Answers for Questions Vol. 207

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What up? Welcome to another edition of “Answers for questions”.You ask it, I answer it. It can be about anything. The weirder the better. If this sounds like something you’d like to participate in, then get on it! Ask me questions! Send them to phatfriendblog@gmail.com or leave them in the comment section below. It’s all anonymous so don’t be shy.
Let’s delve into this weeks grab bag.

Recently watched the movie Chef, and one major thing came up in my mind, which is doing what you believe in and what your superiors or powers that be ask you to.

You ever been asked to dj for certain parties, but get a ton of pre-party instructions from the organizer or host to play songs that you aren’t really feeling?

How were you able to deal with the situation, did you play what’s dope to you, find the middle ground, or just completely adhered to these pre-party instructions that go against what you believe.

I’ve never really been that kinda of DJ. To be honest, I’ve never been a DJ at all. I’ve dj’d but , in most of those cases, it was just some low key “for fun” type shit at dive bars. This would generally mean me playing whatever I want (which would typically be old soul music and hip hop) and even that was actually annoying cause , once people get drunk, the requests starts. When the requests start, that’s when the job really starts to be no fun. I wrote about that very topic a while back:http://phatfriend.com/2012/02/01/no-requests/
But as far as being told to play a certain type of music at certain parties, I’ve been fortunate to not have to deal with that shit. Sure, if people are dancing and you want them to continue dancing, you’re going to have to play stuff you might not love. But it shouldn’t be a soul crushing experience. After all, you are getting paid for that job and , let’s be honest, there are many worse ways to earn a wage.
The closest I can recall is this one time I was playing some weird electronic festival in upstate NY and the promoter, who was only vaguely familiar with my music, just asked me to not play anything too “rappy”. This was an issue cause my set is full of “rappy” things as I tend to make instrumental rap music. But , it all worked out in the end (I ended up not playing at all due to poor planning on their part).

question for answer: are you into battle rap at all? i heard drake just challenged murda mook to a battle which is HILARIOUS!
Eh…I’ve seen some funny ones and the dudes are generally pretty good but the whole no beat thing is pretty corny to me. I feel like part of rapping is being on beat and the beatless battle scene has opened the doors for endless guys who probably can’t even write a proper 16 bar verse. I mean, there are dudes like Nocando who are both able to battle and make a good song but, i dunno, a lot of those dudes are limited once you drop a drum a beat or ask them to do anything outside of that realm. It’s really just semi-rhytmic mother jokes told by angry spoken word poets.
That said, some of those dudes are extremely clever and have some really great lines. As a dude who used to rap and write “battle raps” (in the early 90’s sense of the phrase), I will always appreciate that angle of it. To be creative within that spectrum is not easy, considering everything has been said by now.

The other night my buddy who is getting married had his “bachelor” party at a Feed Me concert. While he was good and has a following. Something kept coming to my mind. His set up is ridiculous. While it’s cool and all, I feel it’s over the top, on one hand is part of the “spectacle”, Speaking of spectacle I was almost hugged by this rave baby in fur boots but ill tell you that story another time. On the other hand I feel its part of his overcompensation. His set is not that great, its only a “party time” sound. It’s not much of something you listen to while at home chilling. That being said and I am sure you got insight, how do you feel about the spectacle of a show? when is it good and where is that line of over the top?

I think we live in a funny time for live music. Due to the abundance of electronic acts, there’s simply a lot of studio music that is now being “performed” live. I’m no different. It’s all stuff that’s made in a very particular way that now has to somehow be transferred onto a stage. Some people do this by bringing as many machines and gadgets as possible on stage with them. Some opt for just focusing on the visual aspect of the show and cover the stage in screens and LED lights. In both cases, it’s just a whole lot of extra. Now, I 100% get that this is something that needs to be done cause, really, selling a laptop or dj set as a live show experience is tough. I’m older and I clearly remember a time when a dude standing on a stage with a laptop would have been laughed off that stage. Now it’s so normal, no one even questions it. Let me also clarify, I’m part of this. I Do laptop shows. So, I’m in no way pointing fingers here. It’s simply where live music is right now. As much as I’m not into it as a fan (To be honest, I’m over seeing live music in general) I definitely am glad we’ve arrived here , from an artists perspective. Not only does it allow people like me to go and play my music for people but it also pays my bills!
As for the whole “Party time” sound, I think that’s kinda what artists have to do, when approaching live performance. When I started doing laptop sets, I had all sorts of down tempo shit in my set. You know what? It bored the shit out of the crowd and killed the vibe in the room. After those first few tours, I opted to try to find a way to kick up the energy in my set without making my music something it’s not. That means raising the bpm’s a little. That means approaching some more moody and slow songs in a lighter, more fun kinda way. To me, it’s all about finding that middle ground. Some artists go way further with that and make their entire live set something completely different than their recorded music. Really, whatever works. I’ve had people be bummed about my live set not being “More chill” but that’s simply not the vibe of live music. Energy is everything. The idea is to somehow harness that energy in a way that still reflects your recorded music.
I’d also like to add that my new album “Bells and whistles” is partially named around this very topic. Cause really, as electronic artists, sometimes that’s all we got.

