Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

DRXCULV Interview

Published in Blog, villin. Tags: , , .


DRXCULV is a Des Moines-based MC and producer, and his new album, SUBURBAN NIGH+MARE, is aptly titled, bearing a deeply embedded sense for the nightmarish terrors provoked through everyday life. There’s a heavy flavor of collaboration throughout the release, featuring the likes of Chino Vivid, Lil AR, HXD, King Luu, and fellow Blackshoe Inc. crew member Imma, but despite the communal aspect of its creation, the lyrical focus often reverts back to one of isolation and paranoia. Speaking to this, in our conversation DRXCULV commented on the track “RIPDEADTEEN,” noting that “the song is about a collective that I used to be in before I joined Blackshoe Inc. that ended up breaking up, and all the members disbanded.” This, he said, influenced his internal feelings, which can be heard as a “feeling of paranoia and distrust throughout the album.” That’s where we began our talk, looking at the release as an autobiographical reflection of what he’s been going through.

villin: From the beginning to the end, there’s a thread of paranoia and distrust that runs throughout the album’s lyrics. When we were originally talking about SUBURBAN NIGH+MARE, you commented on how this album was going to be different in that it leans in the direction of autobiographical rather than fictional. Besides the two threads I mentioned, what are some of the main themes you’re hoping to communicate with the release?

DRXCULV: My main objective with this release was to showcase my vulnerability both as a human and as an artist. I feel like in this day in age it’s a lot of pressure to always come off as perfect, or “bigger than life”on social media, and that can be an easy path towards depression for many people. So instead of just making a album full of all my highlights I wanted to take time to talk about my insecurities and imperfections.

villin: “Stockholm” has a line about feeling angry, only to then also feel regret, and in “American Dream” you rhyme, “And when the going is tough and when the going is clean / Everything that you see be killing your self esteem.” My takeaway from this sort of thought is a recognition that the contributing factors around us might be negatively influencing us, but that there’s a considerable amount of personal responsibility still felt for the feelings that follow. I’ve been there, feeling lost by it all, only to blame myself for being in the position I’m in in the first place… despite also recognizing I have no control over so much of what’s causing me to feel the way I do. What thoughts were you having when trying to put these two songs together?

DRXCULV: Well, firstly, I was having a lot of feelings of overwhelming self awareness. And not just for my personal position in life but awareness of the collective consciousness and what we all have in common when it comes to the negative thoughts that we have. And when I started thinking about this topic i started to think about how American Media and Western Society values in general will basically take your hand and walk you down a path of insecurity and distrust, which really is in the government’s best interest. It’s easier to control a group of anxious insecure people than any other group. But what makes matters worse is that we gladly allow this thinking into our minds because finding a new way to think would be too much work for the average person .

villin: There are a few sources of lyrical inspiration teased on SUBURBAN NIGH+MARE, and there’s a line from “Girls I Trust” that I particularly appreciated because of how I could hear it coming from someone like Lil Wayne. “If the shoe fight / I mean if the shoe fits / Only shoes I give a fuck about is ‘Blackshoe’ bitch.” But on the other side of things, where did you draw inspiration from on the production side and what are some of your favorite moments, musically, from the release?

DRXCULV: I really appreciate that you named Lil Wayne because that is actually a huge inspiration and was my literal first favorite rapper growing up. The instrumental behind“Girls I Trust” is definitely one of my favorite musical moments. It samples a song from a female lead band named “Men I Trust,” hence the name. Another moment I was proud of was the ending of the “B Roll interlude.” I’ve been really fascinated with synths and keyboards so I used that ending to give myself space to have fun and experiment with the different sounds on my keyboard. And My favorite beat on the whole album was the one for “RIPDEADTEEN.” I spend a lot of time looking through old music to sample and turn into a beat and that specific sample is one of my favorites I’ve ever found.

villin: In “Midwest Paranoia” you have the line, “what’s the point of making music when you from I.A.” which sort of aligns with a moment from “Monster on Maple St.,” where you mention how local music is on decline. What were your thoughts behind these lines; they seem to come from both a place of defeatism.

DRXCULV: With the “Midwest Paranoia” line, it came from a place of feeling like screaming into an abyss. Living in Iowa, which is really just fly-over land, it feels like in the grand scheme of music our area doesn’t matter or doesn’t get paid attention to. And even though, like myself, a lot of artists here are doing this strictly for the love of music, it would also be a dream come true to make a living off of what we do. But again, living somewhere like Iowa makes that dream feel very unrealistic sometimes. Which then brings up the “local music on decline” line, that it’s hard enough that we live in a place that not a lot of people pay attention to, but in my opinion only a handful of artists genuinely take it serious, too. There’s amazing talent and work that is taking place in [Des Moines] but a lot of it isn’t [taken] serious because of the amount of lower than average stuff that comes out.

villin: With last year’s ANTIPORN there were a ton of examples where you cited horror for inspiration, and in this album Dr. Faust gets a shout out. The true horror, in my ears, comes late in the album though, where the narrative focuses on a recognition of homicidal urges which leads not to external violence, but to isolation from others. In “Fox Creek Drive,” there’s a line that repeats, “Evil shit has been my personality.” I’m wondering if you could explain the connection between that darkness and the self-alienation that seems to follow.

DRXCULV: Firstly, I’ve just always had a fascination with horror and the darker side of things. I feel like, as humans, something about our brains make us very interested/intrigued whenever those topics are bought up, so I like to play with that psychology with my lyrics. And the alienation and almost homicidal feelings comes from simply being Black in America. From both sides of living. From being into things like rock music and film and things that aren’t usually celebrated in the Black community, that definitely enabled my feelings of alienation. And the homicidal urges comes from dealing with these systematic oppressors and even the people who look like me who are only in this for personal gain, and don’t think twice about not helping something who’s the least bit different from them.

Living in this reality it would make anybody distrust everyone and think about killing, but I’m also emotionally aware enough to know that this is also the feeling that turns my people into a statistic. So, instead of acting on them I would rather speak my truth on a record to heal that feeling.

For more from DRXCULV, listen to SUBURBAN NIGH+MARE on Apple Music, Spotify, or YouTube, and follow him online via Instagram.

[This article was originally published by villin.]