RockyBanks

 

Rocky Banks is a rising Houston emcee who turned his drug addiction into a music addiction. Free from the troubling struggles of being under the influence, Banks reflects on his struggles in his recent release, In Other News I Don’t Do Drugs Anymore. Visual lyricism, inspiration, and emotion thrives within this album and his music, in general. Having the honor of interviewing Rocky Banks was a raw, life-enhancing experience that I hope you all feel as well.

 

 

Q: When did you know that music was going to become a part of your life?

A: I started music in 2013, but I’ve been doing it and recording mixtapes since 2011. However, I stopped doing music because I went to college and I wanted to focus on school more, but my mind started drifting towards music. I would leave music and come back for a couple of months, but it distracted me from my schoolwork. Later on, I began to have the feeling that school wasn’t for me anymore. In 2013, I fell back from school, recorded more, and dropped my first EP. I was trying to resurface and find myself as an artist. I went all in and progressively got better.

 

Q: Do you think you can bring school back into the picture?

A: Most definitely. I’m going to go back to school. Before, I was going to school for somebody else, but now I want to do this for me. I’m doing this to keep me occupied and stay out of harms way, away from all distractions. I still work and have a job, you know? I go to work then I handle my business with music.

 

Q: How was SXSW?

A: SXSW was great. I spent most of my time networking. I met up with Jace from Two-Nince and Chaz French. Unfortunately, one of my sets was cut from SXSW, but I did do some unofficial shows. I kind of sprung up out of nowhere with In Other News I Don’t Do Drugs Anymore , because I dropped it at the end of the year, but it picked up a lot of attention from SXSW. I definitely have a lot lined up for 2017 though, more official shows.

 

Q: I know you recently had a viewing party for the premier of your music video “A Lot.” How did that go?

A: We had a really great turn out. We played the video over and over again. We had music playing over the video and eventually I performed a couple songs from the album.

 

Q: What was your visual direction for “A Lot?”

A: I wanted to give a twisted depiction of what I was talking about in the song. From the influence to take the drug and the people who were around me that I really wasn’t supposed to be around.  Being totally blinded and unaware of the environment. Drugs almost led me down the path of destruction. There was a hidden message behind the video, which was, I used to take Xanax a lot and I would find myself falling asleep in my car and waking up in random places.

 

Q: Did you direct this video yourself?

A: I didn’t. The creative direction was all me and I wrote the video, but I didn’t direct it myself.

 

Q: What is the story behind I.O.N.I.D.D.D.A?

A: In school, when I was starting to get back into music, I started hanging around people that were influencing me to do drugs and I was around it too much. I started experimenting, got hooked on painkillers/Xanax. I constantly got depressed, I didn’t know what I was going to do after I dropped out of school and I started bouncing around. I didn’t have much going on. That’s when I decided that I had to make something shake. I continued to do drugs, but I felt like I was spiraling out of control. One day, I was supposed to perform and I woke up and started taking drugs. A whole lot of Xans, I went to the studio and took some “uppers,” and I ended up taking a dab hit for the first time. When it hit my chest, I felt my lungs collapsing. As I was being rushed home, I felt like I was dying, I was losing all of my senses, I couldn’t feel my right arm, and my vision started to blur in and out. I panicked and called everyone I know and love, told them I loved them because I thought that was it. When I finally got to the hospital, they told me on a scale from 1 -10, 1 being completely dead and 10 being healthy, I was a 2. I decided to straighten up and get my stuff together. That’s when I began creating this album with the hopes that it would inspire others to be positive and to focus.

 

Q: Was there a creative process behind this album?

A: I worked on I.O.N.I.D.D.D.A for three years. Some of the songs on there are three years old, but once I figured out the message I wanted to start pushing and what I wanted my image to be, I decided to tell my story. Piece by piece, I grew as an artist. I selected which songs I wanted to put on there and I built the script. The way I write my songs are like a movie script. I like to include a lot of imagery in my lyrics. I laid it all out in one session, played it front to back, put the skits in the middle, and that’s how the project got put together.

 

Q: I like the automated voices you include at the end of each song that have a positive message. Did you come up with that concept?

A: Yes, they’re all quotes from my uncle, who I consider to be a father figure to me. He would drop quotes on me, every so often, that stick with you once you get older. I pretty much just recited those skits on there to make them fit the message.

 

Q: So, you direct your own visuals, co-produce most of your music, you’re your own branding consultant, and you’re an artist/performer. How did you build the experience to take on these jobs?

A: I simply just wanted to do it. I didn’t want anyone to say, “Oh he didn’t do that though.” I didn’t want to give anybody anything to say. Everything is well executed, but overall, I just want to be an excellent artist. It’s pressure at times because of the responsibilities, but it’s not all on me, I have a team. I make final decisions and put my neck on the line, but if I fail, I have to take that for the whole team. It’s all about being a leader and stepping up.

 

Q: Do you plan on going on tour any time soon?

A: We’re working on it and we’re having talks of it. I might do a joint tour with somebody, but I don’t want to reveal it right now, it’s a secret. Definitely be on the look out for it though! Headliners and a lot of surprises are coming soon.

 

Q: Who are some artists that inspire you, musically?

A: I met Kendrick Lamar a couple times and he looked at me funny, like, “Man you look similar.” I was telling him back then that he was going to see me. That’s how I got put on to Kendrick. Someone put me on to Hiiipower. We do sound alike, but it’s all coincidental. There is a slight difference. I consider myself to be more diverse, but he is a great artist and is definitely one of my inspirations. I grew up listening to NWA, Andre 3000, Freddy Inglewood, Kanye West, Jay Z, and Nas. Those are my biggest inspirations. I consider my wordplay to be similar to NWA and Jay Z.

 

Q: What is your style of music?

A: Alternative. I don’t have a set genre. It’s whatever I feel I want to express, I do it and put my creative spin on it. However you perceive it, it’s art.

 

Q: I see that you plan to release EPs this summer? What can you tell us about that?

A: It’s going to be very different from In Other News. It’s the same Rocky Banks, but enhanced. You’ll be able to under sand more. It’s going to be music that travels and has legs.

 

Q: Who are some artists that you hope to work with in the near future?

A: Right now, I’m still trying to earn my keep, but soon, someone is going to pick up on the sound and is going to want to work. It might not be a song release, I might pitch ideas or help write something, but I feel I’m going to make a strong connection in the near future.

 

Q: What are your goals for 2016?

A: My main goal is to keep spreading my movement, give great visuals, hopefully have a solo tour, but if that doesn’t work out, it’s fine, put my stamp on the game, have a larger name, and give back to everyone who supports the movement.

 

Q: What are your goals for your movement and music?

A: I already have plans to speak at several schools and talk to the kids during pep rallys about how I can turn them from thinking they can escape from anything by doing drugs or thinking it’s cool to do so. I plan to inspire them and change their minds about going down that path. My team and I are going to feed the homeless, do food drives, just truly give back to show people that this movement is real and not fabricated. Nothing but genuine love and peace.

 

Q: What message would you like to send to your fans and supporters?

A: Understand that you understand right from wrong. Don’t second guess about doing the right thing. You are more than capable of doing what you set your mind to. Once you say that you’re going to do something, write down your goals, look at them, stick to em, and you will be successful. Somebody out here needs you. They need you to be the light in their life. Keep spreading love and peace.

 

 

 

 

Check out Rocky Banks recently released music video for “A Lot”

About The Author

CEO, Editor-In-Chief

awkward. college student. entrepreneur. womanist. radiant. lover of all things. growing, blossoming each moment.

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