When it comes to the stereotypical image of a rapper, this Portland artist shatters the description. Known for his wacky and sometimes outlandish subject content, the PDX resident comes from a very unique background story that he uses in both a comical and serious tone. It’s a formula he’s began honing in on and building his fanbase around. Currently, he is prepping for his upcoming album release A Million Little Pieces and has seen it’s two current singles perform well on Youtube, Facebook and blogs. Join us as we speak with Mr. Federal himself, Sourmouth.
The Blow Up: To begin, you go by the stage name of Sourmouth but are also known as Mr. Federal. What are the meanings behind each of those?
Sourmouth: I originally went by Sourkrauss, a play on my last name. The Sour part is a play on my mindset and life outcome so far, being “sour”. Also, my raps have an irrational amount of cussing in them so that play’s a part as well. I later decided to change it to Sourmouth. I wanted to drop the Krauss as to not involve my family name in anything that mite be negative or controversial. The Mr. Federal alias just play’s off of that whole “Sour” don’t give a f*ck attitude and was actually a common nickname people gave me when I was younger. It comes from the slang term Federal which basically means just being blatantly illegal, just without a care. Similar to the term “riding dirty” in a sense.
You grew up and still currently reside in Portland, Oregon. What is the Hip Hop scene like out there? Does it have any influence in your creative process when writing and recording?
I honestly would have to say Portland doesn’t have that much influence in my creative process per say. I don’t sit down to write a song and think how can I make this more Portland or how do I make people from the area vibe to it. I’m a weird MFer, just look at me. So my music catalog is all over the place in terms of substance and content cause I draw inspiration from the grimiest of trap rappers to the most lyrical of backpack emcees. That’s just how I grew up and the overall setting of Portland in general. So in a nutshell, you could also say Portland does have an influence on my music subconsciously. (Laughs)
With your music, you’ve seen some local success. You also own you own website and have been building your social media presence. With the fast advancing age of technology and music, do you feel it’s pivotal to be active online as an artist?
Definitely and it’s something I fought against and still am learning about. I’mm still relatively young but am skilled when it comes to this technology thing. I’m from the selling mixtapes out of your trunk era. Social media hadn’t even came out till after I had graduated! I wish I could just rap but that’s not the world we live in anymore. The internet is now apart of the game and you can either learn it or get weeded out.
Before we speak about the album, let’s talk a bit about the singles and your new found skill as a beginning filmographer. Both of your video singles were self-directed and funded out of your own pocket. What inspired you to take on that role and what is it like shooting your own videos?
It’s definitely been another learning experience as everything else has been a DIY approach. I shopped around for directors and found some really dope ones but they would charge way more than I was comfortable with paying for only one video. Obviously they were skilled with the visuals but since I am independent, I felt it was time to begin honing in on my video editing/ shooting abilities and so far, the results have been good.
“Lost My Mind” is a song that touches on substance abuse and mental health but done in an entertaining fashion. Both serious issues that have affected you personally. However, your approach to talking about these topics is mostly done with shock and humor. In many cases, people struggle to even admit to their own character flaws. How are you able to speak so freely about your life thru music Sourmouth?
When you’re unknown and low on the social totum pole, nobody really cares about you. That’s how I felt at the time I was writing the song. I was at rock bottom it’s something I talk about alot in my lyrics. I never imagined having a fanbase like I do today. I can never go back to being just “David Krauss” again and I’m okay with that cause i get to share my story and connect with my fans.
Your second video and current single is the Portland anthem, “In The Rose City”. The video is loosely influenced by Sons of Anarchy and features a few close associates of yours. Could you explain why the cable series was an inspiration to you for making the video?
It came down to the overall psychology behind what would make someone want to be a biker. It was a specific quote from the main character, Jax Teller, that I connected with on all levels. “The only thing I ever did well was being an outlaw”. It’s simple at first glance but its real. These dudes where smart, not just out there doing evil ish.
Besides “Lost My Mind” and “In The Rose City”, are you planning any dropping any other videos for the album?
Originally I was only planning on dropping “Lost My Mind” but the impact it had was greater than all my previous releases combined. It was then that I realized the power of video to accompany your music. After that, I originally planned to drop six more videos but that became an unrealistic goal. I cant tell you precisely how many videos there will be for this particular project but I can guarantee there will be two more.
“A Million Little Pieces” is the name of your upcoming album. What’s the story behind the title and what can fans expect from the release?
Correct and the title stem’s from the book of the same name which in a nutshell is basically one of the worst drug abuse stories ever documented. It really connected with me on a personal level. The overall theme of the album is about my struggles as an addict and each song is a certain mindset I had while battling it.
What do you want people to take in from your music at the end of the day?
At the end of the day, I just want people to respect me as an artist and appreciate my music. No matter what they have to say about the way I look or dress ext, I want people to look at me as a real emcee. In today’s Rap game, fans are so concerned with grouping you into specific categories. The only thing I want listeners to take away from my music is connecting with my story. Someone out there going thru the same situations finding solace in my lyrics.
It’s been great talking with you today. Is there anything else you’d like to mention or share with our readers?
For sure, right back at you guys! My new release date for “A Million Little Pieces” will be on June 1st and available for pre-order on iTunes.