August 08 is here to reinvent R&B into the new pop, on his own terms. Hailing from the east side of Los Angeles, which includes Long Beach, Compton, and Lynwood, the singer-songwriter shares similar stories with the rest of his peers, having to trade in a life on the streets for the microphone. Read more…
Joining the 88Rising crew meant meshing into a truly unique family of talented individuals, a bond you couldn’t try to articulate into words. With vulnerability and transparency, the 27-year-old is able to captivate audiences, unleashing emotion and outrage and translating into some of his best records yet. Piggybacking off his Father EP, home to standout singles “Lately” and “Funeral,” released earlier this year, August unleashes “Spiral” featuring WYNNE, an outlook on unrequited love.
For those who don’t know, who is August 08?
August 08 is a kid from Los Angeles, CA, who likes to do things that people don’t like to do. Like take the trash out, do dishes, and be good to women.
Where do you fit in the realm of R&B and hip-hop?
I do not fit in the realm of R&B and hip-hop, we are the new pop. We’re taking over Pop, my G. We’re not R&B or hip-hop.
You’re from Los Angeles, how does that play into your life and career?
I went to school in Lynwood. I’ve lived everywhere on the east side, I’m from truly there. The east side in general is just a grimey place. Trying to find a way to carve out a path that’s not gangbanging and not selling drugs was very difficult. That’s where I get my aggression and why my songs hit so hard, it was the outlet.
How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
It’s not important to come to LA, you just gotta get poppin’ in your city. LA is tight, but it’s nothing like the Bay or being hot in your city and getting your home recognition. That’s I’m so keen on telling people I’m not just from Long Beach, Linwood, or Compton, I really grew up the east side. I’m an east side baby, for real. Be hot in your city and then let the music bring you to LA. Never abandon your home.
Growing up, did you purposely stay out of the streets?
No, I was definitely was in the streets. [laughs] Definitely stuck in the streets.
How has music been a form of therapy for you?
Music was therapy because those times when I didn’t have a place to go to in my early 20’s, after my mom kicked me out, I would just be trapped out in the studio in North Hollywood. Rapping with the messengers.
What’d you get kicked out for?
At what point did you realize this music thing was for real?
4 years ago, when I got my manager Jerry. I got him through Nael Atweh. Shout out my n*gga Nael. We were are all rocking and there Jerry was killing the game. I was like “Jay, let’s get it poppin’.“
“Spiral” is such a vibe. Talk about your mind state creating this record.
“Spiral” is one of the records from my project Happy Endings that I made in my bedroom, in my home studio. It was just me airing out how I was feeling about this girl. Those are my favorite records, when you’re just airing out how you feel. But the whole record is about my ex-girlfriend. I’m not gonna say her name, ‘cause I ain’t gonna pump her up.
I mean, she knows right?
No, she don’t. Hell no. To all my ex-girlfriends, fuck you.
You released your Father project earlier this year. Talk about the creative process and how long it took you.
So I was going through a lot at the time. Me and my manager were having a lot of conversations about just being a man and me not really having a father there for me. Jay was just like “yo, we should just make music and get it out.” I made 4 songs of the 6 songs in 2 days. It was just me being open and free and just speaking on it. Father came from how my father not being around to affected my life.
Is Happy Endings your debut album?
Nah, it’s another EP. We not there yet. We got some time to get to the album.
The build up.
The build up! You gotta grow it. You can’t say you the new pop and not build it up.
The video for “Funeral” is pretty cinematic. Talk about bringing your records to life through visuals.
Bringing your records to life is the most difficult shit ever, because certain things don’t translate visually that translate on paper. Your eyes can deceive you when you’re looking at that paper, my G. For us, we’re just trying to become better directors and better creators so we can get everything make sense to the youngest person and to the oldest person. We did 2 or 3 re-shoots and 2 different videos for “Funeral” before we dropped it.
Talk about linking w/ Rich Brian on “Arizona.”
Shout out my boy Brian, shout out Joji, shout out the whole gang. “Arizona” was a song I made a couple years ago with my brother Channel Tres. He’s a fire ass producer, we grew up together. Me, him, and Barney Bones, my writing partner, we write everything together.
You got a lot of shout outs.
Oh always. I shout everybody out. When Channel Tres came back to LA from college, that was the day we wrote “Arizona.” Oddly, it just happened to be that day. We wrote that record, and then it just came back somehow. I think because I sent a bunch of records to Sean Miyashiro. He was like “this might be dope if we get Brian on it.” I played it for Brian and Brian was fucking with it. We just slapped that thing on his project and it’s a movie.
So you didn’t want that song for yourself?
It wasn’t even that, it was more so I wasn’t going to put it out. It didn’t make sense to my story, but it makes perfect sense to his.
Can you talk about the dynamic with him?
Brian is tight. That’s it. 88Rising is a great company, I fuck with 88Rising. I fuck with Red Bull Records. Shout out Greg Hammer. Shout out Sean. Shout out Josh. Everything is love. I love my n*ggas, we on.
Greatest memory shared w/ the guys?
The greatest thing I share with Joji is being in the studio. The greatest memory I share with Brian is being in Amsterdam, eating some good ass food. The best shit I share with Brian is being in these streets, making fire songs and being the new generation of the hot n*ggas in pop.
What is it you want fans to get from your story?
I don’t think anybody should be a fan of anyone because we shouldn’t celebrate false idols. If we could be a family and all love each other, that would be tight.
What is it you want listeners to get from your story?
You can do whatever the fuck you want to do. Nobody can tell you you can’t do shit, honestly.
What is your take on the music industry?
You’ll be very happy if you avoid fake people. That’s my take, straight up.
What are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
Play festivals and do a headlining tour next year. Be able to still create music and love it, as opposed to doing it and not being happy.
How was the 88Rising Festival?
It was a beautiful experience. We got to play some really cool shit, and some shit from the album. Everybody knew every word, it was fire.
I know you’re a huge Kid Cudi fan.
Off the rip.
What do you take from his career with your own music?
Emotions. Being able to be depressed and not feel 100, and still being able to live through it. That’s what I always got from Cudi. All these things are fucked up but he was still able to keep pushing through. I don’t know Cudi so I can’t really speak too crazy on his journey, but that’s what I pull from it.
What did you do with your first advance?
I blew that bitch. [laughs] I blew it. I overpaid for an apartment. The smartest thing I did was I bought a Prius. Jerry told to be buy a Prius. He was like “yo I used to drive a fly car, then I realized all the rich n*ggas was driving Priuses.” [whole team laughs] I had a little bread, I went to Philippe Chow. I did it all! I thought that little bit of money was something, but it wasn’t.
How important is social media for your career?
Social media is a strong part of everyone’s career at this point, because people are straying away from just relying on music. They’re starting to believe in artists and people more. People care more about you that they actually do about your music. You can be the hottest touring artist in the world and your music is trash. But just because people like your personality. No cap.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
I wake up, I watch King of the Hill every morning on Hulu. I probably hit up Barney like “what’s the wave for today?” We probably talk about the bullshit we was on the night before, then probably go to the studio. If not, surround the city, tapping in with the homies. Then at night, I literally play King of the Hill and I go to sleep. On everything I love.
Jerry: You missed one part.
And I hit up Jerry to see what’s good with the bread. [laughs] Every day. “Yo Jerry, do we got a bag anywhere? Did the wire hit?
Being that you’re in Koreatown, are you partying a lot?
I never party in Ktown, but we go catch the vibe and go get some food at Quarters and shit. OB Bear. It’s a vibe.
3 things you need in the studio?
A laptop, Barney Bones, and a fire ass engineer. That’s it.
Don’t need weed or anything?
I don’t do any drugs. I don’t condone people who do drugs.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Working at the post office. I wouldn’t have left the post office. I left a consistent bag, my G.
They make good money?
Hell! The post office? Tuh.
Favorite song to perform in a set?
“Spiral” feat. WYNNE.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
There’s this girl from Vancouver, she was the first person to fuck with my music ever. She became a flight attendant and flew to LA. We hung out and had lunch on one of layovers. She fucked with me from day 1. I had like 9 plays on my first song on SoundCloud called “For Chloe,” and she was fucking with me. That’s probably my most favorite thing that ever happened to me.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
That’s easy as fuck. Shout out Travis Scott but my n*gga, we gotta fight bro. Me and Travis Scott gonna have to fight because of “A-Team.” Because the fact that it’s a letter ‘A’, any time I plug my phone up, it plays. Yo Travis Scott, I love you bro but “A-Team,” I might need you to give me like 30 cents back. Because I played it so many times, I deserve a royalty my guy. For real, that shit plays every time.
When are we getting Happy Endings?
Anything else you wanna let us know?
I want everyone to know you can’t be shit without a team. If you think you hard as fuck and your team ain’t right, you trash my n*gga. That’s it.