Who are Jake Barkley and M.arques B.erry?

What got you into music?

M.arques B.erry: I started my spring semester of my freshman year of college. I started playing guitar when I was 16 and I really like the sound of guitar on beats and instrumentals. Also, a big influence was Sade—my mom used to play her all the time. I liked her sound—it was very soothing, calming type s**t. When I got to college, I used to f**k around with my friend Tyrell with music. I was always good at writing—but it just took me a while to write my verses in full.

Jake Barkley: The very first rap I ever wrote was in like 8th grade, this guy posted his rap on MySpace and I was like, “I can do better than this.” But, then I realized I f*****g sucked too—I was probably even worse. Then, as I got older, I started smoking and drinking with my boys and we used to freestyle. But, I didn’t start making any of my own music until my senior year of high school. That year I got signed to this really small independent label called Loveside Records—it’s not even around anymore. The owner of the label was like, “You should go with your name—it has three syllables.” I was like, “Aight.” That’s what I’ve been running with ever since.

How would you define your style of music?

MB: I would call it mood music to be as broad as possible. It’s just my thoughts and emotions and how I’m living at the time. It’s definitely stuff you can relate to and feel.

"It’s getting louder."

JB: It’s getting louder. I would say starting out I had this laidback kinda chill flow. But, then once I got some advice, I decided to switch up my flow. I’ve started to sing more too—I’m not that good but I know my range. But, I would say [my music] is new-age boom-bap with an electro-type vibe. When I was young, I used to draw often. So, when I starting writing music, I can take those drawings and make words out of them.

Who are your inspirations musically and non-musically?

JB: Goldlink, D.R.A.M., Mike Strong, Chance Fischer, fly Anakin, Koncept Jack$on, Henny Lo, Peter $un, Cadillac Cat, OG Illa, Dr. Millionaire, Noah-O are inspirations. Non-musically, people like Steph Curry—I just love how’s he’s handled all the praise he’s gotten. Obama—he’s keeping his head cool with all the s**t he’s got to deal with. Those serving their lives for our country.

"I would just say life—learning lessons and s**t."

MB: I would just say life—learning lessons and s**t. I used to play basketball a lot and other sports too. Music itself—I’m a 90’s baby so I was in the middle of the 90’s and right before the 2000’s. So, I have the old school with the new school influence. The music is really getting better—artists are dropping the best music they’ve ever dropped. 2015 was a great year. I would also say people in my family—I actually have a skit from my grandma on my upcoming album. Even, school and religion.

When did you get into producing? Do you think it gives you an edge over other artists?

JB: About a year and a half ago. It’s funny because that’s originally what I wanted to do. But I didn’t have the money for the equipment so I stuck to writing. Then, I got an OP-1—that’s a little portable synthesizer and it’s ridiculously overpriced for what it is. I’m still learning a lot but I can still make a beat. As far as an edge--I would say that it makes me particular. I just gravitate towards certain things—it’s like very eclectic. I can’t stay with one type of music or genre. I would also say it definitely makes me versatile. It’s very different to ride a beat and having a pocket for your voice.

How do you think the diverse culture in Richmond is a factor in the music scene?

MB: I guess when all the weirdness blends—you know people who do rock, hardcore metal s**t, people who do the boom-bap hip-hop, you’ve got people that do that trap s**t, you’ve got people that do melodic R&B. There’s so many artists out here doing different things and it just blends together—it’s dope.

What do you think it would take for Richmond to get on the stage of like a New York or Atlanta?

"Unity man."

MB: Unity man. It’s like everybody is in a race. There’s literally cliques—people only f**k with their peoples. That’s what’s different about Atlanta—they all work together, they’re all in each other’s videos, they support each other. I think somebody needs to unify Richmond. I would love to make a track similar to A$ap Rocky’s “1 Train” with other Richmond artists on it. Richmond can be the next Atlanta if we just work together.