Jane Meet On SoundCloud Premier Partner Hefna Gwap

On SoundCloud Premier Partner Hefna Gwap is a rapper originally from East Palo Alto in the Bay Area. He’s a multi-talented rapper who dabbled in film and co-founded a creative collective called Elegant Caviar while in NYC, where he met his main producer, Lord Plawz. This up-and-coming rapper is now based in Atlanta, pushing his music and the Elegant Caviar sound which he describes as “avant-garde hip-hop.”

He is launching a new content series called WestBlockWednesdays on SoundCloudEvery Wednesday at 12:53pm, Hefna Gwap will post a new track to SoundCloud. A special smokers edition song for 4/20 will kick off the WestBlockWednesdays series, starting next week on April 22.

Hefna Gwap - SoundCloud Blog Photo

Please introduce yourself to the SoundCloud community.

I’m Christopher Sigur Jr. PKA Hefna Gwap. I was born and raised in East Palo Alto, California in the Silicon Valley and I was interested in expressing my story through music at an early age. When my grandmother saw my passion growing, she bought me a karaoke machine and I used to record my earliest raps on Cash Money tape cassettes. Fast forward, my dad Big Chris bought me my first Pro-Tools (telling me he needed to recoup this expense of course haha). While I was teaching myself how to record my own music, I also started a record label with some high school classmates that was meant to keep teenagers off the streets after school and we won a $2,500 grant from BUILD Youth Entrepreneurship program at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

But I realized in order to really share my voice with the world, I would need to present who I am visually too. I attended film school in Berkeley and shot a video with my classmates for a song called “Bobo” back in 2012 that I put up on YoutTbe and this video made it to the eyes of producer Lord Plawz–all the way over on the East Coast in Brooklyn, NYC. After Lord Plawz saw my video we began talking of a collaborative relationship that blossomed into me making the move to NYC and founding a creative collective with Plawz called Elegant Caviar. We built up our name in NYC and through our journey ended up working in Atlanta, Georgia. Elegant Caviar is 2053 music. It’s avant-garde hip-hop that owes much to many regions and cultures. We were inspired by groups that created a cult of personality around them like Wu-Tang Clan, Outkast, and No Limit among others. Elegant Caviar is all about tying a look to the music, and I take how our videos, design and merchandise are communicated very seriously. 

How do you use SoundCloud?

I think SoundCloud is a wonderful tool for building community and dialogue among my fans and potential fans. When I release music on SoundCloud, it’s amazing to see what songs get the best crowd response (i.e. comments and reposts) and of course the analytics tools are invaluable. Having instant access to graphics that show which songs are being played the most and where these streams are coming from is a dream come true.

Describe your creative process. What is your set up like?

My current set up is in the Purple Cabinet at Twelve Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s a far cry from the humble beginnings in the kitchens and closets of California and New York. Of course the microphone and the Pro-Tools and my ever present iPad are what I’m on the most. I love working out of here. The vibe is very familial and there’s no telling who might walk through the door any given night of the week. Working at Twelve has already given rise to a lot of awesome collaborations and opportunities.

How have you reached certain goals or steps in your career?

When I moved to NYC, Lord Plawz was an intern at Jonny Shipes’ The Smokers Club. Plawz brought me to The Smokers Club office and I began interning for Creative Control which was a video production company working at the building. I was using my video editing skills I had learned in film school, while Lord Plawz was helping with Shipes’ operations for the record label. When Shipes’ heard our music, I began getting placements on Smokers Club’s SoundCloud and on Smokers Club music releases. We toured with The Smokers Club in 2013 and also attended the 2013 A3C in Atlanta.

At 2014’s SXSW in Austin, I got to perform on SoundCloud’s showcase and that was real honor, when I truly knew SoundCloud cared for their artists. We tirelessly recorded and filmed our own videos from 2012 on and through hard work and dedication, Elegant Caviar received the attention of many top music publications, blogs, clothing brands, and of course talented fellow musicians from NYC to ATL and to many other states and abroad.

When it comes to approaching editorial outlets and music professionals, my answer is simple and I promise you’ve heard it before because it’s the truth: stay humble! Also, I think it’s important to of course to make quality music, but also get those visuals going. And definitely get outside and show your face there’s no telling who you might bump into out there in the world.

