IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What city and state are you from?
HALF DEAD: I was born in Calumet City, Chicago, Illinois, but my family moved to Casper, Wyoming when I was two years old. I was back and forth between Casper and Chicago through my childhood and teenage years. I was trying to find my own identity and figure out where I belonged.
GUARDIAN ANGEL: I was born and raised in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I lived in Spearfish, SD up through my high school years attending SBHS in Sturgis, SD.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What is your music background?
HALF DEAD: I started trying to freestyle when I was around 8 years old. It was a way to cope with the chaos in my own head and deal with life. Music provided me an outlet.
GUARDIAN ANGEL: I was singing since before I could talk (or so I’ve been told). As a child, I was involved in stage shows, festivals, and sung in church almost every weekend. Then I had got a scholarship to study music performance in college. Since we’ve been together, we’ve had the opportunity to travel with our music from Texas to Illinois. We’ve gotten to open shows for artists like Tech 9, Esham, Liquid Assassin, and Kung Fu Vampire; we were even on the bill to open for Twista in Ottawa, Illinois.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your songs about?
HALF DEAD: My lyrics, for the most part, are about a lifestyle that I used to live. Living in anger and chaos all the time from my choices had a huge impact on my life. I’ve died more than once because of the paths that I chose to take. So now I’m trying to tell my story in hopes of keeping others from making those same destructive choices.
GUARDIAN ANGEL: My lyrics in our songs are either written from my own inner demons and feelings or from a place of hope. I want people to be able to relate to what I’m delivering and be like, “Yeah, I feel that.” Or I want them to find peace in the idea that it’s not over; there’s always the opportunity for a brighter tomorrow. I guess basically, I feel like our songs are about life, real feelings, emotions, and real talk.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What is your favorite song to perform and why?
HALF DEAD: My favorite song is the original, “Here We Are.” It gets everyone hyped up and excited. Watching the crowd get excited is a great feeling. Seeing their faces when the song gets going and hearing them start singing with us really makes me feel alive.
GUARDIAN ANGEL: For me, I think my favorite song would either be ,“Here We Are” or “Tears of Happyness”. “Here We Are”, really gets the crowd amped up every time we’ve ever performed it. There’s so much energy in the room during that song that it’s almost tangible. But ,“Tears of Happyness”, makes a real emotional connection. The last time we performed it for a show, we had people crying. That’s really what I want from our music, for people to FEEL something.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What has surprised you the most in the pursuit of a career in music?
HALF DEAD: How many fake people we’ve come across. You know what I mean? There are a lot of people that we’ve come across only out for themselves and looking to hustle anyone for their next payday.
GUARDIAN ANGEL: I would have to agree with Half Dead on that one. It has really gotten discouraging at times to not know if the people who claim to want to do business or help are really there for those reasons. We’ve lost a lot in our journey, but I suppose we’ve gained a lot from those experiences too. Got to take the good with the bad.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Who are your musical influences?
HALF DEAD: Spice 1, Ice Cube, Nate Dogg, Bone Thugz, E-40 – there are so many. It’s the lyricism and style, these artists are legendary. They came up from nothing and then when they blew up, it was the making of something great, a new era for music.
GUARDIAN ANGEL: Growing up I listened to a lot of 90’s to early 2000’s R&B and hip hop. But at the moment I listen to Ice Cube, Tech 9, Bone Thugz, SPM, Mr. Capone-E, Mr. Criminal. It kind of depends on my mood, but I love music that can make me feel something, even if it’s a moment of laughter because the lyrics crack me up.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How would you describe your music to people?
HALF DEAD: I feel like our music is very to the point, and it tells stories about a lifestyle that some might consider scary. But there’s always a reason or a message behind the lyrics.
GUARDIAN ANGEL: Our music is unique; I haven’t heard anything that sounds like we do. I feel like the reason for that is how we blend our own styles together to make something. I think Whitney Peyton hit it when she said, “I am not a rapper, you are tuning into artistry.”
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What makes you stand out from other artists?
HALF DEAD: It’s our own style; a mix of old school, new school, and our personalities. No matter how different my style is from my wife’s (Guardian Angel) we mix them together to create something amazing.
GUARDIAN ANGEL: Aside from how unique I feel our music is, I think our relationship to each other sets us apart as well. Being married to Half Dead, makes all of our music even more meaningful and intimate because the content we create was done with my best friend.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What would you like to see changed in today’s music industry?
HALF DEAD: I would really like to see less music glorifying material possessions, drugs, money, gang life. I want to see more music from artists who take pride in their lyricism and the messages that they bring.
GUARDIAN ANGEL: I definitely agree with Half Dead on this. For me, I feel like there is too much: “look at my bling, look at my cars, look at these hoes, I’m a playa” , type music everywhere. I know there’s a place for that, but I would love to see more meaning and passion in the music being produced. I want to hear more music that lights a fire in people’s eyes.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are some upcoming projects that you are currently working on?
RIP SOLDIERS: Right now we are setting up a release date for our upcoming EP, The Truth Hurts. It’s been a project in the making for a while now, and the content ranges from an invitation to blow peoples’ minds, to messages of hope for people feeling lost and alone, to fighting inner demons and rage. Every song has a backstory and a message.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
RIP SOLDIERS: In ten years, a lot can happen! But we plan to be a known name, making noise, and making music. The ultimate goal of RIP Soldiers is to make a difference and leave a legacy. So in ten years, we plan on having a scholarship program in place to help underprivileged youth get their education─ not necessarily college─ just whatever they want to do to learn to advance on the path they want to go in life.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How can your fans access your music and contact you?
RIP SOLDIERS: We are up on almost all social media, predominantly Facebook and Twitter under RIP Soldiers Music and RIP Soldiers. But people can contact us through our website as well, www.ripsoldiersmusic.com. We love hearing from people, so if you like what we do and what we’re about, don’t be a stranger!
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