Are you a Psycho? No, we are not asking your mental state. If you live in the Pico-Union district of Los Angeles and are a fan of The Psycho Realm then you know that the answer to that is YES!
Brothers Joaquin Gonzalez (Sick Jacken) and Gustavo Gonzalez (Big Duke) started the group back in the early nineties. Their music focuses mainly on what they have experienced growing up in Downtown Los Angeles. They got their first break when their song “Scandalous”, was released on the soundtrack for the film “Mi Vida Loca” in 1994.
Their major break came when they hooked up with B-Real from the Hip-Hop crew Cypress Hill, which at the time was at the height of their career. B-Real joined The Psycho Realm and they released their first album in 1997 labeled “The Psycho Realm.” The album was a huge success and it gained The Psycho Realm a global following. We had an opportunity to talk to Sick Jacken from The Psycho Realm and Cynic from Street Platoons, and this is what they had to say.
LR: First of all guys let me just thank you for the opportunity to speak with you guys today.
Sick Jacken: For sure.
LR: For those of who don’t know who The Psycho Realm is, tell us who you are how did you get in the biz?
Sick Jacken: I grew up in Downtown L.A. In the Pico-Union district. I got involved in music because of the break dancing and Hip-Hop that swept through our community. I got hooked on it instantly.
Cynic: I have always been into Hip-Hop. I would watch “Yo MTV Raps” and my friends would listen to it. However I could really appreciate the art form.
LR: What makes The Psycho Realm stand out from all of the other Hip-Hop groups out there?
Sick Jacken: We don’t try to be like anyone else. We have our own sound our own style.
Cynic: You’re not gonna hear us rap to the same beat like other artist. Even our voice may change depending on what the beat asks for.
LR: The 90’s were the golden age of Hip-Hop. That’s when you guys came on the scene. What was it like to be in the middle of all of that?
Sick Jacken: The 90’s for Hip-Hop was like the 60’s for rock and soul. You had a lot of real artist doing their thing then. We were just thankful to be a small part of that.
LR: Growing up in Pico-Union is no joke. What was one of your scariest moments?
Sick Jacken: There wasn’t a real scary moment for me. It was all just part of living in the hood. You just get used to it.
Cynic: After a while you become desensitized. I saw people who were shot but at the time it was more about the curiosity of knowing what that looked like. It was the streets version of anatomy class.
LR: Who were your influences growing up?
Sick Jacken: My father always played instruments so music rubbed off on me.
Cynic: No one really. If anything I am influenced by the artists I am around daily.
Sick Jacken: I agree. We influence each other.
LR: You’ve had a chance to work with Cypress Hill. What was that like?
Sick Jacken: Working with Cypress Hill was cool. They really helped with the promo of the first album. B-Real wanted to do a song with us but we told him we don’t do features. So he joined the group for the first album.
LR: Any plans on reuniting soon?
Sick Jacken: We never ended the relationship with Cypress Hill. We are always working on projects together. We have done a few songs together since and we have a few more coming out soon.
Growing up in L.A. Random street violence is always in the back of your mind and that random violence caught up with Psycho Realm. On January 29th 1999 tragedy struck The Psycho Realm. Big Duke was shot in the neck outside a local fast food joint in the Rampart district of Los Angeles. He is now a quadriplegic. However this has not stopped Big Duke from being an active part of Psycho Realm as his brother tells us.
LR: Sick Jacken, how is your brother doing?
Sick Jacken: He’s good man. He’s focusing on his recovery, you know? Right now he helps us a lot by maintaining our presence online and also handling all of our merchandise. Despite his circumstance he continues to be very creative. He is producing beats. He is also been producing some new local artists so stay tuned for that.
LR: Are there any unreleased songs with Duke coming out?
Sick Jacken: Actually we are currently working on a compilation right now where Duke will be making a comeback.
LR: Give our love to Big Duke for us man. We can’t wait to hear the compilation.
Sick Jacken: Thank you, brother.
LR: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned about being in the Hip-Hop biz?
Sick Jacken: Stay on top of it. Don’t get comfortable and evolve.
Cynic. There are no “good deals.” Stack your chips.
LR: You’ve had the chance to travel the world. What has that been like?
Sick Jacken: It has been a great experience to be able to work with artists from Spain and Mexico and South America. Never thought it would blow up like this. I’m actually working on a new Spanish album with some great artists from Spain. Look for it later this year early 2013.
LR: The Psycho Realm has a great global following. I know there are Sick Side Soldiers all the way in Germany. Where is the furthest you’ve known about a fans?
Sick Jacken: The furthest I’ve known of someone with a mask logo tattoo has been in Russia.
LR: Everybody wants to know when Terror Tapes 2 is coming out.
Sick Jacken: May nth. Stay tuned for that! (Listen to first single right here right here)
LR: Finally, where can we find you guys online?
Cynic: You can find me on Twitter at @Cynic_SS.
LR: Guys again thank you very much for letting us talk to you today.
Sick Jacken: Thank you, bro.
Cynic: For sure.
The Psycho Realm just toured Mexico the last two weeks, playing in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, and San Luis Photos. You can also catch them on April TH at the Paid Dues Festival. In the meantime click on here for something to hold you over until then.