Carlos Galvan has a new interview out with HalfKorean.com, as they go indepth about what he’s been up to and what has happened since the last time they spoke. It’s a thorough read but explains how so much has happened in the past year including his linking of with the Jiggy Fellaz crew and his thoughts on the new Uptown. He also talks about his recently released effort South Cide. Check out the full read after the break or head on over to HK!
Carlos Galvan has shown his fans that he’s Still Standin’. Now he is taking you to the South Cide.
We were able to catch up with Carlos to discuss his preparation for the just released project album, South Cide Volume 1. It features Carlos along with artists such as DJ Tom Slick and Pinnacle, both of whom appear on the cover of the album. Also appearing on South Cide are Jonathan Galvan (Carlos’ younger brother) and Jiggy Fellaz members Vasco and Big Shot, among others.
Picking up from last year’s interview (HalfKorean.com Interview with Carlos Galvan – February 2009), we see how things have been since Still Standin’ released, his new affiliation with the Jiggy Fellaz, thoughts on UPT and what is in store for him with South Cide.
He’s currently in Southern California and should be heading back to Korea shortly for the promotion of South Cide.
Please note that HalfKorean.com comments/questions are in BOLD.
What response did Still Standin’ get from fans and fellow artists within the music industry?
A lot of the mainstream fans liked it because of “U R My Girl” and because they could relate to it. The more hardcore hip hop fans liked “Gangsta” & “Fuktown” and even if it was in clubs people would get into those tracks. Overall, I think the fans liked it.
As far as other artists, I met Kim Jo Han-hyung from Solid at his bar and he played the album and really liked it. He has supported me. When I was on Arirang radio, they asked me who am I close with and I said Kim Jo Han-hyung. Ida (Ida Simmons) then said that he just called in and she asked him what he thinks of me. He said “Carlos is a great guy. Very down to earth and loyal too.”
I asked my old manager and old company what they thought of the album. They liked it but they didn’t like how I was dissing (the old Uptown members) on the record. They liked it about 50/50.
You went all out on “Gangsta” & “Fuktown” off of Still Standin’. I’m assuming you were referring to some ex-Uptown group members?
I was talking specifically to Jung Yeon Jun (Chris Jung) and Steve Kim. I even heard that Steve is coming out with an album titled Organic. That’s stupid. Remember how he’s been arrested for drugs? And now he’s coming out with Organic. Basically he’s leaving himself open like that.
Oh yeah, also, when I was performing at a club someone told me they saw Steve there. He walked in to say “Hello” to me and I think he heard the song “Gangsta” and walked out pissed. Recently one of my homies in LA told me that he is here in LA. I’m thinking, “Is he following me around?”
If he does decide to come back at me with a diss, I’m ready for him.
Did you accomplish all you wanted with the Still Standin’?
Well, basically, no. I didn’t really get to accomplish what I had planned to. See, me and my partner on certain occasions we get along with some events and promotional stuff. Other times we don’t get along. For “U R My Girl”, I knew an investor that was willing to invest money to make a better video and promote it on TV because he liked it since it was so mainstream. My partner didn’t want to take the money because the money we take for investment, PR and this and that we have to pay back. I told him that I know that. We wouldn’t take a whole lot and only what we need and could get back through album sales, ringtones and shows. We would have been able to make up what we would have borrowed from him. He didn’t want to and we had a big argument about it.
Now South Cide is about to come out and, to be honest, I have a feeling that there is something shady going on with him. I can’t put my finger on it. I’ve been asking him if he put all my stuff in KOMCA (Korea Music Copyright Association which is the Korean version of ASCAP) as producer and writer. The songs will be going onto the websites Melon, Bugs, Doshirak and, in order for you to do that, they pay you a small lump sum up front saying we will upload your songs and we’ll give you some money right now. One example is in the teaser video for South Cide it says producer “YK.” I wanted to know why it wasn’t “Carlos & YK” or “YK & Carlos.” I asked him what is up with that. I still haven’t heard back from him yet.
Still Standin’ could have done a lot better. “U R My Girl” could have done better.
Connected to the Jiggy Fellaz
Now, about midway through 2009 you joined the Jiggy Fellaz. How did you connect with them? Did they contact you or did it just happen?
