Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Chilly S interview

I did an interview with a friend of mine and thought I would share it here. If you will notice the advertisement at right with the guy in this gas mask, this is Chilly S.

I first got hooked up with Chilly when he sent over some money a couple of years ago after reading my blog. I guess my deal sort of resonated with him and we have been bantering back and forth and playing internet chess ever since. Without disclosing his real identity, I can say that he was born in Ukraine but came over when he was nine. He works a normal white collar day job and has a nice looking wife and a new baby girl. They are residents of Staten Island and for all intents and purposes, would pretty much resemble any number of white, 30-something, middle class New Yorkers except for one thing: Chilly has been working out his desire to be the techno rapper from hell and ready or not, he is unleashing out over the internet!

Up until recently, Chilly had only been investing a decent part of his income into building up his home music/video studio, taking the web by storm by tantalizing and perplexing viewers and listeners with his feisty combination of techno pop jams and a seriously aggravated mélange of tongue-in-cheek, truth savoring, belligerent outbursts of rhymes, sent via U-tube and at least 16 other video and file sharing sites. And true enough, Chilly has created a loyal, grass roots fan base and because if it, 2008 has brought Chilly S out of the "closet" and onto the hip hop stages of late night New York. After several live shows killed at local clubs, it seems now as though the real question isn't "Who is Chilly S?" but rather: How far can Chilly S go?

We talked for a while over the chat lines both while he was in New York and away on business and I got to hear all of the low down on his current marketing/performance/net cracker assault plans. Only time will tell if his schemes will work out, but in the meantime, lots of people are enjoying finding out: Who is Chilly S.

BH: You have been on my contact list for a while...

Chilly S: Cool!

Actually, as I see this, we have this chat open so uh... Tell us, how did this Chilly idea of yours get started?

haha - Well actually I starting writing lyrics and making rap music in 1988 - and I did some performances at parties but then totally lost touch with it for about 10 years. It all started up again when we found out that my wife was pregnant

An odd time to start a career as a rapper, isn't it? Did you take inspiration from the experience of fatherhood?

I wouldn't necessarily call it a career - its just something that I'm doing now because my day job (working with encryption all day) does not give me much of an outlet for creativity and expression. As for the connection between the re-emergence of Chilly S and being a father - something definitely happened when we found out we were pregnant - it was like the life that was growing inside my wife's belly was sending me messages to create stuff as well - it sounds crazy but it's kind of hard to put into words - but I definitely felt something that told me "you are on the right path".

Do you find that your new family life conflicts in any way with the time you spend on the Chilly project?

I don't know if I would say "conflicts" but it does have an impact - even if I have time in the evening to work on it, I don't have the energy. But in the same breath, the baby loves my rhymes and when I perform in front of her it puts a smile on her face which gives me hope and inspiration that no matter what, I will always have at least one fan of Chilly S

Who was your first rap influence? And what drew you to the medium in the first place?

I think the first time I heard "Run DMC and Public Enemy I was blown away – of course being a teen in the late 80's - Beastie Boys made it "kosher" for any white kid that wanted to rap.

Do you feel race to be important? Is rap only a black thing at heart?

Not at all - I think that is the beauty of where hip-hop is and what it represents - it goes beyond race, religion, and national boundaries. You'd be surprised how popular underground hip-hop is in France and Germany for example. We all speak different languages but through hip-hop the people in Germany have a connection to people in America. You certainly have to pay respect to the black artists that started it back in the day but it's gone global and has a lot more dimensions to it besides race.

Ok then, in that case: your lyrics do contain a lot about your ethnic (Jewish/Ukrainian) heritage. Do you think there is something in your "slovenski dusha", your Slovak soul that needs to be expressed?

I never thought about it that way - but I like making people laugh, I like making people think, and I like making people question things. I think for the most part the majority of the people will not like or "get" my lyrics and video productions. But that is exactly what I want. I want to build a small loyal following - aka "grass roots".

Your music and videos obviously require a lot of studio time. Do you like performing live?

When I started the project, I never planned to perform live. I thought I can just put out videos on the internet and reach people that way. But I remembered how much fun it was performing back in the late 80's when I created this Chilly S character - so my recent performances were fun but also very nerve wrecking as well. I don't want people to be disappointed.

Now about that rap about the wife: I have heard Matiyahu's "One woman for me". Is there some religious background to your song? And can we really mix fidelity and love with the anger and angst of rap?

haha - yeah I've received some flak for that clip in Episode #2 of the Chronicles - my camera guy called and begged me to take it down - he said it was "too white". No religious background at all - everything in that song is true - it was supposed to be a "surprise" for my wife for her birthday - which was the December 29th performance at Club TUTS. I never got a chance to perform it in the club - hence the a capella footage that you saw. The best part of the song was the beat - which was like a war march - nothing you would ever hear in a typical love-song - but the point I was going to make is that you have to fight for love even if you are happily married. And I couldn't do what I am doing without the love and support of my wife.

