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    Karras storms the music industry with his new single, “Kerosene”

    Karras returns with another energetic melody in the form of his new single, “Kerosene.” This single showcases his fantastic ability to create a consistent lyrical rap flow blended with an intoxicating heavy bass drop, delivering vibrant, non-stop wordplay.

    Karras is no stranger to the music scene as he has been a passionate music lover from a young age. He has always chased his dreams of making music, not minding what challenges he has encountered on his way up to the top of the music chain. He is a prominent artist set for success, and this hit single proves that he has come to remain ever-fresh in the heart of music lovers around the globe.

    Karras had a conversation with us and answered our distinctive 8 Questions. Check it out below.

    HYPEFRESH: So tell us, how did it all begin? What encouraged you to start playing and making music?

    Karras: Music mesmerized me from a relatively young age as my father introduced me to much classic rock and jazz. It was somewhere around age 7 or 8, though, that he showed me the movie House Party. I was utterly floored when I first saw Kid and Play rap battle at that party.

    That was one of the most fantastic things anyone could do: orchestrate the whole room behind your words at what seemed like an impossibly cool party. I began buying up any hip-hop records I could get my hands on at the local record store, Plaza.

    It was this excellent college town record store/head shop that always smelled of incense and had all sorts of used hip-hop tapes and CDs. My early favorites were LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Coolio, and Busta Rhymes.

    Their personas ranging from smooth to zany pulled me further into the complexity of 80s and 90s-era rap and sparked my obsession. My dad wouldn’t let me have any parental advisory music, so I had to scour for edited versions at Walmarts, out-of-phone order CD catalogs, and then the Sam Goody hours away from me to start my collection.

    My fascination quickly leads to inspiration. I was making up words and bizarre phrases that only made sense to this crazy kid so I could rhyme them together. It planted a seed and a fascination with rhyming—a whole new way to communicate and process my experience in this world.

    HYPEFRESH: Talk me through your creative process when you write new music. 

    Karras: To start. Usually, a phrase will come to me. Something witty or unique that sticks out to me will catch my attention as worthwhile. It might hit me while watching a movie, talking with a friend, or just as I fall asleep. Or I can sense the potential for a wordplay or a unique metaphor, and I start to meditate on it until the right simple punchline hits me.

    If I work at it, I can usually conjure something, but the best comes organically. I jot those down and return later if I am busy at the time, or if it takes my attention, I start pouring out a stream of consciousness bars inspired by rhyming off that first line. I let it stream out until that initial creative ember starts to burn down, and then I might go through and add in some extra rhymes, rearrange the phrasing, cut out or improve weaker sentiments, etc.

    I do this a handful of times until I eventually start to have enough that I have a central theme or tone, and that’s when I combine them. One chunk of bars may end with a word or phrase that will connect me to another segment. I fill in some spaces or make more cuts as I join until I start to have a cohesive verse.

    That’s when I started scouring YouTube for instrumentals that convey the attitude of the words. Once I find something that the words seem to snap to naturally, I begin editing the words to fit the rhythm of the music more naturally.

    I will go to the gym and put the beat on repeat in my isolation headphones, eat a gummy, get on the elliptical, and spend an hour editing. I’ll move entire phrases around and swap words within each line, trying to map each syllable to the hinges of the kick and snare.

    The exercise gets the blood flowing and my senses in a unified pace to the beat so that I feel more tightly wrapped up in the track. I get hyper-focused on editing and re-editing down to each word choice and syllable, if necessary, until I think it has the right cadence.

    While I am zoned in on perfecting one or two phrases, one loop on constant repeat can slowly become so tedious and engulfing that I feel fried and drained afterward. I often think of a cadence with non-sensical sounds and then try to figure out what bars best fit that flow and mold them to work something close to whatever rhythm struck me as attractive.

    Once I have something worthwhile to build on, I get in the studio at my house and start figuring out what does and does not work. I record take after take until I find better tones, timbres, and emphasis. Once I have a delivery, I feel confident and start the following line collection. Sometimes I’ll focus on recording 2 bars simultaneously—other times, 16.

    Sometimes the inspiration hits me right, and I ride the bars the way I know they need to be delivered because it spontaneously came out of me in a moment of clarity. I use that initial energetic performance even though it may be far from the best delivery I could do because I know it has the right confidence, honesty, and charisma.

    Other times I will go back and edit how I deliver one word because I want the delivery to be as good as I can get, and I don’t mind picking apart the recording to a degree to deliver what’s in my head.

    Once the vocals are completed, I find someone to reverse engineer a unique beat to fit what I recorded. When I pull a beat off of YouTube, it is out of necessity, convenience, and urgency to find something then and there that I can start rapping to.

    I don’t want to release a free YouTube beat as my production, so I get someone I trust to create new and original music around my existing vocals. We work back and forth until it’s the best it can be. This is just one example of how I commonly create music. There are many different approaches I’ve taken.

    HYPEFRESH: Can you tell us about your new single, “Kerosene”? 

    Karras: “Kerosene” is based on the fact that I cut my teeth playing punk and metal music for over a decade before I dove into rap. While rap was the first genre that inspired a more profound, more actively keen interest in music, I needed the know-how, confidence, and background to involve myself in it actively.

    My friends in high school were punk kids, and they were the ones that taught me to play instruments. I started to learn to write and perform punk songs, joining or starting bands by the time I was 15. By college age, I could play guitar, bass, and drums and began to enter endless numbers of local bands, up to 5 or 6 at a time.

    I played basement and bar shows for over a decade, touring around the country with stinky-ass a-holes, sleeping on floors, and eating at gas stations before I decided to take my music into my own hands more so and focus on rap only. No longer would I have to depend on the commitment or availability of others as much?

    I could take my obsession with making music into my own hands, have the final creative say, and finally focus wholeheartedly on the music that first possessed me.

    I had a lot of people that thought the decision to rap was appropriate or, at the very least, ridiculous to see this goofy punk kid attempt. It got to me having a large part of my hometown rock n’ roll scene that had always supported the many bands I’d played in turn, their noses up at this new venture.

    Not all of them found this choice amusing, but enough that it was palpable. It often made me question myself as an imposter. I remember a few times when the feedback got to my psyche terrible enough that I was ready to agree with the naysayers and give up.

    Luckily I had enough blind ambition and a small circle of genuinely supportive friends that I could stick with it and get past the point of questioning the legitimacy of my decision. That’s where “Kerosene” gets its chorus from… “And everyone says they don’t cross them roads, stay in your lane with that rock n’ roll. It wasn’t optional.

    I cannot control what I got below…” To me, that chorus is my thesis statement. A love of everything hip-hop is more deeply ingrained in me than any other genre. I’ve realized that if I’m an imposter, I’m more of an imposter in punk music than rap. I have loved punk and metal for a long time, but it has yet to interest me like rap. Not even close.

    I can’t help what I’m drawn to, and the only people who want to make me feel like I should don’t necessarily share the same viewpoint I do concerning the universal connection that music can bring to all different walks of life. Their opinions matter, but I’m not bound to follow them.

    This has been a lesson for me in the long run and has bolstered my confidence in my choices. Now that I have internally debated this as much as I have, I own my stance for better or worse.

    The rest of the track is just three verses of me delivering non-stop wordplay regarding the genres I grew up playing and listening to. I don’t imagine that every punchline will land for everyone.

    You have to be well aware of punk, metal, and classic rock to catch ALL the references, but the hope is that people grab at least a handful of the wit. There are a lot of niche references, so if you know the source, it might sound like a weaker line, but if you are in the know, they’re some sharp bars. For example, “Thirstin’ more than half these rappers, yeah, I’m on the move, Sonic Youth”… The lead singer of Sonic Youth is Thurston Moore.

    They released albums called “Daydream Nation” and “Rather Ripped.” Metallica’s guitarist is Kirk Hammet. They have a song called Whiplash on an album called Kill Em All. They have an old song called “Metal Up Your Ass,” the band was nicknamed Alcoholica because they were almost always hammered. I find little references like that amusing, but I wonder if or how they’ll land with the more purist hip-hop heads.

    I reference Miles Davis, Santana, Deep Purple, Fleetwood Mac, Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Judas Priest, Iron Butterfly, Jefferson Airplane, Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix, AC/DC, Frank Sinatra, Black Flag, Metallica, Sonic Youth, Skinny Puppy, Patti Smith, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Sex Pistols, Motorhead, The Doors, Thin Lizzy, Guns N Roses, Beastie Boys back when they were a hardcore punk band and Prince. It’s just me hitting bars for music nerds of the genre.

