By Nicholas Jason Lopez
An unabashed mixture of punk rock, psychedelic culture and cloud rap, Oxnard, Calif.-based “slo-fi hip-hop” group White Lighter Tribe recently unleashed their latest single “Paisley” upon the world.
The track was a contribution from members King GFOD and SpaceyY, who became infatuated with paisley patterns and their meaning from early psychedelic fashion and sought to create a “new age psychedelic experience.”
Fresh off a three-year hiatus, they’re slated to drop a new project ‘Between The Blinks’ in January 2021. They sought a more “mystic level” for it, so they enlisted a duo of Russian producers, Ecodera x G Shyz.
In addition to “Paisley,” their previous singles “Hysterix” and “Wavyy” will also appear on the upcoming release.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with SpaceyY/King GFOD about “Paisley” and more.
Music Bugle – What has been your biggest struggle lately?
SpaceyY – Lately, we’ve had some challenges finding an active fanbase or audience. A lot of the people who listen to us are either friends from our hometown down in Oxnard, or artists we’ve met on Soundcloud. We’re all about throwing D.I.Y. shows and getting our name out to a local audience, but we haven’t really been able to do that this year. Marketing ourselves online has definitely been a struggle, but we’re learning to overcome it everyday.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about hip hop music?
King GFOD – I like how it’s become a form of self-expression for anyone who wants to pursue it. It’s exciting to be the person creating an energy or vibe for a room, but it’s also nice being able to say what’s on my mind and have listeners think about something new.
Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the name White Lighter Tribe?
SpaceyY – During high school, people at parties always brought up some superstition that white lighters are bad luck. We wanted to change that perspective a bit. All of our members grew up together on the same beach in Oxnard, so we saw ourselves as a tribe of elevated miscreants using music to voice our views. Looking at our lives, people might say that we’ve had bad luck throughout our upbringings, so we wanted to switch up the “broken kids” stereotype and spark some positivity.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Oxnard, California to someone who has never been there before?
King GFOD – You definitely got to respect where you’re walking. There’s a strip of beaches and the rest is a concrete jungle. Back in the 80’s, Oxnard was known as having the most hardcore punk rock scene in California, called Nardcore. That culture’s definitely shaped the type of music that comes out from the area. It’s not as localized or dangerous as it used to be though. New apartments and stores are always being built.
Music Bugle – What’s the biggest lesson you learned during your three year hiatus?
SpaceyY – Patience is key and to never give up. Life can get in the way of your passions, but you’ve gotta stay persistent and willing to learn from mistakes. There’s a lot of distractions out there, so it helps finding some discipline to stay focused.
Music Bugle – What was it like putting together ‘Between The Blinks’?
King GFOD – It’s been a journey and half. We’ve had the ideas brewing for some of these tracks since high school. A lot of synchronicities and spiritual life lessons seemed to coincide with what we were doing musically. We started recording it last November in my Grandma’s garage down in Oxnard. I was still living down there while SpaceyY had a pad out in San Luis Obispo, so we weren’t able to work on it too much last year. A few months went by until COVID started shutting everything down and I became homeless with my girlfriend. My Dad kicked me out of the house once the pandemic started since my Grandma was susceptible to the virus. I don’t have a phone, but somehow SpaceyY got a hint of my situation and hit me up around April. He offered to help me move to San Luis Obispo, get a job and build a studio for our label, Clear Vision Collective, so I sent it up there and got settled in by the end of May. It still blows my mind how fast we found a place to rent and build our home studio. Once the studio was set up, we went full-in and recorded the majority of the project by June. It’s been super fun making music videos for some of our favorite tracks along the way. We actually got to fly out to Portland, Oregon to shoot the “Paisley” video the day after we finished recording the song in California, so yeah, it’s been a blast making ‘Between The Blinks,’ even though it’s kind of stressful getting our songs and videos out there to more people.
Music Bugle – What made you want to release “Paisley” as a single?
SpaceyY – We had a good time freestyling to beats and coming up with the idea for the song, but once we connected with the producer Ecodera, we knew the song stood. We were already planning on visiting some friends in Oregon, so it made sense to us to shoot the video out there and drop it as a single. We mainly released it that way so people could get a glimpse of our image as artists and gain some interest in the whole project.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
King GFOD – I’m always bumping the Underachievers and Flatbush Zombies, but I’ve lately been supporting the boys, Killjoye and T-Choppa.
SpaceyY – I’ve been listening to a lot of underground phonk on Soundcloud, but I’ve also been spinning psychedelic rock bands like Frankie & The Witch Fingers and Kikagaku Moyo.
Music Bugle – Does social media make it easier or harder for musicians to stand out these days?
SpaceyY – I feel like it can go both ways. Nowadays, anyone can shoot a video or take photos that stand out on social media, but it’s easy to fall into the glitter of it all. Social media can be hella toxic, especially when you start comparing yourself to other artists or chasing likes and views. Overall, I definitely think social media makes it easier for musicians to stand out if they use it as a tool for branding or establishing a community of listeners.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
SpaceyY – “Ya just gotta keep on living, man,” by Matthew McConaughey.