When you think about rappers from the D, you can always count on originality. That is one word that I can use describe Clear Soul Forces, besides the obvious entertaining. Our A3C competition circuit visited Detroit last Friday, with each of our contestants delivering their best performances for a spot at the A3C show this October. Clear Soul Forces, comprised of E-Fav, L.A.Z., Noveliss, and Ilajide, stole the show that evening and were crowned the Detroit champions. We caught up with them via instant message to recap their sights of their performance, as well as to get a glimpse of the life in Detroit on the music scene.
Cameron Haslip (CH): First off, I wanna thank you all for your time and congratulate you on winning on you victory a few days ago!
Noveliss: Thank you! Thank You!
CH: So for all of those who are new to you as well, who would you describe to us as Clear Soul Forces? Everyone feel free to chime in.
E-Fav: Four brothers who wanna make good music, provide for our families, and add to a great legacy of hip hop culture. In a nutshell.
L.A.Z.: Clear Soul Forces is a four man hip hop group out the city of detroit, we trying to push our dream of making music to the world.
CH: Bet. I've seen that you guys were all solo artists before forming the group in the studio with Royce Da 5’9. How did you all cross paths before that night in the studio?
E-Fav: Me and Ilajide are cousins. Me and Jarrel met in college and found we each had similar interests. The first showcase we ever attended was a spot called Callahans (s/o to Robo robb too by the way). That's where we met Noveliss and the rest is history.
Ilajide: E-fav introduced me to L.A.Z. back in 08. I just started making beats at that point and he thought we should connect. After that me and L.A.Z. would just do sessions and work on songs until we all landed a set at the same spot. That's where I met noveliss. Exchanged contacts and pretty soon we were all in the studio with Royce on coincidence.
L.A.Z.: I moved to detroit from CO and enrolled at Oakland University where I met E-Fav who ended up pledging me into my frat Phi Beta Sigma, introduced me to his cousin Ilajide who was just gettin started on making beats I started building with him. We worked on a couple things and a mutual friend named Robo Robb threw a show and we seen Noveliss perform and started building with him from there.
CH: You'd think that you all grew up together by the way you guys mesh. Talk to me about the chemistry you have in and out of the studio.
Noveliss: That's what everybody says; our chemistry is the best part of our group to me. In the studio we just feed off of each other creativity wise, on stage we feed off each other energy wise, and outside of music we just clown man and enjoy being around each other.
E-Fav: We work on that shit man all four of us want to be better than everybody else AND we work on it as a group, we're very cognitive of the fact that making. Material together is a special thing so we work on it man.
CH: Cool, let's talk about the music scene in Detroit. How does it fair to the new sounds we're hearing from places like ATL, Chicago, Cali, New York etc.?
L.A.Z.: Our shit is like a onion in Detroit it's so many layers to what's going on in the city right now. We have whatever you want here and it comes from a different place. All those other cities are like the door to stardom, you can get on just from being there, we don’t have those same opportunities here but we got the same talent n more creativity thats why the city got more soul than everybody else.
E-Fav: That sums it up. Our music scene is one of the most diverse creative hip hop scenes in the world and yet we have virtually no industry here.
CH: Great point. Especially in places like ATL, you can hop on the expressway to stardom. Are there any other names that we should watch out for with collaborations with Clear Soul Forces from the D?
L.A.Z.: We gotta couple features in the works. Its too early to blow the lid on them, but its cooking up. Be on the lookout for the Fab 5ive EP with the producer Nameless though he's outta Flint. We got that coming next.
CH: We'll be on the lookout. I want to talk about your booming Youtube track, "Get No Better". First off congrats on 3 million views! What's it like knowing that so many people are beginning to notice the work you'll are putting in?
Noveliss: Its a gift and a curse man, its crazy that so many people love that song but at the same time we have other stuff that's just as good, you want your real fans to be on everything not just the one that broke us out, we want 3 million views on everything!
CH: Of course! This question's for Ilajide. You produced the track, along with a majority of the rest of your music. It's clear that you have your own unique sound and you do your homework with experimenting with sounds and rhythms. Can you shed any light on your creative process?
Ilajide: Man it's hard to put this in text, so bare with me. But my creative process is strictly organic. Everything that comes to fruition, is from the feeling. I just vibe out to shit: samples, jazz, bossanova, electronic, house. Anything that sounds good man. I never have a clear plan on what I wanna do when I step behind the boards. I just start messin with shit to see what I can do, and the next thing I know I'm finished. And I'm always like, how did I get here? How I make this shit? Lol it's definitely something that takes over me while I'm creating. Like a guardian angel or summ just be guiding me along the way. It's weird but it's real. My love for the music just fuels it all man.
CH: Nah you did a great job painting the picture. People who think creatively will definitely understand lol. For everyone, take me through the experience at the A3C Detroit competition.
Ilajide: ****. We're the gun. The competition is the face. Did you get that emoji? Lol if not I'll just use words.
CH: Nah, but i get the point that it was wraps lol.
Ilajide: Lol it's funnier with the emoji. But I mean it was dope don't get me wrong. There was other competition there, but every other artist had a flash drive and gave their music to a Dj to play and stop during their set. I DJ our set with my Maschine so I had that on stage doing some live beat renditions and shit. And just that alone in my opinion put us in a higher weight class than our competition. Not saying anyone wasn't dope.
E-Fav: Yeah the show was dope shouts to everybody on the show. It's so much talent here in Detroit, we just want to premier some of our new music, and connect with some more fans and build with some more artists.
CH: For some the circuit winners it may be their first time at A3C, but you guys are veterans to the show. What are some goals for your reappearance at A3C this October?
L.A.Z.: Shit im trying to build momentum into next year with the festival. Not take this opportunity for granted. I wanna cypher with some vet; what acts got confirmed for the festival this year?
Ilajide: Goals for reappearance? Enforce our domination is really my goal. We've been overseas rocking hour and a half sets, three and four encores and shit, but when we come back to the states we get ten, fifteen, twenty minutes of set time. It's four of us, it ain't enough time for us to really give y'all what we got; show y'all what we worth. We got liiiiveee shit, songs, remixes, live freestyles and beats...man we would change into ninja outfits before we did ninja rap come out on some mortal kombat shit. 20 minutes doesn't do it, and sometimes a hour and half didn't. Lol encore game on 30.
CH: That would be OD! Lmao. I'm not sure about the secured spots so I don't want to give you some wrong information, but I can get back to you with that. Are you guys signed with any labels?
E-Fav: Nah we not...oh well yeah lol my bad; I thought you meant like a record deal.
L.A.Z.: We have a distro deal thru fat beats. Next project is to…
Ilajide: So we're not...our latest album is Fab 5ive!!!
CH: Well I did mean record deals too E-Fav it was more of an "in general" type thing. But to recap, you've got a distribution deal through Fat Beats. And that was going to be my final question, what can we expect from you guys in the near future?
L.A.Z.: Fab 5ive EP wit nameless mane, way more videos and content on our website www.forceswithyou.com.
E-Fav: All that.
Ilajide: I Got a instrumental tape called Latex droppin on wax later this summer as well.
L.A.Z.: Add us on twitter n Instagram too fella! @clearsoulforces.
CH: Bet. I speak for all of the fans and A3C in saying we'll be looking out for y'all!
E-Fav: Bet! Thanks brotha.