Reverse Mechanic is a completely independent hip hop artist breakin’ it down in Minneapolis, MN. As a former published poet with a Bachelor’s in creative writing, he has been doing the reverse limbo, raising the bar for lyricists since 2012. His wildly entertaining music videos have helped him gain notoriety on Youtube in recent years, leading him to over half a million views, a handful of A&R awards, and firmly cementing him as his mom’s favorite rapper. His music pushes boundaries and does not stick to one theme, one sound, or even one genre, but can always be counted on to “make you think while making you move.” The amalgamation of pop, hip hop, soul, alternative, and funk roots results in a lyrical powerhouse of alternative hip hop.
Thank you for taking this interview! How has the New Year been for you so far as an artist?
Absolutely! It’s an honor to be included in Bsquared Mag! 2022 is off to a really exciting start. I spent the last year writing some of the best music I’ve ever written, shooting some crazy music videos, and building up to the most exciting year of my life, musically speaking. I've released the first couple songs, and they've been received really well. I can hardly wait to unveil the crazy stuff up my sleeve for the rest of the year!
Can you tell us how you've transformed from the beginning to now as an artist?
Looking back on myself as an artist ten years ago, it's kind of wild to see how far I've come. I first started out in poetry slams, then dabbled in music composition, and finally took the leap and started producing, recording, and releasing my own stuff. Some of those first attempts have since been scrubbed from the internet (now that they no longer hold up to my standards for myself), and I've honed and refined my creative process quite a bit. I think the biggest difference I notice has been in finding my own voice and style. I used to try to put on a persona or sound like other people, whether I consciously knew it or not, and those first recordings sound a lot more forced and phoned in. I feel like I have finally found myself as an artist, and the music I'm making today sounds 100% original and authentic (in my opinion).
How did you come up with your latest project?
My latest single, Get Down, is part of a larger project that is unfurling over the next year called Broken Down. My entire career has been leading up to this point. Even my logo and tagline: 'Reverse Mechanic - Breakin' it down' has been pointing to it all along. The project is a response to our collective brokenness as a society, my own personal brokenness, and finally how to put the pieces back together and heal.
In 2018, my dad died after a tragic battle with cancer, my long time girlfriend dumped me, and I was in a major car accident that drastically changed my lifestyle for the next few years. My whole world had fallen apart. Music was the only way I could respond, and I started writing. In the years that followed, a global pandemic halted the entire world, George Floyd was killed in my home city of Minneapolis, riots and chaos broke out, scandals were exposed, and the entire world seemed to be bursting at the seams. I was quarantined with my thoughts, a pen, and production software. Shops and windows were boarded up, the news seemed to herald the apocalypse, and anti-riot helicopters patrolled my neighborhood as I stayed up late writing. It was unprecedented madness, and it all heaped fuel on the fire of the project - spurring Broken Down to new levels. As the lyrics in Get Down state:
"We're rocking the apocalypse,
positively pompous as we're polishing our rocket ships.
It's obviously ominous,
swallowing our opulence,
the snake gave an apple we mistook for God's providence. "
This project has helped me take a real look both at myself and the world. I'm hoping it will help others to do the same. There is a lot of work to be done, but there is healing and improvement in sight if we seek it. I'll be shedding more light on the healing side of things later in the year.
Where are you from originally?
I grew up in Cumberland, Wisconsin. You couldn't ask for a better place to grow up.
Where do you live now?
I live in Minneapolis, MN. It's a great music city with roots to the likes of Prince, Bob Dylan, Atmosphere, and many others. Hopefully one day Reverse Mechanic can be added to the list of artists who have contributed to the rich musical heritage of the Twin Cities.
Do you think where you live impacts how your music is made?
Absolutely! Because of where I live I’ve been exposed to Rhymesayers, artists like Prof and Doomtree, I’ve connected with Ryan Smith of Soul Asylem (who actually plays guitar on many of my tracks), and have been infused in a community that spurs on meaningful art. The George Floyd riots and hometown turmoil have given me a lot to wrestle with. I think my music also mimics the harsh contrasts between seasons. I often write aggressive, hard-hitting songs in the bitter Minnesota winters and write happy, upbeat songs in our beautiful summers. My music reflects a wide variety of moods and styles just like the eclectic climate of Minnesota.
