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Psycho Realm Conducts their Sick Symphonies
5/30/06 - exclusive interview by Dante

Psycho Realm picture

Gonzales Brothers Jacken and Duke hail from the Pico-Union area of downtown Los Angeles, and made their Hip Hop mark in the 90's. While gaining a new group member in the form of B-Real of Cypress Hill, the brothers shunned mainstream sounds and found a strong underground following while dropping rhymes with themes from inner city life to government Conspiracies.

Sick Jacken took some time out en route to a concert in Mexico to speak with us about their upcoming projects and proves that personal tragedy can't keep the brothers away from music in this exclusive interview. Does Psycho Realm have any new albums in the works?

Yeah, actually my brother is helping me do the Spanish record that I'm starting to work on, you know he's paralyzed from the neck down, so he can't really step in the booth like he used to. But a major role that he played in the record that we did before, I do the music, he comes out with the concepts, we each write our own verses, he comes up with the majority of the hooks.


So he's actually stepping back in and doing that for these projects that I'm doing. I'm going to do an English record with him also. He helps out with different projects we have out, Street Platoon project, the Sick Symphonies one we put out last year.

So you guys in the studio recording new tracks already?

Actually, when I get back from this Mexico trip, I'm going to get into the studio and start writing and recording this Spanish record, I got to have to get it done in four months. I got a joint venture with Universal under Rebel music group, its an all-Spanish Hip Hop label that they're giving me. Universal Latin, it will be the first record on that joint venture that I have with them.

As far as you doing the shows in Mexico, this isn't to promote an album?

Yeah, we just got booked to do a couple shows out there. We just did Greece three weeks ago, we did a big festival in Watts. Right in the hood in Watts, L.A., right off Central and 89th I think it was, we pulled over 4,000 people. We just been doing spot dates, man, you gotta keep the name afloat, know what I mean?

Is this your first time performing out in Mexico?

Nah, we've done a few tours out there in Mexico, man. Mexico's actually a big market for us. We were there last year, as a matter of fact, did a four-city tour out there, it was nice

For those not up on where you're from, where are you from?

I'm from Los Angeles, born and raised in Downtown.

You mentioned that your brother is unable to tour, how did that come about?

He got shot back in '99, right there in Los Angeles where we're from, it left him paralyzed from the neck down. For a few years after he got shot, we were just trying to make sure he got better and things like that. Now that he's better, he handles the whole internet operation.


All our fans, he's pretty much, man these fans love this dude, he pretty much keeps in contact with all the fans. He does our website, he handles all our merchandise online. He's still in the mix, you know, he's not 100 percent, he can't step in the booth and drop a verse. He's on a respirator. He got shot in '99 and is paralyzed from the neck down, bro.

Did that situation get resolved as far as who shot him?

Homeboy's locked up, he's doing life. Just another L.A. incident. S**t happens, he got caught that night.

I figured you weren't affiliated with anything, repping a neighborhood set.

We don't gangbang or none of that. You grow up in L.A., you don't have to gangbang for s**t to go down. S**t happens, s**t can pop off anywhere and everywhere, you just gotta be careful.

So everything got put on hold for a while after that?

Everything else I put on hold until he was better. That's my brother, this music s**t's secondary to me, you know. I had to make sure he was cool. He's cool now, after he snapped out of it, we put out a couple of records after that. We have an independent label called Sick Symphonies, and the only groups on it are Psycho Realm and Street Platoon.


Street Platoon is another group from Los Angeles. When my brother got shot, they used to get on stage and help me out, they used to cover my brother's parts. We started touring over the years, we just did a record together, August of last year, called Sick Symphonies Sick Side Stories.

You've been getting a pretty good response off of Sick Symphonies?

Well anybody that's a fan of ours knows pretty much that Sick Symphonies is our home, we've been getting a great response, man.

I remember hearing about groups like Cartel de Santa out of Mexico, I remembered that they used the same producers that you do. Whose doing your production now?

Well the production for Psycho Realm stuff, I do 95% of it, occasionally one of the guys from Street Platoon will have a track on there, my DJ will have a track on there. Sick Symphonies record, we all pretty much produced it. I produced, Crow and Cynic from Street Platoon produced, DJ FM produced, we have a production team called the Drug Lab.


We pretty much do our own production. Cartel de Santa, they use production from Jason Roberts, an engineer for Cypress Hill back in the day. He recorded and premixed our first album that was on Ruffhouse. Control Machete uses him, and so does Cartel de Santa, but we pretty much produce our own s**t and they work with Jason Roberts and a couple other cats.

Who makes up Psycho Realm right now?

Psycho Realm is always only gonna be myself, Jack, and my brother Duke, and DJ FM. Right now my brother is not recording. The Spanish album I'm doing is gonna be Psycho Realm Presents.


Its not really a Psycho Realm record because, like I said, he can't record. I don't want to use the name without him, its a 50-50 thing. His half is a major half, I can't do Psycho Realm without him. Anything that I do now is pretty much going to be Psycho Realm Presents, just so people can be familiar with the project.

