Today was a big day for B-L1FE, dropping 'Baby Pictures', featuring three very talented artists. Those three artists were Xanlon, who has already done a Q&A with SA, LOVE RYAN, and siroka (who is the featured artist of this post). With a mind like siroka's in an industry fueled and inspired by hate and beef, SupportArt sat down for an extended Q&A with him. View below as we touch on his past and future projects, touch on some topics like mental health, and ask an artist how many different variables affect their approach to songs and the industry in itself.
Q: What influenced the stage name you currently go by, siroka?
A: "In all honesty, it is just my name. Most of my friends call me Siroka instead of Ben because there is too many goddamn Ben's in this world to keep track of."
Q: What projects do you already have out and where can they be found?
A: "This past summer I put out a mixtape called 'Boys With Feelings'. It is available on Soundcloud and Spotify, and I think all the other major platforms like iTunes. The two big ones to listen to on that project are 'Let Yourself Drop' and 'Fiends'."
Q: How did that project influence your upcoming album (spoiler alert)?
A: "That mixtape was kind of a warm up for the album. 'Boys With Feelings' was a fun little side project to get my creativity going. The difference with the album is it is a full blown project. I have 13 songs all self-produced with crazy lyricism. I never thought I would be able to rap like this but here I am."
Q: How long have you been writing and producing, respectively?
A: "I've been producing seriously for about a year now, but I have messed around with various DAWs for years. I started with GarageBand when I was 14 or so. I guess I've always been writing. It was stories when I was a kid, and then I starting how to write music when I started playing guitar."
Q: Guitar? So rap is not your first genre selection?
A: "Oh no, rap is absolutely my first choice. Guitar really helped me with music theory so I could create some crazy musical instrumentals. I love putting full orchestra arrangements in my beats and arranging all the strings and horns and then seeing how they sound with some hard drums and a thick 808. Its beautiful."
Q: What kind of direction can we expect from the album lyricially and production wise?
A: "The album is called 'Hello, My Name Is'. Lyrically, its very much an introduction of who I am becoming as an artist and as an adult. I take a good look at my mental health, love life, career, and basically everything else going on with me right now. Production wise... Im way too excited for that part. It is the best shit I've ever made. A lot of beats were inspired by artists like Travis Scott, Mac Miller, and Anderson .Paak. I'd like to think I display a lot of range as a producer on the album. We got some funk influences, international music, some classic references, and a full lineup of great features too."
Q: How do you feel you will impact mental health awareness with the album in a way that is different from artists who attempt to speak on it?
A: "You know, I think most of us have some sort of experience with mental health issues. Its not a rare thing. Im not trying to necessarily be a spokesperson for mental health. Its just a part of who I am, and it is part of my story."
Q: When will the first single off the album be releasing?
A: "I actually just put the first one out. My latest single 'Kid Is Back' (featuring Jayrahx) is actually the first single but we ran it as a soft drop. It was a way to say 'hey Im back with bars and beats', so now people know the album is a lot closer to being completed than they previously thought. The first proper single will be releasing within the next 2 to 3 weeks. Im doing these bulk recording sessions where I'll just knock out a track and wont stop working on it until it is finished and perfect. Some songs are done and in the vault, ready for listeners. So yeah, single soon, and the album sooner than yall think."
Q: Any features we should be excited to see on the album?
A: "Im honestly so excited for every single feature I have. We've already heard Jayrahx murder my beats, and now, Im really excited to show off eNDiO. He is one of the most talented people I have ever met, and he's a great friend. I also just got an insane verse back from CodyMike, and I think he is pretty new to the game so Im hype to get him on the album with me. You can also expect TukeLenkku, T-King, Jxhar, and more! Im so lucky all my features are so damn fire."
Q: How do the artists you collaborate with influence your approach to that particular song?
A: "I've been planning the album for awhile now so a lot of my songs are partially catered to the artists I'm working with. The people Im working with are literally my favorite artists. This generation is putting out the best music the world has ever heard. Music has always been like that. The next generation will make even better art even if we dont understand it."
Q: With the respect you have for the next generation of hip-hop, who would you consider to be the leaders of the new era?
A: "Thats a good question, and I wish I had a suitable answer. I think the leaders of the new era are the previous era so the guys right above artists like me. The artists that are just now coming up like Gunna and Lil Baby. They kind of popped out of nowhere, and now, they are fairly mainstream. I'd say the soundcloud era of rap really kicked it off for this generation though. It gave us proof that you can make it by getting big on streaming platforms."
Q: What do you feel you add as an artist that not many other artists do?
A: "First and foremost, everything you hear from me is made by me. 98% of my work is me, with that other 2% being other production help when I feel like Im super stuck. For the most part, you're going to hear exactly what I want you to hear, and how I want it to also sound. I also like to bring humor to a lot of the things I do so I just have some goofy bars on some songs that I hope people can laugh at. Why does everyone have to be so serious about rap? I know we are all depressed, anxious, and grew up struggling, but most artists are actually really funny people. I want to bring that lighter, more genuine side to my music."
Q: What helped you have such a positive outlook while being in an industry like the music industry?
A: "Marijuana. Lots of marijuana. That and some good people. I've met some crazy talented and down to earth people through music. Plus, Im making bangers so how can you not be happy when you're making the dopest song ever?"
Q: Will we ever see a deeper side to siroka?
A: "For sure. I've got songs going into my past, my mental health, depression, anxiety, love, success, etc. I love having fun and sliding in jokes, but I always say something I feel is worth saying. It may not be the most profound thing ever said, but I think its important so thats why it is there."
Q: Anything you would like to add before we conclude your Q&A with SupportArt?
A: "I want to start by saying thanks for having me and supporting me and the rest of the underground. Also do not forget to check out 'Kid Is Back' by me and Jayrahx, and 'Baby Pictures' by me, Xanlon, LOVE RYAN, and B-L1FE because that one is a slapper. Anyone who wants to keep up with me can follow me on soundcloud, instagram, or twitter (@sirokssss for all 3). You can also follow my Spotify profile as well. Again, thank you guys."
Listen To The First Part Of The Album 'Kid Is Back' Below!