Interview with Carlo Gonzalez of Mile High Drive

Carlo Gonzalez is a businessman, an entrepreneur and brilliant marketer. He has traveled all over the world and met with celebrities far and wide, to bring them the world of exotic cars right to their doorsteps. He represents the YOLO (You Only Live Once) lifestyle perfectly, and makes him the perfect guest for the Yolo Podcast with Yolo Rum Founders “Uncle” Phil Guerin and Producer WIGNZ.

We asked Carlo to tell us a little about Mile High Drives and his business adventures. This is what he told us.

BUSINESSES

Drives At Mile High Exotic Car Rental
Offering ultra exotic and luxury car rental services in Denver, CO and Phoenix, AZ.

Exotic Cars Worldwide

Exotic vehicle buyer/seller services around the globe.

THE BEGINNING

I was tired of the regular job/work just like everyone else. So back in 2012, I basically did something that most people would consider completely irresponsible or just plain stupid. I drained my bank account to buy a Lamborghini to chase a dream. Yes, you heard it right. Drained my bank account. At the time, everyone thought I went crazy. Friends calling me all the time asking if “I was okay” and if I had literally gone bananas. Me being a huge supporter of Drake’s music….. I was just thinking”YOLO” the entire time! I told myself that NOW was the time to the risk. I had a plan and a passion. But most people doubted me at the time and straight-up laughed at my lucrative idea. But that didn’t stop me. I was 26 years when I made this life-changing decision, and here comes beautiful white Lamborghini I had just purchased that started a crazy and epic journey!

HIGHLIGHTS/PROMOTE

Drives At Mile High has now been operating in Denver for over 7 years. We offer daily exotic car rentals and group driving experiences. We’ve provided high-end car services for major events, athletes, musicians, such as:

Odell Beckham Jr
Jarvis Landry
21 Savage
Jeremy Hill
Drake
Tyga
LeBron James

Alice Cooper
WWF
….. and more.
With my other company, Exotic Cars Worldwide, I started global exotic car buyers service. So basically I would track down sellers with high-end/collector cars around the world and connect them with the right buyers. The major perks is being able to travel the world to meet clients and see come of the craziest cars around the globe. 
Before the businesses really took off, I was just a regular guy who went to middle and high school in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. And now, I’m in cities like Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, and London seeing AND driving Lamborghins and Ferraris. Not to mention riding in private helicopters with some of the scariest/most powerful people on the planet! Talk about YOLO.

ALISON COOPER

The last celebrity that I had mentioned (Alice Cooper) definitely brings up a funny memory. I was one of the very first rental companies to have the brand new 2014 Corvette Stingray back in late 2013.

I received a random call from a person claiming he was Alice Cooper who REALLY needed the new Corvette Stingray for an upcoming event….. AND he wanted to deliver the car to his house. Of course, I didn’t believe him. I’m thinking this fool wants to steal the car!!

Slightly offended, he handed the phone over to his designated “car guy” where this person proceeded to pay for the rental. I still was extremely skeptical about the whole situation…… and thought there’s no way that was Alice Cooper. I’m thinking these guys have to be professional thieves.

I arrive to a huge beautiful house in Scottsdale….. and guess what??? There he is. The man himself. Alice Cooper. We chatted about cars for a bit and I got him going in the vehicle right away. As a huge thank you….. he opened his garage that was COMPLETELY PACKED with brand-new in-box electric guitars. He pulls one from the box, autographs the guitar, says thank you….. and then drives away in Corvette.

ODELL BECKHAM JR.

Odell contacted me for some vehicles when the Pro Bowl was in Arizona a while back. This was during the football season where he made his world-famous one-handed catch. I delivered a Ferrari to his house which he absolutely loved….. but, after a week or so he wanted something much faster with world-class performance. Of course, this meant the high powered McLaren sports car. But, his people made it very clear to NOT give him any ultra high-performance car for liability reasons.

So of course I secretly gave him an upgrade to the McLaren and made it clear to please keep it on the “down-low” so no one would know he had the ultra high-performance car. What happened next??? He broke the internet by showing up to a live ESPN event in the car. My phone blew up all day with non-stop text messages!! So much for keeping the upgraded car a secret.

VIRAL VIDEO

The time when I accidentally created the most watched video in the world for 7 straight days. The famous skateboard kid and McLaren video generated over 13million views in 7 days. One of our cars had a damaged windshield. Instead of responsibly parking the car (like a normal person) until the windshield was replaced…… it was another YOLO moment, so I decided to smash the glass! 

We staged a fake accident involving a skateboard who smashed the windshield of our $250,000 McLaren after the car ran the stop sign and “hit” the skateboarder. We staged the accident by Littleman’s Ice Cream in the highlands in front of about 200 people. I did a TERRIBLE job of filming the whole accident with my phone. I wasn’t very optimistic about the video going viral at all. That night I uploaded the video on YouTube and went to bed. I woke up really late that morning. My phone was buzzing nonstop. I had missed calls from just about everyone in Denver. I finally called one of my buddies, who was an actor in video, and was screaming….. “DUDE!!! We’re all over the internet!!!”. He kept shouting that over and over again.

SnapChap, Instagram, Facebook, The Chive, Yahoo, CNN, Fox News, BBC…. the video is literally EVERYWHERE!!! News crews were on-site for an entire 2 days to investigate the “accident” in the highlands neighborhood in Denver.

Actor Nick Cannon loved the prank so much….. he sent his production team from New York to Denver to interview me in person. He wanted to feature the video on his show called Caught On Camera. The interview and video aired on the TV and created even more buzz. I had requests from TV shows in Japan, United Kingdom, China, Russia, Brazil, and more to feature the video on their network. The whole viral video experience was overwhelming and shocking at the same time. 

STEALING MY OWN CARS

​The winters months are generally slower in the exotic car business. So one year I decided to send 4 of our cars to a company in Vegas to try and create a little more revenue during these months. Long story short, they never paid me anything from all the rentals for 2+ months. I then had to fly to Vegas myself with the spare keys and had to basically steal my own cars back from customers who has my vehicles. The memorable one was stealing one of my exotic cars from the Cosmopolitan hotel in front of all the valets and watch them in horror as I took off with the car. 
To get my cars back…… I had to stalk to valets, find out where they stored the keys, steal the original key from the valet box when they were distracted, and then essentially steal my own car back before the valet noticed. Have you ever stolen 4 exotic cars in one day?? Well, lets just say I had to.

FUNNY “YOLO” MOMENTS WITH THE CARS

McDonald’s Lamborghini
Recognized as the originator/content creator of taking a Lamborghini through the McDonald’s drive-through. Again, another YOLO moment. Who in their right mind would take their Lamborgini through McDonalds??? I would!!! I started this trend about 7 years ago. Today several social media influencers have followed the trend and done the same. 
Make Monday’s Fun Again (Exotic Car Pastry Fights)
I would nonstop work all weekends. That’s the busiest time in the exotic car business. So when Monday’s would come around, the the shop would be relatively uneventful. All my friends would also at be work. So was tough for me to pass time just sitting around bored on Mondays. And of course, no one in the corporate world likes Monday’s either. The solution??? Monday pastry fights. I would buy boxes of pastries at the grocery store. All my friends with corporate job would get off work a bit early and get to my shop at about 3:00pm. 
We would all jump into Lamborghinis and drive around the parking lot while throwing pastries at each other! Yes, we were grown men in our late 20’s / early 30’s throwing twinkies and cupcakes at each other. But we were having the time of our lives! You can call this immature. We called it living our best life. Or as you call it, YOLO! Afterwards, we would wash down all of the cars while laughing hysterically. The amount of fun we had made everyone feel alive again.

Yolo Rum Podcast Interview with DJ Chonz

Yolo-Rum-Podcast-Interview-DJ-Chonz-Radio-Bums

Yolo Rum Podcast Interview with Radio Bums Founder: DJ Chonz

WIGNZ talks with DJ Chonz about music, the radio industry, KS1075 and hustling. They also talk about Chonz new RadioBums DJ School and how Chonz started his own scholarship with CU Denver and supporting the community. Check out the interview on Yolo Rum Podcast player and more below.

Support the Yolo Rum Podcast by subscribing and giving us a five star rating on iTunes and Follow WIGNZ on Twitter @JayWignz, on  Instagram @WIGNZ and LIKE his Producer WIGNZ Page on Facebook.
Producer Wignz and DJ Chonz Radio Bums Yolo Rum Podcast

