We were lucky enough to catch up with Danny Ali aka Young Space Wolf as his latest album ‘CYAN’ is being released. Check out our interview below.
Tell us about yourself, is your real life persona different from Danny Ali?
I try to not make the difference between the two seem so black and white. It’s more so that Danny is a side of myself that most people don’t get to see often, mainly because I’m naturally a more observant and quiet person in my daily life. Danny is the more outspoken, artistic side of me that often doesn’t get to come out.
What is your songwriting process?
I usually start by listening to the beat 20-30 times over, sometimes less if the beat jumps at me immediately. Other than that, the structure never really follows a pattern. I try hard to create perfect moments and feelings in most of my music so it doesn’t really necessarily have a consistent “process”.
You produce some of your music as well, what programs do you use?
Yeah, I do. I started in Logic when I was in college but towards the end, I moved over to Ableton.
What is the best gig you have ever played?
Probably my first show in California last year. I had just graduated and a few of my friends got us on a showcase at this bar. My performance was awful but the energy in the place was unreal.
Tell us about your latest release?
‘CYAN’ is basically a display of my own evolution, put simply. I guess it’s more of a feeling I wanted to get across more than a central theme. Leading up to the release, some of my favourite artists died tragically and that struck a cord with me. Just the vulnerability of life woke me up. Needless to say, the entire theme of the project is getting exactly what you ask for when you commit to being a star or a public figure. Negatives and positives, you have to take everything in stride and be okay with it even if it means risking and/or losing everything in the process.
What is your favourite Song on the album and why?
SINCERELY. Easily. It was the first song I made on the album and it came about on the day I dropped my last project, ‘Cult.18’. It was inspired by what I mentioned earlier, somehow the day I released it, I woke up to find out Mac Miller had passed away. It essentially touches on the price of fame, how misunderstood stardom is and what risks you take to become that.
What is your funniest gig moment?
Almost tripping over a speaker Santa Cruz. It wasn’t funny to anyone else except me but in the moment I thought I was about to fall into the crowd.
What message do you think your music conveys to your fans?
I hope it conveys just a sense of hope and inspiration. In the grand scheme of things, I lived a ‘regular’ life to most people because I was reserved in my actions. A lot of what I went through growing up was because I had a huge identity crisis. Being one of the only black people in my area and being into things that weren’t stereotypically “black” to everyone else, it was hard to find a place for myself. If I had one thing to tell everyone it would be that it’s okay to know yourself. Just because everyone else may not understand it, that doesn’t invalidate your wants or your desires.
Who are your musical influences?
Musically my biggest influences would probably be Lil Wayne, Kanye, and J. Cole.
Who are your non-musical influences?
My parents definitely. Beyond that, Maya Angelou, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Barack Obama easily.
What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?
The way I see it is a bigger ocean means a lot more fish and a lot less food. So with more money and accessibility, there’s a lot less barriers to entry for artists and it’s, therefore, harder to get noticed. And even on top of that, there’s less money in records themselves and multiple sources of income are necessities at this point.
What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?
Find a team and trust the process. As cliché as it sounds, it really is a process. You just need to find the right people to have in your corner who are passionate and will fight for you. Just stick to your artistry and let the rest handle itself.
Thank you and finally, what are your hopes for the next 2 years?
Continuing to give back to and grow with my city. I can’t tell all my secrets but hopefully a step closer to actualizing my ultimate goal as an artist.
Check out Young Space Wolf’s latest album ‘CYAN’ today!
Interviewed by FVReviews May 2019