Madison rapper/producer Austin Galante presents the self-directed music video for “Cocoa“, the new single featuring Nashville rapper and former G-Unit member Young Buck set to appear on Austin’s new album Herculadium. The “Cocoa” video comes on the heels of visuals for the “Bragging Rights’ remix featuring Cee Lo Green and “Back on the Corinthian” featuring Slim Kid Tre of Tha Pharcyde.
Herculadium also features 2022 Grammy Nominee Jeff Ryon as well as Sumkilla and Rahlan Kay. Originally the front man of the band Bad Fathers, Austin has been working more on hip-hop and EDM music and video solo projects. Austin had this to say this about working with Young Buc on the single: “In finding some overlap in song subject matter with Young Buck, dope happened to be one area we both had some relation to.”
What can you tell us about the track “Cocoa”? What was your inspiration? Thoughts behind the hook? Music video?
I’m an artist who likes to push boundaries and work with people from all walks of life. Some of the most interesting music happens when two people who don’t fit inside the little genre boxes work together. I love music ranging from Classical, metal, industrial, Trip hop, Hip hop, trap EDM, etc. I’ve been a fan of Young Buck for a good 10 years, but our styles are somewhat different. I’ve lived a life of ups and downs. I come from a real poor background and lived in a number of rough neighborhoods. I generally don’t talk about those things in my music, but in working with someone like Young Buck, it’s definitely a place where some of those things seem appropriate to come out. I spent a good while moving dope. I generally try to come up with topics that aren’t about that, but this was a fitting place.
What was it like working with Young Buck? How did this collab come to be?
Young Buck has been on a national stage for a long while. He’s a well known entity in the Hip Hop world. The music industry is all about money and favors. Everybody wants to know how you will benefit them. Why should they give their valuable time to you? People show up to work to get paid.
Working with any major artist is a different experience than making music with your buddies. I have about 6 or 7 songs with national acts, but I’m still up and coming, so when I get the opportunity to be involved with someone who has sold millions of records; well, I work around that opportunity and I figure out how to make a record that can come together in a successful way. In this case, I got a verse and I tailored things to that. Then I came up with an idea to make a music video to tie into that. I wanted to do something a little different, but still in the realm of what you might sort of expect from a video with Buck. I started my own production company and taught myself how to do every single job in producing a music video, so I can shoot videos for any project I choose. I can fill in anywhere on the production team that is needed. It creates more opportunities.
How has the transition been going from being the front man for the band Bad Father to producing hip hop and rap?
It has been a long slow transition. It was definitely weird deciding how I wanted to proceed the first couple years. A lot of life has happened. I got married and had 2 kids. One of which is autistic. So there has been a lot to take care of with that. I decided to take a step back from doing all the touring and rat race of music. I felt like I needed to build my castle and get my personal affairs in order. Get a stable home for my kids and learn new skills to be more self-sufficient in the music world. So I taught myself to produce, engineer, mix and master, how to shoot, direct, light and edit music videos. I just spent years slowly practicing and doing it at an unrushed pace, until I felt like my kids could get along without someone right there all the time. That time has come, and now I’m pushing some of my stuff. I still work with several of the guys that were in Bad Fathers on a consistent basis. Our guitar player and producer in the band went to engineering school and now works in a big studio in L.A. He just did some of the music for the Grammy’s with Kanye’s Sunday service guy. And was nominated for a Grammy on Kanye’s album. I engineer some of my tracks and he engineers some of my stuff too.
When did you realize this was the life for you?
I’ve been rapping since I was 12. I’ve been a part of a number of projects, mostly rap projects. One of my first ones was a group of 11 rappers called The Committee; 10 brothers and myself all different styles of rap. So it was kind of like Wu Tang when it came to shows. Just a stage full of dudes jumping around and passing the mic.
