Floco Torres has been in the music industry for longer than people know. He has been honing his craft and has a staggering 21 projects under his belt. His new EP again came out on July 7th, and I was lucky enough to get an interview with Floco to get his thoughts on again, the music industry, and his plans for the rest of 2017 and the future.
What was the first song or album you remember listening to, or what was maybe introduced to you maybe at a young age or anything like that?
I want to say, I think it’s Dionne Farris. I never remember her name – she had this song called, “Penny With A Hole In It” or something like that. My mom used to play the song all the time. And then just like old Motown stuff. My parents weren’t really into hip hop. I kind of learned that from my cousins and like that.
Did that sound that they introduced you to – I know you said your cousins introduced you to hip hop – but did that have any bearing on what you do now or any kind of influence?
I think so. I think my uncles specifically were more focused on like when I started rapping, they were kind of like they would play the old Tribe Called Quest… Like old N.W.A stuff. My uncles were very specific, like ‘if you’re gonna rap, like you’re gonna know the history before you can get into the newer stuff. I definitely grew up on the old school and like the golden era.
For sure. What was the most, if you could pick it out what was the most specific defining moment when you realized you wanted to pursue music, rap and hip hop?
I think when I started, really. Because a lot of my friends rapped and stuff like that – but when I started really listening to hip hop – because I grew up with Biggie and stuff, I was real young – when I started really getting into Biggie, like breaking down his lines and stuff like that. Like Big L, early Jay Z stuff. I was going to college for journalism, so that was what got me more interested in hip hop was when I looked at it like a literature sort of thing, like an art form of words. You know what I’m saying? That was more interesting to me, when you would hear, you would just be like “oh snap,” like to set up for punchlines and stuff like that. That’s what kind of got me.
You kind of like the story telling aspect of it?
Yeah, I wasn’t really into it. My parents made me play an instrument. I played trumpet, I played violin, I played drums. I played piano for like two weeks. And they wanted me to, I sung in the choir at church and I didn’t want to do any of that because I wasn’t really interested in music, but words – like playing with words – made it very, very interesting to me. I was like, “oh, I can do that” and then kind of got into it.
To kind of transition into more of the EP again, what are you most excited about the release and what was your inspiration behind it?
I think I’m the most excited that this is the most eyes and ears that I’ve had on like a campaign of mine in a long time. And I’m just really excited that I have twenty-one projects. (laughs) I’ve just been excited for someone to finally notice that. Because you don’t really – well I can’t speak for anybody else – but I don’t create for [other people.] I don’t really give a fuck, sometimes I just do albums because I’m like “this is dope and I know twenty people that will like this”…
I’m kind of excited that this is sort of a reprise of the Floco Torres story, to me it’s kind of like starting all the way over, it’s just more people are paying attention and there’s a lot of storylines I’m going to revisit. Kind of like Marvel and DC does when somebody the Spiderman thing for the fourteenth time. Like that.
Yeah. When I was reading your bio and listening to the music and saw the twenty-one projects, I was kind of taken back by that. I had no idea.
That’s the cool part about it because the artists that I’m a fan of, I feel like I haven’t been doing any work at all. I’ve been a big Charles Hamilton fan for a long time and that dude has like 125 albums. I’m becoming like a big Knxwledge fan. I like to produce knowledge. I’m working with Anderson .Paak and if you like go to his band campaign, it’s absolutely ridiculous how many projects that dude has!
Just for my story, I think I’ve been doing a lot of work and just trying to hone in my story, whether anybody was paying attention or not. With the whole again thing, just starting over, where I’m just really excited. I feel, I live in a new city, I’m meeting a lot of new people, there’s a lot of new attention around what we’re doing. It’s seems very genuine, I’ve never really been like a “trying to be famous” dude or anything like that. People are talking about the music because they actually want to hear it and I’m excited for that and I think it’s a really happy process and I feel like there’s somewhere for that to be placed in people’s music libraries because everything’s kind of fucked up right now.
That kind of leads in perfectly to dissecting some of the tracks on the EP with you. Listening to it, it kind of sounds like love was a major component. Was that kind of the backstory, or what kind of inspired you with that specific track?
