Guilla
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Guilla

Houston, TX | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | INDIE

Houston, TX | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2013
Solo Hip Hop Alternative

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Jul
08
Guilla @ House of Blues Houston

Houston, Texas, United States

Houston, Texas, United States

Apr
16
Guilla @ The Raven Tower

Houston, Texas, United States

Houston, Texas, United States

Apr
15
Guilla @ Blackheart Bar

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States

Music

Press


To the chagrin of Chamillionaire and his Grammy-winning hit “Ridin’ Dirty,” the rap world began to sound like Houston. He even spit “just watch how they pick up the slang, just show ’em your grill, and pick up some drank and watch how they do the same.” The city’s hip-hop continued to thrive on its own with contributions from mostly independent rappers like Fat Tony, Kirko Bangz, Doughbeezy, Killa Kyleon, Travis Scott, Guilla, Kyle Hubbard, Lyric Michelle, Blackie and Jon Black. Some fully embraced screw culture while others experimented with various styles, still representing Houston. - Billboard


or a long time now, I’ve pushed that hustle, is what I recognize more than anything else in the Houston music scene. I mean, in reality, anyone can start a band, and there are plenty of acts who make good music. But true unadulterated hustle goes a long way with me. I know how painful it can be to tour and play to no one, how hard it can be to give your art away, and how hard it is to catch a break in the industry. But about a year ago, I had stopped by Warehouse Live to see I think, the Melvins. When I was walking out, I asked the club GM, “what’s with the green room, it’s packed?” His reply was simply, “that’s a Guilla show..it’s always like that.” From that moment on, I kept an eye on the young rapper, and how hard he worked to promote his work and his shows. Last year he dropped his amazing EP, “Rap, Trap, & Drums;” and opened the city’s eyes on where hip hop in this town could go. Effectively proving that the “Screw” era is in the past, he’s appearing on this year’s Free Press Summer Fest. I caught up with him to get the skinny on what he has in store for everyone, and what his next move is.



FPH: For anyone out there who has never heard your music, how would you describe it to them?



GUILLA: I always have trouble answering this question quite honestly. It is an honest representation of my experiences and influences. Its a crossover of hip-hop, electronic, new age, and something else I can’t seem to put my finger on. I would call it my own style, but labeling it would probably make me not want to do it anymore.



FPH: Last year you dropped the “next level” EP “Rap, Trap, and Drums;” but from what you told me, it’s forward sound wasn’t what you had intended when you originally started the project. Can you explain the tragedy that occurred that forced you to change the way it sounded?



GUILLA: Haha, the tragedy!! Where does one start with this? First off, I don’t believe in accidents. My computer was a gift from the music gods that forced me to think outside of the box to be truly creative. Only one gig of ram was working which meant I could barely run one plugin at a time. My USB ports and CD drive stopped working so I could only export files via dropbox, and I could only use my finger mouse. The contacts on my power supply had ruptured somehow so if you nudged my computer slightly while it was on it would turn off. I ended up using the microphone on the laptop’s screen to record all the background chants in the songs. I was listening to a lot of pure moods at the time so I found inspiration in what I had access to while listening to songs like “Sadness” and “Return To Innocence” by Enigma.



FPH: That different sound shocked me to find out that all of those backing tracks are your vocals. Did you think anyone would see it as “next level” when you made it that way?



GUILLA: Honestly I knew I was on to something “cool”, but did not think it would be received the way it was. I saw a meme the other day that said being an artist is like always having the feeling of absolute confidence while battling crippling self doubt. Its those two polar opposite feelings that I personally can say I am always battling. But I understand that interpretation is everything, and opinions are like ass holes…..



FPH: You seem to be having a great 2015 so far with all the bigger shows and now FPSF, did you ever think you’d get on such a big festival when you started out?



GUILLA: Its’ a dream come true to play FPSF. I have wanted to go for the past 3 years, but you know what they say about starving artist. Its crazy, a year ago I was pissed off because I couldn’t afford to go!! Little did I know a year later I would be getting booked to play it. So this is my first Summer Fest in multiple ways… #Blessed(Big Sean Voice)



FPH: Though you’ve been getting more and more fans since opening for Riff Raff, the crowds at FPSF are pretty large. Are you daunted by such a large amount of people, or is that just more fans to get on your side?



GUILLA: I get an anxiety before I play, it doesn’t matter the size of the crowd. But it’s not nerves or of fear, just an overall unsettled feeling. My manager Blake Hunter hates it because I’m usually a bit on edge before I perform. As soon as I hit the stage though I feel like “this is what I am meant to do”. It’s like all the years of not being understood finally make sense. Its a feeling of freedom where I get to show people who I really am and have nothing to hide. Pure unadulterated Timothy Russell, something you won’t get from me off stage quite honestly.



FPH: You’re known for an energetic live set, do you have any surprises in store for your festival performance? What should Houston expect from you at the festival this year?



GUILLA: I am bringing out a few close friends to drop some tracks with me. Overall I don’t want to give too much away but be prepared to turn up. Also I have a new EP dropping this summer with features from some of Houston’s hottest artists. The project is called “Misfits & Melodies”. Expect to hear some new music from that EP, dropped at FPSF. Hell I may drop the entire project on y’all for real. I actually have one of my new tracks here that’s a song called “I Love Him” that was remixed by birdmagic and Android Genius.



I’d be lying if I said that Guilla’s high energy live show coupled with his great EP wasn’t something I thought you’d enjoy. He brings a whole new vibe to a live hip hop show when he performs, while doing things his own way and ushering in a new class of Houston hip hop. You should catch his set at the festival this year while you can still catch him. Because with the kind of hustle this guy has, he won’t be performing around Houston for much longer before he gets bigger than the size of our city.

by David Garrick - Free Press Houston


I’m pretty sure that when you see a “Hustler” magazine at a convenience store, you know what’s inside. When I look at the magazine, I feel like it carries the wrong name. To me, a hustler is someone who does whatever it takes to get their craft out into the stratosphere. In today’s music world, it feels like a little luck is needed alongside talent and an intense live show. However, in the Houston hip hop game, you need to have a hustle to get above the big names that came before you. One of Houston’s strongest hustlers, is one of our city’s brightest rappers, Guilla. You can tell a lot about by an artist by how they get their name out, and even more by whom they collaborate with. Last week Guilla dropped his sophomore album, “Rap, Trap, and Drums” with collabs that show how future his sound really is. In actuality, it’s an EP; but when you give it a listen, you almost immediately register to the fact that this guy has flow to his hustle…and that his sound is something you haven’t heard before.



The art to any skill is to make it look easy, and from the first second of the opener, “Pinkman,” Guilla makes this look easy. Using some sort of bizarre vocal chant as a backing track, Guilla almost immediately starts a flow while there’s a mix of three separate beats in time with the occasional rat-a-tat clicking in and out. The bass drops like it’s 1989 and and Adidas are still part of the look of the genre. He does vocals that are stellar in that his style changes frequently, but he keeps the flow steady. It’s like he’s taking pieces from different sounds and slipping them in to make his own vibe. The flow is intense where guilla masterfully mentions non-hip hop items like Linkedin, Old Spice, and Hunger Games before the song comes to an end, and he leaves you wanting more. Using vocals, this time two different backing tracks as the pace setter, “Take That L (Feat. iLL LiAd)” has more happening in the background than most hip hop songs. You don’t have time to notice the three different beats keeping the time that change and intertwine due to Guilla’s flow atop it all. When iLL comes in, his vigor fueled vocals are obvious but not intrusive, as we all know that he’s “got this” when it comes to skills on a mic. In a weird way, there could easily be more than just three beats, though the stride that Guilla employs takes front and center on the jammed out song.



