First Look Friday: Duckwrth Interview
First Look Friday: Duckwrth Interview
Photo Credit: Ural Garrett

First Look Friday: Meet Duckwrth, The Punk Funkateer with a Neptunes-Soaked Sound

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. Photo Credit: Ural Garrett

A fresh new voice forged of Stankonian funk and Neptunes futurism

Today, Duckwrth has released his latest project, an XTRA UUGLY Mixtape, an eclectic collection of far-reaching sounds and infectious suites.

And though he's been embraced by left-leaning eccentrics like Georgia Ann Muldrow and Hodgy, the new tape is entirely its own beast; an escalation of his experiments in steel-toed dance music and glimmering minimalism a la The Neptunes and N.E.R.D.; two Pharrell incarnations for which the limber vocalist is openly reverent and holds dear to his palette overarching influence as an artist, according to recent chat.

The South Central native is of skater roots and mentality; defiantly unique, fiercely independent and anxious for the opportunity to win over the hearts of heads. He lays out a personal ethos and mission statement in this week's First Look Friday profile.

Hear Duckwrth's new project an XTRA UUGLY Mixtape below and hit the link to pick it up on iTunes.

Scroll on to meet the mind behind the music.


Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. Photo Credit: Ural Garrett

Okayplayer: To music snobs the world over, you are making an impact. What is it that those in the music game are seeing and hearing that the rest of the world has yet to discover?

Duckwrth: The common phrase [that] I hear when people describe my music is “refreshing”. The sound of today is super-repetitive, so when I come through with a more funk-punk driven sound, people dig it.

OKP: For those who have a passion for music, they honed their skills and practiced their craft. Who are your most cherished influences in music and why?

D: One of my biggest influences is N.E.R.D. When I was a young kid, growing up and skating in South Central, L.A., they [Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo] made it cool to be different. So, [I say] find the artist that speaks to your lifestyle and amplify your everyday experiences. An artist should push you to want to be the best you. That’s just my opinion.

OKP: Can you talk about how your life was while developing as an artist? How did you react to your first bits of press?

D: My life found me playing the typical starving artist role. My daily diet was ramen noodles, crackers and ketchup. I was in college so all of my money went to my art supplies, but that bit of struggle made me super-hungry (pun intended) to have my art break through. When I got my first bit of press acknowledgement, I teared up like a four-year-old at their birthday party.

OKP: With incidents involving people of color, police and racist occurring almost on a daily basis around the globe — how can your music help to relieve the trauma that is being experienced by the masses?

D: I used to be more politically driven, but I find that even the most conscious of listeners don’t always want to be reminded of the constant fuck-shit that’s going on in the world. So, now I find more healing factors, and these make people dance, make people jump and just straight get people out of the comfort zone. Maybe if people approach police brutality and racism with a clear mind instead of frustration, we could find better solutions for humanity’s woes… just a theory.

OKP: What have been the most definitive obstacles that you’ve overcome in your career thus far?

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. Photo Credit: Ural Garrett

D: My biggest obstacle has been staying true to my sound and having the masses invested in that. I don’t do trap music. I’m not displaying myself in a gold grill, and I have never sipped codeine in my life. I wear a safety pin in my earlobes. I occasionally run around in kilts, smiling from ear-to-ear, so I’m quite the opposite of what you’d expect. Stepping out into the world with my own flavor creates a harder path, I believe. But I also feel that music is oversaturated with the same sound. I believe that I am coming in at a perfect time where people want something new.

OKP: What are some things that you’ve learned about yourself that comes out in your music?

D: The most recent thing that I discovered was an androgynous energy that I’ve probably had for most of my life. I find that my favorite artists:Freddie Mercury,André 3000, Prince,Robert Plant — all swim between both genders on an energy levels. Because of that they can prance on stage and command the crowd like no other. I involve that energy in my music, which has opened up not only my sound, but the command I have on stage. It’s pretty tight watching girls scream every time I pelvic thrust [laughs].

OKP: What were some moments from your recent travels that will forever stick with you? Why?

D: My most interesting moments are the witch hunts I have to do to find gluten free options. It’s actually turned into a game. When we do find those options, I have my own personal points that I add up at the end of the tour, and reward myself with a gluten free pizza [laughs].

OKP: What was the first song that you ever wrote entitled? Can you talk about what it has come to symbolize since you’ve entered into the professional life?

D: Super! I was rapping with two other homies that actually pulled the rapper out of me. I had bars then, and I still have bars now.

OKP: How can your music speak truth to power in an age where people are so quickly digesting sounds and disposing of artists in a nanosecond?

D: I feel that time accumulates greatness and if you go about your craft with a genuine mind to create the new, you don’t have to worry about being disposed of overnight. The mind that pushes for innovation creates new trends, sometimes accidentally and even outside of music.

OKP: Collaboration is uniquely a key to the success of certain creative individuals who wish to change the game. Who would you want to work with this year going into the next and why?

D: I’ve always wanted to work with JUSTICE, Daft Punk and Pharrell. Basically, just producers that push the boundaries soundwise.

OKP: What is the overall message that Duckwrth is trying to present in his music?


OKP: Can you break down the inspiration behind a song that you created but never put out?

D: I’m not really sure how to answer this question [laughs]. If the song didn’t come out then it wasn’t really jamming enough. I would mostly re-approach it to figure out what can I add to make it slap.

OKP: How do you get over any anxiety before hitting the stage to perform live? What are some lessons or tips that you’ve learned from others about doing a stage show?

D: I have tremendous amounts of bubble guts before I perform [laughs]. So, I usually take three trips to the bathroom before I hit the stage. I think my body tries to clear everything out so it is weightless for the stage. So, my suggestion to anyone else hitting the stage is to get it all out [laughs].

OKP: If the reader’s learned one thing from this First Look Friday chat with Duckwrth — what would it be?

D: True uniqueness is effortless. You should never think too much about it, only you can be the best you. I will be living proof that individuality can take you to the stars.

OKP: Can you also talk about the importance of the music industry scene as how you’ve experienced it? How do you see it evolving in the next five years?

D: I’ve experienced the growth of music from tape cassettes to streaming audio that required only the clicking of one button. I feel like the future will hold a musical experience that doesn’t require a physical item to experience it.

I see music and the music industry evolving via technology. As long as technology grows exponentially… so will the experience of music. So, maybe one day, we’ll see in sound, and maybe even taste it… who knows?!


Be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for more from ANE (and us!) by following her on Twitter @DUCKWRTH.