Order Yolo Rum Online

DJ Chonz Interview Transcription

WIGNZ:                Yolo Rum podcast, and normally when I do these podcasts I try to, especially have a guest on, I try to write some notes down, try to make sure I know what I’m going to bring up. But for this guest today, I didn’t even need that, man. We go back, way back, without even … We worked with each other, but we didn’t work with each other. We were on two different planets. I got with us today for the Yolo Rum podcast DJ Chonz. Welcome to the show, man.
DJ Chonz:            Thanks for having me. No show prep, dog, what’s really going on over here?
WIGNZ:                Dude, it’s-
DJ Chonz:            Come on.
WIGNZ:                You know, normally I’d say my memory is shit, and I don’t … I need to just [inaudible 00:00:44] my memory, but I was like for you, and how far back we go, I was like, “It should mean something special to you that I could actually remember everything that you’ve done.” Although, I did have a few questions. I was like, “What was your title? Oh, that’s right. That’s what your title was.”
DJ Chonz:            No titles, you’re going to freestyle today, and I like it, man.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, man.
DJ Chonz:            Do it.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, yeah. Our history goes way back. I have respect for you in so many areas, Chonz. There’s been the straight hustle as radio DJs, learning the system. I came in as an intern when you and Tony had already gained your hustle, understood the game, and to be able to sit across from you and say, “Hey man, I learned from you,” even though we’re on two different planets, I went to bed when you were just starting your night, you know what I mean?
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, yep.
WIGNZ:                You were going with the afternoon show on … I guess we could say the station’s name, you know?
DJ Chonz:            Absolutely, [crosstalk 00:01:34]. It’s part of the history back there.
WIGNZ:                It is. So when we were on KS107.5 I was an intern in the mornings and then a producer, and then I would drive the gigs as the van driver, and work with you then. Every time, Chonz, I’d come up to you and I’d be like, “Hey man,” I was like, “I got this new gig, bro. I got this new piece of technology you should use.” You go, “I already got it, bro.”
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, I mean I was definitely a techie guy, but now, you know, you progress and now I’m asking you questions. Hey, it’s a mutual respect right now. We’re learning from each other.
WIGNZ:                We are. I think that we wasted half of our interview mojo just catching up for the last hour, because you were given the tour here. Radio Bums, DJ School, congratulations on that.
DJ Chonz:            I appreciate that.
WIGNZ:                We’ll go into that here in a little bit, but I think you and I were just catching up for so long I was like, “We should have just been recording that conversation … well, parts of that conversation.”
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, it’s good. Sometimes you can’t put everything out there like that, but we wanted to get caught up on what’s going on. I’m happy that we got to catch up a little bit prior to the podcast. I’m sorry, listeners, that you don’t get to hear everything all uncut, but hey, there’s certain things that you have to be PC about.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, 100%. That’s one thing we talked about is never burning a bridge. We could talk about that bridge, maybe that bridge when we crossed it, gave us some frustrations, but you know, I think that’s the one thing that you and I, why our relationship, is as solid as it is, is because hey man, we focus on what matters, and you have to have those networking relationships, dude.
WIGNZ:                We’ve talked about … we’ve been networking since networking started, dude-
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, for real man. I was king of networking. I’ve been down to travel to network, to fly somewhere to network, on my own dime. I will go to DJ Conferences just to network, I would fly myself out to Los Angeles to intern and basically pay to intern for record companies, or our marketing companies, and just do whatever it takes to network.
WIGNZ:                Hustle.
DJ Chonz:            And that’s half the battle. For example, in the position that we are, that we’re hustling right now, you have to network, and that’s what you do, is work your network.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, and I think that networking has so many different meanings. I think today the thing that we got a leg on the younger generation is they think networking is I liked your post. I shared your post. I gave you five stars on Yelp. It’s like, no. It’s building that relationship to where … I got a 360 camera, so if you want to hire me, and you need 360 video, I’m available for hire.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, he is.
WIGNZ:                But … Part of the hustle. But, I threw up online, I say, “Hey, I’m selling some Go Pros,” not a … Dude, I just wanted the Go Pros gone. I’m not trying to make money on it, and you hit me up, and you said, “Oh, I need some of those,” and then I said, “Well, I need an interview.” This works out.
DJ Chonz:            It was perfect, man. I was actually online that day. I was going to buy some Go Pros and I got tagged in the post, and I’m pretty … I was excited, and it worked out. You said you wanted to do … if I wanted to be on the podcast earlier, like I think it was that week, earlier-
WIGNZ:                Yeah, that same week, a few days before that.
DJ Chonz:            The same week, and it was just perfect. I was like, “Hey, I could get you drive down here and deliver them, too.”
WIGNZ:                Yep. It was set up and that’s what we did. It’s cool man. I got to see the whole set up here, the DJ School Radio Bums, DJ School. Nothing but respect, man. When you come in here, if you want to learn how to mix, I mean you need to go into a little more in depth, but there’s Mixing School, there’s ability to learn how to edit-
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, yeah.
WIGNZ:                [crosstalk 00:05:07] everything.
DJ Chonz:            It is everything. DJ Stacks and myself, we started the Radio Bums DJ School portion of the Radio Bums. Me and my friend, Hakeem, started Radio Bums in 1996. He founded, I’m the co-founder, originally, of Radio Bums. But we started the DJ School section I think about January. So what we do here is we teach the art of DJing, so the very fundamentals, we pride ourself in that. We could get most of our students mixing and playing it within six weeks. So, our youngest student right now is nine years old, and he knows how to blend, and he knows how to mix, and it’s pretty incredible to see kids get into it like that.
WIGNZ:                And you don’t know whose career you’re starting. For all you know, that could be the next big thing out there, and you’re like, “Hey, I was in,” and hopefully he’s networked with you so that when he makes it big-
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, hopefully I’m still networking with them if they make it big, though-
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            They’ll come back and give back to … You know, when you graduate from high school, and you’re out of high school for like five or 10 years, and then you go back, and you see your teachers-
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            And you’re like, “Hey, what’s going on?” And hopefully-
WIGNZ:                Thank you, and you value that teacher because you’re like, “Hey, I couldn’t have done this without you,”-
DJ Chonz:            Yeah.
WIGNZ:                And just so you know-
DJ Chonz:            So hopefully you know, especially in my career now, because I like to see the youth prosper. I’m not saying that I’m finished. I’m over 20+ years in the business, but hey, I got the shine. I’ve done a lot of cool things, you know what I mean? I watched films with Eminem, seeing 8 Mile together, you know? I opened up for Drake and Wayne at Red Rock, went on tour with Wu Tang, Maseo from De La Soul is one of my best friends. I had a great career, and it’s still going, but now I want to help the other youth at least experience it a little bit, you know what I mean?
WIGNZ:                Yeah. I think that’s great because I think that for you and I … When did you get started? What year did you get started?
DJ Chonz:            I started in 1993.
WIGNZ:                Oh, okay, so you’ve got a few years on me, bro. I think I was third grade or something.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, I was about 15 then, so you do the math.
WIGNZ:                Don’t do the math, you don’t need to be doing that math.
DJ Chonz:            You just do the math.
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            It’s all right, I’m not ashamed. Before I used to be like you get ashamed because you’re getting older and stuff like that, but I’m not ashamed of that anymore because the youths right now, a lot of them, especially … they like to … there’s this age discrimination going on-
WIGNZ:                Ageism.
DJ Chonz:            Ageism, yeah.
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            That’s what it’s called, ageism. So they think that you’re irrelevant because you’re older. It’s like, “Nah man, I’m just seasoned, and I respect what you do, young one, and I want you to succeed, but you don’t have to knock on me because I’m still in the game doing what you’re doing.”
WIGNZ:                It’s like what you just said about the teacher. You want to go back to that teacher because when you’re in school, you’re not paying attention-
DJ Chonz:            Right.
WIGNZ:                But you kind of paid attention, and then you get back years later, and you’re all, “Well, hell. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without-“I still [inaudible 00:08:03] those teachers, and one of them passed away, but I remember he, Dorian De Long, he let me for a class project make a video. Everyone else had to write a paper or something, and I came up to him and I said, “Hey, what I,” because I was in this video editing class, I said, “Hey, what if I made a video about this paper that you want?” Dude, I got an A on it, but that set me on the course of hustling videos. I’m like, “What if I do that video for you, morning showcase, once I’ve [inaudible 00:08:29]. I’ll do that video for you-“
DJ Chonz:            He inspired you.
WIGNZ:                And you get me a job. So, you never know-
DJ Chonz:            He put you on a path. He put you on a path.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, so that’s what you’re doing right now and that’s just awesome.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, that’s what we’re doing here. Yeah, we had a 15 year old. He got a residency at Roller City West, and he DJ’d there for a while. Then-
WIGNZ:                Yeah, dude.
DJ Chonz:            He also opened up for that Bhad Bhabie just recently with a rapper, King Tae. Another 16 year old rap artist, so he’s a 15 year old DJing and the rap artist is a 16 year old-
WIGNZ:                Wow.
DJ Chonz:            And they’re in front of 300 people, and he’s been DJing for about eight months. So these are the kind of things that were coming to fruition through the Radio DJ School.
WIGNZ:                Yeah. And I think you and I, for years, like you say, you started early and then you were on case with [Sim 5 00:09:10], I think … what year did you start KS?
DJ Chonz:            I started in 2001.
WIGNZ:                Okay, so you were there about five or six years before I started there. We had an amazing team, and I think now that everyone’s gone their separate directions, and everyone is doing their own thing now, some of us, maybe not necessarily through our own decisions, but whatever-
DJ Chonz:            That’s the nature of the beast.
WIGNZ:                That’s the nature of the beast, but in that business it’s more likely to happen to everyone who goes on their own, or they lose their job. We stuck together for over 10 years. We were number one for 12+ years-
DJ Chonz:            We had a great team, you know. It’s-
WIGNZ:                All day long.
DJ Chonz:            I mean, it started from the program directors, to the music directors, to the on-air talent. Everyone was good at what they did.
WIGNZ:                Mm-hmm (affirmative).
DJ Chonz:            And that’s what led us to have great numbers and-
WIGNZ:                No ego.
DJ Chonz:            And be together, and no ego, and everyone just went there and did what they did good, and that’s how we were successful for so long. Also, we worked for a pretty awesome company that wasn’t really in the sense into a traditional radio company-
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            So they really didn’t understand the business of radio-
WIGNZ:                We were a small percent of what they did.
DJ Chonz:            They’re like, “What the hell? What’s that company doing over there? Are we making any money?”
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            But I think that’s why we stood around for a long time, also.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, but we did great things, man and it took us to the next level. I think every path that we were on then has gotten us to the path that we’re at now. So, it’s exciting to see you do what you’re doing and just to see what’s next. I think that … What is next for you? Are you just focused on this school, and then you just keep mixing and doing that grind on the side?
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, you know so I do the school, and then I still of course DJ. Yeah, just whatever’s next, you know? If there’s an opportunity for me to get back into radio, I’ll do that. It’s just … I really don’t try to force things. It’s crazy because when they laid me off this last time from the morning show, people … I didn’t announce it or anything like, “Hey,” I just went about my business just like the first time they laid me off. I just go about my business. It’s like … You know who worries more about what I’m going to do is my parents, and my mom is like, “Hey, are you going to get a job?” I’m like-
WIGNZ:                “You haven’t had a job yet. You should probably get one of those,” yeah.
DJ Chonz:            Like, “Are you going to get a job?” I’m like, “I have a job.”
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            “I work for … I’m an entrepreneur, mom.”
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            I’ve been working for myself, so people out there listening, you just gotta take notes, is that you have to build your own brand if you’re a part of a radio station or any kind of corporation. You just want to build your own brand for when it’s time for you and that company to sever paths that you’ll have your own brand that you can still build and have equity for that brand so you can still live off of that brand that you built. I always have to reassure my mom like, “Look, I don’t have a traditional nine to five where I get a steady paycheck at the radio station, but I have all of these other things and hustles-“
WIGNZ:                That you’ve built.
DJ Chonz:            That I built-
WIGNZ:                And knew what you were building.
DJ Chonz:            That I have income coming in, so, no mom, I do have a job. So-
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            You know, but “Go work for the city.” I say, “Well, if the city wants to give me a fat check to stop me doing all my passions, I’ll do that.” But for right now … plus, for my family I would do that, I have no problem just going off in the sunset and, “Hey, this was a good run,” if an opportunity came like that, and I enjoy doing it. But right now, it’s perfectly fine-
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            I make a living, I pay the bills, my family, my kids eat. They’re clothed, they get to go on trips. We’re happy.
WIGNZ:                My boy Phil, and the founder of Yolo Rum says it’s called, “Making yourself unemployable,” and not in a bad sense, but just the fact that you’ve hustled so long, you know what you can achieve and can’t achieve. And, you’re achieving it for yourself, so to put yourself in a position to where you’re making someone else money, or you’re making a business money, and your day … you’ve spent 160 hours a month making them money, and you’ve done it for years.
WIGNZ:                Before that, you were making yourself money, now you’re putting yourself in this position to be like, “What am I … I’m busting my butt to make you more money?” That’s not fair. So, there’s nothing but respect. I think that’s the one thing you and I have always had in common, it’s always been the hustle. Like I said earlier, I learned that from you and Tony. Here’s a funny, Tony V., we were at a concert, and this was right when I first started, and this is like my first concert, I’m there with you guys.
WIGNZ:                Tony goes … everyone is coming in that park, I think it was the Fillmore. Everyone is coming in the park at the Fillmore, and then he’s like, “Yo, I’m going to put a cone in here and stop every car and then see who’s going to pay me to park.” So he put a cone in the entrance, and he stopped them and he’d come up in his KS gear, and he’d be like, “$5.00,” and he made money. He would give it back to them after they parked. He’s like, “Oh, no. I was just playing with you.” But that’s the hustler’s mentality-
DJ Chonz:            Yeah.
WIGNZ:                So it’s joking, but it’s the hustler’s mentality is there’s always a way to make that money.
DJ Chonz:            There’s always a way to make that money. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. What we’re actually trying to teach here at the school is a trade. DJing, to me, is a trade like being an electrician, a barber, or whatever. Those are the kinds of things that are always in demand, and being a DJ has kind of been recession-proof, you know? Even when we go through recessions, people still need music for certain-
WIGNZ:                People still need a release to get out from that recession, yeah.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, even it’s $100.00, $150.00, depending on your skill level, or who you are, or name recognition-wise, but being a DJ, you allow yourself to have at least some supplemental income even if you’re not doing it full-time professionally.
WIGNZ:                Is there a website? How do they get in contact with you?
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, radiobumsdjs.com.
WIGNZ:                Okay.
DJ Chonz:            Radiobums, with an S.
WIGNZ:                Learn how to hustle, because that’s all you can do. I mean, you’ll probably learn how to mix there obviously, but you can actually learn how to hustle and learn how it is to do your business [inaudible 00:15:09] because I like I said, that’s all DJing is.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah.
WIGNZ:                It’s like you’re making those connections with that bar, that local concert, what have you, that local DJ on the scene that might blow up, that might remember you. You just never know. I think we talked about that never burning those bridges. You and I … and I didn’t know this, and I know you said you went to Skyview after that, but you went to Thornton High School at one point, is that right?
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, I went to Thornton High School for two years.
WIGNZ:                Okay. So then you went to Skyview right after that.
DJ Chonz:            I went to Skyview first, so I went to Mapleton Public District actually my whole life, so I went to Western Hills Elementary, John [Dooey 00:15:45] Junior High, then went to Skyview for two years. So, all same district-
WIGNZ:                Okay.
DJ Chonz:            And then my last two years, because I was getting in trouble and getting into the gang banging kind of thing, I left to Thornton High School to finish off my wrestling career, my collegiate wrestling career. I graduated from Thornton High School.
WIGNZ:                I did as well. So, I’d like to think … and I guess I never realized that you went to Thornton, too, but part of me is like maybe we’re the most successful people to graduate Thornton. I’m not trying to like … I’m just saying at least in the local-
DJ Chonz:            I think Cathy went there, didn’t she go to Thornton?
WIGNZ:                No, she went [Whore 00:16:20] High. She went to Horizon.
DJ Chonz:            Oh, she went to Horizon.
WIGNZ:                She went to Horizon, so I think that you and I are probably the most … Again, I’m not saying that to blow our own horn, I’m just saying that because I think that-
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, you don’t know-
WIGNZ:                There’s something to that.
DJ Chonz:            You didn’t know that I was there because you didn’t see my picture on the wall.
WIGNZ:                For the Wrestling Hall of Fame or what?
DJ Chonz:            I was supposed to be up there, bro. They kind of jived me out of that.
WIGNZ:                Oh, why?
DJ Chonz:            I don’t know, maybe I missed pictures that day.
WIGNZ:                Oh, that’s terrible, dude.
DJ Chonz:            I don’t know what happened, so I go back there and I show them my kids like, “I’m supposed to be right there in that year,” look on the wall, “Hey, that’s me right there.”
WIGNZ:                We just need to take a picture and go in there and just throw you up on there, man.
DJ Chonz:            You seen my daughter-
WIGNZ:                Yeah, your daughter [crosstalk 00:17:02].
DJ Chonz:            The cool thing about being an entrepreneur, guys out there, is that when your kids don’t have school, they get to hang with you and chill out and talk on the podcast-
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            And they get a girl up in the Radio DJ School, huh?
Yazmine:              Yeah.
WIGNZ:                Yeah. Are you going to be a DJ when you grow up?
Yazmine:              [inaudible 00:17:19]
WIGNZ:                She’s shaking her head yeah.
DJ Chonz:            Well they can … shaking your head, you gotta talk, too, to the microphone.
WIGNZ:                Talk into the mic.
Yazmine:              Okay.
DJ Chonz:            Okay, all right. Are you going to sit here with the conversation, or are you going to let me finish the conversation?
Yazmine:              I’m going to see you.
DJ Chonz:            Okay, well that was great. Thanks for talking and [inaudible 00:17:38]. That’s my daughter, Yazmine, ladies and gentlemen. She is five years old, and she is awesome.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, well dude, you and Tony V … fatherhood is key, because I think that you’ve got to respect the hustle, but respect the fact that you guys are part of your kids’ life. Tony V’s son went off and killed in Basketball Division One player, and I think he’s playing in Europe now, or he was talking about that, and then you, Yazmine, man, she’s all grown up now, and I remember when you just had her. It’s crazy to watch that next level of entrepreneurship to parenthood, you know?
DJ Chonz:            What’d you say?
Yazmine:              I love you, dad.
WIGNZ:                Oh.
DJ Chonz:            I love you, too. Yeah, I mean I love being a dad. I love every part of it. She grew up in the studio with me, so when we first had her, I just had to pre-record … [inaudible 00:18:24] mixes on the radio-
