Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Chula Vista's Sumach Ecks went from beat producer and rapper and then left

I had to leave Daygo to get respect from Daygo

Gonjasufi: “I can’t allow any label to box me in.”
Gonjasufi: “I can’t allow any label to box me in.”

Sumach Ecks, aka Gonjasufi, went from under-the-radar beat producer and rapper to a dreadlock-shrouded icon with the 2010 Warp Records A Sufi and a Killer, a collection of psychedelic hip-hop tracks featuring Ecks’s craggy, overdriven vocals and production by L.A. beat luminaries Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer, and Mainframe.

The Chula Vista native now calls Vegas home, but he recently released a four-song EP, The Ninth Inning, which boasts some strong San Diego shout-outs, most notably the Padres’ friar logo on the cover wearing Ecks’s signature dreads and beard.

Anticipating the January 23 release of his next Gonjasufi full-length, MU.ZZ.LE — he will play a record-release at the Casbah on January 22 — Ecks takes a moment to talk with the Reader about his San Diego roots, his ambitions as a musician, and the importance of teaching yoga.

Sponsored
Sponsored

What’s up with the Padres gear on the record and video?

Born and raised. A lot of heads don’t know their shit. They think I’m from L.A. because I was rolling with Flying Lotus. So that was my way of kind of letting motherfuckers know I’m from San Diego and, you know, that shit shaped me, so it was important for me to bang the SD on these motherfuckers a little bit, you know?

But, I don’t know, man, Daygo now, it’s just too small of a city. Like, I know too many people and I can’t get any work done. Everybody’s knocking on my door and knocking on my windows and wanting to smoke weed and I’m trying to work. So, I had to leave to focus, you know?

It’s crazy. I made five fucking records in SD when I was living there and, you know, I slang ’em on the streets hand to hand and, like, you know, I was just seen as one of those dudes. And I had to leave Daygo to get respect from Daygo.

What venues were you playing back then?

The Underground Improv on Imperial, this was, like, ’95, ’96. There was Rockers in Old Town. That was pretty much it, man, those one-off spots. Mesopotamia, shit like that. It was mostly, like, not necessarily venues but more like just cats meeting up downtown, man. We’d all take the trolley and meet downtown around, like, Pokez...and behind the post office, the Green Circle bar, around there, and on the street with a boombox just rappin’, man. That was the life, man.

Why did you decide to give out the EP for free download?

Well, I felt like there was a lot of attention going to a lot of other cats that are out that are just fuckin’ horrible.... I just kind of got frustrated because I’m signed to Warp, but they don’t want none of my rap shit, know what I’m saying? They want that singing shit, so I’m just sitting on all these songs and I got tired of sitting on ’em. I could put ’em for sale and sell ’em, but I just kind of wanted people to catch up with what I’m doing in real time so when I do shows they’re more in the know and not, like, What the fuck is this shit?

I got tired of touring and playing songs that a lot of people, because they hadn’t heard it, were confused and they had mixed feelings about my shows. You know, they’d be, like, this isn’t A Sufi and A Killer, and I’d be, like, yeah, but this is still me.... I want to kind of widen the spectrum and, like, let people hear the sound that I’m trying to carve in so I can have, like, more freedom in my shows.

Is MU.ZZ.LE following in that vein?

That one’s all singin’, you know. Anyone who follows my older shit, MU.ZZ.LE is more like Sumach than anything. I feel like this is my first record. I love this shit, man. I have my wife on two songs with me, and I’m working on her record right now [BlackHaleMary]. All the production on MU.ZZ.LE is me and Psychopop from Daygo. He’s part of a group called Skrapez.

But, essentially, at the end of the day what I want to be able to do is put out my own records the way I want to put ’em out without having to conform to anybody’s box. And in order to do that — and I love Warp, I nurture that relationship — but I can’t allow any label to box me in and suffocate my expression. Know what I’m saying? So as far as Warp putting out the record that I want, ultimately, the complete me, I don’t know... That’s what I’m working toward and I’m hoping that they’re open to that shit. I’ve turned in a lot of songs lately and they’ve shown interest toward piecing together another record to follow up after MU.ZZ.LE. So, we’ll see, man... I don’t want to have to make up an alias and shit, and this is this style and this style. I just want people to grab my record and know it’s all kinds of crazy, different shit, and that’s why they love buying the shit, because it’s just whatever the fuck.

What are you doing with yoga these days?

I teach. I taught today. I teach every day, man. You know, it’s crazy because I was into the yoga and then Warp hit me and I got to focus on the music so I kind of got out. I started touring, so...I just this year started teaching again, like, a month ago, man. I’ve just been hittin’ it hard as fuck, every school out there.

How does teaching yoga carry over into your music?

I think it’s more about a feeling, man. Like, the feeling that comes from teaching, the contentment and not needing and not wanting anything else because I feel fulfilled, that sound comes out when I record. You know, if I’m all, like, coked up and stressed out and shootin’ dope and I press record, you’re gonna hear that shit in the sound. You know, that desperation, that unclarity, that dark shit come out through the sound. But when I’m teaching and I’m clean and I’m, like, present and confident, then that sound is reflected when I record.

I started teaching again and now here I am recording again, and, shit, I’m fuckin’ recording now, I’m just, like, I’m happy because I’m, like, wait until the world hears this! ■

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Wacken Metal Battle, Smooth Jazz Festival, Heavy Hawaii, Tasha Smith Godinez, Death To All

Soft jazz and hard rock in City Heights, Linda Vista, Bay Park, and downtown
Next Article

Ocean temperatures are rising, the summer solstice is on June 20

Solstice full moon reaches its lowest point in 18 years
Gonjasufi: “I can’t allow any label to box me in.”
Gonjasufi: “I can’t allow any label to box me in.”