Yeah, it was definitely a love story I wanted to make as transparent as possible, because with me personally, it wasn’t about just dating a girl. It was the idea of being in love with a lot of different things: being in love with where you live, being in love with your job, being in love with complacency, like all of those things. We don’t really look at those. It’s kind of like, you can really be in love with the fact that in your neighborhood, you’re popular, everybody knows you, you know what I’m saying? You walk in the pub, they know what drink you want and stuff like that. Then, you can fall out of love with that and it just becomes, “man I want something else, but I may be afraid.” That was the whole premise behind it, for you it could be a girl, you know, for her it could be a guy or whatever and for me it could be a place, it could be a situation and I just wanted to kind of hone in on that. You know how when you break up with somebody and you start to feel better for that day and a half? I wanted to make that four minutes feel like that day and a half where you’re like, “Fuck them, I am better off” before you start crying your eyes out or whatever. That’s kind of what I wanted.
It’s up to a lot of interpretations. I kind of like that. I’m going to go on a personal note – when I was listening, one of my favorite tracks was “Voltron”, just because I liked the rapping ability in it and I also really liked the Nate Robinson line in it. I thought that was pretty witty – I liked it because I really like basketball. How did you like collaborating with the other artists in the song and how did you come up with that one specifically?
That was a pretty different process for me because I don’t, I don’t know if you got to listen to some of the other stuff or review the tracks, but I’m like a one man show for the most part. It’s just me and the producers. Mainly it’s because it’s kind of hard to collaborate when nobody know who you are anyway. It’s like, people don’t even know who I am and then you’ve got these other people that they don’t know. Goodie Supreme and Billie Slum are both two of my favorite local artists around the middle Georgia area and it was just, when we did it, Shawty Slim kind made the beat real quick and I was just in that mode of, we didn’t have one of those songs on the project yet. That was just like, nah, let me show you I can do this, but it’s not going to be the kind of rappity rap thing where it’s an eight minute rap song, and they’re just kind of like “Okay, I get it. You’re dope.”
We called them the night that I did my verses and I was just like, “I’ve got this record. If you can come through, we’re going to do it right now. No one’s re-writing verses . Everyone’s writing on the spot, so whoever gets mashed, gets mashed.” Being friends with those guys, and the competitive nature of hip hop, it was really, really fun. When we were trying to name it, it was like we just formed some “No Weapon Against Us Shall Prosper” sort of thing. It got named “Voltron”. And I don’t feel like I’ve got the best verse on that song, which is also kind of a liberating feeling because then I got to be on one of Goodie’s songs shortly after that. I was like, “You crushed me on my record and I’m coming for you.”
I like that competitive nature, because I know a lot of hip hop right now there seems to be a lack of it, so that’s pretty nice to hear that you guys have that. That was my personal favorite, do you have a favorite track off the EP?
“Age of Comfort” is my favorite because it’s been really hard – because I do produce as well – but it’s been kind of really hard to pick the songs that I think are worth putting out. I really don’t care if people know that I produce or not, like being a producer/rapper because when you want people to know that narrative it forces you to put out some of your whack ass beats just so that people know that you make beats or whatever.
That song was one that I had to play the beat for everybody and they were like “Man, who made that?” That was the reaction that I wanted. I’m thirty years old and I was kind of ashamed for a long time that I’m not signed to Def Jam or whatever the fuck, not that I would ever want to at this point I guess. Just sitting talking about getting to this point. I rap from time to time, but I want this more than a lot of people do. It’s kind of touching in that I’m still gonna keep going and I’m not going to allow myself to get comfortable with this sort of weird middle [ground], where people kind of know you regionally, but then outside of that and above that, they don’t know you and then at the same time you can go to a city and like two people show up. So it’s a weird gray area.
For sure. Were there any interesting stories or anything from the production process when you were recording and producing again?
Yeah, we didn’t really know what we were doing, which is kind of how we get together all the time. We’ll start having conversations and see where [it goes]. We’ll just get together and have conversations and make a record as we go depending on where we are. It was kind of weird too because producer Shawty Slim is B.O.B.’s DJ, who just put out a new album.So when we were recording in the fall and wintertime, I was living in Macon, GA and I was moving to Akron, OH and he was kind in limbo if B.O.B was going to put out this record and they were going to go on tour. We were both really just making records to kind of be like, “we don’t really know if we’re going to have any money.” (laughs) It’s like spring and summertime so we just need to figure out something to do. We didn’t have a direction. It was the first time that we had our own studio space, so just the freedom of being able to do that. I think it was just a really, really fun process.
I hope people like it, man. If they don’t, it won’t be the first fucking time, but I’ll keep making records until the scales tip, or I’ll be the first independent hip hop dude that’s like those country singers in their 60’s and people will be like, “they should do a Netflix Documentary about him”.
I know you were talking about how you are in that gray area, you’re known regionally and people do know you throughout the country, but it’s hit and miss some places. Within the music industry, what do you think is the greatest obstacle facing the music industry these days, whether it is independent artists? What is the biggest struggle for you as an artist?
I think just finding the direction that you want to go in because everybody’s like “Fuck the record labels, you can stay independent” and that’s not…That’s never going to be realistic for this entire thing that was created based off these juggernauts. They’re always going to find a way to tip the scales back in their direction and they’re doing it with streaming right now, like with the curated playlist. It’s like the payola for the internet, you know what I’m saying?
I think that’s going to be the hardest part. You’ve just got to come into this knowing what you want out of it specifically. There are so many deals. The distribution deals, the single deals, publishing is always going to be a big thing. It’s just finding what you want to do. If you want a record deal, then go for that. I’ve got a bunch of friends that I worked with early on, like Elhae. I don’t know if you know who that is, but he’s from the Midland, GA area and I worked with him early on. Locally, folks didn’t get it they were like “he sounds like a guy that’s going to be on the radio” and that was what he was going for and he’s fucking signed with Atlantic now and he’s touring with Blackbear and all that shit. That’s what he wanted to do. And I’ve got other guys that are going the route that I’m going and we just want to be able to do it the way we want to do it and if that takes longer, then that’s the case.
We hit the road as many times a year as we can and we play in punk rock bars, dive bars, behind dumpsters, or whatever the fuck it is, but we get to do it our way. I think that’s the biggest obstacle as an artist. You’ve just got to figure out what you want to do and stay off the fucking internet because these cats that are on the internet that are saying these things, they’re strictly just to turn you from going in a stand alone direction. You know what I’m saying? Everybody wants you to pay for their showcase, or pay for PR with them, or blah, blah, blah. Tunnel vision man, just tunnel vision. Learn what you want and then best of luck. You know, I don’t have it all figured out, I’m still figuring it out, but I think that’d be my main thing.
That makes sense. It sounds like a very intricate process, but you just kind of have to focus on what you want to do as an artist and that’s really cool. What are your plans for the rest of 2017? I know you’ve got this coming out July 7, so do you plan on touring? What do you guys have planned?
Next week I’ve got a show on release day. I’ve got a few other scattered dates over the next month or two. I want to try to let the thing breathe because there are a lot of new ears. We’re going to try to do a tour tour. It’s kind of like the weekend warrior thing, like I’ll be gone six, eight weekends in a row. I’ve only been able to actually get out on the road once since like 2013, so we’re really going to try to put a tour together, just because it will be fun to see who really out here knows the music, man, even if we sell ten or fifteen tickets a city, I don’t give a fuck, I’ll make it work. We want to do that.
I’m really interested in trying to work with some artists that I’m a fan of. We’ve got a lot of that stuff in the pipeline. I’d love to collaborate, make some songs, do some shows together. I kind of approach this stuff kind of like a rock band most of the time, rather than hip hop artist so the mindset is always, put out a record, play in front of people, sell some merch, repeat. Then just shake hands in the process, maybe that turns into getting a song placed in a movie or a show or something like that. You just try to find a way to make music your life. I do some booking – that’s where I’m at right now. I work doing some booking for a magazine in Akron, OH, so it’s really cool. So when someone says something stupid, it’s like, nah bro, don’t ask them to come up here for $100 bucks and like six people in the band. Let me talk to them.
I’ve got all the information about your EP. Is there anything you want to ad?
Nah, just the record comes out July 7th. I really hope people enjoy it. I hope it makes people happy. That’s it, I hope you enjoy it and I hope it makes you feel good.
again is out now.