By the third track, which again has more happening than I’m used to in a good way; you comprehend that the differences between what Guilla is doing all over these six songs is definitely something that screams “the future is now.” That third track, the stand out on the EP, “Groupie Love” has the most hook heavy feel. You can’t help but notice that the chorus is meant to be sung live, and is the kind where a room full of concert goers are chanting it back at the stage. Departing in terms of speed but not skill, “Stack That Cheeze (Feat. Roosh Williams)” comes in with the same drum heavy sound. But once Roosh comes in, it’s obvious that this is an album that’s next level in more ways than just how he crafts his songs. Guilla mixes bass and drum sounds with this harmonic vocal rhythm that’s just a little more than the sum of the parts. The fifth song, “Came Down (Feat. Mark Drew & Lil’ Hype)” bring in a hint of the past when Guilla uses some screwed vocals mixed with some kind of club mix sound that’s kept thumping with a multitude of drum tracks. Guilla closes things off with “I Love Him” by cleverly remixing some Bjork vocals that go from the forefront to the background while his drops his rhymes atop it. At one point, the whole song takes this turn where it sounds like you’re drunk at the bottom of a city pool; before Guilla adds distortion to his vocals before Bjork closes the track out. Like most of these songs, you’re getting down so hard that you’re sad when they come to an end.


The whole EP comes in at a little under twenty minutes, but so much ground gets covered in that short time; that it speaks volumes about where Houston’s hip hop scene can go. Paving his own way, Guilla does things astray from what you’d expect from a Houston rapper and almost drives a dagger into the 2001 hip hop sound that everyone wants to emulate about our city’s hip hop past. The hustle that got Guilla on my radar is the same that translates in his live show, and the whole album has that feel of what Houston’s new hip hop class has in store for us. If this album is any indication, then the future of the Houston hip hop scene will be stronger than it’s ever been. You can pick up your own physical copy of “Rap,Trap, and Drums” when Guilla opens for Lil’ Debbie at Walter’s tomorrow night, December 16th. The show is all ages, the doors are at 6:30, and the tickets are between $15.00 and $20.00.

by David Garrick - Free Press Houston


I like how things feel in the Houston music scene right now. Last night I spoke to Lindsay from Football Etc. and she said she felt like people were making it out for local shows in better numbers lately; to which I somewhat agree. One of the artists you should make it out for is Guilla. Guilla got on my radar from his “Hip Hop Anonymous” shows over at Warehouse Live. These things are just a little intense, when you walk into a packed room, and there’s possibly the future of hip hop rapping right in front of you. His hustle is what caught my eye, but his music and rhyme skill is what kept my attention. Since catching him in various spots around town, including Houston’s Best Halloween Bash, he’s definitely been on my radar.

So when Jordan Brady, Dpat’s drummer asked me for a rapper who could draw and has swagger; naturally Guilla was the first name I dropped. Due to the high profile of Dpat with the Grammy nomination and all, Guilla pushed his upcoming EP, “Rap, Trap, & Drums” back to coincide with the show. The EP, which will be available on all digital outlets on December 11th, will also be available in a physical version at the Dpat show on December 13th. That physical version will feature a bonus track only available on that version of the EP. The bonus track in question, is “You And Me” featuring Mark Drew. On it, Guilla rhymes with his naturaly hustle while keeping your attention at its peak. The song utilizes pieces from the No Doubt hit, “Don’t Speak” while Guilla makes it his own.

You can listen to the track exclusively here.

You can grab your own copy of this song on Guilla’s EP, when he performs at Walter’s on December 13th. The show will be headlined by trap slow jams genius Dpat, and will also feature the underrated and dope hip hop of Fat Tony, the tripped out sounds of The New Mercies, and the future bass sounds of Josiah Gabriel. The show will be opened by a Children of Pop DJ set, the doors are at 8:00; and it’s all ages with tickets between $10.00 and $15.00.

by David Garrick - Free Press Houston


I caught a handful of songs from Flogging Molly, who as always put on a great show. Then I heard people talking about killer sets from George West, Moji, and Guilla which was nice to hear. I got over to the other side of the grounds as quick as possible to catch the tail end of the GTA set, and I was really glad I did. They were one of the few bands that I knew little about. Watching them go off was definitely a surprise, thus proving that a fest is still great for music exploration. I decided to stick around for G-Eazy, who I was also glad I saw. Because a friend begged me to go see him, I lucked out & caught a really great set. - Free Press Houston


Not many musicians can boast of having their first gig at a strip club. But the Houston-based rapper/producer known as Guilla effusively recalls his virginal voyage as a performer.

“My first show was at a strip bar in 2010 or 2011. There was one stripper there.” he muses. “My friend Kenno went onstage before me, and then it was my turn. I was shaking and there were only two people in the crowd. I went on stage and I did it.”

I sat across from Guilla on a Saturday afternoon at Mercantile in Montrose to discuss his sudden successful emergence in Houston’s hip-hop scene. Low-key and soft-spoken, yet focused and determined, the deeply perceptive and shrewd producer and dynamic performer elucidated on his approach to writing, producing and executing his dream of becoming a full-time musician.

“I met a guy named Witty Gritty, and we came out with a mixtape that I produced called FYI, Volume One," he recalls. "We followed that up with an album called Supernovas, which we didn’t release because we weren’t happy with the quality behind the music.”

At this point, during his residency at UH, a monumental moment occurred in his life. Guilla took a leap of faith and dropped out of college, forgoing his senior year. School no longer provided any intrinsic motivation. Thus, he and Witty Gritty parted ways, one pursuing his education while the other decided to pursue his dream.

"I was majoring in Psychology and I knew I wanted to pursue music," says Guilla, 27. "I knew what I wanted meant to do in my heart, so the degree is just a piece of paper to me at this point.”

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Hip-hop has created memorable punchlines since its infancy. Kanye West, for instance, extols his ride on “Last Call”: “Mayonnaise-colored Benz/ I push Miracle Whips.” Cam’ron, the veritable king of rap punchlines, provides his rivals with some sound counsel on “Come Home with Me”: “I’d advise you to step, son/ Before I fuck your moms, make you my stepson.” Guilla likewise prides himself on his own gift for wordplay, snatching every verse and at no point in any of his tracks wasting a single word.

On Rap, Trap and Drums, Guilla’s second and strongest record, he generates countless pop-culture references that underscore his limitless punchlines — opening track "Pinkman" goes from Game of Thrones (“More money than a Lannister”), Old Spice commercials (“You are Old Spice like Terry Crews”) and Breaking Bad ("I got more metals than Walter White”) all before the end of the song’s first verse.
Performance and Punchlines Drive Guilla's Excellence

His lyrical skills, by his own measure, are not God-given. The result of his lyrical style and sound stemmed from countless hours of listening to a wide array of music, far from the myopic stereotype that plague many rappers today — that they only listen to hip-hop music. In fact, Guilla prides himself on being raised on Kansas, Styx, System of a Down, and a formidable musical influence that remains prevalent throughout Rap, Trap, and Drums: House.

“When I was growing up, my dad used to DJ," he days. "Except that he wasn’t DJing hip-hop music, but House, so that had a huge influence on me when I was younger.”

Considering those musical roots, the likelihood of Guilla becoming who he is today cannot be divorced from his exposure to an eclectic mix of music. Moreover, until the late 2000s, he rarely flirted with the thought of being an MC.

“I used to be the designated beatboxer in high school when people wanted to rap,” Guilla explains. “A friend of mine said, ‘Yo, you should start creating your own beats. When I moved to Houston [from Wichita Falls], I was bored, so I started producing on FL Studios. No one wanted to rap over my beats, so I decided to do it myself. From there I started writing and writing, and I started dreaming about having my own album. I would take my beats and put them in the order of how I would want to hear and perform them.”

Following the feat of rocking a strip club, he still found it difficult to get shows. It wasn’t until he met his manager and entrepreneur of Cloudopolis Entertainment, Blake Hunter, that things began to take a turn for the better.