What does it feel like to become a Premier Partner? Where do you want to take your career next?

I’m excited and I can’t wait to see the opportunities working with SoundCloud holds for me in the future. It’s a privilege to be included in the Premier Partner program and I hope to be included in SoundCloud’s plans for 2015 and beyond, especially performing on all SoundCloud stages/events!

Who or what is inspiring you creatively? Are there people that you’d like to collaborate or work with?

To be honest I’m inspired a lot by Jim Rohn audiobooks. Any time I listen to Jim Rohn and I think about where I wanted to go, where I have been, and most of all where I’m from, I get inspired to make new music. As far as dream collaborations, I would definitely say Kanye West, The Isley Brothers, George Clinton, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Ice Cube. But you know for me, music and film go hand in hand so I’d have to say Terrence Howard too. I’d love to work with Snoop and Ice Cube on a movie as well. That would be dope.

Anything else?

I just want to thank the Lord first. My family, my children, my fans of course. And my management! I do this for all of you.

Hear Hefna Gwap’s new track “Pill Machine” which released today.

For more information on our creator partner program On SoundCloud, head over to on.soundcloud.com. To read more interviews from On SoundCloud Premier Partners, click here.

Ben Meet On SoundCloud Premier Partner Chris Morrow from The Loud Speakers Network

Chris Morrow is the co-founder of The Loud Speakers Network – a podcast network which includes the likes of The Combat Jack Show, The Brilliant Idiots and The Read among others.

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Please Introduce yourself to the SoundCloud community

My name is Chris Morrow, I’m the co-founder (along with Combat Jack) of the Loud Speakers podcast network. My career has taken some unexpected turns. I’m Brooklyn based writer, probably best known for a series of books I’ve written with Russell Simmons including Do You! and Success Through Stillness. For many years I also worked as a producer in the radio industry, mainly as a way to support myself between writing projects. A few years ago I became a fan of the Combat Jack Podcast and linked up with Combat when he was looking for some help navigating the radio waters. But the more familiar I became with podcasting, I became convinced that’s where the future of audio was and we decided to start Loud Speakers podcast network. Today we have several popular podcasts including The Read with Kid Fury and Crissle, The Brilliant Idiots with Charlamange Tha God and Andrew Schulz and yes, The Combat Jack Show. It’s hard, at least we hope so, to label our podcasts as part of any specific genre, but it’s safe to say they’re coming from a hip-hop POV. And we hope they also stand out through giving a platform to the types of voices you might not hear on other networks.

How do you use SoundCloud?

SoundCloud is the backbone of our network. After we record an episode, we upload the audio file to SoundCloud and its’ RSS feed is how we launch other platforms like iTunes. One of the features we love about SoundCloud is its’ comment section. Some people have the misconception that listening to a podcast is a “solitary” pastime. But I think when you do to the SoundCloud page for a show and see a couple of hundred comments on an episode, it’s very powerful. Really gives you the sense that you’re part of a community of people who enjoy the same thing as you. Being able to see stats is another great feature. Before SoundCloud, as a podcaster it was very difficult to gauge your audience. Over and over again I’d hear people say, “I have no idea if people are listening to this thing or not.” Now, for better or for worse, we know. If the stats are strong, it’s a confidence boost. If the numbers could be better, it’s motivation to keep tinkering with the show’s format. I’ve always felt that you should tape a podcast because you have some information you really want to share, not because you’re chasing numbers. But having stats does help give you a sense of where you fit into the larger picture.

Describe your creative process. What is your set up like?

Well, as someone who heads a network, my creative process is different from musicians. But within podcasting, there are a lot of different approaches when it comes to recording an actual show. The Combat Jack Show likes to have a lot of ppl–interns, publicists, photographers–milling around the studio when they record. Plus there are always a lot of people crammed into the studio because they just want to be part of the energy. With The Read, it’s just Fury and Crissle in the studio by themselves–I don’t even come in. But that show has tremendous energy to it. So it’s really just a matter of creating your comfort zone and figuring out how to tap into the energy you need to create.

Describe how you reached certain goals or steps in your career.

