An In-Depth Interview With The Artist, DJ and Vlogger rhêtorík On His New Music, Touring With Logic and More!
Posted On 11 Oct 2018
Meet rhêtorík – a creator, artist, DJ, and vlogger most notable for his work with rapper Logic. He recently wrapped up a special performance of his debut single “Shelter” on each date of the Bobby Tarantino vs. Everybody tour in addition to his DJing with Logic.
A proud graduate of Virginia Tech, rhêtorík never imagined himself performing in front of thousands alongside Logic, Jon Bellion, Mac Miller, Stalley, Pac Div, Big Sean, WuTang Clan, Mike Posner or contributing to Childish Gambino’s STN MTN mixtape. His vision surpasses that of a DJ trapped in a box – there’s more to his story and it begins in the name itself.
Chase Marchetti elaborated: “I knew that I wanted to use DJing as a platform to be a voice and really personify the meaning of the word rhetoric.”
Marchetti went from homelessness in NYC years ago to the version of himself you see now. In 2015, rhêtorík found himself questioning his purpose, and following his history of extreme choices, he took a full year of sobriety to embark on a journey of self discovery. Within this same year, he started his vlog Off The Rhekord, which allowed him to go beyond his musical talents and showcase his personality to his fan base, giving them insight on both the struggles and successes of his daily life on the road, and his knowledge obtained along the way. Fast forward to 2017/2018, he is now living comfortably in NYC and produced his entire forthcoming EP in his bedroom.
Learn more about rhêtorík in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? What’s on tap for the rest of your day?
I’m currently on a plane back from Las Vegas to NYC! Once I get home I’ll probably grab a bagel and work on the acoustic arrangements for the remainder of my songs. I have an acoustic session with z100 in a couple days.
Overall, how do you think 2018 has been treating you and your career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it? Or did you already reach it?
Despite my inability to ever feeling like I’m doing enough work, 2018 has been the biggest year of my life thus far. I reached every single one of the goals I had set forth. I had the opportunity to perform my song in front of 15,000+ people a night on Logic’s tour, I got over my fear of singing and performing acoustic in front of people, I shot my first music video, and I released my first EP. I’m finally being seen as an artist and it’s simultaneously been the most freeing and most stressfully rewarding experience of my life.
Growing up, was music always a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience? Where did you first get the idea to DJ then launch your solo project as an artist? Can you see yourself ever doing anything else?
The first true musical experience I remember is loving “Roam” by the B-52s and asking my mom to constantly play it. I was a toddler so I obviously had no clue why I loved it, but I knew it just made me feel so good inside. It was a constant mix of that and Elton John. I also remember always asking my dad to replay Tom Petty’s “Full Moon Fever” tape in the car. It’s funny because the majority of my super vivid memories have music at the center.
I had the first idea to DJ in high school after I had just quit baseball. I didn’t really enjoy partying, but I did love to make burned CDs and stand by the stereo to pick the songs for everyone. I used to be the kid to bring my guitar to parties and sing covers for everyone, but I found the burned CD method of entertainment to be a bit more universal. Through college I really pursued the DJing thing hoping that one day it’d give me the platform to return to making songs – and it did. Later on down the line I want to act. I was never really moved by the teen heartthrob in movies – I always liked the older person with more perspective, so I’m just waiting to be the right age for those roles *laughs*
How did you come up with your name? Why did you decide not to go by your own real name? Was that an easy decision to make?
I actually came up with my name while I was procrastinating on doing my homework in high school. I enjoyed giving comedic speeches, so “rhetoric” seemed like a natural choice, but I didn’t like how the “c” looked. I changed it to a “k” and never looked back. I wanted a DJ name that would also make sense when I switched to being an artist. I didn’t go with my real name because “Chase Marchetti” is just a mouthful to say… and nobody pronounces it correctly anyway. Ironically enough, a lot of people don’t say “rhetorik” correctly either…
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
I think the biggest challenge has been doing everything by myself up to this point. Beyond the music, I also created the cover art, financed any and all promotion, and am just the overall legs behind getting anything done on time. I always wondered why even some of the smallest musicians have assistants, and now I totally get it. I couldn’t survive without my intern JT. I think the biggest challenge has been to switch between “creation” mode and “promotion” mode. I make my best music when that’s all I’m focusing on, so I have stopped trying to do too much at once. I think it’s taught me a lot about my work habits in general, and for that reason I’d consider it a welcome challenge.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today? What is the music scene like there today?
I think that Virginia subconsciously influenced my sounds. I come from the land of Timbaland, Pharrell, Missy Elliott, The Clipse and more local talent; however, I didn’t really bloom until I moved to NYC. New York is the city that allowed me to evolve into my true self. There is a true “DGAF” attitude with New Yorkers, and knowing that nobody cared what I did really let me experiment and shed the learned qualities I had about myself from growing up in typical suburbia. NYC made me who I am today. The music scene back in Virginia is still just as potent as ever. Sunny & Gabe are incredible, DRAM is dope, and the whole Rebel-E squad is so talented. Don’t get me started on the DJ talent… Virginia is an amazing area to grow musically, it just wasn’t where I personally felt room to grow internally.
