Andrew Crillz is a Jersey City based rap artist (by way of Vancouver, BC)and co-founder of the music and culture collective Substance Over Surface who just released one of the dopest new videos we've seen in a minute, "Turn It". We connected with Andrew to pick his brain about fitness, music, why he moved from Canada to Jersey City and much more.
After reading our exclusive Q&A with Andrew, be sure to follow him on his social media streams and stay tuned because more dope music from him and the Substance Over Surface is sure to come real soon.
What motivated your move from scenic and picturesque Vancouver to the east coast and Jersey City?
At the time I was 14, just starting high school, I didn't have much say as it was a family decision to come over for an employment opportunity. 15 years later I can say I am extremely thankful the decision was made. I am who I am today because of it, along with the great people I surround myself with that have helped me see the best of both worlds.. What are the odds that a Vancouver native would link with a Paterson New Jersey native sharing the same views and values to form the collective Substance Over Surface. Making the move here set the foundation for this to even come to fruition.
Tell us about Substance Over Surface. What does this collective represent? How does one become a member?
Substance Over Surface, acronym SOS, focuses on the quality or the function of something as opposed to just the aesthetics. We are an entertainment company rooted in managing creative individuals who aspire to inspire a creative culture. In today’s society I think it’s common for people to be wooed by the way something looks or sounds as opposed to the functionality, performance, value, or quality of that something. One can be distracted by the surface and overlook the substance. SOS is a collective that represents us staying true to ourselves in our art and values, delivering what we believe to be something of value and quality, giving the audience our all, with heart poured emphasis on the substance while maintaining a product that will still aesthetically woo them.
We’re always looking for new talent, whether it’s rappers, singers, poets, artists, engineers, producers, photographers, videographers, etc. As long as you stay true to yourself and your craft there are always opportunities to work with SOS. We’ve recently implemented an after school club at the Facing History School in NYC which allows the students to come in and collectively collaborate musically and artistically. This is our way of providing them with the necessary tools to express themselves as well as achieve their goals.
Your video for "Turn It" is very lively and energetic. We dig it a lot. Tell us about the song itself; who produced it and who directed the visual?
I appreciate the love, thank you. The record was produced by Outkast Label Owner, Engineer, and Producer Mike Macaluso who gave us "The Final Chapter" which changed the landscape of the club scene in the late 90's and early 2000's. We actually met at a Christmas party, in which I attended with family. We started talking about music and boom we've been working together ever since. We inspire each other creatively and push each other to be the best versions of ourselves, it’s a beautiful thing. In regards to the visual it was directed by the super talented, director, videographer, cinematographer, and the founder of Mack Cali Productions, Ja’von Coe. The Co-Founder and visual creator of Substance Over Surface, Jerry Palmer, was also a director as well as major contributions from Marquis Campbell of The Motionn Crew. Through their talents we were able to create the perfect visual to capture the energy of the record.
If you had to describe your music in 3 words, which ones would you select?
I am going to use my 3 words in combination to build this statement: “True To Me.”
It's clear that you hit the gym heavy. How do you juggle the responsibilities of being an artist, songwriter, and engineer as well as working out, which both require a lot of time and focus?
Dedication, fitness is one of my foundations, along with music, it keeps me grounded and focused. I make it a priority and it’s something I truly enjoy, I attack it first thing in the morning and it kick starts my day. I also listen to mixes and rough drafts and a lot of the music I am currently working on during my workouts as well as music I have completed, I can arrange things in my mind and get right to it when I hit the studio.
Following up on the last question, being an artist doesn't normally consist of having the healthiest lifestyle due to all day studio sessions and travel. Do you have any tips for artists who are reading this for how they can be healthy while at the same time, stay on the grind with their music aspirations?
I have yet to do any major tour traveling yet, looking forward to that though. I would say that making the choice to eat healthy and waking up an hour earlier to exercise, whether it is in a hotel gym, room floor, or nearby park, is what is going to ensure you stay focused on your health in those circumstances.
What are your goals musically for the remainder of 2017?
I dream as big as possible, at all times, so I would say to reach the top of the charts. I am going to stay focused, continue to live my passion, stay determined, and reach that goal. I would also like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak with you, it is sincerely and greatly appreciated.