“Chasing Your Own Sound”
Q & A with Sick Jacken and Cynic
Written By: Ivy Mendoza
Sick Jacken of Psycho Realm and fellow artist, Cynic, shared a few moments with Steelo Magazine for this issue and participated in a Q & A for the fans. This interview took place before the artists ventured out on tour throughout Europe in the months of November and December of 2010. The guys were ecstatic for the questions coming their way and this is what they had to say:
Steelo: Tell us a little bit about you and the road of music?
Sick Jacken: I used to break dance growing up and began rapping at a young age with my brother, Duke (member of Psycho Realm). Between 12-13 years of age, an old friend of mine played a record for me. I thought I could do a much better rap. This is when I began writing and rapping. When my brother was attending CSUN, I met his roommate who was a DJ for many events at Northridge. Around this time I had my 1st show, thanks to my brother and his roommate. After this, Duke began introducing me to his friends and acquaintances, which helped plenty. My brother would also love to freestyle and eventually began rapping with me, leading to the birth of Psycho Realm.
Cynic: Sick Jacken and I worked together in the ’90’s. He was already rapping at the time. Since I met Jack, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Street Platoon, Sick Symphony, and Psycho Realm. Jack and I collaborate a lot. When collaborating, our sound is different, but similar. When working on some of our beats, they are similar. Lyrically we are different. Although we write together, and we like to work off each other, content-wise we are different for sure.
Steelo: Sick Jacken, what’s the meaning behind Psycho Realm? Why the gas masks?
Sick Jacken: We wanted something different to stand out from the rest of the groups that were forming at the time. Majority of the groups were using names such as crew, posse, and click. I suggested the word “Realm” because it really appealed to me and stood out. I suggested it to my brother, Duke. After some thinking he said “Psycho”. It really clicked to us, and that was it, Psycho Realm was the name! As for the gas mask, it’s our logo. Street teams were really big in the ’90’s and we put those masks everywhere! I remember one-time authorities in Japan were flipping out because somebody had just gassed their subway system. We were there in the late ’90’s and the gas mask stickers were slapped everywhere and the authorities panicked out!
Steelo: The power of street teams, I agree. Now Cynic, continuing with power and movements, what do you think about how the music industry was then and what it is now?
Cynic: I think the work, in terms of mainstream, is different. Yes. Luckily, we have cultivated our following and our fans go out and support us whenever new material is out. We do our best to produce music that both our fans and we will love. We are happy if our fans are too!
Steelo: We’re positive your fans appreciate it. You both provide your audiences with 100% hard work and effort. When working on your lyrics or beats, what musical influences can be traced and what inspires you to provide these verses?
Sick Jacken: I have always been influenced by my grandfather. He was real passionate about music and & had a record collection. He’s the reason I got into music in the first place. I remember my dad would pay me to DJ at just nine years old. I would also break dance. As you can see, many things can influence you. Whether on the road, working on songs, beats. Life itself is an influence. Everything that goes on day by day … everything can influence and inspire you.
Cynic: Everyday stuff can influence you. My own past, present and future even. What goes on in the world, what I see, it all inspires… There are enough musicians in our group, that we all inspire one another. Like when we’re working to create beats for instance. We bounce off each other. That’s the beauty of being an artist. We can use each other, or simply life experiences to inspire us.
Steelo: That is very true, indeed. With so much music around you and people to share it with, how can you not be inspired? What would you as successful artists advice to those who aspire to someday be where you are now?
Sick Jacken & Cynic: Keep putting in your work, go 100% all the time. Keep doing whatever you’re passionate about and give it all you got. Chase your sound and go with what you do.
Steelo: That’s very inspirational advice! Thank you very much for sharing a few moments here with us at Steelo Magazine. Sick Jacken & Cynic: Thank you.
If you want to know what else is new with Psycho Realm & Cynic, stay tuned to: