Downset Interview

This interview was made in Toulon the 1st of November 2002. Ben, Phil and I have met the singer Rey.

First we wanted to talk about your new released, Code Blue Coma, can you explain the symbolic of the cover ?
We decided to leave the major label and work with Brett Gurewitz from Bad Religion. He's somebody that I've known for like 15 years. And we decided to give it and go. We did all right. When you look at the cover of the record, you know, it's pretty brutal. And that's the way I felt at that period of time when we were doin' the fuckin' record. Because once you start to get it to a major point in production. Weather it's organising a business, going to school, we all deal with different pressures in life. We all deal with different pressures. Part of that pressure, people demanding shit from me. I'm an artist and some people, sometimes it hurts to have people demand that fuckin' perform as an artist. So the reason I like the cover, because that's the way I felt like I was being followed by a fuckin' mob that'll fuckin' beat me to death. In the cover, the art that's inside, i have a friend of mine who's a really renound world wild known artist, his name is Mirawana from CBS and he's one of the best graphity artist in the world. Just in my opinion of course. And I'm not saying that because he's my friend. He said, "look Ray, we have a budget about 10 000$, give me 2000$, go to my web site, pick anything you want", because I've known that nigger for a long time. And I picked that particular piece because I think that it speaks for itself. I can sit here and talk to you guys what I fell about the piece. That piece is fuckin' amazing man. So I picked that piece, because that particular Downset record on Epitaph says a lot of things. And that particular piece that we picked to be in the record, says a lot of
things as well. And that's the reason I picked the piece.

You have a new guitar player. You were four on the other records, now you have two guitars players, what contribution does he brings on your sound ?
Actually we are all together now. All the original members went through a bunch of shitand we got back together except on this tour. Brian Sweggar, our guitar player, his mother is dying right now so we couldn't ask him to fuckin' leave. That's pretty selfish. Jamesis making more money doing what he's doing right now so he couldn't leave. He has to pay the fuckin' bills. I understand totally. The members on the last record were all original members except for the drummer. Now the sound that we have on that particular record, I think if you're into rap metal, or into Downset, if you don't fuckin' buy that record, you're fuckin' missing it. I swear I've
heard Limp Bizkit shit, Rage Against The Machine shit, all these niggers, they can even fuck with that record. None of'em. I'm talking about like strictly MC style. Like niggers battling on the mic, none of these niggers can step to that record. And that's just my opinion I'm not saying that because it's my shit, I'm saying that because I have a very strong and true opinion on art. I'm an artist, I've been a graphity artist since I was 12, I've always loved music and it's a fuckin' master piece of rap metal. And if you don't see it, you're missin' it.

Can you explain the musical changes and evolution between "Code Blue Coma " and "Check Your People" ?
I think that we tried to stick to the traditional sound which is the metal and the rap. I was a big Suicidal Tendencies fan, and they started getting' a little too metal for me bro. You know, I was like "Fuck", I'm not trying to dog Mike Muir shit, he's one of my biggest fuckin' hero, but I think the band just left it sounds too much, you know, that's a lesson to me. So the rap and the metal, we always gotta keep it. You know, but as a vocalist, i've been brockin rimes and swearing my fuckin' tongs out ever since I was 13 years old man, it's fuckin' old to me.
I've been doing rap metal since 1986. It's like I've been doin' this shit forever, so I wanna sing.
I was thinking about starting other shit.

You have a strong message in your lyrics, what is now your message in 2002 ?

Fuck ! You know, I've tyed to do my best. You know what I mean. I pretty much think that people don't get it. Cause I'll be in France and I'll hear someone talking shit about somebody from England, I'll be in england listening to some kid talking shit about people from france, I'll be in Germany listening to some kid talking about polish people, you know what I'm saying, I'll be in fucking Los Angeles and it's the same shit but worst. It's fucking worst men, you know. What do I have to say these days ? Fuck, you know the most important thing for me right now are family, communauty and education. I've been studying law, religious law which is juich law, I've been studying the bible, I've been studying every form of american law as I possibly could the orignis of law because law create some of an order and we need to make order out of chaos. Hatred is chaos and has nothing to do with fuckin' order. So I think that these days, you know, love your family, keep education progressive. Simple shit you know, if your friend is hungry
give him some food, if he need somewhere to stay, fuckin' give him somewhere to stay. You know if you step of the net of hardcore, rapcore or fuckin' reaggae or whatever music, you step out of the fuckin' real world. you have to get people housing, fuckin' jobs. You know food and education are those things that fuckin' count. I don't really live in Los Angeles right now, I
live in Mexico, fuckin' poor third world country. And I see the things that really count, family, jobs and education. And I think that if I had to say anything right now that's what I'll have to say. Improve the quality of life threw education, family and jobs cause that's what really count. how did you buy that jacket ? How did I buy these shooes ? Cause I went to work, and I
got this work cause of a friend of mine that helped me out, and that's the sheet that really counts

