Zomb: First things first tell me about where you grew up considering you’re in LA did you grow up there?

Ghostrage: Early on in my childhood I grew up in the center of LA but my parents and I moved to the valley due to financial issues.

I was kind of bummed out at first because there were a lot of memorable things about our first house but to be honest I’m kind of glad we made the transition because I ended up going to a performing arts high school less than 2 miles away from me and got exposed to rap music a lot heavier while I was there. This was right around the time the economy went bad so everybody kind of got screwed over in it, u know?

But it ended up working out because honestly I highly doubt I’d be making beats if I ended up not going to the high school I went to.

Correction, it wasn’t “first house” cuz we never had a house after that lol but u get what I’m tryna say.

Zomb: Wow I know a lot people can relate to a moving experience that can always be tough. You made the best of it though. Tell me about your high school and who were some early musical influences?

Ghostrage: Before I went to high school I was a drummer and a guitarist so I grew up listening to everything and anything that had to do with rock or metal. Some good examples I can think of are Nirvana, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Green Day, Tool, Korn, and Linkin Park. I used to put together bands and whatnot to perform around LA when I was maybe 11 or 12 but eventually I got tired of it because I was obsessive compulsive over how I wanted my work to sound. I was the one writing all the music, so having a bunch of people change my ideas got old really quickly and that’s one of the main reasons I switched over to making music on my own.

I had started working on edm and dubstep stuff in middle school, just for fun because everybody was big on the Skrillex wave at that time. It wasn’t until high school that I really got exposed to rap music like that. It kinda started in PE class surprisingly, since all I’d listen to with friends of mine while doing push ups and running laps or whatever was edm.

At one point a friend of mine said “nah fuck that we’re working out to this” and put on “I Don’t Like” from Chief Keef. And I was hooked just because of how raw Sosa was in his portrayal of himself in his videos. Like, he wasn’t spending bands to go rent fake cars and pay models to be in his videos, it was just him hanging out and smoking with his friends. So it was easy to respect and relate to, especially since he was only like 16 or 17 at the time. High school is what really pushed me to make rap music, because being in such an artsy environment encourages creativity. Friends of mine would say they wanted to rap or make beats so I’d tell them to come to my house after school and I’d record them or collab with them. That’s kind of how I got experience for knowing how to work with an artist, because up until then I was really big on working by myself.

Zomb: Honestly I really think people our age really saw something special when Sosa came on to the scene. So you had a bunch of experiences musically early on and really enjoyed working alone but you eventually got around to doing projects with your friends. What was your favorite thing about those days? You must have had a lot of good learning experiences because it shows in your sound and socially how was high school for you? Some people loved it or hated it.

Ghostrage: My favorite thing about those days was getting to learn from them. I’m a music nerd at the end of the day, and the beautiful thing about working with other people is that you see their process and they see yours and both parties get better at what they do. It also helped me recognize the value of working with people in person as opposed to over emails, because at the end of the day the song will come out better if both people are there working on it together.

Socially I was kind of an outcast, I had a few friends but a lot of people didn’t mess with me. I didn’t get invited to parties at all, or go to gatherings but I was cool with that because it pushed me to start producing more and more. I was 16 when I first started sending beats out, and I was sending them to legit everybody and anybody I could find online who had emails posted. It took a year before I got my first credit and it just went from there, as I kept working my way up and eventually started using my resume as a way to get my foot in the door and work with people in the studio.

Zomb: Holy shit that’s quite the grind for such a young age that’s super inspirational. You mentioned before that working with people physically is way better than through the internet and I couldn’t agree more. After that first year how did getting your first placement feel?

Ghostrage: It felt incredible man, I was so hyped. In retrospect it’s nothing compared to what I’ve done now but back then it was a cool feeling because a lot of kids besides the ones who I’d work with kind of viewed me and my music as a joke and didn’t think I’d amount to much. In retrospect I can understand them for sure because every school has that one fifteen year old kid that wants to be a rapper or producer and doesn’t go anywhere with it but that credit for me was proof to myself that music was going to become my future. And yeah man even nowadays I hate sending beats out. I will if need be if someone who I already know is geographically far away from me but I’m being dead honest when I say this, when I hit the studio with an artist I don’t play beats I’ve already made.

I make something from scratch then and there for them so that the vibe can be captured in the music. Because the listener feels everything the artist/producer does, so why would I want them to feel like the collaboration wasn’t organic you know?

Zomb: Absolutely agree with you. The organic sound is way way better then a forced collab. After your first placement what was your first move? did you start sending out more beats? and who was your first decent placement?

Ghostrage: Yeah I’d send beats like a maniac. It got to the point where I’d get locked out of my email and had to make multiple emails to keep sending them out at the pace I wanted to.

My first big placement was Fetty Wap, he had dropped a song called “victor cruz” on his SoundCloud on a track of mine I had sent him and Monty way back before I even graduated.

They’re cool people, I have a lot of respect for Nitt Da Grit and all of Fetty Wap’s team for that especially because during that time I was homeless and my parents were getting separated and he made sure I got paid for the track I did with them. When you’re down on your luck like that you never forget the people who helped you. Around this time I also didn’t get into any of the colleges I applied to not to mention I wasn’t able to afford it so my dad told me to take a gap year to work more on music and reapply.

That year ended up becoming the best thing to ever happen to my life because I ended up linking with Xavier Wulf and got introduced to the whole underground scene.

Zomb: Wow that’s amazing big shout out FettyWap for that that’s so awesome. That seemed like a rough time for you and you mentioned you linked up with Wulf which leads me to my next question which is who are some of your favorite people to be in the studio with? and how was working with Xavier?

Ghostrage: Working with Xavier was, and always is, super fun.

We made Uncle Wulf Ruckus the first day we met. I love that dude to death. I always had placements but he was the first artist who helped me build a fan base. A lot of people struggle to try to get beats to mainstream artists and it’s just like bro, work with these underground artists who have a cult following. Those kinds of supporters will never leave your side.

Zomb: I can’t lie SHWB shaped who I am and if it wasn’t for like 2013-2014 days I wouldn’t be where I am today. That’s so sick to hear you and Wulf matched up like that. The underground is such a powerful place and you definitely deserved that following. What are some things you love about the underground and what’s something you would change?

Ghostrage: I love the fan base of the underground, because it’s so fuckin real. Like industry music fans will forget about you, in the underground you could have a fan for life.

The main thing I’d want changed is how often people try to copy styles, but that’s throughout rap music so I can’t necessarily apply that to underground music solely.

People are so hesitant to be themselves nowadays that they try to blend in and overall they lose their appeal when they forget themselves. I’ve always been big on defining myself as different stylistically and even how I present myself as a person. It’s like, “I get that there’s a certain trend going on in music at the moment but take their lead. Form your own trend. listen to their work, and make it your own.” Because music is supposed to be a form of creative expression, u feel me?

Zomb: Yup that’s exactly what I try to tell anyone that asks that question on what they should do. Just be yourself, take the things you like and make them your own style. Completely agree with that. What are some of your goals for the fall and the rest of 2018?

Ghostrage: Just work, work with new artists, get songs done nonstop, and make history.

Zomb: That’s what I like to hear. I’m looking forward to new Ghostrage. Speaking of your name how did you come up with it? It stuck around the underground I think just about everyone knows your tag.

Ghostrage: To be real, Ghostrage has no meaning. It just sounds cool.

When I was in eighth grade, people would ask me what I did and I’d tell them that I made music. one day someone asked me what my artist name was and I came up with it on the spot. it just kind of stuck with me since then, and a lot of people in my personal life call me Ghost too. I identify with it a lot more than my government name.

Zomb: Lmfao really? That’s so sick I love it. Im glad it stuck because it’s got a ring to it. Who are some artists you wanna work with in the future? Big or small?

Ghostrage: Does it have to be rap strictly? or can it be anybody?

Zomb: Anybody in the game.

Ghostrage: Skrillex, Chief Keef, Fifty Grand, Kehlani, Diplo, Jonathan Davis, Gerard Way, Mike Shinoda, Tom Morello, Henry Rollins, Uzi, Carti, Nudy, Tracy, Youngboy, and Barrack Obama.

I’m deadass on that last one too. Oh and Thugger But fr if I don’t get Obama on a beat of mine I’ve failed as a producer Or even just fuck music I’d like to work on some political shit with him too he seems like a cool ass dude. Like fr wtf am I gonna do with a Donald trump placement? That shit would be trash.

Zomb: First off that list is fire I can’t even imagine what you guys could do especially with skrillex since that was an early inspiration for you but wow seriously Obama on a track? lmfao that would be an instant hit. Music aside are you into politics like that?

Ghostrage: I’m into changing the world and the way people think and view things. Music is my way of doing it, for some people it’s politics, for others it’s education, painting, etc.

I feel like merging different worlds would have double the impact or merging aspects of growth, for a lack of better words.

Zomb: That’s actually really interesting I like that idea a lot I think you’re absolutely right about the impact it would have. What are some things that keep you going outside of music? What are you doing when you aren’t doing something music related?

Ghostrage: Making more music, finding artists on SoundCloud, or trolling people online or selling beats or drum kits. My whole life revolves around music frfr.

Zomb: That’s dope the grind never stops I feel you. As a producer on average how long does it take you to make a beat? Tell us a little bit about your artistic process.

Ghostrage: it normally takes me a half hour or so, but if I’m making something like an instrumental track that’s meant to be listened to by itself it takes me about 2 or 3.

I honestly just open up FL and do whatever comes to me. I just click around randomly and keep going until it sounds good. I can’t really let my creativity flow if I go into a project with a specific thing in mind, the beat just doesn’t come out good to me. Other people say they don’t hear a difference but I do. So I try my best to just capture a vibe and run with it as I go along.

Zomb: I know a lot of producers can relate to that. Little things matter. What are some of your top studio necessities? Things you can’t be without.

