SOTBMusic: An Interview with Charlie Too Much

I've followed Charlie Too Much for the better part of the last three years. From a chance meeting at College Park through the ups and downs of dealing with life and its stressors, I've come to value Charlie as an artist, but also as a friend. That said, things have been a bit quieter on the music front from him than we've come to expect from the Cleveland-born, DMV-residing artist. That is, however, due to a growing output and an always-thinking nature about him. Charlie recently hit me up to discuss his upcoming project, Circle Time, which I had the chance to sample. The conversation turned into, as these things tend to, a brief interview, delving into the mind of Charlie Too Much and his thought process.


Speed: So I know that you're working on a couple of things, including a new Couny project. When are you planning to drop Circle Time?

Charlie Too Much: I'm trying to get the plan right, though I'm probably overthinking it. But, we're putting out a new Couny tape next month and I'd like to say First Quarter 2019 for Circle Time. What do you think of it thus far?

Speed: I'm feeling it thus far. Loads of Curren$y vibes.

Charlie: Thank you, man. You know that's my favorite rapper. I wanted to make a tape that feels like a wave, not just a project. Like, with character and world development. So, I hope that those feelings run through the end of the project for you.

Speed: Now, the project is kind of long, clocking in at twenty tracks. Why twenty? Are you afraid of any sort of listener fatigue? I mean, twenty tracks, for some, is asking a lot from them.

Charlie: I might trim it down to eighteen. But, no. I think that the spectrum is needed. By the time people get listener fatigue, the music is good enough to just come back to. Or, it's like a movie because I don't think that there are any misses outside of what I might remove. The stories are as important as the music.

Speed: Like I said, I'll have to revisit this one in its entirety at the beginning of the year. I'm feeling it so far, though. What inspired the album?

Charlie: I wanted to make a project that really presents a different energy, a different subject matter. Like, if trap music is action music, I wanted to make comedy. I wanted to make drama. I wanted to make romance. We needed a tone that ignited a different emotion and energy without trying to find a way to be trappy in some kind of way.

I'm building the Couny brand around youth, a community center for the counterculture. Take the words "nerd" and "geek" and replace them with Couny. That sort of thing. I work with kids and I drive a bus and run/direct an afterschool program. The bus represents the kids, the adults, the people who don't ride the long bus. They ride the short bus to the Couny. Like, I'm talking for people who may not be looked at as cool enough or included enough. I wanted to come around on my bus and pick them up and take them to the Couny.

It's not about what you nerd out about. It's about why you do, that you do. Then everyone who needs a home, they have one in the Couny. I needed to meet that level of openness and honesty with my album and my campaign. They had to love me, not [just] my skill.

Speed: I get that. Peace, love, nerdiness--I mean, "Counyness"--and soul. That's like the main reason why I delve so much into anime and alternative things in my own music, to give people a look at me besides just being a dope rapper. So, I definitely get it. And I've always seen that from you as well, so to see it come out full-force is great.

Now, with Circle Time and everything else coming down the pipe, are you working with different sounds, producers, and artists? Or are you sticking with your Day Ones?

Charlie: I'm working with a new producer on an EP. But, with Circle Time, it's all Day Ones. I'm trying to expand, but stay centered. But, I'm building the next full-length album concept as we speak. I think I want to work with more R&B-based producers for that one. The most important thing I learned is that it's not about me. It's more about the Couny community. I've just gotta be the organizer and community leader and stay true.

Speed: What should people expect from you and Sleezy on the new Couny project? I know that you previously went on record saying that you never wanted to be pigeonholed by people thinking "oh, it's just the '90s Babies music' guys," which is how we got stuff like "Maketto."

Charlie: The next Couny project is arrogance, confidence, and swag. We want to let people know that we don't always make silly music and show them another side. But, it's still the same ol' Couny. I say it's a much more consistent project than the first one.

Speed: With that in mind, do you regret the first Couny album? 




Well, not "regret." That's too strong of a word. But, do you wish that you did the '90s homages after showing people what you and Sleezy were about in your entirety or was it more of a perfect storm sort of situation?

Charlie: I think it was the perfect place for us to find who we are. We are creatives who love source material. We got a "Scooby-Doo" and a "Rocket Power" and "Big Willie Style" songs on the new album. I think we showed people a different creative gear. Plus, I'm building a cartoon built around a magic school bus that can jump from universe to universe. The first album shows that we had a long-term plan.

Speed: So, in some ways, you're following the Logic and/or Big K.R.I.T. storyboarding process.

Charlie: In some ways, yes! Logic is a big inspiration to me regarding presentation and branding. But, I think we have a small it factor that will separate us very distinctly. I'm trying to build a Disney/Pixar competitor or a Cartoon Network competitor, with me and Bundles as our first IP.

Speed: Ah, that'd be dope. We need more characters of color out there for people. So, with that in mind, have you seen Into The Spiderverse yet?

Charlie: No, not yet.

Speed: Same. I heard that it's incredible. But, it proves that people want and need more representation. Between that, Black Panther, Sorry to Bother You, and all the other films with POC featured prominently/starring in them, it's been a good year. So, are you listening to any local artists?

Charlie: I agree 100% And honestly? I'm just listening to myself, Anderson.Paak and Curren$y.

Speed: What'd you think of Oxnard then?



Charlie: I really fucked with it. I think it's a grower, not a shower. I think that, musically, it was great. The subject matter is where it lacked the most to me, but it wasn't a detriment. I loved it, but I was patient with it.

Speed: Yeah, it was dope. Not Anderson's best, but still dope. Are you looking forward to any projects next year that've been announced or alluded to thus far?

Charlie: I want this 2009 album with Curren$y and Wiz, I need some new Frank Ocean. I’m looking for that Kanye/Chance album. Other than that? I don’t know.

Speed: Got anything inspirational to say to the kids?

Charlie: You may not be able to do anything but you can do anything the universe pulls you towards if you prepare and dedicate yourself.

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