“When I finished my self-titled debut album, I felt inclined to start pushing it. I was still getting crappy gigs," the rapper says. "Then I met Josh Letke, who was a DJ in the Houston music scene. Because he was real connected, he eventually led me to meet the guys [in the Houston collective] Printz, not Prince. All of this happened very quickly. Within a year, I went from nobody knowing me to being booked for festivals and getting booked for larger acts in larger venues.”

In May 2013, Guilla opened for hip-hop savant Riff Raff. Since then, his career took off, and his momentum continues its ascent. Focused on composing solid verses over catchy hooks, Guilla’s approach to songwriting relies on his environment. Having lived in Japan, England, California, Virginia and North Carolina, his best ideas come from being connected to the context of his present situation. He’s penned verses while teaching driver’s ed, sitting at bus stations, and laboring through long-winded biology lectures.

“There’s a song called ‘Shooting Stars’ off of my first album, Guilla, and in the verse I write, ‘I’m loving you from your atoms to your cells/Your organelles/To your molecules/ Damn, I’m in love with you.’ That came straight from all this stuff the professor had written on the board."

Ultimately, the importance of his verses create the dynamic atmosphere of his performances. “More important than anything past the verses is the performance," he says. "I love to perform.”

On the way to the interview, Guilla says he finished listening to System of the Down’s “Spiders” and thought, “If I could sing like that guy [Serj Tankian], I would cover this song at one of my shows. When I hear songs, I often imagine how the performances are going to be. When you think about it, the verses are the majority of the song. When I am onstage, people have a tendency to vibe throughout the whole track because they’re connecting with what I am saying. It transfers to other people. They think to themselves, ‘Man, this guy really likes his own music.’”

To hear Guilla is to see him perform; the concept remains inseparable. He, like many great performers, goes out of his way to diminish the fourth wall between him and his audience. Because of his undeniable enthusiasm for his music and his audience, his eventual preeminence in Houston’s legendary hip-hop scene will not be contained. - Houston press


St. Vincent

Dallas native Annie Clark shuffled to Houston from NYC on Saturday evening to deliver one of the most high-energy performances of the fest. Bedazzled in a black pantsuit, St. Vincent wielded her electric guitar, performing fan favorites like “Digital Witness” and “Cruel.” It was nothing short of incredible. The artist has become a national pop/indie icon, and Houston welcomed her with open arms.

Welcome to Houston

It was one of the most highly anticipated showcases of the weekend. The Suffers kicked things off with a soulful rendition of “Little Ghetto Boy,” belted out by lead singer Kam Franklin. Then listeners got a Houston history lesson from famous local rappers Paul Wall, Slim Thug, Bun B, Scarface, Willie D, Devin The Dude, Lil Flip and Mike Jones.

R. Kelly

Months ago, when the R&B singer was included in the festival’s lineup, Houstonians went bonkers, signing petitions to keep Kelly from performing. Nothing came of these complaints, though, and he was welcomed by thousands of fans. The singer kicked off his performance with the party jam “Ignition,” sparking a spectacle of gyrating across the concert grounds. He followed up with a mix of other classics like “You Remind Me of Something,” “Fiesta” and “Bump n’ Grind.” He also invited a young woman to wipe his face during the hour-long performance.

The Tontons

Last year, the Tontons were unable to perform due to a good, ol’ Houston washout. With the blazing sun on their side, the Houston natives pulled off one of the most enchanting performances of the festival. Lead singer Asli Omar mesmerized sweaty listeners with amazing vocals and celestial, charming melodies. The band’s afternoon set was soothing and perfect for the time of day as fans swayed along to favorites like “Golden” and newer tracks like the just-released “Pony.”

Gio Chamba

Gio knows how to create a party with whatever is available. His performances are electrifying, creating manic footwork and arm waving. The cumbia producer, who hails from Houston, creates a dynamic mix of Latin and electronic music. A crowd favorite, “That Pizza Though,” had the audience dancing for the full half-hour, despite the heat.

Guilla

The Houston rapper played on one of the smallest stages at the festival, but that should change in the future. The charismatic producer charmed his way into the ears of his audience with his catchy lyrics and entertaining beats. Local Taylor Huffman of Catch Fever joined Guilla—the two providing plenty of evidence, right there, of the incredible amount of talent in the city. - Houstonia Magizine


Yes, Indeed Festival
Continental Club, September 19 (5 p.m.)
Compact and eclectic, Yes, Indeed is a must-attend event for local-music lovers, and with almost 30 acts for only $15 (in advance), it’s probably Houston’s biggest live-music value of the fall season. Now in its fourth year, the one-day festival has taken on local sponsors like 8th Wonder Brewery and Heights Vinyl and beefed up the talent by bringing in Brown Sabbath, an Ozzy-oriented offshoot of Austin Latin-funk overlords Brownout, and party-starting Houston DJ duo Wrestlers to headline. Other guests from out of town include Austin’s Bee Caves (dark indie-Americana) and New Orleans’ AF the Naysayer (hip-hop/electronica fusion), but the nucleus of Yes, Indeed! is local music, and lots of it: veterans like Young Mammals, Electric Attitude, Bang Bangz and the Wandering Bufaleros; several of 2015’s most talked-about acts — Moji, Black Kite, Jealous Creatures, the Wheel Workers, Guilla — and more than a few who will surely lay claim to that title next year. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 day-of; a steal either way for this kind of lineup. - Houston Press


GUILLA

The Act: Always-on-the-grind rapper whose intelligent and heartfelt rhymes strike hard and without warning; known for teaming with burgeoning local acts from other genres (Catch Fever, birdmagic) to create something wholly Houston.
The Band: Guilla
The Backstory: “I can't really say that I have an origin, but I am a representation of what you get when you combine narcissism and crippling self-doubt," he says.
Where You’ve Seen Him: “The most accommodating venue in my opinion is Black Barbie," offers Guilla. "The engineer was passing me blunts on stage while I was performing at the BoyFriend show. I never thanked that guy. If you’re reading this, thank you.”
Next Gigs: August 22 with The Suffers at House of Blues; Yes, Indeed! Fest; Houston Whatever Fest.
Lessons Learned: “As a new artist I can say what I have learned about the Houston music scene is that there is more love in this world than what is surfaced," he says. "You have good-vibe people and you have bad-vibe people. Stay away from the bad vibes and show love to those who show love to you.” - Houston Press


Guilla

The Houston rapper played on one of the smallest stages at the festival, but that should change in the future. The charismatic producer charmed his way into the ears of his audience with his catchy lyrics and entertaining beats. Local Taylor Huffman of Catch Fever joined Guilla—the two providing plenty of evidence, right there, of the incredible amount of talent in the city. - Houstonia Magazine


Guilla‘s interview with the Hive Society coincides with the announcement of his two Houston Press Music Award nominations, an upcoming concert billed with two of the biggest acts in town (The Suffers and Gio Chamba at the House of Blues on Aug. 22), and an array of local shows and appearances, each one poppin’.

Still, he maintains an easy composure in the face of those mounting indicators of success. “From the core, I’m probably more nerd than anything else,” he assures me, smiling.

Guilla

If you’ve caught a Guilla performance, you can understand why he’s shaping into an icon. His style is somewhere meeting the uncensored chronicles of a young, 21st century rapper with the imagination, scheme and wit of a low-key wizard (he still enjoys a hearty round of Magic: The Gathering). His lyrics detail past events, but elevate those impressions to the realm of imagination, and invite the listener to hop pavement with the artist, against kaleidoscopic beats and an ever-impending sense of quest – centered around the hustle and grind of the come-up, an occasional nemesis, or, you know, girls.

Guilla’s style is centered on the principle of authenticity, a state which follows the sometimes awkward territory of learning to accept oneself. He views his music as a space where the maxim is free thought, allowing both the artist and the audience room to pursue authentic ideas, all judgement withheld. Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of Guilla’s greatest creative inspirations aren’t bound by a genre, but rather produce great work that’s as beautiful as it is unconventional.

