There are a lot
of different elements on the new record, would you say
that you’ve changed direction?
A little bit. I don’t ever sit down and
try to do the same thing, ever. I never try recreating
a certain style, when I did the Aceyalone record [Love
& Hate] it was something new. Every time I
sit down at the sampler I try and do something new.
I feel like people perceive [Since We Last Spoke]
differently because it’s a solo record.
How do you approach your work?
I start with a sample of some sort and then just kinda
noodle with it and see if I can come up with a riff
or a loop – with the drums and stuff. Then if
I can get that going and can build on it I just see
how far it goes basically.
Do you actively search for particular sampling
material for each project?
I don’t necessarily shoot for any specific
kind of thing, when I’m out digging I look for
all kinds of shit.
Are you adding real / live instrumentation
and vocals now?
A little bit, I played some things on this record [but]
it’s mostly samples. There would be times when
maybe I found something and I liked the vibe of it but
maybe it was too obvious and I was worried about legalities.
Sometimes I’d find a record and say this little
part of it is cool but the band are playing and the
drums and everything else are in there. [If] I just
wanted the keyboard part – I’d just learn
the keyboard part – play that, sample that and
dump it into the machine and have it as a sample. I
sing on some of it, actually my girlfriend’s on
there, she’s singing as well.
So did you play instruments before?
Actually I went to music school where I had
to study composition, so I’ve got a little bit
of experience playing instruments. I’m not any
kind of wiz, but I’m decent, I can get by. [Formal
training] is good when I need to get things in key and
in time and stuff, knowing the building blocks certainly
A lot of your stuff sounds pretty live with
a vintage, authentic sound, do you make a conscious
effort to achieve that?
Oh yeah, definitely. There was a point in time
when it became sort of an agenda to try to do more of
a band kind of organic feel, I think that it’s
just in my nature now to want to shoot for that kind
of thing. My favourite hip-hop records are from this
era between ’88 and ’93 when a lot of things
were just loops. [Back then] people were just looping
soul music – anywhere from [Big Daddy Kane’s]
Long Live The Kane to De La Soul Is Dead
- they would just loop some shit and rap over it and
you can’t get much more organic than that.
So does sampling itself have a particular quality
that attracts you?
I don’t know. It naturally it has it’s own
predisposition – by nature things are going to
have a loop-y feel. I find myself constantly fighting
against what I think is sort of the nature of sample-based
music – which is to be repetitive basically –I’m
usually doing what I can to break out of that.
Is it difficult to achieve emotional resonance
with sample-based music?
Let’s say I find a loop or something
that I want to use – you attach yourself to a
particular aspect or emotion that you find in it –
part of it is looking for like-minded sounds and part
of it is just laying things out in a way that kind of
helps accomplish what you want. It’s what you
can hear in a particular sound. I don’t ever try
and make things that have a wacky hodgepodge feel, I
don’t try and take things out of context. If I’m
working on something that’s got an ‘83 Cars-y
rock vibe then that’s what I’m going to
shoot for, for the whole song. I want the whole song
to fit with that, I don’t want this ’83
Cars-y rock thing with ’68 soul vocals.
You’re playing a show at the Sonar Club
event, do you have any interest in or feel any affinity
with electronica or that scene?
Oh man, you got to tell me what the Sonar scene is,
honestly, I’m not too familiar with it. I don’t
know a whole lot about it; I have a hard time keeping
up with what’s going on in rap.
Do you feel that performance is an important
element of hip-hop?
It’s fun – I don’t know how important
I would say it is. It’s a different thing, it’s
a chance to get out there and take a stab and do something
interesting in a live context. It’s tough though,
presenting electronic music – across the board,
in a live manner is never easy. But, it’s a fun
challenge, I just got off tour in the States doing release
parties and I had a blast, I felt like it went really
And do you feel about hip-hop as a whole in
I think it’s good. I feel the same way as I have
for a long time now, there are good things in the scene
and there are bad things and you’ve got to pick
and choose. The older I get, the more I realise that
there’s so much shit out there and I really don’t
care about what the 'status quo of hip hop' is [or]
get into big philosophical and cultural arguments, it’s
so stupid to me you know what I mean? I just feel like
life is short.
It doesn’t help when people set things
against each other…
You know I love the concept of the Internet,
I think it’s a really, really powerful thing –
but in my experience, It just sucks (laughs) because
of this, because people don’t know how to have
a conversation. Everything just deteriorates into 'What
do you think about blah blah blah?' 'Yeah, well Def
Jux rules and all this other commercial shit sucks ass
and you’re a faggot if you don’t think so!'–
you know, it’s just stupid. Life is short, if
you don’t like music, go play video games or read
a book. Just because music sucks, why would you want
to sit round and argue about it? It’s only music.
So who are your contemporaries, peers, inspirations?
I love MF Doom’s production – I
mean he’s a great MC, but as a producer…I’m
a really big fan. Timbaland is probably the first guy
that comes to mind, over the last three or four years
he’s really done some really relevant shit…Ski,
Rich Harrison, you know Just Blaze and Kanye [West]
come up with stuff that I like. El-P, guys around me…there’s
a ton of people…
Thank you to Sereana and Ramble.