Today, Noisey is pleased to debut a special collaborative project from vocalist Lil Zubin and producer Nedarb Nagrom, the Misery EP. Lil Zubin, a bubbling new artist in the underground emo hip-hop scene, links with one of the forefathers of the sound, Nedarb Nagrom, who produced notable tracks for Lil Peep, among others. The project, with its soaring vocals and R&B textures, marks a another turning point for an ever-evolving sound. We caught up with Nagrom and Zubin, along with the EP's engineer, legendary internet prankster Nick Colletti, to hear more about how it all came together.
Listen to the premiere of Lil Zubin's Misery EP below and read on for more about the project.
Noisey: How did you two link and decide to create this project?
Nedarb Nagrom: Me and Zubin met thru the bro F1LTHY, who I met thru Bootychaaain and La Goony Chonga. In 2016 I went to the East Coast, where my mom lives, to take care of her during the recovery of a back surgery. When she was good enough to the point I didn’t need to be around, I just went and visited hella friends in different cities. One of which was Philly, where Zubin is from. So we just partied and got fucked up and made a song called "Pretty Hoes," where I was rapping on it. Then we just kept making shit from there and staying in touch.
Zubin, you've been in and around the scene for a minute now via the collective Working On Dying, can you discuss WOD and the role that's played in your come up?
Zubin: Working On Dying is a huge part of my come up. (Working On Dying's) F1LTHY and The Loosie Man saw my old band play like four to five years ago now—I wasn't singing really, and at the time was playing keys and producing stuff more. But after they saw us live, they hit my band up on the internet and I decided to link with them to work on some music. I ended up recording vocals for the album Working On Dying 2, which came out November 2015.
To be honest, I wasn't really doing much singing stuff until working with F1LTHY and The Loosie Man, and I kinda just kept going from there. F1LTHY has helped me out a lot and connected me to hella people. He is definitely how I ended up meeting Nedarb. Me and Nedarb recorded a track a few years ago on an Oogiemane beat at the old Working On Dying studio. F1LTHY also linked me with (Goth Boi Clique founder) Wicca Phase Phase Springs Eternal—he sent Wicca a song we'd been working on, and Wicca said he was down to do a track with me. That track ended up being "No Halo," which is produced by Ned. From there, shit has just been falling into place.
Me and F1LTHY stayed with Nedarb last summer while we were out in LA for the Matt Ox x Chief Keef shows, and me and Nedarb started talking about doing a project eventually. Now we got the Misery EP and hella other songs, some ones in the tuck I'm really excited to drop.
Nedarb had Nick mixed another track I did over one of his beats that also featured Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, called "Overdose." Nick made that song sound so fye, he's a hella talented engineer, and after that song, Nick has basically mixed everything I have been putting out.
We knew he had to mix the Misery tape cause he knows how to handle Nedarb beats I think [Laughs]. Those jawns slap hard as fuck, and Nick knows how to layer my voice on them perfectly, in my opinion. Nick was a huge part of making this tape. Shoutout Nedarb and Nick for this project.
Nick Colletti: I think so many people overthink mixing, or think it's hard, but I just work with what's already there… Ned has a sound that people really like, so preserving that was really important. Once I had Zubin's vocals nice and crispy, all I had to do was lay them right on top. Mixing is like putting sauce on a sandwich. A turkey sandwich can be some whole other next level shit if you add a lil' pizzaz.
Ned, you have a history of working with and developing the sound of a lot of dope artists. What did you see in Zubin that made you want to do a project?
Nagrom: He has a mad unique voice, some shit I hadn’t heard for real, especially in our scene. Plus, talking to him, you’d never think he sounds like how he does. He was just a cool-ass dude, and I thought it was tight he was the only singer in Working On Dying.
There's one feature on the EP, Jon Simmons, who is the singer of Balance & Composure. Why him?
Zubin: I been a fan of Balance & Composure since they started putting stuff out like ten years ago, and me and Jon had hella mutual friends because they are from right outside Philly, but we never really knew each other. Balance & Composure was coming to an end, so Jon put out a record with Wicca Phase under the name Coward—it's really dope. Jon lives in Philly now, so we chill a lot and he's always been wanting to do more of a R&B vibe, so I asked him to get on this tape with me, and he was down! We got mad songs together now, most aren't released yet though.
What was the process of recording the EP, since y'all stay in different cities? Where does Nick come in, and what role did he play in developing the sound?
Nagrom: I would just send Zubin beats, and he would get on 'em and send 'em to Nick to mix. I told Nick about Zubin, and then they met IRL. I've known Nick for a few years now, and always knew he was one of the best audio engineers. He said he was down to basically mix anything I sent him, so I told him about me and Zubin's tape, and boom.