Yazmine:              Yes.
DJ Chonz:            And so she was in her little playground kind of thing, in her carrying case, and my dog was there. We’d all be in the studio, and I’d be recording for like an hour. So she kind of grew up in the studio. You know when … You’re about to have a baby, right?
WIGNZ:                Yeah, July.
DJ Chonz:            So, I’m going to give you some little advice, all right? People are like, “Be quiet. The baby’s sleeping. Be quiet.” Don’t get in that routine, bro, of this. Make sure you have music playing, it’s not full blast or anything like that, but when she comes home, don’t be afraid to have the music at like half volume.
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            They don’t get … you have to be so quiet.
WIGNZ:                I wonder do you want her, or him in my case, “Hey, didn’t you want him to be in to that music vibe, man, nod their head?” My boy, he’s doing his own thing, but he just mixed an open for RJD2, right?
DJ Chonz:            Yeah.
WIGNZ:                He said, and I went to college with him and I remember him saying, “My mom would just put me on the washer and dryer and I would nod my head to the beat of the dryer.” So, music has such an impact on the development of kids and just everything that they’re doing, you know?
DJ Chonz:            I’m just saying this in a sense … I know you’re an early bird, I don’t know if your wife’s an early bird, but if you want your child to sleep in and things like that, just play music pretty loud. I played it pretty loud, and it don’t phase them.
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            So you don’t have to worry about, “Oh, be quiet. The baby’s sleeping.” You don’t have to worry about that. Trust me, take my advice-
WIGNZ:                All right.
DJ Chonz:            Play the music, be loud, talk loud-
WIGNZ:                I’m going to play this podcast, blare it up, you know?
DJ Chonz:            And you know … actually, there’s some cool lullabies, hip hop lullabies-
WIGNZ:                I’ve seen that. I’ve downloaded them.
DJ Chonz:            They’re cool. They’re dope. You’ve got to get them.
WIGNZ:                We’ve got Belly Budz. There’s Belly Budz that … this shows our age as we’re all talking about kids and babies, but there’s Belly Budz that you can actually put headphones on to the baby onto the belly of the girl, and they can hear the music playing.
DJ Chonz:            Do it, man.
WIGNZ:                But I got those lullabies.
DJ Chonz:            I’ve got them, bro. I play them.
WIGNZ:                All right, so let’s get back into what you’ve accomplished, because not only are you a phenomenal DJ and you’ve opened for the best of the talents out there, but you have a scholarship that was named after you, right?
DJ Chonz:            Yes.
WIGNZ:                How did that come to be? What is that exactly?
DJ Chonz:            I went back to school about four or five years ago. I have one more class to get my graduate certificate at public relations. I took it last year, and what happened is there was so much going on, I thought I was going to finish my last class, but it didn’t happen because I was just doing too much with the morning show going on, and doing the DJ School.
DJ Chonz:            I ended up taking an incomplete, but about four years ago, I went back to school and I met these people that were at CU star in a summer music industry program for high school students to come in and see if they liked what college was going to be about, and they wanted me to be a part of it.
DJ Chonz:            It so happened that I was on campus at the same time, and they wanted me to actually just give speeches and presentations and pay me for that. But I decided, I was like, “Yeah, that sounds cool and I could get a quick couple hundred bucks to teach,” and I was like, “I’m not into it. I want to be more involved.” I said, “How about we work together as a partnership?”
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            So that’s what happened is we worked together in a partnership, and I said, “I want to give a scholarship out in my name,” so that’s what happened.
WIGNZ:                God, [inaudible 00:21:39] again, you’re just thinking of the community and everyone that’s out there and trying to make a difference for them.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, it’s like keep your money. Actually, give that money to a student to attend your program.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, and what was the scholarship called?
DJ Chonz:            It’s called The DJ Chonz Scholarship. For the last five years I’ve been giving scholarships to CU Denver, but recently about two months ago, I just started a non-profit because I was in the giving mode, and people started donating to the DJ Chonz thing, but I didn’t have a non-profit, so when you want to donate to a non-profit, and you don’t have a 501C3, there’s really not … I really can’t give you a good tax write off or anything like that. Sometimes companies will match it if you have a 501C3, so recently I started a whole non-profit. It’s the DJ Chonz Foundation.
WIGNZ:                Wow.
DJ Chonz:            It’s non-profit. We’re going to launch it in October, but we’re doing all of the behind the scenes work route right now, but we have all the financial paperwork, we’re officially a 501C3 DJ Chonz Foundation. Now we’re going to start working with different organizations, not such as just CU Denver, we’re going to work with SOS Outreach, which is they help youth that come from the inner city go up to experience the mountains, snowboard-
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            And kind of these things, and some of the funds are going to go there. Also, have you heard of Youth on Record?
WIGNZ:                No.
DJ Chonz:            Youth on Record is pretty cool. They let people come and learn music, bands, they actually are going to have a podcast teaching kind of thing going on there-
WIGNZ:                That’s awesome.
DJ Chonz:            So, it’s a pretty good organization. I’m teaming up with that organization and, of course, the Radio Bums DJ School. So, the DJ Chonz Foundation will be giving scholarships to these three different organizations … actually before, that you can go and contribute to kids just doing positive things.
WIGNZ:                Good for you, Chonz. I think it goes back to what you worried about what your mom and dad said where they, even the listeners and our fans … because you and I, we each have a decent following, a pretty good following even to this day. I know you do the same. Even though we might not be on air, our goal is still entertain and interact with that audience. I think that them looking at us and being like, “Oh no, they’re not on radio. What happened to them?” I think you’re a testament to what we do where it’s like, “Nah, on to the next chapter. That didn’t work, so let’s do this next part of what we can do with what we’ve learned.”
DJ Chonz:            Well there’s one thing, with radio, yes, you’re on someone’s car or whatever every day, right? You’re doing something with that. But the thing about the social media game is that you’re always on.
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            You know what I mean? So, before when they say, “This is your last show, Wiggins. You’re done. You don’t get to say goodbye even though you’ve got a big goodbye going away party,” remember?
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            None of us is like, “I never got to say goodbye on the radio ever.”
WIGNZ:                Well, I was thinking about … You know what’s so funny is I was thinking about if people that even know, or I was even cool with … I remember one guy came up to me and he was like an audio production guy. He was nice, though, but he came up and he said, “Hey, if there’s anything that I can do for you, let me know.” I was like, “Do for me? I don’t even know your name, bro.” I was like, “I respect that,” but I was like at the same time, “While I don’t know your name, you don’t know what I do.” I was like, “There’s a reason why I’m leaving here.” That was the one thing that I am grateful for. I kind of left on my own merits
DJ Chonz:            That’s great.
WIGNZ:                To where I was like-
DJ Chonz:            Awesome.
WIGNZ:                “You know what? Here’s an opportunity. I’m going to take it.” Did it become what I envisioned? No, but you know I think there’s a difference between not meeting your goal and failing, and meeting your goal and just not accomplishing what you thought it was going to be.
DJ Chonz:            Well, you know what’s great? Is that you got a party, you got balloons. You got all these cool things. You gotta say goodbye. Who’s leaving? You’ve got every character of Larry’s voice go on the air and say goodbye to Wignz.
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            You know what I got? I got the HR lady walking me out-
WIGNZ:                Twice.
DJ Chonz:            Twice. So the second time that I went back to work at the company … so you see my backpack right here. It’s a black backpack. Everyone’s like, “Oh, welcome back,” blah, blah, blah. I was like, “Yeah, cool.” “This is your new big office,” and I was like, “Yeah, cool.” “If you want to hang stuff up, you can do whatever you want.” I was like, I said, “You see this backpack right here?”
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            “This is all I’m bringing with me-“
WIGNZ:                Ever.
DJ Chonz:            So when it’s time-
WIGNZ:                I’m ready.
DJ Chonz:            For me to get walked out the door again-
WIGNZ:                Just throw it on.
DJ Chonz:            All you gotta do is just get this little backpack, and we’re just going to be just fine.
WIGNZ:                Yep. Now awkwardness of taking down the posters.
DJ Chonz:            No posters, no family pictures. No going back for anything. So the second time I got laid off, I was … we were walking down the hall, and the HR lady is like … she was all sad that I was getting let go again.
WIGNZ:                Again. She’s all, “Dang. We keep going through this.”
DJ Chonz:            She was like, “Is there anything that I can do for you?” I said, “Yeah, go find me a job.”
WIGNZ:                She’s like, “I’ll get right on that. Let me see what I can do.”
DJ Chonz:            “Oh, I don’t know what you do.” [crosstalk 00:26:42] job.
WIGNZ:                To be honest with you, I was like you can not fire me. That would be good.
DJ Chonz:            Anything I can do? Yeah. Don’t fire me.
WIGNZ:                Oh, man. You know it’s funny, dude, because we’re sitting here, we’re doing this podcast, you and I have been friends and known each other for over a decade and talked about doing things for over a decade, and it took over a decade before we actually sat down and we’re like shooting the shit.
DJ Chonz:            It took me to get some Go Pros.
WIGNZ:                There needed to be some kind of exchange of goods.
DJ Chonz:            Some kind of transaction.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, some kind of hustling before it could actually work. But dude, I’m excited because we started talking and all the things we’re doing here … I think we’re on the same path, just different sides of the road. I mean, you’ve talked about being able to possibly teach here at Radio Bums DJ School, and maybe show people how to do a podcast-
DJ Chonz:            That’d be great.
WIGNZ:                As long as-
DJ Chonz:            They’re asking about it.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, as long as it doesn’t put me out of work. I don’t want HR walking me to the door being like, “You can’t do podcasts anymore.”
DJ Chonz:            We don’t have that big of a department. No HR. You’re going to get 1099s, so don’t worry about it.
WIGNZ:                Actually, you’re going to pay us to teach you. That’s how that works.
DJ Chonz:            You’re going to do your own taxes, there’s no health benefits.
WIGNZ:                You pay for your own gas.
DJ Chonz:            Pay for your own gas. What we do is 50/50.
WIGNZ:                You know, we have a Keurig though. You can make yourself one cup of coffee, though-
DJ Chonz:            [crosstalk 00:28:05] we got a coffee machine, we got a hot dog machine.
WIGNZ:                The Red Bull. You had me at the Red Bull fridge.
DJ Chonz:            Free Red Bull. Shot out to Red Bull. They hook it up for us.
WIGNZ:                See? That’s what I was going to ask you. I was like I know you’re not paying for those. Red Bulls are too damn expensive for you to be having a fully stocked fridge.
DJ Chonz:            I’ve got plenty underneath the … I don’t really partake in the Red Bull thing. They know that, but like you, people like be wired up. So I’ve got plenty for you.
WIGNZ:                You’ve got the networking with Red Bull now. See, that’s all I need. Let’s do a Red Bull podcast.
DJ Chonz:            I do got relationships with Red Bull, so maybe that might be down the line.
WIGNZ:                You never know. You never know. Well, I mean one of my things was Yolo Rum’s always been kind of what I’ve been focused on, so that’s why … The hardest part, I think, and you tell me … jump in and tell me what you think about leaving radio or … not necessarily leaving, but not doing it every day, is you have fun with this. This, to me, sitting with you and laughing is … and don’t get me wrong, I like doing it with the celebrities, and with [inaudible 00:29:01], or I talked about who … that stuff’s cool.
WIGNZ:                You’ve experienced that. But to shoot the shit and just laugh and have a regular conversation with your boy, that, and talking to people and having them entertained by what we’re saying, I miss that. It’s not necessarily that I miss the job … I guess that is the job, so maybe I do miss the job, but that’s the element I miss, is just being able to have fun. There’s just that element.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, I guess I miss that a little bit, too. The interviews are kind of whatever. I’m more of a … this is where age gets involved, I’m more of an old school head. So I get more geeked up over old artists, or artists that I grew up listening to-
WIGNZ:                Straight up.
DJ Chonz:            Watching on television-
WIGNZ:                There’re no nerves when a new artist comes in and you’re just shooting the shit with a new-
DJ Chonz:            I’m just like, “Hey, just give me the show prep.”
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            When’s this guy’s single come out?
WIGNZ:                What was the last thing he did? Well, give me a social media network.
DJ Chonz:            Is this the first time you’ve been in Denver?
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            Oh, so what are you going to do? What do you think about the ladies in Denver?
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            All the common questions.
WIGNZ:                What do you think about legalized marijuana? You like?
DJ Chonz:            What you gonna partake in tonight? You know? So it’s all the simple questions like that, but when it comes to … For example, when I interviewed Ice Cube, and I was cool, because it was the time when he was going to put out the NWA movie, and he was producing it. There was a big controversy about why Eazy E’s son was not playing Eazy E.
WIGNZ:                I remember that.
DJ Chonz:            And no one-
WIGNZ:                Because Cube’s son was playing Cube and all that.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, so no one was asking that question. Somehow I just threw that question and I was like, “What’s up with Little Eazy? What, homie can’t act?” So I did it in a slang version kind of question, like street version-
WIGNZ:                Relatable.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah. That I slid in there like nonchalantly, that it wasn’t offending him-
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            And he answered the question. It was like, wow. Then next time you know, Power 105.1 in New York City, they chopped up my interview and they’re playing my interview on the air. Everyone … it was so-
WIGNZ:                Are you hiring?
DJ Chonz:            I was like, damn. Cool things like that, I miss. But you know, what … Like, we have these outlets now that everyone … If you want to go on your SnapChat, Instagram Live or whatever, this is our own reality and TV show and we make it whatever we want to make it.
WIGNZ:                Exactly. No, and I think that’s why I enjoy this podcast because I mean I love Larry and Cathy. Without them I wouldn’t be who I am or what I am, and that show helped me develop Wignz as a … Dude, it’s funny because if someone … if I’m at a bar or restaurant and someone says Wignz … I was somewhere with my wife a year ago or so, and someone came up to the table and said, “Jared,” it was the waitress. They were all, “Jared,” I was all, “Oh shit. You know me by my real name.” I was like who is this person before I turn around. I was like, “Is this going to be bad?” It’s a girl’s voice, is this going to be bad? I was like, “Huh? Oh. All right, you’re pregnant. Someone else’s baby. We never dated or anything-“
DJ Chonz:            You [crosstalk 00:32:00] in trouble.
WIGNZ:                Wignz, and I got recognized somewhere and went to go pick up a package literally at Walgreens a week ago, and she looks at my ID and she goes … she’s kind of hesitant, and looking at my ID as if I was buying some liquor or something, you know? I was just picking up a package. She’s like looking at it, and she goes and gets the package and comes back, and then I go, “Oh, thank you.” She’s all, “All are Wignz?” There’s something that’s cool to that, you know what I mean? Because … and it’s not like an ego-stroking thing, it’s just cool to be like, “Hey man, I’m just some kid from Thornton that has a name, and you don’t know me, but you know my voice.” I was like … that was cool to have that kind of recognition.
DJ Chonz:            It is. I actually get really humbled by it. Sometimes I get embarrassed. I don’t know, it’s just my personality. So now more often I introduce myself as Mario-
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            Because I try to stay low key.
WIGNZ:                Keep it personal.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, keep it personal. I just … because when I say Chonz, it’s a whole story that has to come around with it. Like, “Oh, you’re on the radio,” and even when I’m not on the radio, people still think I’m on the radio. “Man, I listen to you every day in the morning.” I’m like-
WIGNZ:                Liar.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, so sometimes I’m like, do I tell them or do I not tell them.
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            So, sometimes if I have time I’ll say, “No, I’m not on the radio.” “Oh, what’s happening?” And then I’ll tell them. Sometimes I’m basically like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” just to keep the conversation going.
WIGNZ:                Oh no, it’s always a conversation that goes to that. Like when I see somebody, “Oh, you Wignz? What happened to Larry and Cathy and where are they at?” It’s like, “You’re talking to me man. I don’t need to go into what they’re doing. They’re doing their own thing.” And I don’t mean that in a bad way, it’s just like we’re still family, we’re still friends. It’s the same thing like I could hit you up a year after we’ve talked and say, “Hey, man. You wanna do a podcast? Oh hey, I’ve got some Go Pros for you,” it’s the same thing with them. If they need something, they call. But at some point you have to branch out on your own and not live under that umbrella if it’s the morning show, if it’s KS107.5 and say, “Hey, I’m my own person. I can do my own thing.”
DJ Chonz:            It is. I mean I was a sidekick for many years. I mean, I was a sidekick to Lucas, I was a sidekick to Joanna Gonzalez, I was a sidekick to Gina Le Fuentes, a sidekick to Slim, a sidekick to Tony. So, I was a co-host.
WIGNZ:                You know my world, man.
DJ Chonz:            I was a co-host to all these different people before I got my own shot to be my own individual radio personality on the radio. I totally get what you’re saying, bro.
WIGNZ:                And you don’t knock it because you’re just excited to be able to have that recognition.
DJ Chonz:            It’s just whenever you get that opportunity, you make the best of it.
WIGNZ:                You have to.
DJ Chonz:            So right now, we’re going to make the best of it.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, we’re going to make this podcast the best listened to yet. You know what I mean?
DJ Chonz:            I hope so, man. Sponsor it. Put a hundred on it.
WIGNZ:                Hey man, I’ll throw your logo on there, you give me a teaching job, we’ll be good [crosstalk 00:34:48]-
DJ Chonz:            Your teaching job’s based on commission.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, oh shit.
DJ Chonz:            If we don’t [crosstalk 00:34:52] those classes, you don’t get paid. It’s not salary, dog.
WIGNZ:                Oh, man.
DJ Chonz:            No 401K here.
WIGNZ:                None of that shit, dude.
DJ Chonz:            No.
WIGNZ:                None of that. Dude, I’m like “401K, what is that? I thought it was just a retirement plan.” I was like, “Well, I didn’t plan on retiring. [inaudible 00:35:11], oh shit.” All those things. Then when you have a kid, I’m like, “Oh, shit. [inaudible 00:35:16] retirement plan. I need a 401K-“
DJ Chonz:            Oh yeah.
WIGNZ:                All those things kind of [crosstalk 00:35:18].
DJ Chonz:            It gets real, real quick.
WIGNZ:                It gets real, real quick. Dude, Chonz, I love this, man. I know that you’re going to start your own podcast here soon.
DJ Chonz:            Real soon.
WIGNZ:                I’ll teach you in your class-
DJ Chonz:            Teach me.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, in a class how to do that. But I appreciate it, man.
DJ Chonz:            Thank you.
WIGNZ:                It’s cool to … this literally is like my fourth or fifth episode of the Yolo Rum podcast, and I’m excited because I’ve done this for a minute, but I never got to talk to you. We never got to hang. We always bullshitted around, “Hey, I got this idea. I got that idea.” Or, “Hey, let’s work together.” But I feel that both of us are crossing paths now and hopefully we’ll figure out what happens. But, nothing but respect to you, dude.
DJ Chonz:            Mad love, bro. I look forward to hearing this episode, and more episodes of your podcast.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, yeah. Sponsored by Radio Bums DJ School. One more time, the website. All that information. Where can they find you?
DJ Chonz:            Website is radiobumsdjs.com, that’s Radio Bums with an S, and DJs with an S. So, radiobumsdjs.com. We’re on all social media @radiobumsdjschools, Facebook and Instagram. We’re not using Twitter, I don’t know why. 720-309-4895. 720-309-4895 to get in contact with us. Come learn some DJ skills, or some audio production-
WIGNZ:                Or a podcast.
DJ Chonz:            Or a podcast from Wignz coming real soon, once he gives me the curriculum.
WIGNZ:                Oh, shit. I’ve got to build a curriculum? [inaudible 00:36:43]
DJ Chonz:            Go do a curriculum and we’ll make it happen for you. But I appreciate it, bro. Thanks for having me on.

