WILD Profile: The GTW and BengFang

Who: James King of (THE GTW)

 and Eddie Yang (aka BengFang)
What they do: Composing Vocalist & Yam Collector / 

Music producer & assistant at parents’ gallery
Where they were born: CHIGERIA (north side of Chicago or better known as “Little Naija”

) / Sioux Falls, SD
Where they live now: South side of Chicago / Chicago, Pilsen

The GTW & BengFang profile for The WILD magazine

When they first started working together:
The GTW: I started working with BengFang in January of this year, after he was continually shutting down parties and art shows in the city by playing only his beats. I walked up to him and asked him to collaborate, he was cool about it then we connected.

BengFang: Early 2012 it took about 6 months to finish the project. The GTW was just everywhere at the time and I thought he was the most original artist coming out of Chicago. It took us a couple of months to figure out what we wanted the EP to sound like, but we just let things flow and it sort of just built on its own.

What they are currently working on:
The GTW: I’m just experimenting with different kinds of genre’s and bending them for some future label releases. A video for “Cravings” should be released soon.

BengFang: My main focus right now is “Cravings” music video. I want that to be as perfect as it can be. My next EP will be called Imperial Grade. That project will feature more vocals.

With whom they would like most to go on a “ tête à tête”:
The GTW: Not sure what “tête à tête” means, but I’m just going to assume that it means a DATE. Winona Ryder. I want her hand in marriage.

BengFang: Beethoven.

What they would be doing if they weren’t making music:
The GTW: I would be working for the National Geographic Channel documenting earthquakes & shaky tectonic plates around the world. I’m heavily into anthropology: my mom teaches it at a university level.

BengFang: I would be doing visual art or creating motion graphics and special effects for movies. I like to make the images in my head a reality.

On their life-to-do list:
The GTW: I got to make it into heaven somehow. Not really caught up in the glamour of life, it’s an up and down game you know? I also want to help open up a creative music space for up-and-coming creatives in the African Diaspora. That’s where I’m from; I want to help build the progressive arts community there.

BengFang: To be the first artist to play a show on the moon.

What they would do if they were the president:
The GTW: I would probably start a city-to-city arts appreciation program. It would be geared toward helping young talented inner-city artists develop their talents while getting linked to networks that can draw awareness to their work. I would also throw a festival called “White Fest” (sorry if that doesn’t sound creative) in the White House corridor with all of the best overlooked indie artists.

BengFang: Make beats in the White House.

Their earliest memories:
The GTW: I started writing a novel when I was 12 years-old. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to complete it. I was so into RL Stine and Wes Craven novels that I decided to write some horror pieces of my own. I also used to play with trolls and build forts made of chairs and bed covers. I used to always try and get my dad to build a tree house but I guess it’s something that Nigerian parents aren’t into. Haha!

BengFang: My earliest memory is drawing all day. I would first take my action figures place it on a paper and trace out the shape of it. I would then add my own details and colors. I was maybe around 5 or 6. I then started drawing my own figures once I got better.

The GTW and BengFang profile for The WILD magazine

What cracks them up:
The GTW: When people say, “You don’t look Nigerian.” Like how is a Nigerian supposed to look like?

BengFang: This.

The WILDEST situation they have ever experienced:
The GTW: I was 10 years-old in Nigeria in a car with my mom, sister and aunt. We were driving down a one-lane highway at two in the morning and a couple white vans were trying to run us off the road and hijack the car. Fortunately, my mom was keen to Chicago traffic, so ditching those crooks was not much of a problem to her. Thank God.

BengFang: I was thrown out of a windshield in a rolling car. I was two at the time and my dad was driving. It was snowy and dark and he slid on black ice and the mini-van with my family in it flipped several times. I was launched out of the car, but luckily I survived and no one was seriously injured. But I still have scars on my forehead from it.

What they can’t live without:
The GTW: Well, I lived without a phone and Internet before. I can safely say the only thing I can’t go with out is a hope for the future. Hope fuels me every morning, without it, there’s no point in anything.

BengFang: The Internet and music. The Internet is almost an essential I will sometimes feel claustrophobic without it. Yeah it’s that bad.

What they would like to leave to future generations:
The GTW: I would like to leave a message of hope through my sounds. I would like for my art to be the timeline of life for people to vibe to. Laughter, love, dark times and even darker times – I just want people to relate, you know?

BengFang: I would like to develop a new style or genre for newer musicians to venture in, or just break the entire rule of a genres.

Their next challenge:
The GTW: Getting a Visa. Performing at Fader Fort SXSW. I want those two things sooo baddd!!

BengFang: Composing classical music. I find classical music to be the most difficult genre to make. Pop music and every other style is just loops that repeat. But classical is a flow of energy that is continuous and dynamic.

What they think there is too much of, and too little of:
The GTW: Too many rappers and singers; not enough storytellers. It’s all about sharing experiences as opposed to appearing cool in front of a camera, or singing/rapping on a whole lot of pointless topics.

BengFang: I think there is too much electro house pop on the radio. They need to switch it up a bit play some newer stuff like “Cravings” by The GTW and Bengfang

Their heroes:
The GTW: Any entrepreneur that makes a living off of a creative idea. People who live off of their talent really inspire me to do the same. I curate events, collab on designs all because I want people to experience the zone I’m in.

BengFang: My pops.

The GTW and BengFang’s WILD Wishes:
The GTW: My current wish is that I would like to meet Alexa Chung. Can you tell the Make-A-Wish Foundation that? My lifetime wish is that I want to go to Colombia and play 1 on 1 with Carlos Valderama. He was one of my favorite football [soccer] players, probably because of his hair.

BengFang: I would want to know what music would sound like in the year 3000. It is interesting because I always thought how people living in the Middle ages would react to Dubstep. It might be so advanced in the future that it will just sound like white noise to us.


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text by: Joseph Johnson

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