LA-based artist from New Jersey, DOCK hELLISh, has been continuously making moves in multiple different art forms. His recent collaboration tape with teddyc, TEDDYHELLISH, is a must-hear. In this exclusive interview, DOCK discusses how he ended up in LA, working with NJ natives, as well as how he accidentally got a bag from Bitcoin. This and plenty more entertaining facts about Dock make for an excellent read.

Who are you and what do you do?

Wassup. First off I gotta say how much I appreciate y’all at UVC, its big love always! I’m Dock Hellish, I make music & clothes. I’m not trying to limit myself or get stuck doing any of this or that in particular, I aim to create vibes, but I’d say music & fashion is mostly where my head is at. Self-expression is important to me as an artist, & those are the two areas where I’m always finding myself wanting to work & improve on. I do what I can to contribute back to the scene that I fuck with. I just like the process of creating in general if that makes any sense, lol. 

What made you get started in music?

Well, like I said I’ve always liked the process of creating, so with a general interest in music it was bound to happen at some point. Lots of fire music had been put out in the underground since before my ass was ever even born, so it’s not like there’s any lack of inspiration. Seems like for every different phase in life I had an artist/artists that I could relate to on a lyrical level which is probably what first pulled me to rap. I didn’t start seriously writing until I was like 15, I’d write pages fully, but it took me a while to mature to the point where I could sit down & learn how to record myself. I’ve always looked at writing & music as a way to capture and convey vibes, so I wrote because I had a lot going on. I was getting in a lot of trouble growing up in Jersey, in and out of programs, some for state-mandated court shit, some for drug addiction shit. Shit, I never even finished 10th grade lol. To spare the ugly details I wasn’t mentally well off in my teens, so my music never progressed past the writing stage even though the passion was there. That unstable period in my life ended up being fuel for me when I was ready to creatively launch … so in a way all those experiences got me started into music. The ups, downs, struggles & emotions, all contribute to this urge to create music and get these emotions off my chest.

What made you want to leave NJ for LA?

Ok, I don’t wanna stray too far off topic but this ties in with what I was just saying about it taking a minute for me to creatively launch. To be honest I couldn’t have seen me moving to CA from a million miles away. In a way it feels like I just ended up in LA lol. I actually wound up in San Diego at a halfway house first as part of a plea agreement after my first adult arrest, before ever moving up to LA. It was at my halfway house after getting my computer privileges that I learned about DAWS, mixing, recording myself, making beats, basically anything that I could do from my halfway house. I was mainly a just producer around that time just due to lack of access to recording equipment, which I bet now was an influence on the aspirations of moving to LA after San Diego. I remember wanting to see whats good with the studio/engineer scene in a big music town. I was already in Southern California & once I finished that halfway house I didn’t wanna stay in the same city where I was with all the shitty memories. I also wasn’t tryna fall right back into my old unhealthy habits that had me not recording if I moved back to NJ permanently. That woulda put too much of what I went thru at risk for nothing. LA just seemed like the best choice, I was still crashing in San Diego for a while after my time at the halfway house, but I’d be up in LA every now & then I fucked with the energy. It was the closest option in the area with the most culture & opportunities for what I’m into, my probation was already transferred out to Cali, & the city just has a nice open minded, creative vibe to it, & good skate spots lol.

What U.S. region or city makes the best music?

There’s so much heat being dropped all over the country & beyond that I couldn’t single any one spot out. I can list off a few favorite regions I think are going hard right now though! The DMV, South Florida, LA, NYC, North Jersey, Philly, shit the more I think about it’s hard to single just one lol. I can find appreciation for almost anything real.

What about your ties to GRiMM Doza?

We grew up right near each other, along with some other artists I know from back home. I met him way before I was making music, I think one of our mutual friends was copping acid or something lmao. He puts on heavy for Jersey & is a super talented dude, if you aren’t tapped in I’d recommend doing so asap. Another talented day one homie, HVNZO, introduced us when I got serious about music & was flying back to Jersey a lot for court. San Diego’s probation was way more chill on permission to leave the state too, so we got a lot of work done around then. We made a whole tape in my Dad’s basement if you’re interested in some rare shit to look up, Vision973. I think the first official work we put out together though was a track I produced one of his EP’s, SAY LESS. If I’m speaking on Doza I also gotta shout out the other homies out there doing their thang too. Go peep Booshido, Hvnzo, Izzy, Fiji, Pneuma, all hard-working Jersey artists who deserve some shine & I’m honored to work with. 

What’s the best meal you have ever cooked?

I worked at a Hawaiian cafè for a minute & they had this bomb ass breakfast sushi called Musubi, shit is smacking with some spicy mayo. I learned how to make it better than the fools in the kitchen, at my crib. Rolling sushi is kinda similar to a giant piece of Fronto so I take pride in my finished musubi just like a proper blunt or something, LMAO. 

Who are some of your favorites from the NJ scene as well as some favorites to work with on the internet?

