Vancouver based artist collective, Rejected Kings members: Jacob Hoskins, Declan. wav and Thurston Burke talk dreams, inspirations, goals and Declan's recent release of The Boy In Blue. Shout out to Tyler Pengelly for videography and photography.
Q: Where were you guys all born and where do you currently live?
J: I was born in Vancouver and moved a bunch as a child. My mother and I eventually ended up moving to Powell River. When I lived there I was outcasted by most of the kids I went to school with. I would say Powell River is where I did most of my growing up. I moved back to Vancouver 4 years ago and its where I currently live.
D: I’m originally from Powell River, BC, just up the sunshine coast about 6 hours, I’m currently living around East Van.
T: I was born in Surrey but I've kind of coasted around the province my whole life. I'm proud to call little Burnaby my home.
Q: Can you talk about the background of your label Sound For The Future and how it came to be?
J: I founded Sound for the Future (SFTF) in 2012. In the beginning, my vision was to put on rappers from Powell River, like Rejected Kings and many others. I felt that if we were to all work together for one ultimate goal that it would be easier to achieve it with a team as opposed to working on your own. The first release was an EP from myself and a rapper from Virginia (now under Wellz) entitled "The Transition." It was released only on bandcamp. There were a few more releases before I ended up putting SFTF to the side. I started to realize some of the people I was trying to put on weren't super serious or passionate about their craft as I had hoped. In that time period I worked on honing my craft, learning more about music and even went to music school. In 2015, I decided to revamp Sound For The Future. Instead of wanting to put on good rappers, my vision developed into wanting to shed light onto good music from Vancouver. Ironically, the first people I thought of when I wanted to restart was Declan and Thurston (Rejected Kings). In 2016, I released the first single "Motivated," which was my own track. As of recently I have established SFTF as a platform for myself, Declan, Thurston and future artists to help work as a team to achieve each others personal goals in this industry. SFTF is still evolving to this day but the ultimate goal is to help all of us do what we love and live comfortably from the music.
Q: One of the artists off of your label has just released “The Boy In Blue”- Declan can you talk about the creation of this track and the themes within it?
D: I’ve been making music for a long time but never really put myself out there. I wanted to use this track as an introduction of me & my reasons for pursuing this as a career (It’s also a reminder of how far we’ve come, even after countless people saying my voice just isn’t cut out for music)
Q: When will your EP be dropping?
D: My EP will be dropping around Mid-september, Which is a breath of fresh air after delaying it for months & months, Now I finally feel like I’m in a good place to get it out.
Q: What is your process when creating a song- do the lyrics come first or the melody?
D: To be honest the majority of my songs are made in a very unorthodox way. I’ll listen to the instrumentation constantly, sometimes for days and sometimes for months, until I can fully grasp the feeling of the track. I always want my music to be real, and I feel that putting raw emotions into every track is the best way to do it, so I may start with a simple hook, or just dive in like on “The Boy in Blue” Title track.
Q: Do you have any exciting projects you are currently working on?
J: Im currently working on multiple things at the moment. Producing for some in house projects, a few local artists and of course my own solo efforts. Im currently working on my sophomore EP now. I'm going to keep some of these projects under wraps for now, however I will mention that I do have a little something coming in October.
D: After “The Boy in Blue” EP drops, We’ll be getting ready to release our first fully collaborative effort as Rejected Kings (Which is about 5 years in the making), as well as solo Projects from both Jake & Thurston.
T: I have a project right now called Unlimited Saga. I'm personally excited for it because it's going to be all-original, in-house and a really big plunge forward for me since my last project over two years ago.
Q: Where do you guys see yourself in the next 5 years?
J: I see myself hopefully living more comfortable. Hopefully I will have done everything I have planned to do creatively in the span of these coming years. That goes for music, movies, fashion, and business.
