About a year ago, the three founding members of the group Llamabeats — George Spits, The What's Good and MF Jose — decided to set off on a cross-country road trip from Miami to Los Angeles, bringing with them an eclectic blend of hip-hop, reggae and electronic music.
“There’s this place called Hollywood,” jokes Spits, the group’s lead vocalist and frontman. “The move sort of just happened. Toward the end, we were having a lot of fights about why we weren’t out here. I remember we were up in Orlando playing a show, and we ended up getting in a huge argument. We were all like, ‘What the fuck are we doing here?’ It didn’t make any sense.”
Moving to California, however, made perfect sense. Particularly for Spits.
“I was born out here. I’ve been wanting to move back since I was a kid,” he explains. “Even when I would just come to visit, I knew that this is where I wanted to live. If you're a musician, L.A. is the whole package. It’s the dream.”
Relocating across the country is never an easy decision, but for Spits and the other Llamas, it was basically their only option. For a laid-back, melodic ensemble like the Llamabeats crew, Miami’s EDM-driven club scene is not necessarily the best fit.
“I love Miami, but it doesn’t have a very solid scene,” says Spits. “There’s not that many cool venues, or venues with decent sound. I always knew there were places with more. L.A., NYC, Detroit, Nashville. There’s a bigger world out there. But the core of our fan base will always be in Miami. They’re there forever, and I’m grateful for that.”
The latest Llamabeats release is a solo effort from Spits, featuring collaborations with Slightly Stoopid, Charles Hamilton, Wrekonize and Kendall Morgan. Titled The Dub Sack, this reggae-inspired hip-hop mixtape is representative of the move from Miami to Los Angeles, and the shift in mindset that went along with it.
“I got here in April 2015 and straight up hit the ground running,” Spits says. “Back in Miami and the first few months I was in L.A., I was freelancing for Pro Tools tech support. But then they let go of a bunch of us and I freaked out. I didn’t know what the fuck I was going to do. I recorded pretty much every song on The Dub Sack in the first 30 days after I lost my job. The What’s Good was still living in Miami, but he came out to L.A. to look for an apartment and the one weekend he was in town we worked on a bunch of songs.
“This project was very personal,” Spits notes. “I really want to be able to look back on the music and know that I was experiencing my life the way I should be. I wanted these songs to be true to the core of who I am, so that when I look back on the lyrics, I know I’m still on track.”
Ultimately, Spits wants to use his music to bring people together. “A lot of artists like to say that, ‘I do this for me,’ and yeah, that’s true, but there’s also a flip side to that. Of course I’m making music that I like, but I would also love for people to love it. That’s why we do this, at the end of the day.”
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Besides working on his own material and planning the next Llamabeats project, Spits also frequently collaborates with other artists. Slightly Stoopid’s last album, Meanwhile … Back at the Lab, featured several Llamabeats productions, including the instrumental intro, “Dabbington.”
“Right now we’re finishing building a studio. Hopefully we’ll start working on the next official Llamabeats project soon, but for now, I’m really enjoying writing with other musicians," Spits says. "I want to make albums for artists, which is something I’ve been doing since I got here. The most exciting thing is we’re all here together. That was definitely a step we needed to take and I’m glad we finally did it.”