What do you think of the emergence of Hardcore in metal music ?
It's fuckin amazing bro ! I just can't believe it. It's fuckin too much. But what it says to myself personnely, is that fuck radio you're a way out of your time. I'm ahead of my time for like fifteen years as an artist. You know I wasn't listening to Public Enemy or Sick Of It All because I thought that was cool, I listened to it because I saw the emergence of it. I was keepin' in touch with kids like this is niggers from new york, check'em out, buy their shit. I started out as I was 12 years old as a DJ, I spin like disco, and then funk, and then disco and funk started turning into rap and that's how I got to the hip hop scene, and then I got to the graphity art, cause threw art you can change the world. When I see 12 or 13 years old kids wearing Limp Bizkit shirts, it's amazing to me to see like how much bands like Downset, Rage Against The Machine, Run DMC started to influence the sound of music. It's incredible, I don't even know what the fuck to say about it bro, and to see where it's gone it's like "Whouah" I didn't thought it would get this big. We have millions of people who are listening to this shit, it's fuckin' too much. Downset can go anywhere and get like 500 kids a night. We are very lucky.

What about fusion bands like Hed(Pe)?
I got love for those kids. We were on tour with them. There is a lot of bands that we got love for. I think it works. I'm cool with it. I'm glad that people are wheeling to mix all types of music. Because that's what it's about. Music is not gonna evolve, sound is not gonna evolve unless people experiment, and right now we really try to experiment.

Does the line up changes affected your way to compose ?
Fuck no. I don't really listen to other music, if you ask me how sound the new Papa Roach or Limp Bizkit or System of a Down I don't fuckin' now. I don't really listen to that shit. Right now I'm on to jungle, break beat, 70s. I picked the Chaos AD record and started listen to it. I don't listen to too much stuff anymore. I try not to be influenced by anything.

Do you consider graphics art as a part of hardcore street and community ?

Absolutely. I've traveled worldwilde doing music, but when you drive down the streets on a freeway or on a highway, graphity art is so fuckin' public. I take pictures and I document it worldwide. There is nothing like it, it's fuckin' everywhere. And it has more influence on the public I think, you know you can drive on the freeway and there it is, it's not like somebody is
pumping a fuckin' Chaos AD record on the freeway. Graphity art is visual, it's out there. Graphity art has been very important to me because it's a strong and positive thing in my life. It's almost more important to me than music. Because you can get a someone how is into reaggae, classical, or basque and folk and play each one of 'em on a fuckin' black flag record and every one of em will be like no I don't listen to that shit, but if you show them a piece of art they're gonna be more open to it. Cause it's more universal.

What about the featuring on Cypress Hill album ?
We know those Cypress Hill niggers for years. We're all from the same place. You know, Cypress Hill, Wu Tang, we have connections. Downset is a fuckin' band that you know, we know a lot of people. I'm not gonna start dropping names. A lot of people who are in the rap world, really wanna know about Downset. You know, there has been interviews where they've asked Zack de la Rocha from RATM who was doing the sound when they first started and they said "Downset was". RATM is very influencal, Downset is very influencal but we are more of a un underground level. RATM is fuckin huge, but because of the fact that we've been such an underground level, I think that there is a mystic about it. We attract all of a different personnality. For the Cypress Hill featuring, it's like what music is all about, meeting with people, getting together and fuckin' make it work.

What would you like to say to the young generation now ?
I'm 32 years old now, I've been in this music since I was fuckin' 12, and I really think that supporting the local scene is very important you know. Start a band, do whatever you wanna do, but I just believe that people should start supporting the local scene, takin' care of their families, take education a lot more serious. You know, make yourself happy. That's it bro, you know what I'm saying. I could sit here and talk for hours, but I think that making yourselves happy without hurting other people is fuckin' what life is all about.

Do you know French bands ?
Absoloutly not. Yeah we've toured with shit lots of bands. "Boost" We just played with them. Like 2 or 3 shows, their shows were fuckin' heavy men. Guys were also very cool. What else do I know from france ? Fuck I can't remember anybody dude. But I tell you this : In general, not just music, all of arts (cause I consider music to be art), the french, there nothing like playing in france. France is strong. Because I believe that the french are very passionate at what they do, they take it serious. Not that Germany doesn't or that England doesn't, everybody has a passion, but caracteristicly speaking, you guys are very unique people bro. "Vive la France !"

Is there any questions you would have liked we asked you ?
Hugh, let me see. Yeah I would have liked them to ask me what I think about the E.C. The European Communauty. This is what I predict : The Queen of England would never become a part of the EC. They will not do it, that's what I really believe. And as United States comes from England, it's not a part of the British Commonwealth but american roots are from England. So I believe that the european continent will start pressure on England to join but they will not want to be a part of it, so they are gonna fight after a while. That's what I believe, but they're not gonna fight the whole continent on their own, otherwise they will fuckin' loose. So they will get together with the US and there will be a war. Yes, a fuckin' big war buddy ! And as soon as I heard that the fuckin' EC was a reality, I as like, fuck dude !

Now what is your last word ?
I'm about to go to sleep nigger !

Interview O.S. & Ben
Translation Tataye


Copyright Hammerock - Spiritribe 1999