Connecting with ColJac YSD

Interview with ColJac YSD via email correspondence May 5-6, 2019.

Tell me about yourself, who you are and where you're from, and how you got started as a rapper.

My name is ColJac Molkenbur (YSD) and I'm from New Baden IL (cornfield town) and I am an emotionally unstable person LMAO but I got my start in music in 7th grade when I started playing drums. That was my passion for years, playing drums to bands like Underoath,slipknot, avenged sevenfold heavy stuff like (to the best of my ability at the time) and that was just my comfort and solace and what made me feel good so that was my passion and all I wanted to do was be a drummer and be a musician ever since. Then life happened and music had to be put on the back burner and after about 2 years of not having my outlet and a failed attempt at getting my mental health together I decided I needed an outlet because for the first time I was worried about the risk of taking my own life and at the time i was really inspired by artists like xxxtentacion, Lil Peep stuff like that and how they were really using rap music to create something new and different and meaningful. I looked at them and thought "omg these are kids just like me doing this, maybe i can too" so I took to writing because it was the only thing that was there (I've never been a songwriter, but I used to write some really good papers in school) and then writing and this project became my passion and became my outlet and now I'm here being able to do what i love and get to meet all these amazing people along the way and hopefully I've been able to help someone not feel like they're alone.

What is 'YSD', what does that mean to you?

Whenever I first started writing and wanted to get into rap it was gonna start as a joke, like on some Lil Dicky type stuff and i was going to do it with my bestfriend and roommate Donovan (Locus10:10) (you can see him at my merch table) so we were just going back and forth on ideas and we came up with both our names and it just became one big running joke. So it took about a week until i decided "i need to take this serious, this is what will help." So I took my name  (Cole Jacob) made ColJac and threw YSD, the original joke name for myself on the end because i knew I could form it into something that's just bigger than myself, something that can be used to help out other kids and other artists. We're a family of our own individual artists like Weird Jesus (who's also my main producer and he has his own career) Strange Cal (who is all the way in the UK and forming his own collective of artists, I gave him permission to start his own ysdUK) HAON, Locus, Happycxnt, Em.Jordan, Jaded Ghost. And not all of these are exclusive to music. We're all just creative kids trying to make our own art and find our own happiness and YSD has evolved into something where it's becoming just that, a platform and an outlet. YSD to me means hope and that being yourself is not a bad thing. YSD stands for Young Skinny Dickless.

That's an amazing concept! Love that! You've built a family to support each other rather than try to separate and elevate yourself from everyone else, and you've still found your own success as a result. That's an idea very near and dear to my own heart, and many of the friends i've made in the music circles. Many people from the St. Louis music scene are doing similar things, helping each other up instead of tearing each other down.
How do you feel about the St. Louis area music scene?

The STL music scene accepted me when nobody else did. If it wasn't for Travis and Agitate The Airwaves I wouldn't be doing this. Travis gave me my shot and since then have grown close with him, Frost Money, Jason and Collin from Backstage. All the good ones to be around in STL and honestly it's like I found a lost family (I still love you tho mom 🖤) I couldn't have been in a more perfect city being surround by better people. I love the STL SCENE

Speaking of the local scene and Travis Corley from Agitate The Airwaves... those of us on this side of scene connect and collaborate too, and i thought it would be fun to include a little snippet from someone else into the interview. Travis gave me this question to ask you:
"Why are you such a sad boy?"

Because Travis doesn't play my music on Agitate The Airwaves. :P

Haha! Fair answer. We'll see how he responds.
The first time i got to see you perform was at Rock-4-Relief at Pop's in January. You've said that was your second show. Talk about your first couple of live shows, and how you felt about them at the time.

My first show was opening up for Kosha Dillz and Devmo back in November and I could not have been more fortunate and lucky to have that as my first performance, that's where Frost first saw me (And I guess i impressed him lol) we met our good friends Fraedo x Squires there (they make bomb music and really good smelly doap soap) and that first exposure was such a blessing. Rock 4 Relief I literally got hit up the night before at like 10 by Travis being like "You wanna play pops tomorrow I need and answer now" uhh duhhh lol at the time i was already set to perform on Frosts show at pops so R4R was definetly a good practice for me to prepare being at a place like pops especially being new, because of you're not real and you try goimg on the pops stage it'll show and it'll eat you up, it was definetly nerve racking preparing  (Now I've played pops more than any other venue, 4 times.) Then after the Kosha show, Frost Money specifically wanted me to be apart of his Frost Night headlining show at pops which was just absolutely insane and I'm forever appreciative that he did that for me. Performance wise I've just been improving and getting better everytime I get on a stage, they don't call me Frank's Red Hot for nothing 😂. For the most part if you're coming to see a ColJac YSD show there 2 moods, I'm either raging the hell out and being punk af or I'm telling you all storys about my heartbreak and being sad and emotional. So literally it's either angry and heavy or it's sad and depressing (but still heavy in its own right) my favorite show being apart of so far definetly was the Road to Pointfest Hip Hop show at Pop's (Shout out Retro Champ and SmileyBoy) and my favorite show performance wise was definetly Devmo at the firebird 4/27, I played my song Atlantis for the first time which is composed of the first song I ever wrote as ColJac YSD so it was a very moving thing for me, I have a video of it on my page, the song comes out go 5 and a half minutes, I'm the most not rapper rapper in STL 😂😂😂

When you perform, why do you often get out onto the floor with the audience? What does that mean to you?

