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Soundchecking with… Antwon

It’s hard to put a label on Antwon’s blend of thrash-influenced hip-hop. But the again, putting a label on things wouldn’t exactly reflect the punk aesthetic that the rapper’s music stems from. Growing up amid the Bay Area hardcore scene, Antwon spent most of his time at all age punk gigs, putting on art shows shows in record stores and a whole lot of partying. After a brief tenure in filth-ridden hardcore band Leather, he started to focus on the hip-hop side of his craft, and is now preparing for the release of Heavy Hearted in Doldrum.

With the record released on Monday, we caught up the San Jose rapper to chat coffee-induced trips to the toilet, snapchat nudes and art (kind of)…

Antwon: [Orders an Americano] I like the Americano, my favourite is the iced Americano with nothing. Just black.

PN: I used to go for Americanos but now I’ve levelled up to espressos.
Antwon: I think the craziest coffee, if you can ever find it, is Vietnamese coffee, that shit is insane. It’s way strong but tastes really good. It’s strong as hell, I used to drink it a lot but I stopped because I’d drink it and then just shit all day.

PN: That’s what happens I guess…
A: I gotta shit in the morning.

PN: Anyway, how’s the tour been going?
A: We were supposed to pay in Brussells but I was stupid and forgot my passport at the hotel right when we were about to board and we couldn’t find another flight. So just went straight to Aukin. Aukin was cool though.

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Antwon rocking the sweat towel later that evening

PN: How would you describe your live shows?
A: I guess its visceral, I don’t really like to say too much otherwise you don’t wanna go and see it because you already know what’s going on. I don’t like to ruin the experience, if you go and look at art in the museum and stuff, you don’t let people tell you what is going on. Except the history I guess. I don’t like to take away from someones experience.

PN: Talking about art, I heard you used to do a lot of drawing?
A: I have been drawing since I was a kid, I used to draw a lot. Now, I don’t even draw. Just like characters I guess.

PN: Could you draw me?
A: Yeah sure…

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I haven’t drawn in a long time. I think I’m pretty bad at it now…

I don’t know why I drew you sad man, I’m sorry.

This is coming out really bad.

Alright, that’s it…

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PN: So when did you start focusing on the music side?
A: The drawing kind of stopped. When I started Fantasy Beds, I put more time into that. I was doing a couple art shows at this record store in San Jose. It was cool, but it was all just the same shit. If I wasn’t doing that I was just partying anyways.

A lot of my friends were like ‘what’s up with rapping man?’ So I was like maybe I should start making music again and put more of my energy into that.

PN: Talking about partying, I always play your house party mix when I’m getting drunk…
A: I have been DJing for a while. I think I’m gonna DJ when I get back. There is a punk night called ‘full time punks’. Then there is another one that costs money and is called ‘part-time punks’.

PN: You take quite a lot of influence from that punk/hardcore scene, right?
A: I never went to hip-hop shows and stuff because I never had friends that were deep into that. I was young so all I could really do is go to punk shows because it was all ages and shit. There were all ages shows that I could get fucked up at too. So I just decided to do that. I made a lot of friends through that. I still have friends that are into punk and hardcore now.

I mean like, there is a lot of stuff that I liked when I was younger that I didn’t know that I liked as much now. When I was young I really liked Soulfly and a lot of new metal, and I listen to it now and I’m like ‘this stuff is still good’.

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PN: How’s the album sounding then?
A: It’s sounding really good. I got a song with me a Lil Ugly Mane on there. We’ve got a song with Wiki from Ratking, this dude from right outside of Copenhagen produced it. I got a song with Picture Plane. So we got a lot a shit. A lot of good ones.

N: What about the video side? The ‘Living Every Dream’ video was awesome.
A: That took 3 days to make. On the second day, that night I played a show with my friends Shadow Runners and my phone got stolen. And at that time I was dating this girl and she was like ‘Where are you?’ So that was a bummer. We were all filming and I was just like ‘I just miss my girlfriend’. During the time we had the film with the dancers so I had to suck it up and smoke weird. I hit her up after and stuff. She was kind of bummed because she sent me naked pictures and they were in the phone.

PN: No one ever sends me naked pictures, not even on Snapchat…
A: Snapchat is cool. I have definitely had sex with a girl from Snapchat. She met me in Austin and she was from Boston. She flew there from SXSW and I played some really shitty show. It had the potential for being really good but no one wanted to play inside, they wanted to play on the outside stage. So I played this show and she gave me a blow job in an alley and we smoked weed and then her friend came. All from snapchat.

PN: How do you get them to send the pictures?
A: I just ask and you get ‘em. You just ask them. Some girls are freaks and they like to watch dudes jack off and stuff.

- Words: James Embiricos (snapchat: trilljames)

- Photography: Rob Davies

Antwon’s Heavy Hearted in Doldrums is out May 5th via UNIF



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