Q&A with STL GLD

WRBB had the opportunity to catch up with Moe Pope and The Arcitype of Boston’s hottest rap duo, STL GLD, performing at afterHours on Friday, February 16th and at Boston Calling this year.


You have been involved in music for a long time: trained in classical piano at a very young age and learning how to play a Fender Strat after falling in love with the Blues. How did you end up in Hip Hop, and how does your training influence your production?

The Arcitype:

When I was learning music in my middle and high school years, I went through a number of different phases musically, you know, depending on what I was listening to; I got really hooked into American roots music like blues and American folk which led along for 60s and 70s rock ‘n’ roll which lead into a love for reggae, motown, R&B and funk. At that point, there weren’t a lot of people in my life listening to anything but what was on the radio, but finally I had a friend who put me onto the Fugees and Mos Def and all in one day and my whole world changed. I was like “Oh my God, all these years later this is the this music that I fell in love with all rolled up into one place where it makes sense”. At that time I was having a hard time making music, I’m making a song one minute that starts off blues, but it develops into rock and I couldn’t figure out how to make it all work together. When I discovered this breed of hip-hop, it was like I discovered this whole other world where these things could come together in a way that works.

As for production, I was already making music at the time and we were in a band and doing some studio production and I really fell in love with that process. So being in the studio was something magical to me–I could do it for hours and hours–so I was used to the studio and it kind of naturally lent itself into my newer work. I could be working on a rock song, then do hip-hop a little bit. My early beats were me playing out three minutes of guitar parts, then keyboard parts, then bass parts all individually because that’s what I had done in the rock world. Eventually someone lent me some software and I sat down and learned how to use it, so that kind of changed the workflow. A lot of hip-hop is sample based, borrowing bits and pieces from other people’s music to use as the foundation of the song, but because I create everything from the ground up I use my musical experience to help me differentiate between songs and make sure not everything sounds the same. All that training and all those years of obsessing into these different genres of music kind of gave me a musical vocabulary to pull from to make this music now.

You are the creator of AR Classic Records, with production credits to Marc E Bassy, Rapsody, and one of my favorites, Action Bronson. What inspired you to create your own label, and how has it affected your view of the industry?

The Arcitype:

I never really wanted to start a label, I just kind of fell into it. At first when I was working with artists, we began shopping our music around to small, independent labels; it was such a bizarre experience because we had this whole grand vision for our project and these labels kept saying “well this is the direction we feel we should head in” but that was not at all the direction we were talking about. It’s really just the matter of finding the right label for you, but it wasn’t for us, we wanted to be more self sufficient. However, without realizing it, I was already doing the basics of running a label. Out of everyone I was working with, I was the organized one, kind of creating all the aspects of what we were doing; music, mixing, recording, mastering… coming up with all the concepts and creative aspects as well as the logistical things like lining up photographers and graphic designers, all the marketing aspects. When it came to making records and CDs and seeing how we could distribute it and get it all out there, I was the guy who was looking into that, doing that. I was essentially unofficially running a label already so AR Classic Records was just more formalized, turning it into an official business structure that I could operate all the way through. It’s been an immense amount of work and extremely challenging at times because, like I said, it was never something I intended to do and sometimes it’s a little more than I can handle, but the payoff is awesome because now I’m in control of everything from the very first note I play all the way to the music getting into the hands of somebody on the other side of the planet.

Moe, I read that you’re a painter. Do you find that your lyrical and physical arts compliment and influence each other?

Moe Pope:

Absolutely. If you’re into art, period, you are influenced in many different ways by all different kinds; whether you’re someone who is in painting, theatre, dance, I think all of those things can be used as tools for everything. I do find that when I make visual art it’s usually when I’m in a writer’s block and vice versa; when I’m painting very well, I can’t write, and when I’m writing very well, I can’t paint, but I’m lucky that I at least have something to do in the meantime, somewhere to channel what I’m feeling.

Can you tell us what your songwriting process is like? What are your main influences?

Moe Pope:

Much like a lot of people, there’s this famous thing where Jay-Z hears a beat for the first time and he gets his Rain Man on and starts to mumble, like in his documentary Fade to Black , and honestly that’s a lot like how I do it. I hear something and I can kind of hear where my work should lay on it and I start to mumble and the words eventually manifest themselves. I can’t just rap, though, I have to write down lyrics. I mean, sometimes I get a little inspiration from the THC, but that’s pretty much the process. If I have an idea out of nowhere, though, I’m lucky enough that I have great a great producer like The Arcitype who will at least entertain it and try it out musically.

How do you feel music has acted as a platform to voice your options, and how has that impacted your music?

The Arcitype:

At trying times, art is there. The best art is created at some of the worst times, and it’s unfortunate that has to be the climate for it, but it’s true. You see that in so many different examples over generations; when things get tough, art is there as a therapeutic way of processing and artists are there to process that stuff and speak about it through different mediums in hope to change perceptions. You could sit there and have a verbal debate about something, but a song can sometimes make more headway than just going back and forth arguing and disagreeing. Sometimes a song can gain a little more deeper understanding and people will be a little more open to it because there’s emotive content built into it. Art has a way to transcend people yelling and arguing about things, and really bring them together. To us, that’s what Torch Song [STL GLD’s latest album] was; a way to bring people together in a time where we all feel separate.

Moe Pope:

It’s an amazing platform. It’s a place to take out your anger or frustration or sadness or happiness and that’s really what music is for me. I’m lucky that I get that. But if people don’t support it, were going to end up back where we were five years ago, where people are going to say “nobody’s saying anything”, but luckily we are in a different era where people are saying something right now in urban music and I’m hoping that it stays that way and that other genres start to do the same because their voices are very loudly absent when it comes to things that are happening in the world right now. It’s very easy for people to say that rappers don’t say anything important and that rappers just talk about drugs and guns and violence but that’s not necessarily true, especially in today’s world. I’m lucky that I get this chance to say something and I’m hoping that everyone will say a little bit, too, not all the time– you still have to party and have fun–but take a stab at saying a little bit of something.

You do a lot of collaborations, who has been your favorite person to work with?

The Arcitype:

This may be a cheating answer, but there’s this band that’s no longer together called the Tan Vampires, they’re from from New Hampshire. We’ve worked with numerous people from that band in different capacities, so I guess they would qualify as our favourite people to work with because we have collaborated with virtually every member.

Moe Pope:

They’re an unbelievable band to work with, they love hip-hop, and you know, I love indie rock, so, a perfect mesh to have and to put a little bit of what they do on our records.

The Arcitype:

We tend to collaborate with the same people over and over again because simply because we love working with them.

Moe Pope:

Yea, I mean, at this stage I’m not really working with anybody we don’t appreciate or want to be around at the end of the day, but luckily we don’t have to do that.

STL GLD is performing at Boston Calling later this year, are you showcasing your previous album or is there new music coming our way?

Moe Pope:

We definitely have new music and are still showcasing the previous album. At the end of the day, that music still resonates today because it’s still relevant. People still feel a certain way about how the world is unfolding and it’s not like it wasnt this way before, but peoples eyes are open today in a different way. But yea we got some new joints we’re excited to display.

The Arcitype:

We’re really excited for people to start hearing some of these. We’ve been working really hard over the past couple of months, I mean, some of these we made last week. It’s kind of a mixed bag. We’re going to start letting some of this music go even sooner than Boston Calling so people can get familiar with some of the new music.

Listen to STL GLD here:


About Paige Ardill 19 Articles
Paige Ardill is a second year student and Northeastern University and a semi-professional crowd weaver. In her free time she enjoys black coffee, loitering in gardens and head-banging in the name of WRBB.

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