In this Music Mondays exclusive interview we sat down with a passionate veteran in the underground known as Lord Heretic. We spoke about everything from their early roots, their music, life struggles, upcoming plans and much more. Don’t miss this classic and get familiar with Heretic before it’s too late.
Zomb: So first things first let’s get you introduced, how old are you and where are you from?
Heretic: I am 27 years old and I’m from a town in Northern California called Rocklin.
Zomb: Wow alright so North California? What was growing up like for you? Tell me a little bit about your early days growing up in Rocklin.
Heretic: So growing up was cool cuz it’s a suburb outside Sacramento and about and hour ish outside the Bay Area. So it’s like a safe environment for young kids but once you grow up you kind of see the shitty side of this area and it’s not really all that nice at all, and being like super poor in a really wealthy area was a little fucked but I’ll say I was lucky to have friends growing up that didn’t really give me too much shit for it.
Zomb: Definitely know what you mean, especially when you grow older and start to see the reality of things. It’s always great to look back and remember you had some real ones around that stayed solid. So it sounds like it was a bit of a roller coaster for you overall, during this time who were some of your early musical influences? Who were some artists/musicians that you remember listening to in your early years?
Heretic: I used to listen to a lot of System of a Down, Green Day and wu tang clan growing up. There’s a whole lot of shit on either end of the spectrum that I like to pull from but that’s a whole other conversation. Those 3 were always on heavy rotation since I was like 12 or 13.
Zomb: That’s actually such a solid mix, especially for those early 2000’s years. Let’s dive into some details about your music, when did you first start creating and recording music? What are some early Heretic roots of recording?
Heretic: Ok so I first recorded in like 2013 or 14 in high school with this weird group of stoners that were making music back then, and they kinda punked my ass so I just kept writing and freestyling. And then when I was going to college in 2015 I recorded a few songs that wouldn’t come out till about 2016 but I was performing those songs at local spots before they came out.
Zomb: Wow that’s such an interesting start, so technically you were performing before you even officially released anything. What was performing like for you? How did you start performing unreleased songs so early on?
Heretic: Yea I was going to open mics and doing pay to plays playing the same line 5-6 songs for people for months before those dropped. And the guy who owned the studio I was recording at actually at the time owned an entertainment business so after I recorded a bunch with him he wanted to start doing shows and stuff around the area. Performing was fun cuz crazy shit happened and it was always a good time but there was a period after everything started where I wasn’t playing shows ever for a couple years.
Zomb: Such a dope story honestly, so at least you were getting repetitions performing early on. Fast forward to 2016, when did you officially release your first song? Did you release it under your current Heretic name?
Heretic: So that was a song called “Gold” that I released in 2016. I forget when exactly but I released it under the name “Heretic”
Zomb: 2016 was really a crazy time. So before we continue and while we’re on the topic, is there a story behind the name Heretic? Or was it just a name that stuck with you?
Heretic: So I made up a character in high school and just ran with it as a persona for my music. It was all the terrible shit I was thinking about doing and feeling wrapped up into one person, and it just stuck, I only added the lord recently cuz I always call myself that in my songs and it’s a little easier to find my music online that way.
Zomb: Definitely has a creative background to it, sometimes those stories on how artists got their name are very legendary. Gotta love that search optimization though, that’s definitely smart. So we’re in 2016, you’ve just released your first track Gold, what was your next move? Did you continue to release singles?
Heretic: Yeah so I was just doing open mics every week and doing shows and released a bunch of singles and eventually in like 2017 maybe 2018 met a couple people online that I started making heavier underground stuff with.
Zomb: We’re details going to get into the underground presence for
sure, before we expand on that let’s talk about your recording process early on. What was recording like for you in 2016/17? What was releasing music like in those years for you?
Heretic: So recording was weird cuz I had a blue desk mic for ever, so it was that plugged straight into a laptop I was gifted or just use the built-in mic on the laptop. I was using like $2 Walmart earbuds and recording whenever and wherever I could. Releasing was crazy cuz I had never done it so I just made a SoundCloud account and went for it. Made a twitter along with it and just tried networking and figuring shit out.
Zomb: 2016 was truly a different time, hats off to you for just taking the dive because I’d say you benefited greatly. That’s such a rare time in the underground and more importantly you mentioned around 2017/18 you started to network more and meet other artists in the scene, how did that start out for you? Who are some of the earliest mutuals you remember?
Heretic: So I made a twitter and Instagram and just started looking around and finding people that were associated with whatever I was listening to at the time. Early early on I met certain people that I’m not friendly with anymore or just lost contact. But I met young prophet, ak3k, trainwreck, taj the god and a bunch of other people I can’t remember.
Zomb: Shout out the real ones most definitely, always gotta keep pushing forward. What was your music library around this time? Did you continue to put out singles?
Heretic: Yeah at this point it was just singles by myself or with others. It was like that for a couple years right up until the end of 2016, maybe early 2017 when I met ONI INC, after that shit changed the entire course of my career.
