Rapper Mod Sun opened up in an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife.com to welcome in his new phase of music with the release of his single “Karma” and the subsequent music video directed by his best friend Machine Gun Kelly. In the interview, Mod, whose real name is Derek Smith, discussed his long career, which began as a drummer for punk rock bands, and his personal style. But, most notably, the 33-year old detailed his unbreakable bond with Machine Gun Kelly and his path to sobriety.
“The drugs were gonna kill me and the drugs were holding back my shine and it was dimming my light… You can see it my face, you know, if you look at a picture of me two years ago to now. It’s just like, he’s changed,” Mod Sun told HL as he wiped away tears. “Going on two years of not doing drugs or drinking, I have filled my time so heavily with falling in love with my art. I think that karma, speaking of karma, works wonders when you really start living in the present moment as much as possible.”
He added that “moving with the sun” has really helped him stay sober. “Before, I was moving with the moon. The moon would start to come out and there comes Mod Sun… and maybe that brought out a little different side of me, I’m a howl at the moon motherf***er,” Mod said. “I’m pretty crazy, I don’t need drugs or alcohol to be crazy, so I started moving with the sun. I wake up and I run four miles every day now, I never did that before. I made this whole album when the sun was out. I was making music at 9am.”
Speaking of his upcoming album, Mod Sun’s first single off his new project, “Karma,” has introduced a “new era,” he told HL. “This is Mod Sun energy encapsulated in a song. I’m a really energetic performer… and everyone has always been like, ‘Man, if you could capture that energy that you put off on stage, if you could capture that onto a song, that would be the Mod Sun that I truly want,” he explained. “The biggest focal point of my songs in the last year and a half or so have been to try to capture energy, and I think a lot of it has to do with really, really bringing my absolute authentic self to my music.”
His best friend of over ten years, Machine Gun Kelly, helped him pick the single and took full reigns over the music video creative direction. “I really wanted to figure out how to show the truest me, the one that Kells enjoys every day, the one that he’s like, ‘Bro, I see you and you are walking, living breathing art, and I need the world to see you through my eyes,’ so I was like, ‘Say less, you’re gonna shoot the video,” Mod said. “He has his own way of doing things, and that’s the biggest takeaway from what you will be seeing because it’s a video like I’ve never done.”
“The whole idea of it is basically like, ‘Mod, if we had to strip you of your cool clothes, your cool hair, your tattoos, your flashiness — if we had to strip you of all that. How can we make the world love that person?'” Mod sun explained. “What we’re trying to do is chip away the pieces of Mod Sun that aren’t truly me and get down to the source and really present that to the world with this new era.”
Watch the new video for “Karma” above!