“I just live and breathe music, and I've been playing instruments since I was seven. All I do is think about and listen to music. I get inspired very easily.” Though you may have only recently heard of LA artist, rapper, producer, and multi-instrumentalist BLVC SVND, he's been grinding for a very long time. Since his project Nag Champa in 2015, BLVC SVND (pronounced "black sand") has released fourteen mixtapes, albums, and EPs, most of which was made entirely by himself. A true renaissance man of the internet age and a dedicated pioneer of the underground, the young creative sings, raps, produces, mixes, and masters his own music, all self-taught. What's even more impressive is that he's only 21 years old.
The drive that BLVC SVND maintains is downright impressive, and it shows not only in his extensive music career but in his attitude as well. After speaking with him it became apparent that anything outside of excellence simply isn't an option. “Every project all I wanted to do was get better. I wanted to be able to go back and see my progress over time. You should always want to get better. A lot of artists fall off when they get complacent and think they don’t need to improve. There are a hundred people like you already out there so you gotta come with it. Ya know?” This knack for self-motivation is instantly inspiring, especially given the common narrative of the rap industry that many artists are just in it for a good time.
BLVC SVND has a daunting maturity that reaches far beyond music, though. I had the pleasure of speaking with him in early December, shortly after the overdose of Juice WRLD, who was his same age. It's clear that the LA native takes his community and his industry very seriously. He feels he carries a large burden as someone who is looking to be a leader in these spaces in the near future. Specifically, he felt concerned about the oversaturation of drug culture in hip-hop. “Everything now is about getting lit and materialism. We need to get back to what really matters. We’ve gotten lost in that. We aren’t getting enough perspective into the actual struggles of the communities. Everything about the industry is promoting the wrong things.”
I genuinely like showing love to ppl because it makes me feel good ion want nothing from anyone
— SVND (@blvcsvndd) March 15, 2020
For BLVC SVND, giving people a healthy outlet is crucial. It's probably why he has such an expansive and dynamic discography at his young age and why his Twitter account is full of inspiring nuggets of wisdom. He's cited some of his own most important musical role models as early 2000's metal bands such as System of a Down, Slipknot, and Korn. "There's something really special about the metal from that time. Those bands helped me a lot and gave me perspective. Without that music, I might not be here right now.” Moving forward, the musical prodigy wants to be that beacon of life for someone else, hoping to lead his supporters out of darkness like he was. “I really wanna show kids self-awareness and show them healthy ways to deal with the bullshit of life. These kids need to get tapped into themselves and know their self-worth.”
Following a dynamic discography of rap, soul, R&B, electronic, pop, rock, and metal to name a few genres that his music spans, BLVC SVND's newest project, By Any Means Necessary will likely be the hardest left turn that his work has ever seen. Out March 19, it features recorded guitar, bass, drums, piano, and vocals all from BLVC SVND himself. Though in practice a metal project, it incorporates elements of hip-hop as well. More importantly, it's imperative that people know that it isn't your standard "trap metal." “Everyone uses the term ‘trap metal’ for shit that isn’t real metal. It’s just kids screaming over fart bass, ya know? It has little guitar samples and riffs but no one's going in there and recording it themselves. But this shit is for real metal, and I’m taking the flows and rhythms of trap and incorporating it in. It makes a whole new sound.”
With this new effort from BLVC SVND, we'll be seeing a realized manifestation of what he can really do. It shows his influences and his talents worn on his sleeve along with provocative artistic bravery. "I think this is the project that I’ve been needing to make my whole life. It’s gonna put me where I need to be." But this is by no means some endgame, just a benchmark. He's always working, always learning, always looking ahead. This particular era of BLVC SVND just feels especially important because he knows it's been hard fought for. “2019 was a really big lesson for me. I had to come to terms with a lot of shit. I really had to put in work and figure out who the fuck I am as an artist and as a person. So I feel like 2020 is gonna be the year of receiving and getting all the shit that I’ve been working towards. I’ve been getting a lot of signs.”
It's pretty bold for an established Soundcloud rapper to turn around and record a full-scale metal album. Luckily, BLVC SVND is much more than just a rapper. He's a multifaceted artist that functions across multiple instruments, forms, and genres. This new stage in his extensive creative journey will surely be a challenge; it occupies a lane untouched by many of his contemporaries. But any doubters should look no further than the title of the project, By Any Means Necessary, and understand the truth that it proclaims. BLVC SVND welcomes the challenges of growth, development, and art. He'll persevere because it's all he knows.