Before, B-Real was heavily associated with Psycho Realm, what's the situation now?

B-Real jumped on board for the first album because we don't really do guest appearances. He wanted to do a guest appearance on our first album, we told him we don't do guest appearances, so he joined the group for the first record.


But when he joined the group, it was a tug of war between his Cypress responsibilities and the stuff that we were doing, because we were doing a lot of promotional tours and all that. It was taking up a lot of time, so we told him to go do the Cypress stuff, because that's number one, you know, and just let us do the Psycho Realm stuff. After the first album, I think he's on one song, on Book 1.

As far as the Spanish album you're putting out, are we going to hear Cypress on it?

You'll probably hear B-Real on that. We just did a song for a graffiti movie called Infamy, me and B-Real just did a song for that. I was on both of his mixtapes, we still collaborate and do stuff together, we haven't lost that connection. But as far as Psycho Realm, its just us.


On the Spanish record, you might hear from B-Real, guest appearance on a beat from DJ Muggs. Bobo's gonna be on there, percussion player for Cypress, he was all over the first record, he's an original member of Psycho Realm also. We keep it in house, anyone from the crew, anybody that's around us, immediately family, you can pretty much expect them on the record.

Any other guest appearances?

I'm not too sure, probably just me, probably some cat named el Ferruco. Before we put out that first Psycho Realm record, it was me, him and Duke that were on Psycho Realm. He kind of left the group. He might make a comeback on the Spanish record. You'll probably hear Cynic from Street Platoon on there. We're not too heavy into guest appearances, we pretty much want to make our own record?

Is there anyone that you'd like to have on the album that you haven't recorded with?

I don't really know, bro. I can't think of nobody. There's a lot of groups I would work with, I've been doing a lot of side projects, mixtape s**t. But as far as my record goes, we like our album to have some sort of theme or storyline, sometimes when you bring guest appearances it throws that rhythm off. But there's a lot of artists I like to work with, Non Phixion, Immortal Technique, the same section of Hip Hop as us, underground raw s**t.

As far as Immortal Technique, I'm assuming you met him at the Latin Rap Conference?

Yeah, I met him at one of the Latin rap conferences. That show in Watts, he did that show with us. I keep in touch with the dude. I guess when you're Latino, you kind of look out for any other Latino that's out there, you kind of check out his sound, see how they sound. A dope cat, kind of representing us right. Immortal Technique, I've been up on his s**t for a while.

So can people outside of California catch you on tour?

Yeah, we're actually scheduling a few tours. We've been hitting a lot of tours outside of the country. We're setting some up for Japan, Australia, we might even go into Spain. We're trying to set up a US tour, but its kind of hard because you gotta have that commercial background. Radio airplay, you gotta have situations like that.


When you go out of the country, Hip Hop is still fresh, they still love the culture. Underground s**t like ours, they love and embrace, they'll fly us out no problem. Try to get on a tour out here, they're like...... Let me see your Soundscan, and who are you, what label are you with. It's just a big f**kin' hassle.

Do you ever have people assume that because you're from California and Latin, that you're doing Chicano rap?

Always, that's always the case. I think we broke that stereotype a long time ago. To this day, you're always gonna get people that have that. If we had our picture on the front of our cover, they'd put us in the Chicano section. The fact that you have a group called Psycho Realm, and the cover's just some crazy artwork, they're not going to know what it is. They're just going to put it in the Hip Hop section. That's what I want, I don't want it to be classified as anything but Hip Hop.

Do you have any big singles right now, anything on the radio?

We got a single called "In this Lifetime", that's off of the Sick Symphonies Sick Side Stories record. We got a video for it, we been shopping it to MTV and all these other places. But like I said, you don't have a major label, you don't have this, you don't have that, its kinda hard.   But they can go to our website and download the video, They can go to or and they can download the videos and check those out.

What's the timeline on getting all the albums out?

Spanish album will be out at the end of this year. DJ FM's putting out a mixtape in the next few months, gonna feature the whole crew and a bunch of other people that we've been working with. Street Platoon started working on their record, that should be out beginning of next year. And then probably summer time of next year I'll be putting out an English record.

Are you guys doing any business outside of the music?

Just that joint venture with Universal, we got our merchandise going. Our merchandise is pretty big, man. That turned out to be real huge to us. Its just the music and the clothing and trying to keep it moving.

What would you like people reading to know about Psycho Realm?

We're just a real Hip Hop based group. Anybody that was into the 90's hip hop: Wu Tang Clan, Cypress Hill, that's us. We don't do nothing commercial. Anybody looking for the real deal, check us out.

Any last message to the hardcore Psycho Realm fans out there?

Good looking out for the support. Any time you guys see me on the street, hit me up, come talk to me. We'll be right here as long as you keep supporting us, we appreciate it. Anybody that has Psycho Realm tattoos, 'cause that's a real big thing, just send us an email.


Anyone that wants to chop it up with Duke, can just send him an email through the website, he's the one that gets them. We don't have no staff, we don't have nobody filtering the emails, its all him. Hit him up on the email, say what's up.

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