Local rappers Konshents and God Koz joined up with local singer-songwriter En Ti T to release a new EDM-house track, “Air Drop,” on YouTube, under the moniker Els of Mental. The song is an ode to the late musician Avicii, and an invitation to join them on their journey into the space of cryptocurrency music.
Although Konshents and En Ti T are in FreeRide Band of Charleston together and have been part of Scarab Entertainment label with God Koz for eight years, this is the first track they crafted together from start to finish.
Exploring what the new vehicle of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) would look like for music led Konshents to NFT pioneer company Bondly. He was curious about recents NFTs from Taylor Swift and Tory Lanez, and while he was talking with the company’s CEO, he learned of an Avicii tribute album project that was accepting songs to be featured. “We wanted to be on the album, and that’s what started ‘Air Drop,’” Konshentz said.
“We were finding some instrumentals and beats to come together in tribute to Avicii’s influence,” En Ti T said. “We definitely wanted to jump on a song that would remember his energy.”
The house-inspired track begins with Avicii speaking about his passion for the stage. The hook responds: “Can you feel us calling out to you? We’re all here. Can you feel it too?” They were tapping into the collective pain felt in response to the famous DJs sudden death by suicide, while bringing familiar, dance-worthy tones of the EDM scene.
“When you hear the high synth sound, it automatically makes you want to put your hands up. The low vibrational beats, they really ground you because you can feel the beats in your chest,” Konshents said.
The group put out “Air Drop” first as an ode to a soul lost, and second as an invitation to join them on their journey into the space of cryptocurrency music. They want to be a helping hand for the Charleston music community as it moves into a new wave of technology, sound and money, said God Koz. Their blog Hodlers Corner delves into the science of cryptocurrency, aiming to bring people together with that same Southern bond Charleston already provides, he said. Even the blog’s name is a nod to social media investor slang HODL, meaning “hold on for dear life.”
To the group’s members, the city’s artistic culture is already forward thinking in its engagement with the pain of history: “Music and art is a social critique. Things to critique or have angst about, it fuels people to write and create and be different,” Konshents said. And since the shutdown, artists have been plunged into considering who they are without society running. “It’s in the dark that we get to find our true selves, and a lot of people haven’t had to be confronted with who they are because of the daily grind.”
With the loss of jobs and social function, thoughts and cares rose to the surface. “Who am I without my job? I think that question spurred activity in music and art. People answered questions for themselves and became more in touch,” Konshents said.
By bringing the concepts of digital blockchain currencies into the musical conversation, a healing experience can be shared, the group believes. In light of canceled events and social isolation we can realize we weren’t really missing out at all. “We were right on schedule,” God Koz said. “There’s a great reset happening right in front of us.” Els of Mental came together not only to create a song, but to continue a dialogue that focuses on welcoming change.
For En Ti T, who already considers herself a take it slow kind of girl, the pandemic insisted that we have to see the best. “We are always growing and learning.”