photos by ed cañas : words by paul st. vale
LOS ANGELES, CA. We had the recent pleasure of catching up with R-Mean, one of L.A. rap's hardest working and most promising talents. Just getting home from his first trip to his native land Armenia, we were able to meet up at Footsie's, a dive bar in the northern outskirts of Downtown L.A. We discussed his recent work over a few beers, including how the many aspects of his hustle as an indie artist helped "7 Deadly Sins" become one of the first Hip Hop successes on Kickstarter.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
R-Mean: "I was born in L.A., raised in Amsterdam then moved back to L.A. at 18 for college & to pursue music. I've been independently releasing albums & mix tapes since 2005. Currently pushing the album "7 Deadly Sins," released July 2015."
Talk about your experience with KICKSTARTER:
R-Mean: "Kickstarter's crazy. At first I didn't want to do it. No one really wants to do it because if you don't really know what it is you think you're asking for money. When we looked into it it's like you're not really asking anybody for anything. Normally, once you you drop a project you keep posting it for people to get it at iTunes & everywhere else. With Kickstarter, instead of asking to support when you drop it, you hit up 6 months before saying support me now instead of when it drops so I have the actual money to make it. We asked for a $30,000 goal & we got like $54,000 so we almost doubled it. It took one month of campaigning. A lot of people try it & just post on social media a couple times & think people are gonna give, it's not like that. It literally takes 30 days of campaigning. We had a big ass show where we packed the House of Blues on Sunset, sold it out, & that was the first day we launched the Kickstarter. And everyday we had different things going on. You have to invest. We had a $10-$15,000 budget to invest in the campaign, otherwise it wouldn't of happened. We had a bunch of interns private messaging people & posting everyday. Basically, there was a lot of work behind it but it paid off. Actually at the time we had the 3rd biggest Kickstarter campaign in Hip Hop. Now it's 5th I think 'cause De La Soul did one & Run the Jewels did one too. DJ Q-Bert & some others. Everyone above me is big names."
R-Mean: "Pushing 7 Deadly Sins, dropping a few mix tapes to follow while campaigning & continuing with a series of industry meetings. The industry doesn't know me yet the way they're supposed to. That's really my goal, just focused on getting in."
Now, with over 10 years experience in the music game under his belt, R-Mean remains hungry & humble. He's got a small team of dedicated people who've been with him for years now. In particular his manager Alex Kodo, whom he refers to many times in discussing his music journey thus far & is also the bridge between Ed & R-Mean meeting some years ago. A few days after we met up, R-mean flew out to New York for the UMA's (Underground Music Awards) which he won the 2015 Artist of the Year award. Looks like that goal to getting further in the industry is one step closer. Many salutes.