Interview: Greg Gagliardi
Photographer: Ryan Lusteg

PREME: When I was first introduced to you, a lot was going on in Atlanta. You had the Migos, Future, Youth Thug, and Rich Homie Quan; then, on the other side, there were Awful Records. You all were different. The first time I heard your music, I couldn't understand it, but it was dope, and learning about the various members, Ethereal, Carti, and Slug, it felt an introduction to a cast of characters, that I couldn't fathom were real. It was all super cool, but very confusing, it was trap, but it wasn't mainstream. The flows and production, the vocals, it was like how does one do this? What was his listening to, and how did he find so many people that like the same thing? How did all this did the look and music that become synonymous with Awful come to fruition?

FATHER: It’s hard to say truly but I’ll try my best to synopsize what I think it was. We all enjoyed different types of music alternative to Atlanta rap, but were all still joined by a common thread and that thread was our love for our city’s music. While our influences and origin stories may have all varied we were very much Atlanta. When I was younger I mainly listened to electronica, house and techno. Likely from playing a bunch of Rockstar’s Midnight Club. When I got into rap and started to develop a style of my own I started initially by mimicking artist like Nas and members of Wu-Tang. Once Awful started forming that hodgepodge of influences naturally became more southern. I think many members of the crew have similar stories and that similarity linked us.

PREME: Ethereal was one of the first people I took a liking too. Honestly, being from the suburbs of Connecticut, we don't see too many Ethereal's, let alone hear them. For me, he's not just a beatmaker; he created a sound. He's a composer, an artist, and curator, how did you meet, if I walked into a studio session, what would the room look like, I feel like y'all are a whole other level.

FATHER: We met through Keith Charles, they’d been making music together for some time already. At the time I was just sort of a support guy, making visual art, branding and etc. Really since that initial meeting and now ain’t much changed in terms of how a session would look, a bunch of us cramped in a low lit smoked out room. None of us really liked being in professional studios and still don’t, so you’ll find us in the back room of one of our houses that’s been fashioned into a studio. Everyone having different conversations loud as hell, it can start to sound like a psych ward.

PREME: Man, I have to ask about the Carti situation because from my viewpoint, everything is fine then one day he's no longer in Atlanta; he's in New York with Asap Rocky, and I'm beyond lost. What you all had with him is forever; those records, Beef, YungXanhoe, Come Here, Broke Boi, Faster, 4 The People, are classics for the "SoundCloud, underground" era.

FATHER: Life just lifes honestly, A$AP provided something at the time that we couldn’t so naturally he went that way when they reached out. Things change, people move on, nothings permanent. There was the odd press release or two trying to omit us from the story, but I don’t put that on him. People bring up Carti often but fail to realize that there’s many members of Awful that I haven’t seen in years. It’s no hard feelings, we’re adults and got our own shit to deal with.

PREME: Speaking of that, I've always wanted to ask, do you ever stop and realize you created something that will stand the test of time? Awful's sound opened the door, for what I'd call "weird Atlanta" or merely, "Avant-Garde Atlanta? 

FATHER: True but there’s others that did it before us in Atlanta too, we were just the first of the major streaming age and reached a higher level of popularity on the different digital service platforms. I could say Outkast and Goodie Mob opened that door, or a Kilo Ali. We really just bumrushed it.

PREME: Something that stood out about Awful was along with rappers you showcased your other talent, Alex Russell & Zach Fox. How did you come in contact with Alex, I remember him from his writings, and is Zach Fox ever dead serious?

FATHER: Zack is deadass. People find it difficult to take a lot of us serious because of the humor but don’t let that fool you. We just all use humor to talk about real shit. As for Alex, we met at a restaurant in NYC, he was doing an article on us for Complex I believe. That turned into him letting us crash at his loft for like two weeks during a snow storm. We got him turnt on the lifestyle and philosophies, we were heavy on our ego death, hedonistic shit back then. Next thing you know he said fuck all that regular shit and became clique.

Art: Meegan Barnes

PREME: As a de-facto leader of a crew, do you ever have alone time. I'd find it challenging to balance mental peace, mainly when y'all lived together. When the Boiler Room doc was recorded, what was happening, w what was the group's energy like, and how is it today?

FATHER: I didn’t balance mental peace back then, I was constantly irate and the energy was real off at that particular time. Mind you, it was lit and I wouldn’t take shit back. We were all over the place at that time, trying to organize but heavily unorganized and dysfunctional. Today, were all a bit more in our right minds, calmer, less in the mix, a bit separated. We’re like your uncle from the 70s that dropped way too much acid and is kinda permatripping but still got his shit together.

PREME: Favorite food to eat while on tour, and when you're in New York, what is your bodega order?

FATHER: Sunflower seeds and Taco Bell. As for bodega orders, I usually ask if they got a beef patty but lately I been turnt on them chopped cheeses.

PREME: Collaboration with HUF, could you speak on how this came about?

FATHER: They’ve always shown love, since the beginning. Geared me out on some of my first trips to LA before most people even knew who the fuck I was.

PREME: And please, in regard to new music, what do the fans need to know, and who are a couple of artists you'd like to collaborate with?

FATHER: It’s nothing like the old shit, I haven’t changed as a person but sonically I’m not the drugged out, deadpan guy I used to be so I hope they can accept that. As for collaborations, it’s few and far between now, but if I could I’d put Drake and Drakeo the Ruler on the same song. When I was working on Young Hot Ebony I was only listening to Nothing Was the Same and PJ Harvey. And Drakeo the Ruler is one of the few artist I’ve heard in the last few years that once I heard them I had to listen to their entire discography. FREE THE RULER.

Check out the complete Issue 14 of Preme Mag here.