In Ducey Gold’s world, having creative control is everything. If you ask the NC native where his love for music stemmed, he’ll tell you it’s been a vision since his early teens. Whether it was making beats on GarageBand or creating covers on iMovie, Ducey’s artistic fire started at a young age. It’s 2020, but many of those same skills have stayed consistent. Ducey’s popularity has gone through the roof, but his approach to each and every facet of his career remains as focused as ever.
Over the course of the past two years, Ducey Gold has thrust himself into the spotlight. Records like “Love,” “War with Us” and “Fear of God” have infiltrated the airwaves - Ducey’s familiar yet largely unique sound takes listeners for a ride more often than not. The young star’s biggest inspiration is Uzi, and this comes as no surprise when you give his music a listen. His sound is hard-hitting and catchy - the attention to detail and vibe-heavy melodies have led to hundreds-of-thousands of streams across all platforms. According to Ducey, however, the streams aren’t the first thing on his mind. If anything, they serve as motivation to make that number grow the next time around. That’s Ducey Gold in a nutshell - the process is the most important part of the musical experience. For an artist in this stage of his career, this is wildly impressive - Ducey has his mind in the right place.
When I say that creative control is everything for Ducey Gold, I mean it. Ducey shot the music video for “Love” with John Rawl and Rick Lancaster, his biggest hit to date. Additionally, he mixes and engineers his own music. According to Ducey, this is a given - keeping his own music true-to-self is the only way he knows. Since joining Stray Dogs Music Group, Ducey has further established through his music how vital it is to remain completely involved in his own creations.
For Ducey Gold, it’s all about being a rockstar. That no-fucks-given, creative edge that bands in the 80’s embodied is an inspiration for the NC native. Rap is the new Rock & Roll - it’s pushed itself into the forefront of popular culture. Like Metallica or Def Leppard, Ducey has his eyes set on sold out shows across the country. If his career to this point is any indication of things to come, Ducey Gold is closer to tour buses, groupies and packed tour dates than ever before.
Today, we sit down with Ducey Gold to discuss his music, fashion, festivals and plans for the future as part of a 6-part series covering and speaking with one of music’s most exciting new assemblies - Stray Dogs Music Group.
Hunter McNeeley : I like your style. It can be very popular, but at the same time, you do it differently than a lot of people are doing it.
Ducey Gold : "That's why it's hard for me to make hits. Not really, but if I make a song that I consider a hit but it sounds like something else or someone else, I would just scrap it. It has to be a Ducey hit; it can’t be a copy of a song that would be liked by the masses. I want to make hits that I’m comfortable with being hits by me. For example, Kesha - she makes a song like ‘Tik Tok’. Let's say a writer made those songs for her, and they blew up, but she didn't want to be necessarily received by the industry in that fashion. Then, you’re kind of fucked because after that, you come with some different shit that you actually like and people are going to look back to your past hit and not like your new shit. That's kind of our mindset on how I do things."
How did you really start getting into music?
"I started making music when I was 13-14. I just had Garageband and I was originally making beats at first. I was making beats and then I started messing around with iMovie.
I would make covers of Justin Bieber songs because back in the day, like 2011-2012, it was pretty popular to just have a home video where you would be singing or rapping and it would blow up, as long as you had a camera. Facebook was big back then so all you had to do was have a cool video that you can post on Facebook and it could possibly blow up, so I would always do that. At the time I didn't have a mic, so I was kind of stuck with making beats alone. I couldn’t really make any songs, but then over time - I'm not really sure how much time went by - but I was a freshman in high school, and my buddy and I got a microphone.
By this time, I had understood how the music creation process worked. I knew you had to have a mic, you input it into the computer and the computer is what processes everything. I knew all that. We were still on Garageband at that point and we would just make songs and only 2 of them ever came out on Soundcloud, but people from my area really fucked with them because one: nobody was rapping, and two: they weren't terrible; they definitely were catchy, they just kind of shitty quality. But, it was just enough good feedback to make me want to keep going.
Ever since then I just haven’t stopped. This has been who I am. Recording is something I've always had in my room. When I'm in my room bored, I'm not watching TV; I’m making music. I get inspired very easily when I listen to a song, especially like a nostalgic song, for me nostalgic is 2012-2015. I get inspired after listening and I see if I can make something like that, but just put my own spin on it."
How did you come up with your name?
"That shit is so funny that you asked. I was rapping when I was a freshman and I started posting on Soundcloud. I had an account on there just for listening to music a couple years before that and my profile username was Ducey Gold. I don't know where the hell I came up with that, but I was 13 at the time when I created that name.
I have no idea why I made that name; it just sounded cool to me at the time. I was just worried about people hearing the song, because people just knew me as Duce in my area. They were like, "Oh, Duce made a song”. After a while, it kind of just picked up from the people who didn't really know me that well. They would say Ducey Gold and then it got to a point where I I feel like I can't change it now. But, I like it, so it works.:
You have some Ducey Gold Metallica merch, does heavy metal have a special meaning to you at all?
"Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I love that whole vibe of being a rockstar because that shit is just cool to me.
I get a huge influence from rock culture in general, especially the older rock culture like the 80s-90s. They were super swaggy and just did what they wanted. Plus they didn't give a fuck. That's what I kind of try to embody; I love everything they did. They were so ahead of the curve as far as fonts and things like that. I've always been the type of person where if something is cool to me, I'm going to try to use it but put my own spin on it."
If you can make a remix of one of your own songs with anyone on it, who do you think you would want to put on it?
