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30 Aug 2018

Skilled on the Mic: Hip-Hop Duo Off Kilter Gets Ready to Make Its Mark on the Local Music Scene

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Off Kilter. Off Kilter. Brian Blueskye

Outside of some exposure at open-mic performances, local hip-hop duo of Off Kilter is largely unknown. However, that’s about to change.

Burny and TLick, originally from Northern California, are transplants to the desert who have great samples and mad skills on the mic. See for yourself when they play at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Friday, Sept. 28, as part of the CV Independent Presents show with Kosha Dillz.

Burny was the first to relocate to the desert, in October 2017, with TLick following in April 2018.

“Part of my family moved out here about two years ago. I was still up in San Jose with my dad, and then my dad and I came down here,” Burny said. “Then (TLick) moved down here and stayed on my couch until we upgraded our spot.”

TLick said he moved to the Coachella Valley because of Burny.

“I was up in the Bay Area making music, but (Burny) and I were doing it remotely. We decided we wanted to take it seriously, so I moved down here and moved in with him,” he said.

Since that move, they’ve been slowly building a following at open-mic nights at The Hood, Plan B and Big Rock Pub.

“It feels like our sound is a little more fresh down here, and we’ve been getting a positive response,” TLick said. “Obviously, we didn’t know anybody, so we’ve been going to the open mics and trying to meet people, which has been going pretty well for us. We also just did a show in Hollywood thanks to our friend who has been helping us get shows around Los Angeles. We’re trying to seize every opportunity that we can.”

The style Burny and TLick have is unique, as are their styles of delivery. Burny is gifted with the ability to rap at a fast speed.

“I grew up listening to classic rock and alternative,” Burny said. “Then I heard Eminem and Tech N9ne, guys who were lyrically gifted, as well as gifted with their flow. I heard it; it caught my ear, and I just wanted to repeat it. I would read their lyrics, because they rap so fast, and I thought, ‘I want to do that!’ I would do that with other people’s songs, and I wanted to start doing that with my own.”

TLick said he’s had a passion for writing since he was a child.

“I’m really into language, so the reason I was attracted to hip-hop is because it’s an art form dedicated entirely to language,” TLick said. “How can you use your language to express an idea, and how creatively can you do it to make yourself stand out? It’s everything I’m interested in, in a nutshell.”

Their beats are smooth with a nice groove to them.

“We make our own beats,” TLick said. “I’m really funk-inspired, and I like things that have good rhythm. I like funky bass lines and music from the ’70s, soul, funk and classic rock. I like things that groove, and a lot of the modern hip-hop doesn’t really do it for me, because it doesn’t have that soul feel to it that I’m attracted to. So what I’m trying to do is fuse what I like into something that sounds modern, but also make that sound that I like and I’m inspired by.”

T Lick said the band’s name comes from one of the first songs the duo recorded.

“We recorded this song called ‘Forever Off Kilter,’ which was before we came up with the name,” TLick said. “We were trying to come up with a name for our duo and said a lot of names back and forth. Burny called me one day and said, ‘Hey, I got a name: Off Kilter.’ We sort of realized that describes us very well. We fell in love with that name.

“The more we say it, the more we like it. Every day, I still think it’s cool. It’s such a tight name, and it’s the fusion of the funky older sounds and grooves on the production and the really rapid-fire style that we do. It’s not what you hear a lot in 2018.”

The show with Kosha Dillz will be the first local show with a full set.

“I’m looking forward to people being there to see us do a hip-hop show as opposed to seeing us on a Wednesday night at open mic because they wanted to go to The Hood,” Burny said. “They’ll be able to see our abilities.

“We get a good response at open mics, but … when you do an actual show, (attendees) know what they are going to see. So we actually have an opportunity to gain some fans, because the people there that night will be into the actual music that we’re making. I’ve done a lot of open mics in the Bay Area, and I know how they work: They’re very hit or miss. Oftentimes, you perform late in the night, and people are tired of watching 20 acts before you, or they aren’t into the type of music that you’re doing, so they aren’t really going to become fans. It’s more for practice and to stay sharp, so when we get a show, we’re prepared.”

Off Kilter will perform with The Bermuda and Kosha Dillz at 9 p.m., Friday, Sep. 28, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information on Off Kilter, visit www.offkiltermusic.net.

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