Making a bold, relevant statement is imperative when a band wants to stand out from the vast monotony of musical groups. Jacksonville-based quartet Askmeificare purveys a unique blend of metal, hardcore and hip hop filled with socially aware declarations worth hearing—and heeding. We asked, and the band answered all manner of questions. The first, obvs: What’s the greatest thing about Askmeificare?
“I think the greatest thing about us is that we listen to all kinds of music, and we pull that all into one sound,” guitarist Big C Big J said.
It is indeed a rich sound, with a rich history. As the leader and voice of the band, Chief Raw has managed to keep the band going through personal challenges and lineup changes.
“The glue that holds Askmeificare together is me,” Raw said. The veteran performer was already a successful rapper and nightlife entrepreneur when he formed the project. In fact, he might have been too successful. The high life left Raw feeling hollow. The good news: That void pushed him to rediscover his love for music. He’s been fusing genres with different Askmeificare lineups since 2012. (He also recently opened Arlington’s Trap House Chicken, featured in these pages April 17.)
The latest iteration of the band includes Big C Big J, a native Texan who got his start with the group at the tender age of 18. Indeed, Raw et al. are the Big One’s very first bandmates. (He’d already spent plenty of time shredding on guitar since toddlerhood, encouraged by his father.) Drummer Sergio is skilled in the technical side of things, and also aids in the writing process. Bassist Corey Apathy is a hardcore kid at heart. When it comes to music, he’s anything but apathetic. At work, he used his 10-minute smoke breaks to literally mosh. “I don’t smoke,” Apathy deadpanned, “and I worked right next to a venue. So I would be like, ‘I’m taking my break. I have to go see a show!’”
The discography Askmeificare has curated thus far is an audacious package. Now that this current lineup has been cemented, the music that these guys are putting out proves they are a force to be reckoned with. Their genre-bending DNA allows them to work nearly any venue in Northeast Florida—and share the stage with most any other artists.
“We did a show for [Nashville country rap artist] Haystak one time, and that was weird,” Raw recalled. Sergio added, “Even if they weren’t feeling it, I’d look at them and I would play harder.”
Askmeificare has also toured far and wide, from the East Coast to the West. And the future looks bright for this adventurous foursome. Raw and his crew perform Orange Park’s Roadhouse this weekend. (“We are really excited about our show there,” Raw said. “We love that venue, and are excited to play it.”) Askmeificare is also joining homegrown headliners like Dirty South punk trio Whole Wheat Bread and metalcore breakouts Evergreen Terrace at 1904 Music Hall’s Duval Day Festival on Sept. 4. Big C Big J promises it’ll be epic.
“If you don’t do anything else this year, you will have to come to Duval Day,” he said. “We’re sharing the stage with local legends, and you do not want to miss it.”
Wherever the band goes, Askmeificare represents the musical spectrum of Northeast Florida and the experiences shared by working folk from Jacksonville’s various neighborhoods: a true Duval mosaic.