Factor Chandelier and His Journey as a Label Member of Fake Four
Saskatchewan’s #1 Hip-Hop Artist of 2018 gave me an inside look at his new project “Sad, Fat Luck” with the Connecticut artist Ceschi.
In a province that was slow to embrace hip-hop, there have been a handful of success stories and Factor Chandelier has been one of them. Signed to Fake Four 10 years ago by Ceschi Ramos (the label’s founder) placed Factor in a special position that most hip-hop related artists don’t reach in the prairies.
Aside from his successful label deal, FC stands out due to his unconventional production style. His use of sound is something to experience as you will notice his work can tend to feel more like a soundscape as opposed to a typical hip-hop beat.
Following the release of his 2018 album Wisdom Teeth and his reception of Saskatchewan’s first hip-hop artist of the year at the Sask Music Awards, Factor began the rollout for the release of his most ambitious project yet. Teaming up with the label’s head, Factor and Ceschi announced their collaborative project Sad, Fat Luck.
Sad, Fat Luck is a culmination of versatility, talent, and unique ideas that all work with one another to create a grand in sound album. The project takes on elements of punk and folk while still delivering the classic production we expect from Factor Chandelier. Ceschi’s performance throughout the album is amazing as he pulls out all the stops to enhance each track to new levels with quick cadences that meld into smooth flows and everything in between. From high energy tracks like “Sad, Fat Luck” and “The Gospel” you get a sense of urgency and frustration meant to be diverted to the things that ail us while “Say No More” gets a little more introspective and thought-provoking. The trend-dodging project aims to break boundaries and try new things and it does just that. Be sure to check out the interview below where we get Factor’s input on the project, the label, and the state of hip-hop in general.
Before we get into the new project I wanted to ask about the label that the project is being released under. How did Fake Four inc. come about?
Fake Four Inc. is a New Haven, CT based boutique record label that focuses on a very unique sound. The label started in 2008 and right around that time I was working on my solo record titled “Chandelier” (I just went by “Factor” then). It was a compilation style record and I really wanted to get Ceschi to feature vocals on this one particular track I was working on, which ended up being our first collaboration titled “Pray”. Ceschi owns the label, he has a vision for how the label should sound and at the time he wasn’t looking for new artists but he was down to do the feature. A couple months/weeks later I had completed the album and decided to send it to him - later that night he gave me a called and signed me to the label. 10 years later we are making more music and touring more than ever before. I am very thankful for Fake Four and everything they have done for me.
What was your connection with Ceschi around the time you were added to their roster?
We had a lot of mutual friends at that time and similar musical tastes especially when it came to Hip Hop specifically West Coast Underground.
What about Ceschi made you excited to work with him?
He is just so dynamic and original. Honest lyrics without being corny, it is a very hard thing to do. Now 10 years later and I’m still trying to get the feeling of the his live show on record.
How did the idea for this joint project come about initially?
There is a long very specific version of the story inside the liner notes, so grab the album and read the booklet. It is very interesting, the album evolved in many ways. The whole thing started when we got invited on tour with Astronautalis and his team for a full US and Europe tour, super long tour but awesome. Love them, great people. Ceschi and I decided to make a 4 part single to promo on the tour - a song called “Take It All Back”, which appears on “Sad, Fat Luck”. From there we decided to do a split EP with Astronautalis but then that changed to some singles and me and Ceschi went back to the drawing board. We decided to do a short full length, made a couple more songs, had the album mastered and test pressings done … but no, it wasn’t right. Back to the drawing board and a surge of inspiration came. We ended up with a proper full length album dropping April 4th titled “Sad, Fat Luck” and I could be happier with the final product. I think all those needed to happen to get the songs where they needed to be. but make sure you read the liner notes for the specifics - Ceschi is way better with words :)
How long would you say the project has been in works?
3 years but kinda 10 years ha ha
There is definitely a level of uniqueness about this entire project. Did you or Ceschi have an idea for what you wanted the album to sound like or did you two go with the flow while creating together?
The sound for the record was developed during those long drives and late nights on our 75 show tour. We channeled all these crazy things that were going on in our lives. Our lives changed a ton during the making of this album. We lost a very close friend who the album is dedicated to. Ceschi lost multiple friends last year. I became a first time father. It was very important to be honest and put everything we had into it.
As with most of your fully produced projects, there tends to be a concept or theme that each track follows. What would you (or Ceschi) say the concept for this project was?
Yes, thank you. With this album it was really about showing who we have evolved into as artists. The songs are very personal and true. The concept is very reality based on where we are at now.
There are moments in this project where we get a bit more than the typical alternative hip-hop that we hear from you. What was it like producing the more acoustic/instrumental tracks?
I love the challenge of working on mixes for song like “Daybreak” and crazy layers and amazing instrumentation on “Sad, Fat Luck”. It is exciting to change it up and still make it all fit together. I have been working on my mixing and full project vibe so this was adding another dimension to the sound!
You tend to carry a distinguishable sound in your production; the abundance of horns, marching drums, and clean percussion tend to be a standard. When you are creating such a unique style do you shut yourself out from outside influences or do you welcome them?
I don’t shut myself off when I’m doing my day to day or driving or whatever. I always listen to music, everything, everyday. So I guess what I’m listening to at the time is bound to have some influence. I love visual art to get ideas and inspiration. But as soon as I hit the studio it is 100% me, I don’t wanna have people who listen to my songs be like “Dope, you have a (insert name) sound” or “you’re golden era” or whatever - nah I wanna be me. I will say though it has been a long road ha ha but I still love making art and learning.
At what point in your career did you realize that your style was completely different form most other producers coming up at the same time?
I’ve never really wanted to follow trends. I grew up listening to underground rappers whose main objective was to flip styles and rock it the way no one else had ever done it. I love that, just being totally unique. Honestly lots of the rappers are killin’ it with their styles. I’m a fan of everything and try and stay up on new stuff. For me, I think that once I really started to focus on a career in music and started making music without samples and loops in my production is when I locked into my own style. I wanted to be completely free to do anything possible with my sound. When I started to do that there was a real learning curve to make the sound I wanted. It’s worth it to develop something unique but you gotta have thick skin and believe in your vision.
What is most important about this album?
Having our own totally original sound.
Tell me about this 21 show tour that you are about to go on.
This tour is going to be amazing - I can’t wait and it’s all starting off in Saskatoon! If we are in your city it is a must see. Ceschi, 7 piece band. We visit many of my favourite cities and the guests are insane - Sammus, Astronautalis, DTS … honestly every city has crazy guests check it out!
As we get closer to a new decade it is beneficial to look back and reflect on the previous one. When you reflect on the last ten years what stands out most to you?
I think looking back can be beneficial for some things. Good to try and learn from mistakes and try not to make them again . For me I can’t worry too much about the past cuz if you do it’s hard to move forward.
What do you think the next ten years has in store for the music industry? And where do you see yourself fitting in/what role are you wanting to play in the coming years?
I have no clue what kind of tech is going to come and shake everything up any minute now lol. I think this release will be a huge part of how I fit in the industry. I know it will be a lot more studio work and mixing :)