Do you have a fave bodega? What classifies as a “great” bodega and what classifies as a “terrible” one?
To people who may live outside of the east coast, a bodega is basically a corner store. They sell all your low level shopping needs, they make sandwiches and are typically run my arabs, koreans or puerto ricans/dominicans. The worse the neighborhood, the cheaper and more authentic they are. If fact, you can often gauge the level of gentrification in a neighborhood by the prices and the level of potato chips at a bodega. They got kale chips? That hood is long gone and you probably can’t afford to live there. If the only cakes they have are little debbie off shoots? Clutch that purse tight cause you’re in the hood.
Anyway,I don’t have a specific favorite Bodega currently. The one on my corner is bullshit and total rip off. Also, the people who run it are dickheads. When I was growing up there was one around the corner from my house that was excellent. They made great sandwiches, they were friendly and they sold me 40’s when I was 15 years old. Good guys. I still drop by that place when I’m in the area and it’s exactly the same now as it was 20 years ago. That’s a rare feat in NYC nowadays. They do have kale chips though. Like 10 varieties.

- Where do you look for samples for the music you make? Own record collection, dollar bins, random purchases, e-digging,… Or do you know beforehand what you want to do and don’t really have to look, like stuff a relative or friend listened to and you thought “Hmm that might work”.

- Depending on that last question: have you ever come across a record or song that was so good you couldn’t sample it, which was it?

Nowadays, I strictly dig online. I’ve given up on records cause 1)The ones I’d want to sample are too rare and expensive. I refuse to pay crazy amounts of money for some greedy record collector who decides how much his records are worth depending on how badly you want them. 2)All the spots near me have been thoroughly ripped. It’s NYC, everyone makes beats and the record stores show that.
So, what I do is I go to various music blogs that give away rare albums and I download them. The quality it typically pretty good and the variety of stuff I find is insane. And it’s free. That’s huge. Sounds cheap but once you realize that the artists you’re sampling wouldn’t be getting a cut no matter how you found the music, it lessens the guilt greatly.
So, yeah, I just go on binges and download tons of random albums. Then I slowly sift through them and save the songs I think I can do something with. I even organize them by instrument in an itunes folder so, when it’s time to make a beat and I need a guitar sound, I can locate it immediately and pick between tons of different possible samples.
As for the last question, I avoid sampling any song I would actually listen to in real life. So, with that in mind, there are endless soul songs I’ve passed over simply cause I didn’t want to ruin them for myself, as songs I enjoy. Those songs, however, I do often sample for my live set.

What is your 2nd least favorite animal (after cats, of course) and why

Rats. I hate rats. I’m scared of them. They’re gross. They’re everywhere. They also have no fear of human beings. I think that’s the most unsettling aspect to them. They will waddle right by you and not even flinch. Fuck rats. I think I actually like cats more than rats. The only advantage rats have on cats is that I’m not allergic to rats. God…I fucking hate rats.

Answers for Questions vol. 206

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Yo yo, welcome to another edition of answers for questions. You ask, I respond with honesty. If you’d like to be a part of all this fun, join in and ask me anything. Either leave questions in the comment section below or get fancy and email me one at phatfriendblog@gmail.com. All I ask is that you be creative and don’t treat this like a high school newspaper interview.
Okay, here’s this weeks stuff…
Hey Blockhead,
I have this question about sampling, and I figured that in light of your recent blog post and deciding to put out your album on your own, it would be pretty relevant. So, I make some sample based hip hop too, but I’ve been, well, less than proactive about getting permission to use my samples. I haven’t gotten in trouble, but sometimes I get worried that I’ll end up getting sued or something. I don’t really know many other producers who do sample based stuff, and I thought I’d hit you up about it especially since you’ve been in the game so long.

So, when you worked with ninja tune did they clear every one of your samples? Did you ever have to scrap a song because you didn’t get permission to use a sample? Have you ever gotten into any legal scuffles over that stuff?

I’m basically wondering if it’s worth it for me to try to clear samples if I’m not making money and I’m not famous, you know? I don’t want to have to give up some of my tracks because an exec wants $1000 for an old obscure ass sample, and I feel like I might put myself on their radar for asking in the first place you know?

I’m just releasing shit on my own right now, I pressed 500 records a couple years ago and I’m on spotify and iTunes and stuff. Like I said it’s a small operation but I’m trying to put out a new record and Any advice you could give me would be awesome.

Let me first just say that, considering the level you’re on now, you don’t need to worry about clearing samples at all. No one is tracking you down to sue you for that beat you made. It only becomes an issue when you either make money off a song with a sample in it or you begin licensing music to commercials and film. While it’s still technically illegal prior to that, so is jay walking in NYC and no one’s getting a ticket for that. So, basically, this is something you do not need to worry about any time soon. I gotta say, if it’s on your mind already though, you may wanna start sampling less from the jump. I can certainly attest that it is limiting, in terms of what you can do with the music after it’s made. I love samples but I’ve also been doing it for 20 years. Perhaps starting off not having to rely on them is not the worst way to get going.
To answer your specific questions, Ninja would clear some samples. It really depends on the song and the sample. But in general, they didn’t clear most of them. Simply cause, with my music, that would be way too expensive and most of those songs are gonna just fly under the radar anyway. Like I said, you’re gonna get sued when the money starts rolling in. My records have done okay but not so well that I need to worry about being sued or getting a cease a desist. I’ve gotten caught for a few samples here and there and , in my experience, the people were actually really cool about it. We just gave them some of the publishing rights to that song and both sides were happy.
“Uncle tony’s coloring book” was a limited edition, US only release because of the samples. Ninja didn’t want their name on it cause they were justifiably nervous about all the crazy samples on it so, instead, we pressed 5000 cd’s and only released it in the states. That’s why it’s not on Itunes or any of those other sites in it’s complete form. So, for me, that’s a worst case scenario. But that happened and now that album is like a collectors item. So that’s kinda cool.
Sampling is great but it certainly has its downsides. You do have to be careful. But, until you’re making money, don’t sweat it. No one is gonna sue you if you have nothing to be sued for.

Not really sure if this question has been asked before.
For me there are a few things that make me automatically think someone’s a douchebag or shallow just by looking at him/her; wearing headphones in public (when you’re a guy, if a girl does it, it depends on how cute she is, I’m a hypocrit and I know it), wearing flip flops in public (unless at/near a beach/pool or on a quick trip from home maybe), dudes wearing button-up shirts with shorts, and the worst one: girls walking with a purse on their elbow and a cell phone in their hand. I know you agree with me on the flip flops. How do you feel towards the other ones? In which cases do you feel strongly negative towards a person based on appearance only?

Wearing headphones in public? How is that douchey? That’s just a person listening to
music. Maybe it’s an NYC thing but that’s par for the course for any trip outside the house that’s gonna be more than 15 minutes. I rock earbuds but only cause I don’t wanna be carrying around big headphones all day.
Anyway, I used to be way worse about this. Most of the things you listed were , at one point, things i would have looked at, rolled my eyes and immediately written the person off. While those things still aren’t looks i hold in high regard, I’ve gotten softer in my older age. Not everyone who wears flip flops is an idiot. Not everyone wearing a shirt with vertical stripes and shorts is a douche. Not every guy who wears those super tight sweatpants that get baggy around the crotch is a total piece of shit. I may hate those outfits, but I’m also not the fashion police. Let them live, shitty wardrobes and all. That said, my judgmental streak has shifted to gauging other humans by their opinions on very particular things. Like if someone just , across the board hates on “South Park” but loves “Family guy”? That’s a huge fucking moron. If someone loves Talib Kweli to the point where they’re willing to argue about it, I don’t think that person and I are meant to be friends. If you think the movie “Macgruber” sucks, I question everything you understand about what makes something funny. If you’re a grown man in your late 30’s who grew up loving hip hop and you go out of your way to love shit like Future or Cheef Keef, I’m judging the fuck out of you and your pitiful grasps at staying relevant in the eyes of a bunch of dumb teenagers. Stuff like that. It’s admittedly short sighted on my part but I think the things people love and are passionate about speaks much louder than how they dress. I know way too many people who simply just dress a certain way cause it’s easy and they don’t give a fuck. I respect that. But your interests should be deeper.

How would you react if someone came to the front of the stage during one of you sets, then dropped their pants and just started jerking off furiously?

