RAGELIFE: We're always like a bottle rocket

RAGELIFE: We're always like a bottle rocket
RAGELIFE is a hybrid rap trio that crosses genre and state lines alike. Minneapolis rapper P/1 (aka Phonetic 1) joins rapper ¡OYE! and DJ *hitmayng of Milwaukee to create an eclectic sound that balances the energies of raging house parties and slowed down chill sessions. 
Gimme Noise spoke with ¡OYE! about how the crew came together ahead of the release of their debut EP, The RAGELIFE.

Gimme Noise: How did RAGELIFE come to exist?

¡OYE!: We met last summer. We all knew each other from University of Wisconsin-Madison, building up through the student musician scene. Me and P/1 were on the same scholarship [First Wave], a hip-hop theater scholarship, and we got to go to school for our poetry and hip-hop background. It's a hip-hop learning community, basically it chooses 15 hip-hop and spoken word artists from across the nation and brings them to UW on full tuition scholarships in order to create together as an ensemble for the stage. As a group of 15, we're MCs, poets, DJs, dancers, graff artists, all kinds of people stemming from the hip-hop element, working together, write together, to create pieces, more so for the sake of social change, and creating conversation for our audience through these elements.

We got into representing the Midwest in the college battle of the bands, so we went out to L.A. together, and it's kind of built up just through music, so in a weird way the group started off on stage. We just started building up the live show, and before you know it we had a whole live set of music that we wrote for the stage, before we even thought of getting a record together. From the buzz we got out there representing the Midwest in that competition, we started getting more gigs. The demand for new music came so we kept creating more and more, and before you knew it we had a record.

It's a nicely varied sound, there's a lot of elements going on underneath. Have you worked with multiple genres before?

It was a risk on all our parts but it ended up sounding really original, almost cinematic in a way. Personally Ive never done it before, so it's a dope new experience, but *hitmayng is always doing collaborations and new stuff, his production will be really ambient sometimes, sometimes it's real trap, hard hip-hop, sometimes it's real boom-bap. He really prides himself on being a producer and DJ of not one sound. He's definitely always exploring. His production is only on two or three songs on the record, but his influence is basically all over the whole thing.

Klassik is a producer that I usually turn to because he's a good friend of mine, but another producer Cory Grindberg from Audio Perm is all over the record too. That's somebody that P/1 grew up with more and has been getting beats from him on his past projects. Who we usually chose for past collaborations sprinkled it's way into a collaboration on there. That worked really well in a good, organic way.

I assume with a name like RAGELIFE the live show is something else.

Live is pretty crazy. Because we didn't have a band with all these instruments on stage to compete [in the battle of the bands] we decided it needs to feel like a band is on stage even though it's three of us. P/1 and I both have degrees in theater, so we're both familiar with the stage and aspects of the stage in ways the usual musician may not be. We can see it in a very third person kind of way, we're like directors. To fuse all that together, we had *hitmayne having scratches, during hooks, solo sections; he knows how to do a live chop and screw so we'll have chopped and screwed sections in the middle of songs, we might slow it way down and kind of have a breakdown moment.

Trap remixes of some songs, a dubstep remix of some songs. Usually I'm the wildest one, just running around, I'm a bundle of energy anyways, that's how I usually am. You'll catch me in the crowd, all over the place jumping around. We try to keep that energy non-stop. It's time to go to work, if that's not why we came then why bother? We're always like a bottle rocket. No time to chill. 

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