An aspiring and successful actor, Che is deeply immersed in the Rochester cultural scene. So much so, we’ve named him Che of The Town!
Exclusively for Talker, Che has solicited and is conducting interviews from about 80 Rochestarians working in a diversity of creative fields.
For the full series, see Che of The Town: Interviews
People call me 2way among many other nicknames. I’m a Dj, beat maker, husband and father of four. I’m one half of the Hip Hop Duo Known around Rochester, NY as Level 7. I was born in Rochester, NY in 85. Moved to East Rochester when I was about 5 Years Old. I had a very troubled youth, home life wasn’t good at all. I would act out in negative ways. I got kicked out of a couple of different middle schools. Wound up in Alternative High School. Never got enough seat time to graduate. Really had trouble coloring inside the lines so to speak.
What inspired you to be an artist/entertainer? Early experiences worth sharing?
There was a teacher named Ms.Davis in Alternative High School that taught a creative writing class. She was a writer and a poet and was really interested in Hip Hop and had done a few interviews with Tupac before he passed. She would tell that story a lot and how her daughter was the editor for the source magazine. Anyways she encouraged us to express ourselves in class both musically and through our writtings. These are the years where I would start to focus on creation rather than destruction. This is also at the point where I was writing rhymes all day and skipping class or not even showing up. I liked this writing class a lot and Ms.Davis it was one of the only reasons to come to school. It was through this class that a book of my writings was published all over the school system and I was introduced to the computer software I would learn to make beats on. Ms.Davis was truely a blessing in my life.
Talk about a time where you have faced adversity/conflict and have triumphed.
I grew up in a tough situation, full of domestic violence issues, neglect, psychological abuse. It left me with panic disorder and agorophobia. I was agorphobic at varying degrees for over 10 years of my life. Now I just call it being a home body, but I can handle leaving the house a lot more then I used to. It gave me alot of time for introspection, to read a lot of books and learn how to make music. It has all shaped me as an artist. I never seen myself performing on stage at all. That’s kind of the opposite of my personality and some of my anxiety issues. It really is a healing process. It took seeking a change and my big brother SkribeDaGod to help me heal. That’s triumph in my book.
Everyone has the ability to be unique by just being themselves and translating that to their art. If I had to pin down something I would say music has been my saviour in life and it’s been my therapy. I live the music, I need the music in my life, I need creative expression in my life. It’s a healing for me, so I respect it greatly. I am not about trends and do not shape my music based on whats cool or hip. I just do what resonates with my soul.
Do you have other interests or hobbies?
Reading is up there. My favorite topics are theology, spirituality, the occult and stuff in that vein. I am also into comedy movies, tv, podcasts and standup. I’ve been known to get lost in video games throughout my life, but haven’t in awhile. Something good needs to come out. I’m a family man so a lot of my hobbies include recreational and learning activities and adventures with the wife and kids. That list is endless, lots of good stuff.
Any projects you have out or currently working on?
Making beats for a lot of Emcees in Rochester, NY. You may or may not hear me on some of your favorite rappers albums and mix tapes. Level 7(SkribeDaGod and Dj 2way) are coming out with another release soon. I am also hyper focused on The Level 7 Experience(www.level7exp.com) which is a live band project that myself and Skribe Da God have put together. It’s really great dance/party music. It combines the best of Hip Hop, Reggae, Funk, Jazz and Pyschedellia. It’s something that I am proud to be a part of. It’s full of heavy hitters in the rochester music scene. It’s definitely a thing.
5 Years more awesome, 5 year ahead of now. Hahaha. Really though I am focused on waking up to each new day and meeting the challenges and reaching my goals. So my goals for the next 5 years are to spread this music as far and wide as possible and I’d also like to work towards living comfortably from my music. Artist sacrifice a lot. I don’t see why with more hard work that can’t be turned around. The ability to live off of the fruits of the labor. That would be nice.
Do not take short cuts. Do not hesitate to invest in your business, but do not pay for views and likes online. Do not create this online only universe for yourself and think your fans are ride or die. Content is important but you gotta be able to perform well and not pay to play every time you get out an up on stage. It’s important to build from the ground up at some point in your process. That’s what paying dues is, starting from the bottom and climbing. You’ll get a lot more from being on the scene and rubbing elbows then paying for a few time slots a year.
How can we follow along in your journey? Social media?
I’ve been uploading a lot of beats to youtube. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6YT7g5fMH_95DKPOnpF1oA
The Level 7 Experiences website is www.level7exp.com.
ON ANOTHER DJ