Three men marching in unison to a different beat. That would be Muse-Sic comprised of Scott (E-Klipz), Seth (Ekko), and Joseph (Pariah) from Dallas, Texas. They sport a secretive feel to both their sound and their image as a Hip Hop trio. The three talents alternate between acting completely normal like everyone else, and sliding into their stage characters going psycho. Not your typical horrorcore subgenre either. They most decidedly keep the vibes but they tend to pack their records with pressing matters, such as mental health, heartbreak, and locked-down borders. They’re entertaining, unprecedented, and filled with knowledge. Welcome to the Voices inside their heads!
One thing that stands out from the getgo is the simplicity of their visual for Voices that’s peppered with mysticism. In a peculiar way, the overall bareness enhances and focalizes the message Muse-Sic is transmitting through this song: “Voices in my head are arguing/ Gotta play it off, nonchalant/ Put my happy face on, nothing’s wrong/ At least you’d never know that I’m about to blow.” The imagery and the sound go hand in hand: the low register vocals are mirrored by the three men hiding their faces behind half-cut Venetian masks; the eerie synth is reflected by the negative color filter that’s used sporadically; the sincerity of their narrative is acutely portrayed by the raw home footage. Whether these choices were conscious or subconscious, they serve the group well as they become instant-memorable.
If you were surprised just like we were at Muse-Sic’s construct of three entire members, we got the whole background story on their beginnings directly from E-Klipz: “Kind of a funny story here. I met Pariah in a call center when Ekko (my brother) and I first moved to Texas. Pariah used to write for other artists and I’ve offered my home studio for him to take on the artist role. He was phenomenal and I immediately wanted him on board. I remember during the recording session he wanted to grab a bottle of water and found it was filled with cheap vodka instead. We call that his initiation 😀 Ekko joined the group years later when we were transitioning from hobbyists to professional musicians.” So where the Muse-Sic name from? E-Klipz continues: “We both realized we were drawing our main inspiration from failed relationships. From too many muses that made us sick hence Muse-Sic.”
When checking the trio’s past material, progression is obvious. The once overtly lo-fi sound has evolved into a more curated acoustic quality while keeping the very much underground tendency. Our natural question follows: “Your sound is rather old-school flavored. Does the group have its official influences or does each one of you have his musical preferences rooted in different artists?” To which all three members responded in plenty of detail. “We do have some official influences, such as Tech N9ne and most of the Strange Music roster, among other Underground artists that we’ve heard along the way. As for personal influences, we each have our own set. My influences include Tech, Kevin Gates, Nas, 2Pac, Bone Thugs n Harmony, Chamillionaire, Slaughterhouse, Army of the Pharaohs, Eminem, Wrekonize, Rittz, Hopsin, JL, Chris Webby, Jelly Roll, Merkules,” shares E-Klipz. The man knows his music and his artists. Ekko follows right after: “Definitely a lot of Strange Music these days. I enjoy Tech, Krizz, Mayday, JL, also grew up on BTNH, Wu-tang, Triple 6, Nas, Big L, Pun. A lot of East coast stuff but sincerely, a lot of everything really…too much to list.” And of course, Pariah: “I personally grew up listening to ’90s and early 2000’s Hip Hop but I’m also an 80’s baby. While my father listened to a lot of classic rock, I favor heavy metal at times too – so I think there is a heavy influence from that. Method Man is one of my top favorites. Underground artists are great inspirations too, Method Man still being one of my top artists of all time.”
Up Next is right up there with Voices if not actually superior to it in terms of mix and mastering. What prompted the guys to come up with this record is explained to us in the following statements. “First and foremost, thank you so much! Secondly, Up Next stemmed from our first album‘s feedback. We were told repeatedly our music was sad and depressing although we felt that it really expressed the story of the human condition. So when we began working on The Hustle Continues we wanted to prove we can do much more than emo Hip Hop, which I think we accomplished successfully,” shares E-Klipz. Talk about turning criticism into a challenge. To which Ekko adds: “Up Next is definitely inspired by people not taking us seriously. I’ve had many people who I’ve known for a while randomly say to me “Man I just heard your music and wow!” And I’m sitting there thinking, “Wow it really took you this long to check my sh*t out? Ok!” And then they want me to support them… Maybe in a couple years ’cause I’m busy grinding right now.” Woah! Ekko got that smoke ready!
