I'm just trying to get everything sorted out for the release.
Are you happy with how The Audience's Listening came out?
Yeah. I had
been working on it for awhile. It came out really good. Everything could
always be better, but it's probably better than I had imagined. I can't
complain about it.
always be worse.
definitely always be worse. (laughs) That's for damn-sure.
the single with Mr. Lif and Edan. What'd you want to do with "The
music unlike anything I've ever done. I just wanted to have the MC's rip.
They're two of my favorites and I didn't even pair them together. I called
up Lif and he got Edan on it. It's a good thing. I like them going back
and forth, just revisiting that whole type of structure without a chorus.
I tried to build a chorus and I couldn't really do it. It just seemed
to work more naturally having one go after the other. It came out pretty
a lot of crazy sounds on that.
some really toked-out '80's thing. I really like that. It's supposed to
me man versus machine so in the studio we come in and bust the drum machine
and the tape machine and the machines fight back. There's kind of a war
always had some rare sounds in everything you've done.
Yeah. I definitely
try to create my own sound that's different from anywhere else. It's important
for me to be original. I always try to put it with something that doesn't
totally alienate everyone. There's always sides panning and some scratches
off-beat, but it's not too off-beat. It's wild and chaotic.
DJ Cut Chemist go about putting together an album?
reflective of the music I buy. I'll put together compositions of samples
and maybe have the samples played or keep the samples in there and slowly
arrange and sculpt away at them. Some songs finish up quickly but most
of them take some time.
of producers crank out the beats. How important is it for you to take
is about stacking sounds on top of each other and I can't do one sound
the injustice of having another sound on top of it that doesn't go together.
It's almost like match-making. It takes time. There are lots of boring
take us through the making of a Cut Chemist beat?
start with music, not drums, because I think if I find drums, it's hard
to find music that fits the drum pattern. I usually take the music piece
first and then find a drum break that fits the kicks and the bass. Then
I find the melody and randomly play things over it and start stacking
sounds. I try to find a chord change for the chorus and another chord
change for the bridge. I'll figure out if I want to use a vocalist or
put in my own vocals by using a dialogue. That's pretty much it. Then
I spend months mixing and mastering it.
your outside influences for your music?
movies. It's mostly movies. I like to think visually when I make music.
There's kind of a whole movie going on in my mind when I'm making music.
That whole sensory perception is important.
you want this album to flow?
I spent a
lot of time sequencing it. Well, actually I didn't spend a lot of time
sequencing it, I spent a lot of time thinking about the sequencing after
I had done it. I sequenced them very naturally and then I played around
with it. I think there's a flow to it and a narrative and a story that's
kind of a loose story. It's like a sonic story, a journey from one room
into another. That was really important to me and I hope people can listen
to the album from the beginning to the end and you can go back to it and
it makes sense. It starts out and comes back to the beginning again, which
is like any good story.
of people were caught off-guard when you left Jurassic 5. What motivated
you to do that?
finishing this album. I couldn't have done that if I didn't loosen up
my schedule. That was my main reason.
done with J5?
I would definitely
like to start working again. The MC's were the dopest I've ever worked
with. There were a lot of times when the magic was there. My beats and
those MC's, you will never find a better match than that. I would definitely
like to go and work with them again at some point. That's the best there
still on good terms with them?
working on the new J5 album Feedback?
No. I think
we're both musically going in different directions. We were both doing
something different and it wouldn't have gelled on this album. Me and
Numark did some stuff.
Numark have great chemistry on stage.
The chemistry I said I had with the MC's definitely extends to Numark
as well, on-stage and off-stage. We've known each other since '92 and
we can basically read each other's minds. From making beats to performing,
we really didn't need to say anything because we knew where the other
person would be.
always brought out the dope toys during your shows. What's your favorite?
on some garden shit right now, I would have to say the Berimbou. That's
a cool instrument. The coolest one I ever saw Numark pull out was the
Koto when he does the "Tried by 12" joint. Anything super-ethnic.
The Audience's Listening is out, are you looking to do some outside production?
If it's something
I can get with. I have my eye on a few people I would like to work with.
I definitely want to spread my wings and do some stuff with other people.
There has to be a friendship between the artist and the music. It can't
just be like, "Let's do it and get it out."
it you're not the type to send out a bunch of beat-CD's.
happen, but probably not this year. It would be cool. If I could make
ten beats in a day, that'd be great, if they're all good. I could make
ten beats in a day, for sure, but none of them would be good. Maybe one
or two, but if I could make ten good beats in a day, I'd send them shits
off and make some money. That'd be great.
do anything on Chali 2na's solo album?
I'm going to keep sending him beats and hopefully something will stick.
Me and him are real particular. If we do something, it has to be the best
shit ever. We're still trying.
DJ Shadow have done some great things in the past. How is it working with
I'm really particular and really focused on details, and so is he, so
when we get together, it's painful. (laughs) We really, really, really
microscopically look at what we do and make sure it's really tight. I
love it, but it is really hard work. It's like going to boot camp for
beats. We do our homework and we sit there and study, study, study. It's
dope. It definitely pays off.
guys going to do some more work in the future?
talking about it. He has his album coming out later in the year. We're
trying to have some fun again so we'll see what happens.
racked up the miles on the road. How important is the live show to you?
I grew up doing shows and I try to make it captivating and not just some
bullshit. I try to make it something you can dance to because I am a DJ.
There's a fine line between DJ'ing being a spectator sport and the moment
when I'm not even there, when you turn away from me and you don't even
feel my presence. When I do the beat-juggling, I want you to pay attention
to it. There's an organic aspect that you can groove to, even if there
is no show going on. It really encompasses the audio and visual perception.
It's different when it's just me and no MC's. When it's like that, I try
to get more conceptual and make it more interactive for the audience.
I try to make it more captivating which is difficult to do. It's easier
when there's Numark or DJ Shadow. I try not to have a big visual screen
behind me because it takes people's attention away from what I want people
to focus on, which is me. I try to make it as entertaining as possible.
So far it's been ok.
DJ art dying out?
No. I think
people aren't as excited about the DJ as an artist as they were a few
years ago with Q-Bert and all that. In some sense I think it's hella cool
that people have opened their mind up to the DJ. I think people are still
open to it, but you have to find a way to balance bringing great music
with a great set. If you do that, people will come.
people losing interest in turntablists?
really die out, but it became less in the public eye. Breakdancing never
died in the late '80's, it just wasn't covered as much by the media. It's
still there and there's still a following for it. It's the same with the
DJ's. All the same DJ's are still out there doing it and they're still
amazing and they're still doing some of the craziest things you could
ever see. They're just not selling out arenas. They're still out there.
I don't like to say it died out, it's just hibernating.
time do you spend practicing?
I spend quite a bit of time on selecting records and making music. I don't
spend a lot of time trying to perfect a scratch. It's not that often that
I practice. I probably spend three to four hours a week practicing where
I used to spend four hours a day practicing. It's hard to do everything,
from making beats, buying records
you have to balance it out. This
year I'm buying records where last year I was making music. I'll have
to start practicing soon because I'm going on the road.
do you have for young turntablists out there?
to new things and don't be a follower. Be a trendsetter and don't be afraid
to do something new and everything will be cool.
you want to say to everybody?
for something's that critical of our times and listen to the subliminal
messages. Don't be afraid of them. There may be something there that you
don't see. Other than that, have a good time. And thanks for being patient
and paying attention to all the subtleties.