Story by: Wilfred Lee, Photos by: Burns Photo
Groove Korea is teaming up with NYK Media Group to present GrooveVision, a new video series. This month, GrooveVision presents Part Time Cooks. Check it out.
Mixing smooth hip-hop beats with feel-good vibes from the ’90s, Saul Goode and Black Moss, two of the rappers behind Part Time Cooks, have gained a consistent following through their dynamic performances and songs that transcend language barriers.
Artist’s Journey’s Wilfred Lee sat down with the pair to discuss the group’s new EP “Midnight Snack,” what it means to be a Part Time Cook and marinating those passions into full-time dreams. Questions were answered collectively by the two artists.
Groove Korea: How did Part Time Cooks begin?
Part Time Cooks: We met through a mutual friend and producer, Scotty Soul, around two years ago. However, because we (Saul Goode and Black Moss) were living so far away from one other, we never really had the opportunity to work together.
It was only really in late 2013 that Black Moss started coming up to Seoul more often. He was competing in the Hip Hop All-Stars rap battle circuit when Part Time Cooks began to form. He’s still undefeated! We would support each other at solo gigs here and there until it hit us that we would make a fucking great rap team. Our friends Joe Rollins and Peter Burns were also loving this new energy and they fit right in with the talents that they brought to the table — Joe as a vocalist and Peter as a photographer and director.
What does it mean to be a Part Time Cook?
We can all relate to having dreams that, for the time being, can only be lived out part-time. Some of us still have regular 9-to-5 gigs, but we pour all of our free time into working toward one day quitting our day jobs and sustaining ourselves doing what we love. Being a Part Time Cook means doing the most you can with whatever little time you have to realize your dream. Keep cooking.
How would you define your music?
Our music is definitely heavily influenced by the ’90s hip-hop era: smooth beats and rhymes with a feel-good vibe. At the same time, we are still doing our best to pack strong messages into songs and give the music a twist that hasn’t been heard before.
I think we did just that with the “Midnight Snack” EP. We are overwhelmed and truly grateful for the positive response it has gotten thus far, especially for an EP that was pretty much conceived over the course of just six sessions.
What is the songwriting process like?
Most of it takes place at Saul Goode’s place over a bottle of Maehwasu (a plum liquor brand) and some good company. We always have the beat first and let it inspire the direction of the song. Usually, Saul has a sick hook in mind and we work off that.
We have been lucky in that we always write our verses without telling each other exactly what we are writing about, but then when we are done, the verses are usually perfectly suited to be on the same track — usually (laughs).
What inspires your songwriting?
Our experiences. We have both been hip-hop artists for over 14 years now and have learned to take the world around us and the things we go through and put them into our music. The inspiration comes from everywhere, the pain and joy of all of it. One of the recurring themes in the EP is the difficulty we all have in balancing our personal relationships with our music.
How has being in Korea influenced your music?
Being in Korea has definitely influenced our music. Experiences like the ones that come along with being in a unique place like Seoul are really valuable. Learning about a new culture is exciting, and also a great opportunity to learn about yourself as a person.
We are all growing as musicians for sure, but we owe that to the personal development that comes with the amount of traveling we all do. We always still make it a point, however, to write about home. We have large followings in our home countries that we have to stay true and relative to.
What is the music scene here like as an expat musician?
The music scene for us as expats has been welcoming. It’s hard to describe what the scene is like for “expats” because we believe it’s really all dependent on how hard and how smart you choose to work as an artist. It doesn’t matter where you’re at as much as what you are doing. Although there is a language barrier here, there are way fewer obstacles for an emerging artist here then there would be back home. We are a very young group, so there is still a lot to learn about the scene, but we have been very fortunate thus far to work with like-minded professionals who have helped us get to where we are in such a short period of time. We are having a blast.