D: I see us just advancing more and more. I feel like Vancouver is on a wave right now, We have Crazy talent in this city and I’m blessed to know so many talented artists, we’re just waiting for that big moment. Vancity’s never had a major scene, especially for Hip-hop, but now with Local acts like So Loki we’re finally breaking into the culture, In 5 Years, Vancouver will be looked at as a Hub just like Atlanta or Toronto.
T: We're definitely still gonna be in the city and still grinding. I love what I do.
Q: What has been some of your most memorable performances?
J: I'll say the last show that we did at Portside for Rejected Kings. This night us as a trio had insane energy. The Crowd was chanting along, turning up, and having fun. There was no where on the stage I did not go. Small turn out but it will be a night I will always remember.
D: For me I still think back to one at Studio Records on Granville last December, we opened for another act and it was the first time a crowd really responded to us and vibed. It’s a close tie with our First Headliner back in May, It was Jake’s birthday the day of the show and the performance made me realize how well we all worked together.
T: My most memorable performance was one of our shows at Studio Nightclub. The energy of the crowd did so much for me and I really enjoyed my experience during that set, I don't think I'll ever forget it. I remember pulling up our homegirl Giorgi Holiday on stage to sing happy birthday for Jake, and everybody joined in.
Q: Who are some of your musical inspirations?
J: This could be a long one, but I'll shorten it. In terms of artists I listen to I would have to say 2Pac, Flume, Disclosure, Ryan Leslie, Pimp C, Organized Noise, Deadmau5, Lex Luger, Dr. Dre and Jim Morrison. I honestly listen to everything so my inspiration is all over the place. I also get inspired and motivated by a lot of the people and artists I am around.
D: I could go on forever with this but I’ll keep it short! Kid Cudi started it all for me, he’s the very reason I make music today, along with Kanye, they both paved a lane to be transparent with emotions while still creating timeless music. I’ve always looked up to Guru, Jay-Z’s engineer, he’ll always be one of the best in my opinion. More recently though BROCKHAMPTON & Jazz Cartier paint the soundtrack for my daily life, and if we wanna talk local, our good friend Bains is my Favorite artist in the whole city. Him & Thurston really push me to be a better rapper.
T: My Dad, first and foremost, he still sings everyday. I've always listened to everything I could get my hands on but I think that the most important names I can say are RZA, Kanye, Mos Def, Lil' Wayne and Tyler, The Creator.
Q: You are all part of the rap group Rejected Kings, how did this come together and what sets you apart from other rappers?
J: I came a lot later in the progression of things. For their first show in Vancouver; Declan and Thurston and I offered to DJ. This show was at Hello Goodbye in Yaletown, a sort of underground bar. After that we did not have another show for about 6 months. In that time period Declan and I worked on a bit of music together but nothing substantial. From October 2016 till now we've had a show about every month and I feel like through that things have slowly come together. Recently us 3 are working on music together more frequently.
D: Originally it was Thurston and I back in high school, we both wrote and happened to meet in the Little shitty studio in our Digital Media room back in Powell River. Then when we both ended up in Vancouver together, We started to really take things serious and linked up with Jake. The main thing that sets us apart is the direction of our music really, to be real with you, I’m not trying to compete or battle any other rappers, I just love Hip-Hop music and how expressive it is. At the end of the day I want to make beautiful music that people can feel good to, something to immerse the listeners and give them drive.
T: Rejected Kings started when we were in high school, Declan and I are a year apart but we had a class together and would skip half the other ones so that we could chill in the booth. We spent hours and hours everyday making beats, writing, recording, anything we could try, we did. I think that's part of what sets us as a unit apart from anyone right now. That's besides the sound. Everything that I make is just me acknowledging my feelings and I cant really make a song about nothing.
Q: Do you have anything else you want your viewers to know about you?
J: Not to sound cliche but we are far from finished.
D: Just a statement really. REJECTSZN is underway, Vancity is on the rise,
If you want to chase dreams, now is the time to do it because the world is getting hectic & you need to focus on what you love right now.
T: Look at the times. Things are going on and we really gotta be the generation that pulls through. It's the time to do things and it's a time of love.
Sound For The Future: