Drownmili’s world is a dark one, filled with guns, violence and feelings of numbness accompanied by a blend of new-school alternative rock and hip hop beats with a big emphasis on hard bass sounds. But it is also an honest one, where Drownmili confronts himself to the harsh realities of life, coming to terms with the emotional turmoil brought upon him through various experiences. Having started by uploading music to Soundcloud during the wave of ‘Soundcloud rappers’, Drownmili now has several hit songs out, including Thrasher and War Outside, and is now preparing to take on the Rolling Loud stage this summer in Portugal. We caught up with the artist to talk about his beginnings, his inspiration and the meaning behind some of his favourite lyrics.
Hey Drownmili ! Tell me how did you come up with that name?
I came up with DrownMili during a time in my life where I was lost. Drown to me represents our freedom of choice to either sink or swim everyday. Will you allow your circumstances to overwhelm you today? Or will you reach past your limits to make it to shore? Life is that crucial for me. It’s a fight and the word Drown reminds me that I can always lose if I don’t strive everyday.
You grew up in the suburbs of New York, actually not too far from the famed Amityville Horror house. How did this environment shape who you are today?
Amityville was a tough neighbourhood to grow up in, but it shaped who I am today. I found my group of friends and it was us against the world. I learned a lot the hard way but I also had some amazing people guiding me throughout my younger years like my mother, who gave her all so I can have a future.
You’ve adopted a mindset of living in the moment and to the fullest because you never know when your last day on Earth will be. Where does this stem from?
We only have one shot at life. It became very apparent to me when I lost my father in 2016. I realised how fragile life is and decided I wasn’t going to waste a second doing anything I truly didn’t want to do. Living a life of regret seems pointless to me.
Let’s talk about your music. You started your career by posting your tracks to Soundcloud, but what was your first interaction with music making like?
I first started making music with a group of friends when I was in the 6th grade. My teacher allowed me and my friends to record in the computer room after school even though he told the principal it was for hip-hop study or something like that. On the last day of school, me and my best friend BurnKas stole one of the recording microphones from school & we taught ourselves how to record, mix & master at home.
What are some artists that inspire you to create music?
I was a fan of music before I became an artist. It stretches deep, but I’ve always gravitated towards the artists who were different. Pharrell, Kurt Cobain, Kanye West being some of the most impactful artists in my earlier years.
Your sound could be described as a blend of rock and rap music, sometimes incorporating instrumentals and sometimes leaning toward trap-style beats. Your lyrics are also quite brash, such as on War Outside where you repeat the words “Cause I don’t give a fuck now”. Do you wish for your music to incite a certain type of emotion or feeling for your listeners? Or do you just make up what you feel like on the spot and are open to any interpretation listeners may come to?
With my music I always aim to paint a picture in the listeners head. I strive to make the listeners feel whatever emotion I’m portraying throughout my records whether that is anger, joy, despair etc… Those emotions are what unites us as humans so I think it’s important to be as honest as possible depending on the record.
You recently released the music video for Thrasher, in which you can be seen entertaining a crowd of elderly people playing bingo. How did you come up with that concept?
The Thrasher music video was me stepping out of my comfort zone a bit because I always aim to tell a story with an underlying meaning behind them. But with Thrasher, we decided to do something fun and free. The idea actually came from my real life experience as when I was 17, I worked at a retirement home for a year or two.
On that track, we can hear you say “I’m addicted to numb, I’m addicted to guns”. Your lyrics always have a very raw quality, admitting to things most people would be scared to confess to. Have you got a favourite lyric you’ve written? And what was the story or meaning behind those words?
My favourite lyrics of all time have to be from a song I released titled Drown. It is the most honest record I’ve ever written and I feel it takes people into my mind. It questions the meaning of life, the relationships I’ve gained and lost & the nature of why I chose to pursue music.
You are set to play at Rolling Loud Festival in Portugal this summer. How does a festival set differ from a personal concert set, considering the difference in crowd?
Festivals for me are a bit different since I’m performing in front of a crowd who may not know me yet. That was the biggest difference for me as I’m used to performing in front of crowds where at least a good chunk of people know who I am. So going into a performance like that, it’s really about being my best self and showcasing the core of who I am and what I’m about.
You’ve obviously been in the headlines recently, with your new single and the Rolling Loud gig. What else do you have in store for us this year? Maybe a new album in the works?
I want to put out multiple projects this year. Things are always subject to change so I won’t give out exactly what those projects are but I do intend on giving the people a massive piece of my mind.
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