Known by his loyal fans as Sourmouth, Portland artist David Krauss has seen his fair share of struggles and pain. In this THQ interview, the Oregon native speaks about his atypical upbringing and beginning to mend past mistakes.
Based out of Portland, Oregon, he’s dabbled in a little bit of everything when it comes to his music. His latest album is titled “A Million Little Pieces” and was inspired by the controversial book by James Frey. The album features a very revealing song called “I Hate It” that speaks about Sourmouth’s unique upbringing and the hurt he’s caused his family over the years.
You see, David comes from a very unique situation. Abandoned by his paternal mother as a youth, he would soon be adopted by an all white, middle class couple who would go on to raise him as their own. As he grew older, his deep-rooted feelings of hurt would ultimately lead him to begin rebelling and partying. Now at a different point in life, Sourmouth pens an audio apology dedicated to his father and immediate family. Join us as we speak to him about how adoption affected him growing up, how his life inspires his creativity and much more in this exclusive THQ interview.
Things started out pretty rough for you as a child. We could only imagine all the feelings that you had going thru then David. You found yourself in the foster care system but were fortunate enough to be adopted by two loving parents. If possible, could you share that part of your life story with us?
According to the very limited information I have about my biological parents, which barely takes up two college-ruled notebook pages, I was born into one of the worst housing projects out of Dallas, Texas. I had an an absentee father and teen mother who already had four other children. Both my mom and dad has confirmed cases of mental illness and possible drug habits. I was too young at that point to really remember how bad I actually had it. I was put up for an adoption at around six months old and was only in foster care for a small period of time afterwards. That was around the time I was adopted. Ironically, life didn’t start to become rough for me until my teenage years.
You’re black and you’re parents are white. We’re pretty sure it was tough not only being adopted but also being the only black member of the family. It may not been on your mind as a kid but growing up, did this difference ever create conflict between you all? What was it like for you growing up over the years?
Yes, it was rough on me more psychologically than anything. It’s funny that you mention it not being on my mind as a kid because up until a certain age, I didn’t really even know I was “black”. I emphasize black to separate the obvious physical characteristic from the mental one. I always knew I was black but it wasn’t until around middle school that I began having the realization about race and things of that nature. That was the time I switched school districts and was in a more diverse setting.
Did the color difference ever cause a conflict between my parents and I, surprisingly no. I tended to blame myself for alot of my confusion and tribulations. There was this one time I remember vividly. A group of girls where teasing me about being ashy. I got so mad because I didn’t know why or how to change it. It was simply something that my parents or I had knowledge on at the time, you know?
But with me being the emotional teenager I was, I got fed up one day after a long roasting session and threw a fit when I got home. That day is when my anger got the best of me and I tried to fight my father. It’s something I still have regret to this day.
You’ve addressed your past struggles with substance abuse and addiction disorder thru social media and music. One such song that speaks about such issues is “Lost My Mind”. When did you realize you had a problem firstly and what advice can you offer to people that could be going thru the same scenario?
Yes, I speak upfront and candidly about my battles with addiction disorder and substance abuse. I openly consider myself to be an addict. Though the drugs came later in life, I was diagnosed with ADHD in third grade. I wasn’t open about it for a long period of time though, especially back in grade school. It made me upset that I needed to wait to go play at lunch because I was standing in line for the nurse to give me my pills. I hated the fact that i even needed a pill to do what “normal” kids could do without one. Looking back, I think that is what subconsciously started the ongoing belief that no matter what I wasn’t good enough or would never be normal. As I became older, I literally began losing my mind, which eventually lead to the substance abuse.
The best advice I can offer is to seek help before hitting rock bottom. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you have a problem or need treatment to get back on track. Addicts can be very stubborn and in most cases, have to hit that bottom before realizing how bad they actually are. Reach out to those you affected and try seeking reconcile with them, if possible. Most importantly, stay positive.
So let’s talk about your latest video for “I Hate It”. Just after watching it one time, I had a tear in my eye. I think you did an exceptional job of capturing the true feeling of reconciliation and the urge of wanting to always make our parents proud. This is my favorite song from the album and it’s a song I can personally relate to. The lyrics are very raw and revealing. Was it hard writing, recording and shooting this song? Lastly, how does your dad feel about it, has he had the chance to see it yet?
Man, i can’t even watch the video without my eyes watering up. I Found the editing process of this particular video was damn near overwhelming for me. The vintage footage had me chocking up while editing. My friend Freddy “Tuggs” Hamilton was the person who originally gave me the idea. He said “the more personal you are on a song, the more relatable it will become”. Whenever I feel like hiding or leaving out crucial parts because I’m scared of what people might think, I remember that line. I’m getting more into Rock music and at the time, Blink 182 was what I had been listening too.
The hardest part by far, which relates to my dad’s reaction to the video, was the transition from me as a child to an adult and lighting up the meth pipe. I felt the symbolism was a perfect opener for the video. My dad was thrown back at first view but I really feel that watching it he understands me more as a person. That and being able to apologize to him thru the song was good for my conscience.
With the positive feedback you’ve received this far, can we expect to hear more songs like “I Hate It” and “Because I’m Black”?
I’m actually planning on getting even more personal on this next album. I wanted to offer more of a variety on “A Million Little Pieces”, my spin on my outlook on Pop culture. For this next project, my goal is to really connect with my audience on such a personal level they feel they actually know me as a person.
Speaking about “A Million Little Pieces”, why did you decide to title the album after the James Frey book for?
The book details one of the worst case of drug addictions. Just from the first chapter, I realized this book really related to my life. I had hit the bottom very hard, so hard I was yanked out of bed in the early morning, handcuffed and escorted to my second stay in the rehabilitation program called Catherine Freer. It’s been labeled as controversial but none the less, I went thru the program. When I was in the starting stages of this album, the book and my prior experiences lead me in this particular direction to use “A Million Little Pieces” as the focal concept of the entire album.
With the album having been available since summer and a number of singles and videos released for the album, what’s next up for you in 2017?
In 2017, I’m working harder than ever and have set some real goals. The release of AMLP did what I had planned with the release plus more. It established a huge back-catalog of wonderful press releases and gave me an actually community of fans that support me. I was in the “no one will share my music, review or even engage my content” stage and this album was the turning point of moving thru that stage. Without leaking too much info, I’m working on landing some solid guest features for the upcoming album and have been seeking all original production for it.
Also, with the assitance of Mike Crenshaw, I will be launching a full-on interactive radio show, hosting freestyles and educated debates on current issues in Hip-Hop. Make sure to stay tuned for that.
We’d like to thank you for being so open with us about your life and music David, it was a pleasure. Before we cut out though, please let our readers know where they can find you at online.
For sure, thanks for having me and giving me the opportunity to share this with everyone.
As far as finding me online, there’s my website which serves as the central hub to all things Sourmouth.
You can also find me on the following social media platforms as well: