André Cofield, aka Lace FM, just wants to make music and move crowds. Doesn’t matter where. A native New Yorker, Cofield moved to Philadelphia to study industrial design at the Art Institute of Philadelphia and record his new mixtape, The Journey. For the past year he’s been a part of Girard Hall, a local art collective, with other young Philly creators and put the finishing touches on what he calls “the start of everything.” FM stands for “Face Melter,” by the way.
City Paper: You grew up in Staten Island and moved to Philly for school. Has the new city changed your music at all?
Lace FM: I think being here gives me an outside edge from the New York scene because I’ve been spending time in a different place. I miss my city every day, but I don’t think about it too much here because Philly has given me so much and taught me a lot about myself. There’s also just a lot of good local shit going on here. There’s cats out here that have been grinding and the city is budding for sure. It’s gritty out here and Philly rappers are hungry as shit, which pushes me.
CP: How’d you first get into rapping?
LFM: Around the time I was 15, I was hanging with all these older dudes from around the block and we would all battle each other. Freestyling was my first rapping experience but I was always getting washed because I was down there with all the old heads. One day I started getting good. I came to Philly a little later to a show and ended up spitting over some guy’s beats for a good 10 minutes. He hit me up afterwards and told me to come up to Pittsburgh and lay down an EP. Chiaroscuro came out of that.
CP: How does freestyling compare to writing for you?
LFM: I quickly learned how different it is to freestyle as opposed to songwriting. I view freestyling as easier sometimes. It’s more forgiving since it’s whatever your subconscious mind spits out. Sitting down to actually write a new song can be a process.
CP: You have a stronger instrumental presence on The Journey than Chiaroscuro. What spurred that?
LFM: I knew instrumentation and wanted to use it in my music because my mom was a trumpet player and my uncle, who pretty much got me into music, was a multiple-instrument musician. It’s important and feels natural to me to add that influence into my music.
CP: Who were some big collaborators on The Journey?
LFM: The beats are coming from all over. There’s one on there from my best friend Emmanuel [Walkes], who was really the one who pushed me to start taking my rapping seriously. There’s a beat on there out of Texas from my homie Dylan [Ewen] and some from my boy Dan Paoletti, who produces under the name Apostrophe S.
CP: It seems like you have a love/hate relationship with success. Do you want to be a household name one day or is the idea to be an independent artist forever?
LFM: Yeah, you’re right, I think about the stress that comes along with success a lot. Success in the industry brings a lot of bullshit along with it. You can’t really trust it because there are greater artists who get shelved all the time. At the end of the day, me and my friends just wanna go around and perform and fucking move crowds. To me, that’s the greatest thing, that’s fucking awesome and that’s what I want.