It takes highly gifted and collaborative individuals to work in tandem with others as a team, thus the very few groups that last longer than five years in the industry. Just how do E-Klipz, Ekko, and Pariah go about putting a song together? “Sometimes one of us will hear a beat and lay out a verse or a hook and then send it to the other two. Or we’d video chat in group and we go from there. Or we might even be in the studio and going through beats until we find one that we get inspired by and just start writing together,” willingly discloses Pariah. “Recently, everyone has gotten to the point where we all have our own studios to record, so we will send new recordings back and forth and tell the others to put something to them when inspiration strikes – we try not to force things as none of us end up liking the result when things are forced,” continues E-Klipz. That’s a smart move right there. Giving yourself the liberty to record at will is a major hurdle ALL artists must confront when starting their careers.
“What about the visuals? Is there someone in charge or you all collectively discuss all potential ideas?” we gotta ask as creative heads tend to clash when it comes to the final artistic decision. “We have been lucky enough to come by several friends who are filmmakers – Fat Unicorn Productions, who directed Voices, and Dead By Design, who directed Ride Alone and a few photographers. As far as concepts go, everyone involved meets and discusses ideas following an initial treatment provided by those directing,” says E-Klipz. Note the shout-out! Always the telltale sign of a team player. Pariah is keen on mentioning that “there may be an original concept, but then we all bounce ideas off each other like a brainstorming session and it just comes together.”
For all the independent artists reading this right now, we’ve inquired about the most significant information possible for you: the business lessons E-Klipz, Ekko, and Pariah have extracted from being professional entertainers for over 5 years now. “I learned several things. But I guess the most important one is that you’re never really done learning. You gotta cover it all, from how to mix/master/engineer songs to properly marketing yourself. Even now I definitely still need to learn some more about both things. This business is a continuous learning experience,” pensively admits E-Klipz. “To be honest, you’ve just gotta keep doing work, promoting, putting out content, and networking. You can’t just make it a hobby. I mean you can but it’s a business for us. You need to diversify all that you do and draw fans from all genres. Anyone can get up on a stage for 20-30 minutes and recite something to a crowd but when you’re serious about it, you have to do more than that and put on a cohesive performance,” reveals Pariah. Ekko concludes this question with a bang, saying a whole lot in very few words: “It’s hard. It takes a lot of work to get very little progress. You gotta bust your ass and then some to make it.”
“What about your biggest achievement to date as a group?” we ask of the guys. To which they all agree: “For sure our collaboration with Wrekonize of Strange Music and making the record solid enough that he helped promote it.” One can most definitely hear the Strange Music blueprint in Wrekonize’s flow.
As per usual, no one just wakes up one morning and decides he wants to be a Hip Hop star. The passion almost always leaves traces. “I remember as a kid, I was always writing – whether it be poetry, short stories, thoughts, or whatever really. It was a way to vent and release negative emotions. I do remember writing a poem for school one day, from the perspective of the streets that is, and being really proud of my work. At one point I just realized I wanted to turn my writings into something more productive and create music with them,” decides to divulge E-Klipz. His brother Ekko mirrors the self-discovery: “I’ve always been a creative person. But I was maybe 13ish when I started writing. I just got better over the years and I still can’t make it sound as good as it does in my head.” Whereas Pariah comes straight from a musically-inclined bloodline: “Music has always been a huge part of my life. My grandmother played piano, my father played bass, I started playing drums in 5th grade and piano later. Then picked up the guitar in high school then that turned to making beats, and eventually rapping.”
If you were wondering about the personal relationships these three have developed while working together, Pariah says they’re “like one big, dysfunctional family.” Ekko, however, decided to clear the air: “We are a family, don’t get it twisted.”
