NunButIce is a rap artist and producer out of Illinois whose latest single "Girls Gone Wild" is one of our fav tracks right now. We connected with NunButIce for an exclusive interview to find out how "Girls Gone Wild" came about, learn more about his unreleased project "Cognitive Dissonance: Optimistic Pessimist", as well as his creative process for production.
After reading our Q&A with NunButIce, be sure to follow him on his social media streams.
Tell us about the name "NunButIce"; how did it originate and what does it mean?
Well, my given name is Justice, and I'm far from ashamed of it, as it actually fits my "you-get-what-you-give" type of personality really well. 2009-2012 is the time frame that makes up my high school career, 2009 being a few years after Twitter came along and around pretty much the same time I needed a new Twitter handle. NunButIce originates from a play on my given name: Just-ICE=NUN-BUT-ICE. It's also symbolic for many things like a side of me that may be too cool, the state of my heart, or just a nice, quick description of what to expect before you experience anything with that name on it.
If you had to describe your music to a stranger in three words, which ones would you choose?
I'd start off by saying EMPOWERING. As far as lyricism goes, I've always been one to write chants and melodies that scream "I'm the creator of all things me and my destiny is mine." I really believe life is what YOU make it and most of my songs have that essence of strength.
My music could also be described as THOUGHTFUL. Although I may or may not spend an incredible amount of time either writing hooks or mixing down basslines, 7 times out of 10 it's all thought out and cohesive to a main idea and I always try to squeeze in a lot of thought.
The last word I would leave a stranger with to describe my music is FUN. Listening to a track or two will confer these opinionated-statements as facts for you.
Salute to you for your new track "Girls Gone Wild"; it is very dope. How did the song come about?
Thank you for that, and, while I'm being thankful, I also wanted my appreciation for you all at DCWS to be known, so thanks to Carlton for dealing with myself specifically , and to all of you for keeping up a really dope site, I've been visiting regularly for a bit of time now.
Furthermore, Girls Gone Wild came about after a string of good relationships that didn't end so well, and after months of looking for a permanent female companion. Dating in my generation has felt very cut-throat to me. Now I don't like to generalize so, a lot of the young people I've been running into will continuously rant and rave about wanting something good and special, but will either,
a.) Slap that very special thing in the face in order to go be unconscious with a bunch of strangers
b.) Find something worth having and working towards but don't have the attention span to really pursue it
c.) Be too afraid to do their own thing and get mocked for a while (or for forever) until a fruitful yield or
d.) All of the above.
I probably could've worded that better so for a shorter explanation as to how GGW came along: bitterness.. I felt I was betrayed for less than valid reasons. Making music has always been a good release for me.
Tell us about your unreleased project "Cognitive Dissonance: Optimistic Pessimist" for which "Girls Gone Wild" comes from. Why have you not dropped it yet?
Cognitive Dissonance... Optimistic Pessimist
I overthink. As the title of the project suggests I am always trying to balance the positives and negatives within life. Though it may be a little backwards as I feel I am naturally predominantly optimistic as opposed to pessimistic, it definitely helps describe how I may be thinking and feeling. I'd love to be the most positive person ever, but after just one day of "being positive" or "nice" in my experience. But at the same time, as I've stated earlier, I also feel like I mostly control everything that happens to me, so for me to believe that and for me to also be having as many pessimistic thoughts as I might have, I figured it was a sort of cognitive dissonance.
Why haven't I dropped it yet? Lets put it this way: The Optimist says "Go, you got this", The Pessimist says " Stop, you'll get hurt." I also do everything on my own so I don't want to move too fast and do things without the proper preparation and guidance. So honestly, you could say NunButIce is in beta mode, and this first release is just a beta test.
Describe your creative process as a producer for us. When do you know that an instrumental you've been working on is done? And how do you decide to keep it for yourself as opposed to selling it?
The creative process for me is either very premeditated, or very spontaneous, no in between. Girls Gone Wild, for example, started as me writing a chorus out of frustration. That same chorus inspired the bells that you hear in the instrumentation which, in turn, guided me all the way to the release of it, which is actually the first song I recorded on the whole project. That's more of a premeditated process for me.
So, pretty much, whether or not I have a message in mind usually helps me decide whether or not I'll just use a beat from a earlier session and just vibe out to it. I help a few artists in my area record and I produce entire beat mixtapes for them as well, when I collab the process is very spontaneous, but it's more of a bartering thing at this point for me. I actually haven't sold too many beats yet, they're mostly all getting stowed away until one of the artists I work with wants one or until I can make a decent history for myself! Not many will pay $1500 for a beat from "Wussaname" unless he has a few Gucci or Drake placements.