I just love the rawness of doing that. Just getting right in the face of everyone during a very rageful song and moshing out with everyone, it's just raw. Or for an emotional set getting down with the crowd lets me have that connection with them if it's a feeling I'm trying to get across. It's all just the connection and that's what I love about it. Then the other reason I do that is because I am a very shy and socially anxious person so getting down on the floor like that and getting with them like that on a personal level helps with that anxiety, because sometimes it does feel weird being on a stage for me like it's just the energy I'm giving off during a song, sometimes a stage isn't the right setting, sometimes being up there feels more disconnected and more of like a circus act, especially if like it's a mosh song, I wanna join the fun too lolol (at the Road to Pointfest show I jumped down and everyone moshing just raged tf out, I'm pretty sure I hit somebody in the head with the Mic on was punk af)

Your presence gives off a feeling of connection. It's hard to explain, but it's what you're talking about apparently. What you're trying to do is working. You're not just putting on a show to entertain the crowd, you're creating an experience with the audience. It's just amazing.
You've said you have some angry songs and some sad ones. Where do your lyrics come from? What's your writing process?

My writing process has definetly evolved from when I first began. At first I would just write songs to free beats on YouTube, I had a whole tape of just remixes made and when I got on the Kosha Dillz show, about a month before the show I hit up my old friend Matt and asked him if he could put together an intro for me and he hit me back in 30 minutes with the intro to "Within//without" on my Soundcloud  (ColJac YSD) and he just said "let me make you beats for your set" and that's how Weird Jesus became my producer, and then from being with me and joining me with YSD, he now has his own project going and his own presence and his own dream he's pushing now, so he's not just my producer, and I also have other friends that produce for me like thatplaceishaunted who saw me open for R I L E Y and dug my stuff and we just linked up and now he's a really good friend of mine (Love ya 😙). It's really grown from the seed it once was. But most recently I have been very inspired by Hotel Books and alot of spoken word poetry so my style has definetly evolved. But lyrically my lines are just the things in my mind. My mind just goes 1000 miles an hour all the time and my songs are literally just what the net picks up of the thoughts inside. Most the time I don't remember writing them. I'll wake up the next morning and have a new song written or started and be like "oh cool" lol but they all come from dark places. I'm trying to get better at writing less depressing material but like it's such a struggle for me not to write like this lmao but my number one goal from the start was to create something out of these desolate places and this feeling of being alone and hoping someone can relate and hopefully make them feel less alone. Because I realized months ago (before WJ got involved) but I had a realization that this alone feeling I feel might not ever go away, because of my mental illness I'll always have this cloud over me (hopefully not) but I'm going to have to feel the things no matter what so you can either let it destroy you or you can make use out of it and hopefully somebody else can get something out of it. Overall positivity is what I wanna spread, I don't want to make people sad and depressed. I just want to show that it's ok to not be okay.

I believe the beauty of life is in the light and shadows. You're definitely a bright spot in the darker places. (Wish you could see my big sappy fangirl grins over here.)
As you mentioned, you've been added to a lot of local shows (because people love you!) and your performance has grown stronger. In comparison to where you started, as you have shows coming up in the next few weeks and beyond, how do you feel about your brand, your readiness, and your potential going forward?

I've never been more confident in something before in my life. The only other time I'm on this level of happiness is with my daughter Hayden Mya. Although I still deal with my issues and struggle daily, I've never felt this much positivity and hopeful for the future. I just want to keep this train moving and grow with it, grow within it and grow out of it and start the next phase of what's to come. I've found where I belong and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. Even if I go silent for a bit I promise i'm still here ;)

Some musicians get into the scene for money, some for fame, some to make a statement, and some just love sharing the music within them. What are your goals with your career as an artist? What are your goals for life in general?

Well I'm somebody who cannot make plans so as far as goals, as long as I'm able to keep playing shows and be involved in the music scene thats all I care about. Hopefully I can keep doing this and hopefully the crowds will get bigger and more people will take interest in what I'm doing and if I make it to some crazy level with this or if I never make it out of STL, I'm fine just making my songs, playing my shows, and being a sadboy, everything else that happens is a bonus :)

Getting a toothache over here from smiling at all your answers. :) Thank you so much for this interview. You're an amazing artist and it's an honor to get to share this interaction with you. Can't wait to see you perform again and to witness where you go from here!
To finish up... Anyone you want to shout out to?

Yes please, first off thank you Travis and Agitate The Airwaves, Frost Money, and Jason Thompson for giving me my chance. Also thank you Spread Love Supply Co. for all the love and support (Go follow their Instagram, you can catch me on stage rocking their clothes)

And here's my list of local artists to check out and I'm going to do my best to not forget anyone: Anima/Animus, Fraedo X Squires, Retro Champ, Double F Gang, Devmo (not local but she kills) thatplaceishaunted, Theives to Kings, The Nokturnal, Jessie Henry, XEM, Gossip Machine, Jay Edd, Denny, QuiteFranklee, Slim Beezy, ODDITY , The Day After, My Remedy, Isabella, Lightrider (I don't know who they are but I found their stickers left over after a show), J Rebel, The O'Brien Effect, Priceless Lion, J Money, Mike Evans and DJ UpChuck.

Honestly I can go on for days, STL is swimming with so much talent, this whole town is seriously slept on.


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