The views and opinions expressed in “Yolo Rum Podcast” are those of Producer WIGNZ and/or the guests, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Yolo Rum LLC.

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Yolo Rum Podcast Interview w/ CEO and Tour Manager of SOJA

Phil-Guerin-Eric-Swanson-Yolo-Rum-Podcast-Header

Yolo Rum Podcast Interview about Yolo Rum History and Crowdfund with: Phil Guerin and Eric Swanson

Phil and Eric talk with WIGNZ about Yolo Rum’s history, and discuss how the crowdfund campaign is giving individuals a chance to invest in the award winning Yolo Rum. Eric also talks about his music projects with Slightly Stoopid, and what it’s like to be the tour manager for SOJA.


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Speaker 1:           This is the Yolo Rum podcast with WIGNZ.
WIGNZ:                Yolo Rum podcast, episode three. We’ve had Ballyhoo in here, Howie, and then we’ve had Caspa, but it’s a Yolo Rum podcast, so we have to kick it off right. We have the founder and CEO with us, Phil. Say hello, Phil.
Phil:                       Hello everybody.
WIGNZ:                So, we’re going to get into it, but we also have on the phone with us chief business development officer for Yolo Rum, Eric Swanson. What’s up Eric?
Eric:                        Hey, hey. How’s it going?
Phil:                       In the house!
WIGNZ:                Eric in the House. E3PO. He goes by multiple names. I think this is a good episode. Eric is out in Florida. Is that where you’re at right now, Eric, you’re in Florida? I know you travel a lot.
Phil:                       I am. I’m currently in Sain Petersburg, Florida.
WIGNZ:                And Eric kills it out there for Yolo Rum. I mean, he kills it just in general for us for years, so we’ll get into that whole story about how Phil and Eric met and what started this relationship that helped us get Yolo Rum in Florida. Phil, let’s do a little intro, man. Let’s talk about Yolo Rum, how you founded this amazing company, this amazing brand, and then let’s talk about how you started that relationship with Eric and got that going. How did Yolo Rum officially start, Phil?
Phil:                       You know, traveling to Central America and drinking a lot of Rum and wondering why people don’t drink more rum in the United States, I started out on a personal mission to introduce everybody to delicious, Central American rum. Yolo Rum achieves that. It’s from Panama, and it’s made from the best rum maker in the world, Don Poncho Fernandez, and we’ve won 21 international awards to date.
WIGNZ:                Yes sir, and we’re sipping on some Yolo rum right now.
Phil:                       Yeah. Cheers. Yolo.
WIGNZ:                We’ve got Phil’s signature drink, the Pom. A little bit of Yolo Silver in there and some Perrier, and we made some videos, so I can actually make drinks now, Eric I know Eric’s good at the cocktails. I suck at those. If it’s not a coke and rum, I don’t know how to make it.
Eric:                        No, the videos are crushing, and Yolo Rum itself is crushing. It never ceases to amaze me the things that we overcome and the things that we accomplish as a team. With Phil’s excellent leadership and the people he has around him, I hate to use a baseball euphemism, but it’s sort of like he has built a World Series team, and it’s just waiting for the right month to kick it all off and grab the trophy. It’s crazy how far the videos have come, how far the company has come as a whole, I guess, is what I’m getting around to.
WIGNZ:                I agree, and Eric, I know you’re going to hate this because you’re a Cubs fan, but I was thinking of that movie with Brad Pitt where he helps the Oakland A’s build it all of statistics.
Eric:                        Money Ball.
WIGNZ:                Money Ball, yeah, and so you are the Brad Pitt of the rum industry, bro, you’re the Money Ball, Phil.
Eric:                        Yeah, Phil is the Brad Pitt of the rum industry.
Phil:                       I look a lot like him too. That’s probably what you guys are saying. Frequently, I am told that, so I am not surprised to hear this now. That’s why I had no reaction. It’s like yeah, of course.
WIGNZ:                Yeah. You’re used to it by now.
Phil:                       I’m used to it. I definitely resemble Brad Pitt.
WIGNZ:                Without a doubt. Without a doubt. After a few rum drinks, I’m just looking at you thinking that I’m in fucking Fight Club right now, bro.
Phil:                       Now you’re scaring me.
WIGNZ:                I want to get into, Eric, overall, as a musician and a tour manager now, but let’s talk a little bit about how you and Phil connected. That’ll kind of touch upon that, but I think that story’s crazy. How did you and Phil … I mean, you’re from two different worlds. You’re in Florida. We’re out here in Colorado. The rum was kind of based in Denver, and because of you, it’s in Florida, but how did that initial relationship get started between you two?
Eric:                        I always wonder how people have such interesting stories when they tell them, and I’m like wow, that’s amazing that that happened to you, and how Phil and I came about actually is a really interesting story. I think it was all by natural cause, but I was working with Slightly Stupid and Silverback, have for years. Previous to this life that I’m living now, I was a graphic designer for many years, and I wrapped boats, and cars, and planes, and babies with vinyl graphics. Occasionally, I get the call for some special stuff, and I believe I got an email from Cyprus Hill, Slightly Stupid, Seedless and Silverback.
Eric:                        They all said hey, would you be interested in wrapping a van, and they sent me a picture of a cartoon, and this is something Dane Homequest drew up for one of the Red Rock shows, Slightly Stupid, Cyprus Hill, and 420 at Red Rock, and what they wanted to do is take the cartoon off the poster and drive it onto the stage for access television, and those guys are great about that stuff too. Who makes a cartoon of reality? Well, it’s guys like Phil and I.
Eric:                        So, Phil, in his mixed up world, if I’m remembering correctly, working with Seedless pretty heavy at that time, and having the networking, again, the great team around him that was able to pull this off, Josh was able to put together this van. So, he got an old, what was it Phil?
Phil:                       68 Chevy. Yeah, it was a 68 Chevy van.
WIGNZ:                How did you find that?
Phil:                       It was a farm find, actually. There were a couple, but it was a fresh farm find, and we had to put a new motor in it. We had actually, when we got this project, we had six days to complete it when they told us we were going to do it. We actually found it-
WIGNZ:                It’s like a reality show.
Phil:                       -bought it. We should’ve really documented it after we did it, but it was a marathon. By the end of it, we were all like dying from pneumonia because we had all been working like-
WIGNZ:                Yeah because you’re saying the show is probably going down on 4/20. It’s 4/20. So, you’re looking at April 14th, they come at you-
Phil:                       Exactly.
WIGNZ:                -and say hey, we want this to happen.
Phil:                       So, we totally had to rebuild this van on the interior and exterior, did an extremely good job-
Eric:                        Absolutely amazing, and this is no small feat, and I think we need to kind of focus on what a large feat that this was, and when I showed up, or when I got the call … sorry. My dog is barking.
WIGNZ:                I’m sorry. Eric’s dog looks like one of those dogs that should be in a commercial. He should be on the biscuit box for dogs.
Phil:                       Can we see a picture of the dog?
WIGNZ:                We should show you, Brad Pitt, holding the dog, bro.
Phil:                       Oh yeah, whatever.
Eric:                        So, I get the call about this van, and I’m like okay, well I have the same among of time to prepare the large format graphics, which at that time, it was not quite as advanced and we had to leave it drying for a couple of days, and it shut down a printing shop here in Tampa for two days to print all the material for this van. So, I ball it up or roll it up, put it in a suitcase, and get on a plane, and I get off the plane, and they’re just like yeah, go down to this garage, and here sits this van, primered up, beautiful shag green, lime green interior plush carpeting and disco ball hanging from the inside. I was like holy crap. Not only did they find a van to match the poster, they got the exact van and built it out to specs.
WIGNZ:                That is a reality show, yeah.
Eric:                        We spent three days, to speed that part of the story up, Phil, every day from gosh, I don’t even know when we started, 6 am to 3 am, for three days we spent in this garage, a mechanic shop.
WIGNZ:                And not even knowing each other, right, because at this point-
Eric:                        No.
WIGNZ:                -you guys were just the middle men for the higher ups.
Eric:                        And we’re sitting there talking at some point, and we’re almost through with the van at this point, thank God, and he’s like yeah, so this rum, and he brings it up, and I’m like huh, it sounds awesome. Long and short of it, talked about me living in Florida and whatever. So, anyway, the week after, Phil gave me pneumonia, which he argues to this day that he did not.
Phil:                       I think that we all got it from several places.
Eric:                        I had two ear infections and pneumonia when I came home. I’m not kidding. It was brutal.
Phil:                       I couldn’t even go to that show. That was horrible. I was so sick, I couldn’t even go to the 4/20 show-
WIGNZ:                After all that work, you couldn’t even see the van drive out.
Phil:                       I was supposed to be backstage with the van.
Eric:                        If I remember correctly, Phil’s doctor put him on a breathing machine or something.
Phil:                       Yeah, I was doing nebulizer treatments. God, that was crazy. We just worked so hard. We just worked as hard as we could.
WIGNZ:                I’m sorry for Eric and for you, Phil, and I think all of us at Yolo Rum, that’s just the work ethic of all of us, and so I think that’s probably what … I mean, obviously, kindled that bond and relationship between you two because you had appreciation that you guys were really working yourself to death.
Eric:                        Absolutely. Absolutely.
Phil:                       And Eric did a great job wrapping the van. It was amazing. Came in, attack of the project.
Eric:                        There’s no shortcoming with Phil, and when it comes down to it, his probably only shortcoming is that he wants to do it all, but anything he sets his mind out to do, he does. I learned from seeing his employees from his other businesses, all of them smiling and happy, and he really has a healthy environment around ti.
WIGNZ:                Agreed.
Phil:                       Thanks guys.
Eric:                        He’s just an amazing leader, and it’s been amazing to be a part of.
Phil:                       Aw shucks.
WIGNZ:                You’re the leader of Fight Club.
Eric:                        He says we need rum in Florida, and I’m like yeah, there’s a lot of rum down here, and it’s like yeah, well what’s up with that? He’s like you might be the guy. I’m like I don’t think I’m the guy, and he’s like I might be the guy.
WIGNZ:                Phil does have that. Phil can spot the talent, I think, even in the individual without the individual knowing that they have that talent.
Phil:                       Well, you guys are all part of this team. We have like an Oceans 11 here at Yolo Rum.
WIGNZ:                Yep.
Phil:                       And you guys are definitely part of that. Everybody plays their role, but we bring it strong. We have a crazy team, and you guys are definitely a huge part of that, and it’s by no coincidence or by luck that you guys are here. You have earned your position in the company, and we’ve done this. We’ve grinded this out over the last five years together, and we’ve achieved amazing things. We’re just at the very beginning, but now, things are really starting to come together.
Phil:                       I commend you guys for sticking to it and having the discipline to be able to say hey, we’re going to work on this project, and it’s not going to be done today, and it’s not going to be done tomorrow, but in several years from now, we’re going to have this amazing company, and we’ve built it from nothing. You guys have earned every ounce of respect that I have for you, and I appreciate everything that you guys do every single day, and we are a crazy animal, and I say that a lot of times, but all of our skills together are unparalleled as far as I’m concerned.
WIGNZ:                Now, so Yolo Rum has been around for five years. You guys starting that relationship, you were almost, I’d like to say since the beginning, right Eric? You’ve been part of Yolo since-
Eric:                        Yeah, I think he was probably a year in at that point. He had some in the country for sure, but we were self-distributing in Colorado and had a few accounts, and I think Phil was really trying to wrap his mind around what he was going to do with it. I brought home, or however the legal term is, I wound up with a couple bottles in Florida, and I took them to a couple of places, and people were like yeah, we like it. I don’t know if in the beginning, they got behind the brand as much as they got behind the people. Phil and the team visited Florida many times, and it’s just an infectious group of people. There’s no two ways about it. If we were selling frisbees, when we leave the room, you’re going to-
WIGNZ:                Love that frisbee.
Eric:                        Yeah.
WIGNZ:                Seriously, I mean, I kind of want to fast forward to where Phil saw the potential for a podcast, and we started Larry Uncensored in the Yolo Rum studio, but even that relationship, Eric, you allowed us to go back stage at Red Rocks for a Slightly Stupid show, and we set up, and it had never really been done before, but we set up and recorded a podcast backstage at the Slightly Stupid show. We got to talk to John Philips, who was the manager for Sublime back in the day, and then was part of Silverback that you talked about earlier, and so that in and of itself was okay, I need to, for me personally, I need to meet the expectations of what these guys are delivering.
WIGNZ:                Phil delivers a great product with the rum. He executes business on point. I was like Eric is a part of an amazing tour with an amazing band, and I have to execute on here. So, I think it’s very nice to almost come full circle in this moment and be able to say hey, our Yolo Rum podcast episode three going off. We’re not only just talking about the rum, but we get to talk about the history and kind of document this story because this story is so unique, and I just think, like you said, it’s Oceans 11, Phil.
Phil:                       Absolutely.
Eric:                        There’s a skillset, Wig, in capturing. You meet a lot of interesting people in the world, and you just have to remember it. There’s real value to podcasts and how far the technology has come because you do really bring out some details and some stories, and Phil, people will pay money one day to hear Phil speak. He’s that type of businessman. He’s that savvy, and he’s that motivational that he should have his own business. He started from a clay mushroom and a 200 dollar loan, I think, and to think of all the things he’s done, and to think that you can capture it on any level for other people to hear is amazing.