What was the inspiration to make music your career?
I've always been passionate about art. I'm a creator. I was voted most artistic in high school and was always drawn to expression and beauty. I have so much passion and love for music that it was only natural to give it a shot. I had extra fervor to dive into it when I heard a lot of mainstream rap and hip hop falling short lyrically. I wanted to raise the bar for lyricism and make songs that were actually worth listening to.
How do you want to shape your career?
My main goal is to make music that actually says something, not just to make noise for the sake of noise. I want it to have an impact. I have been following the mantra of "making you think while making you move," and I hope that my art can make people think about things in a new way, and hopefully help them grow as a person.
Do you work on a tight timeline always or do you go with the flow when it comes to your music?
It's sort of a mix of both. I'm completely independent, so I get the final say on when something is released and what the overall timeline looks like, but I try to hold myself to a high standard of productivity. If I feel a song still needs a little extra work before a release, I try to err on the side of prioritizing quality music and videos over quick delivery.
How did your latest title of your music come to be?
My newest single "Get Down" is a play on the double meaning of the phrase used in settings of danger (gunfire, etc.) and in party settings (dancing, etc). I wanted to point to some of the dangers and problems we are facing in the world today, but in a fun way that wasn't too heavy and melodramatic. It's something people can bump and enjoy that will be approachable, and the more they listen they will be able to unravel more truths hidden in the lyrics.
Is it hard to let go of the music when it is done?
Not really. I always have plenty of new things to work on, so wrapping up one project is really just the beginning of another. It's fun to see the finished products go out into the world and let people see these things that have been in my head for months (and sometimes years). It can be isolating to have so much stuck in your head and not be able to share it with anyone. When stuff gets released, I feel like people can finally understand me a little better.
Do you feel an emotional attachment with your music?
Absolutely. Music has helped me process my dad's death, it helped me propose to my wife, it has helped me make sense of the world during COVID-19, it always sticks with me. A song can take me back to the moment I wrote it and reignite the emotions wrapped up in it. Plus, the sheer passion of music and the energy it brings propels you to engage with it. How could a creator not have an emotional attachment to it?
How would you describe your music in one word to someone who hasn't listened to it yet?
The best word would probably be "indescribable," because I really don't think one word can encapsulate it. Various songs fuse different genres and styles, and it really doesn't sound exactly like anything else out there. The word "eclectic" came to mind as a possibility as well. A lot of the songs could fit into the "energetic" descriptor, too. I am totally cheating on this answer, but I think I would have to give you at least three words.
Where do they go to listen NOW?
Wherever they prefer to listen! It should be available on just about every major music platform, but I would give a special prod to check Youtube, because a lot of the songs have pretty epic music videos that can add a nice touch to the experience.
What has been the best fan reaction to your music?
The best fan reaction I can think of was from one of my biggest fans who goes by the alias SLow. SLow heard my music and totally connected with it. He purchased some of my stuff on Bandcamp.com and in the comments HE actually wrote a verse of appreciation for ME. It was the first time a fan ever wrote me a verse back in appreciation for the verses I write for them, and that was pretty freaking cool. I sent him a bunch of merch and he has been repping me in Toronto, Canada as a primary member of the Mefanic street team ever since. We've stayed connected and I've actually been able to encourage him to delve more into his own art while he encourages me to keep grinding on mine (He has some pretty cool visual art that he's shared with me which has been fun to see).
Is there anything exciting coming up for you?
YES! Most definitely. I am dropping new stuff every month for the rest of the year with some wild videos and incredible songs in the mix. 2022 will be a very big year that people don't want to miss, and it all is leading up to the full Broken Down release in 2023. You're going to have to hear it to believe it!
Are you performing the song anywhere LIVE?
I don't have any tour dates booked at the moment, but when I do they will all be posted to my socials - Follow me for more fun!
Give us all your socials and links so fans can link up with you! Thank you for this interview!
Thank YOU for this interview! Keep up the great work bringing fresh new sounds to people who care!
https://www.youtube.com/ReverseMechanic https://www.instagram.com/reversemechanic/ https://www.facebook.com/reversemechanic/ https://twitter.com/ReverseMechanic New Single Get Down: https://youtu.be/BgErz3Azvh8