Zomb: A solid steady stream of music until 2017 or so, you definitely built a library for sure at that point. You mentioned you meant ONI, what impact did that have for you? Tell us a little bit about how things changed for you in 2017.
Heretic: Ok so prophet Taj trainwreck a couple others and myself were in a group called CCZM that cycled thru hella members 2016-2019 maybe? Anyways, trainwreck met ONI and told them to check my music out. They hit me up and invited me to play a show in Las Vegas and that’s where I met them, junior ending, KŪMA, and 777fury.
Zomb: Woah that’s a STACKED crew, truly all such talented individuals. You played a show in Las Vegas, was that the first time you’ve played a show out of state at that point?
Heretic: That was the very first time I had played outta state and the very first time I left the state that far away.
Zomb: That’s so sick, what was that experience like for you? Would you say that was a positive step forward being an independent artist then?
Heretic: It was the first time I felt like I had found people just like me and I didn’t want it to end. Like my friends growing up, I never really wanted to take shit seriously and music was the only thing I wanted to do. So meeting people with that same passion was such a motivating force. And yeah honestly if I hadn’t met them who knows if I would still be creating. The entire experience from the drive there to the performance to just kicking it when we had the free time was truly something I won’t ever forget.
Zomb: It really is experiences like those that truly change you forever. I can definitely relate and truly a life changing experience when you find your group that just wants nothing more than to change the world with music yet you become so close over it. So coming off of your first out of state show, what was your next step in music at that point? Did you continue to put out singles after that?
Heretic: So funny enough, it was around this time I just kept putting out singles like I had been and started working with these new friends. But behind the scenes I was dealing with substance abuse and it was just getting out of control. So I think a couple weeks after that I had overdosed and decided I was gonna get clean and leave my hometown. That was 2018.
Zomb: That’s definitely something serious that can distract a lot, first off it’s a blessing you’re still here that’s wonderful. Music aside for a moment, was that experience like for you? Did you return to music as soon as you got clean?
Heretic: Yeah I kept dropping music. It was a wild experience cuz I fucked up bad. It wasn’t the first time but it was definitely the worst. I treated people I loved like shit, did terrible shit to everyone around me and just was overall a real asshole. I decided to get clean the day after and leave my hometown. So a few months later I packed my shit up and moved to Las Vegas with an artist named Savic that I had met online and was living with us in Sacramento.
Zomb: The most important thing is you made it through and you recognize your mistakes, that’s such an essential part of being an artist sometimes. We all have our demons and it’s amazing you made it through dark times. So when you moved out to Las Vegas, how did things change for you in life and in music? Would you say Las Vegas was a positive change for you at the time?
Heretic: Man moving to Las Vegas was a trip. So me and savic moved there, we’re pretty much homeless for a few months then he bounced back to Ohio. That kinda fucked me up, but then I was kinda couch surfing and trying to figure shit out while I was working and making music literally wherever I could. Looking back it was a positive change but there was so much shit that happened it kinda made me really cautious and very confrontational.
Zomb: Important life lessons for sure, that’s awesome it turned out positively though. So pushing forward to 2019/20 what was music like for you at the time? Did you continue singles and shows? Did anything change after those events in 2018?
Heretic: I had upgraded my equipment a couple times in that time so I was just evolving my sound for a while. I did a lot of pay to plays and a few shows ONI had put on himself and was starting to get a little buzz in the city. Outside of that I met a girl and started seeing her, moved in with her and really started settling down.
Zomb: It seems life started to chill out and music started to take back over, which is a big positive. Pushing forward to current times in 2022, how would you say your music is doing? How have the last few years treated you music wise?
Heretic: Man, I dropped a couple projects since then, I’ve done a bunch of singles and features. Got to do a bunch of cool ass shows. I moved to PA with that girl for a couple months, we split so I’m back in California right now. But music right now is great. I'm making a ton of material and planning on dropping a full length project called “ANDSTILLIWEPT” this June. Overall I’m just so happy my journey led me here. It was a lot of bullshit but a lot of people within the last few years kinda drove me to wanna make this shit really work.
Zomb: Staying busy and staying productive is always amazing to hear. The journey is always something to be fond to look back on as long as you learn something, positive vibes for sure. You’ve been known to keep a heavier sound with your vocals and music in general, what is your recording process like in 2022? How long does it particularly take you to create a song?
Heretic: Ok so this is the heretic method. I use Logic Pro, a Scarlett solo interface and a shure dynamic mic usually used for shows and shit. Usually stand a couple feet back from my mic for the louder vocals and just let it rip, no real prep or real technique.
Zomb: The Heretic tutorial has fully arrived, love the simple process with it. What inspires some of your music in 2022? How do you consistently come out with new and innovative ways to perform heavier vocals?
Heretic: Usually I write everything til it’s perfect then I’ll record and make like 5 songs in an hour. And right now my life is inspiring me, it’s cliche but in my eyes my entire life is just fucking up and trying again but more pissed off and ready to succeed. And honestly I just have a lot of bad days and I try to let that speak. I really just like making stuff that makes people wanna move and dance.