Considering the very historical times we’re all collectively surviving these days on a global scale, just how did Muse-Sic resist the pandemic both mentally and financially? E-Klipz pulls the curtain back on the multi-tasking nature of all three members: “Fortunately, I don’t think any of us were as impacted financially as many were during the pandemic. One of us was considered an essential worker and another, along with myself, works from home for a major corporation. As for the mental aspect of things, it was tough, but we continued to get together, hang out, and create when we had opportunities. We are all very close, so anytime one of us is going through something, we always know the others are there to help us through it.” Well, it sounds like a family indeed.
You should know by now, in each interview we try to insert a light question where the artist can really just have fun, and Muse-Sic sure did! “Ekko is like a tornado siren! He’s loud and all over the place 😀 E-Klipz is ummm… like a typewriter! His cadence is very specific and he enunciates everything as clearly as the keys clacking,” amusingly shares Pariah. Well, E-Klipz has a most hilarious description for Pariah in return: “Pariah is the idling engine of an old school sports car because his voice is deep, and he is generally quiet when speaks, but you know there is a beast inside that is awoken if revved up.”
What strikes us differently about Muse-Sic than the average brand, is their humble way of keeping it real. They are not trying to make things sound better than they are nor do they try to play on empathy. They are just… jarringly human! A quality most vividly portrayed when asked how their loved ones feel about their commonly-shared passion: “They are generally supportive. Pops always makes a joke or two about it, but nothing too negative. Mom isn’t really a fan of the type of music, but she respects that we are pursuing our dream. They take time to listen to our new content when we ask if they want to hear it and we do get some praise out of them. I think I am actually turning my dad into a real fan, haha. Now I just have to get them to come to one of our shows!” enthusiastically responds E-Klipz. Albeit being his brother, Ekko seems more doubtful of it: “They’re supportive I guess… Not sure they really feel any type of way about it.” Pariah seems to be in the middle of E-Klipz’s and Ekko’s answers: “My father disagrees with it in general because of “what comes with the industry” but the rest of our “friends” which are just extended family support us and enjoy it even if that style of music isn’t their thing.”
Muse-Sic goes to share that when it comes to choosing between fun time and music time, they all choose the latter. As for who they’d like to tour with, they all, again, unanimously name the Strange Music roster as the pool of artists they’d love to partner up with. For the curious fans, luckily, Ekko gives us some insight on what to expect next: “We’ve got one song releasing at the end of March called Jungle and then our 4/20 EP is dropping next month. Maybe we can get a video in on that one.”
We’re concluding this inspirational interview with Muse-Sic by allowing the guys to each shout out who they feel like. E-Klipz: “First, I want to thank Blue Rhymez Entertainment for setting up the interview and helping us expand our platform to reach and connect with our fans! I love what you guys are doing and we are sincerely grateful to be a part of it. Second, I would like to thank everyone that took an interest and took the time to read this interview. Then, I would like to thank the team behind us – Dead by Design, Fat Unicorn, Mad Raven Photography, the Minds Like Mines crew. Finally, I would like to thank everyone that ever streamed, bought, or listened to our music, bought any of our merchandise, engaged with us on social media in any way or form, and a truly special thanks to those that follow and support our journey regularly – Y’all are the real MVPs, we absolutely love you, and we couldn’t do it without you!” Pariah: “Anyone that has checked us out and/or supported us, helped us network and promote.” And remember when we told you that Ekko got that smoke ready? We weren’t lying: “Yeah. Hi haters! Thank y’all for being so supportive! I love y’all little assholes. Oh and f*ck Patrick Castro.” Well damn! We appreciate the acknowledgment very much and we thank you guys for your time. As for this Patrick dude, we were told he’s the biggest fan in denial 😀
Reach out directly to this awesome group on their social media (Instagram, Facebook, Official Website) and make sure you add Muse-Sic’s dope music to your playlists on Tidal HERE, on Amazon HERE, on YouTube HERE, on Deezer HERE, on Apple Music HERE, and on Spotify below:
Interview conducted by Mariana Berdianu
Blue Rhymez Entertainment ©2021