02 June 2021 (released)
02 June 2021
Music News recently had the chance to sit down with Verskotzi to discuss his new, laid-back, super dope lo-fi EP "ARC 002," a follow up to his prior EP, "ARC 001."
Tell us about Verskotzi. Where'd you grow up? When did you first get into playing and recording music? Who and what are your musical influences?
I was born and raised in Minnesota. More specifically, I'm from a small town called New Ulm, but moved to Minneapolis after high school. Being from a small town that endured an insane winter for like 6 months out of the year, every year, definitely caused me to be a bit of a hibernator. Being able to go long amounts of time inside is something that being a musician requires of you and I love my upbringing for that reason. I looked forward to winter for as long as I can remember because it meant I was just holed up making music. I live in LA now, so I definitely miss that aspect of time being defined by the seasons.
I was always into music as a kid, but I really fell in love with it when I got my first guitar at age 13. I had played piano and drums before that, but started writing songs when I got my guitar and was really hooked from that moment on. Early influences are the likes of Green Day, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, etc. I'll never forget hearing "The Chronic 2001" for the first time, too, and falling in love with rap/hip hop after Dr. Dre opened those floodgates for me. It's difficult to list all of my influences as time has gone on, but Jay Z, Ye, Rick Rubin, Jack White, Radiohead, NIN, and the likes, are very instrumental in everything I do.
How would you define your sound and music?
This is the toughest question you can ask a musician haha. A friend of mine reminded me of the Frank Zappa line recently, "talking about music is like dancing about architecture". I'll try my best to sum it up as experimental/alt-pop, though? Pop, because I tend to follow a verse/chorus writing structure, but experimental/alt because I try to infuse as many unlikely elements and genres in the actual production as I can. R&B chords are the best, so I try to dance around that theory as much as possible too.
Tell us about the overall ARC series?
As an artist, I create from the mindset of albums and full bodies of work. It's just how I've always written. But in the fast paced modern music industry where singles are the focus, this ARC series is my way of maintaining artistic integrity while being conscious of the parameters and more literally, the algorithms musicians are working within today. Each ARC is a 3 song EP that embodies a full listening experience and cohesive theme (that's the goal, at least)! The three songs will run as an intro, single, and outro; typically all in the same key and acting as a snapshot of an album in under 10 minutes. Everything has a beginning, middle, and end. I've typically focused on lyrics of nostalgia (our beginnings) in my previous work, but on these projects, I'm more focused on how my past shaped me into my present self (my middle) and how I'm moving into my future form (my end).
How is your EP ARC 002 different from your previously released EP ARC 001?
I'd say ARC 002 has more attitude and overall energy. 001 sorta stayed in one mode the entire EP, but 002 has more of a dynamic range from start to finish. Lyrically, 002 is way more personal and vulnerable. Instead of hiding behind metaphors, I'm more so just coming out and stating things matter of factly.
You're both a producer and singer/songwriter. Not every artist has the ability to do both. How has that helped you and your creative process?
It's definitely something I don't take lightly or for granted. Finding your sound is the ultimate challenge to being an artist, and can be a very frustrating, sometimes discouraging process. It's a lot of trial and error that puts the whole 10,000 hours theory to the test. Being able to go down as many creative rabbit holes as I have throughout my career by myself has been so important to overall growth. Not needing to rely on anyone else has definitely had its advantages. Finding a producer, if you are an artist that isn't a producer, can be really tricky because of the level of trust that needs to be there. It's such a vulnerable process and delicate, to say the very least. I want to make it clear, though, that I have had a lot of help from other producers, managers, A&Rs, my wife, etc by being able to bounce things off of folks I trust. I could never take sole credit for anything I do.
What's next for Verskotzi?
I write/produce for a lot of other artists and have a lot of projects in the works that I'm really excited about. I can't say much about them at the present, but I always post on my socials about anything I get to be a part of. There's more material for my artist project being wrapped up right now as well. No shortage of things to finish!
How can our readers continue to keep up with your career?
Please give me a follow on Instagram, Twitter, and Tik Tok! @VERSKOTZI for all of those. I'm very active on all three and always reply to DMs / comments. I love my fans and am just honored that I get to continue to do this for a living. Thank you so much for the interview and taking the time!