When it comes to everyone that you have collaborated with and performed alongside, which one really stands out the most to you now? Do you have a couple favorites?
I think it’s really just been the common threads that string great artists together that stands out to me. Being involved with so many crews has allowed me to see that it’s truly the team around that artist that keeps them steady. I’d say the stand out, despite the small capacity in which we worked, has to be Donald and Steve Glover. Fam, Ibra, and everyone in that crew is so talented and focused and it shows.
How did you contribute to Childish Gambino’s STN MTN mixtape?
I just did the cuts and scratches on that tape. I had honestly thought that it was just going to be ghost job, and then the day the tape came out I got a ton of tweets about it. I was so confused, so I asked twitter how they knew, and they said he had given me a shoutout on the “Go DJ” track at the end of the tape. A couple years later I ended up hosting his brother Steve’s tape “Rich Black American”.
Let’s talk about your debut track, “Shelter.” What was the inspiration for it? What was it like producing it all in your bedroom?
In the past 5 years, I hadn’t stayed in a single city for more than 10 days. I didn’t truly realize the impact it had on my psyche until I wrote that song. I was in the bathroom listening to the beat, and the first thing out of my mouth was “I want a shelter”. It was deep in me waiting to come out. It was weird to create it all in my bedroom because it wasn’t even really my bedroom. It was a sublet or AirBnb that I had, and then bedrooms and living rooms of other friends I stayed with around that time. I may have been in a bedroom, but my head was in Madison Square Garden.
How do you think that your vlog On/Off The Rhekord has opened your eyes to the kind of artist that you are and the kind of music that you create now?
Off The Rhekord allowed me to share my personality with people in ways that DJing never could. It was a buffer zone between the hype stage presence I have when I DJ, and the mellow introspective person I am off stage. It was also nice for me to know that people related to the actual me and not just the on-stage me. I had always planned to use it as a gateway into making personal music.
How was your recent tour with Logic? What do you think you learned from that experience? What was it like performing “Shelter”? Do you have a favorite venue/crowd from this tour?
That tour was the first time I had sang in front of people since I was in high school. Even during the recording process all my vocals were done by me in a room by myself. It was a huge learning experience singing on stage and developing my stage presence in front of tens of thousands of people a night. Performing “Shelter” for the first time in Boston was the first time I had been nervous to go on stage in years. Also, Madison Square Garden is 100% my favorite experience, because that’s where I imagined all my songs being played when I was creating them. It was great to have those first experiences with my brother Logic. We’ve been touring together for the past 5 years, and have really been with each other as we turned from kids to adults.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period or is your music an escape from all that? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate?
I think as artists, we’re all highly sensitive and impressionable people, and it’s impossible to not be influenced in some sort of way by what we consume. That is exactly why when I’m creating music I have to cut myself off from any social media or outside influence. Personally though, I tend to focus on the “why” a lot in my approach to everything. I don’t usually question why a person “does”, but why a person thinks in a certain way that leads them to “do”. A lot of people – myself included sometimes – think that pretending to “grow up” can heal deep-seated emotions from their childhood. We put band-aids over deep wounds and think they’ll heal. Then when they get infected, we refuse to take the blame. With my music I rip off my own band-aids and explore those emotions and where they came from. Why are they still around after all these years? I think that’s what people get from me. It’s not necessarily and escape, but more of a refocus. Instead of focusing on others’ faults, my music focuses on healing self first and then going from there.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?My favorite way has been and always will be connecting in real life. I’d rather have one great conversation with a fan than favorite 1,000 tweets. It’s definitely been tough to stay up to date on my socials, but it’s something I need to do until I can find another way, and really until my music spreads to the point where I’m not the main promoter. One of my main artistic goals is to be able to reach more people off social media than on it.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
I am super influenced by what I grew up on. My favorite band of all time is still Led Zeppelin, and the most emotionally impactful bands are all from the emo phase of the 2000s. As far as working with people – I’d love to work with people whose writing I love first. I’d love to pick the brains of a Frank Ocean, or a Ben Gibbard, or even Jesse Lacey from Brand New. I’d add Brendon Urie and John Mayer to that list too… This is always a tough question for someone who’s worked alone up to this point!
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
I would just take my Taylor acoustic guitar from high school. I was grounded once in high school and the only thing I was allowed to have the whole summer was my guitar and I survived, so guitar survival is a tested and proven method to avoiding insanity.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
Oh great question! Without overthinking it, the first movie that comes to mind is “Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind”. I think it’s equally as dark as it is romantic, and that’s where I feel like “Behind Closed Doors” would fit. I’m trying to get better at watching more movies and shows as I’ve been writing these music video treatments, but that’s the first one I can think of. There are a lot of mellow moments on this EP, but they’re all followed by epic moments. I definitely visualize huge scenes when creating the songs.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?
I do hope they take away authenticity, but what I want them to truly take away is a sense of self empowerment. I want them to not only find healing through my music, but I want them to find power in the fact that they can heal themselves.