Los Angeles artist Drownmili has been personally championed by Rolling Loud CEO Tariq Cherif and is proudly representing Black artists in the alternative scene. Get to know him better with this VIPER interview…
What five words define your sound?
Chaotic, melancholy, contrasting, existential and FREE.
Tell me something unique about your creative process
I am constantly freestyling or humming melodies and lyrics throughout the day. A lot of my songs are from random ideas I thought of and voice notes I recorded while I’m doing random shit. I remember during a friend’s graduation I went to the bathroom to record a voice note before I forgot about it.
Which song of yours would you like people to hear first?
‘War Outside’. I think because it really sums up my energy and approach. It’s melodic and nostalgic but the lyrics are honest and chaotic.
What inspired you to make that song?
It came to me while I was in the shower. My homie & producer HENNEY had sent me a beat pack and as soon as I heard the instrumental, I was just singing the hook over and over and over. As soon as I stepped out of the shower I hit record and the rest was history. At the time, it summed up how I felt about life. Life is a war. I was fighting everyday to find purpose, to have a voice, to find my peace.
What’s the most vulnerable you’ve allowed yourself to be when writing/making music?
I recorded one of my songs right after learning my father had passed away. I freestyled the song in my bedroom at night. I left the mix gritty, and raw and didn’t try to fix anything- even if I stumbled on a couple words. That song is called ‘No Brakes’.
What’s the best/worst experience you’ve had on stage?
One of the best feelings I’ve had is having a crowd know every word to your song. It feels good, like almost like a pat on the back multiplied by however many people are there in the crowd haha.
What is your favourite song to perform?
Right now my favourite record to perform is ‘Thrasher’. I’m always having fun during that song and apparently it makes people feel something.
Which artist/song/album made you want to make music?
Pharrell. I thought he was the coolest when I was a kid. Especially during the N*E*R*D days. He had a half pipe in his crib bro, that’s so hard haha.
What’s the meaning behind your name?
Drown. To drown is to be completely submerged in something greater and bigger than you. At the time, that’s what life felt like for me. I felt like I was fighting to stay afloat ya know? Drown, to me, is a reminder to fight for what you want, for what you believe in. It’s life or death. That’s how deep it is to me.
If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing instead?
Simple; A WWE superstar. A pretty good one too. Or maybe I would’ve gotten into MMA.
What’s success to you?
Success is progress. When you have a goal, every step towards it is success. I succeed everyday. Even when I lose, I’m successful because I just learned from that mistake which will help me reach my goal. For me, big picture success is when I can take care of the people I love and I can take care of myself with ease. Being able to motivate, inspire and educate others through my experiences is also a form of success to me.
What moment in your life/career forced you to change direction?
Moving to Los Angeles from New York when I was 21 was the biggest change of direction for me. I didn’t have any money and my perspective of the world was limited. I forced myself away from everything I knew and was in a constant state of change. I learned the most during this time period because I was uncomfortable. But because of these uncomfortable experiences, I grew a lot as a man, as a friend, as an artist and as a human.
Where can people keep in touch with you?
Join the Militia. My discord and my Instagram. I talk to my fans all the time.
Photos by TJ Sawyer