For me, it was different than the other members. I met Jango way before I got with Jiggy Fellaz. When I was with Uptown and we had just released the 5th album and were doing club shows we were in Busan at his club called JG (for Jango). This guy, he’s straight Korean and never been to the States but he loves the west coast. He had a sign at his club that said if you wear an east coast hat you can’t come in. He’s so dedicated to the west coast. He paid for us to come perform at his club, to have Uptown come and perform. That was how I first met him. This was around the “My Style” days. Him and I just hit it off the first day we met. Chris & Steve were like, “Who is this guy?” He told me “You are Chicano. Let me show you my lowrider.” He had all these lowrider bikes in his club.
Before I even met the whole Jiggy Fellaz, Big Shot gave me Vasco’s and Jango’s numbers. After that, Big Shot told me that Jango wanted me to call him. He told me that he thought Jango wanted me to be part of the family. I was like, “Oh yeah?” At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to join them. This was all before the Still Standin’ album came out. We kept talking over time and then they had a concert and Jango asked me to do a favor and be a guest. At the concert I asked him what he thought if I joined. He told me it would be a plus for them, but could be a negative for me. But he didn’t know. So, then it was my turn to perform and the crowd liked it. Towards the end, everyone was on the stage for the fans. Jango was on the microphone and said to the crowd, “This person, you saw him and he is the next member of Jiggy Fellaz.” At first, I was looking around like is there someone new here? And then he said, “His mom is Korean and his father is Mexican” and I was like, “What the fuck? That’s me!” After that, the rest is history.
Me and Jango just hit it off. He’d drive 2 hours to come see me and just hang out and play games at the PC-bong. We’d go eat and just hang out. We are very close in age. A lot of the Jiggy Fellaz members are pretty young. We are older and we’d kick it with everyone but since we are older we’d send them off to the clubs and we’d just go and have some soju. We got along real well. Everyone gave me respect since I’m older. Basically, Jiggy Fellaz is like my second family.
What are your plans in regards to becoming a member of Jiggy Fellaz?
When there is a Jiggy Fellaz event I’m going to participate. If I do find an investor in Korea I will pick the people who need to shine and I know they will blow up. I think Vasco & Basick can blow up and just need the right promotion. To me, they are a couple cats that could really shine if the promotion is right. If I can, I’d like to make Jiggy Fellaz into a mainstream name and that everyone knows who they are. Regardless if they are known now, I’d like for them to be known more. Besides Jiggy Fellaz, you’ve heard of Drunken Tiger & the Movement, right? I’d like to make them mainstream like that and equal to them.
Is it just a crew affiliation or are you on the same label, management, etc?
Yeah, it’s separate.
Thoughts on the “new” UPT
Now, you know I have to ask about this. Almost right after your album dropped a “new” version of Uptown came out (UPT). What was your take on this “new” Uptown?
Basically, Maniac called me up and was like, “Hey hyung, I’m not going anywhere and no record label is signing me.” I told him to do what you got to do and we are cool. He asked me if it was cool and if I wouldn’t be mad at him and I told him “No” and to do his thing. I’ve supported him because he’s also a part of Jiggy Fellaz. At the concert where I became part of Jiggy Fellaz, I rapped my song and at the end I said, “Fuck Uptown! Except for Maniac, I love you homie!”
So, Maniac is cool. I think the new Uptown that came out did okay in regards to getting exposure. But, what Maniac was telling me is that the whole group just fell apart. Jung Yeon Jun (Chris) kicked Swings out. Chan wants to leave. Maniac wants to leave. They don’t like him (Chris).
I told Chris a long time ago that he better never come out with Uptown or use that name. He has no right to that name. If he does come out with that name we would have a talk. Not a “talk” talk but a “fist” talk. Even Maniac told me he wanted to change the name but that Chris didn’t want to change the name. You know why? For promotional purposes. So he came up with UPT.
Overall I think they got their exposure. It was good for them but even Maniac told me that they flopped big time. They did, didn’t they?
So you knew about it before they actually came out?
During the auditions, Maniac called me and that was how I first heard about it and that was before I put out my solo album.
I know you knew Maniac beforehand. Did you know Chan as well?
I met Chan when he first came out here from New York. That’s when I first met him.
What is your relationship with them now (Maniac & Chan)?
Yeah, I’m cool with them.
Now, let’s discuss your project album, South Cide. When does the South Cide album come out? Will this be a digital release or also CD?
It’ll be a June 2010 release but not a set date just yet. In Korea it has changed from CDs to digital because no one is buying CDs. A CD will come out but after the digital (MP3) release.
