–Interview by Javier Suárez @javiercantdraw & photography provided by Nate Park @natepark_

There’s been many talented music artists who have been gaining popularity online through platforms like Soundcloud or Bandcamp. This underground culture is quickly attracting young music artists who need an outlet to talk about everyday struggles and experiences. Los Angeles’ Nate Park has used this online opportunity to express himself through his music.

What's your story? What inspired you into music and photography?

NP : My name is Nate Park. I’m born and raised in Los Angeles, I'm 21 years old. I'm a father of a 2 year old boy, I was in the Marines for almost 2 years but my enlistment was cut short due to my "mental illness" called Bipolar [disorder] aka Manic Depression.

What inspired me to do music and photography? Nothing really inspired me other than seeing others do it and I told myself that I want to do the same thing. Something about [photography and music] caught my attention the most. I feel at home when I do those two things. Of course seeing people just like me achieve such successful heights, there was a point in my life where I said "why can't I achieve those same heights?"

As a rapper, where do you see yourself fit in with the rest of the rap game? Whether it be mainstream or underground rappers.

NP : Most of my music is filled with catchy melodies and cadences so I do see myself as more of a mainstream artist. I also wouldn't even call myself a rapper because I feel like the title “rapper” keeps you in a box. I would like to be addressed as a music artist/hip hop artist. I want to be able to touch as many people as possible on my own. I would like the mainstream appeal at an independent level. Basically not the life and responsibilities that come with being a major artist but can still compete with those at the top.

Manic Depression was a well executed album and it seemed very well thought out. As a music artist, what were you trying to convey to your audience with this album?

NP : Thank you, I'm glad you got that vibe from the album because it was very well thought out and it's an idea that has been in my head for about a year and some change. With this album, I wanted to hopefully show people or take people on a ride of what it’s like being ME with bipolar [disorder]. First, I'm saying I want this, but then I don't want it anymore. Or I feel this way but at a blink of an eye I don't feel that way anymore. The tone in my voice expresses the frustration I have when I can't do things other people can, like being in a good mood most of the time. A lot of my decisions have been made in my life taking into account that I may not want to do something in the future, because this "illness" will make me feel differently and I can't control it. It's a lot of back and forth in my head.

I know you're also involved in some very dope photography. Is there any overlap between your music and your photography? Do you consider one more important than the other?

NP : I couldn't choose just one. Music gives me a different feeling of accomplishment than photography. I love them both but people are far more interested in my photography than my music. People want what you can do to make them look good not, "hey, check out my music." cause what do they get from it? Music is like the girl that my mother doesn't want me to be with because she doesn't get a good feeling about her but I know where her heart and mind is at and photography is the "why don't you talk to the nice girl across the street?" Does that make sense?

Congrats on your tour with MSCNDC. How has this group affected you and your music? What's next for you after this tour and Manic Depression? 

NP : Thank you! These group of musicians affect my music a lot because I know they come from the same place I do and you always need someone who understands you on some level. A lot of them, including me, won't allow for someone in the group to put out something that is not on point–and if and something is off, someone will say it when the others won’t. So my music has gotten far better because I can trust if something checks out with them, it will be good with the public.

As for what’s next for Manic Depression and I, we'll see.

listen to his latest album, Manic Depression and follow him on soundcloud.