[INTERVIEW] Cadi on Ardor, album process, spirituality, and more.


Get to know the artist known as Cadi in our newest OK-Tho! interview below.

OK-Tho (Jab): Thank you for doing this interview my man. We've known each other for going on 4 years now so it's about time we sat down. Please, tell the readers about yourself and where you're from.

Cadi: Absolutely, thank you for having me (and damn, has it really been 4 years?! Time flies...). What's goin' on

y'all, my name is Cadi (also the self-proclaimed 'Wind In The Woods' lol). I'm an artist (music)/writer out

of Central Florida. Contrary to popular belief, Central Florida isn't just "Disney World", there's a lot of

hoods and woods out here. I was born and raised in the latter. I'm a writer, so I can be quite loquacious

when it comes to these sorts of things, you've been warned. Pasta and chicky nuggs are my favorite

foods, I have a serious sweet tooth, and I love a good story. Lately, my favorite quotes have been 'It is

what it is' and 'I don't know, shit's fuckin' weird'. Classic/vanilla WoW is the greatest game ever made

(imo). My biggest annoyance is the lack of quality internet out where I live (I've been sick of these damn

data caps). Hope that gives a small glimpse into my psyche lol.

OK-Tho! (Jab) I reviewed your Astral Almamatta project back in 2017, and just recently reviewed your newest project "Ardor". What was the difference between both albums in your opinion, in terms of the project process, who you were then and now, and where you were then and now?

Cadi: Astral Almamatta was such a unique album and I loved it. It was ambitious. I created a whole fantasy- esque world with a story regarding that world, and used the mood of each track to connect the events occurring in that world with this reality (as well as skits throughout the album). Ardor, however, has no skits in the album release, but it does have a story that exists in the same universe as the story of Astral Almamatta (I just decided to not include the skits due to me personally hating skits in music/albums and for the ease of listeners lol). That's the most apparent difference between the two. However, Astral Almamatta was made by a young man. Ardor was made by a grown man. 

The themes of AA (Astral Almamatta), looking back, were somewhat childish, whereas the themes of Ardor were far more grave and surreal. AA is optimistic and day-dreamy. Ardor is raw, powerful, intense, and brutally honest. I actually began working on Ardor (as well as my next album) back in mid-2017 and had everything done, ready to record, by Jan. 2018. I had the exclusive rights to all the beats, I had all the songs and skits written, I had the album name, and even the artwork ready. I had actually recorded half the album by early 2018 but decided to take a small break to realign my focus, as I had things goin' on in life, outside of music, that I shifted my attention to. 

That 'small' break turned into a two year hiatus from music. At the time of writing Ardor, I was probably the happiest I had ever been. A month or so before AA dropped, I woke up one day and realized 'I'm happy'. I continued with that natural content for life throughout the whole process of writing and conceptualizing Ardor. Sure, I had some days where I was sick of everyone's shit (easily recognizable in my song 'Perdition'), but my mental state was unshakeably optimistic. 

I'd like to believe that my writing of Ardor was prophetic and that my subconscious was preparing me for the upcoming storm I was about to endure, but the several years that followed were a stark contrast to 2017, so I can't rule out that I may have written those experiences into existence. 2018, 2019, and early 2020 were hell. I straight up did not have a good time, but it is what it is. AA was written and recorded by a glee young man, content with life, who fancied himself a warrior, having never gone to war. Ardor was written by that same young man, but was recorded by a completely different human being. Though I made minimal changes to Ardor, shortening a chorus here, changing a few bars there, and rewriting pretty much every verse on the opening track 'Hiraeth', Ardor is the work of a man who has actually experienced the wars of life.

OK-Tho! (Jab): Given the subject matter on Ardor and the song titles, is it safe for me to presume that you're an avid reader and researcher? (And if so) I have the same itch so I know that I have it and why in a sense I have it, but for you...where does the itch to explore and research information come from, and what exactly have you/do you read that inspired the theme of this new album?

Cadi: I'm actually not an avid reader, at least I don't read as much as I'd like to. Most of my reading comes from reading Anime subs haha. I do, however, love words. Certain words, to me, are aesthetically pleasing. They sound good to my ears, they feel good to my eyes, etc. I stumbled across an IG post, I believe, that had a handful of unique, 'five dollar words', such as hiraeth. That post got me thinkin', 'Why not have my next album's song titles be a single profound word each?'. I then went to work researching words that would fit the themes of the songs I had for Ardor, and happily found them (but if you wish to attribute the song titles to an innate and profound vocabulary, I'm not gonna stop ya lol).

