Twofour Seven, a master of all mediums talked to 107 about his genre-defying music, his love for philosophy, and why his work is so profound and introspective. His most recent project with Melanie Holst-Collin, Rush Slow is just a small insight into how talented he is and what you can expect from him going forward.
Thanks for chatting with us. Tell us a little about your musical background. How did you get into music?
The way I got into music was through listening to music played on radio and observing music videos on TV. I had a MC Hammer tape that I would listen to over and over again, really loud at my grandmother’s house. I was amazed at him rapping. I was in shock. From there, I acquired this personal recorder and record myself free styling all the time. I let one of family member hear it, I think it was my sister of something. They didn’t believe it was me. And from that point on, I started rapping and trying to let more people hear it. I ended up hooking up with friends at school and from there it is history.
This brings me to my next question about your name. It is fascinating. How did Twofour Seven come about and what is the significance behind it?
I named myself Butch Cassidy and my friends made fun of me because they thought it was a stupid name. People started calling him 24/7 because when I first started making music, I would plagued with insomnia, I was playing songs constantly. I couldn’t sleep…I even had a job but I would stay up all night working on music, and then I would go to work, come back and work on more music. It was eating up my day every day. If I tried to sleep and didn’t record the song, it would play in my head all night, while I am trying to sleep. More and more people just started calling me 24/7 and it just stuck.
I’ve been writing in notebooks forever. I’m glad we are in this in digital age because I just use google documents and type all my lyrics up. It is cool that google offers all these services for free. I can type stuff on the computer and read it off my phone.
You talked about how your friends started calling you 24/7 because you were making music all the time and this is an integral part of your existence. Did you always feel support from friends and family for your artistic pursuits or did that come over time?
Not necessarily from my family. They have learned over time how serious I was about my music. My friends, right off the bat, I let them listen to little things and they were amazed by what they heard. I was able to get a decent following right off the jump. I started out in Indianapolis, Indiana with afriend and we would do music around town. I wasn’t even old enough to get into some of the venues but we would just freestyle here and there. We were growing more and more people who were interested in what we were saying. We even got to do a show in a gymnasium. The acoustic was horrible but we still performed anyway and people loved what we did.
But my friend was going to move away to Tennessee. His family saw that me and him were serious about music. They asked if I wanted to move to Nashville with them. So I ended up traveling to Nashville, Tennessee and met more people who were interested in what they had to say and the music they were creating. I have never had a problem with people want to listen to the music. The hardest part is getting someone to listen to it. Hopefully they agree that it is good and want to share with others. Nashville, the small people that know me have been able to pass on my name around and that’s how people knew me.
That is great! Word of mouth is one of the most powerful forms of endorsement.
Yeah, I mean, I couldn’t sleep and so i started working at this gas station. I mean i couldn’t sleep so felt like I might as well earn some money. So I took a night shift next to a college in Murphy Borough, 30 minutes away from Nashville. I would work at night and listen to my own music. When people came in and asked about it, I would pass out CDs until the stack was all the way to the bottom. I would bring stacks of my CD to my night job every night. They may not have known who I was but they knew the music and that helped boost me around town as well.
That’s what’s up! You have been posting video quite regularly, which I appreciate. One video, in particular “Untitled”, which is minimalist but also artistic. What has spurred this generation of videos for your work?
While in Nashville, I had stopped putting myself out there. I felt like some of the shows I put out there, nobody was listening. I felt my music was terrible for a while. I spotted posting stuff. I just let my friends here it. When i moved here, I started all over again. All I wanted to do was music. I can’t just do music if no one knows about it. I started a Facebook and started posting my music on there. Melanie and my other friend, Matthew, told me to keep up with this stuff. So I started posting music on Monday for people to check out and stay in the know of what i am doing. So I started creating more music videos. It’s interesting to have music going along with video. Friend kept telling me to post my videos. I came up with the videos because of their encouragement. I didn’t know people enjoyed my music enough to want to pay attention to it like that. It’s pretty easy to make videos since I am also a DP (Director of Photography). I had the help of Justine Spinoza. He thought she had a great vibe and she helps me now and again. Whenever you see the video moving it is because Justine is working behind it. I’ve been into video almost as long as I’ve been into music. I love creating a nice image.
Nice! Are there any new records coming up?