The artist’s aesthetic itself is a unique rework of major cultural influences. You’ll spot him delivering an adrenalized performance in a Star Wars X-Wing Fighter costume or exploring the arts district pedestrian-style, rocking Japanese cyber goth apparel (he finds it at Nonno, the local boutique). All the while, operating under the relaxed philosophy, “Transition between each world – and have fun.”

Guilla

The Japan born tennis guru made his way to Houston almost a decade ago, after early years spent mostly in Virginia (though the family relocated often). Alluding back to his earliest study of music, playing trumpet in the school band, he says, “When I was in band, I wanted to do what I’m doing now – I wanted to make cool music.” Guilla’s move to Houston marked the start of that music career. He recounts countless hours spent in the dormitory quads at UH bent over his laptop, hookah nearby, masterminding beats into existence through FL Studio. The practice came naturally, he liked to beatbox when he was younger. Rapping came naturally, too – he finds lyrics surface at the strangest times, like during the commute or while waiting in line for coffee. He slyly admits that most of his first album was written while sitting in class. This album, along with another two he created, remain unreleased, but he reinforces their importance in shaping the early development of his career.

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The rapper’s debut album, available on iTunes.

Part of Guilla’s genius lies in his ability to surf between genres, perhaps a result of his diverse artistic influences (which include an Icelandic experimental songbird, a Japanese-American classically trained musician and emcee, and the Neptunes). As a producer, his creative process expands beyond that of a rapper to integrate the talent of other artists. In building a song, he explains, new components are added with respect to a vision of the song at it’s absolute best. This method calls for collaboration above all else. “We don’t worry about the name or whatever,” Guilla says, “just the intention of the song.”

This humble attitude earned Guilla plenty of allies in the local music scene. He names the resident geniuses Android Genius, Josiah Gabriel, Fat Tony, and Mark Drew as homies who are always down to do business. This past summer, for the first time, he performed at Houston’s premier music festival, Free Press Summer Fest. In the year and a half that he has, “been on the scene,” Guilla opened for major acts like Raekwon and Ghostface Killah of the Wu Tang Clan, Shwazye, and Rif Raf.

On the question of Houston music, the artist acknowledges the skill of many local acts, and comments that he sees room for expansion insofar as taking the work to a national audience.“It’s one of the most underrated in the country,” he says of the local art scene, and citing infrastructure as a reason why it may be that way – both in terms of the absence of local major media distributors, and the geographic dispersal of the venues themselves. But he maintains that the talent here in the city ensures a greater potential can be met, where the scene is viewed as a major source of influence and culture, not only locally, but domestically and internationally as well.

“I love Houston,” he says. “I love the diversity, I love the weather – I love the heat! And I love the people here in Houston. It feels like home, and that’s coming from somebody who’s moved around their whole life, who’s never been able to call somewhere home.” - The Hive Society


As his lyrical references to light sabers and laser gats made transparent, Guilla’s Children of the Sun has something of an outer-space theme to it, and the rapper came dressed for the role of a sci-fi villain, stalking the front of the stage, shirtless, sporting a wicked pair of welder’s goggles. Not everything he spat was of cosmic concern, however. Older cuts “Groupie Love” and “Stack That Cheese,” the latter featuring a motor-mouthed guest spot from Roosh Williams, kept things grounded in the hip-hop essentials. The crowd liked those two songs a lot, even if they sounded almost as if they’d come from a different artist than the man who had just been rapping about supernovas. -Nathan Smith - Houston Press


More often than not, Houston rappers are only too happy to wear their local influences on their sleeves: a drip of Lil’ Keke here, a drab of Scarface over there and, if they’re doing it right, a fine dusting of Pimp C sprinkled over the top. And Guilla is no different, even if he sounds nothing like your average “Houston rapper.” It’s just that his influences stretch a litter farther than the usual Southside suspects.