In addition to my love for words, I also have a love for knowledge (which I have learned is a double-edged sword). I meditate consistently, and have done so for close to 10 years. That practice alone set me upon the path of really delving into life's many questions and seeking knowledge/wisdom. In terms of books, I'll choose fantasy type novels over any other genre. Self-help/self-improvement books are cool, and I've read a few here and there, but I want a solid story. I want a world I can escape to to ease my mind and soul. 

For instance, The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss. I stumbled across thefirst entry to that saga, called The Name Of The Wind, a day or two after I released AA (since I love the wind and have a song called 'The Wind In The Woods' on AA, I couldn't pass that book up when I read the title). I disappeared in Rothfuss's fantasy world Temerant heavily in the months that ensued as I read The Name Of The Wind and The Wise Man's Fears. I believe part of me still exists there too...(at least until the final installment gets released, if it ever gets released haha).

OK-Tho! (Jab): Being that you're in Central Florida, is there much of a hip-hop/music scene out where you are?

Cadi: I'm not too knowledgeable, nor prominent, in the hip-hop scene in Central Florida, as I spend most of my days in the woods. However, there have been/are notable hip-hop artists who have accomplished/are accomplishing notable feats, who all sprouted up from Central Florida. To name a few: Treal, Jon Young & J. Cash, Caskey, Bezz Believe, and many more. I wouldn't say where I'm from has a distinct sound in hip-hop (like Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Cali, NY, etc.), but there's definitely a plethora of quality artists/music here. It's also worth mentioning that the heavy metal band Trivium is from Central Florida as well.

OK-Tho! (Jab) Who are some of your favorite and most influential rappers, hip-hop producers, and just music artists in general, and were you listening to a specific type of music and artist(s) and album(s) and drawing influence from that before and during the process of creating Ardor?

Cadi: Growing up, my favorite rapper was Tupac, hands down. I was 9 when I heard Changes on the radio. At the time, I didn't really categorize music into genres, it was all just music to me, but when I heard the emotion and convection of Tupac's voice, I was amazed. His 2-disc Greatest Hits album was the first album I ever purchased. Imagine a 9 year old Caucasian kid from the woods walkin' around listenin' to '2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted', 'Hit 'Em Up', 'Hail Mary', etc lol. 

That quickly kindled the fire of my interest in Hip-Hop and I dove right in, listenin' to Nelly, Ludacris, DMX, Eminem and many more as a kid. In line with Tupac, Big K.R.I.T. and Kevin Gates have each held the prestigious title of 'my favorite rapper'. Big K.R.I.T. helped me find my voice in music and really showed me that I could make MY music, and it was okay if MY music was 'different'. Kevin Gates really showed me that I could be brutally honest and raw in my music, and it was okay if I did that as well. 

Favorite Hip-Hop producers? Easy. All the producers I've connected with and worked with on Astral Almamatta and Ardor. That's DJ Abomination, Haardtek, M-Piece, Falco, AndrezoWorks, and Glory Muzic. Throughout life, I've also listened to a lot of Nujabes, DJ Okawari, and Nomak. Also, one of my favorite artists/DJ's is, and always will be, Emancipator. That being said, I probably listen to more 'metal' music than anything (surprised? lol). 

ERRA, Parkway Drive, The Amity Affliction, Architects, Trivium, old Bullet For my Valentine, and old All That Remains are some of my favorite bands. The album 'Souvenirs' by Novelists is one of my favorite albums of all time. *I keep saying 'metal' because there's too many damn genres of metal and I don't know each genre well enough to adamantly speak on them, nor do I care.

One album that comes to mind that I listened to heavily towards the end of writing Ardor is The Sin andthe Sentence by Trivium. I was wrapping up the last few songs around the time of it's release and I just remember having that album on repeat as I was at work haha. At this time too, ERRA had emerged in my awareness and quickly became one of my favorite bands, and it was perfect timing too. As I had conceptualized where I was going with Ardor, strictly in terms of writing, I had some fears that I was venturing that path as a songwriter solo. Then I really delved into ERRA's discography and realized they were there the whole time, walking the same path and guiding me. ERRA's songwriting is absolutely legendary, among many other things. These guys don't get enough credit...