WIGNZ:                No, I agree. It’s exciting to see all of us come together and know what’s coming next. For everyone out there, a lot of you are probably listening to this because there’s that opportunity to invest in Yolo Rum. We have a chance for you to own a piece of Yolo Rum. So, a lot of you are listening to this podcast, and you know the history now, but there is that opportunity, and it depends on when you’re listening to this podcast, but it’s coming out to where you can actually literally get a piece of this company. YoloRum.com/invest, and Phil, do you want to talk a little bit about what that opportunity is and what people can expect with it?
Phil:                       We’re actually going to be doing what’s called an equity crowdfunding, and that will be on Wefunder’s platform, which I’m excited to announce, and that’s the first time that I’ve said that publicly. It makes me feel funny inside, but it’s exciting. We’re authorizing 10 percent of the shares of the company to be sold for a fundraise. We’re not just looking for people to invest money in our company. We’re really looking for people to help us with sales leads, get out and ask for the product, buy the product, tell their friends about it, but we really want people to be actively involved and kind of like a brand ambassador.
Phil:                       That’s why this way that we’re going is so important to us, and it’s democracy funding, and we’re going to grow this company up by using people, and the same skills that we have, we’re going to ask other people to kind of step up and help us do it too. It’ll be live and active hopefully in the beginning of June 2018, depending on when you’re listening to this.
WIGNZ:                Exactly. You missed your chance if it’s after that.
Eric:                        Exactly. Once in a lifetime.
Phil:                       We’re using it as a big springboard to kind of get our brand out there and to build on our brand, and we have some pretty big plans for our brand. We were really pre-equity or pre-revenue is really what I want to say, before this point, but now we have distribution nailed down, national distribution nailed down, and we have some really exciting things happening. So, it’s a good time to invest in us. It’s a good time to invest in our company.
WIGNZ:                Can we talk about the trademark at all?
Phil:                       You know, the trademark was an exciting journey. We’ve had a lot of big companies try to kind of keep the little guy down, and we were able to prevail in a kind of tort over our trademark, but after five and a half years, we will be solidifying our trademark, which is a really exciting thing for us. We’ve had to actually clear a bunch of people that tried to lay stake and claim to it, but really didn’t have legitimate rights, and we were the first. Our website was up, and we had our certification, our labels, our approvals from the government, and we own Yolo Rum, and that’s our trademark. Everybody that knows, knows.
WIGNZ:                Yeah. It’s next level, and it’s just an exciting time because I think we’ve been working hard for this moment since the van wrapping with Eric to get to this precipice, if you will, and I think it’s just super exciting, and I think that being able to do this podcast at the same time that we’re doing that and talking to the audience because I think the more that our relationships grow with everyone out there, the more we can have cool guests like Ballyhoo, which was because of Eric, and talk to these guests. Eric, because of you, man, we’ve had the opportunity to talk to Miles from Slightly Stupid. We’ve talked to John Philips. We’ve talked to the bass player for Soja. You yourself, you’re very modest, and I’ve been waiting, and I’ve been saying oh, I need to have you on this podcast. We’ve got to have you on this podcast. Talk about your experience. As a musician, you’re now the tour manager for Soja. Is that right?
Eric:                        That’s correct.
WIGNZ:                So, how did you get into the music scene? How did you evolve, and where was your starting point? I know that’s probably a long, loaded question, but how did you get from a musician, and you grew E3PO, which I remember and love that name, to the point of where you’re the tour manager for Soja?
Eric:                        I think in short, you just have to keep at anything. As a kid playing music, I wanted to do that as a profession, and over time, life beats that out of you. Things we love, life beats it out of you. You wind up going to the mill or to the factory and working, and I’d leave the music business, and I’d try that for a while, and I’d go back to the music business. I just realized if you put me in a cubicle, I’ll die, and so I found fluid work through graphic design and things that allowed me to tour as a musician, and then after 15 years of that, you realize that the format’s changed, the market, the climate changes.
Eric:                        I decided at some point in the internet era entering the scene that I knew if I wasn’t going to be on the cover of Rolling Stone, that I still had to be in the business, and that was my happy place. I think it’s important everyone find a happy place. I found ways, like Yolo Rum, to make it work together. I found other ways to make it work together so that instead of one pulling another, everything you do can kind of help one another.
Eric:                        Yolo Rum has been very supportive of that, and the music business has been very supportive of Yolo Rum, as to where brands pay six figures to be endorsed by them at concerts, and we didn’t pay anything. So, we were able to set up Yolo Rum stuff backstage at concerts and kind of make way for the podcast and et cetera, but the truth of the matter is, if you put it in a nutshell … demo tips in my bedroom, and I mailed them to a record company from the time I was 15 until God knows when, and finally, they just said you know what, we don’t want to sign you, but we’re going to give you a job.
WIGNZ:                Persistence. Persistence pays off, and not giving up on your dreams. I think that’s kind of what summarizes that.
Phil:                       And now, he’s like doing some pretty big recording stuff. What do you got going on?
WIGNZ:                Yeah, that’s right. You’ve got the new song “Alright” with Dela from Slightly Stupid, Kenny Bongos, Soja, Ted from Pacifier, and I mean, even the proceeds of that are going to charity. Yeah, tell us a little bit about that.
Eric:                        Yeah, we have a new track. It’s up on iTunes and all those places. It’s called “Alright” and I started this … I have a million bands, whatever, and I just got tired of all the band names, and Eric Swanson is not a cool name by any stretch of the imagination.
WIGNZ:                Oh, come on man.
Eric:                        Well, you know, everyone advised against calling it Eric Swanson. I was like you know what, it’s going to be alright, and I just was like it’s fine, but what I did was wanted to create … people don’t pay for music anymore. Streaming has kind of-
WIGNZ:                Killed that.
Eric:                        Yeah, kind of killed that, but I thought there was still a way to buy music for a cause, not just because. So, we came up with this project. It’s still in the process right now, but it’s called Lenders of Light, and it’s sort of like a super group. It’s an idea that we produce these singles, and put it out, and the Lenders of Light project means that all the proceeds will go to charity, and all of the proceeds, if you download “Alright” goes to the American Cancer Society, specifically Relay for Life. Everybody got behind it. It’s just a good cause, and when you see it shared across the platforms and everybody talking about it, it just feels good to do it.
WIGNZ:                It shows your love for music. I think it fills your passion. Your whole story shows that, but it’s not about the almighty dollar, which is what I think drives some of these kids … I don’t want to say kids. It makes me sound old, but these musicians that thing oh yeah, I want to be millions, I want to show that bling, and you’re just about the music and the art.
Eric:                        Yeah, I think … the thing is about anything in life, and Phil can attest to this, and I’m sure you can too, Wig, do what you love, but be flexible. Just because you love laying bricks doesn’t mean you’re always going to lay great bricks on a Friday. You sometimes have to lay red, small bricks on a Monday, you know? Sometimes, you have to make the bricks. You have to be flexible, and I think the real gravity of the situation hit me at I’m tour manager for Soja, two time Grammy nominee Reggae band, I’m a big fan as well as part of their team, I was sitting in my office a month ago, or couple weeks ago, seems like months ago now, and they were like hey, can you come out onstage?
Eric:                        I was like oh shit, what’s the problem? So, I get up and I walk out there, and I’m like what’s going on, guys, and the whole band is playing the song “Alright” and I’m like what the hell. They’re like get on the mic, man, and I was like oh this is awesome. So, we did the song, and we finished. I was like guys, best day ever. This was really cool, and they were like well, we’re doing it tonight, and I was like okay. So, sold out show in South Carolina, they brought me out onstage, and we did it, and they pumped the song. I was like holy cow.
Phil:                       Dang dude. Good job. Congratulations, man.
WIGNZ:                That’s amazing. Yeah, congrats.
Eric:                        Yeah, so the next day, you know, they’re just like it’s a great song, great cause, we want to support you, whatever, and I’m like cool, it was a lot of fun, best day ever. So, the next day, we’re in Atlanta at the Sweetwater 420 Festival, and we are in the shadows of this huge skyscraper with a 20 foot sign on it that says American Cancer Society, and we all walked off the tour bus and looked at each other, and they’re like we gotta do it again today. So, yeah, it was amazing. Jacob Hemphill, the singer of Soja, in-between songs, introduces the track patiently and compassionately, and we’re able to spread the love, man. So, it’s love begotten love with love.
WIGNZ:                That’s amazing, and that’s just the power of music in and of itself. Being able to help others, I mean, it doesn’t get any better than that. That feeling of … was that the largest crowd you were able to perform in front of? What was that like? Were you nervous, did the nerves go away because I know you’ve been performing for so long. How did you feel?
Eric:                        I don’t think nervous is the right word, but I think 20,000 people, well in that particular case, for whatever reason, Jacob decided to have them chant my name. He was like say this name, Eric Swanson, and they’re like Eric Swanson, and he’s like no, that wasn’t good enough. Say it again and articulate. Eric Swanson. So, the whole crowd says Eric Swanson. He’s like okay, well that’s our tour manager, and we’re going to bring him out, and I was like that was sort of momentous, I guess.
Eric:                        Yes, it was the biggest crowd, to answer your question. That was. It brought me to tears for more than one reason. We’re all affected by cancer, and I’m not trying to bring the vibe of this whole podcast down, but we all have those people in our lives, and the gravity of the situation hits you in different times. It brought tears to my eyes. So, was it the best day ever, yeah, probably. It was cool, but you should buy it yourself or stream it a bunch and hopefully we can all chip away at-
WIGNZ:                Yeah, all make a difference and make an impact. Well, Eric, it’s amazing what you’re doing. I’m hoping you’re going to be back in Colorado. Does it look like Soja is going to be headed this way?
Eric:                        Yeah. We’re going to be back, and in fact, maybe we can get one of the guys on a podcast. I’m going to be in Winter Park with the guys here coming up.
Phil:                       When is that? When are you guys going to do that?
Eric:                        The Winter Park show, we’re in Fort Collins on the 15th of June, and we’re in Winter Park on the 16th of June.
WIGNZ:                Well, Eric, you’re just everywhere. It’s exciting to have you just be part of this as you do what you do. The chief business development officer, the official title for Yolo Rum, and Phil, thank you. The CEO and founder of Yolo Rum.
Phil:                       What’s your title?
WIGNZ:                Oh, I am the chief digital officer.
Phil:                       There you go. Congratulations to both of you guys on that.
Eric:                        Yeah, that’s a huge deal.
Phil:                       It is a big deal.
Eric:                        And if anyone does listen to this podcast and trying to make sense of it, the reality of it is is the investing into this company is like investing into a family, and it’s probably never been done before, which is pretty much our MO, and it’s really exciting to be a part of something that feels this good. Just go with the flow. Check us out online, and we have enough social media and intellectual property out there to entice you.
WIGNZ:                You never know. It might get you to a Soja show. You might be able to go hang out with Eric, and Phil and me right there at a Soja show right there in Winter Park. You never know.
Eric:                        Yeah, if you listen all the way through this podcast, then you hear this moment.
WIGNZ:                Exactly. You deserve it. Yeah. YoloRum.com/invest. Thank you, Eric. Thank you, Phil. Episode three of the Yolo Rum podcast. We need you to like and subscribe and download, and that’s going to help us spread this word, and if you’ve been listening, it’s probably because you’ve been interested in knowing the history of Yolo Rum and knowing the team that’s involved with it. We’re just three people in this team. The team is made up of, Phil was saying, Oceans 11 caliber team, and it’s just amazing. We’ve got Larry and Cathy today, but we also have everyone behind the scenes. Chris, Sam, and we’ve got Jim Pop. It’s just an amazing team, and we’re excited to have every one of you be part of this with us. YoloRum.com/invest, and don’t forget, download, like, subscribe, and you never know. Next podcast, we might have Soja on here. We’ll figure that out, but you’re only going to know if you subscribe. Yolo Rum podcast, episode three. Thank you guys.
Phil:                       Yolo.
Eric:                        Yeah, Yolo.

Yolo Rum Podcast Interview with Howi Spangler from Ballyhoo!

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Howi Spangler from Ballyhoo! Stopped by Yolo Rum Headquarters to talk with Producer WIGNZ before the band performed at Cervantes Masterpiece. The two talked about the process of writing music, the upcoming album and about Howi’s venture into the world of podcasting as the host of ‘Tales from the Green Room’. Check out the interview on Yolo Rum Podcast player, see exclusive photos from the interview and more below.

https://youtu.be/EaXlyWvU1GU
Support the Yolo Rum Podcast by subscribing and giving us a five star rating on iTunes and Follow WIGNZ on Twitter @JayWignz, on  Instagram @WIGNZ and LIKE his Producer WIGNZ Page on Facebook.

Howi Spangler and Producer Wignz

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Tales From the Green Room Podcast

Howi Spangler of Ballyhoo! talks about his time in the music industry and other fun things. Tune in for tips on how to navigate the business and hear from special guests along the way.

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Official Ballyhoo! Website

Listen to new Ballyhoo! tracks, check out their soundcloud, see where they’re at on tour, connect with them on social media, see photos, shop their online store and more.

