Dec 12 Featured Artist – Sugar Organ
Featured Artist: Sugar Organ “People are gonna love it or hate it, but it’s gonna be big.”
Question: What do you get when two local white boys with punk and metal backgrounds collide?
Answer: $100,000, a contract with Indie Power, and the title of “Best New Hip-Hop Band” at this year’s Indie Entertainment Summit Fest (IES Fest).
For most of our readers, this will be the first time they’ve heard of the Denverhip-hop band Sugar Organ. “That was a conscious decision on our part,” says Timmy Flips, one half of this gifted duo. “The progression of the artist is: First, you start and no one knows who you are. Then you spend years building up a fan base. Then your fan base becomes so big that you attract national attention. So then you violate the fan base that you already had, ‘Oh, they sold out.’ Then you have to become this thing for somebody else, because now somebody big signed you. So we decided we’re gonna come out however we do. People are gonna love it or hate it, but it’s gonna be big.”
While some artists find their passion in one genre and they flourish, others are blessed with enough talent to be a triple threat; finding within them an aptitude to do well at arguably very opposite sides of the musical spectrum.
Such is the case with Sugar Organ, consisting of Timmy Flips and Tittle T. Both emerging from successful backgrounds in punk and metal, respectively, these two met eight years ago through a mutual friend at a local Battle of the Bands. They became fast friends, and kept in touch while each embarked on a different journey with bands you may be familiar with, Red Stinger and Engine Ear.
In time, the two collaborated on what would ultimately become 35 tracks over a six-month period; 18 of which are on their debut album, Starving Artist, set to release on Dec. 22, at Herman’s Hideaway.
Timmy Flips has been rapping, since he was a kid. “The first music I remember liking was this Christian cassette tape called Rappin Rabbit. I grew up listening to, ‘Rappin with Rappin Rabbit, is a good and godly habit, and it’s fiddley-diddley fun, too,’” says Flips.
Tittle T went to school for mastering and engineering, and had never rapped a day in his life when he started making beats in his studio, Ominous Records. “I just started making beats, and asked Timmy to come by and rap.” Adds Flips, “He kept sending them to me and waiting for me to write stuff and send it back. It took me forever, so he just started doing it himself.”
“It forced me to learn to rap,” says T. “When I first started, I never thought I’d get up to Timmy Flips’ skills on the rap, but I pushed myself so hard because he’s my boy, and I don’t want to disappoint anybody. And it made him bring his shit to another level, and we brought it all around.” They sent out a few copies and were invited to the IES Fest, (an “annual music and entertainment conference and festival in Southern California, attended by a who’s who of leaders execs in the indie entertainment industries, and artists/creative talent from 20 countries and all regions of the U.S.”) where they won “Best New Hip Hop Band.”
“We played one night at the after party, and industry people walked around and checked out your practice,” says T. “Armando Ulena from Underground Hip-Hop Blog came in, and he was like, ‘Man, your shit is tight, you guys are killin’ it. I look at you guys, and I don’t see this shit coming out of you.’” Jerry Heller (NWA, Eazy E) and Violet Brown were among the old school, heavy hitters walking around. It wasn’t open to the public, so a panel of people that have known the industry for a long time judged everything. In fact, Ms. Brown left them a message after IES saying, “I’m not even through the full CD yet, and I’m f*ckin’ knocked out. I think it’s really, really, really, really good.
“A lot of people [at IES] said, ‘Wow, I guess you guys are hip-hop, but you’re not—there’s something different,’” says Flips. “A lot of that is T, he was in the lab for days at a time. He’d come out with the sickest shit you’ve ever heard. And it happened so quickly . . . we could just sit here and pray that we get that kind of inspiration again.
However, intensely personal lyrics are often inspired by difficult circumstances. During the recording of Starving Artist, both Flips and T were immersed in dark periods of their lives. “I’d gone through a really, really tough year, both mentally and physically; dealing with death in the family, and almost killing myself,” says Flips. “So when I wrote the Sugar Organ stuff, it was from a really dark place, but it was a really hopeful place.” Adds T, “When you write, you should write from the soul, and you should write honest as hell, because you gotta look back on it. We’ve been through so many dark moments as friends . . .”
According to Flips, “I’ve always been a creative writer, and I’ve always been a conscious writer. I write poetry and things that will make people think. It’s dark and demented, but it forces people to think about things that they don’t want to think about; things society tells you you’re not supposed to think about; I always uncover that in my music. It’s always been intense.” He continues, “Tittle T and I are open books, we don’t hold anything back. I don’t lie about the fact that I tried to kill myself, or the reason why, and it’s not to glorify it. It’s just that I was in such a dark place, but the music was the thing that helped me come out of that. We reach out as a more spiritual type thing to people who use music as their spirituality.
“There are probably a lot of people who will listen to the album and might feel drained afterward because it’s that intense, but hopefully it forces you to think about your own self in ways that you never have.”
“Music is life, a spot in your soul, just sit back, listen, let the harmony take control . . .”
Catch the CD release for Starving Artist, and watch these two spit it live at Herman’s Hideaway on Dec. 22.