by Brittney Corridean
The fun loving duo of Nickey Knoxx and Billy The Kidd make up the heart and soul of the pop/hip-hop outfit that is Epoch Failure. The two recently took some time to discuss where they’ve been and where they would like to be going forward.
Billy The Kidd (Billy Joe Marrero) was raised in nearby Camden. Growing up he knew he had to find an outlet for himself and music was just what he needed. “While growing up in Camden, music was everything. It really shaped who I was. It kept me from falling into the wrong groups or cliques,” he says.
Marrero was one of five children living in extreme poverty and spent a lot of time in a house without heat or power. His family was nominated for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and after they won, a home studio was installed for Marrero. This is where he has crafted his beautiful melodies ever since.
As for Nickey Knoxx (Nick Young) he was born in Brooklyn but was raised in South Carolina, then proceeded to bounce around the east coast before finally landing in Trenton. “Every time I moved I had to make new friends and that really made me receptive and acutely aware of every environment I was in. Like a sponge, I just absorbed it all, and now I’m squeezing out the good stuff.”
Young had an early devotion to music and used to write poetry. Now, he focuses mostly on song writing. “I think moving around helped me expand my mind as well as my social skills.”
Being so close in proximity to Philadelphia and its lush music scene certainly has its advantages for groups like Epoch Failure.
“Our proximity to Philadelphia has been so clutch for us. The music scene in Philly is great whether you’re an established artist or just starting out,” states Young. With venues like The Legendary Dobbs, The HeadHouse and Connie’s Ric Rac, the duo know that having a city like Philadelphia nearby is a great opportunity for them.
“All of them are really dope intimate venues with their own little stories and culture,” says Marrero.
The two of them originally had met roughly six years ago through an buddy of Young’s who is Marrero’s cousin. The two did stay loosely connected for three years until Young called up Marrero one day for a performance. After that one show they have been making music together ever since. Both agree that their influences mainly come from life, family, friends and a kind of “carpe diem” lifestyle.
“I draw inspiration from all of the people I’ve met and the places I’ve seen in my travels. Life in general is inspiration. I draw energy from everyone I meet. They all have stories,” says Young about how he gathers his creativity. Growing up, young was a Prince fan and finds him as a musical aspiration. He also would love to collaborate with artists such as Chet Faker and Frank Ocean, Sam Smith and Travie McCoy.
Marrero finds eccentric and creatively exploitative artists to be most captivating. Artists like Kanye West, Bruno Mars, Kesha and Katy Perry stand out to him. “Basically, I love artists who aren’t scared to do it like no one thought they would!”
The guys touched on what it was like working with acclaimed Producer Billy Hume, who doesn’t just settle in one genre. He has worked with country, rock, hip-hop and heavy metal artists. Both agreed that his diversity and originality really opened up the doors and allowed them to get creative.
“It was great for me as a rapper to have someone with such a diverse musical background co-producing stuff with us. Most producers will box you into your genre and give you the pop sound or rap sound, but Billy Hume added his own personality,” say Young about the experience.
“Billy Hume is the man! He gets it and he gets us. He understands our music and he can make something sound more dope and fresh without compromising the quality or artistry of the original vision,” Marrero adds.
Big news for the duo is that there late single “Where I’m Supposed to Be” will be featured in the theatrical release of Barely Lethal starring Samuel L. Jackson. The movie is due to come out in early 2015 and both are stoked about having their music be featured on the big screen.
“I’m pumped to see exactly how they used our music to set the scene. It’s an honor to have our name connected with such a stellar cast,” Young says about the big debut. Marrero backs up his statement by saying, “To me it’s not only an honor, it’s unreal. It’s confirmation and reassurance that Epoch Failure is making some noise.”
As for what the guys have in mind for their near future, they already have some dates scheduled for later this year and early 2015 in the east coast area. From New York down to Baltimore and Cape Cod these guys will definitely making some noise and are excited to see where to road may take them.