it. I only rolled to the award show with one person. People were pulling up in limos, ya know what I mean. I just took one of my friends. I was like, ‘Yo just roll with me ’cause I’m up for this award, if I win, we’ll go get drunk or whatever. I not, we’ll go home , whatever. He rolled with me and I ended up winning. It was crazy. they called my albums name. I had to go up. It was cool. So yeah, I won that at Central PA Hip Hop Awards. And then tonight is actually the Central PA Music Awards where they’re gonna be honouring all genres of music. And like I said, the group I came with is Artists Over Industry, still together to this day, we’re up for best live act. So hopefully we’ll take that home too. ya never know.”

CHASE: “Hope so that’s amazing to see that there is such a good scene there in Pennsylvania, ’cause we’ve heard of a lot of rap acts that have come out of there and other music acts. It’s good to see that there’s that much of a community vibe and support that you’re getting there.”

WINDCHILL: “The good thing about these awards shows is that there are not big conglomerates or corporations that are putting these on. Specifically tonight, I know the production company and have done past shows with these guys. And it is kind of like that, He loves music. He loves all kinds of music, and around here you don’t always see that mixing of the genres like having rock and reggae, and maybe some alternative rock, and the ‘rap’ and ‘hip hop’ That doesn’t happen all that often. And when I pulled in here, there was no place to park. This guy throws a really good show. I’m sure it’s gonna be jumping by these evening. I can only imagine what’s gonna be going on. Yeah, the scene is not really thriving but it’s definitely growing. If you go over to Philly, then you’re good but Central PA is just finally getting its feet under them. They’re a contender at least, before they had nothing. so we’ll se what we can do.”

GAMMA KRUSH: “Philly’s got such a rich hip hop history. Ya know who’s from Philly, you don’t really need to go back. I remember you hitting me up on facebook, we already touched base on myspace, and how you kind of mistaken Harrisburg and you thought that I was from there but I said I was from Hamilton, which was kind of funny. How long has the hip hop scene in Pennsylvania been around.”

WINDCHILL: “Let me think. I was doing music when I was 16 and I’m 29 now. so I was 16 , already had the 4 track, the dubbed tapes and whatnot and there was really nothing at that point. That would’ve been 96. I’m not going to say that we started it because there were definitely cats that were doing it before us.

One very honourable mention is a cat by the name of DJ Smitty and he comes out of Harrisburg. I mean, he’s DJed for everyone from KRS-One to Notorious B.I.G. to Pharcyde, Hieroglyphic. I mean, he’s a legend to me. He’s an unspoken legend in the city and he’s such a cool dude too. He still comes out and does parties and bars and whatnot. But he’s kind of not on his grind these days but when he was in his grind he was doing his thing. I was buying his mix tapes from the local record shops.
So there was definitely a scene for a while. I would credit DJ Smitty. He was the only dude, like he would make a mix tape every week, dub like 100 copies, and if you got to Mr. Mike’s in time, that was the music store, you would be able to pick up a copy. And he was the first one ever doing that and that was the early 90’s and the I came around the late 90’s. Started rhyming in 96 but wasn’t doing anything really serious till at least 2000. And the right around there is when I met Inkwell and Gard, formed Artists Over Industry.

I would say honestly that the scene in Harrisburg was planted in the early 90’s but it wasn’t until right after 2000 when groups started emerging. So immediately there was competition and that kind of formed more groups and more groups and more groups. And that’s what’s going on right now. I mean, you’d be surprised that this little city has a lot of really dope artists. I have to give it up. I mean there’s some wack ones too but the dope ones are definitely there man. So about 15 years or so, I imagine, it’s been brewing.”

CHASE: “Nice. And Nice how we started to give it some love from a DJ ’cause that’s often overlooked, the DJ in hip-hop culture because that’s where it started. This whole thing started with the DJ.”

WINDCHILL: “You know your history man. There was DJs before there was MCs. MC’s used to just be like, “hey get ya hands up. Clap your hands’ like they weren’t even rhyming they were just doing what a hype man basically does nowadays, ya know what I mean?”

CHASE: “Exactly.”

WINDCHILL: “Speaking of the DJ. That was one thing that A.O.I had that kind of captivated people because we started rocking with a DJ. That’s when no one had a DJ. Any hip hop that was going on, like Smitty he didn’t mess around with any local cats or groups. So if you saw somebody rhyming at a show, the sound man was playing a CD. And then we come on the scene and we got the DJ spinning our stuff, scratching, and doing beat juggles, and all that stuff. I think that kind of set us apart. It gave them something that they’d never seen before.”

CHASE: “And that’s what they should be seeing. I’m reading this book right now called the Scratch DJ Academy Guide, you know the Scratch Academy that JMJ was a part of. There’s a quote in here. I’m trying to flip through it. I probably won’t find it but it says if you go to a hip hop show and there’s no DJ, ask for your money back. And I’m like, true man, ’cause that’s what I like to see.”

WINDCHILL: “I’m with you homie.”

CHASE: “Like me and Gamma Krush, when we were trying to get our music career popping, we had Gamma Krush right there spinning every night. I saw Classified, I don’t know if you’re familiar with him. He’s a rapper from East Coast, Halifax area in Canada here. But he had a DJ on his set a couple weeks ago that played the whole night, for all the opening acts and he did his own set. It was amazing! And I think that needs to be more prevalent in hip hop right now for sure. So it’s good to see that you’re holding that down.”

WINDCHILL: “Thanks.”

CHASE: “So Artists Over Industry was your first group and that seems to have transformed because some of the same artists are in After.Words. So how did that come about.”

WINDCHILL: “A.O.I wasn’t my first group but it was when I got serious. I mean, I was doing stupid stuff before that. Me and my one buddy freestyled everywhere and called ourselves Caution. ya know what I mean, and stupid stuff like that. But the first group I ever formed where the goal was like let’s make music and get it out there to the people and start doing shows, that was A.O.I. which consists of Windchill Factor, Inkwell who now goes by the name of wellace fool, and DJ Gard. Those three people are in After.Words. A.O.I is in After.Words. After.Words is just the addition of an MC named Eloquence from New Hampshire which he’s moved down to Harrisburg now to join forces with us, and also an MC by the name of Apollo Sun from York, Pennsylvania. So A.O.I, plus two other people and we formed After.Words.”

CHASE: “Excellent.”

WINDCHILL: “It was done out of creativity. We’d done solo records, We’d done group records. We’d done mix tapes. We were like, ‘Yo, why don’t we all get together and do something and let’s see what we can come up with. That was pretty much the motivation for After.Words, wanting to do something different and having a bunch of like-minded individuals around. So, we said, ‘Hey, let’s see what we can tackle, let’s see what we wanna talk about, let’s make an album. And we did. It came out pretty dope.”

CHASE: “Nice, I’m really feeling the album. Its called Before the War I’d like to drop a track off of that right now I know Gamma Krush has been spinning you guys but I’d really like to drop Maybe and come back and talk to you some more.”

WINDCHILL: “That would be excellent man, for sure.”

CHASE: “Alright so this is “Maybe” from After.Words off the “Before the War” album. We’ll be back more with Windchill Factor on Dope FM.”

CHASE: “Alright that was “Maybe.” Definitely, definitely feeling that track. And we’re here, lucky enough to be with Windchill on the phone from After.Words. So how ya doing, man?”

WINDCHILL: “Yo, what’s going on fellas. Thanks for playing the track. I really appreciate that. I want to give a shout out to a fellow Canadian who goes by the name of Vokab, down with Full Effect Productions, who’s actually the producer on that beat.”

CHASE: “Wow!”

WINDCHILL: “So I figured I’d give him a shout out as well.”

CHASE: “Nice. And you have a video for that as well. You can see it on your myspace page. I want to talk about some of lyrics on that ‘cause you’re the first MC to spit on that so people know who you are.”

WINDCHILL: “Yes sir.”

CHASE: “I really like the way we just keep coming back to ‘maybe, maybe, maybe.’ But let’s focus on a few of your lyrics here. You say, ‘This music maybe my last beacon of hope / Maybe it’s my life jacket that keeps me afloat.’ Could you speak on that line?”

WINDCHILL: “Yeah, absolutely. I am definitely the full-independent musician, like grinding to get by, living from pay cheque to pay cheque kind of job but just doing music. And I lose hope a lot, and I don’t mean to be pessimistic, ‘cause I’m normally not, but sometimes I lose hope with society. Because all they show you on the news is bad stuff and they never wanna tell you what good is going on.

So, really, honestly hip hop is my only hope to live the life that I wanna live. Because even if I would work say a 40-50 hour week job and make, I don’t know what’s normal, like $40,000 – $50,000 a year? I think that’s even high. Lets’ just go with $30 – $40 grand a year like normal people. If I had to work at a job and do that, I would be the most sour person ‘cause I just don’t believe with conforming to corporations and working, ya know? Like a bunch of people working their asses off and they get a little measly pay cheque and then all the corporate execs are down in Miami.
But without going on and on basically, my only hope for the life that I want for me to be able to be happy in life, even if I’m only make $20,000 – $30,000 a year off of hip hop, if that’s what I’m doing every single day of my life, I might not get three of four new pair of sneakers every year but I walk around with a smile on my face, I’m happy, know what I mean, I’m genuinely nice to be around unless you catch me in one of my moods.

So that’s really my only hope to live a good life. And the ‘life jacket that keeps me afloat’ line is pretty much like a support kind of metaphorical line just to support the line that I said before. ‘This music may be my least beacon of hope’ that’s like real talk, there’s no metaphors or nothing like that, well there’s a little one. And then the life jacket that keeps me a float is a little metaphorical line in support of this first line. And you could imagine that if you need a life jacket to keep you afloat, you’re probably in some turbulent waters, ya know what I mean? If you’re relying on your life jacket for survival, you’re probably in a screwed up situation. So, that’s what I rely on, ya know? I rely on my music and my hope, if you will, to get me through and bring my dreams and make all that stuff happen. Somehow or another, I believe it will happen.”

CHASE: “Yeah that’s nice. I think that’s a good philosophy to have in life too.”

WINDCHILL: “Yeah, I do put a lot of thought into my lines, definitely. And that’s cool that you asked me about them too. ‘Cause that’s what’s up.”

CHASE: “I like to speak about the positives of hip hop and I like when conscious lyrics and put in front of me. I’m like a lyrical dude, like I focus on lyrics and I’m probably gonna touch on a few more of yours here.”

I do just that in Part 2 of this interview.
Make sure to go download the podcast for free at the Dope FM page.
Windchill opens up and gets personal about his life and lyrics in Part 2 of this interview.

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See you tomorrow for Part 2 of the transcript right here.