Warm Brew are favorites in the city of Los Angeles. Comprised of Ray Wright, Manu Li, and Serk Spliff, the rap trio has been consistently unleashing records for both themselves and their fans since 2009. What started out as a pure love for creating music soon turned into a flourishing career for all three childhood friends. Read more…
Splitting their time between the studio and living up each moment of their lives, Warm Brew is a testimony to anybody who’s pursuing their dreams. Their latest EP, New Content, showcases growth, maturity, and diversity in their sound. For the more free-spirited bunch, the project’s lead single, “Psychedelic,” comes equipped with trap-heavy production and a shroom trip for the books.
For those who don’t know, who is Warm Brew?
Serk: 3 dudes that will do anything, and sacrifice anything to be successful. And will continuously hustle to make good music.
How would you describe your sound?
Manu: I’d say we’re a pretty versatile bunch.
Ray: Diverse. It’s LA. A lot of people like to put the label G-Funk, but it’s just our own thing. It’s different. Sometimes, it sounds a little more upbeat, sometimes… it can sound like anything. We try not to make tracks that sound too much the same.
Being from LA, how does that play into your life and your career?
Ray: It plays a big role because there’s a lot of culture here. There’s a lot of danger, and things to get into. There’s a lot of beautiful things, and chill things too. It’s a crazy mixture. You just have to kind of balance yourself out and really find your place in all of it.
Manu: Us being from LA, the music industry has made it easier for us to chase this dream. You can’t take that for granted. Living in LA is cool.
Can you talk about the moment when you guys realized this was for real?
Ray: I don’t think there ever really was a moment. When you’re young, you always think about stuff like that: I’m going to be a football player, go to the league, etc. Or I’m going to be a musician, and get a record deal. I think it’s just a continuous story. That’s just one part of the journey, then there’s another. Next, there might be another when we get older. It could lead to anything. This could just be the smallest of the steps. You don’t want to limit yourself.
How important do you think it is to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
Serk: I think it’s important to see California as an artist, or just as anybody. Just taking it in and really seeing the different cultures that we have up and down California. Specifically LA, there’s pockets of every kind of race here. Everybody feels like they belong here, which is cool. It’s a special place that makes everybody feel like they’re at home. As an artist, definitely. Like I said, it throws you into diversity. The places you see and all the different vibes that you feel, it’s impressive.
There’s three of you. Can you talk about the dynamic in the group?
Manu: Larry, Curly, and Moe. [laughs] TLC. I don’t know. I guess you can say I’m the short one, then there’s a medium one, and then the tallest one.
Who gets the final say?
Serk: It’s a fight. [laughs]
Ray: Every dog has his day.
Manu: I’m usually the loser.
Can you talk about the creative process in the studio?
Ray: It just varies, depending on how high people are getting, whether it’s a party vibe or something more serious. Sometimes, you’re just going. When you’re focused on a song, it might be more serious. Sometimes, one of us comes up with something first, and people just follow after it. There’s a lot of different ways since there’s 3 of us.
“Psychedelic” is a slap. Talk about what inspired the record & shooting the visual.
Serk: Just the willingness to do psychedelics, and kind of paying homage to that. You hear the beat, and it has that funky feeling to it. It’s very reminiscent of something from the 70’s. Just to add that feeling… you kind of just have to ride that emotion out. That’s exactly what it feels like. We’ve never really done a track like that where we talk about psychedelics, and heavily riding that wave.
The video kind of came about because we actually just sat in the house together and did shrooms. We just sat there and rode that whole thing out. I mean, we’ve done that a few times. It’s just one of those things where we’re like, “Yeah, we’ve done that before.”
Was there any hesitation with the drug use involved?
Serk: There’s never any hesitation… wait no, hold on. Scratch that. [laughs] We don’t want to say there’s never any hesitation.
Ray: Yeah, slide it on back.
Serk: Everything is good in moderation. Sometimes, your moderation levels are different. Sometimes they’re right here, sometimes they’re over here. It depends on your moderation level.
Manu: That couldn’t be truer. I think if it just came out that one of us has shrooms and were just like “let’s do this,” that’s the best moment. That’s the best feeling. Not planning it or doing all this shit beforehand. If you don’t have shit to do the next day… that’s what happened. It was fire.
How long were you guys tripping for?
Serk: A while.
Ray: It was a long, long time.
Manu: it seemed longer than it really was. It was fun.
Did you guys stay in the crib or go outside at all?
Serk: We went outside of the crib in the backyard, if that counts. It’s all enclosed. It feels the fucking same.
I know you guys live separately, have you ever stayed together in one spot?
Serk: Nah, we have to venture out eventually.
You’re releasing New Content in October. What can we expect?
Ray: You can expect some features: Dom Kennedy, Jay Worthy, Ackrite, maybe a couple more. We’re going on tour soon with Evidence, within the next few weeks. We have a couple Canadian dates, then the whole West Coast run. We’re definitely going to hit the road after that again, for sure.
How has your sound evolved since your Diagnosis EP?
Manu: Well, I feel like you have to listen to the album, for sure. As you continue to make music, you just get more confident. I think this year, we were in the mood to complete songs with each other. We were aiming for a crisper sound, and just to get better in general. And have fun. That’s why the song are diverse, because it’s how we felt.
What is it you want fans to get from your story?
Manu: I mean, we want them to get everything. [laughs] To be completely honest, we just want people to love to listen to the music, when they’re sad or happy. I just hope people believe in themselves, to make a living for themselves in whatever they want to do. They can do that shit with their homies, they can do it with problems… just succeeding in life. Get turnt up and break shit sometimes.
What is your take on the music industry?
Serk: It’s profitable. It’s a beautiful thing. There’s so many different people and so many kinds of music, so it’s cool. Whereas everybody used to stick to one genre, it’s broadened out to where people are definitely more experimental. That also comes with the idea that it’s getting diluted and all that, but at the end of the day, you can’t knock somebody’s hustle. I think it’s in a good place, because there’s so many different people trying so many different things. It makes a group like us stand out a little bit, because we’ve made firm what we’re doing, and we keep doing our own thing.
How important is social media for your career?
Manu: Shit, you tell me. [laughs] It’s 2018, I’m sure it’s important. A lot of people who don’t use it, are already famous. Like you could eat a roach, and people would find out about you. You’d get famous in some way, and end up on somewhere.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
Serk: Probably, turn on ESPN first to get the juices flowing. Listen to Steve yell at me. After that, I try to read for an hour. That sometimes breaks off now and then. Depending on the time, go make a sandwich. My life is pretty boring. It’s the nights that are really cool. [laughs]
What happens at night?
Serk: Let’s just say I owe the guy at the corner store a little bit of money, because I keep hitting him up for a little bit. That’s most nights.
Do you guys party? Where do you go?
Serk: The crib.
Manu: I’m at the Doheny Room every night. [all 3 laugh]
Serk: It just depends. The summer is just ending, so I guess the going out like that opens up a little more in the fall. We’re from the Westside, so it’s like why do we need to go anywhere? We could just walk around, go to the beach or something. When that comes to an end, you can catch us at the Doheny Room. [laughs]
Ray: If you want to make something happen, then you make something happen. If you don’t, then you just chill.
Manu: My day revolves around either trying to have fun, make money, or eat better. It varies.
Ray: Order a gang of food, and just eat half. [laughs]
3 things you need in the studio?
Serk: TV, weed, and good lights.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
Serk: [laughs] Put that, “Serk chuckles.”
Manu: Besides the obvious things that you do with a fan… [pause] It’s the funnest thing like “hey, I love you!” “Aw thanks, we love you too!”
Ray: That’s the obvious shit. Then there’s buying you shit, then there’s them buying merch.
Serk: Then they buy you a drink.
Manu: I had someone tell me I was the greatest rapper ever. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever heard!
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Manu: I’d be in the circus. Just kidding. Right now, I’d probably be in school or something. After school, I’d figure out something that I’d want to do most.
Ray: If I didn’t rap, I’d probably be living in another country, to be honest. I don’t know, I’m a hustler. I’d find a way to make money.
Did you guys finish school?
Serk: Been there before.
Ray: I got a high school diploma.
Manu: I went to Santa Monica College for a little bit.
Favorite song to perform in a set?
Manu: I’d say whatever song they like most.
Serk: From what we learned on tour, every place kind of has its one. Every city had its own feeling where they liked a certain song the most. I’d say “Butane,” we just dropped that recently. We were performing that on tour before we even dropped it. Their reception to that was really, really cool.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Ray: Our shit. I really only play like one song off my phone. I don’t really listen to banging music when I’m on my own. When I’m not with people, that’s how I discover a lot of YouTube shit. I sing to my son sometimes. I used to listen to a lot of music, but not anymore.
Manu: That’s a good question, I have no idea. I don’t even have my phone.
Serk: I’d probably say the Red Hot Chili Peppers, or SOB x RBE. It’s probably between those 2.
What do you guys think of these new hip-hop groups? Obviously, Shoreline Mafia came up in LA.
Serk: It’s tight. Anybody representing the city, doing it the right way, and making shit go up like that, is tight. As long as you represent the city the right way, and you’re making your money and doing it tight, can’t complain about that.
Serk: Steve Jobs. Make a Warm Brew iPhone, whaaat! Think outside the box with it. [laughs] Look at that, YouTube made the iPod, and now they’re on everybody’s phone.
Ray: Probably for us to cop a spokesperson gig, or a beer company. Just do that shit for 10 to 15 years.
Manu: We don’t talk music collaborations.
Ray: You know how you just know the Verizon guy, is the Verizon guy? Or the Dos Equis guy, whoever is the whatever. We need to get Warm Brew like that. Keep that check coming. We can do funny skits for their commercials. Shit, that’d be tight.
Anything else you want to let us know?
New Content out now!