Posts tagged ‘LA’

Loving the bomb: Dr Strangeloop interview

Dr Strangeloop is Californian and was born into a family of film-makers. He’s long stopped worrying and loves the bomb = music.

His tracks sometimes sound like a bunch of androids hijacking mother earth, humming the theme from Blade Runner on a never-ending trip into galaxies far beyond… you’ll see, he’s a very original kind of fella and also does visuals for Flying Lotus, who says Strangeloop has had a big influence on his music. In one interview with an L.A. newspaper he said his art was “some trans-cultural beast from the future that can’t be controlled”. Now, that’s what I’m talkin about…


How did you start getting into music?

I’ve been tapping out little intricate rhythms on anything that’s around as long as I can remember, its kind of an OCD quality I have. I always feel rhythms in me, and over the years they have come to inform everything I do. I took classical piano lessons for 8 years before abandoning them in favor of electronic experimentation.

When I was 14 I began working on Protools and helped my high school found its electronic music department. There was never a question in me of whether I wanted to make music or media, it all came naturally and intuitively…it was in a way the most obvious thing to do with my time.

If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?

I think about the world as basically musical in nature, so it is very hard to divorce music from it. I think if there were no music in the world, there would be no world 😀

Who would you like to collaborate with?

Hmm… There is definitely a lot of people I would love to collaborate with, but off the tope of my head I would love to collaborate with CLARK ; I’m just finishing up this LORN promo video for Brainfeeder, and it is a trip to see his credit on there. He mastered the album, and it sounds incredible. He really inspired me in a way that few musicians have … his sound is a future-aesthetic I can roll around with, an empowering companion, strangely emotional, and psychically catalytic.

What was one of your most memorable gigs?

Oh I couldn’t say, but this last Flying Lotus gig [Cosmogramma release party] was pretty phenomenal. It was the first time where Steve and I were really collaborating on the visuals live. We had visuals feeds from both our computers running through a video-mixer and I was utilizing both to weave it all together. I have performed with Steve so much, and he has less of a need

How important is technology to you and your music?

I think of technology in a Marshall McCluhan kind of way; all our technologies are extensions of the Self. “The book is an extension of the eye, the clothing is an extension of the skin, electric circuitry is an extension of the central nervous system.” I am my technology, and it has as much a voice in the creative process as I do. However, I think it is important to remember that the most advanced technology we know of is our own nervous systems … that’s a really good starting point.

A quotation you like?

“[We are] catalysts to say what has never been said, to see what has never been seen. To draw, paint, sing, sculpt, dance and act what has never before been done. To push the envelope of creativity and language. And what’s really important is, I call it, the felt presence of direct experience. Which is a fancy term which just simply means to have to stop consuming our culture. We have to create culture. Don’t watch TV, don’t read magazines, don’t even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time, where you are now, is the most immediate sector of your universe.

“And if you’re worrying about Michael Jackson of Bill Clinton or somebody else, you are disempowered. You are giving it all away to icons. Icons which are maintained by electronic media, so that you dress like X and have lips like Y.This is shit-brained kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion. And what is real is you and your friends, your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, and your fears. And we are told no. We are unimportant, we’re peripheral, get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that, and then you’re a player. You don’t even want to play in the game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.”
~ Terence McKenna


May 25, 2010 at 10:05 Leave a comment

On-tour diary: MC Trek Life rhymes within reason

This is a tour diary entry, I suppose: it’s an interview I did with Trek Life who repped L.A. on this year’s Diamond District European tour. It was one of the last gigs of the tour and we had a chat before a wicked performance in Berlin, still pretty cold outside at the time (Feb.)

I decided to blog the whole thing as Trek Life said and meant it: basically, alongside some impressions of the tour with Oddisee, XO, yU and DJ Quartermaine, the main focus is on what it takes to be an MC.

As you can tell when reading this, Trek Life is very outspoken and passionate about this – I’m sure that comes across (podcast to follow soon).


“What up y’all, this is Trek Life, LA. Innsbruck is the funniest thing that’s happened on this tour. Period, point blank. All due respect to getting drunk and apologizing for this not happening to me, but I don’t I’ve ever invited anybody to go to the club and eat pussy. That’s what one of the promoters did – sometimes that’s what  happens!

“This will be the fourth year that I’ve been to Europe, but I guess the first year that people knew I was out here. From the first moment everybody clicked up it was just like a crew and we ran the streets in every place we went to. You develop a family relationship and you’re like ‘Now I kind of know this person because I’ve travelled with him and hang out with him every day. I’ve lived with him.’

“We all get along and that’s the thing: I’ve been on tours where people didn’t get along but it happened with ease with us.

“What does a lyricist do on tour? I’ve definitely written out here kind of project-specific. My writing experience has changed over the last year, I’ve been writing a lot more personal. There’s a dark side to this tour that’s going on back home so I’ve been trying to curb it and not necessarily write about it so much, so I think the larger portion of this experience for me has been, being able to freestyle again on stage.

“What does it take to be a good MC? Do it with your fucking talent. It’s not as though all the bells and whistles aren’t part of it. You definitely need to have positive press, good press photos. You definitely need to be able to speak well in interviews and able to take good pictures and wear really, really nice tennis shoes and shit. But the most important thing: learn how to fucking rap, you’re not going to get your licence if you can’t drive. But if you do get your licence you’re gonna kill somebody.

“You’re going to have to learn to be the best rapper you can be. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but I’m the teacher that will give you an ‘F’. You need to be able to do your craft. There are a lot of sucka DJs out there, there are a lot of producers that don’t even know how to IQ their own snares, their own kicks. Kev Brown had to tell people ‘Stop taking my drums’.

“You need to know your craft. It’s cool that you take pictures and I like the photography and shit you have on your websites, shit is cute. But don’t call up promoters and converse with them as if you’re Jay-Z. You’re nobody at this point.

“You need to learn the terminology from top to bottom and be good at what you do before you jump out there and get turned around by this industry and then try to blame everybody else. ‘Oh, it must be the tide that’s changing’, ‘It must be the fact that people don’t listen to music anymore’. Fuck that, it’s the fact that you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing. You need to get out there and learn your craft first. Period. Disclaimer: my peers don’t necessarily have to take the brunt of this message, I’m just saying it straight up.

“A lot of times when people talk directly, they get pegged as upset or angry or whatever. I’m definitely not mad, I want to make sure that people understand that. I’m talking generally, the reason why I’m so aggressive about this point is because I don’t care if everyone is a millionaire off of this shit. To me, that would be the greatest thing to ever happen: if everyone who puts up a twitter page could be successful, that would be the best thing in the world to me.

“If we could all share this shit, that would be perfectly fine. It’s just that you can’t swindle your way into this. You’re completely setting yourself up for failure, if you’re trying to sucker your way into things.

“The straight-away way is the way that will feed your children for generations off of your music. Learn to play the guitar like Jonny Guitar Watson learned to play the guitar, learn to rap like Rakim, Big Daddy Kane or Ice Cube did it. Try to be the best at your actual craft, it doesn’t make any sense to try and wear the nicest clothes if you can’t rap. It’s not that I’m hating on anybody. If you find a side door, then more power to you. I would just like to see you all to be better and I would like you all to want me to be better and check me as well. Period.”

May 10, 2010 at 23:16 1 comment

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