An embodiment of the True To This ethos, Fat Tony, the 28 year-old rapper from Houston, TX, hustles day-in and day-out to make a living out of making music. From LA to NYC, down to Mexico City and back to Houston, Tony's constantly on the move performing, DJing and recording... you know, making real life happen. Which is why he was the perfect person to collaborate with to create an original song for our F/W'16 Volcom Jeans & Chinos campaign video.
"Real Life" is a banger of a song which you can listen to and download below as well as read a short interview we did with him last time he swung through town.
Music & Lyrics: Fat Tony, Mix: iLL Faded, Guitar: Halston Luna, Guitar solo: Lucas Gotham, Bass: Fat Tony, Drums: Fat Tony, Trumpet: Jawwaad Taylor, DJ Scratches & 808 Drum Programming: iLL Faded
"Real Life” sounds a bit different than the Fat Tony albums we’ve come to know and love. What lead you into this musical direction?
I originally wrote this song for a band I play in with friends from Houston. I sat on the music for a couple months, heard about Volcom's Real Life Happening campaign and decided to turn it into a Fat Tony tune. I played bass and programmed the drums on this song (except for the 808 drums during the bridge which were programmed by iLL FADED). I brought in my friends Halston Luna to play guitar and Lucas Gorham (aka Hevin) to play the guitar solo, plus Jawwaad Taylor on trumpet. Halston plays in the band I originally wrote the music for, so it was only natural he'd play on this recording.
Did anything interesting or unusual occur during the recording session that produced “Real Life”?
The interesting thing was how fast we completed the song! The friends I brought it to play on the track were very pro and knocked out their parts on the first take. I recorded them a few more times just to have options but really didn't need to. I've worked with everyone on this song in different capacities and it was really fun to bring them all together. It's awesome that different guys, each with different musical backgrounds, are able to represent different sides of me musically and join forces for one song. It was truly a super group.
Is there a message in the song?
This song is about realizing who you are and using that realization to motivate yourself in all aspects of life. Be yourself and believe in yourself, even when the odds are against you. In the first verse I sing, "I did it, I did it when everything in me was low." So many people, unfortunately, let those low feelings get the best of them. I've been there and I'm determined to never go back again. That's why in the second verse I sing, "In the beginning, I didn't know that I could get it. But when I found out, they had to bring the crown out." I've found myself.
What else is real in your life right now?
One real thing in my life right now is my new band Charge It To The Game with producer Kyle Mabson. We make experimental rap music with an industrial influence and we do it all on our terms. Our debut EP is available now digitally and on cassette tape through the label Ghost Ramp. The EP is titled Urban Hall of Fame. We couldn't get into the rock 'n' roll one. I'm also producing a monthly event in Mexico City called Function. It's a monthly hip-hop party pairing American performers with Mexican performers in an effort to unite both music scenes. I'm also working on a zine with my writing partner, Matthew Ramirez. The zine is called Found Me and it profiles interesting folks from my hometown of Houston, Texas and examines their passions. We received the Idea Fund grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation to make this zine a reality. It will be released in 2017.
There are hints of several genres all in this one song. What do you call it?
I call it "Fat Tony". This song is stylistically me in a nutshell.
Fat Tony puts his Volcom jeans to the test daily in his pursuit of making real life happen; check out more people turning their passions into their livelihoods here and contribute to your own story by posting a photo on Instagram of you putting your Volcom jeans or chinos to the test and tagging it #RealLifeHappening.
Posted on 08/01/16