Who will be on the album?
On the South Cide album there is this girl named Lita we are featuring. Vasco is featured on two tracks, “Bounce to This” and “Hustle.” Pinnacle is on there, of course, along with DJ Tom Slick. Pinnacle also has a solo song on there. Also, we have Big Shot. There is also a track titled “Beautiful Lady” that has my brother Jonathan on it.
Also, for the “Bounce to This” track, I’m going to make a half English/half Spanish version out here with my homie. No one knows about this. I’m going to record that here. I’m trying to think of ways to network more out here in the States. Korea is going to be Korea. If you make it big in the US, you can make it anywhere even though it is harder. Maybe I’m not going at it the right way. I was talking with my friend Sam Colby from high school who happens to be a singer in Arizona. We were talking about doing a song like Bruno Mars and B.O.B. “Nothing on you.” Something like that.
You have been working with DJ Tom Slick & Pinnacle for some time now. How did you guys hook up?
I met DJ Tom Slick way before Still Standin’ came out. I met him through Big Shot at a BBQ. Pinnacle I met through DJ Tom Slick. We are all cool and help each other with verses and songs and we just kick it, play pool, eat and just hang out.
You have some of the tracks on your MySpace and Facebook. Is that all of the tracks for this album?
Yeah. We have more songs but we don’t want to put too much on this album. Some people just want the main songs so that is why we are making this a mini-album. What I want to do later on is to have another album with Still Standin’ and South Cide Volume 1 remixes on side A and have a side B which will be all new songs and hopefully have more Jiggy Fellaz family artists featured on those to make it a full album.
What goals do you have for the South Cide album?
I want people to see that Carlos is not gone and that he is still here and doing other projects with Jiggy Fellaz and other stuff. With this mixtape album, even though I’m on the front line I’m still in the back making tracks. Basically, whatever I do I want to see it evolve and blow up.
For South Cide, what are the plans once the album drops and you are back in Korea?
My plans are to promote the South Cide album to the fullest and see where it takes me. I’m also shopping around for a better label that can push me forward and not just for music but acting as well. I think it’s about time for someone like me to get into the acting scene.
If the opportunity came up, would you be open to being on a major label again?
You know what? I would take it. The reason is, if the opportunity came and I took it, it would be more power to me to give me more exposure with certain songs that I would want to release out there.
What is your take on the current state of Korean hip hop?
I think that Korean rap is evolving and getting better than what you see out there in China & Japan. When you see rappers in China & Japan they are more like something like the Black Eyed Peas. Some people just want to hear hip hop. In Korea, there is pop, Kpop, rap, hip hop, Korean rap. Lately, it seems like Korean rap is evolving and getting better.
Is there any other artist in Korea you plan to or want to work with that you haven’t already?
You know, I’m not really too sure yet. I told George (Kim Jo Han) that I want to do a song with him. If we did a single together, I think it’d be dope. Before I came to LA, we talked about doing a song together. He started doing shows and he has his restaurant. If George-hyung and I were to get together and do a song it’d be better than Soul-Town.
It’s funny you mention the Soul-Town project. Were you involved at all with Soul-Town? I know it consisted of the other two members of Solid and Chris & Steve from Uptown and came out after the Uptown 5th Testimony album in 2007, right?
I was never involved with Soul-Town and didn’t want to be! Yes, it was after the Testimonyalbum.
Who are some artists in Korea that you would recommend people to check out?
Look out for Big Shot. He just released an album. WISEMAN is another one. Him and Big Shot just came out with an album called Illusion. People should listen to them because each of them have their own style, own trend of music and own genre.
I would also recommend people to listen to Vasco and Basick. To me, Vasco is building a name for himself out there. Basick is young but he’s a fast learner. He’s from Boston and Vasco is from New York. They have that flavor that Koreans that haven’t been in the US lack like knowing the English language and the metaphors and syllables. They know what’s up. Vasco and I have talked about it and we think Basick is just like his name, sick. He’s a good kid and humble. People out in Korea should look out for Basick.
What does the rest of 2010 and near future hold for you?
I’d like to see South Cide succeed and get back to doing my solo albums again. On Still Standin’you saw soft songs and hard songs. Basically, it was in the middle. For my next solo album I’d like to come out with more trendy songs but still stay hard. Make the songs mainstream but still hard where people can say it’s a different style for him and sounds good. I want to be creative with the new material.