OK-Tho! (Jab): Have you ever considered doing a collab project with a producer, or a collab where you produce and an artist grabs the mic? And if so, can you tell us who you've considered working with, and also tell us if there are any particular artists that you dream of working with?

Cadi: I've had ideas and talks about doing small EP's, each with DJ Abomination, Haardtek, and M-Piece. Nothing has come to fruition (which I'll place the blame on me for that) with regards to those ever happening but they are definitely on my list and I'd love to have an EP with each of those artists. My very first album I released (maybe 2010/2011?), I actually produced all of the beats except for one. The songs I produced always came out sounding like 8 & 16 bit video game OSTs though haha (which is cool, but not how I wanted my music to sound). After finding Soundclick, I quickly realized the difference in my producing skills and decided I'd leave that up to the professionals.

In the early stages of my career, I reached out to numerous artists to collab and was always ghosted lol. Either I was ghosted immediately or I would do my part on the song and the other artist would never do theirs. I developed a very 'fuck it' mentality when it came to collaborating with other artists, which is why I don't collaborate with other artists. I want features to be a huge deal when it comes to my music/albums, not to be the standard.

That being said, I do have some artists that I would love to work with, though they're mainly in the metal/rock genre. For instance, I'd love to work with Jesse Cash (clean vocalist and guitarist of ERRA and his side project Ghost Atlas), Matt Heafy (vocalist/guitarist of Trivium), and LiSA (badass Japanese singer/songwriter who has one hell of a voice). Also, since we're dreaming here, I'd like to get on a Big K.R.I.T beat, a Doobie beat, and a WLPWR beat one day.

OK-Tho! (Jab): Now that Ardor is out, what's next for the Cad? Maybe a music video, a tour (during and post-covid), new project soon, etc?

Cadi: So, now that Ardor's out, it's promotion time, something I loathe with a passion. I do have several visuals planned for a handful of tracks off of Ardor that I'll be working on throughout the year. I'd also like to get the skits for Ardor done and release the actual, full album at some point (there's an intro skit and a skit after every song on the album, so there's a significant increase in the amount of skits than the ones in AA).

My next album, which I was working on simultaneously with Ardor, already has a significant amount of songs written and beats procurred, so I'll be working on that in my leisure. I'm also thinking about releasing a few singles while I work here and there on the next album (which will be the third and final installment in what I'm calling the 'Skydweller Saga' and will have a story taking place in the same universe as Ardor and AA).

On top of all of that, one of my boys and I have collaborated and written/finished a handful of original stories, with several others in the works, that we would like to make some motions on and bring to life, and I can't wait to release these! Touring is at the back of my mind right now. I really want to continue building a substantial and profound discography, as well as a cult following, before I even entertain touring (might sound counterintuitive but it makes sense to me lol).

OK-Tho! (Jab) Well my man thank you once again for doing this, I can't wait to see what you do next! Anything you want to say and anybody you want to shoutout before we close?

Cadi: First, a big thanks to my family. They've always been supportive of my music and artistic endeavors. So to my mom and brother, I can't thank y'all enough (and thanks for puttin' up with me all these years). Also, thanks to my closest friends, who are always there to lend a hand and help out with whatever's goin' on in my life.

Second, I want to thank the producers I've worked with on AA and Ardor; DJ Abomination, Haardtek, M- Piece, Falco, AndrezoWorks, and Glory Muzic. Thank y'all for bein' so cool, supportive, and for always bein' down to work with me. (Readers, give these guys a listen, they're music is dope).

Third, thanks to everyone who listens and gives Ardor/my music a chance. Ardor's a really important album to me and it's the first album I've released that I genuinely love. Getting back in the studio and recording Ardor helped pull me out of the dark abyss that was my life a few years ago. Ardor is rebirth. I can't express how much I love Ardor, so if you've listened to it, thank you, and I hope you love it as well.

Fourth, thanks to you JAB, for always having a genuine interest in my music, as well as being so supportive of my music. You're well-versed in music. You know your shit. So all the feedback I've received from you is greatly appreciated. 

Fifth, last but not least, is reserved for the Divine/Divinity that I believe in. I may not always act like it, but I am forever grateful to and for you.

Ardor is out on all major online retailers. The hell you waitin' for?!