The Runaway Kid
“Every human is an artist. The dream of your life is to make beautiful art.” Miguel Angel Ruiz said that. Enter Terrence F. An Music Artist with a unique perspective. In anticipation for his project Runaway Kid we chatted about how he got started, several songs of his and his mix show.
Andy: How did you get started with music?
Terrence: I don’t know. I honestly wish I could compress into words what music is…this thing, that vibe…vibration. It’s God energy, right? Like you know how people say, ‘I’ve loved music all my life.’ Like no…I’ve had this sick obsession with it. It’s disgusting. I even hate it sometimes. But I don’t know, it’s not something I started. It was just always there. It’s a really hard thing to explain.
Andy: The first time I heard of you was on Stevie Crooks’ song “Therapy” off his VLNS NVR DIE project way back. How did you connect with him?
Terrence: The random draw of the internet. At the time of me coming across his music, I was solely producing and I had a sound that I thought would fit his style so I started sending him ideas. That was right after CSTC and he was writing Diamonds & Guns, I produced on there. But yeah man, just the internet. He had a MySpace music profile and I found him by accident. That was like ’09 I think. But we did a lot of working and hanging out from that Diamonds & Guns-VLNS NVR DIE stretch. Stevie is wild. The craziest shit happens when I’m out with him. I don’t even know why. He attracts a certain kind of energy. He’s a fun person to be around.
Andy: You’re from Carson, California but also the Inland Empire…is that correct?
Andy: I’m also from the Carson, Torrance area then moved to the Inland Empire. In your opinion which area do you like the most and why? LA County or Inland Empire?
Terrence: LA offers much more as far as opportunities to network and meet different creatives and things like that. It’s the entertainment capital of the world, so of course it’s really fast-paced. Fast, fast, fast. All the time. But it’s easy to get lost in the evils of the city, as many people do. As far as the Inland Empire, life is a bit slower there. It’s also a good place to network, but the opportunities to showcase what you do are fewer and further in between because the market is so much smaller for entertainment. That can also be a great thing because if you’re great at what you do, it’s pretty easy to stand out. That market is an untapped gold mine that’s honestly just waiting for somebody to capitalize. In terms of where I’d rather live, I’d definitely say the Inland Empire. I have a lot more peace of mind there and the general mindset there is a lot less superficial. I’ve never been enamored by the ‘big city, bright lights’ lifestyle of Los Angeles. It’s cool but after a significant amount of time, being there for me, almost made me feel like a fish out of the water. As a musician however, I definitely feel that’s where I’d want to operate. For sure.
Andy: Now you’ve been working on a project for a while now. At one point it was called Dad, now it’s Runaway Kid. Are they two separate projects?
Terrence: Nah, I started writing Dad when my son’s mother was pregnant in early 2012 and progressively, the story changed because my life changed. I sat on that music and those ideas for so long that I started to hate them. I was beginning that awkward quarter-life crisis and I was shifting from my early twenties to mid-twenties. Life was different at that point and that changed my style, musically and lyrically. But at a point, I went like a year and a half where I didn’t write or record shit. Nothing at all. Somebody broke into my storage unit and stole my laptop which had every song and every beat I had ever made on it. I was sad as fuck. I was legit depressed about it. By the time I started recording again, it didn’t feel like Dad anymore. It had conceptually turned into something else. For the first time ever, I started letting people sit in on my recording sessions. Fucking classic ass jam sessions at my apartment, ask anybody’s who’s been. But sometime we’d just talk, talk about shit. Life, possibility…everything. Things that have nothing to do with music, but it was everything I wanted to embody in my music, you know? Soaking up the vibe in the room, and using that energy to create. I’m kind of a recluse. Like nobody ever sees me anywhere. I do everything by myself, always alone. But to let people into my world for a while, to become part of the writing process, was fun. It was what really brought me back to life.
Andy: What does the title mean, Runaway Kid?
Terrence: You got to wait and see. You want to hear something?
Terrence emails me a song called “Sleepless.” Over a piano loop he raps as an individual who doesn’t have it all together. On the chorus he croons ‘Can you take away all the pain that I feel, take away the pain that I feel?’ It’s a desperate cry for help. During the second verse he gets emotional about another man being a father figure in his son’s life.
Andy: I’m feeling “Sleepless.” In the second verse is that something you’re personally dealing with or dealt with?
Terrence: Hell yeah, man. 3,000%. It’s always like that, personal or whatever. Originally I planned to re-record the verse because midway through, I got choked up and the tears started to flow and it changed the way my voice sounded. I thought it would sound terrible but when I played it back, I decided to keep it exactly the way it was. That’s the stuff you never ever hear guys talk about. That’s taboo. But its that type of gut-wrenching realism that’s there throughout the entire project. I can’t wait for people to hear it. And I know I got to hurry up and put it out this time because my friends said they gon’ stop fucking with me if I don’t. When it’s that time though, I’ll know.
Andy: Yeah I noticed that, the voice cracking…it definitely works with what you’re talking about. What’s the best thing about being a father?
Terrence: Eternal friendship.
Andy: So “Sleepless,” “5,” “Re-Tron,” “Modern Day Drug Addicts” and “Exterminate” will be on Runaway Kid?
Terrence: Yeah but maybe not “Exterminate.’’ I was just shaking rust off. But the others, as of today…I’d say yeah.
Andy: I relate to “Re-Tron.” Since 2014 I’ve been working in warehouses. It’s a job but man, the long hours, the affects it has on your body…just working for a company feeling like a slave…what was your mind state making that song?
Terrence: I was just completely fed up. I would work for sixteen hours straight, six days a week in a refrigerated warehouse. So it’s like ten degrees or whatever…it really tears your body apart. I started popping pain pills to get me through the day. But I wouldn’t just pop one or two…I’d take about nine of them at once. Tramadol. I used to buy them from a co-worker. The pills gave me like super-human focus and made me three times as strong without feeling any type muscle fatigue. That was the craziest type of euphoria I’ve ever felt. It made sixteen hours feel like two. Many guys in there were on shit that was way worse. That PSC bathroom made a Hollywood nightclub bathroom look like child’s play. I’ve seen guys in there pop x, snort coke, crack…meth. That was the main one. Meth. Anything guys had to do to stay up and stay productive, to hit at least a 90% production rate. What made us work so many hours was this super fucking, enormous machine called Re-Tron, which was an automated system that did the same job I did. If that machine stalls or breaks down, and it always did, we’d have to do the extra work manually. I felt like Re-Tron was gonna kill me.
Andy: “Modern Day Drug Addicts” is interesting because today I feel like there’s a lot of drug addiction, drug addict rap instead of drug dealer rap. What made you make that song?
Terrence: You just answered the question. Look at all these lean heads. These Xan heads. Future got niggas trippin’ right now. It’s not his fault…niggas is followers. I just wanted to make fun of the follower niggas.
Andy: What’s the story with “5”? I sent that song to the editor of GrungeCake and she felt like you had an angst with women, like you don’t like a certain type of woman. How did that song come about?
Terrence: An angst with women?? (Laughs) Nah dude…it was just a song I wrote about women who act a certain way. That’s it. There really is no esoteric meaning or message behind it. It’s pretty cut-and-dry, I think. There is no story or anything personal attached to it. That’s one of the very few songs I have like that.
Andy: So “Black People Don’t Eat Blueberry Pie.” That’s a classic title. Can you explain the story behind the title and song? And I believe there’s two versions?
Terrence: It’s a fictitious love story between a Black man and White woman in the 1950’s. So of course there’s a racist undertone. As far as the title…when I was a kid, I’d be at the store with my mom and I always wanted her to get this blueberry pie that we’d walk past and one day I asked for it and I guess she was fed up and yelled ‘BLACK PEOPLE DON’T EAT BLUEBERRY PIE!’ Eventually, she ended up explaining the origins of Black people not eating shit like that, and she told me that back then we weren’t allowed to. We weren’t good enough to order that in restaurants. So it just felt like a fitting title, dealing with the same era in time. And yeah, there are two versions of it. People are usually so taken aback by that song and ask, ‘What made you write THAT?’ I wrote it ’cause I just wanted to. When I hear it, in my mind I do the Joseph Gordon-Levitt dance he was doing in (500) Days of Summer. But yeah people don’t know how to digest that song. I hate that people are like that about rap music. There’s not much room to be creative. Especially not these days
Andy: I can see that Joseph Gordon Levitt dance working. What’s do you think of racism today especially being a black man in America?
Terrence: It is what it is. There’s no reason to put forth all this thought into it. I’m not like this anti-racism rapper/activist or anything. It’s been here long before me, and it’ll remain long after I’m gone. It’s not going anywhere. It’s there. Like herpes. Racism is the herpes of the world. Or like, HPV or something. I heard that never goes away.
Andy: Last year you started a unique mix show, can you explain how you started it and why?
Terrence: True shit, I was at work playing Erykah Badu’s Pandora station. They were playing a bunch of off-deck shit that wasn’t even on the Erykah Badu wave. I thought who’s responsible for what gets played on this station? This shit is all wrong. Then it hit me. I wanted to create my own internet radio show and recreate the way people digested music. This was before Beats 1 was giving artists their own show, but I knew things were headed in that direction. I saw it coming and I wanted to do it first. But instead of just streaming music, I wanted it to be a whole entire experience. At the same time, I wanted to offer a side of myself that my audience never gets to see. I was listening to my music like ‘Damn, this nigga is SAD!’ That’s because a lot of my music does have a somber feel to it. But that’s not me everyday. My music is a side of me that I don’t show often. I don’t walk around sad and shit like that. I wanted people to feel the everyday me. It’s my entire personality compressed into a podcast. So when the idea came to me at work, I called one of my best friends who actually kind of manages me like ‘I just got this idea to do an internet radio show, it’s not gon’ sound like nothing you ever heard. I’m calling it The FxckHype Mix Show. I’m dropping the first episode in three weeks and people are going to fall in love with it. Yup.’ And I hung up the phone. I’m quite sure he thinks I’m fucking crazy but he believes in my genius. It’s not only about WHAT kind of music people listen to that creates their experience, but it’s also HOW. And I think I do a great job of creating an experience that you can’t find anywhere else. That’s why people end up liking it so much.
Andy: Yeah, I tweeted you before saying how the skits reminded me of the old days when all people had was the radio and they would actually play shows, plays, programs, stories…stuff like that to listen to instead of music.
Terrence: Yeah I remember you telling me that. New culture, classic touch.
Andy: So is there anything you want to accomplish with this upcoming project Runway Kid or your music in general?
Terrence: All I’ve ever wanted to do in music is to create memories that last throughout a lifetime. That’s what I want. I want this story to become legendary in the eyes and ears of the people who’ve waited so long for it. That’s all.
You can follow Terrence on Twitter @TheloniusT
Listen to his music and Mixshow on SoundCloud