WHO IS BLASTFAMOUS USA?
Blastfamous USA is comprised of indie hip-hop artist ZEALE and the powerful production duo NGHT HCKLRS. With thick beats and a bullet-riddled delivery, Blastfamous USA polarizes audiences with heavy hip-hop and room-rattling production.
The group joined forces earlier this year and released their debut self-titled EP in July. About their new EP, Ovrld stated, “The entire EP highlights those elements of Zeale that made him stand out as Austin hip hop’s Most Likely to Succeed, but where it really shines is in unveiling aspects of his persona that audiences might not have expected to come from someone whose path to potential fame involved collaborations with Blue October and major label courtship.” The songs are powerful, spreading a message that inspires the world to come together as one. It’s a rallying cry and a voice for the people.
You can catch Blastfamous USA at one of their many shows this month, starting with an official ACL Fest Late Night Show with Missio at Antone’s on 10/7. They’ll also be performing at the Austin-House Fest of Unity, Community & Kaos on 10/19 and at Formula 1 Grand Prix and Music Fest on 10/22.
AMF EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
WITH ZEALE OF BLASTFAMOUS USA
Separately, ZEALE and NGHT HCKLRS are wildly different solo projects, but together you form the amazing Blastfamous USA. How did you guys come together to form the group?
ZEALE: I met NGHT HCKLRS through a fellow friend and artist, Chantell Moody, known for her projects The Digital Wild and more recently Fort Never. I watched them play a gig one night at Cheer Up Charlies and it immediately came into my mind that I needed to work with these guys.
What separates this project from some of the other groups you perform with?
Blastfamous USA (pronounced BLAST-FAMOUS-USA) is pure and unfiltered human tension. There is something about the music, especially the live performance, that turns people into animals.
You released your debut self-titled EP this past July. What inspired the EP? What was the writing and recording process like? How long did it take from conception to release?
The EP is an origin story for us. Each song tells people who we are. It only took about a month from inception to completion. We designed the song arrangements around freestyle patterns from shows and then injected our particular message.
With everything that’s been going on in our world today, how important was putting this record out? What do you want people to walk away with after hearing your album?
Our message to the world is to believe in each other more and to place less in institutions. We understand that people coming together is stronger than any man-made belief, power, or tradition.
In addition to Blastfamous USA, you also perform regularly with MISSIO and manage your own solo career. How do you balance and successfully manage all of your projects?
I work A LOT. Beyond Blastfamous USA, my solo project, and working with MISSIO, I also managed to be a full-time student who just graduated from Texas State, began a digital media startup titled Push Labs LLC, acted in a few national commercials for Little Ceaser’s and Under Armour, and I maintain a freelance hosting career for Texas Longhorns, Houston Dynamo MLS, Warner Music Group, and more. Believe it or not, I still have room on my plate.
Favorite Austin venue to perform at?
Mohawk, Empire, Swan Dive, and Cheer Ups
What do you like to do in your spare time? Any places you go to around Austin to get the creative juices flowing?
I don’t have a lot of spare time, but if I do catch downtime on a flight or traveling, I try my best to read good books. I’m currently reading one on emotional intelligence.
One of your signature moves at your shows is your improvisational rapping. It’s mind-blowing to watch. What’s your secret? How do you do it?
Freestyling is the one talent I will challenge anyone in the world to. There is literally no one I cannot or will not beat. I don’t say that to boast, but when someone finds the one thing they can do better than anyone else and then put thousands of hours into mastering it, the bar is set high. No one can beat me.
What’s been your biggest musical milestone so far?
I think my biggest musical milestone has yet to happen. But I work hard and am passionate every day to be ready when the opportunity comes.
Are there any artists you’d love to do a future collaboration with?
I’d love to collaborate with A$AP Ferg, Rick Rubin, or Bruno Mars. They’re all great.
How did you get involved with Austin Music Foundation?
I got involved with AMF through my friend and fellow artist, Kate, formerly KP and The Boom Boom.
What does it mean to be named AMF Artist of the Month?
It’s an honor for Blastfamous USA to be named Artist of the Month. We just want to carry the torch as well as anyone before us or anyone after. We all love this city.
What’s next for Blastfamous USA? Any cool shows coming up?
We are working on our second EP now and are aiming to release it in the next three months. We have tons of shows coming up as well, something like eight in the next two months. You can check them out on our website.
Anything else you want to add?
The one thing we want the world to know is that Blastfamous USA is not our music, it is the people’s music. We came into the world as a product of the underserved, underrepresented, and socio-economic and politically frustrated people. This platform is everyone’s Our voice is yours.