The songwriting duo Rock City (Theron & Timothy) helped write many hits for some of your favorite artists. Recently they earned three grammy nominations for working on Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz, Iggy Azalea’s The New Classic and Ariana Grande’s My Everything. These fellas seem to have mastered genre blending and decided to pick back up the mic and give us some a different hip-hop sound. Rock City just released a video for their single titled “I’m That” featuring 2 Chains. I caught up with the boys to talk about working with 2 Chains, growing up on St. Thomas, working on Nicki’s The Pinkprint, and so much more! Check out our conversation below.
What was it like growing up in the Virgin Islands and how did you guys get started in music?
Theron: Growing up on St. Thomas was a lot of fun you know? The beach, it was beautiful. We grew up in a very bad area but we had both of our parents and knew right from wrong and stuff like that. Musically, reggae, dancehall, hip-hop, calypso, rock, all of that was really like we only had one radio station so they just kind of played everything at once. Like, we didn’t have formats like Urban or Rhythmic or Pop. It was like every single song that was good was played on the radio. So, we just grew up being influence by everything, by all melodies, that’s why we are genre-less now. We just kind of merge genres together, we don’t even know we be doing it. Like we were working with Gwen Stefani and she was like, “Oh I love those R&B melodies” and we were like “Oh, that what it is?” we didn’t know it was kind just like that just how it is.
You guy’s sound is definitely original, how would you describe it?
Theron: I feel like if we call it something we’re kind of putting it in a box. To be honest, we’ve just been blessed to learn and understand so many genres of music and we just found a cool way to incorporate them with everything that we do. So, that’s basically it. We just want to say that we make music but I don’t even know what to call it.
Who influenced you guys?
Timothy: Our dad, even though he never did music he was a really big fan of music. He loved reggae music and loved hip-hop music. So, he played a lot of that in the house. So we grew up with the influences, like Theron said, of all these different melodies like that but still had a big hip-hop influence. We was influenced mainly by I’ll say, there is so many different artists but to sum it up I’ll say Bob Marley, The Fugees, and Jay-Z.
How is it different writing for other artists rather than for you?
Timothy: I think what’s cool about that is when we are writing for other artists, we’re telling their story. Whatever emotion they are feeling at that moment or they want to express to their fans, we’ll try our best to put that on record. We’re talking about their story or their feelings and when it comes to making music for ourselves we’re talking about our story and our feelings, the things that we’ve been through and experienced. When we make music for ourselves, we try to separate it from the stuff we make for other people because we used to have the problems of, we’ll be working with an artist and be writing random songs and we’ll feel like we wrote something that was too great and we’ll be like “Yo, this is too awesome we need to keep this for ourselves.” When now, we don’t even have that problem any more because our music doesn’t sound like anything else that’s out there. So if we wrote a record for, let’s say Beyoncé or Usher we would never think “Let’s keep this for ourselves” because our music doesn’t sound like anything we wrote for Usher or Beyoncé or anything we had already heard from Usher or Beyoncé. We try to make our music as original as we can so when you hear it you could say, “This is the first time I’ve heard this before.”
You guys have a hot record out with 2 Chains title, “I’m That” how did you guys link up with him?
Timothy: Oh, we’ve known 2 Chains since he was Tidy Boy. We’ve been living in Atlanta and coming up in the city he always showed us love you know? We wouldn’t hang out but he’d always be like “Aye, what’s up, how ya’ll doin?” We were working, he was working on his album and he was like “Look man, I really want ya’ll guys to come work with me.” We were like, “Yea, we got this record and we want you to be apart of it.” He said, “Look man, I love ya’ll guys, ya’ll always been cool and chilled and stuff.” He came and did the record and killed it! He went crazy on it.
The video was hot as well, how was it shooting the video on the island and in Atlanta?
