Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Korey Costa (Formerly Carpe Diem) Interview
I am Korey Costa. I am an artist, performer, producer, and fan of all three. The one thing that I think that sets me apart from others who do what I do is the pure authenticity of what I create. I write my songs, produce the music, record it all myself, mix and master the final product and release/promote it independently. I've had others help me in the process, mainly with show booking, but I think my biggest accolade itself as a 16 year old kid is being able to do all of this.
Your name was Carpe Diem, now you are going with your actual name, why the change, and how is "Seizing the day" a way of living your life?
The phrase 'carpe diem' has always held value to me, and I've attempted to live life by these ideas. Every day is another opportunity to absorb and become better. A time came when I believed the phrase held enough meaning to me to actually brand and recreate myself under the moniker. Although I've seen a lot of success since the name change last January, I've come to a realization that the phrase as an artist name is somewhat generic and doesn't represent me. To fully represent myself, I am changing again (for the last time), to the name my parents gave me. The concept of DIEm, notice the 'DIE', is the figurative death of the Carpe Diem character. This was not done to abandon anything I have made in the past, but to move forward without the restrictions of portraying a character. Basically I am giving myself more personal and creative freedom.
As a young rapper coming up in the game, do you feel you are at an advantage or disadvantage?
There are constant ups and downs to being a rapper as young as I am. On the bright side, I have years ahead of me to perfect my craft and find success. For example, I've opened for artists that could be considered famous and I'm still a high school student. The position that I'm in and the time I still have left definitely makes me feel comfortable as I pursue this as a career. Also, being in school with so many people my age gives me a large audience to promote myself. Of course, there are conflicts too. The most obvious one being finding shows to play. Many shows are 18+ or even 21+ and although I've been able to find people to make an exception, this is a roadblock. There is also the main criticisms I've received, which are about my lack of experience and the higher tones of my voice.
Do you ever get hated on for being a teenager or do you find it easy to earn your respect by being good?
Yes and yes. I don't often get pointed out by others regarding my age, but I'm very familiar with the odd face expressions I receive when I first step in a venue or on stage. And this does not come as a surprise.. I would probably be doing the same thing if I weren't in this spot. However, I've fortunately been able to turn most of those faces into impressed or even smiling and earn the respect of those people by just displaying what I am best at.
How long have you been rapping and who are your primary influences in music?
I've been writing raps since 2008, which was my 7th grade school year. At the time I was simply experimenting, I wasn't any good and also wasn't very informed on rap music. I can't help but to admit that Eminem was the reason I began to give it a shot. Once I became more interested, I looked to artists such as Jay-Z and Kanye for inspiration. More recently, my primary influences have been artists such as Joey Bada$$ and the entire Progressive Era, Black Hippy (Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolBoy Q, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock), Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. My inspirations have been more locally focused, specifically the Brooklyn hip-hop scene and the culture of it. This includes Pro Era as I said, Lakutis, Kool A.D. and Heems, Ratking, and other alternative hip-hop acts. I find inspiration from several genres but these are my core influences.
You perform a lot at the Stanhope House. Is that your "home court" and do you get a lot of local support from your town?
The Stanhope House could definitely be considered a "home court" to me. I actually referred to it as my second home during a recent show. If I've kept count correctly I've performed at the Stanhope House nine times in the last eight months. My biggest shows, opening for Mac Lethal last May and then Kool A.D. in August, were in Stanhope. As I attempt to expand as an artist, I'll always return to the Stanhope House whenever they invite me. I love it there. I get a tremendous amount of local support. From my family to the select kids in my school to the regular Stanhope House goers among others, I've been blessed to sell tickets for every show I've had, seem some local success in mixtape uploads and YouTube video views. I have a solid local fan base that has definitely helped me jump start my music career.
Tell us a little bit about "Yancey" and what do you feel is your strongest track on the mixtape?
The idea to make a J. Dilla-produced mixtape actually came from a trip with two friends of mine to the Princeton Record Exchange. While I was there, I purchase Biggie's debut album and Lucas With The Lid Off and when I saw J. Dilla's instrumental compilations Donuts, I knew I had to get myself one. By the time I had gotten home that night, I had already written two songs off the tape, "Geek Down" and "Thunder." The strongest track on the mixtape is "WAFFLES," which features fellow local rapper and a good friend of mine Shameless Plug. This closes the tape nicely with the best verse that I wrote for the project.
What's the best piece of advice you've gotten from other emcees you've worked with?
I've honestly gotten so much advice that it's hard to specify. I've been told to stay the way I am and keep it real and things like that which always keep me going. Recently at a Hurricane Sandy Benefit show in Ledgewood, a rapper who went under the name Truth told me "stay conscious," which is relevant to the direction my music is going in.
Biggest rockstar moment, and biggest felt like a failure moment in music?
My biggest rockstar moment has to be the show I had with Kool A.D. and his affiliates. The entire night was an experience for me. I got to meet some big names in the game, and names that have gotten big since then. Fat Tony and Fat Cruz, Chaz Van Queen, a whole bunch of talent coming from those guys. They were really cool to me and showed me mutual respect and that was dope. My biggest feeling of failure must've been this one tape that I put out in June of 2011. It was the second project I had ever released so I knew how to make a mixtape that my friends and fans would like. It was titled Musickness, those who have it can listen to it but otherwise I've deleted every link to the tape. I was in a lame state of mind and got caught up doing some stupid things with some kids my age and that showed in the lacking of creativity. Since that time I've been very strict with myself so that I don't put out anything that isn't to the best of my abilities.
Where do you see yourself in the next couple of years and what are some short time goals?
In the next couple of years, I see myself continuing to create music, most likely with the same methods and recording process. The independent route is still my goal, hopefully being able to expand my audience to be able to book shows throughout the tri-state area and maybe one day further. I'm just taking this a day at a time and keeping my artistic integrity; staying focused and not letting the daily routine put me in a daze. But some short time goals at the moment are receiving good reviews off this DIEm video, creating another all original project to release next year, finding new spots to do some performances and continuing to improve myself musically and personally.
Top 5 best rappers dead or alive?
This is always the hardest question to answer. These don't necessarily reflect my favorites right now and I'd have trouble putting them in order, but the top 5 greatest rappers of all time in my opinion are Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Eminem, Andre 3000 and Jay-Z.
Anything else to add or promote?
Watch the DIEm video with an open mind, it has a underlying theme which can actually be very powerful once understood. I have a show this Sunday at the Canvas Clash in Boonton, NJ for anybody interested. Shout out to reckless, fans of mine who read this, all my local artists, cyberpunk realism 2013. And I'm out!
Download the mixtape - http://www.datpiff.com/Carpe-Diem-Yancey-prod-By-J-Dilla-mixtape.409080.html