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Producer Wignz Interviews Howi Spangler from Ballyhoo! for the Yolo Rum Podcast

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https://youtu.be/QiJc1-CvUNk
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Producer Wignz Interviews Howi Spangler from Ballyhoo! for the Yolo Rum Podcast

https://youtu.be/gGsGpdT5Sgo
Howi-Spangler-Ballyhoo-Rocks-Yolo-Rum-Studios-Producer-Wignz-Founder-Philip-Guerin

Producer Wignz, Howi Spangler, and Yolo Rum Founder Philip Guerin

WIGNZ:                                We are live right now on Instagram, but we’re also recording for the podcast episode number two of the Yolo Rum Podcast my man. We’ve met before, I’ve done other podcasts with you, but this is Yolo Rum-specific, hosted by myself. I mean, we will get into it, but you, you’ve been in that podcast world a little bit. But we’ve got Howi from Ballyhoo! He and I go way back, we were … I kind of hijacked a backstage dressing room at Chillin Music Fest in Florida, and that was when we first met, but it’s cool to be hanging with you, man, and just-
Howi Spangler:                  Thanks, man.
WIGNZ:                                -full circle after, I mean, three years? I think we, every time you come to Colorado and you do your thing, we run into each other, so how you doing?
Howi Spangler:                  Doing great man, doing great. Did you almost get in trouble or something with O.A.R. or something like that?
WIGNZ:                                I was totally going to bring that up, because we, dude, totally just BS’ed my way backstage. Like, totally just … I’ve worked in radio for so long that I’m just like, if you fake the funk, no one’s going to question you.
Howi Spangler:                  If you look like you know what you’re doing …
WIGNZ:                                If you look like you know what you’re doing …
Howi Spangler:                  You could walk right the fuck back there.
WIGNZ:                                Yeah, that’s-
Howi Spangler:                  Doesn’t matter.
WIGNZ:                                So, I remember Eric, who is a partner at Yolo Rum, he’s like, “Oh, you can go backstage, I’ll let you interview Ballyhoo! and then we’ll try to get you these interviews”, but when I’m in the audience, I was like like, I can’t hear anything. I hear this ruffle, I was like, there’s terrible noise, I’m not set up for a podcast. I was like, “The only way this will work is if I get backstage.” So, I’m hustling my way back there, the security gate guy, I was like, “Hey, I’m supposed to meet Steve over there, or, oh, Sam? That’s the guy.”
Howi Spangler:                  “Yeah, that’s the guy.”
WIGNZ:                                “That’s the guy.” And so, O.A.R.’s dressing room was there, and I was like, “Hey, can I set up for a podcast in there?” I mean, they know all about it, and so, yeah, that was … you were really the highlight of my interviewing back then-
Howi Spangler:                  Aw, thanks man.
WIGNZ:                                -because it was definitely ghetto-rigged.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, yeah, totally.
WIGNZ:                                But, you know we had a good time, and I can’t believe you remember that. But yeah, we’re in the middle of the interview, and … “Hey! What are you doing in our dressing room?”
Howi Spangler:                  Oh, man, sorry, O.A.R. Sorry about that.
WIGNZ:                                Yeah, yeah, so … but man, you yourself tour all the time. I was listening to your podcast, and I want to get into that, but when I was listening to it, and it was episode nine you did, you’re fairly fresh with the episodes, just like we are. You travel 200 days a year? Is that right?
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, I mean, it’s … we’ve cut it back the last couple years, but we were doing, I mean for the last decade, and we’ve been touring for 12 years. And so, like roughly, about a decade of probably 250 days on the road with travel, because you’re doing 200 shows, plus the days that … to get there and between and all that. It’s a lot, you start to feel it for sure.
WIGNZ:                                God, yeah, no, but I mean you love it, right?
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, no, you love it. It’s like, if it’s your passion, man? It’s not work, and you love it, but just like anything else, it does get exhausting and you do get tired. Sometimes you want to quit. I think your passion, though, it makes you crazy, because you want it so bad, and you feel like you’re working really super hard, but then you realize you’re not working hard enough, you know? But no, we … the last couple of years, we’ve just kind of pulled it back a little bit, just to be more home with the family, and things like that.
WIGNZ:                                And you got kids!
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, I got two kids.
WIGNZ:                                I’ve learned so much about you without even talking to you, bro, like the podcast really is paying off, bro, yeah.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, yo, that’s good, I guess. Yeah, yeah.
WIGNZ:                                Yeah, yeah. So, how many? Two kids? How many-
Howi Spangler:                  Two kids that I know of. Sorry. Just kidding, babe. Just kidding, just kidding.
WIGNZ:                                You better knock on some wood now bro.
Howi Spangler:                  No, I got two kids, they’re awesome. Halo and Draven.
WIGNZ:                                Oh, great names.
Howi Spangler:                  Halo’s three. Yeah. Halo’s three, Draven is eight. He just turned eight last weekend.
WIGNZ:                                Good for you. I’m about to have my first in July.
Howi Spangler:                  Congrats.
WIGNZ:                                Yeah, but the name is the hardest part, because you want to be unique, but you don’t want them to also be like, I don’t want to say made fun of, but you don’t want to pick that one name where it’s like …
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, yeah.
WIGNZ:                                But Halo and Draven, that’s awesome.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, we, I don’t know, we didn’t want like normal names. We wanted to do something different and cool, so. And I actually, my son’s name came from the movie The Crow, you know the comic book? His name’s Eric Draven, and so, The Crow’s my favorite movie since I was 13, whenever that came out, and I remember saying, I was like, “Whenever I have a son, I’m going to name him Draven.” And then I did, like whenever, 20 years later, whenever it was.
WIGNZ:                                Did you have to convince your wife, or was she cool with it?
Howi Spangler:                  She was totally cool with it. She loves the name, and then my daughter, we were, it was kind of like, it was almost last-minute. We had talked about it, but we weren’t exactly sure, and then my daughter was born, and then the midwives asked, “What are you going to name her?” And we were like, “Halo Moon. Halo Moon. Yeah.” So-
WIGNZ:                                That’s awesome.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, yeah, that, it came from-
WIGNZ:                                Yeah, that was last minute.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, it was … well, it wasn’t like, I didn’t pull it out of my ass, but like-
WIGNZ:                                But it was there, but.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, no. She, we had talked about it, because like, when I was a kid, my grandfather died when I was seven, and the night of his funeral, we came home, and we were walking into the house, and it was night time, and the moon had a halo around it, and that happens every so often, you’ll see that sometimes. And apparently, it’s like crystals in the air, like ice crystals. Anyway, so it makes this halo around the moon, and I asked my mom and said, “What is that? That’s so cool.” She said, “Oh, that’s”-
WIGNZ:                                Did she know it was ice crystals?
Howi Spangler:                  I’m sure she did. But, I was like seven, so she said, “Oh, that’s your pop-pop letting you know he made it to heaven”, right? Yeah, I was like, “Oh, that’s really sweet”, so kind of always grew up with that, and anytime I would see it, I was like, “Oh, that’s cool.” So, I told her that story, and she fell in love with the story, and we’d thought that, maybe kind of a cool name for the girl. And then Halo, Moon, because the halo, moon part. And so yeah, and then we told the ladies the name, and they were like, “Yeah, that’s really hippie of you.” Yeah, I guess so.
WIGNZ:                                “Yeah, yeah, thanks. Way to put that on us, midwife.” That’s cool, man. So then, you’re performing at Cervantes tonight, and you’ve been, you were in Colorado Springs and Pueblo?
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, Pueblo to … so we do Pueblo tomorrow night. We were in Colorado Springs last night, and we were in Fort Collins the night before.
WIGNZ:                                And you’re with Fortunate Youth.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, Fortunate Youth, Tatanka, and they’re from Denver actually, Tatanka. So, that’s going to be their big hometown show tonight. It’s going to be a rager. We’ve got like more than half the room sold out already, and it’s going to be nuts, yeah.
WIGNZ:                                That’s awesome, man, and then you’ve been doing your podcast too, episode nine. What is it, I’m going to mess this up, I don’t want to mess it up. The Greener Tales From The Green Room.
Howi Spangler:                  “Tales From The Green Room”.
WIGNZ:                                “Tales From The Green Room”. I was like, “I was listening to it, damn it!” But no, that’s the best name for it, because you’re like, “What does go down?”
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, and people will be surprised, or maybe they wouldn’t be surprised to know. I don’t know these days, but it’s not Mötley Crüe. It’s not glam metal, 80s metal, glam rock show. It’s like, there’s no crazy groupie shit backstage-
WIGNZ:                                Well, I don’t even think those guys get crazy anymore. Those guys are like-
Howi Spangler:                  No, no-
WIGNZ:                                It’s not even what it used to be.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, it’s not, it’s, I think everything pre-social media and all that, but also, I don’t know, man. Just, everybody’s, we’re always buried in our phones, and I’ve got shit going on all the time. I have no time to do anything, so, it’s, I’m just working constantly. I’m a workaholic, and I can’t stop myself.
WIGNZ:                                You’ve got to be, if you want to be to that level that you’re at, and you want to keep setting that bar and meeting it, you just … that’s just the way it is.
Howi Spangler:                  Exactly, man, it’s, but yeah, so the whole thing the Tales From The Green Room podcast is just kind of about my experiences in this whole industry, everything that’s kind of happened, good and bad, and it’s sort of a way for me to help young artists coming up to maybe avoid some of the pitfalls.
WIGNZ:                                Oh, so you, you’re kind of like a therapist?
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, in a way, I’m a young band therapist, young musicians. No, it’s, yeah, I mean, that’s really what it is, it’s really liberating. It’s nice to kind of talk and get it out there. Like, the first, I remember the first episode I uploaded, and I was like, “Wow, this is really cool.” And then, I started getting feedback, like everybody was really stoked, so I went-
WIGNZ:                                Five stars. You have five stars across the board, got tons of, yeah-
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, I got five stars, and I was like, “Wow, that’s fucking cool, man.” And-
WIGNZ:                                Yeah, because you don’t know how people are going to react.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, exactly!
WIGNZ:                                Because, especially like you said, social media age, people can hate on you, and then you just … like, I’ve had people when I talked on the radio, they’re like, “Your voice fucking sucks, bro.” And then you’re just like, “I guess my voice sucks.” It’s all those haters, can really just-
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, if you let it get to you, it can really tear you apart, but it’s, you can’t really … I don’t, I want to say, don’t read the comments, but in nowadays, it’s good to engage. You want to engage those people-
WIGNZ:                                Embrace the haters. Embrace them, yeah.
Howi Spangler:                  -that are leaving comments. Yeah, you have to embrace them, and either turn it into a joke, or, I don’t know, you can even get in and be like, “Well, what didn’t you like about it?” Or something like that. Some people-
WIGNZ:                                And it throws them off completely, they do, yeah.
Howi Spangler:                  Completely. Some people are just assholes, you know what I mean?
WIGNZ:                                Just the way they are, yeah.
Howi Spangler:                  It doesn’t matter, but-
WIGNZ:                                They’re trolls.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, they’re just trolls, and so you have to deal with it, so for me, I try to get back and I answer all the DMs, and I answer all the comments on the-
WIGNZ:                                Yeah, you do.
Howi Spangler:                  -the Instagram, and our Facebook and-
WIGNZ:                                That’s how we linked up today, and Twitter.
Howi Spangler:                  Exactly, yeah, yeah, you hit me up on Twitter and you asked me, and I was like, “Yeah, let’s do it”, and thanks for having me, by the way.
WIGNZ:                                Yeah, of course, thank you. But that, so that, we talked about that last time when I hijacked O.A.R.’s dress room, that, when, especially for the listeners out there, and people streaming, it’s, you are the guy, or your group is the ones that hit people back on social media. It’s not a bot, it’s not some auto-generated response. It’s you guys hitting them back, and I think that there’s a relatability to your audience that most people don’t get, because it’s easy to throw out, “Hey, thanks for listening to our music!” And that’s it. But you’re heads-up straight with them, all the time.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, there’s, I don’t think there’s any other way to be, man. It’s like, for me, I guess with … I don’t ever want anybody going in and answering for me. I don’t want people replying just some generic response from Howi, but it’s not me, like that would, that’s weird. I mean, we’re at a point now where I’m starting to have staff members post things about shows and stuff, things like that-
WIGNZ:                                You got a staff now, bro? Is that-
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, well, part of our … yeah, yeah, part of our management and stuff, they-
WIGNZ:                                How much you have grown, bro!
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah. They help me out with that stuff, but really, that’s not so much the personal part. This is just like letting people know what’s going on. As far as the engagement and talking and conversing with people, I want to be all over that. There’s no other way, so yeah, the Snapchat, you got the Instagram, you got Facebook, Twitter, I mean, just everything. YouTube. So, it’s a lot, but I don’t know. It’s fun at the same time.
WIGNZ:                                Yeah, well, I mean, you … I gotta give you props, because that was the one thing I noticed years ago when you were in Florida, but then, “I Don’t Wanna Go”. You even set up a campaign, and said, “Hey, send us your videos of yourself singing the song”, and you made their, your own video with them, and it featured … and dude, it was a great video, because you literally watch it and it’s like, it’s your crew, man! It’s the people that fucking love you, and they’re reacting to you.
Howi Spangler:                  That was so legit. I was floored, to be honest. I only gave them like two days, maybe three days, to do this, and it basically was just a simple post, like, “Hey, be in the video, send me a video, portrait, like an Instagram story, the way it looks formatted, and just of you and your friends or your family, whoever, doing whatever you want. Goof off to the song, bounce around, you don’t have to lip sync, you can just be whatever. Just do what you want.” And I mean, the quality of content, first, that I got, was amazing. There was a guy that got his daughters to film, to basically reenact the old Robert Palmer videos, “Simply Irresistible”, with the girls, with the lipstick and the hair pulled back and the black dresses-
WIGNZ:                                Yeah, and they’re playing this, they’re playing the guitar, it’s all that?
Howi Spangler:                  -playing … and they’re dancing in sync, and like, it’s just amazing. I was like, “Wow, these people care enough to do this kind of stuff.” So that was just, I don’t know, I was overwhelmed and floored by just how cool our fan base is.
WIGNZ:                                Yeah, I think it’s the fan base, the power of your music, the song itself, that shows you that everyone loved that song, and that people were really engaged. And I mean, people were singing every lyric on there. And then the rift, when the rift happened, you just had people dancing and jumping on their bed, it’s-
Howi Spangler:                  The people’s, their kids and stuff, and it was so neat, man. It’s just, I don’t know, it’s a great feeling. I felt bad that I couldn’t fit everyone. That’s how much footage I got. I couldn’t fit all the stuff and-
WIGNZ:                                Did you edit it?
Howi Spangler:                  I edited it, yeah.
WIGNZ:                                Wow, dude, you are hands-on with every aspect, everything.
Howi Spangler:                  I do it all, man, I don’t like to let anybody. Unless, if it’s something, if it’s a really big job and I know I just can’t handle it, because I’ve got so much on my plate, I hire out, I just commission someone to do the art or whatever. But I like to be hands-on with everything, because I feel like, as an artist, you should be, if it’s your vision, don’t let someone else-
WIGNZ:                                Do what you, what you’re thinking-
Howi Spangler:                  -to try to interpret-
WIGNZ:                                -your artwork.
Howi Spangler:                  And, but on the flip side, I love that as well. I love for when I say, “Hey, this is what I would like to see”, and they put their spin on it. I’m all for that. I love hiring out to do art for T-shirts and things like that. But when it comes to the music and the overall-
WIGNZ:                                Well, the music is all what you’re all about, so you don’t want to have someone have their fingerprints on something that is yours.
Howi Spangler:                  It’s the music that sort of dictates the brand and the imagery, and I mean, it’s obviously a beach thing. It’s just kind of like what we sort of put out there, and I get videos all the time of people in their cars. I got one, I think yesterday, this girl sent me like three videos of her cruising to our song “Beautiful Day”, and it’s beautiful outside. You know what I mean? So I think we’re just kind of known as that band. But yeah, I don’t know. I just love being hands-on, and being just in it.
WIGNZ:                                Do you ever sleep?
Howi Spangler:                  Not that much, man. I try, yeah. I probably get five or six hours a night.