Sumach Ecks, aka Gonjasufi, went from under-the-radar beat producer and rapper to a dreadlock-shrouded icon with the 2010 Warp Records A Sufi and a Killer, a collection of psychedelic hip-hop tracks featuring Ecks’s craggy, overdriven vocals and production by L.A. beat luminaries Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer, and Mainframe.

The Chula Vista native now calls Vegas home, but he recently released a four-song EP, The Ninth Inning, which boasts some strong San Diego shout-outs, most notably the Padres’ friar logo on the cover wearing Ecks’s signature dreads and beard.

Anticipating the January 23 release of his next Gonjasufi full-length, MU.ZZ.LE — he will play a record-release at the Casbah on January 22 — Ecks takes a moment to talk with the Reader about his San Diego roots, his ambitions as a musician, and the importance of teaching yoga.

Sponsored
Sponsored

What’s up with the Padres gear on the record and video?

Born and raised. A lot of heads don’t know their shit. They think I’m from L.A. because I was rolling with Flying Lotus. So that was my way of kind of letting motherfuckers know I’m from San Diego and, you know, that shit shaped me, so it was important for me to bang the SD on these motherfuckers a little bit, you know?

But, I don’t know, man, Daygo now, it’s just too small of a city. Like, I know too many people and I can’t get any work done. Everybody’s knocking on my door and knocking on my windows and wanting to smoke weed and I’m trying to work. So, I had to leave to focus, you know?

It’s crazy. I made five fucking records in SD when I was living there and, you know, I slang ’em on the streets hand to hand and, like, you know, I was just seen as one of those dudes. And I had to leave Daygo to get respect from Daygo.

What venues were you playing back then?

The Underground Improv on Imperial, this was, like, ’95, ’96. There was Rockers in Old Town. That was pretty much it, man, those one-off spots. Mesopotamia, shit like that. It was mostly, like, not necessarily venues but more like just cats meeting up downtown, man. We’d all take the trolley and meet downtown around, like, Pokez...and behind the post office, the Green Circle bar, around there, and on the street with a boombox just rappin’, man. That was the life, man.

Why did you decide to give out the EP for free download?

Well, I felt like there was a lot of attention going to a lot of other cats that are out that are just fuckin’ horrible.... I just kind of got frustrated because I’m signed to Warp, but they don’t want none of my rap shit, know what I’m saying? They want that singing shit, so I’m just sitting on all these songs and I got tired of sitting on ’em. I could put ’em for sale and sell ’em, but I just kind of wanted people to catch up with what I’m doing in real time so when I do shows they’re more in the know and not, like, What the fuck is this shit?

I got tired of touring and playing songs that a lot of people, because they hadn’t heard it, were confused and they had mixed feelings about my shows. You know, they’d be, like, this isn’t A Sufi and A Killer, and I’d be, like, yeah, but this is still me.... I want to kind of widen the spectrum and, like, let people hear the sound that I’m trying to carve in so I can have, like, more freedom in my shows.

Is MU.ZZ.LE following in that vein?

That one’s all singin’, you know. Anyone who follows my older shit, MU.ZZ.LE is more like Sumach than anything. I feel like this is my first record. I love this shit, man. I have my wife on two songs with me, and I’m working on her record right now [BlackHaleMary]. All the production on MU.ZZ.LE is me and Psychopop from Daygo. He’s part of a group called Skrapez.

But, essentially, at the end of the day what I want to be able to do is put out my own records the way I want to put ’em out without having to conform to anybody’s box. And in order to do that — and I love Warp, I nurture that relationship — but I can’t allow any label to box me in and suffocate my expression. Know what I’m saying? So as far as Warp putting out the record that I want, ultimately, the complete me, I don’t know... That’s what I’m working toward and I’m hoping that they’re open to that shit. I’ve turned in a lot of songs lately and they’ve shown interest toward piecing together another record to follow up after MU.ZZ.LE. So, we’ll see, man... I don’t want to have to make up an alias and shit, and this is this style and this style. I just want people to grab my record and know it’s all kinds of crazy, different shit, and that’s why they love buying the shit, because it’s just whatever the fuck.

What are you doing with yoga these days?

I teach. I taught today. I teach every day, man. You know, it’s crazy because I was into the yoga and then Warp hit me and I got to focus on the music so I kind of got out. I started touring, so...I just this year started teaching again, like, a month ago, man. I’ve just been hittin’ it hard as fuck, every school out there.

How does teaching yoga carry over into your music?

I think it’s more about a feeling, man. Like, the feeling that comes from teaching, the contentment and not needing and not wanting anything else because I feel fulfilled, that sound comes out when I record. You know, if I’m all, like, coked up and stressed out and shootin’ dope and I press record, you’re gonna hear that shit in the sound. You know, that desperation, that unclarity, that dark shit come out through the sound. But when I’m teaching and I’m clean and I’m, like, present and confident, then that sound is reflected when I record.

I started teaching again and now here I am recording again, and, shit, I’m fuckin’ recording now, I’m just, like, I’m happy because I’m, like, wait until the world hears this! ■

Comments
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Two breweries, two hops, one beer

Each version of Soo Breezy is available at TapRoom and Original 40
Next Article

Still no newspaper union at the San Diego Union-Tribune

$1.8 million in party expenses
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox Movies@Home — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close

Anchor ads are not supported on this page.