.Love Your Local Band: Phonetic

Life can be hard. Without a balance between work and relaxation, it can often become jumbled and messy. It’s a delicate line to walk, and one that local hip-hop lyricist, Tristan “Phonetic” McCormick, doesn’t take lightly.

“I feel like a lot of my life is about balance and self-care,” he says between sips of coffee. “I usually push myself, which can sometimes be a good or bad thing, depending on what I do.”

He decided to accumulate this area of his life into his latest, five-track EP, appropriately named The Balance. Unlike his previous releases, The Balance is a little slower and more melodic, sacrificing his “rapid fire” delivery style for a more focused delivery. But don’t mistake the changes for laziness. His latest tracks are evolved and deep, diving into subject matter often ignored in hip-hop: sobriety, finding happiness and connecting to our fellow humans with love.

“My writing has been shocking me lately,” he says. “I’m always trying to improve my schemes and it can be tiring.”

His worn-out notebook never leaves his side, because inspiration can hit at any time. The pages are filled with matrices of words that rhyme or flow together, visually representing the line “My mind is trapped in a vocabulary prison,” off the EP’s opener, “The Art of Practice.”

“That’s just how my brain works,” he laughs.

For The Balance EP release party at the Blue Lagoon, Phonetic has some local and NorCal hip-hop flavor for fans, with Optimiztiq and C-Dub coming in from Sacramento, Omen from San Jose and Santa Cruz’s own I Will and Numerous rounding out the evening.

INFO: 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16. Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $5. 423-7117.


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