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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week - godAWFUL
Monday, June 07, 2010

Every once in a while I get an album that makes me step back and say “whoa, this guy (or woman) is really good.” It happened most recently when I first heard godAWFUL’s Beats & Rhymes In The Key of Awful Vol. 1. A seriously talented emcee and producer, godAWFUL has all the skills and personality one could hope for in an artist and is potentially one of the few emcees who could really make a big impact coming out of Connecticut. When he’s not writing or recording, godAWFUL says he can be found in places that feature “good vibes, strong beverages and pretty women,” and while I couldn’t find a place quite like that to interview him, I did catch up with him this week to find out more about his music, why he has no problem spending time in the Penalty Box, and what he considers God awful.

Adam Bernard: Why don’t you start off by telling everyone what’s so God awful about godAWFUL? I happen to think he’s a damned good artist.
godAWFUL: {laughs} Well, thank you sir. I guess sitting back and looking at it now, it's kind of lame. The name derives from a point in my life where I essentially had little to no self esteem in my music. In fact, even under my previous moniker, my solo EP was titled The W.O.M.B.A.T. EP, W.O.M.B.A.T. being an acronym for "waste of money, brains, and time." As I continued, however, those feelings diminished, and that's when I looked deeper into the term God awful. Although most people believe God awful means poor in quality, the true definition is more along the lines of disagreeable, and I can totally relate that to my music now. My beats can be very abrasive to the ears and my lyrics can be confrontational at times. Plus, it also helps me stand out in a world where most emcees like to carry braggadocios aliases. I mean, I would definitely check out a band called We Play Our Instruments Poorly, or Dude, We Suck.

Adam Bernard: Sadly, I know a lot of bands that should be called Dude We Suck. For those who may not be aware, tell everyone where you’re from and what your journey in music has involved up to this point.
godAWFUL: I spent the first eight to nine years of my life in New Haven, CT, before I moved to it's slightly more suburban neighbor, Hamden, or as I like to call it, the Porkden...THAT'S GONNA CATCH ON, DAMMIT! I began writing songs, poetry, etc. as somewhat of a hobby. I grew up at the peak of the internet growth spurt, so at 12 I began looking for hip-hop forums and online communities where we could post our stupid little verses and text battle. Before I knew it I was pirating crappy software and trying to make beats and record myself. Surprisingly, I received a lot of positive feedback. After collaborating and making songs with a lot of talented dudes I was approached by Collin Gibson, who was then named Dr. Delux, to join an online group called I.M.A. When I was 16, the youngest in the team, our group released an album nationally. Did I mention my name was Orange Juice at the time? {laughs}

Adam Bernard: Now that’s a God awful name! Moving to the present, as we both know, Connecticut is a rough state to make it in as an emcee. Do you have a master plan for how you’re going to make it happen, and if so, how much of it can you reveal?
godAWFUL: I'm actually building a device right now, just completed the blueprint the other night. I can't get too detailed because it involves a lot of new-age technology and some of it is still patent pending, BUT I can tell you that once it's complete... through an intricate and precise process, it will remove the stick from everyone in this damn state's ass.

Adam Bernard: You recently released Beats & Rhymes In The Key of Awful Vol. 1. From what I understand you listened to rock music almost exclusively while writing and recording the album. What went into the decision to stay away from listening to hip-hop and what do you think was gained by listening to rock?
godAWFUL: The way I see it, everyone is influenced by everything around them, whether they want to admit it or not. I knew when I started this EP it would be the one that defines me, which can be nerve wracking and a lot of pressure. I wanted a clean palette and I didn't want to risk inadvertently biting/swagger-jacking/emulating anything. Listening to rock is nothing new for me, though, particularly really heavy stuff. I've always been a sucker for blast beats, tempo changes, and fast double bass, and I think you can really recognize the influence of that vibe of controlled chaos in my beats. I always take pride in my drums, and they get a little wild, while still, I feel,
maintaining that raw boom-bap essence. I also feel being a big rock fan benefits my energy during my performances. As much as I hate to say it, there is just no way a hip-hop show is going to have that same amount of intense energy a hardcore show has, but I always strive to make it comparable.

Adam Bernard: Are you still inspired by hip-hop, and if so, what aspects of it still inspire you?
godAWFUL: Of course! I don't think I'll ever be uninspired by hip-hop music, despite the fact that the majority of recent releases have become quite bland. Although rock music is mostly what I like to listen to, nothing gets me excited and in the mood to create the way hip-hop does. When I hear an Alias of an El-P record, those beats totally inspire me to step my production game up, and then I'll hear emcees like Joell Ortiz, or MF Doom, and I have to step my writing game up! There is absolutely no feeling comparable man. That's probably why I do what I do.

Adam Bernard: You’re part of a crew with L.O.G. and Alley Hood called Penalty Box. What are you looking to achieve with that?
godAWFUL: Penalty Box isn't really a crew. Rather than it being a faction of artists, it's more of a movement, something people can rally behind. If I had to say it was comparable to anything... *cringes* it's something like the Juggalos. Fuckin' posses, how do they work?! I can't speak for the rest of the guys, but my feelings are like this: we're all playing our own game, our own struggle. There are those that shine, and those that don’t as much, and then there are those that are remarkably talented, but they can't seem to play by the rules, constantly getting themselves ejected from the game, causing the ones that aren't even really THAT good, to get more shine. That's Penalty Box to me, and I know there are a lot of people out there that can relate to that vibe. Not only in hip-hop, but in the daily grind of life, so what we're really trying to say is "yo, you feel like this? Come get with it! You back us, we back you! Eventually these referees are going to lose control."

Adam Bernard: What does godAWFUL consider God awful, in life and/or music?
godAWFUL: Hmm. In life I'd have to say girls that can't hold their liquor, religion, and MTV. I think the world would be a better place if all those happened to vanish. Oh, and as far as music, you know... I can't hate on anything, man. I give everything a chance and if I can't vibe with it I won't say it's "bad," just not my cup of tea. I'm a hater-free type of dude... but I really can't stand country music.

Adam Bernard: OK, so you don’t like country music. That being noted, why don’t you close out this interview by revealing your most interesting guilty pleasure?
godAWFUL: Lady Gaga, easily. Every track that chick drops I love. No homo.

Related Links

Bandcamp: godawful.bandcamp.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/godawfulmusic
Twitter: twitter.com/godawfulpbx
MySpace: myspace.com/godawfulfacts
MySpace: myspace.com/abconversation


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:30 AM  
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