"I feel like this is a cliche answer, but for me, I have to say “Love” because that's my biggest song. But honestly, my favorite song that I’ve made is “Fear of God” because of the vibe that I was in when I made the song. It was the first time I had ever gone to LA, and I was vibing in a studio. It was a culmination of all the emotions I was feeling about being there and that song was really just a hit for me. I would have to get Uzi on the remix. That wouldn't even be a question. The first artist I'm going to get on a song when it's possible is going to be Uzi for sure. He’s my favorite rapper of all-time."
You shot the music video for “Love,” what was your favorite part about that?
"The scenery was my favorite part, but when they added the effects that was probably equally my favorite part. I didn’t know that was going to happen because that was John’s idea after we shot it, but before, it was definitely just the scenery because I knew I was going to look so cool. I've seen John's work before and I knew that if we got lucky with that scenery, then it would definitely look cool.
I will always be in debt and love John because he didn't have to do the video for me. We met so organically; one of my friend’s friends was his step-brother, or brother-in-law, and texted him my music and told him I was in LA at the same time as him. I can't remember if they gave me his number or they gave him my number, but somehow, we started texting and I basically told him my budget and that I was out in LA for the first time. I hadn't really made a lot of money and I couldn't pay for crazy videos and he just really worked with me. He actually made me three grand while I was in LA off features just from people that he knew."
How did the whole LA trip come together?
"I went there because I told myself all last year that I was going to LA the whole summer of 2019. I had to go from house to house from people that I knew. It's one thing if you stay with the homie for one week, but it's another thing to stay with a homie for a month. Especially people out in LA. They were all basically pen pals because I had never met any of them until I got out there. The thing I love about LA is if you have a little bit of talent or you just at least have a dream that you can share with people, people will actually really fuck with you, or at least that happened for me. I had nothing planned when I went to LA, not a single thing. I just knew that I wanted to be in LA to get some type of content to show people back home. I got into a Lele Pons video; completely random, stuff like that just happens when you’re in LA."
What is your creative process like?
"I want to be able to make my own beats; it would save me a lot of time because I'm so picky when it comes to beats. It would take some time, though, because I would have to get a whole new computer to make new beats. The computer I have, I’ve been using since I was 14 and it’s completely out of RAM. I have an external hard drive I use, which makes it possible for me to use Logic, but it's still slow."
What do you like about mixing and engineering your own music?
"It's very important to me. I've gone into numerous studios and been with engineers; they don’t understand my voice and how to mix it, but I do. I don't want to go to some studio, record a song, they make me sound super different, and then I can't release that because it’s just not me."
Do you have any interesting studio stories?
"Last summer I went to the studio and it was Teej and I. We were with this producer named Will Stellar, who I'm pretty sure is signed to Kid Ink now. I actually stayed on Will’s air mattress for a couple days when I was in LA because I was waiting for one of my friends to get back.
Teej, Will, and I went to the studio. Will just played a beat, and it was one of those Atlanta type beats. I never really rap like that, but I love that flow and I love that style. I made a hook and then Teej took a live video and then took the live video from his Instagram and put it on his Twitter. Twitter was loving it apparently, but yet to this day, that's all that I have. Everyone always asks from time-to-time what happened to that song, so people are really waiting on it. "
How did everything with the Breakaway Festival come to be?
"I have no clue, honestly. Jake texted me one day and said he got me a slot at Breakaway Festival on the main stage. It was random as fuck and I was at the club late as fuck. I guess they had a certain number of artists that they had been hearing about buzzing in North Carolina. I think what helped me was that I went to ECU for a time being and that's the kind of the demographic. Breakaway is mostly a rap and EDM festival. The first day was a Future and Lil Baby type day. The next day was Illenium and Fisher type day. They were already marketing to ECU kids, so I feel like it was an easy decision to pick me just because there's a bunch of ECU kids. I know Andrew Bodenheimer, he's a guy that's been in my corner the whole time with Breakaway and everything and he’s always been trying to help me."
How do you decide on a fit when you perform?
"I'm so bad about it, really. You'd think that because I'm a rapper, that would be a huge thing that I care about. Don't get me wrong, I care about it, but I really just take clothes and put them in a bag for the trip and put it on right before I'm about to go on. I might have one shirt here or there that I know I want to wear, but for the most part, it's literally just throwing cool clothes together. That’s why some people catch me in the weirdest outfits sometimes. I feel like I'm like that in a lot of ways. I don't really overthink; I’m kind of an in-the-moment, go-with-the-flow type of person."
What does it mean to you to be able to release a song and know it's going to get thousands of plays?
"I don't think about it, honestly. Actually, I do think about it, but to me, I think about it in a way that I'm not anywhere where I want to be. I don’t want this to sound cocky, but let's say my song gets 20,000 plays within two months. I feel like that was a flop for me, so I need to go back in and re-evaluate. At first, it definitely gave me motivation and it still does give me motivation because now, if my songs don’t do as well as I thought they should, I work even harder."
What can we expect from you for 2020?
"I'm actually working on two projects simultaneously. I'm working on my continuation of my into the dark tape that I dropped last year. I'm working on into the dark 2, but I'm also working on an EP before that, so I'm planning on coming out with the project very soon.
I have a song that I'm really excited about with 916 Frosty and Mystery (Please confirm this artists’ name). We're trying to get Rio to make the beat because we already have the song, but we're just giving him the vocals and hopefully he can go crazy and make a whole new beat.
I’ve got so many songs but like I said, I'm very picky at what I release and what I feel like I can release."