Q & A with Artist Chris Carmona

Intro: Chris Carmona, well known for his ambition as a talented up and coming filmmaker (created content for Mit, and forever champions his homegrown roots of South East LA) is here with GuapRuns today to talk about the forthcoming unveiling of a long cultivated visceral experience titled… “Yung Papi”. “Yung Papi” is Carmona’s first ever album. His supporters consider the drop to be a kind of rebirth of a creative as this is his first music baby.

C: What’s up, Guap Runs! I’m excited to be considered, and reviewed by yall. Let’s get the questions going; I’m super excited!

GR: Congratulations on an amazing first album. I was surprised moving from track to track as your versatility really shines through the span of genres you covered. There’s something for everyone on this album. I believe I heard everything from that hallmark West-side sound, to the Beach Boys, to the Beatles. Can you give us some thematic influences, as well as some musicians you seek inspiration from when creating your music? 

C: It was just a really great year for me personally. Having gone to Italy. Having discovered weed. Making these cool memories with my friends. It was just like all- and I think this is what “Yung Papi” is to me- is just this new life of: “Whoa, the world can be different when you step outside of this bubble. This High School bubble about friends.” But the world is real, and it's cruel, and it's dark at times. It's scary, but it can also be pretty lit.

 

I mean definitely the Beatles were a big part of that creative experience. The Beach Boys’ influence on ‘OPUN OSHUN’ is no secret. With the Beatles, I just constantly look to John Lennon’s vocals and his distortion techniques. Julian! Julian Casablancas. I will always shout this foo out. Julian Casablancas of The Strokes- Basically, ‘ASTRO AURI’. Its like Soldier Boy- “He copied my whole fuckin flow!” Ya, I straight up did, and I’m fucking pround of it, because I love him, and I don’t give a shit. 

 

GR: Your lyrics are very derivative of experience. Can you elaborate on what your writing process is like?

C: I mean I’m always writing every day. Writing little thoughts in my notes, and singing little courses into my voice memos. It's different when you decide: “These are maybe songs for one day”, to then being like “Okay, album time”. I started asking: What am I into? What do I like? (I feel like for your first album, you dont wanna just make music that you like). I asked myself, “What's the shit that really hypes me up?! How do I emulate that feeling? How do I bring that to my shit?” And that's the most exciting part about making music. 

For “Yung Papi,” it really just started with the title. I looked at what that means to me, and I wrote lyrics to my understanding of that. That's what this whole experience is, is me just going through the motions, and understanding what is this new life of mine? If you're not trying to force out a cool lyrical line, or if you just let the songs come out the way they come out, they’re gonna be unique, and you're gonna be surprised with the results. You just gotta give in to this invisible force that is music. You just have to give into it. You don't have to try, you just have to be like “I accept. What do you have for me? Just get me there.” And it's fun. Essentially- trust your choices as an artist.

GR: From your limited series podcast for “Yung Papi: Radio Show”, you mentioned you had a collection of songs somewhat written before completing them. How did you go about picking genre and style for each of them?

C: I think the way the songs come about dictates the style alone. For ‘OPUN OSHUN,’ I like the vocals, but I didn’t want my homies to giggle at me or think I’m fucking silly, so if we had like a smooth base line, people wouldn’t be laughing at that anymore. And ‘HOOD CLASSIC’, I was embracing a style, but this leads me to think there’s no such thing as genre per se, because if the production is consistent, and you’re using the same tools to make sounds that are different, but with the same tools- I just started feeling this is all one thing. Honestly this whole thing was an experiment that paid off really well.

GR: Storytelling is a big part of your music, can you give us an anecdote in your life which impacted your development in becoming the artist you are now?

C: Doing my podcast, strangely enough, is what got me here to make music. We just met so many artists, my co-host Angel Salinas and I. I personally got inspired by their work ethic. They were just like, “Ya, I wanted to make music, so I whipped out GarageBand. I whipped out whatever program and just started playing.” I thought to myself surprised, “It can be that easy?” And funny enough, CJ Khan (who I’m really grateful is on this album and kind of the co-star of this whole thing), started making music, that got me really excited, because he’s known to be an illustrator, an artist. And now he’s making music and not even trippin about people being like “Whhaat?” I thought “That fucking fire- Imma do that shit too!” So, thank you CJ. Thank you for inspiring me. Now this fucking album exists! Now I feel like I’m living my truest life.

GR: What are you looking forward to in this newly adopted creative vertical? Are you interested in learning about the industry or the creative technical end? What do you see this release as the beginning of? 

C:  I like that I learned that producing is something that I can do. I really feel like I can excel in that aspect, and that there is more to challenge there. There were a lot of rules we had to “break” to achieve a lot of the sounds on this album. Things that the classically trained person would advise against. It's like, ya... maybe, but that's how we want to sound, because it sounds cool. Sounds dope. 

I think overall something I’d like to bring to an industry, even just creatively too, is just the looseness of life. It's just fine. It's cool. Loosen up. It's not that big of a deal. Try new things. Don’t be afraid. And ya.., get that bread. 

GR: I think we all feel you on that one

This album took two years to complete, correct? You can feel the talent of everyone who was involved. How did you manage to transition into music and keep everyone on board to complete this. I’m sure a lot of creatives resonate with the experience of unfinished visions due to creative disagreements or even motivation becoming a big issue.  

C: It was very nice that in this project there are a lot of big personalities. There are a lot of fucking insane talents being harnessed.

CJ and I collaborated the most, but thankfully for everybody, as far as performance, they only had to bust it down once, send me that, and that was it. 

I think because I was pretty clear to everybody that like, “Look. You guys have your own projects, right? You guys have your own things, your own worlds, you’re trying to create too. All I’m asking is just, you know, come play in mines and have fun. Have a little bit fun with me. Forget your name. Forget all that. Just like, have fun with it. Try a different voice. Try not to sound like yourself. Do something that you wouldn’t usually do.”

And it's interesting because to a lot of people, even after the fact, it's weird to them. But it’s cool though, because that’s the project. That was like a little photo collage of these awesome artists,  brown artists, or SELA artists just coming together, and lending their voices to add to this collage of (neighbor)hood music. 

As far as this album, I’ve been thinking about it for two years, definitely, but I would say we really started making it only like last June when I got back from Italy up until now. So like a year roughly.

Thank you so much once again, Guap Runners i hope to be back soon. Thank you.

Outro: If you’ve finished listening to the album for your 100th time (that’s great! keep it up!) but Carmona has more in store for you. He started Yung Papi Radio, a playlist on Spotify and Apple Music, to showcase some of his favorite brown artists from the South East LA Area, which will be coinciding with the drop of the album! Enjoy the links leading you to the album and playlist below. Keep runnin Guap Runners!