Prior to this interview, I wasn’t familiar with Wellium or his music. It was really too bad as he’s not only a unique artist – but a creative soul. He reached out to me in early March giving me a full synopsis of his upcoming project titled BEL1EVE. It wasn’t your typical email – with very organized information on the concept behind it, when it was going to be released, and even a narrative bio about his life.
Along with the email came some mp3 attachments containing the 3 songs of the EP. It matched with his attention to detail and obvious love of music. You’ll hear it above – but we wanted to do something special with this premiere as there is a lot more to it than you think.
An interview is below to introduce you to John, and for you to learn more about what went into BEL1EVE. Even further below is some insight on a few of the songs on the project. Remember – this is just Phase 1 of 3.
Hey John, thanks for sitting down with us! How are you?
Hey Julie – Thanks for having me! I’ve been doing well and staying busy so time has been flying for me these last few months. Just trying to keep growing every day.
So, you’ve just dropped your new EP BEL1EVE. First – tell us about the title.
So, me and my two homies back in Philadelphia started our own collective called The Lucky 1’s aka L1. We were texting in our group chat one day and we came up with some words we thought represented my passion for music and their support throughout this journey that also incorporated L1. They’re a huge part of my success and we all got our own little niche within the group. Shout out to Evan & Rich. As for the project itself, BEL1EVE will be a collection of 9 songs with 3 phases that each consist of 3 songs. This is Phase I.
You sent over a few tracks before the drop. It sounded like a very personal project to me. Why did you approach it this way?
Phase I touches on a variety of topics but ultimately it is about overcoming adversity. I started some of these songs almost 2 years ago and have just been fine tuning each one along the way. Previously, I had released about 20 songs and I thought I needed to sit back and really start stocking up my catalogue of songs. So, I waited until I had enough songs done so I could choose which ones would be in BEL1EVE.
You told me you are “re-branding your sound.” What did you mean by that, and do you think you have achieved this with the project?
There were a couple of months where I was putting so much time and resources into my craft on top of my 7-5 job that I got burnt out which ended up giving me writers block for a little while. So, since I wasn’t writing that much anymore I dove into recording more melodies and harmonies on tracks. I try to always keep progressing and being more experimental every track I do. I think these first three tracks in BEL1EVE show my growth as an artist these last few years in Chicago.
Why have you decided to drop it now? Is there a specific reason?
Honestly, I didn’t pick a date until this month. I was trying to focus on the progression of the tracks and waited for it all to come together.
Talk about the producers that are on here. Did you reach out to them? How did it all come together?
The first track was produced by Monte Booker. Met him thru some mutual friends and I saw him at the studio one day so I reached out to him. EP1DMC produced the second track and I met him at the studio as well. The third track was produced by my homie TyKnoxx. Shout out to all of them for blessing me with those instrumentals.
You have an interesting story about your stage name. Talk about how that came together.
The name Wellium stemmed from my full name, Francis John Cantwell II. I stumbled upon an element called Francium on the periodic table which is very combustible with water. I thought it was ironic seeing that humans need water to survive so I started with Cantwellium. Then decided to remove the negative connotation with “cant” and have it be Wellium.
The artwork is very important to you. Who painted it, and what does it mean to you?
Yes, this is a huge part of the project! My buddy Michael Steinheiser aka Adventure Skull reached out to me one day seeing if I needed any help because he had some downtime. After he heard the songs we ended up thinking of dope concept that could be portrayed through a tryptic. He hand drew, painted and edited this piece for me which really made it come to life! You’ll definitely be seeing more of his artwork with the next phases to come.
You worked with Classick Studios on this. Was it a good experience? How long were you working on it?
I record at Classick a pretty decent amount and it is always good vibes there. They have so much talent coming in and out every day so it’s made me more musically conscious and fueled me to get better. Plus…Bryan Schwaller makes my shit sound so fire, shout out to him!
What do you hope to achieve with BEL1EVE. What type of reception would you like?
I just want all the listeners to vibe with it and be ready for new music the rest of 2017.
Any last thoughts?
Just wanted to say thanks again for having me on Flowsfordays. Find me @ www.whereswellium.com. Shout out to the Lucky 1’s.
Insight on the 3 songs:
Farewell (prod by Monte Booker) — This track is about leaving the old you and old things behind and embarking on your journey, even if it may be alone.Drinking Too Much (prod by EP1DMC) — This track is about how people can get caught up during the Journey in minuscule things that lead them down the wrong path.OMW (prod by Ty Knoxx) — This track is about conquering the next chapter/phase and not worrying about everything that’s behind you because you see what is ahead of you.