9 March, 2010@9:00 am
HHS: In terms of your musical growth, as a producer over the last couple years, it’s been pretty incredible. You’re super versatile. I’m curious to hear about the musical creation for “Land Of Make Believe”.
Double-O: A lot of the initial ideas were actually musical ideas that I was gonna use for my album. Some of the tracks like “Running” and the intro…those are some of the records that I knew could kinda balance, that could kinda go in between a Kidz In The Hall record and/or my type of solo project. So when we really focused in on the Kidz In The Hall thing, those are some records that Naledge started messin’ with first. Really, it’s one of those things where we start off very schizophrenic, very eclectic and we just make records and Naledge gets on whatever he likes until a few of them start to tell a story…until a few of them start to gravitate towards each other. Once that happens, then it’s building out from there.
HHS: It seems like there’s a heavy New Order, early Cure kind of vibe on some of the tracks. Is that inspiration that you took in the creation of the record?
Double-O: I mean, for me, a lot of my childhood up until I said, okay hip hop is what I like to do, is in world music. It’s Phil Collins, it’s Sade, it’s Boy George and Wham and very pop stuff. My dad is from Balese and they don’t have a filter for things that people in America would be like, aww we shouldn’t listen to that, that’s weird. So, you know, there’s a lot of world music, there’s a lot of Caribbean music that I basically grew up on. For a while, when I was in high school, the only thing I would listen to would be hip hop…but secretly would listen to fuckin’ Green Day and Nirvana and like it and like the records and the melodic progressions and structure of them. But then you couldn’t be eclectic to the public, you had to be like, I like THIS and I only like Nas. So when I got to college, I was able to re-expand my musical pallet with the Bjork’s and the Roni Size’s and the Tricky’s and a lot of what was coming out of the UK at the time. So, really, all of that in one way or another bled into music and what I do, when it’s not sample heavy.
HHS: You mentioned people like Roni Size and Tricky. Are you really going to push it as much as you can on your solo album, in terms of the musical direction?
Double-O: I gotta figure it out. It’s one thing to be part of a tandem group. I definitely consider myself more of an artist than some producers do because I have a heavy influence when it comes to the making of a song. There are records like “Do It All Again” and “Flickin” and I’m singing on the hook. On “Do It All Again” and some of the other records, I really helped build out these things from just verses and loose ideas and hooks to real songs. So I’ve kinda become an artist in that space. So for me, I just wanna do it in a way that’s genuine to me but not wack either! (laughs)
HHS: Had you always thought about doing a solo album?
Double-O: Well, after we were having some success with “The In Crowd” I was like, Naledge, I’m gonna do this whole album and I was taking it from a very Daft Punk standpoint, more than, let’s say a T-Pain standpoint. I loved how they used all these different vocal contraptions, whether it by the talk box, the vocoder, the auto-tune…Daft Punk was using all these things back in 2000 to create this sound that, to me, hasn’t been rivaled since. So I definitely wanted to explore that realm but then fuckin’ 808′s & Heartbreak comes out…(laughs)…and I’m like welllll, god dammit! So for me, it’s just going to be re-approaching some of these early records with a different mindset. There’s lots of times where stuff has just sat around until it feels right to put it out. There was a record called Snob Hop on our last album that had Camp Lo on it, but the song itself was done back in January of 2006…but no one heard it until it came out in 2008. These ideas sometimes sit around until it’s the right time for it to come out…
HHS: And it still sounds fresh. That’s what made “The In Crowd” so great. There’s different sounds but it all comes together as a full album that you can listen to from start to finish.
Double-O: Definitely. That’s what we try to do, especially me when it comes to arranging. These things have to feel like albums and not like mixtapes. They still have to have some sort of cohesiveness.
HHS: Are there things as a producer that maybe you haven’t done yet, that you’d like to do?
Double-O: I’d like to make an album that is seamless all the way through. It’s a hard task to do, especially when it comes to separating songs and have them be singles on their own and things like that. But I feel ultimately, eventually, I’d like to do it…have something that mixes in and out, like you said, from song to song tempo-wise but still has very individual songs.
HHS: I think a good example of that is the new Freeway and Jake One album. It flows from track to track but works well together as a full length album.
Double-O: I need to check that, it’s been getting good reviews. For me, I like to wait and sit, cause I know I’ll probably sit with the record for a minute anyway. I think we’ve lost that as a culture in hip hop, like really sitting with albums. There’s an idea that when you bought a cd and you read all the album credits and you couldn’t wait to put it in your car or put it in your discman. Like, that represented who you were. If someone were to steal your backpack on the ground at school, you had five cd’s in there, that was who you were as a person. Now, quietly, that all gets tucked away and hidden in the iPod.
HHS: That is very true. Who were some people you looked up to when you were first starting out?
Double-O: Timbaland was the biggest for me. He was really an inspiration for me to start making music.
HHS: In terms of his sound?
Double-O: Everything about it was amazing to me. People look back at it now and I don’t know if they just realized it, what happened at that time…like when “Pony” came out and Aaliyah had a song right after that and it was just like, yo, whatever THIS is, I don’t know what this is – it’s crazy! He really just inspired me to really just wanna be a part of the music in that sense. Timbaland just made me be like, I gotta make RECORDS.
HHS: Even if you go back and listen to his early solo stuff and Timbaland & Magoo…
Double-O: Oh, definitely.
HHS: The beats are ridiculous.
Double-O: He changed, even the way people think about music in that space. Like bringing in all these different cultures. But then also, what happened for me, was like, when all the “Oh he’s doing nothing but trip hop” or “He’s just slowing down drum n bass”…when those kinds of arguments popped up, I was also able to go back and that was where even the appreciation for that stuff came from. Then it was like, okay, there is this whole other world of stuff going on…and it’s very dope and different.
HHS: The new album “Land Of Make Believe” (available everywhere March 9th) is sample free. Was that a challenge for you?
Double-O: I never started producing using samples. I started with just a keyboard and a drum machine. So the Mannie Fresh’s of the world and the Swizz Beats’ of the world kind of inspired me. Then slowly but surely I made my way back to the classic kind of east coast sound. When I started sampling, obviously that ended up inspiring me as well. But then you realize the people you’re sampling inspire you. As you listen and start to dig, you start to appreciate the older music as well. It’s a constantly evolving and revolving door of inspiration, as long as you kinda dig deeper and learn about the music.
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