Ghostrage talks first platinum plaque, his story, and the importance of SoundCloud

If you work hard enough for long enough, success will inevitably follow. This is the summarized and simplified viewpoint that was shared with me from my conversation with record producer Ghostrage. Hailing from California, Ghostrage grew up as a connoisseur of music and as a producer addicted to the grind. Starting off with placements for legends of Soundcloud's underground emo rap scene, he has since seen immense success combining his West Coast influence with his passion for the Atlanta trap scene.

Melodies are just melodies, and without impressive drums, listeners may not feel the song the way they need to to connect with it. That's where Ghostrage comes into the pictureboasting booming 808s and quality kicks.

His constant drive to better himself has led to gaining the attention of those representing Rico Nasty, Lil Keed, and most impressively, Future and Lil Baby. Ghostrage has no plans on slowing down after receiving his first platinum plaque.

We got together with Ghostrage to talk about "Out The Mud," his early life in the Valley, and his adoration for Tropic Thunder's Less Grossman.

Who is Ghostrage, and how did the name come about?

Ghostrage is a producer who works with the likes of Future, Lil Baby, Lil Keed, NLE Choppa, Rico Nasty, and a whole bunch of artists. The name came about when I was in eighth grade. At that period in my life, I was kind of an antisocial kid. I didn’t have a lot of friends; I was kind of antisocial and did my own thing. As a result, I needed a hobby because I didn’t play sports. I did capoeira when I was younger, which was a Brazilian martial art. The first instrument I learned to play was the berimbau; I was six years old, so I like to think I’ve always been somewhat musically inclined. I needed something to do; for me, this became rock music. I learned to play guitar, drums, and bass at age eleven. I was arranging bands as well as writing, organizing, and recording songs. Unfortunately, it becomes difficult to work on one song with five people; I feel like that is a lot of input. It became easier for me to want to focus on production.

In eighth grade, I started fucking around with Garageband. My band had broken up, so I would tell people that I made beats. The beats weren’t even that good—it was all painfully simple stuff that you could do with stock sounds. Wow, I’m having flashbacks to all the times I got kicked out of class for making beats. I was definitely not careful enough with the volume knob. Right when I wanted to make sure it was fire, people around me would always notice and say something to the teacher.

So yeah, I started making beats then, and I didn’t have a production name. I was visiting high schools to potentially go to, and I got asked by some kids on this tour what I did. Like I said, I wasn’t really doing a whole lot of extracurriculars, so I needed to say something. One of these kids I was with was trying to test me to see if I was a real producer by asking me what my producer name is. He was like, “Oh, really? If you’re a producer, then what’s your producer name?” I didn’t really know what to say, so I just threw it out there: Ghostrage. The kid looked at me, taken aback, and he’s like, “Oh shit, Ghostrage. That’s kinda cool.”

What part of California are you from?

I grew up around the center of Los Angeles, like where Fairfax and Melrose is. That’s pretty much where I grew up. When I was about 12 or 13—when you had to make the switch to go from eighth grade to high school—my parents moved to the Valley so I could go to this performing arts school. I grew up in LA for real, but lived in the Valley as I got older. That’s where I’m at now, too; the Valley is super comfortable.

What technically is “The Valley?”

Everyone who is from LA knows this. Hollywood is the craziest shit for everything; it’s just an energetic place to live. People are coming from all over the world to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and just a few blocks down is where Amoeba Music used to be. It still breaks my heart that they closed, because I used to buy hella records there. There’s also a fashion-type district where Round Two is, as well as a bunch of other stores. Personally, I like living in the Valley because it’s very calm and laidback compared to LA. Geographically though, you’re still right there; I can still make a session if I need to.

Do you think your California upbringing influenced your work?

It definitely did; I used to listen to a lot of classic West Coast music. I was listening to The Chronic earlier this week and I was just thinking,