After dropping a new single back in April, Seattle artist Roy Oro has been busy making new music for multiple upcoming releases for this year and beyond. After listening to Roy’s music and documenting his latest release, I was interested in sitting down with him to learn more about his music, his view on today’s hip-hop artists, and much more that includes his latest release of the video to his song “Requiem II”.
Cole: Starting off, I was wondering if you can describe your sound and what your outlook is for your new music because you mentioned you have new projects dropping soon.
Roy: Ideally I want to create a hip-hop/metal blend that’s great. I grew up listening to Pink Floyd, AC/DC, and all of those guys and I want to make a Dark Side of the Moon type thing, like that’s a good goal to have. Something that’s eclectic something that reflects the music that I listen to. It also reflects my philosophy sonically, not just with the lyrics but sonically brings everything together with what is above and what is below, so it brings everything together. It all comes together.
Cole: I feel it. So you have an EP coming out and then six albums/EP’s that you are looking to release as well. Can you talk about the timeline in regards to releasing that material?
Roy: I made a trap/metal EP with Jay Battle that is being mixed currently. Because I’ve really been fucking with the trap/metal vibe, I think that’s a great scene. I think Zillakami is great, I think Cameronazi is great, all of those guys. I’m also working on my own personal music where the main project is titled Roy Oro Is Da Don DaDa ACT I – VI. Act I is pretty much complete. We just recorded a little bit just now and it’s a story about a character named Roy Oro. It will be fleshed out – I won’t give out too much. The first project, ACT I, Roy journeys through the River Styx, and he fucking fights his way out. And it’s the setup to where Act II will be about the beginning, and it will go from there. It’s a conceptual project spanning 6 full length records. ACT I is an hour long. I’ve done multiple projects in the past and it’s always been conceptual.
Cole: So why are you drawn to the conceptual projects? Why is it interesting to you?
Roy: I don’t know why it fascinates me. I’ve always been into intellectual shit man. When I was growing up I didn’t really understand hip-hop until I listened to Immortal Technique and Canibus. Then I realized hip-hop is different. It was an outlet to flesh out the ideas that I had. I think that’s why because I need to flesh out the ideas that I have. I need to flesh out my tag, one of my tags is Ape On A Dot, I want to flesh it out to see what it means. That’s how I see myself, it’s every day it’s a daily thing. I want to be able to bring a philosophy that’s relevant to people’s lives, and for my own fucking life. It helps me a lot thinking of myself as an ‘ape on a dot… spinning in the sunlight.
Cole: I was wondering if there are current artists in hip-hop that you really like what they are doing. Or if there are certain artists that you necessarily haven’t liked but have seen the progression and development of their artistry to where it has inspired you and your sound.
Roy: Right now Zillakami and City Morgue, all of them trap metal guys are great. Zillakami is a pioneer, I’m really into him. I’m really into 6ix9ine, I know that’s controversial, but I fuck with 6ix9ine. He stole his whole thing from Zillakami on the low, but I think the way he handled that Breakfast Club Interview was fantastic. He out trolled Charlamagne tha God, and he’s the OG of trolling. I also listen to Kodak, Rich The Kid, and people like that too.
Cole: It’s great that you listen to so many different types of music. That’s what I love about your music is that you bring it all together where I feel like there are so many people doing the same thing. Like everyone is doing trap now. Some people do it well, others not too well. As a fan of music I can only listen to so many songs where they have the same trap beat, and that’s why I like your music is because it is so different. So what is your goal moving forward, what type of impact do you want to have with your upcoming projects?
Roy: I went to a hippie school where I made my own major. The title of my major was “Activist Musician”. My goal is to be an activist musician. Right now I’m a bit broke, I’m living in a truck on Occidental. So I’m not necessarily able to be an activist, especially in the United States where it is hard to be an activist without money. I want to create music that has something to say where people can listen to it again and again. The main goal is to have “woke” music, with pop sensibilities. I think that’s something that’s missing. A lot of big artists in the past (some today as well) had political voices who lasted a long time, have had political statements to make. Like A System Of A Down, people still listen to them all the time. Metal heads and hip-hop heads are all the same, they had a message. That’s really important and something that’s being lost in trap. It has this weird climb to the top where guys are not being genuine. Not that I even believe in genuinity philosophically, but they’re not being genuine you know what I mean?
Cole: So I want to change directions a little bit. I just sat back and watched the recording process of one of your new songs. So many times when I step into sessions there always so many takes of the same thing. You go in and do one take of the main verse and the backing of the lows and highs around it. Is it something that you practice or do you know how want it to sound to the point where you have that confidence going in?
Roy: For that specific song I knew what I wanted and it’s not too hard of a thing. Also, that just takes a lot of practice to be able to do one take. I’ve also learned over the years that the way I write has to encourage one take. I used to write really complicated shit, but I toned it down to where I can just do it in one take. These days I don’t have as much time because it’s expensive for sessions. It just years of practice man.
Cole: Can you talk about the instruments that you play? I noticed in your sessions that you include a lot of live stems. So I was wondering if you can talk about who does your music and beats and how you work your vocals into that?
Roy: For Act 1, I pretty much directed all of the beats except one song “Nostalgia”. One of my recent releases, “Judgment”, was written with a team of musicians. I work with my friend Pete Kim and my friend Riley who plays the guitar. We got together these past few months where I direct the experience, I tell them what to play kind of. I play the drums usually, I’ve been playing since I was 10. That’s how it goes, I make the beat and then I write over it. It used to be I would write lyrics frantically, because I didn’t have anything else to do to where there would be months that I would write 16 bars at least every day for three months and it’s fucking crazy honestly. I have big boxes of these lyrics. I even have some that are from fifth grade. Some of them are fucking awful, most of it that’s in there is absolutely garbage it’s not even good. I’m at the point now because I’ve written all that stuff that the things I write are usually fine on the first try.
Cole: I think for everyone that you have to write enough songs to refine your craft to know what you want to do. Especially for all roles in music there are so many options. For myself I’m a producer and when I first got into it producing was so intimidating because there were so many options with all the things that were available to me. I didn’t know how I could learn all of those things. Once I studied I realized I didn’t need to know all of those things, I just had to develop a skill set that was authentic to me. From that I can develop my sound. I feel like this is the same for anyone in all fields. I think for everyone you have to write those 500 songs or those thousands of lyrics to know what you do want. As you said, I feel like you’re way more focused and too the point.
Roy: There’s no re-tries anymore honestly. For people listening you just have to do it a lot. You have to do the shit that’s different and authentic because that’s the shit that’s going to last a long time. If you want to be a flash in the pan or got good business connects for that, then go right ahead. I don’t think I could mentally do that kinda thing.
Cole: So you’re in this for the longevity?
Roy: Absolutely. The flash in the pan stuff wouldn’t work really well.
Cole: Why not?
Roy: Maybe it would, I’d probably do fine. because I’d get all the money then go to a fucking farm or something. I want to be able to have a sustained career. I rationally look up to people who have longevity like the Pink Floyds and Nina Simones of the world. Like Lauryn Hill, she’s one album pretty much and she’s still relevant today.
Cole: Anything else that you would like to add?
Roy: There’s a video coming out for “Requiem II”. If you’ve listened this far you’d probably enjoy my music a lot. If you like Tool and Kanye West and everything related like that, you’d probably like my music.
Check Out Roy Oro’s Video For “Requiem II” Below:
Follow Roy Oro on his socials below to stay updated with new music and announcements!
* The interview contains questions and answers that have been edited to fit the format of transcribing the words to text.