Interview: Hiphop artist Miles Casella has several projects under his belt
10 Jan 2018 by staff in Interviews
Miles Casella is a Hip-Hop artist from Baton Rouge, LA, who has released several projects under different aliases since 2014. Miles blends Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Blues to create his own eclectic style. He has just released his album “The Sidewalk Flower” which illustrates the view of a small-town kid caught up in the city life. Apparently many of the recordings used for this album were recorded curbside.
Miles Casella has an upcoming show on January 21st, 2018 at The Willow Uptown in New Orleans, Louisiana. Shows starts at: 6:30pm – Tickets are $12.00 dollars each. This will be the second time Miles will have performed in his career. Here is the ticket Link: www.aftonshows.com/MilesCasella
- How long have you been in the music business and how did you get started in the first year?
Miles Casella: I’ve been in the music business for about 4 years now. I started off doing rap cyphers in-and-around my hometown area (Baton Rouge). At the time a small local label ‘Dizzy Records’ was hosting a cypher event at a popular hip-hop bar in the neighborhood. Needles to say, I signed up for it, and I got 2nd place in the cypher. The winning prize for second place was a free song recording produced and mastered by Dizzy Records. I thought well I better trash the freestyle flows and start trying to perfect my songwriting, so I wrote this song called ‘Never mind the Flies’. I went in to the studio to record my song about a week later and the producer I was working with was like fuck it, let’s record you an EP. In May of 2014 I released my first project under the alias Robbing Jane, the EP was called ‘Girls’ a story of my hopeless romanticism haha… and that’s kind of where it all started.
- Who where your first and strongest musical influences that you can remember?
Miles Casella: Some of my first and strongest musical influences were definitely Eminem, The Roots, and Biggie to name a few. But I listened to a great deal of classic rock like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Allman Brothers, Pink Floyd, Bad Company, Fleetwood Mac.
- Which artists and/or producers are you currently listening to? And is there anyone of these that you’d like to collaborate with?
Miles Casella: These days I find myself steering away from the club banger artists, and more towards artist I feel have a little more substance like Anderson .Paak, Goldlink, Royce da 5’ 9”, this group called Earthgang I like a lot too. It would be an honor to work with any of those artists. Producers like Flume, Kaytranada, DJ Premiere and Dr. Dre, can’t forget about the Doctor, it would honestly be an honor just to sniff one of his farts.
- What do you feel are the key elements people should be getting out of your music?
Miles Casella: Ultimately, I want people to understand that I like to make music with purpose, and the best way to prevent being pigeonholed in this rap game is to create something different. I make music with concepts, so if you’re looking for some tunes to get lit to then my stuff may not be for you. I want the listener to be engaged.
- What do you think separates you from the crowd of emcees emerging right now?
Miles Casella: Well I think my answer to the last question answers a small part of this. I do not make commercial mumble rap, instead I have adopted a somewhat Jazzy Style for my music. Given I spend a great deal of my time in New Orleans, it’s no wonder some of that soulful inner city Jazz seeped its way into my album ‘The Sidewalk Flower’.
- Do you currently have a preferred song in your catalog, and why is it special to you?
Miles Casella: Two songs from my debut album, ‘Origin of a God’ and ‘Love or Obsession’ are a couple of my favorites. Both of these songs do not have a typical song structure like verse, bridge, hook, etc. instead I kind of went free flow with these songs. Origin of a God is actually an old verse I wrote several years ago when I had virtually no understanding of the world around me. I was 18 and where the lyrics came from for me to illustrate that song has me convinced that I tapped into something truly divine, and I’ve been chasing it ever since.
- Are your lyrics predominantly base on real events and personal experience, or are they drawn from your creative storytelling skills?
Miles Casella: The lyrics for my songs come from both personal experiences and creative storytelling. I think it’s important to have a good mixture of both. Draw from instances in your own life, but also know when to juice the story up with a little creativeness at times.
- What would you consider a successful or high point in your career so far?
Miles Casella: A high point in my career thus far would have to be the day I released this album to the public. I know that doesn’t seem like the climax to the start of some prosperous music career but it was important to me. I spent some time reflecting on myself to come up with these songs, and in the midst of it you find out things about yourself that you may not have known before. Now that I can share this with people it actually gives me a feeling of relief. I guess self-expression is important to any artist so you’re happy when it’s finally conveyed the right way. I feel like all of my projects up until this point were just practice.
- What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music so far?
Miles Casella: In music, it would certainly be promotion. Sometimes whoring my music out to be heard is harder than making the songs themselves, but it’s necessary if you want a fan base and to be able to book shows. Also, I think personally my sound is a little different than most rap, some people may not be open minded to listen. I’m afraid they’ll throw on that first track off the album and here that gritty guitar blues tone, then be turned off of it completely not even giving me a chance.