I’ve basically worked really hard for a long time, a trait I picked up from my father, who’s my biggest influence. His example was also to put your head down and do the work, don’t worry about being validated or praised for it. In terms of my career in media, Russell Simmons has probably helped me the most. My name wasn’t that big when we wrote our first book together and he could have very easily gone with someone more established. But he saw how hard I was working (I had been hired to write some scripts for him) and gave me the shot. I was able to make good on it and since then he’s supported me in a lot of different ways.

What does it feel like to become a Premier Partner? Where do you want to take your career next?

It’s been great to be a Premier Partner. It’s given Loud Speakers the freedom to experiment with different shows and give opportunities to hosts who might not otherwise by in the mix for what we do. We might not have been able to do a show like Tax Season or Fan Bros without that sort of support. Shows that don’t appeal to “traditional” podcasting crowds, but are bringing new voices to the medium. I think that’s very important. We want to keep building Loud Speakers Network and make it not just one of the top podcasting networks, but one of the top media companies in general. We’ve been able to tap into an audience whose pretty much been ignored when it comes to long form digital and we want to take advantage of what some of the other players in the space have overlooked. In terms of what I’ve learned from our fans, it’s mainly been to respect them. Their comments on the page let me know that they’re paying attention. And if we drop quality audio on time, they’re going to support us. If we’re late with the shows, or the quality isn’t up to par, they might give us a couple of chances, but then they’ll be gone. You can’t ask someone to listen to a show every Thurdsay, but then not hold up your end of the bargain.

Who or what is inspiring you creatively? Are there people that you’d like to collaborate or work with?

I’m personally inspired by a lot of different people in the podcast space. Like a lot of people I started out listening to Marc Maroon and Bill Simmons’ podcasts; now my phone is filled with them. Outside of our stuff, I enjoy what’s happening on EarWolf and also Panopoly, which is Slate’s new network. I check for Jesse Thorn’s show Bullseye, as well as Joey Diaz’s show The Church of What’s Happening Now. I also check out Longform podcast from time to time and like everyone else got caught up in Serial. I’m excited for someone the possibilities it suggested for long form, scripted podcasts.

Hear the latest The Loud Speakers Podcasts here:

 

 

Jane Meet On SoundCloud Premier Partner GoldLink

On SoundCloud Premier Partner GoldLink has been making waves as a rapper out of the DMV area with only only one album The God Complex under his belt. Find out about his favorite instrument and how he uses SoundCloud to learn about his fans and collaborate with other artists.

Image by Rog Walker

Please introduce yourself to the SoundCloud community.

Hi, I’m GoldLink. I’m 21 and I’m based out of the DMV. I’m an artist who creates everything I think of in mind. If you like Tame Impala and Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz, you’d love me.

How do you use SoundCloud?

I use SoundCloud as a main platform source for my music to be heard. The repost feature makes it easier for collaborations with other artists. The most important tool I use from SoundCloud is the statistic and analytical part. It helps me pinpoint fans, strengths and weaknesses very easily.

Describe your creative process. What is your set up like?

I work out of a small studio in my neighborhood. That’s where I feel the most comfortable creating. My creative process is very sacred and it’s consistent within the camp. I want to say my favorite instrument is the electric triangle.

How have you reached certain goals or steps in your career?

SoundCloud was very important in my early success and still is until this day and forever will be. SoundCloud was the platform that allowed me to be creative as far as showing people what I wanted them to see. I learned about my fans from SoundCloud – what they liked, what they loved, what they didn’t like and what they need. SoundCloud help further my career.

What does it feel like to become a Premier Partner? Where do you want to take your career next?

I’m honored. I’m looking forward to seeing the benefits of being a Premier partner of SoundCloud. Sounds amazing!

Who or what is inspiring you creatively? Are there people that you’d like to collaborate or work with?

Something that stuck with me that inspired me to be where I am today was Beck’s “Hell Yes” video. Just an amazing idea that was way ahead of its time. A memorable collaboration I’ve had on SoundCloud would be the Chet Faker collab. Just a great guy and great artist.

GoldLink’s new music video of “Sober Thoughts” is out today. Stream the track below on SoundCloud.

For more information on our creator partner program On SoundCloud, head over to on.soundcloud.com. To read more interviews from On SoundCloud Premier Partners, click here.