When we talked to Alex Veazey, a.k.a. Damn Skippy, a couple years back, he was excited about beginning a new collaboration with DJ FL!P. Now a well-established partnership, the duo have been hard at work recording and, at last, releasing a series of three EPs entitled “Progression.” The first of the three, The Ollie EP is set to drop on Thurs. March 7, while The Shove It EP and The Kickflip EP will follow later this year.
“FL!P and I are both very into extreme sports mainly skateboarding and snowboarding,” says Veazey. “The Ollie, Shove it, and Kickflip are the first three tricks you learn when you start skating. So we thought these titles were a great fit to showcase the “Progression” of us as a duo. Basically, you gotta learn to walk before you can run.”
The duo have learned a lot since the Progression project began, like that you can’t do it all on your own, plus they’re now well-versed in everything from digital distribution to merchandise.
“All this combined really helped us grow as artists and understand the business side of the music industry,” says Veazey. “It’s hard to be patient when you’re grinding and creating a ton of music, but this is chess, not checkers.”
With Veazey also being a well-known local videographer, you can damn sure expect to see plenty of visuals to accompany the project in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, Damn Skippy gives us the lowdown on each track on The Ollie EP, available now.
SONG BY SONG: Damn Skippy breaks down The Ollie EP
All vocals were tracked by my engineer John Shields (Little Stranger) in our home studios with Kevin, FL!P, SP, and … High Life.
1. “Phunky Intro”
I wrote the Phunky Intro in Costa Rica while filming a music video for my homie, Ben Fagan. It was one of the first beats DJ FL!P (Devon Bloodsworth) ever sent me. I had my good friend and cinematographer Bernie Aniciete with me, and we wanted to knock out a few extra videos while we were chillin in paradise! After writing the verse I felt like it represented the raw hip-hop style FL!P and I envisioned and became the intro. Spoiler alert —you might see that video sooner than later.
As a system of categorizing beats, FL!P will write another producer or artist’s name to give me an idea or feel for a track. We both love A Tribe Called Quest and after Phife Dawg passed away in 2016, we felt we needed to pay homage to the lyrical legend in the only way we knew how. We used a Phife Dawg sample in the chorus (“Always writing/ Never biting”), because we practice our craft daily and never bite (copy others’) lyrics.
3. “Dilla” feat. Classic Kevin
Dilla was such a fun track to create! FL!P is a huge fan of producer J Dilla and we decided to name this song accordingly. Throughout the next two EPs and in future albums we will keep the theme going with more Dilla and Phife tracks. While going through beats with Kevin Shields a.k.a. Classic Kevin of Little Stranger, we decided to collab and came up with somewhat of a tag-team wrestling feel. We both love Dilla’s music and grew up on pro wrestling — it was a perfect fit.
4. “First Love” Interlude feat. SP the MC
The first love interlude is a love letter to hip-hop, giving the genre human-like qualities. My big sister Ashley introduced me to hip-hop when I was a kid and the more I learned about it the more I loved it. Just like any relationship, it has ups and downs and over time people change — but at the end of the day I will always love hip-hop and continue to create it the way it was when we first met. I’ve always loved interludes in albums and felt is was mad fitting to have the one and only SP the MC (Ohm Radio Host/In Arena Host for the Stingrays) bless the interlude as only a true Rudeboi can!
5. “Just Another Day” feat. John Shields
Just another day is a broad description of day-to-day life as a musician getting pulled in different directions while trying to make a living and make sense of the world around me. I wrote it at a time when I was very broke and second guessing the idea of being a full-time musician while working two jobs and struggling to pay rent. I realized that whether I pursued music as a career or not, it is and always will be a huge part of my life and who I am. I approached my boy John Shields of Little Stranger with the idea and he came up with the chorus that tied it together better then I ever imagined! After we put together a rough mix we felt like something was missing. Joey Cox, who mixed the entire project, suggested an upright bass would be a dope way to tie it together so we reached out to Alex Kellner of Terraphonics, who knocked it out of the park. Thomas Kenney (Terraphonics) tracked the upright for us at his studio.
6. “Pool Party or Die” feat. Little Stranger
This was the first song recorded for the project. I was helping my buddy Rex who owns a pool cleaning company when we came across a customer who had decided to demo her pool. I thought damn, what better way to throw a pool party in winter thAn in a drained pool? So I assembled the crew (Little Stranger, SP the MC, and DJ FL!P), and we got to work. FL!P had sent me the beat the week before, John Shields flew back early from Philly where he had just finished a Long Miles show, and we had the song written and recorded within a few days. Everything came together better then we ever could have hoped, after a few calls and social media posts we ended up with an AMAZING crew that came to party.
7. “It Will Be Alright” feat. Luis Skye
This song was the only song I produced on the EP and originally wasn’t supposed to be on it. I wrote it a while back as a means of therapy about a shitty breakup I had after a five-year relationship that ended abruptly. I didnt plan on ever releasing it publicly but wanted to finish it properly, for myself. I reached out to my good friend Mikey Baur, formally of the Holy City Hooligans, to see if he would track guitar for what was quickly becoming somewhat of a ballad. Mikey sent me back seven minutes of guitar that breathed new life into the song. At that point, I played it for one of my best friends, Luis Skye (Angel Maldonado), who was doing his best to keep me sane at the time. He has an amazing voice but would never tell you, however, a few hours later he called me and said, “Look Skippy, I know you don’t want to release this —BUT I got some ideas, so hear me out!” He sang over the phone a different variation of my chorus followed by a breakdown that paid homage to Biz Markie, “You Got What I Need,” only this time in past tense “You had what I needed.” Not to be cheesy but it was like a break in the clouds on a shitty day for me. I could hear Luis’ wife Britny and their kids singing with him in the background and it really meant the world to me … Skip forward two years as FL!P and I are finishing the EP: I’m in a much better place mentally and a healthy relationship with an amazing girl. I play the song one night and hear it in a different way for the first time. This time it’s not a therapy session — it’s a reminder: No matter how bad life gets, tomorrow is a new day, and it will be alright.
Damn Skippy and DJ FL!P will perform at Little Stranger’s Friendly Neighborhood Fest on Fri. April 5 at the Royal American.