“AJ Suede is a producer/emcee from East Harlem, New York by way of East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. His FREEMINDS Collective was founded in collaboration with videographer Omar Jones, Owen Jones and Connor Brennan. The collective is a platform that promotes art and creativity with a DIY mentality and beer. With sample-heavy production inspired by a multitude of genres, Suede continues to produce every track in order to build every song from the ground up. His first project, Gold and Water, combined hip-hop with dubstep, chillwave and jungle elements. The result was avant-garde approach to contemporary rap music. His second project, Gold and Fire, is part 2 of a 4-part quadrilogy based on the elements water, fire, earth and air. Each element inspires a different style of production. With 5 music videos to accompany the release of Gold and Fire, the FREEMINDS Collective continues to build anticipation through quality audio/visual projects. “Watch Me Build a Pyramid” is the first single and visual from the upcoming Gold and Earth album.”
Video Director: @omarjonesmedia via Twitter
NN: Let me start by asking how are you, what you have been doing for the last couple months?
AJ Suede: I’m good, but good can always be better. I just moved back to East Stroudsburg, PA about 4 months ago. I was staying back in Harlem for like 7 months, but it was important to be back here with the team so we could keep moving forward.
NN: How was your new years and by the end of 2014?
AJ Suede: Transitioning from the city back to the country was kind of rough, but I got right back into the calm pace of things. My home studio is here and I’m more comfortable working in nature than anywhere else. Trying to make music in the city is too much sometimes. There’s always somebody yelling some bullshit out the window. Out here I get the piece I need. I can smoke a blunt by the lake and not have to worry about police.
NN: What were you gearing towards for in 2015?
AJ Suede: I think we started off 2015 on a good note as a unit. Dropped the newest video for “Watch Me Build a Pyramid” which is the lead visual from my newest self produced project. Gold and Earth. That video is doing pretty well but we’re always pushing to do better. Other than that I just plan on travelling and meeting with some of the people I’ve been networking with for a couple years. I plan on doing a couple more shows and working with a lot of different people that I respect.
NN: What plans have you made since then for your music, or your art?
AJ Suede: I just plan to keep pushing boundaries and breaking new ground however I can. I want to be the 1st AJ Suede, not a copy of anything or anybody else.
NN: Gold and Air, is your fourth coming album, can you tell us more about the concept behind this piece, and what the process was like completing it?
AJ Suede: Well Gold and Earth is the 3rd Full length in the quadrilogy. It started with Gold and Water in 2012, Gold and Fire dropped 2014 and this (Gold and Air) one should be out sometime soon. It’s pretty much done. The concept has to do with the way the elements may influence the production. Water had some heavy reverberation, which led to an underwater kind of sound. Fire was straight heat, and Earth is heavy on the 808 drums. Gold and Air is the final installment in the 4 part series. I think I’m going to be very ambient with the beats I produce on that album whenever I’m ready to begin working on it. I have to collect more life experiences before I work on a new project. This one shows my transition back into Gotham Forest (our name for the town). A lot of people don’t have pride in this place; I’m giving them something to relate to. It’s important that I grow with each album so no project sounds like the last.
NN: Plans for any tours soon?
AJ Suede: I’m in talks with some people about touring but nothing is set in stone. I’ve been developing a solid foundation so when its time to hit the road, a couple of people in every crowd already know about the movement. But when I get back to the city in time for summer I’m sure ill rock a couple more shows.
NN: You also just released the music video “Watch Me Build A Pyramid”, what was the main idea behind this particular piece?
AJ Suede: It’s just about building ourselves up. A lot of people saw me when I wasn’t shit and doubted me a lot. I’m still not shit but I’m almost shit. I’ll lock myself in my room and keep grinding until I’m way past that. Everybody that sees it is apart of the journey. They’re watching me build this pyramid. In the video we were just doing shit we usually do before we head out to a party or the bar or something. That’s every weekend type of shit out here. The boredom is real so we go hard every single weekend when we’re not grinding. Those kegs aren’t props. We fill those shits up like its nothing. We have a long way to go before the pyramid is finished but now people know that F:M isn’t playing around. This is real life.
NN: When you began your project as AJ Suede begin (did you expect the turn out you have received so far)? When did you know you wanted to begin this project?
AJ Suede: AJ Suede’s been my nickname since I was like 13, I’m just doing me. I do all my beats and sample weird shit because other genres inspire me. I just bring it all together for the people that love music as a whole. This isn’t about rapping or hip hop. I love music. Not country music though, I hate that shit. We got a long way to go but I’m gonna fuck this game up and change the way it thinks.
NN: What do you want to convey in your material, what does it mean to “ Free Ones Mind “?
AJ Suede: To Free Your Mind is to be diverse. I have homies that don’t really leave the neighborhood. I was fortunate to be able to move to Pennsylvania mid way through high school and meet different types of people. I have friends that I’d never think I would have. People from all kinds of backgrounds. I don’t really give a damn about your race, religion, creed, color, sexuality or any of that. If you’re cool you’re cool, if you disrespect me or overstep your boundaries then you’re not. I don’t tolerate blatant racism either. But FREEMINDS Collective isn’t about being the freshest crew on the block. It’s about having the rarest mind on the block. Being up on everything and doing your own thing. Fuck the opinions of the robots. Let them be clones. Be brave enough to innovate.
NN: What does your work reflect on/or tell “us” the most, what should be focusing on?
AJ Suede: My work just says fuck the clones, do your own thing. The people who gravitate towards my music are usually rare like that. I don’t rap about poppin bottles and driving Ferraris. Its all my life experience. I don’t rap about extra hood shit because that’s not my life and my card will get pulled quick. I just try to tell my story. Maybe my story can help you understand yours a little better.
NN: You told me you produce all of your own music before, can you explain to me your process, and when you began producing?
AJ Suede: I used to play with instruments a lot since I was younger, when I was 11 I got Cakewalk Sonar and a bunch of midi controllers. The rest is history. Now Im very sample heavy. I sample a lot of obscure shit, but I try to chop it in ways that even if you were rare enough to call the sample, it wouldn’t sound exactly the same. Made my first beat when I was 11, Now I’m 21.
NN: How do you feel being called a #NVRMNDKID or that you’re one of the #NVRMNDCRU?
AJ Suede: I think my soul might be too old to call myself a kid but I fucks with NVRMND, peep the “Slit Your Wrist Vertically” vid. Much love to yall, and thanks for having me.
For more information on AJ Suede, or the rest of the Free Minds Collective, head to their mainframe, here