Like, all the way to NASA.
-Nathan Smith - Houston Press


I’m always a little amazed by the quality of music that could go unnoticed in Houston. When I first met Houston rapper and producer Guilla, he was placing the finishing touches on what would be called “Rap, Trap, and Drums;” his 2014 EP. When I first heard that release, I remember thinking how forward and away from traditional hip hop it all was. For most of 2015, aside from festival appearances, Guilla was locked away toiling on what would become his latest release, “Children of The Sun.” Alongside multiple joints he was working on, and taking time to drop a track on the “Nextwave” compilation, his focus on the album blew me away. Here and there I’d hear snippets and pieces that made me wonder what direction he was going in because like that 2014 EP, what I kept hearing was far and away different from what I was hearing in current hip hop. What emerged is another forward and future release from a guy who approaches hip hop music from a place outside the realm while keeping the drops and hooks on point. Originally set to be an EP, the producer and rapper added subsequent tracks to make the project an album. In eight songs, Guilla works with varying producers and brings another trippy and completely different from the herd album that feels bigger than everything else in music today. - Free Press Houston


10. BANDS
We’d take rapper and sci-fi aficionado Guilla, who would probably bring along friends like Mark Drew and iLL FADED. Imagine FLCON FCKER with the entire dark side of the moon as a palette for his audiovisual spectaculars. Race to the Moon is an obvious choice, and would give us some punk-tinged indie rock for dancing. Alone on the Moon's instrumental stoner-metal could crumble some moon mountains, though we'd need at least one on which to project the band's perfectly choreographed videos. Tessa Kole’s vocals sound like they could echo through space, so we’d ask PuraPharm along. And, finally, DDA just to test the whole “in space no one can hear you scream” thing. - Houston Press


Photos

Bio


Rap artist, Producer and Songwriter Guilla, is a Houston based artist known for his experimental, surrealist, and sugaceous sound juxtaposed with heavy bass and textured lyrics. 2016 marks the release of this third album recorded between Home School Studios and the legendary Sugar Hill Studios. Associated acts include The Suffers, Gio Chamba, and Catch Fever.

Rap artist, Producer, and Songwriter Guillatine AKA GUILLA - is an artist known for his esoteric, often sagacious and juxtaposing style with extreme emphasis on percussion. His travels at a young age reflect a style influenced by an array of sounds and genres: from Björk to Cam’ron to cult movie classics like The Fifth Element and Samurai X, his influences run the gamut.

Guilla was raised in a household where his father - a part-time DJ from New York - and Mother - an Opera Singer from England - traveled avidly as a result of his father’s military career. Guilla was born in Japan, but journeyed to California, England, Virginia, and eventually, Texas, where he honed in on his passion for music.

Guilla re-located to Houston in 2008 and quickly established his dexterity in production. Soon after, he met with an underground artist by the name of Paco Dandada. During a recording session, Dandada encouraged Guilla to write a verse to a song. It was during this same recording session that GUILLA wrote his first 16 bars and was invariably introduced to his favorite medium, rapping.

After signing onto Cloudopolis Entertainment, Guilla released his first single "Gravity" in 2013. Guilla’s sophomore EP, "Rap, Trap, and Drums" (RTD) features popular Houston artists, including Mark Drew, Roosh Williams, and Ill Faded. This critically-acclaimed album features heavy bass and futuristic synths, drawing upon the many influences of Guilla’s travels.

In Guilla’s third album - Children of The Sun - he continued on his trajectory as a musical tastemaker; channeling sophisticated and high energy sets and experimenting with new sounds and genres.

Guilla received overwhelming response as a featured artist in last year’s Free Press Summer Fest, alongside associated acts The Suffers, Gio Chamba, and Catch Fever in addition to his consecutive performances at Austin’s SXSW Music and Technology Festival.

Guilla is an avid gamer and anime fan - a facet often reflected in his music; from the surrealism, to the often operatic soundtracks of many anime productions.

Guilla is part of a generation of producers/rappers connecting the dots between experimental, alternative, and trip-hop: from Guilla’s critically-acclaimed Rap,Trap, and Drums to the acrobatic sounds of Children of the Sun, recorded between Home School Studios and the legendary Sugar Hill Studios.


Band Members