    The vocals were recorded to a fantastic beat my best friend made. I was waiting for him to put together the final touches on it, and sadly the file got corrupted during a power outage, and he lost the entire track. After working on this track together for a good while, it would take far too long for him to put it all together again. I moved forward with releasing these mixes.

    The alternate mixes I made by Carpa D and DJ Dial-Up are excellent, and I’m delighted with them. However, it always feels a bit off not to release the version of the song in which you recorded the vocals.

    Lastly, I’ll point out that the artwork is a spoof of Black Sabbath’s album Sabotage. I feel like Black SABbath putting out SABotage is ideally in line with how I, Karras, put out KARrasmatic and KEROsene.

    The artwork to that Sabbath album is bizarre and goofy in this dated fashion. It was the right angle to help land the title’s wordplay while clarifying that this was a rap song about heavy metal. I made this track with a sense of humor about myself, and the single art is proof of that.

    HYPEFRESH: What do you like most about being a music artist? 

    Karras: It allows me to pour my focus and passion into something I can get excited about and share with others who feel the same way. Writing allows me to process my experiences and reformulate them into metaphors to understand my crazy mind better. Also, it’s just fun to throw out some witty darts that all land cohesively together and fit a nasty beat.

    When I feel genuinely zoned in, it takes me somewhere I don’t have to think or worry. I KNOW that I’m good at this and, more importantly, have a unique way of doing it, so at least some people will get on board with it. I wasn’t confident growing up, so when I find the headspace where I feel like you need to listen to me because I will be entertaining and on point, it makes me feel in control and deserving of recognition.

    That’s all some ego BS, but I don’t mind giving into that. That’s part of what drew me to hip-hop. I was always timid, begging for forgiveness for the space I took up. Rappers never were. I wanted that space. I tried to command it.

    Hip-hop has taught me persistence, to own myself and make no excuses, to speak up, shut up and take notes, and move deftly and with a sharp wit. It’s taught me to effectively package my communication and deliver it with impact. That’s the stuff I can bring into work and everyday interactions. Also, what the heck else would I do with my time?

    I watch too much TV and snack. I need something productive that gives results because otherwise, I’d get lost in a stream of nothingness on my phone.

    HYPEFRESH: What projects do you have coming up? 

    Karras: Can you give us any info on them? I got a new track that I’m almost finished with. It’s bizarre. It’s light-hearted and sarcastic but also somewhat absurdist and non-linear. The beat was challenging because it was far from a standard rap beat. It’s forcing me to deliver something new and to approach my delivery differently. I am still trying to figure out how to end it, though.

    HYPEFRESH: Any tips for aspiring musicians?

    Karras: Follow whatever makes it fun for you. Don’t worry about how anyone else does it. People are way more enthralled by genuine music than technically proficient music. People are drawn to new and exciting takes on stuff when they sense that the artist delivering it is shining their true selves unabashedly.

    Music is about human connection and reaching into people’s worlds to abstractly communicate the experience we all share in this bizarre realm. By all means, learn structure, learn the process, study, take advice, and learn from critiques if they resonate with you, but bring all of that back to bolster your unique voice further. It sounds cliche, but people light up if you light up first.

    Not everyone will appreciate what you make, and that’s not only okay but also important. You’d be too generic to get far if everyone liked your stuff. So keep a thick skin and don’t get all worked up over insults and criticism. You’ll find out fairly quickly once you make your music public whether or not you’re doing it for positive reinforcement only. Sticking it out when no one is paying attention is a sign that it may be a path worth continuing down.

    HYPEFRESH: How do you solve productivity/scheduling problems and reduce overwhelming situations? 

    Karras: I don’t force myself to do anything if I don’t want to. I try to maintain some level of focus on music, so I don’t let myself out of the habit for too long, but I also don’t obligate myself to make time for a hobby that I don’t feel like messing with a couple of months in a row.

    I focus only on rap because I can rely on something other than bandmates to make time for the project. That’s why I gave up on punk and metal bands. If you go solo, you can do whatever you want, whenever. You can only control your productivity when you involve a few people.

    HYPEFRESH: Name Three things you can’t live without when recording in the studio. 

    Karras: Mood lighting. Weed. Plenty to drink. I drink so damn much. I get so dry-mouthed from all the takes.

    Stream “Kerosene” on Spotify

    Connect with Karras: Instagram Facebook Spotify

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