Wourms helps bring hip-hop collective to LA

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Kelly Wourms (senior) is putting his classroom education in Media Arts and Culture to work in the real world under his stage name, Terrys Tacos. As a music video director and photographer for the Seattle-based music collective THRAXXHOUSE, Wourms got the opportunity to document the group’s founding members, Key Nyata and Mackned as they represented the 40-plus member conglomerate at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas.

Key Nyata and Mackned started THRAXX in 2013, and it has since become a staple in the tight-knit, underground, experimental hip-hop scene in Seattle. The group is composed not only of musicians, but also videographers, producers and clothing designers. Each member brings a unique skill set to the collective, which is managed via a massive group text where members plan shows and talk about how they might collaborate with one another.

Wourms became involved with THRAXX when one of the group’s members, Tokyo Gold, moved into his Eagle Rock house at the beginning of summer 2014. Tokyo Gold has been an essential part of bringing THRAXX to LA, and Wourms soon realized he wanted to contribute to building the THRAXX brand here.

“At first it was just kind of like, he was in his room, I was in mine, just kind of roommates existing,” Wourms said. “Then one day he heard me listening to Lil B and we got to talking about the Based World and hip-hop and from there he just kind of introduced me to that world.”

THRAXX is beginning to stir up the Los Angeles music scene, attracting local artists to the once Seattle-centric collective. Riding the wave of new artists joining THRAXX, the group has begun booking shows from LA to Texas to New York.

The establishment of THRAXX LA can largely be traced to Wourms and Tokyo Gold’s video work in Eagle Rock, while Key Nyata oversees the whole operation from his place in Culver City. A music video shot by Wourms entitled “Pink California” features characteristic LA scenery and is indicative of the group’s move to develop a stronger presence in LA.

Complex Magazine recently highlighted the video on their website. It features rising THRAXX artists Yung Bruh and Horse Head. Shot at Occidental, the video places the rappers in familiar spaces like the lawn between Chilcott and Haines. The uplifting, sun-soaked scenery is mirrored by the melodic, auto-tune vocals cascading over trap beats.

Despite the obvious hip-hop influences of many of THRAXX’s tunes, Wourms, Mackned and Key Nyata were all hesitant to label THRAXXHOUSE as a strictly hip-hop conglomerate. THRAXX is a space where artists from different backgrounds can collaborate, melding styles and mediums in unpredictable ways.

Horse Head is a singer and producer from LA who illustrates the way THRAXX artists push the boundaries of various music genres. According to Wourms, Horse Head takes an emo vocal style and couples it with trap beats in an odd fusion of styles that leaves the listener feeling somber yet relaxed.

“It’s almost like if Jimmy Eat World had stayed popular, it would probably sound like this,” Wourms said.

Wourms attributes the stylistic diversity of THRAXX artists to the dialogue that constantly goes on between members across the nation.

“We’re always bouncing ideas off each other, cracking jokes, setting up shows,” Wavriel, one of the group’s managers, said.

THRAXX is mainly headquartered in Seattle and Los Angeles, but Wavriel hopes to build a central studio and management space where all of the THRAXX artists can convene in a single spot and most effectively enact their unique creative visions.

“THRAXXHOUSE has the momentum right now to do some really great things,” Wavriel said. “They’re doing things with music that people have never heard and people are really onto it right now.”