Sacred Crunk is a surprise pair straight out of the Denver Underground. Their intriguing and melodic mixing of genres gives their sound a unique feel and energy that is sure to make you get up and dance. Between their Hip-Hop beats and funkadelic rhythms, to the heavy electro bass lines and deep, soothing vocals, Sacred Crunk brings vibes of all kinds to the table. Their debut album, Boomsauce, was released this past January and its track list demonstrates that Sacred Crunk is a new and exciting producer duo climbing up out of the underground and into the spotlight. Darren and Boris were kind enough to take some time out of their busy schedules to share their story with 303 Magazine.
303: Describe how the two of you met and the moment you decided to form Sacred Crunk.
Darren: Well we actually met way before we decided to form Sacred Crunk.
Boris: Yeah we met way back in the day when there was a much bigger, what I consider, a much bigger art scene in Denver. Back in the day it was like art meets anarchy or something, and I met Darren in that world. He was probably in like five bands or something, and I would VJ (video jockey) for different venues around Denver. Well, I still do that. When we first started Sacred Crunk we would just hang out.
Darren: The first idea was to just do a song actually. One day we just said, “Lets do a song together.”
Boris: And at the beginning we called ourselves Boomsauce and that was the name of the group. Then somehow we figured out that Sacred Crunk was more iconic and classic of a name so we just flipped it around. For a while we were operating as Boomsauce, but then we realized it’s a better album name and Sacred Crunk is more what we are.
303: Define Sacred Crunk. What does Sacred Crunk mean to the two of you?
Boris: Yeah it’s like a symbol similar to the Yin Yang.
Sacred Crunk represents everything in the world.
The word Sacred represents everything that we hold dear, things that are pretty and nice, and things we put on a pedestal. But that’s only half of the picture. It’s kind of a pedestal that limits ones world view. We decided that we both agree on this and this is the reason we make music together is because we see everything as sacred, even the Crunk side of life, even like the really dirty, crazy, scary stuff, that’s magnificent to us. That’s beautiful, that’s fantastic, that’s real.
Darren: Being irreverent or silly, that in and of itself can be sacred because you need to be silly, you need to let go of all that heaviness and that heavy shit sometime, you know?
Boris: We like to keep our music fun and light, but we also have an undercurrent of healing and consciousness in there.
This music is for the mind but it’s also to disentangle you from the mind.
All of that’s important to us.
303: Your music has been described as ‘genre bending.’ Which genres are you bending and blending, and how did you guys begin to create those unique sounds?
Darren: There’s definitely funk, you know, and a lot more current dance oriented stuff. There’s some Dubstep type stuff, and a lot more current genres as well as some that are more traditional. Specifically, Rock to some extent, at least for me. We started making our music just by kind of playing around on the instruments, and then recording them into loops and producing them in a Hip-Hop or dance sort of style.
303: How long have the two of you been making music?
Darren: I believe we began in the summer of last year.
Boris: Yeah we’ve been working together for like a year and a half now. We’d been talking about it for like two years and finally, after a bunch of talk, we decided to sit down. It was really kind of a magical thing, on the first day we sat down to work we actually wrote Just Another You in one day.
It was the most phenomenal thing and after we did that we decided it was meant to be.
Darren: You know what else, we actually ended up keeping the original vocals from that day. We did endless takes for the vocals on that song. We tried multiple mics and expensive, nice mics but we kept the original one, which is pretty funny. Don’t fix what isn’t broken, right?
Boris: Yeah that song is actually a freestyle. After we sat down and composed the music, it was time for me to write some lyrics. Darren just started going nuts on the guitar and I kind of followed his lead and we ended up recording that first take and that’s what we kept.
303: Tell us about your process for making music. Describe a typical day in the studio.
Darren: We kind of write and record as we go. Sometimes we’ll try and pick a direction for the day, you know, and try to steer our vibe in that particular direction. We create an environment with the various pieces of equipment we have at our disposal. We have drums and bass and guitars and tons of keyboards and what not, and then there’s a computer here and all the software that goes with samplers and the plug in stuff.
We create the environment we want and then just make grooves in that environment.
Then we sort of take those grooves and construct songs out of them, at least from my standpoint. With Boris it’s a little bit different because he’s writing those lyrics at the same time, and going back and forth a lot.
Boris: Yeah its been pretty rare that I show up with lyrics and am like “Darren this is the song I want to make today.” It’s never like that. Usually I come over and I tell Darren that I’ve been thinking about this style of music and I have this idea in my head and it kind of sounds like this. Then I’ll try and hack something out on the keyboard, and Darren will be like “Oh, are you trying to go for this sound because this is what I’m hearing.” So I do the lyrics and help guide the composition, and be a second set of ears. I kind of whisper suggestions in Darren’s ear and whatever that turns into is the music that we use. So it’s both of our input, but Darren actually does the composition.
Darren: We’re like editing each other as we’re going. Sometimes I’ll record like thirty minutes of bass and we’ll only use thirty seconds.
But that’s what works for us.
That style is what inspires Boris to write the lyrics and it drives the songs so we’ll keep it. So it’s kind of leaving behind making music in a traditional way.