Theron: It was awesome; it was all a part of our story. We went to St. Thomas to show that part. That is our real dad in the video, that’s the apartment we grew up in, the projects that we are from. That’s our real mom in the video you know and then we came to Atlanta to make it in the music business. 2 chains is from Atlanta and we wanted to show we represent both places.
What’s next for Rock City?
Theron: Oh yea, we’re working on an album right now you know working on our deal with Dr. Luke, Kemosabe/RCA. Yea, we’re working on an album right now, we just got the name so we’re telling everybody. We’re excited, it called What Dreams Are Made Of and we hope it is released late first quarter or early second quarter. God willing, sometime next year, that’s the goal, that’s the plan.
Besides 2 Chains, is there any one else you would like to have on the album?
Theron: On the album man, it’s two people that we would like to get and I think we would be able to pull it off. We haven’t done it yet but uhh The Marleys so Damien Marley and Stephen Marley and Nicki Minaj. In a perfect world, we’ll get them on something.
Didn’t you work on Nicki Minaj’s Pinkprint?
Theron: Yes! It’s the number one album! We did “Only” and “Trini Dem Girls” and “The Night Is Still Young.” We did “The Night is Still Young” with Esther Dean and we did “Trini Dem Girls” with Lunchmoney Lewis and J Cash.
I have just a couple of random questions for you guys. What is your favorite food?
Theron: This is going to freak you out but my favorite food is bread and cheese. American cheese, take out the chees and put it on the bread. That is my favorite food. So, whoever my woman is, her life will be so easy. You know, whoever she is she’s like, “Yo, he’s young, black, extremely handsome, respectful and all I have to make him is a sandwich?!” They’ll be living the dream man! [Laughs]
Timothy: I’m kind of bias, I like all kind of things but my favorite kind of food would be Caribbean food. Nothing specific and nothing in particular just Caribbean food. I am Caribbean so just Caribbean food and I am in heaven.
What is one song on your iPod that people would never expect you to listen to?
Theron: I got Bruno Mars album both of his albums on my iPod. Both of the albums are pretty good, Bruno Mars is very talented
Timothy: I don’t know I listen to a lot of audio books on my iPod. I be riding around in the car listening to The 48 Laws of Power or The Art of The Function and stuff like that. So yea, that might be surprising.
What feature from a woman do you find most attractive?
Timothy: Nice legs, that’s probably one of them. I mean I like everything though I cant just give you one feature. Nice legs, nice skin, nice smile, nice teeth.
Theron: I would say the number one thing is her face. If you ‘re fat you can get skinny and if you’re skinny you can gain weight. The body always changes, that’s cool but you know an unattractive face, if you look at my face and I look at your face and I’m like “baby girl…” [Laughs] ain’t nothing you can do to fix that face. So, my number one thing is a pretty face. If you have a beautiful face, we can work around everything else.
Do you prefer fruits or veggies?
Theron: It’s weird; I recently prefer veggies to fruits more. I used to love fruits but now I’m really into green vegetables like green beans, spinach, and broccoli. I don’t know why but I actually really enjoy them.
Timothy: I’ll go with fruits.
What is your New Year resolution?
Theron: Make more time for myself. Myself doesn’t mean being by myself but make more time for things that I selfishly want to do. Like travel, take a vacation or just be with family other than just work because we’re such workaholics you know, that’s all we do. So next year hopefully we’ll break that mold a little bit.
Timothy: For me, I guess I’ll say I don’t want to curse, as much no more I’m DELIVERT! [Laughs] I said in 2015 that I’m going to travel a lot more and uhh outside of work because you know we travel for work already. I said this year (2015) I’m gonna travel a lot more or just taking trips with me and my friends. Just living and enjoying life and seeing the world. I said I’m going to be doing that a lot more starting in 2015.
Since Christmas is tomorrow, I thought I give you all a gift. So here is their video for “I’m That” ft. 2Chains. Enjoy!
Don’t forget to follow the fellas on Twitter so you can be the first to hear their music!