Was that a real homeless guy or was he a plant? What was the deal there?

Ah yes - "Jannet Janze" - or at least that's the name he gave me - that night he was like a homeless angel. He just showed up out of nowhere and as soon as I started talking to him I realized he was "money" in terms of good video footage. I have at least 3 more episodes with him and wait until you see what happens.

So where is Chilly going? Is there a goal or a plan, or are you just surfing the wave and seeing where it takes you?

Yeah basically you hit the nail right on the head - I am not sure where any of this is going and I don't have a grand master plan - basically just keep doing what I enjoy doing and hopefully be able to make some extra cheese in the end.
As for now I am going to stick with this internet reality-show format and stick with "The Chronicles" as a way to present that. I think there's a future in 4-5 minute weekly episodes as kids now-a-days don't have the attention span nor the time to sit and watch an hour or even half an hour TV show with corporate brainwashing (commercials) in-between

If I can ask, how do you plan on making money off of Chilly? There was a recent internet piece saying that even 25 million hits was only worth $5000 to one artist. Do you plan on selling albums? Or are you looking forward to hitting it big from doing more live shows?

That's a question I get alot - the way I see it is that the music/television/movies entertainment industry is going through a great change and the dust has not settled yet. All the business models have not been fully developed. But the one thing I know is that you want to be in the middle of the ocean, instead of on the shore when a tsunami comes. I see my involvement in producing original, on-line exclusive content as being in the middle of the ocean. At some point (2012 perhaps?) the tsunami will come and then things will be a bit more clear - it's too early to tell. There's a reason why Google bought YouTube for $1.65 Billion (US).
My wife recently told me - "Don't quite your dayjob" ....but to be honest, right now I am not focusing on making money at all. I am focusing on being successful. Even if I stop everything that i've been doing today - having not made one penny, I would still look in the mirror and say I've succeeded. That's how you have to approach it - as very little steps being a milestone and only you can decide for yourself what those steps are - not anybody else. Last year, if you would have told me that by this time I would have had my website up, have a presence on MySpace and FaceBook, performed live on my birthday as well as sharing the stage with some of the top NYC underground hip-hop talent, and finally be producing a weekly internet reality show (that is spread to all the video streaming sites - Google "Chilly S" and you'll see what I mean), about a white 38 year old Russian/Jewish Father who's trying to make it the underground hip-hop scene - I would have either told you you are crazy or you're describing someone who is living a dream. It's like I say in one of my rhymes: My rhymes bring unity to every community - Every obstacle I encounter is an opportunity". Its like every cliche you hear and I'm going to test whether or not its real - focus on what you love doing and the money will come eventually. If you focus on money you are bound to fail. Tell that to a person who struggling to feed his family every day - I know it sounds like a crock of bull-shit and makes me sound pretentious - but I honestly believe in that. Even the experience I had with the homeless guy has changed my perspective on things. Money does not always lead to happiness - that guy wanted to be homeless and was very good at it. I made him $28 dollars within 5 minutes and he could not wait to get rid of me. That tells you one of two things - he's either happy in life and doesn't want to get rich or that Chilly S is really annoying.

Do you have any words for fans that would be experiencing your music for the first time?

I would say that you should watch/listen to my stuff with an open mind - just as you approach everything else in life. I have a line in one of my songs - "Belief is the death of intelligence" - That's a quote from Robert Anton Wilson who was basically preaching against tunnel vision and tunnel reality - that once you say you believe in something that totally eliminates all other aspects of the thing or reality you believe in - so you might not be getting the truth. I'm all about the truth!

Just for the sake of the blog, please say something fucked up about Poland and tell us what you think about Alexander Lukashenko.

LOL - the Polish people should stand up and recognize that the people running the country are corrupt bitches. (hold...baby crying...)

Did you hear him? The man said CORRUPT BITCHES!

...ok I'm back - so I was saying the corruption is left over from the communism days and Poland instead of taking a stand seemed to have fallen in line with the old-guard mentality. As far as Lukashenko - it sad to see people that have already suffered so much endure more economic and social suffering under his rule. I think it will take more time for the former Soviet Union to shed it's communist history and weed out corruption - because what I am seeing is not a real democracy.
I call upon all hip-hop artists in Belarus to represent what's really going on and get people to arise!

And finally: Who is Chilly S

That's up to you to decide

Got it! Good stuff!

I agree. Thanks a lot

Cheers. I had fun. I go to sleep. Gotta pretend to work tomorrow.

Spakoinya Noche

More soon...