Like I mentioned before, NJ has a lot of untapped talent. Artists like Booshido, Hvnzo, Doza & all the heads I listed (plus more) go hard, I always love being able to tap back into my dirty Jersey roots through collabing. There’s always gonna be chemistry with the people you first started cooking with. My dude Fiji has been going off for the 973 recently too, every time he sends me something new to hop on he’s leveled up, so keep an eye out for him & all the other NJ artists I mentioned. As far as internet favorites go, I’ve got a handful of talented people I tapped in with online & I don’t wanna leave anyone out, but I’ll try to keep it relatively short.  Big shoutout to Lil Shies, we got a tape almost done, & working has just always seemed natural. I met most of my internet friends/collaborators through my favorite DJ to work with, AsToldByMeagan. That includes my dude, teddyc, who is no question one of my favorite artists to work with & probably the most eligible bachelor on SoundCloud (hit him up, ladies). I fuck with talented and genuine people and teddy embodies both to the fullest, that’s my bro. We link down in LA to work in person but everything started online. Check out our new collab project, TEDDYHELLISH, too if you aren’t hip yet. Ima list off some other fye artists/collectives I like to work with over the computer to finish this one up. DrDread, the rest of the Iced Out Angels, Tali, god mode sama, BMB Sayda & the rest of BMB! To keep it a buck I’ll work with almost anybody/any sounds I’m vibing with, even if it’s just a random free beat in an email from someone I don’t know. 

I’m not a huge social media person so I usually end up linking with the people I fuck with on social media in real life. 

Why is your name DOCK hELLISh?

I actually got the Dock nickname when I was a teenager heavy into a psychedelic phase, a crusty called me, “Dock Ellis” referring to some baseball player who pitched a no-hitter while tripping. It definitely stuck because most people thought it was “Doc” like short for doctor because I got so heavy into drugs & the nickname fit. Mfs didn’t know it was “Dock Ellis” though, I didn’t really give a shit until it was time I started making/dropping music. It felt weird just straight taking another person’s name so I threw the h’s on both ends of the Ellis and turned it into DOCK hELLISh. I sometimes stylize it with the h’s lowercase to pay homage original nickname. 

Is there any other form of art you like to create?

Clothes. #SSWG. You’ll see more as I roll out my collection & get some of these photo shoots done @SSWGApparel.

What is your favorite project you’ve made?

My first tape, Dock’s Playground, just because it was the most fun I’ve ever had. I don’t think anything matches the excitement of putting your first project together. Close tie to Hell Files though, that tape did pretty well for me & captured my headspace at the time pretty accurately. 

Who is your favorite non-hip-hop artist?

Lil Nas X. Oh sorry I thought that question said non-artist. 

I’m a basic bitch outside of hip hop, I for real listen to bands or artists that would make good hip-hop samples or weird shit like Boards of Canada. Travis Barker is pretty fire, plus he seems like the type of guy to chug a monster with. 

What are some of your early influences in music?

How early are we talking? I could go back to Bubba Sparxxx influencing me to locate the nearest booty rocking everywhere at my middle school dance. Like I was saying before in another question, lyricism has always played a key role so my first influences were mostly rappers focused on the crazy wordplay like, Twista or Tech N9ne. Then as I got older and into the culture more it’d be like Paul Wall or 3 6 Mafia. This rapper, Rittz, was probably my biggest early underground influence, I think I related to his shit more than anyone else I have ever heard. When I started dropping music everything changed though. I was adapting to a lot of new tastes. Every other producer/artist on SoundCloud was as much of an influence as the last as I was realizing I could do what everyone else was doing if I put some work in. To name some heavy influences around that time though lemme think of a few to sum it up … SGP, Denzel Curry, X, Ski Mask, Peep, CHXPO, and Black Kray. I think most of us know those goats.

Do you have any crazy stories you want to share?

When I was 18 I got my parents crib raided & my mom ended up having shit too, so my first time getting booked as an adult was with my mom lmao. It was devastating at the time seeing them take her to county for my dumbass mistakes but we’re past that shit. That was what lead to the plea that eventually wound me up in California with my head straight.

Part of my arrest involved me ordering packs through the mail which I would pay for with this shit called, “bitcoins.” All I knew was to order drugs. One day, after shit all went down I’m in my halfway house and I hear kids talking about investing in it, I saw it in the news & shit, & I still had the wallet account on my phone with what I thought was only 200 something bucks in it. It was a lot more than 200 bucks when I got back into that wallet. I lost a bit of selling it because I had no clue how to sell, I only ever bought bitcoins. I was just stoked I felt like I won the lottery. That was definitely the biggest foundation of my savings and let me move when I was finally able.

Anything you would like to plug?

I’d like to thank UVC and anyone who takes an interest in what I do enough to give this a read. Support means a lot to me, even if it’s just a click. If you don’t like what you see or hear the underground is full of talented individuals right now. I just hope I can contribute art worthy of genuine appreciation. You can always expect more from me on UVC whether it’s another video or exclusive track, it’s rare to find such an authentic platform for the underground with a consistently solid team these days. Go run up my music video for “Snowmayne” hosted on the UVC YouTube channel. Also check out TEDDYHELLISH, my collab project produced by teddyc. We got 2 guest features on there who both killed it, SEBii & Slump Grimey. I’ve got 2 more projects coming (one with Lil Shies), & 3 music videos on the way, along with my apparel drop. If you’re fucking with anything I’m about, now would be the time to hit that follow, with so much right around the corner. Or just keep your eyes peeled for @hellishdock on Twitter for updates, @dockhellish on Instagram. Lots to come.