As a preview to the Cal Surf shoe party fronted by three of my favorite Doomtree members, here's an interview with Sims about his upcoming new album and what's he's learned since the last one.
Is there any certain thing about music right now that you're excited about? i'm sure you've heard it a bunch but the new TV on the Radio is killing it. It got me to look at their other records in a new light. I thought they just might be a cool band but now i'm like, these guys might be geniuses, you know?
What about the Doomtree Blowout? We did a CD release party in August, and then we're the Blowout again dec 6. the first time at the Varsity in 2005 was a thrill for us. We were totally overwhelmed, it was really good. We were expecting only 100 people.
Do you still get that feeling or are you further along where that excitement doesn't come up as much?
I get excited but the one stigma we've gotten is that we always sell out shows and that not really the case. So i get nervous still. The release show we just did, the door opened at 8 and at 930 there was only 400 people in there. I'm totally appreciateve of the kids who have been coming over the years. It's a lot of new kids every time, and i think that's really cool,.
Tell me about making your new album. Three years have gone by and there's been a lot of growing up especially as far as song writing goes. I've learned a lot about what works and what doesn't... and just have matured a little bit. Also, this record was immensely more fun than the last effort was.
Well, they say the first one's always the hardest. And I was a 21 year old kid and I had these ideas of what the whole thing was...what hip-hop was and what it all meant. Not necessarily hip-hop as a genre, but as an industry. You get to a place to where you're happy where you're at. You stop caring about what people think or say. You don't have to make the best song in the world every time. Just sitting down and having a no pressure attitude about it really helped me out.
So what's the lyrical content on this one? I'm having more fun so I'm trying to go to many different places and touch on many different things. I have a broader perspective on things. Conscious music is more personal but in a way that's not necessarily about me, but more about day to day affairs and small things -- trying to tackle a big problem through a very small lens and look at little snapshots. I feel like i've become a lot more visceral.
What's it like not living in that house with your bandmates anymore? We kind of got the invitation out by the landlord in the spring of 07. It's good for everyone because everyone has their own space. you wake up day to day and you dont have to see those people - it's on you to make that happen. So we start treating it more like grown men. When you're at a meeting or something it's much less casual now than sitting in your own living room with your roommates. And really, that's primarily why it took so long to get this Doomtree crew record out. its hard to get a bunch of people who live together to work together and make songs that are halfway good.
So it sounds like you're taking a lot about growing up here, and I'm sure a lot of that happened on the road. What have you learned from touring?
I think the biggest thing for me was the Warped Tour in 07 - it really is the belly of the beast of the music industry, you know? I find a lot of it really gross -- even SXSW and stuff, you know? I realized i should just relax and make my music and not worry about any industry bullshit. I think I stopped worrying about whether hip-hop would become a career for me, because I'm having fun and I'm enjoying making music - and I feel like that's got to be the most important thing. I was up there with hip-hop legend one b. lo and he is out there doing the same thing as me -- grinding it out. I've learned talent is not necessarily rewarded. You have to be in the right place right time for something to really pop, so who cares?
No backup plan?
I'm just doing it. I like making music and I'm gonna do it until i don't have fun doing it anymore.
Is there any particular song on the album that we should watch out for that is your favorite?
I don't have titles for them yet and I don't think we're releasing it until March. So it's early for me to even be talking about it at all but I'm just excited about it. I feel like I went through a period that was stagnant, but it was artistically stagnant. We're an artist run label, and I don't know if people really know what that means. We do all the press releases and flyer design and we're trying to build a national identity.
Is your music being on your own label part of your success, do you think?
I feel like it's been integral to our success because people seem to respect us for it.