If you’re a gamer or simply love Star Wars, say hello to your new favorite hip-hop group straight from Raleigh, North Carolina, [SiTH] Clan. Their music is what they call “nerdcore” and it’s like nothing you’ve heard before. I met up with the clan at local arcade bar The Boxcar in downtown Raleigh to see just what this “nerdcore” group was all about.
Darth Tyranos: I’m from New Jersey but moved here about 10 years ago. I used to be in a group called The Confederates that was more gangster music. I finally decided to open up to my nerdy side and started doing this music about gaming and Star Wars and that suddenly unleashed “the force.”
Darth Bastila (Mari): I’m from Philadelphia and moved here in 2001. I’ve been doing music my entire life. I used to sing with the church choir and talent shows when I was younger. My dad is also a musician, he plays different instruments and we would sing duets together. I’ve never done this kind of music before so it’s very different but I get to express my individuality and I love it.
Darth Nylus (Zig Zag Zach): I wasn’t born here but I’ve been here since I was five. I used to be in a hip-hop rock band with Kaedus where I played bass but I really wanted to get a mic and do my thing.
Darth Kaedus (Jacen Solo): I’m from Raleigh, been here since I was three.
Is every song gamer-related?
Zig Zag Zach: Not every song but we try to do it through the beat or references through rhymes. In our new album, “Pixels to Polygons,” every track is a gamer track.
How is “Pixels to Polygons” different from your first album?
Zig Zag Zach: [For] the first album, we were trying to make people happy, so we [had] songs about love, partying, and gaming. Everything about our new album is more focused-it’s more streamline and sounds better.
What is the process for every song? How do you guys collaborate and put it together? Is someone responsible for certain things?
Tyranos: Kaedus comes up with a lot of the songs’ concepts. He makes it very easy on us. We all write our own lyrics and add our own touches but he comes up with the concepts.
Zig Zag Zach: We are all into the same core of things but outside we all like different things. So if he gets a song we are all going to have our own thought about it. If he has a beat but doesn’t have a concept for it yet, we will all come together and shoot the best ideas out and then we’ll pick which way to roll with it.
What would you say is the biggest challenge when creating music?
Tyranos: Coming up with a catchy hook for the song. That’s the hardest part, especially when you’re talking about specific topics. A lot of hip-hop today is a lot of jibber jabber and you can say anything these days repetitive enough and it’ll stick in people’s minds. We are trying to be different from that. We want to have that catchiness with the song but mindful about the lyrics.
How was the process of recording your first album?
Kaedus: Our first album took us a few years to put it together, but the recording was pretty quick.
Mari: I have to say I was nervous recording in the studio. I guess because it sounded different, the experience was different. Usually we would be sitting on the coach and record on a laptop and this was an actual studio. It was exciting though. My voice would shake because I was so nervous but our sound engineer was very good at helping us feel comfortable and reminding us to just be ourselves.
What is the biggest challenge you guys have faced so far as an up-and-coming group?
Tyranos: Promotion. That’s the hardest thing to do. The music comes easily, that’s the easiest part about being an artist, that’s where all the fun stuff is but when you start to actually do stuff with it, that’s when it becomes a business and it becomes a brand and you have to nourish that.
Advice for aspiring artists?
Tyranos: Get a good manager and have fun. This is how it all started, by us just having fun. That’s what got us here now. You need to invest in yourself too. If you don’t invest in yourself then you won’t go anywhere. It’s a big part of it. Support local hip hop!
Kaedus: My advice would be when it comes to the music part of it-creativity-I’d say to find your most comfortable spot both physically and mentally and just do what your feeling is, go that feeling.
You can learn more about [SiTH] Clan on their website and make sure to follow them on Facebook and YouTube. You can also follow each member of the Clan on Twitter, Darth Tyranos, Darth Kaedus, Darth Nylus and Darth Bastila.
I like eating, spontaneous adventures and watching cat videos on YouTube (yes, in that order). I have skydived, swam with sharks and have bungee jumped. You’ll find me over on the Shuffle Snapchat where I’ll be sharing my favorite eats, travel and more. Follow my blog, The Spotted Bannana here.