Boris: Yeah it’s kind of lucky. We both grew up in New York so we have a lot of the same culture around us so a lot of things just flow. We have enough of a similar vibe but enough of a dissimilar vibe so we have quite a few perspectives on every situation and that helps us move quickly.
303: What artists would you say are some of of your biggest influences?
Darren: Wow, I think that it’s pretty different for both of us. I would say Prince is a common one. What do you think Boris?
Boris: Oh yeah Prince is huge, The Cure is huge, from the Rock side. From the Hip-Hop side, Method Man, and Charlie Tuna is really huge. The people who are more fun and doing more with their lyrics, you know what I mean? The people who aren’t just there for the dollars and want to really make a change in the world, those are the people who really influence us and we listen to over and over again.
We both have varying opinions on different music so when you ask either of us the answer is always going to be different.
Darren: For me, I like music that changes around a lot and is challenging to listen to like The Roots and Prog[ressive] Rock and stuff like that. Getting into more accessible or even dancible music is becoming more and more of an interest to me, and being able to incorporate the different genres into that is kind of fun, you know. I’ve always appreciated when you buy an album and every song is kind of different. They all kind of sound the same but they each have their own feel and I’ve always really liked that.
Boris: If you’d like a rundown of some names that influenced me, I like Jay-Z and his style, I like Gramatic and Pretty Lights and their sound, I like the White Stripes, I like Talib Kweli. I’m kind of all over the place. We both love The Talking Heads. We can’t forget The Beastie Boys either. Sublime was a huge influence, and we even really like Emancipator, you know, he’s got some really beautiful stuff going on. And of course, The Beatles.
303: Boomsauce is your debut album. Tell us about its overall construction and its reception.
Boris: The general public has been really interesting, were getting responses from all across the board, from people who wouldn’t necessarily even listen to this genre, so its really interesting for me to hear the songs that they like.
I was surprised at how much love we got for Focus. We were almost going to drop that song.
We were going to throw it out but we just kept working on it and working on it. One person would say, “I love it” and then another would say, “Is that music?” But we decided to keep it because enough people were into it, and a bunch of people it’s like their favorite song and so it’s really interesting.
The whole process has been kind of a meditation for us. Patience was the key.
We would meet at the same time every week and all the songs would just kind of come out. A lot of times we would have some ideas, but that wasn’t necessarily what we’d make that day. Both of us are a little impatient because we like to do things our way and have our own style, but then a lot of times we just trusted the process and trusted each other and that trust paid off. With a little patience we saw the other person’s perspective and that made all the difference.
303: Do you guys have a schedule of shows coming up? When can we expect a second album?
Boris: I think we’re going to wait to start performing until we have a second album out. It just feels a little skimpy to do a show based on one album, you know? Once that happens we’re probably going to have a great stage set design ready to go and we’re already working on some of the video so I’m really excited to see where it goes. We’re already talking about a few different places, and we got lucky that a lot of the collaborators on our songs are already pretty well known. So there’s a lot of collaboration that’ll be happening in the beginning, until we have our stage legs and are ready to do a show on our own. Then we’ll be ready to do our own show, like a forty-five minute or hour long set with full on visuals and dancers and interactive kind of stuff, because we’re into that. We like to make the presentation side of things as much as we like to make the music. But we’ve just been taking things slowly. We want to do everything really well and we’re not going to do anything any sooner than when its perfect.
Darren: Something that’s different this time around is that we’re working on several songs at once right now, whereas we did tend to attack it one song at a time. Now we’re working on several at different levels so I wonder if the album might end up a little more congruous than the first.
303: Is there anything you’d like to say to the fans who are reading this interview?
Boris: Something that’s really exciting me right now is the next album. We’re going to be making some harder beats, and we can make it a lot more geared towards the dancefloor. We’re looking into more ways of spicing up the lyrics and breaking up the lyrics so it’s not so Hip-Hop dominated. We’ll have some Hip-Hop dominated songs, but on the next album we want to go back to the roots even more. We want to make it even more Sacred Crunk, and even more fun and exciting and approachable to those people who just want to go wild, as well as those people who want to appreciate and listen to the depth of a song. And that’s where we’re going.
We’re going to drive fast take lots of risks and pick up lots of hitchhikers.
Sacred Crunk is certainly an up-and-coming group that deserves to have an eye and an ear kept on them. When they are ready, this duo’s second album, as well as their live shows, are sure to be nothing less than spectacular. While you wait patiently for their next release, you can purchase Boomsauce, as well as stream the entire album for free, from their website HERE. You can also visit them on Facebook to share praise and positive vibes. Stay Sacred, stay Crunk.
And don’t forget to buy tickets to Denver Fashion Week HERE! Tickets are selling out quickly so make sure to purchase yours and attend the fashion event of the year!
Gabriel is a music junkie from San Francisco, California, and recently graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a BA in Creative Writing. Gabriel is a writer for the music department of 303 Magazine, and aspires to write professionally. Outside of work Gabriel loves to party with friends at music festivals, snowboard in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, travel the globe experiencing new cultures and lounge with some quality TV on a lazy Sunday. Contact Gabriel by email at [email protected]