WIGNZ:                                Yeah, I don’t see it. I mean, if you’re, I mean you’re performing, the main part is obviously the music, but then there’s that whole element of connecting to your audience, and you’re trying to do that at the same time, so … and then you’re doing your podcast on top of it, so you’re trying to get a whole nother element into it. I mean, you’re a psychologist in that front for it.
Howi Spangler:                  In a way, yeah. In a way.
WIGNZ:                                So it’s just cool to see you in that. Yeah, enjoy your Yolo Rum, I want to make sure that this is charged, so enjoy your Yolo Rum, he’s sipping on some Yolo Rum Gold right now. Howi, we’re hanging out, from Ballyhoo! He’s performing at Cervantes tonight, I should say his band is performing at Cervantes tonight, so it’s just cool to have him with us, Episode Two of the Yolo Rum Podcast. Keep enjoying that rum, let me charge this computer real quick, and we’ll be right back.
Female speaker:               Yolo Rum is giving you a chance to invest and own a piece of the award-winning rum. Visit yolorum.com/invest for more details.
WIGNZ:                                Hanging out for Episode Two. We just heard about Howi taking edibles and losing his wallet. But there was a moral to that story, good vibes off of that, and so, I mean, that kind of gives us full circle to where, do you feel like your music … because your music does have an uptempo vibe to it. First of all, I gotta say that you have a huge fan base in Colorado.
Howi Spangler:                  I’ve noticed, man. Shows been rad this week.
WIGNZ:                                It’s off the chart, because if you, like obviously, I was just counting … all right, let’s see where they’re at, they went to Nebraska, okay, they’ve been all over so far. But the Colorado reaction, you could just see the engagement off the charts off that. But do you … your music’s so upbeat, and the vibes are good. Do you ever feel like the music needs to be, “All right, let’s do a positive fun song, because there’s so much fucking darkness in the world”?
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah. I mean, there’s a … I never force anything, but at the same time, sometimes, yeah, you do think of themes, or like, “I kind of want to write a song that’s like” … it mostly is for the live stuff. There’s certain, sometimes in our set list, I feel like there’s holes, and I need to fill in this gap with a certain type of song, like I’m not feeling what should be there right now, and it’s something really uppity, and something loud, or, I mean … We love rocking out, and I love swaying to the reggae too, but so this new record that we’re working on, I don’t want to get dark or anything, but my father passed away like about 15, 16 months ago, and-
WIGNZ:                                Sorry, man.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, no, thank you, so I didn’t write anything for like eight months, and I started, and I guess the first song I wrote was “I Don’t Wanna Go”, back in like August of 2017, so it sort of just came out the way it did, and it’s an aggressive song, but it’s still like upbeat and fun? But the lyrics are sort of dark in a way of like it’s quirky, but it’s like “I’m just over all this shit right now”, or like “I can’t take this anymore”, or like, it’s about feeling like a puppet. That’s why the art is that way, it’s kind of feeling like a puppet, where you’re sort of this dancing clown or something, and having to do all the press and all the crazy shit. It’s just sometimes, as fun as it is, and as much as it does come with the territory, we’re, I’m human.
Howi Spangler:                  It’s like, it gets frustrating sometimes, so the rest of the record is sort of in that vein of … I wrote a lot about my dad, and my mom. She passed away when I was a kid, so both of my parents are gone now, and so I didn’t feel like the things that I was writing about was going to be like pop reggae, and stuff wasn’t really the right backdrop for that. And I started out, I mean Green Day is my favorite band, and-
WIGNZ:                                Yeah, what’s your tat?
Howi Spangler:                  Oh yeah, that’s the-
WIGNZ:                                Oh yeah.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, from “American Idiot”.
WIGNZ:                                That’s awesome.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, they’re my favorite band, so-
WIGNZ:                                Always, even kept engaged with your … so, wait, here, I’m going to show you as well, Instagram.
Howi Spangler:                  And so, I just come from that school of Billie Joe Armstrong, and just chunking away on my guitar, and getting crazy with the crowd and rocking out and running around. And I can’t really do that on stage, when we’re, I’m stuck with the reggae, I’m just kind of swaying, which is great, but I want to move around-
WIGNZ:                                You want to feel it.
Howi Spangler:                  -yeah, I do. And like, I still feel it when we play the reggae and stuff, but … So anyway, this one-
WIGNZ:                                The intensity just isn’t in the style.
Howi Spangler:                  -yeah, yeah. I want to, I feel like I’m not giving enough to the crowd. I want to give more, and when I played punk rock and ska and stuff, I feel like I can get more energy to the crowd.
WIGNZ:                                Let yourself go. I mean, you’ve got, it seems like you’ve been through just a lot that you want to translate that through your music.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, there are times where I just want to be … I do, like you said, let yourself go in a way. I want to, I just want to be in the moment, and not thinking about anything but the music, and just doing it. So, back to the record, that’s sort of what this record is trying, it’s … the new record is heavy, it’s punk rock, it’s metal, it’s like there’s one song that’s like a reggae song, you know what I mean?
WIGNZ:                                Yeah.
Howi Spangler:                  And even in itself, it’s kind of a more-
WIGNZ:                                It’s an evolution of your band. I think that you hear that a lot. I mean, it’s funny, if you turn on your radio station, you’ll hear Slightly Stoopid, but I mean, even they themselves go from kind of like a punk pre-era, to a raging out, to where you just hear an evolution of it, and I think that’s kind of where you guys are at. It’s just that … because all of your songs, like “Cali Girl”. You just have these songs where it’s like a fun vibe, but you almost need to show how you’re actually feeling. Do you feel that? Is that why this record kind of took the path that it took?
Howi Spangler:                  Absolutely. I don’t, that’s why it sounds like it does, because I didn’t want, I didn’t feel like writing party songs, you know what I mean?
WIGNZ:                                Yeah.
Howi Spangler:                  And we did that on “girls.” and I love that record, it’s our most successful release ever, but just the way I was feeling, I’m not going to fake it, and it … I just, I don’t know, I just wasn’t feeling it when I was writing it. It was just more dark shit coming out. And it’s still the way, it’s funny, like the way it comes out, even when I write weird dark material or whatever, it’s still, the music itself sort of, kind of balances it out, I guess? Like it’s still kind of in a positive way.
WIGNZ:                                There’s a story being told, yeah.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, we’re basically just, I’m telling a story, and the music is sort of … and it just, and it keeps it from being too emo, I guess. I like to-
WIGNZ:                                That you’re more than that, and that’s what, Ballyhoo! is a lot more than that, yeah.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, yeah, and there’s something about our brand or our style, that somehow still sounds like us no matter what we do. And I think our fans are really going to love this record when it comes out.
WIGNZ:                                When does it come out, do you, is it hard to-
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, at the moment, I still, I got about half the songs recorded vocally. The music’s all done, and I did, I’ve done, there’s 12 tracks on it, and I’ve got six songs in the can vocally. And then, I’ve got to go home, I’ve been on tour for six weeks, so I haven’t been able to get to it. There’s nowhere quiet to go to record vocals at the moment for us, so when I get home next week, I’m going to get back to it, and hopefully, end of summer, maybe September, something like that.
WIGNZ:                                Now, when it comes to writing those lyrics, I mean obviously, I want to say you’re the head guy of the band, you’re the head guy of the band, so when you write something that’s different than what you’re used to, how do you approach the band and say, “Hey, check this out, what do you think about this?” Do you want their fingerprints on that?
Howi Spangler:                  Oh, for sure.
WIGNZ:                                Or is it kind of like, “No, this is the direction we’re going”? Or, how does that whole process-
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, it’s not like a … I’m not a fascist.
WIGNZ:                                You’re not a huge fascist!
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, I’m not a huge fascist! Oh. No, I just, it’s not like that. I have a vision I do, and there are certain things that I just want to be that way, but I love when my brother does his thing on the drums, and Nick plays bass. It’s just, they have their own thing, and they put their spin on it, and there’s some-
WIGNZ:                                It’s why you’re a band.
Howi Spangler:                  -yeah, and there’s, yeah, you work together, and I’m a primary songwriter, but sometimes if Donald comes in with a different drum part than what I had on the demo-
WIGNZ:                                Not the fascist?
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, yeah, yeah, right. Different Donald, different Donald. He, he’ll, it’s usually better than what I wrote. I’m not a drummer, but I have an idea what the beat should sound like-
WIGNZ:                                And he takes it-
Howi Spangler:                  And he just runs with it, and sometimes I’ll be like, “I don’t like that, it’s just, it’s weird and you should pull it back”, and whatever. We’ll compromise on things like that, but, no, man, that’s just what it is to be in a band. You work together, and-
WIGNZ:                                Especially if you want to be successful, because I mean, if, otherwise, you guys would just be in the tour bus, and there’d be tension.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, you don’t want people hating on each other because they didn’t get their part on the record or something like that. So it just, I don’t know, it just kind of works the way we do it, I guess, and-
WIGNZ:                                So you’ve been doing it for so long.
Howi Spangler:                  It’s been a long time, yeah. We’ve been a band for 23 years, we’ve been putting out records for 18 years. So, been on tour for 12 years.
WIGNZ:                                And then the evolution of, do you feel like the new streaming of the way music is now has hurt you? Do you think it’s, I mean, do you feel like it’s … because it’s totally different than it was, and you got to experience what it was 10 years ago to now, like just-
Howi Spangler:                  I’ve seen all the sides of it. It’s weird. Both sides of it, when-
WIGNZ:                                Yeah, not many people can say that, that they’re still-
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, there’s a, I was there in the 90s when bands were getting signed for millions of dollars, and had tour support and stuff like that. We weren’t getting that, we weren’t even anywhere near that, but I knew about it, I heard about it, and once Napster came along and ruined all that, the labels started freaking out in the mid 2000s.
WIGNZ:                                Took them a minute.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, it took them a minute, they didn’t understand, they didn’t know how to embrace it. But that’s the whole thing. You have to embrace the change. As much as it might suck to change what you’re used to, you have to embrace it, and for us, I think monetarily in a way it did, the band and most artists took a hit when it turned to streaming, because you make more money off of downloads, and you make more money off of selling your CDs, but CDs are pretty much-
WIGNZ:                                Out the window now, yeah, it’s like DVDs are even going that way now, yeah.
Howi Spangler:                  Even DVDs, yeah. And with streaming, they get so many subscribers every year, or every month even, I think in a couple years, downloads are going to be gone. That’s what I think. But-
WIGNZ:                                Just straight streaming, it’s, everyone’s-
Howi Spangler:                  It’s, everyone’s going to be streaming. It makes total sense for the consumer. You’re paying $10.
WIGNZ:                                It’s all it is, yeah, for all. Versus, when you used to pay like $18.99 for an album, and then you only liked one song off of it, and then you were like-
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, so you’re paying $10, you get pretty much everything you want. Most bands are on Spotify and Apple Music, and all that, so I think eventually, it’ll sort of get back to where I was, maybe, monetarily, because all songwriters are actually getting a raise very soon. They just signed a, Congress just signed some paperwork that they’re going to sign shortly.
WIGNZ:                                So it’s like a percentage of whatever, yeah.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, I think it’s like 9 or 10% right now, but with Spotify, it’s like a pot, so all the money goes into a pot. That $10 doesn’t go to Ballyhoo!, it goes to every artist that’s on Spotify. But it depends, it changes every month-
WIGNZ:                                Is it based on your rate, your plays? Does that count-
Howi Spangler:                  Yes. It’s based on streams, so different, the bigger artists are obviously, they’re going to get the bigger chunk because they’re getting the most streams. It’s really crazy, so you’re never getting paid the same every quarter.
WIGNZ:                                So almost every check that you get from Spotify, you’re like, “Oh, they, this is the month!”
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s like, “Oh, we killed it!” But, no, it’s wild, man. But I think eventually it may even out, or whatever. And eventually, there will be all these new bands, and they don’t know what it’s like to get paid by downloads and all that stuff. But having gone through it, yeah, absolutely. But the one thing is, those same people that are paying the $10, they can listen to your music if they want.
WIGNZ:                                Over and over and over, yeah.
Howi Spangler:                  Over and over and over. They can find your music. If someone sends them a link, they can open it right up in their Spotify or Apple, and they can listen, and therefore you’re getting more exposure. When you put your fans behind a paywall, like when you say “We’re not going to put it on Spotify”, some, like, I think Adele and Taylor Swift. And it was probably-
WIGNZ:                                It almost, you take off your audience almost, yeah.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, and I think it was all in, with good intention, but I think ultimately what it did was it put a paywall there, and their fans are like, “Well, I’m not going to fucking buy that shit, I’m going to listen to it on Spotify in two weeks when it comes out”, because I think-
WIGNZ:                                “I’m already paying $10.”
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, I think they ultimately went with, they put it on there, but it’s like the first two weeks or month or something like that-
WIGNZ:                                They were trying to battle it, yeah.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, exactly. And I get it, but, and I know Taylor Swift was standing up for indie artists in this way. But, at the end of the day, man-
WIGNZ:                                It’s a lost battle.
Howi Spangler:                  -the change is coming. The change is here. It’s more and more, like I said, every year downloads go down, streaming goes up, and I’m fine with it, man. I love that anyone can listen to our songs.
WIGNZ:                                Well, I think that’s why it’s so key that you are as awesome as you are on social media, because you have to be able to say, “Hey, here’s our new song. Check it out”, or “Hey, you want to be a part of our music video? This is what you got to do, stream, take video of yourself, send it to us.” I think that that’s, if you’re not doing that, and these artists aren’t taking advantage of that, then you’re just doing an empty like. You’re just like, “Hey, just like my photo! Look out”, yeah.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, yeah, you can’t do it that way. It’s got to … I love trying to include our fans any way we can, and “I Don’t Wanna Go” was like the perfect song for that. I felt like it was just the way, I don’t know, vibe of the song, was just perfect to have people jumping around and acting crazy and silly, and I hope to do it again in the future. And, I don’t know, I just love, we get so much support, we have the Ballyhooligans, they’re just the best.
WIGNZ:                                Ballyhooligans?
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, the Ballyhooligans, yeah.
WIGNZ:                                Yeah, I love that.
Howi Spangler:                  There’s a Facebook group called the Ballyhooligans, it’s over 2,000 members, and they ask you a certain set of question, I think it’s three questions, and-
WIGNZ:                                To get into the club?
Howi Spangler:                  -to get in, yeah.
WIGNZ:                                Oh, wow. “What’s the password?”
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, yeah. Yeah, well, you can’t just be, “I just wanna be in the group, just because.” It’s like-
WIGNZ:                                You got to prove.
Howi Spangler:                  -we don’t want fair weather. We want the people that really love the band, and-
WIGNZ:                                The die-hard.
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, and these are the people that, they’re so positive, and they just really care, and they’ll schedule meetups before shows in the cities, and hang out and have some drinks together and stuff. It’s awesome, man, it’s a community.
WIGNZ:                                Well, you, even in that video, you were hanging out with the crowd, you had all fans all behind you and doing all that stuff, so that’s-
Howi Spangler:                  Yeah, we, that was the night we were in Baltimore, and we had all our friends and family there, so we, just like that, I had the camera, we were all drunk, it was after the set. I’m glad it was after the set, because everyone was wasted, and my buddy was crowd surfing on top of everybody, and just, it was fun, man.
WIGNZ:                                That’s what you’re all about. Well, Howi, man, I appreciate it. Yolo Rum Podcast, this is our second episode. I loved listening to your podcast, I’m subscribed.
Howi Spangler:                  Thanks, man.
WIGNZ:                                So, yeah, so I got you on that. But any time you’re in Colorado, I know that Colorado loves you. We love you, man. You and I go way back, so I appreciate you coming out and hanging out with us, and kill it tonight at Cervantes, enjoy the tour, and hope you enjoy that Yolo Rum.
Howi Spangler:                  Oh, dude, this is great, this is awesome.
WIGNZ:                                And let me know when that new album’s out, man. And we got you. Yolo Rum, all the way. Thank you, Howi, appreciate it, bro.
Howi Spangler:                  Thanks for having me, man.