That eventually morphed into one of the guys and myself starting Bad Fathers. We went from straight up rap to a punk rap type band. Bad Fathers was a lot of fun on stage to just get wild with a live band. Music has just always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. From making beats in my bedroom in high school with a sampler and drum machine to opening up for acts like Ja –Rule, Lil Jon, Cee Lo, Slick Rick, Shock G, Atmosphere, Farside, Warped Tour, and dozens of others. I realized how hard it is to get a bunch of people all on the same page. I wanted to be able to make music when and where I wanted and be able to keep the train moving forward even when other people’s paths in life change course. It’s been a long journey of learning the hard way, but I have had a desire to make music since I was at least 12.
What are your thoughts on the industry today and the direction it’s going?
That’s a big question. The music “industry” is kind of a dumpster fire of content. The internet obviously opened up a lot of doors for everybody who has ever wanted to think about being involved with music. It’s good and bad. Carl Sagan was dead on when he said our media would be whittled down to a 30 second sound bite and that’s all we would have the attention span for.
We are kind of making artists dumb themselves down in a lot of ways. We are creating this expectation that artists need to say something to us every day. I think it’s creating social media fatigue and numbness. It seems like if your favorite artist didn’t post his thoughts about lunch or what her workout routine was that day that they aren’t doing their job. I personally feel like it robs a lot of time from making the music, but that is the game now. We’ve created this story that if everybody doesn’t post something every day they will be immediately forgotten. The big national acts don’t have to do that quite as much because they still have money and a machine to do orchestrated PR campaigns. Most smaller artists probably don’t have 100,000 dollars to spend on greasing all the wheels; from radio gatekeepers, playlist curators, social media influencers, to more traditional PR.
The little artists trying to grapple for any piece of attention, have to learn all these ever changing algorithms for every social media platform and digital music platform. That in itself is a full time job which takes time away from making the art. It’s getting even more prevalent that there are gatekeepers forming who want money to put you in their playlists or mention you on their socials. So, the playing field has spread out from just a few dozen major labels holding all the power, but now it’s hard to know who to trust when choosing where to spend money for all that stuff. And artists have to spend tons of time figuring out who is who, oftentimes for no results.
Most people are on a limited budget or no budget for such things, so it has opened up this world where if you are a rich kid or a drug dealer, you can just buy your way on to playlists, PR, and pay massive social media influencers $3000 just to wear your T-shirt or whatever. It makes it even harder for young artists who aren’t rolling in dough to get press because magazines and blogs are just inundated with e-mail press kits. So there is a hard balance to doing all those things in hopes of getting people to notice your music out of the other 500,000 people who posted their new song on social media this week. You still need a team of people behind a project and usually people want some kind of money to do the real tedious work. A person can do a lot if they work hard and learn a lot. Connections go a long way, but everybody is competing with a never ending barrage of content.
Even if you get on a label, you still have to do a lot of that stuff on your own. Big labels sign tons of artists and then forget they even exist unless the artist start making waves on their own, going viral, getting millions of plays on Spotify or wherever; Then maybe they will put some money into it. It’s a lot of work any way you slice it. There are more venues, but much more competition.
What can we expect to see/hear from you in the future as far as new projects?
I just released a song featuring Canibus, which I just made a video for. I released a song featuring Yukmouth and I’m shooting a video for that in 4 weeks. I have a new track I’m excited about, featuring Tragedy Khadafi. I did a track With Cee Lo Green and I never got around to doing any kind of PR for it. So I want to try and push that as well. I have several other tracks with features I’m finishing up. I also have a more Electro rock type project I’m slowly working on with a guitar player. At some point I’ll get around to releasing that. I’m just taking the opportunities as they come and trying to keep up with all of it. I have a track “Occupy You” on the album I just released called “Herculadium” and I’m trying to fit in time to shoot the video I have lined up for that. I have a lot coming down the pipes, but who knows what else will jump in line as I go. I’m open to working with a lot of artists. It’s a lot of fun producing for other talented artists.