Ghostrage: Juul pods, Speakers and a good attitude. That’s it really.

Zomb: Lmfao juul pods. I feel that. What’s your current production setup for anyone that’s curious?

Ghostrage: Two rokit 5 speakers, focusrite audio interface, and a microphone in case an artist who I mess with on a personal level wants to come thru and record. I’m a big fan of consistency and  I’ve had virtually the exact same set up since I began making beats. The speakers specifically, I’ve had them since I was 14. I’m 20 now. If it gets the job done that’s all that matters.

Zomb: Wow that’s amazing whatever works right? What would be the first thing you would do if you got filthy rich?

Ghostrage: Here’s what I would do, step by step:

1.) budget what’s required for me to live comfortably
2.) take the rest, and divide it by two
3.) invest one half, donate the other to charity.

Zomb: Yes investing is extremely smart I’m so glad you said that. So with 2018 being a sad year for artists passing young did any of those affect you in anyway?

Ghostrage: Every passing this year affected me but the saddest part of it all was how other people acted following their deaths.

Like, to give you an example, Xxxtentacion. Dude got gunned down in his car. That shit was unfortunate obviously, but what upset me even more was how people were happy about it and celebrating someone else’s demise.

Same shit with Peep. You got headasses like Russ who used his overdose as a means to push their own beliefs and agendas, which is the ultimate form of disrespect, because that person’s not even around to defend themselves anymore.

You also got people who use their death to promote themselves or further their own careers and stuff their pockets, which is straight up horrific in my eyes.

That shit is so fucked to me because one of my core beliefs in this world is that human life is sacred, and it kind of makes me lose hope for the world sometimes when certain individuals will seek out ways to make themselves the primary subject of someone else’s death.

Zomb: You couldn’t have said it any better. I remember roasting people on all kinds of media because they all had such big opinions for something they know nothing about and the amount of disrespect in those opinions was just disgusting. I’m glad you felt that way and saw through it all.

Rest In Paradise to everyone we lost this year. I do have an interesting question for you though, what’s your opinion on producers turned rappers? That’s been happening a lot.

Ghostrage: It can either be sick as fuck or super corny depending on how that artist/producer makes the transition.

When someone comes up as an artist that happens to make their own beats that’s dope to me because their audience wants that from them.

When someone’s already known as a producer to me it seems counterproductive to make that switch because you’re ultimately distracting your fans and yourself from what has already been proven to be the best avenue for you. But it all really depends on the circumstances to be honest. I just feel like you shouldn’t entirely abandon your core fanbase, especially if they began fucking with you for a certain reason.

Zomb: Yeah I agree sometimes it can be totally counterproductive. It’s an interesting thing to see that’s for sure. What are some of your favorite songs you’ve produced or been apart of?

Ghostrage: Polish and Shine. Easily. And the shit I got coming with Hella Sketchy.

Zomb: That song is such a banger that’s something I still play at least a few times a week. S/o Hella Sketchy as well. Who are some new artists you got your eye on?

Ghostrage: Man I wish I could say more, I’m just tryna let the music speak for me. I don’t wanna jinx it.

Zomb: Oh so that vault is STACKED. That’s sick I’m looking forward to the future. One of the last questions I had for you was who are your top 5 favorite artists of all time? Can be anyone.

Ghostrage: Hmm. I go through phases to be honest but pretty much everybody who I named on my goal list along with the artists I already work with And the ppl who I grew up listening to.

Nirvana, Green Day, MCR, Sosa, Uzi, the list goes on tho to be real.

Zomb: I love the diversity. All legendary names. Do you have any advice for new producers or even new artists?

Ghostrage: Just don’t let other people discourage you. Keep working regardless of what other people say about you.

Zomb: That was one of my problems personally so I know everyone can get something from that coming from you. Before we sign off is there anything you wanted to touch on? or do you have any last words or words of motivation?

Ghostrage: I’ve been through a lot in my life, to keep it real. I’d rather not get into all of it because I’m not ready to talk about it and to be honest there hasn’t been a person who I’ve told the entirety of my past to that didn’t either gasp or start crying but I didn’t let what I’ve been through stop me.

One of my main goals is to be a source of motivation for every kid who’s ever been discouraged that they can accomplish whatever they set their minds on. Because I’ve been through various forms of hell and I’ve still managed to make something of myself.

If there’s any advice I could give anyone, it’s to use art and creative expression as a means of addressing their trauma and unfortunate life circumstances because they’ll eventually come across their passion and their calling. I certainly did.

Zomb: That was the most important response anyone has had to that question. I think it’s super important to remember that expressing yourself in your art is amazing therapy. This was such a pleasure and an honor to sit down with you. Thank you for your time I’m glad we got to do this brother.

Ghostrage: Anytime man, I fuck with you and everything y’all are doing for underground music. Keep doing great things for the community.

Zomb: Absolutely. We’ll keep it up and you keep going as well. We’re super excited for the rest of 2018.

Check out Ghostrage’s SoundCloud page below.