The views and opinions expressed in “Yolo Rum Podcast” are those of Producer WIGNZ and/or the guests, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Yolo Rum LLC.

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Yolo Rum Podcast Interview with DJ Caspa

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Yolo Rum Podcast Interview with Dubstep Champ and Dopest Ghost: Caspa

Bass pioneer from the UK, a DJ, a label owner, a former basketball player, a straight talking dubstep champ and dopest ghost: Caspa You can introduce him in many ways, but the best way is through this mans beats. Caspa sits down to talk with Producer WIGNZ for the first episode of the Yolo Rum Podcast. Check out the interview on Yolo Rum Podcast player, see exclusive photos from the interview and more below.

Support the Yolo Rum Podcast by subscribing and giving us a five star rating on iTunes and Follow WIGNZ on Twitter @JayWignz, on  Instagram @WIGNZ and LIKE his Producer WIGNZ Page on Facebook.
 
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Caspa the Dopest Ghost and Producer Wignz

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Caspa, Dubstep Legend, and Phil Guerin, owner of Yolo Rum
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Caspa Sips Yolo Rum and talks about how rum is his favorite spirit with Yolo Rum Founder Philip Guerin

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Caspa, Phil, and Gary J pose with the bottle of Yolo Rum Gold Caspa is taking back to London

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Hear Caspa’s latest mixes and tracks on Soundcloud

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Special thanks go out to The Black Box Denver

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and to Sub.mission

Caspa Interview Transcription

WIGNZ: Alright, we are doing this. You know me. I’m producer WIGNZ. I have done multiple podcasts but, this Caspa, this is our first episode, bro, for the Yolo Rum podcast.
Caspa: Nice!
WIGNZ: So there’s no one better to have join us for this podcast. This man right here is all about the bass. UK bass pioneer, DJ, label owner, ex-pro basketball player, straight talkin’ dubstep champion, dopest ghost, this man can be introduced in many ways, but the best is through his beats. Welcome to the show, Caspa.
Caspa: That’s a lot of titles.
WIGNZ: Man! I saw that on your SoundCloud bro, I was like, and you played ball?
Caspa: Yeah, I used to play basketball. It was like a while ago. What was it? Fifteen, twenty…twenty years…fifteen? Yeah.
WIGNZ: You don’t need to date yourself.
Caspa: It was a while ago. It was a while ago. Yeah I did, I was a hard-baller. Got to play for my country and got to get a scholarship to come out to the states and stuff. Yeah.
WIGNZ: So what happened? You just…
Caspa: Shoulder injury.
WIGNZ: Oh.
Caspa: Yeah and then it was like surgery and taking two years out and by then it was kinda like, you know what, let’s just try something else.
WIGNZ: So yeah, music, is that what happened?
Caspa: Music’s just in the family, really. Like, dads record collectors and growing up in London, there’s just a lot of dance music. It was just natural on pirate radio stations and just kinda everywhere. So I just kind of naturally fell in love with it. Through, like, UK Garage and then as it progressed on to Dubstep it was right at the forefront of it.
WIGNZ: Did you do music before ball?
Caspa: No. Not really. Listened to a lot of music. But never, I don’t even play an instrument now. I can’t play an instrument.
WIGNZ: So, what did you just hear it? What inspires you? What gets you to that mode of being able to create?
Caspa: Yeah, I don’t know. Weed helps a little bit, sometimes.
WIGNZ: (Laughs).
Caspa: Alcohol, I can’t write on alcohol. I just kind of get really frustrated. But no, just living in London kind of gives me a lot of inspiration and it’s a crazy city, has a lot of different cultures. You meet a lot of different people. So, yeah, that kind of gives a lot of inspiration. It’s a very fast paced, there’s a lot of new things comin’ and goin’. That’s kind of how dubstep evolved in London. It was really small community, and then just exploded.
WIGNZ: And you’re a pioneer of it out there, pretty much.
Caspa: Not the pioneer. I was just a part of a group people that kind of helped push it forward and get it recognized. But I would never say I was the pioneer of it. You know what I mean? That’s a big statement. You know what I mean?
WIGNZ: Yeah. You’re a part of it.
Caspa: Who’s the pioneer of jazz? You could have a massive statement about that. It’s like wow. So I’m just a part of the movement. You know what I mean?
WIGNZ: Yeah. Well, you’re here on 4/20, so no better time to get motivated out in the Mile High City then…
Caspa: That’s it, man. Yeah, trying to keep it moving, trying not to get too stoned.
WIGNZ: What is Colorado like? Do you feel, I mean you’re from the UK, so is it kind of, that Amsterdam vibe out here? I mean, it’s not to that level, but what do you feel about Colorado?
Caspa: It’s a bit nicer than Amsterdam, to be honest.
WIGNZ: Okay (laughter). A little bit cleaner?
Caspa: A little bit cleaner, a little bit more friendly. You know what I mean? Cheaper.
WIGNZ: Yeah (laughter).
Caspa: A lot of reasons to come. I lived here for almost six months in 2014, I moved here.
WIGNZ: Was that right when it legalized? Coincidence?
Caspa: Do you know what, actually it was a coincidence and I remember moving there and the first day, it was like, “Yeah you can just go in the shop and show your passport.” And I was like, “this is a great coincidence.” So I was, in a lot of shops, the first Englishman and I put my pen on the map.
WIGNZ: There you go. Exactly. Well you performed at Black Box last night, performing there again tonight.
Caspa: Yeah, three sold out shows. Last night, tonight and tomorrow.
WIGNZ: You perform all over the world and then you just got done performing, doing a set over at Myxed Up Creations. You said that was your first time…Cause Myxed Up is a head shop up here in Colorado if you don’t know so that was kind of your first experience in that environment.
Caspa: Yeah, people were telling me it was one of the originals.
WIGNZ: Yeah, it was. Phil, the owner of that, he started that and he’s just a pioneer in a lot of the things that he does. And he does deserve that statement at least for that because it was one of the first out here. It’s in a territory that no man has gone before and he’s done it and then you’re there doing your set.
Caspa: Well that’s what dubstep is about too. Do you know what I mean? We was doing stuff that no one else was doing and it was just very, very small and then, when it becomes something, it literally spread like a virus and it’s everywhere and Denver was a place that really popped off for it and for me, Denver is like the capital of dubstep for America. For sure.
WIGNZ: And you’ve been all over the world so that’s a huge statement to make right there.
Caspa: Yeah, and doing little in-stores like this, I mean, back in the UK we used to do stuff in little record shops. We sell our records and CDs and just go in and play a set and get everyone down and get them drinks. It’s a nice vibe and you connect with fans and sometimes it’s very impersonal in clubs. On stages or at festivals. To do something very intimate and vibey and free, I’m all about it if it’s in the right situation so to mix it with a head shop, I’m a smoker so it works out.
WIGNZ: I have to give much respect to you Caspa because most people can get to a certain level and not be friendly to everyone else and you walked around that store, shook everyone’s hand that came up to you, took pictures with everyone. It’s nice to see that you can make it to that level that you’re at, still be a little modest about it, but still be so down with the people.
Caspa: I’ve got some very good people around me that like to pin me down. Keep my head from floating away so it’s good. Keep the ego away.
WIGNZ: No, you’ve gotta do that man. So you’re going to Vegas, right?
Caspa: Yeah, yeah doing EDC this year solo. I’ve done it my first time with Rusko in 2016 so back this year, doing the Bassrush Records stage. It’s a new stage.
WIGNZ: That’s a tongue twister right there man (laughter).
Caspa: Yeah, exactly. Especially after a few…
WIGNZ: Some of that Yolo Rum (laughter).
Caspa: Speaking of that, it’s gone straight to my gut man.
WIGNZ: Yeah, no it’ll do that for you especially out here in that altitude if you’re not used to that man.
Caspa: Shit, forgot.
WIGNZ: Well pace it man. Like you said, you gotta do your set tonight.
Caspa: Little show tonight.
WIGNZ: Yeah, yeah you gotta kill it up there. But what else is next man? You got a lot of stuff going on.
Caspa: Yeah, I’ve got my album. Well, it’s kind of an album. It’s music that I’ve started releasing once every two months. I was releasing tunes over the last year and a bit and I’ve finally got the final piece of it all together. It’s called Vibrations so that’s gonna come out probably next month now. That and then, I’ve got so much new music, it’s just planning when to put it and how to do it and doing shows. I’m just picking shows that I wanna do like people wouldn’t expect me to go and play at the Black Box because it’s such a small capacity club. So you could do bigger place but I’m like, “Yeah, but the vibe. It’s all about the vibe.”
WIGNZ: The energy.
Caspa: Yeah, and it’s not always about the money. It’s always about doing things that are fun. That’s why I do it. I just get paid from it and sometimes you get paid good and sometimes you don’t, but I do it because I want to do it and it’s fun. So doing stuff like that, intimate things for me are more exciting than playing big festivals or anything so it’s important to do that, especially in Denver which I feel is like a second home for me.
WIGNZ: Do you feel, I mean it probably goes without saying that music and what you’re doing is a language so you don’t have to speak a language and you’ve been all over the world. You don’t have to speak the language of where you’re going just because everyone feels that vibe of music.
Caspa: Depends on how you want to get really deep on it or not, energy and vibration, mate. That’s a language in itself, you don’t need any, you know what I mean?
WIGNZ: Oh, let’s go down that rabbit hole man.
Caspa: You know what I mean? How long have we got here? We’re like Alex Jones over here.
WIGNZ: No, none of him man, but I have seen that cat man.
Caspa: I’m just lookin’ at the suit. That’s all it is.
WIGNZ: Oh yeah the suit man. I wore the suit just for you son. I was like, “I’m meeting Caspa, I gotta throw it on.” There you go dude. Well that’s exciting man, you’ve done a lot of stuff. Who inspires you musically? You said that you come from that musical family or you just listened to it. What is it that you’ve listened to or what gets you going?
Caspa: I mean, I still fight with that because I don’t know really. I do and I don’t. It’s as I get older, I realize what inspired me later on. Like my dad being so madly into music and he’s madly into punk. Big time, but then he loves like Beatles and he’s just mad into English music.
WIGNZ: Well that UK punk scene was huge.
Caspa: Yeah, so he’s just all about it. You know what I mean? He’s got the look as well, he looks like it and then my brother was just into hip-hop and broken beat and jazz so his record collection was like Gang Starr, Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang, Talib Kweli, all that kind of stuff so, and then living in London, having just hardcore Jungle, Drum & Bass, UK Garage, it’s like progression of dance music. That around me just inspires me to do what I do.
WIGNZ: Yeah, so when you’re in your car, what are you gonna throw on? Do you need something to motivate you? Do you listen to your own stuff?
Caspa: I don’t want to sound egotistical, but it’s always my own things because I’m just trying to listen to the mixes. You know what I mean? Does it work? How does it sound in the car?
WIGNZ: Oh dude, I messed up there.
Caspa: Yeah, you’re like, “Shit, I need to turn the snare up. Nah, it needs more bass. Always more bass.”
WIGNZ: Yeah, always more bass. My wife is a huge fan and that’s what she says, “Oh he’s all about the bass.” She texted me that all in caps, “Make sure you say that.” I was like, “Alright, I got you.”
Caspa: But yeah, I mean my wife’s a jazz singer so that’s the complete opposite to what I do so I’m always just hearing music, but most of the time I’m indulged in what I’m doing and it’s sometimes I try and step out of it and go and see what’s going on and listen to a bit of Kendrick Lamar or find out what’s going on.
WIGNZ: He won a Pulitzer! Did you hear about that?
Caspa: No, I didn’t, no.
WIGNZ: Yeah, Kendrick Lamar’s got a Pulitzer for DAMN. Yeah so he was the first rapper to get a Pulitzer Prize out here.
Caspa: Good for him.
WIGNZ: So it’s cool you vibe off that guy because it’s like…
Caspa: Just all music man. I’m just into music and I think, I tend to listen to the most weird shit and people just be turned off to it, but I’m listening in a different way. Especially when you’re a producer, you’re kind of listening for samples. You’re like “Can I sample this? Can I rip this?”
WIGNZ: I’m gonna use that. I’m gonna use that. Do you have to ask for permission? How does that work?
Caspa: No comment.
WIGNZ: Yeah, alright. My bad. We won’t go down that rabbit hole either, you know what I mean?
Caspa: Exactly.
WIGNZ: Well Caspa, I appreciate you coming out, hanging out at Myxed Up Creations, Black Box, just anytime you come to the Mile High City, we will take care of you. Always got that Yolo Rum and I don’t think for episode one of our podcast, I don’t think we could have had a better guy to kick this off.
Caspa: Listen, someone’s gotta top this. Alright, just let them know who started first.
WIGNZ: No, no. You’re the pioneer of this. How ’bout that? You’re the pioneer of this.
Caspa: Good. How ’bout that? Thank you.
WIGNZ: Thank you man. Hey, one question I do have is Rusko, he’s healthy. He’s 100 percent cancer free now.
Caspa: Yes, I believe so yeah.
WIGNZ: Did that have, I mean you guys are boys. Did that have any play on you emotionally? How did that…
Caspa: That whole journey was just crazy because, when he moved to the States and I was in the UK, we just was on this crazy journey, both doing individual things and we never got the chance to really reconnect and when he moved back to London in 2015, back to the UK, we just linked up and we just started talking and hanging out again like we did before, writing music. And then we just started doing shows and we’ve done a run of shows together and we had our last show and naturally we didn’t book anything else in. And then, in that time we had off, that’s when he got the news. How it happened was so crazy and then yeah , he’s fully recovered now and I think he’s out just working on getting himself back, cause he loves the music. He’s a musician. You know what I mean? That’s what he does.
WIGNZ: Well give him our best man. He was here for 4/20 last year. You’re here for 4/20 this year and just go have a good night and anytime you’re back in the Mile High City, we got you.
Caspa: All vibes mate.
WIGNZ: Caspa on the Yolo Rum episode one podcast. Thank you my man.
Caspa: Big up.

The views and opinions expressed in “Yolo Rum Podcast” are those of Producer WIGNZ and/or the guests, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Yolo Rum LLC.

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