Words by Ben Levine
Chicago is full of undiscovered talent. Often, these artists are producing great music that simply hasn’t had the right forum for discovery, leaving them on the sidelines when they should be playing in crunch time. Landon Tate is an artist that caught my ear immediately with his wonderful hyphy-anthem "Give Thanks." The song is hard-hitting and stacks up against any lo-fi banger you hear blasting from car windows. Tate has such genuine confidence his raps the chorus, “You should be thanking me anyway, I could be blowing up any day” rings true.
Landon Tate’s latest single "Craig Green" brings that same intensity and poise and These Days is happy to exclusively premiere the track. Tate’s vocals sound wonderful and bring tremendous energy, aggressively bouncing off the production with fervor. What’s even more impressive is that Landon produced and recorded the entire track himself, showing a certain studio acumen that’s rare in artists. The beat is banging, with sonic elements that stimulate intrigue while staying relatable and fun. There’s no question that Landon Tate deserves attention, and we hope this will be his formal introduction to the Chicago scene.
Listen to the new single above and read on for our short interview with Landon below.
You grew up in Mississippi. How do your roots affect your music and outlook and why did you decide to stay in Chicago?
Growing up in Mississippi from a musical standpoint was fresh in that I got to experience music from all over, especially southern rap that can be so specific in other regions. Mississippi was and is a melting pot because it is in the center. We are the originators, but also absorbers and transformers and that's how I approach my music. You'll never hear a certain sound always coming from me. I came to Chicago for school to pursue art but Chicago has become my second home in that it's not so different from the south in terms of how people respect each other and communal aspect of how everyone approaches each other. That environment is the foremost reason Chicago has become my home.
On ‘Craig Green’ you wrote, recorded, produced, and mastered the track. This is impressive for any artist. How did you learn all of these skills and do you prefer doing everything on your own?
Time, trial, and error mostly haha. I grew up writing poetry and studied mixing in the second half of my college career. I learned the most from Unjibbed, one of my closest friends and collaborators. He is featured on Craig Green at the end. He taught me about producing and writing. Again, I'm an absorber so after a while I started watching how people approach music in videos and in my classes. In the beginning, it was about control and learning. I've been pursuing it for about 5 years now but the longer I make music, I want to collaborate more because I feel as though I have more to offer.
You studied fashion and seem to have a strong aesthetic consideration to the way you package your art. How do you feel fashion influences you musically and who are the main artists you derive inspiration from?
Fashion influences everything I do in music. I try to take from the form and silhouette of my favorite designers and apply them in a timed space, really focusing on the arrangements and the sounds. I watch fashion shows while I make music and I get blown away with every piece that comes down the runway because each piece is an ideal apart of a longer timeline under a hood of one central idea. The idea comes and goes. It's much like music, in the way that you can't really see one idea at a time. You have to rewind or fast-forward and play over. It pushes you to really make moments and build around from there, much like fashion collections. Of course, Craig Green is my hero. I wanted to honor him with this song, we both come from unorthodox ways of learning about our crafts and we try to make emotion the main focus to get across. Jesse Draxler, Rei Kawakubo, and The Weeknd all inform my work. I like artists who understand the architecture of their respective mediums.
You once impulsively flew out to New York City to perform at a Pigeons & Planes open mic. From what I recall, you did very well and connected with people onstage. Can you tell me about this experience?
That was the craziest day ever. It all started when I saw them put up a flyer one morning on their twitter for an open mic. Thats one of my favorite blogs, so of course I wanted to go. I had only been to New York once and a month ago at that. I bought the ticket. The homie Jawan said I could crash at his crib. They never really pushed the flyer after that funny enough, so I was nervous if it was still happening. The day came. I arrived at the airport around 2 or 3 and got to venue around 4 and I was around the 10th person there. the show started around 8 so we chilled and by the time it was about to start the line was around the block. I was able to play in front of a packed house and they were reciting the hook with me. I was able to meet the owner, Jacob Moore and give him one my cards. He called it one of the best cards he'd ever seen! It was wild.
What are your future plans? Can we expect a headlining show from you anytime soon?
I'm gearing up for my project, Flowers For Worship, due out later this year. I'm shooting videos left and right so expect those soon, and 2017 is full of surprises so stay vigilant.