Zomb: Truly some inspirational stuff if I’m being honest, that’s the kind of attitude that keeps inspiring others as well. What are some of your favorite songs you’ve released or been a part of at this point?
Heretic: My favorite one I’ve done recently is a song called PRIMADONNA from the project. Tbh a buddy of mine DREAD makes excellent music we always have a good time creating, I love our song LIKETHAT, me and Mikal have a song called whitedevil that is super special to me.
Zomb: Collaborations with all stars if I’m being honest. You mentioned earlier that you’re dropping a project this year titled ANDSTILLIWEPT, tell us a little bit about that and the singles you’ve released from the project.
Heretic: So I just wanted to make a project that had a song for everyone and a overall vibe and message of “I just want you all to fucking dance”. Shit is way too serious constantly and I think it’s healthy to let go and have fun often. As of right now PRIMADONNA with killfish and RATKINGROACHLORD with brxvn and myojin are the only singles until the entire project drops. For PRIMADONNA, killfish produced it and I sent him the open and he just did his thing. Similar method with RATKINGROACHLORD but it was prod esthetic gloom, 90% of the project is his production and brxvn is the engineer on the entire thing.
Zomb: Variety is everything and people/artists definitely have a huge misconception with art that makes them forget to have fun so this is definitely a project to look out for. We’ve recently premiered both of these on the MM Podcast so if you’re reading this make sure you check these singles from ANDSTILLIWEPT below. So new project soon, we’re heading into summer 2022, what are your plans for this upcoming season and the rest of the year?
Heretic: Hopefully just more singles, maybe visuals. But for those across the country, I’ll see y’all soon. Nothing concrete yet and without giving too much away, I’ll be going on tour with some familiar faces at the end of the year around November. Hopefully I can pump another project out before year's end and let everyone know I’m here to shake shit up and have a good time doing it.
Zomb: Hopefully we got Heretic back on the move! Definitely need to keep us posted on more information for sure. New Heretic visuals would be stellar as well actually. What are some of your favorite things about making music in 2022 and what are some of your goals in the present day for yourself as an artist?
Heretic: Man I just love that I don’t have to care at all what people think or say or if they even listen. At the end of the day I been doing this shit for ME and I think sometimes I get overwhelmed getting ahead of myself trying to please people. I love working with a tight knit group of people I’ve come to know as my friends and it was just a wild ride that brought me here. Realistically my biggest goal is to consistently put out quality music and make sure I’m moving in a way that reflects my morals and what I value.
Zomb: Honestly very simple and very well said. Essentially this is the best goal for any type of art, it’s such a positive feeling to hear artists like yourself want to continue a pure and genuine tradition. Who would you say inspires your music in 2022? Do you listen to anyone or take inspiration from anything in regards to your music?
Heretic: Oddly enough I take a lot of inspiration from a lot of softer music like 100 gecs, drippinsopretty, this one punk band from the 2000s called the vicious has been on rotation a lot lately. Just stuff that really speaks volumes to me in my life right now.
Zomb: Drippin is such a legend at this point man, truly all underground pioneers. Music aside for a moment, what keeps you inspired outside of art? What do you do that keeps you grounded outside of music?
Heretic: Outside of art I just smoke a shit ton of weed and experience life. Recently I quit drinking and I just smoke, watch a whole lot of cartoons and play games and don’t really do much else. Kinda sad but I mean it’s this or going back to being an addict and doing bad shit.
Zomb: Nah I definitely wouldn’t consider it an unproductive/sad thing, a lot of inspiration comes from things outside of music honestly. Subconsciously taking things that you enjoy are such a great essential part of creating, definitely a positive thing for sure. One of the last questions I had for you is who are some artists you’d like to work with in the future? Can be bigger or small.
Heretic: I would love to work with hurtgang or HHM. Wavehi would b cool as fuck I think and bearded legend.
Zomb: Now THAT would be something, your variety would make any of those match ups really fire. That just about concludes our interview and introduction of Lord Heretic, before we sign off do you have any shoutouts and words of motivation?
Heretic: Just keep fucking going. Don’t stop don’t quit don’t fucking look back ever. And yeah it’s a long list. Shouts oni Inc and my boys in caustic, shouts fury and Mikal, shouts scar and the rest of C$, shouts music mondays, shouts kale, brxvn and myojin, shouts out esthetic and anyone else I forgot. Thanks to everyone that’s been helping me out and listening and supporting. And fucking shouts out zomb slays I fuck with you heavy dawg.
Zomb: Amazing words, very very important and man much love for sure! Really appreciate you taking the time to sit down with us and big shout out to the homies. This was a pleasure and we’ll be sitting down for a podcast Episode really really soon.
Much love my friend and thank you for sitting down with Music Mondays!
Follow Heretic Here: linktr.ee/Heretiiic
Written By Zomb Slays: linktr.ee/ZombSlays