I've got 3-4 albums i could probably release but I am waiting on some friends to help me out. I want to do music and sustain myself. I was talking to people in Atlanta to get them to help me out. I am friends with Natalie Prass. I have been talking to her about a few things such as whether i should get a publicist. I want it to be a full time thing so i can take care of myself and my girlfriend. I was waiting for that stuff but I may just release something.
How would you even describe your music to someone who doesn’t know what they are listening to?
I am having a hard time with that myself. I go off what I am feeling. We were talking about going off a feel rather than a named brand. I’ve come up with a vibe or a feel-good kind of musical style. Not so much that this is hip hop or rap specifically or rock or whatever. It’s just feel-good-vibey music. It helped me described my albums in such of a concept too. I come up with these songs and put them together as an album. Now I am able to create a vibe throughout the album that is a concept, just a good feeling as you listen to the music. I will listen to anything if it sounds good. I am also a producer and i work with artists who work on things that are not close to what I do but I want to help them get their stuff out there. All I want to do is creating something that sounds good. Hopefully they can also listen to the lyrics and vibe off of that too. I want to make good sounding stuff whatever it is.
Your lyrics are quite profound and philosophical. I guess in some ways also introspective. Is that something that happened on purpose or is that something that flows intuitively? What are the key themes you talk about?
When it comes to music or art period, it is good to start with what you know. To me music is not just something to help with entertainment but it has been a meditative stress reliever for me. It has helped me get through a lot to stuff. It has always been there. To me it, kind of like is a diary that I choose to expose to the world. Within a diary, it changes as I change. I may be talking about philosophical topics, depression, life and death, or love… I don’t have a ton of experience with but i dabble. It is always changing and growing. The great thing about music, is that it can be whatever you want it to be. It also helps…the stuff i listen to like…Aesop Rock, Eyedea & Abilities and so many other musicians that take abstract philosophical route is soaked into the being of my music as well. I love people listening to my music and not being able to decipher something immediately. It is almost that way with me too. I write like a stream of consciousness and it just comes out of me. I listen to the music and whatever comes out is what I write down. Sometimes I listen to it a hundred or two hundred times to figure out exactly what I am talking about and I am figuring out the song as much as someone else who is knew to it. I like that I can choose to be vague in the message or I can choose to be very clear and precise with the message. I love philosophy and talking about the unknown and the physics. The things that make life interesting.
So your collaboration with Melanie Holst-Collins, I didn’t even know she could spit! I had met her once before and she looked familiar to me. So that was a great surprised to me. How did that collaboration come about.
I met Melanie when I worked at Speakeasy on South Congress as a sound guy. I get paid to listen to bands all night. She was dating this guy and he was doing at show at Speakeasy. She was a really cool person.
A few months might have passed and she was walking past Speakeasy and I was standing outside, and she told me she was about to head over to something. She invited me and I went with her. We were chilling at this place taking about stuff she has done. Somehow we started talking about music. She didn’t believe I did music. I passed her my headphones to listen to what I was listening to and she couldn’t believe it. She wanted to listen to more. She told me she sings and I invited her over. I was looking to get a voice on this one track. She sang on it and we listened to it. I had already started working on more music. She really loved this new track I just wrote. He asked her that if he wrote a verse for her would she be ok spitting it. She said she could write a verse and told him she rapped too. I was like “WHAT?!” She wrote a verse and she just like killed it! She is from Washington and she used to do spoken words there. When she moved over here she couldn’t find the community she was looking for. She buried that stuff and worked more on being a life coach. She told me that when she heard my music, it pulled stuff out her and made her want to do this stuff again.
What are one or two tips you would give to someone who want to have an artistic career?
If you want to use art to sustain yourself, you have to be willing to allow yourself to do the job you don’t want to do. Help yourself and be in the place you want to be. Like in the past, I worked in the gas station but it was beneficial as I was able to pass out my music. If you are an artist and are good at recording stuff, you can do that and get paid to feed yourself. You have got to be able to create content. I met a girl today and she was amazing but she was hoarding her music. She was a perfectionist and didn’t want people to see it. You have to put it out there. if it is good, people want to pay attention. Create music and allow the art to grow with you. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s been a crazy rollercoaster. I’ve seen things. Keep creating music.