- What key ingredients do you always try and infuse into your songs, regardless of style or tempo?
Miles Casella: I guess what key ingredients I work to infuse in my songs ultimately depend on the point/message I’m trying to convey. In ‘The Sidewalk Flower’, I wrote about the 9 to 5 corporate desk job worker, and the rat race to land yourself in a little 5’ by 5’ cubicle paying off your student loans… I wrote about this because it’s happening to me in my everyday life. The flower is a metaphor for my creativity, blossoming from the cracks of this corporate jungle to make music. Much of the lyricism in my album uses this concept as a play on words; the message is what creates the ingredients I use for my songs.
- Do you also produce the beats or do you just handle the lyrics on your songs and collaborate with other producers?
Miles Casella: I co-produced alongside Ben Bryan of Muse & Maker Productions to make this album. I have collaborated with other producers in the past but Ben and I have chemistry, I believe we will continue to work together on projects to come.
- Which aspect of being an independent artist and the music making process excites you most and which aspect discourages you most?
Miles Casella: What excites me the most is I know that the sky is the limit. I have plenty of room to grow and expand as an artist and I’m excited to see it all unravel. My favorite part of the music making process is when the beat is created and it’s time for me to write lyrics for the song. It’s like I’m starring at a blank sheet, and I can manipulate the feel of the song however I please because I am the creator.
- How do you market and manage your music? Do you have a management team or do you control everything by yourself?
Miles Casella: Thomas Sandford is my manager; we started working together a couple of months back. We are currently looking for online promotional teams to help market my music, but for now, it’s just he and I doing the dirty work. If you would like to book me for a show contact Thomas at; MilesCasellabooking@gmail.com.
- If you had the opportunity to change one thing about how the music business works right now, what would that be?
Miles Casella: I’m sure many of aspiring artist feel this way, but I wish it was easier to get my music in to the mainstream. It’s so hard to make it to the top when the industry is flooded with so many artist in the same predicament I am in. I wish it didn’t matter how many fans I had, or who I know in the business, if the music is good that is all that should matter. Now days you have to sell an image alongside the music.
- If someone has never heard your music, which keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?
Miles Casella: I’d probably use words like: Lyricism, Jazzy, New Age, Conscious Rap, and Experimental.
- Do you consider internet and all the social media websites as fundamental in building a career in music today, and what is your personal relationship with the new technology at home?
Miles Casella: Unfortunately, yes I do. Like I was saying, now days you have to sell an image alongside the music. People want to see what you’re up to, who you’re hanging out with, etc. and I’ve never been one to have my personal life all up online like that. It has taken a great deal of discipline for me to remain consistent with posting to social media and maintain my social image. I never had a twitter/instagram until I became Miles Casella. Follow Me at; @milescasella (instagram); and @casellamiles (twitter)
- Tell us something about your latest album release “The Sidewalk Flower”. Who did you work with on it? Does it have any special message etc.?
Miles Casella: Of course it has a message! The ingredients for my songs are pulled from the overall message of this album. So I work this desk job as an aspiring rapper, to me, The Sidewalk Flower symbolizes my creativity sprouting up from the cracks of the corporate world; and I’m just dying to be picked and carried away to the promise land haha …. But the truth is ‘The Sidewalk Flower’ has many meanings, it can mean rising up through adversity when the odds are against you, it can mean feeling out of place like a flower in the cement. Whatever it means to you, it is all subjective.
- How do you search, discover and choose the features, sometimes performing on your tracks?
Miles Casella: I actually have no rap features on this album. A couple people I used to sing on the album were friends of friends, but I was very choosey when selecting a singer because I wanted to find people with a very soulful voice, to help give the album that old jazzy feel.
- What is your relationship with visual media? Do you think they are important to your songs? And do you have a specific video you would recommend fans check out?
Miles Casella: Well it has been a little over a month since the album was released and I do feel that visual media is important but for now I just have one music video until I can make more. The name of the video is ‘Hey Fine’ it’s a performance I did of one of the songs off of my album.
- What’s next on the upcoming agenda for Miles Casella? What can fans expect in 2018 from Miles Casella?
Miles Casella: People can certainly expect another project from me this year. I am currently working on an EP called ‘My Language’ and basically the instrumentation for the album will solely be made up of sounds of my voice. I’m planning on including some bass elements and drums but the songs construction will be made from layered/effected sounds of my voice, get it? ‘My Language’ I want to play a lot of shows this year, fans can see if I’m performing in a location close to them at milescasella.com.