Red’s Hip Hop Den

Real Music with Real People: An Interview with Solstice from the Hip Hop Group Seraphim.

Real Music with Real People: An Interview with Solstice from the Hip Hop Group Seraphim.
[Solstice in the studio]
     I got the chance to catch an interview with Allen Molina also known as Solstice.  He’s a part of a great hip hop group hailing from San Francisco called Seraphim.  I discovered Seraphim through YouTube.  I can’t remember how, but I came upon one of their songs called The Cycle (Premix). Solstice’s voice and rhyming pattern reminded me of Del the Funkee Homosapien.
     Later down the road they were giving out free CD’s from their album Pangaea-Continental Drift. I couldn’t turn down a free CD. I got it in the mail with a personalized drawing attached to the package. The art was really dope, Solstice mentioned that he and the other group members “collaborated on all sorts of stuff in the past, from murals to graffiti”, so that explained the awesome artwork. I listened to the CD and was instantly hooked. While all of the songs on this album were dope, my favorite was definitely The First Time I Saw My Shadow in the Moonlight. Starting from the eerie intro, into the very moving and personal lyrics, backed by a smooth melody is a great tune to teach anyone about the trials and tribulations of real life and how to overcome any obstacles. Hats off to you Solstice! Solstice mentioned, “Initially I refused to be an MC, but that changed halfway through our first album when I hesitantly decided to get down on a few tracks along with Tederux. I am glad I did.” We are glad you did to Solstice because you sir are a dope emcee. Solstice reminds me of the Producer Chops, from the first Asian American hip hop group known as the Mountain Brothers, he also mentioned that he never planned to ever get on the mic but was glad that he did because he came to the realization that he did have talent. Solstice’s story with his hip hop growth can inspire anyone to put that pad and pen to work and to use their voice and bring out that inner confidence that they’ve always had. Not to sound cliché, but you never know until you try.
     As for the future with Seraphim, Solstice states, “My only real goal would be to have more people listen to our music and enjoy it.” He takes the pleasure with providing his audience with some good music and that’s what hip hop is all about. Solstice has his own solo album coming out in 2012 called Thank You, as well as a possible album with Seraphim.  With 12 Years under his belt and still not over, Solstice will continue to make great music, and I look forward to hearing any of it in the future.  You can find out more about Solstice and Seraphim at their many websites listed at the bottom of the interview.
-   David “Red” Schlebecker

The Actual Interview with Solstice from the Hip 
Hop Group Seraphim

Red: What's your real name and rap name?

Solstice: Allen Molina, but you can call me Solstice.

Red: Where are you from?

Solstice: Born and raised in San Francisco, CA. The big SFC.

: How long have you been in the game, when did it all begin?

Solstice: In 2000 Chris called me and started talking about how he wanted to rap, but had no beats. We collaborated on all sorts of stuff in the past, from murals to graffiti so I told him I would experiment with production. That was the birth of our record label "Six Winged Savages" or SWS records. Initially I refused to be an MC, but that changed halfway through our first album when I hesitantly decided to get down on a few tracks along with Tederux. I am glad I did. 12 years and 4 albums later we still make music together on all sides as MCs, producers, even audio engineers. It is perfect. 

Red: What makes you different from other hip hop artists?

Solstice: Not much. 

Red: How would you describe your style and sound?

Solstice: All my beats rely heavily on samples, so sometimes it gives it an old, lo-fi feel which is nice. I love strong melodies that incite strong feelings, good or bad and I try and make the music every bit as high quality as the words. My raps are focused on content then delivery, not the other way around. Hip-Hop is a super broad genre so I fit somewhere in it, but pinpointing exactly where is a bit challenging. I try to not qualify my music, I make hip hop and that is that.

Red: Who has influenced your style or who did you grow up listening to?

Solstice: I grew up listening almost exclusively to San Francisco gangster rap. I had the popular 90's rap albums at the time as well, but I loved rappers like RBL Posse, Andre Nickatina, Get Low Playaz, and Cellski. Even though I don’t make that kind of music, I learned more from them than almost anyone else. Later I would get into underground hip hop, instrumentalists and any producers that used tons of samples and weren’t afraid to sound a little different. 

Red: Are you taking this hip hop artistry into the future? What are your goals?

Solstice: I always have and always will make music for me. That is why, for the most part, we let people download our music for free. When my group Seraphim was first starting out, we did tons of shows and solicitations, trying to sell our albums and make a little money off of shows. Honestly I don’t think that served us very well. I no longer have any intention of shoving my music down people's throats trying to get famous. That being said I feel like I haven’t quite spoken up in the right ways about what we are doing musically to a large enough audience. My only real goal would be to have more people listen to our music and enjoy it. 

Red: What's your current opinion on the state of hip hop right now?

Solstice: I think mainstream hip hop gets such an unfair rap (pun intended). There are tons of excellent rappers and producers out there and major acts almost always have some redeeming quality to them. Even if the mainstream lacks for your tastes, the underground scene has virtually every range of musicality and will always produced excellent music. I am NOT one of these nostalgic hip hop lovers who think the best rap songs have already been made in 1992. That kind of thinking literally destroys the culture.

Red: What are your favorite songs from your albums and why (further explain the making of it)?

Solstice: My favorite songs on our newest album are "The Cycle" and "Absolute". Not only are they produced well, but I love the subject matter of them. The beat for the cycle almost got scrapped because I was taking such a large sample from something and I wasn't feeling great about it. We have always had certain personal rules when it comes to sampling and it was border line. But Chris loved it and after mixing and mastering I feel great about it too. The song was so easy to write because it is easy for anyone to feel that way, especially for us since we make music just like the protagonist of the song. 

It was an absolute blast to make and is really a strong song. I loved the beat from start to finish, and the song itself is pretty crazy. I speak in first person as a dictator and his ultimate rise to power. The others in the song tell the story as most would; the difficulty of life under that rulers brutal regime. This song is very appropriate today with the Arab spring and their fights to end their oppression. 

I could literally go on and on about my favorite songs that we have made, so I will stop here. 

Red: Go ahead and add anything else you think is important about hip hop in general. 

Solstice: For 2012 I have a bunch of things planned. The first being my very first solo project named "Thank You". I have at least 3 other projects going on as well like collaboration albums, Solo EPs as well as a possible new Seraphim album. I hope to have tons of new music coming your way. And since I do it for the love you will more than likely be able to download it all for free like we do right now. You can find me and Seraphim all over the interwebs here: (Free download of our new album is here)

And just for the record, Seraphim is Me (solstice), Chris, and TedeRux.

[Picture Left to Right: Tederux, Solstice, and Chris].

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cool interview