Austin hip hop outfit Magna Carda, fresh off of a whirlwind 2014, are looking to make an early impact in the new year with the release of their mixtape Like It Is. Over the past few months, the group has become a fixture in the Austin music scene and has developed a reputation for their dynamic live-instrumentation approach to classic hip-hop, infused with a neo-soul sensibility. Anchored by vocalist Megz Kelli’s razor-sharp lyricism and producer Dougie Do’s crate-digging prowess, Like It Is finds the group delving deeper into the themes and concepts that have made them one of Austin’s most exciting new groups.
The dynamics of your lyricism and music production are of equal excellence. As far as your song writing goes, what comes first: the tunes or the rhymes?
Thank you! Each song kind of comes out differently process wise. Sometimes Megz comes with a hook or a verse she’s been wanting to record and myself or the rest of the guys will try to find the right feeling/vibe for the music. The flip side is i’ll send any beats or loops I’ve been keeping in the vault for Megz to write some lyrics to. There’s not a preferred way, it kinda just goes back and forth.
What are your favorite places to find live hip hop in Austin?
One of my faves is Empire. I’d say Empire usually has something hip hop oriented going on most weekends. Emo’s used to be the spot for me, but you can catch some local hip-hop usually at Holy Mountain or Mohawk.
This month you have guys have a residency at Holy Mountain, a venue that has been forced to close in October. What are your thoughts about the challenges that local venues and music professionals are now facing as Austin growth causes skyrocketing rents and high costs of living?
Man it’s pretty crazy all the places we usually kick it are closing. It feels like I’m hearing a venue shutdown or about to close every 2 seconds this year. I don’t think anyone really felt anything was happening, but when Holy Mountain announced the final date, I think everyone realized that a lot of these creative environments/venues are becoming nonexistent very quickly. It sucks that the cost of living/rents are increasing drastically, but I think the creatives around town will slowly find another spot. When we played in the bay area a couple months back, it was almost as San Francisco was the final product of the road Austin is coming down, but hopefully Austin can keep most of the creative energy intact but we’ll see.