Obviously , I’d finish him off with my mouth. He payed for a ticket, it’s the least i can do.
Nah, I would hope that person would be tackled by security. If not, I’d probably just keep rocking the show but if he got near me, I’d kick him in his dick.
Some of these venues I play at don’t exactly enforce much security. I was playing a show in Seattle once and this girl crawled on stage and just lay down underneath the table I was playing on. She was there for like 2 songs until she popped out and tried to talk to me like I wasn’t in the middle of playing a show. I quickly explained to her that she had to go but it didn’t really sink in. It’s a safe bet she was high as a motherfucker. Let’s just say, if she was a male jerking his dick near me, I wouldn’t have been as patient.

Since you don’t listen to instrumental hip hop, where do you find the inspiration when creating your own music? Are there certain producers or albums you listen to? If so, who are they? Is there a specific zone your looking to get into as well, or maybe doing things like walking around your neighborhood late at night listening to music, maybe going to certain clubs/bars at 3:00am and trying to capture that vibe?

This is gonna be a huge let down but I don’t ever step into making music trying to create a mood. I just sit down, listen to songs and look for a sample that grabs me. Once i have that, I build around it. There’s no inspiration, outside of the samples themselves. I’ve never been one to look for other music , as a fan, as a means to inspire me. The music I love is separate from the music I make. In fact, I try to limit outside influence as much as possible cause the last thing I wanna do is sound like someone else. I do see the irony of all this cause I’m an artist who mostly samples but , in my mind, it makes sense.
I’d also add that I’ll never understand why people are so interested in the “inspirations” of another person. I feel as though that kinda thing isn’t palpable and certainly not something you should be able to explain. It’s like being “spiritual”. Most people who harp on it are kinda full of shit. It’s something that happens in your subconscious that shouldn’t really even be something you can pin point. Whenever I hear someone listing stuff they’re inspired by it’s either random parts of nature (yeah bro, sure your EDM dance album was inspired by that sunset you saw in Thailand) or it’s other artists, which leads me to believe they’re kinda biting those “inspirations”. I dunno…it’s one of those questions I’ve been getting for years that I’ve never seen the point of. It’s fluff to me.

squatting verses sitting? Do you practice proper poop posture? …ah, I love alliteration.

http://www.squattypotty.com/Articles.asp?ID=256

http://www.menshealth.com/health/pooping-wrong#mobify-bubble

Devices such as the Squatty Potty and Nature’s Pedestal make the average person’s shit stance more advantageous, to say the least. Give it a try and tell me it doesn’t change your life.

Man, it had been a while since I got a shit related question. I was beginning to wonder what was wrong with you guys.
As for squatty potty, Umm…wow. I guess this kinda makes sense but, obviously, I have not tried it. Honestly, the name alone would keep me from buying it. Not to mention, I could just make my own at home with a few phone books. Tell you what, i’ll give it a whirl (with the phone books) and see if I notice a difference. It’s definitely gonna get in the way of my laptop though.

If you couldn’t live in the States, where would you live?
Montreal or Toronto would be my first choice. English speaking would be crucial so maybe London or melbourne. I think it might be fun to live somewhere in eastern europe for a year cause i had lots of fun out there when I played shows. I still contend that Cluj, Romania has the hottest girls I’ve ever seen. If i was single, i’d probably just go live there for a year.
But, realistically, Toronto, London (or another UK city), and Melbourne would be my top choices.

Fuck yo’ birth , bro!

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“Hey, when’s your birthday? No, really, tell me. I’m super curious. Oh, not cause I’m interested in astrology. Nope, cause your birthday is just really important to me.”
That was an excerpt from my upcoming novel “Things no one has ever earnestly said or thought in the history of the human race”.

Let’s be honest, the sooner we, as a civilization, accept that no one cares about your birthday but you, the better. Okay, maybe your mom cares. She might. After all, it is the anniversary of you coming out her vagina like the kool aid man. How could she ever forget that. In fact, your birthday should be a day you buy her gifts. But I digress…

I’ve been thinking about this lately cause my birthday is on the horizon (october 8th guys, what are you getting me!?!?!?!). I’ve never been one to care that much about my own birthday. I definitely celebrate it but that’s generally an excuse to eat a good meal or get a bunch of my friends together and get drunk. Not cause I actually care that I’m turning one year older. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I celebrated on my actual birthday. Once every seven years? It’s completely arbitrary.

To be clear, this isn’t about getting older. That’s something totally different. It’s no secret that getting older is a bummer. At least for people over 30. But, no, this is about the birth day itself and peoples seem to think other people have to give a shit about it.
How many people (Ahem…girls…cough…) do you know that decide their birthday is , all of a sudden, a week long extravaganza of celebrating their existence? This includes free meals and friend duties that can only be compared to that of a bridesmaid, It’s quite possibly the most unjustifiable thing a person can do to their friends outside of making them go to a musical with you. Fuck all that. It’s YOUR birthday. Not mine. It changes nothing for anyone except you. It has no effect on anything outside of your answer to “How old are you?”. Birthday entitlement is something i feel even the people who have it probably realize they’re full of shit but , yet, they persist. What are we really celebrating? You being born? EVERYONE IS BORN. There is nothing special about it. That’s like me celebrating learning to walk or the first time I ate solid foods.

Comedian Patton Oswalt had a bit about how people should only celebrate particular birthdays. Milestone years. I think that’s a great idea. I’d also add that presents should stop after 21 as well. Too soon? fine. 25. If you’re still angling for presents from your parents, family and friends after 25, you need to chill the fuck out. You know what people over 30 ask for? Socks. underwear. dishes. The most boring shit on earth cause, by that time, you have most of what you need and really just ask for that kinda crap cause you’re too lazy to go get it yourself. It’s basically just making your friends and family run your unwanted shopping errands for you. That’s another level of this entitlement. Expecting gifts. You already got Christmas/Hanukkah. How much more do you need? You’re a grown ass man/woman. Come on, son.

I remember , when I was a kid, my brothers birthday was exactly half a year from mine. So, as a means to shut me the fuck up , my mom would get me a “half birthday gift. This was to curb the jealousy of seeing my bro cash in on whatever the hell it was he got for his special day. Thing is, I was a child and had no common sense or decency. Also, i wanted everything. So, it makes sense. Flash forward 30 years and I would literally forget it was my birthday if it wasn’t for a Facebook reminder.

Now, to be clear, I have nothing against a party. Parties are fun for everyone. The are beneficial for all. It’s a great excuse to get old friends from the different social circles you inhabit and bring them together. But that’s it…one night. One party. Maybe go out to dinner with a small handful of close friends. After that, your day is done. your time is over. The second that dinner bill gets covered, your friends are no longer obligated to give a flying fuck about your or your dumb ass birth. Duty has been served.

Speaking of Facebook, it has opened new doors to how we half ass celebrate a friends birthday. A simple “Happy birthday!” on the wall and we’re good. I’m all for this. It’s a gesture as as empty as the desert sky but, hey, it’s the least you can do. I mean that literally. THE LEAST. Outside of ignoring the persons birthday completely…which is also fine cause, like I said, who cares? Oh wait…some people do actually care. They care a lot. I know people who get legit butthurt about people forgetting to wish them a happy birthday. Those are people i like to call “Dickheads”. If you have a friend like that, you should stop taking them seriously this instant. I’m not saying cut them off but if they can’t handle you not remember the day they were born, then imagine what a mess they’d be if you actually forgot something that mattered in the slightest. It’s a small thing but it does speak volumes about a person and how self important they are.

So, yeah, fuck your birthday. Fuck my birthday. Fuck’em all. Let’s all be the adults we claim to be and just treat it like what it is. Another day. But , still, have that party. People need a reason to leave their house.

Answers for questions vol. 205

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Whatttttup,
Back from the first leg of my tour. Thanks to everyone who came out. I had a great time and my apologies to the places I played with no merch. I sold out early which is a good and bad thing I suppose. I’ll pack accordingly next time, I promise.
Anyway, welcome to another edition of “answers for questions” You ask it, I answer it. If you’d like to join the fun, send me questions. Either leave them in the comment section below or email them to me at phatfriendblog@gmail.com. As always, be creative. We’re 205 volumes deep. Strive for originality.
Here’s this weeks batch, biatch.
I remember in the past that you saying that don’t get anything mastered (but as i’m typing this i sort of half remember you saying something to the contrary more recently?) – if you do, what was your reasoning behind choosing that particular person, and how involved in the process are you?

I’m pretty sure most music that gets released and isn’t some mixtape shit gets mastered. All my albums have been mastered. In the past, Ninja Tune had a guy they used and my ony job would be to hear the masters and approve them.
With my new album, I had to find a guy on my own but I know enough people at this point where that wasn’t hard. You basically go off the word of others. My involvement was pretty much going to the studio and listening to masters. Other than that, i just let the guy do his job but lead him in the direction you prefer, sound wise.

How do you usually deal with an average A-hole on the streets of New York who says something that makes you want to punch, but you don’t? I know you don’t. It’s you.

First off, I’m the most polite person ever. No lie. I’m highly aware of that kinda stuff when out in public and make an effort to never be an asshole to anyone. I’m a follower of the rules of engagement. So, you know, blow me.
This is like asking a person from boston “How do you deal with all that clam chowder and baked beans you must eat?”. There are dickheads all over NYC but it’s not like people are just walking around starting fights or being rude to one another for no reason. The “new yorkers are rude” claim is one of the most bullshit theories ever. We’re actually pretty helpful and nice. What we do is mind our own business and keep to ourselves. That’s what happens when you live on a tiny island with 8 million people on it. But, compared to a place like, say, paris? We’re an entire island of Mother Teresa’s.
So, when I over hear someone say some dumb shit, I let it go. Maybe I quietly laugh at that person to myself and tell a friend about it later. Being that I’m a civilized human being, I try not to go around punching every person I come across who says dumb shit. In fact, I avoid that at all costs. And, shockingly, it’s extremely easy to not fight people constantly.

Since you don’t drive, or drive much, do you ride a bicycle? If so, how is that in the crazy busy streets of New York?
Nope. I walk and take the subway. Sometimes cabs. But that’s it. I don’t ride bikes. I don’t skateboard. I don’t ride horses. I don’t stand on the roofs of cars and ride them like a surfbort like Teen Wolf. I’m all feet, all the time. In general, If I’m the one controlling them, I don’t do wheels.

I’ve read a little in the past, but forget. What is your approach to a lady you’re really interseted in? This is most likely the past for you anyhow.
This is definitely in the past for me. But, if i can recall, my approach was to flirt and plant seeds. Be charming, read signs. Basically be an intuitive person. It was a slow burn technic but it also had an extremely high success rate. I was never a “meet a girl, bag a girl, fuck a girl” kinda guy. I’m just not that aggressive. I’d imagine, if I were single now, the internet would play a huge part in getting girls. How could it not? Back in the myspace days, it certainly helped so i can only imagine how much it would play into that kinda stuff now.

If New York broke out with the start of the Zombie Apocalypse, where would you go? How would you react?
I lack some serious gumption so I’m pretty sure i’d hide until I got to hungry and then get killed within moments of leaving my hiding place. The only thing that might keep me alive is that I’m a fairly lucky person. So, perhaps, I’d get by on that for a while. But, yeah, I would not be one of those dudes who is around to restart civilization after brad pitt saves the world.

How did you go about learning production – ie, amplifying / lowering specific frequencies, and all of the more technical aspects of sound production? I really don’t know much more than applying high/low frequency filters appropriately and moving sounds around to different areas so as to not mud together. I want to make my shit sparkle, and do all my own mixing & mastering, but i’ve got this mental block caused by me knowing that there is a lot I don’t know. I just want to make my stuff sound as good & full, or at least close enough to the stuff that’s made in studios, and not sound like it was made in a bedroom, even though it is.

I learned through years of trial and error. I’d imagine it would have been much quicker for me if I was able to read instruction manuals and understand what they were talking about, but I’m not. That’s a language I don’t speak. So, I would just tinker around till things started to make more sense. Because of this style of “learning” it took me about 10 years of beat making before I felt I was happy with the sound I was creating. So, albums like “Float” , “Music by cavelight” , “Labor days” and even “Downtown science” were made before i really felt like i fully knew what I was doing.
I think people get hung up on technical aspects way too much in general and overlook the bigger picture of the music they’re creating. Of course you want it to sound good but the song itself being good is so much more important. I’m a firm believer in lo-fi shit. I’m still making music in my bedroom. If you wanna get it to sound good, find the right sounds. Don’t settle for stock keyboard/drum sounds. Seek out great drum sounds. Create your own. But, most of all, get someone else to mix it who knows what they’re doing. A good mix can change a lot of issues you might have had with the music when it was just you and your monitors in the bedroom.

Volume 200, eh? If I do the math, that’s a whole lotta questions. But a lot of them have to be repetitive or similar in theme. How many “archetypes” of questions could you categorize, that you’ve been asked over and over again?
Hmm…so many questions. Lemme just rattle off the first ten that pop into my head
1)”bad interview” questions. Those are things like “What are your influences?” and “What inspires you?”. These questions suck always and I really wish people would stop asking them. It’s arbitrary bullshit like “what’s your favorite color?” or “Bacon or sausage?”. Who gives a shit? I refuse to believe anyone reads answers to these types of questions and is like “Holy shit! that was interesting!”. I think, from now on, when I’m asked those questions in interviews, I’mma just list one person. “On, my greatest influence and inspiration? hmm…I gotta say, without questions, it was Richard Moll. Yes. The actor who played Bull on “Night Court”. He’s everything to me.”
2)”Do you like_____??” which is where some one asks my opinion on a specific artist or movie. I hate these cause they’re always just someone trying to justify their own taste by using me a barometer. Little do they know, I’m a terrible barometer and I most likely have very different musical taste than they think I have.
3)Tons of beat making questions.
4)”would you rather?” type questions. These can be fun but most of the time it’s me picking between the two grossest things on earth that, in all reality, I’d rather die than do in the first place.
5) People will throw a random topic at me. I like these questions cause they give me room to get a nice rant off. Like “What do you think of new moms?” or something like that. Very basic but very easy to sink my teeth into.
6) “Where did your name come from?” is a FAQ
7)Basketball questions. i’m fine with them but I realize, when I answer them, half of the readership skips over them. I’d actually imagine the same thing for any technical music questions as well. Can’t please everyone, I guess!
8)TV show questions. These are kinda like the opinion questions but more pointed. The problem with them is that they’re typically dated by the time I get around to answering them.
9)”state of hip hop” questions. It baffles me that people still pine over this topic but apparently, they do.
10)”Why do you always wear a hat?” Clearly, cause I was born with it attached to me head. Duh.

Too much ass? Say it ain’t so.

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I haven’t done a nice rant in a while so forgive me if this is all over the place. Lots of things to compute right here…

Remember the “latin craze”? If you’re under 23 you might not. This was a time during the late 90’s/early 2000’s when , all of sudden, any and all things latino related became cool in the eyes of mainstream media. Marc Anthony was killing it. Ricky Martin reclaimed his Menudo glory. J-lo , who is both a terrible singer and awkward dancer, was praised for her singing and dancing. It was as if the illuminati had sent a letter to the 7 jew bankers who run the world that read “Hey guys, latinos are the new thing…make it happen!”
Or how about the late 90’s boy band explosion? That was when the Backstreet boys blew up and , in a wink of an eye, every remotely not ugly , mediocre singer from florida was shaved down and placed in a group with 4 guys just like him. Forced to dance and sing to teenaged girls about deep love, even though they most likely were about 29 years old and into some pretty fucked up things , sexually.

With popular culture, there are always these phases. They come and go and are typically replaced with something even more trite the next time around. It’s only a matter of time before someone does a song about giving hand jobs , it becomes a hit and , all of a sudden, we will be inundated with songs about giving hand jobs. It’s a follow the leader mentality at its finest. It’s gotten to the point where you can spot the beginning of the trends.
Right now, we’re in an ass renaissance.Sir mixalot was the man who set the wheel spinning and it has found it’s way into 2014 at break neck speeds. The powers that be have shaken their magical 8-ball and it landed on “ASS”.
Nicki Minaj Busted it open with her video about her ass. An ass, I might add, that is both insane and as real as unicorns. (side note: I REALLY wanted it to be real. I think a lot of us did…but it just can’t be. Sorry). I never thought ass implants would be a real thing that non-crazy people did. But, that’s where we are. Ass implants. Fake asses that are not really that frowned upon. Kate moss wept.
Today I watch this new J-lo/Iggy azalea video and I’m basically feeling like it’s the opening scene of a porn where the girl dances around in front of a pool right before it cuts away to her on a couch, reevaluating her life choices on camera.
Listen, I’m a fan of ass. I love it. But , dare I say, it’s almost too much?
I think the thing that gets me about this video (other then there is a scene where oil is dripping on the basically bare asses of two of the most famous entertainers alive today) is that it makes me feel like “Wow…it’s come to this…”. Lemme explain. J-lo’s booty has been a thing of worship for about 15 plus years now. She’s been known for it and has rode that wave for as long as I can remember. With that in mind, there was always an air of mystery to it. She never would REALLY give up the goods on film. Her older videos would show flashes of it. But never anything you could really sink your teeth into. It was almost as if dat azz was not meant to be seen as much as it was there to tempt the imagination of young men everywhere. It was the lochness monster of asses. Flash forward a decade plus and the stakes are no longer the same. Gone are the days of paparazzi photos of J-lo at the beach, giving us a voyeuristic look into this famous ass for a brief flicker of time. Now, it’s on display. And, it’s not only on display, it’s covered in baby oil and shaking directly into a camera for a what seems like hours. Now, it should be noted that J-lo probably looks better now than she’s ever looked. She’s a freak of nature. But I gotta think that this exposing of her holy grail ass was not something she totally wanted to let go. No, I think it’s more a “keeping up with the joneses” kinda thing where Minaj basically put all female singers on notice like
“Listen, we live in a fucked up world where we are judged by our sexuality, no matter how talented, rich and/or powerful we are. So, I’mma just go balls to the wall and do an entire video about my ass. Your move, bitches…”
What else could J-lo do? Well, I mean…I suppose she could just fall back, not make any more music and enjoy the millions of dollars she’s made over the years. Perhaps take a vacation with her young boyfriend. But, that’s silly. She’s gotta work.

It kinda reminds me of how every disney girl reacted to Miley Cyrus becoming the thing we know now. You can bet every aging disney/nickelodeon hoe on earth was checking their contracts the second the video for “We can’t stop” dropped. In this instance, I’d liken J-lo to Taylor swift.
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In her essence, Swift is an asexual country singer who is more likely capable of human sacrifice than she is dancing on beat. She’s definitely said “ewwww…” when looking at penises before. But, country wasn’t enough and all of a sudden this poor girl is forced to try and become sexy and urban. Her hand was forced. It was a real “shit or get off the pop charts” moment for her and she did it. She shit all over the place. In J-lo’s case, that jump was to throw all mystery out the window and just bare it all.
I realize it sounds like I’m complaining. I’m really not. Seeing all this ass is a blessing for any guy out there who’s into that kinda thing (And I am into that kind of thing for sure). It just makes me wonder how far this will go. Clearly, tits are always in vogue. But 2014 is ass time. The sexuality of these artists is being pushed to such a point that I wonder what the landscape of music will look like in ten years. Will there be videos of billion dollar earning singers straight up blowing dudes between verses? How much more can this elevate?
I really don’t know what the ceiling for this will be but one thing is for sure, the huge space between “becoming a super star” and “becoming a porn actress” is lessening by the minute. Between these videos, sex tape leaks and stolen photos…shit is gonna hit the fan for real in the very near future. On the bright side, we get to watch it all happen. But, on the other hand, we also get to watch it all happen.

Answers for questions vol. 203

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Hey there. Welcome to my monday morning ritual, “Answers for questions”. This is where you send me questions and I answer them. Duh. Some are strange, some are more straight forward. I take them all. If you’d like to join the fun, write me questions and send them to phatffriendblog@gmail.com or leave them in the comment section below.
Side note, I’m hitting the road with Elaquent, Yppah , Muneshine and Lost Midas starting this wednesday. If you live in the US (or vancouver) peep these dates and come see us:
http://phatfriend.com/2014/06/17/my-fall-tour-dates-are-here/.
This also means that my output of this blog may be a bit spotty. I’ll try my best but , you know, shit happens. See you on the road and let’s peep this weeks quesitons.

How would you define and categorize an internet troll? Specifically, what exactly is a troll and how many different kinds of trolls are out there?

(as in, this comment section seems like one example and then there is the catfishing type of troll, which I think is a different type, but I’m sure there are others…)

I feel as though there are many different types of internet trolls. Too many to really wrap my brain around, actually. But , off the top, we got
1)The contrarian
This is a person who exists online to just disagree with everyone and argue about it.
They’re the people who , when you say anything based on opinion online (could be “Man, don’t you hate nazis!”) will find a way to disagree. In real life, they are also terrible people who hate themselves.
2)The character
This is the person who plays someone else online. And, shocker, that person is an asshole. I’m willing to bet , offline, some of these people are not even terrible but, online, they pretty much just like to push buttons for their own amusement. This type is fascinating cause it’s such a personal, masturbatory thing.
3)The focused troll
This is a person who pinpoints a person or website and makes it their life goal to just fuck with them. It could be a celebrity on twitter or simply the comment section of a website.
4)The bully
I’d say these are the most dangerous. They do typical bully shit but, if they also have some internet know how, they can ruin a motherfuckers life. They might relentlessly harass someone, then break into their private life and expose it for no reason. These people are terrifying.
5)nitpickers
If hyper judgmental moms were on twitter, they’d be these guys. They correct spelling. They correct typos. They just seem to get off on being smug about shit that doesn’t matter. They fucking suck.

Every type of internet troll is a loser. Across the board. Some are way worse than others but the binding force is that they enjoy fucking peoples days up for their own enjoyment with no sense of empathy. So, in a way, the one common thing that connects them is that they’re all a kinda sociopaths…on some level. But, most of all, they are bored losers.

On a scale from 1-11, how much do you enjoy a good shit?

Sigh. This question. You know, there are many questions I have been asked repeatedly over the years of doing this column. The most asked questions are probably “What is your biggest influence?” and “Where did the name “blockhead” come from. but third? This dumb ass question. It’s not really funny and offers no room to be funny. Yes, I love a good shit! How crazy is that?!? I’d rate a 12 if I could, AMIRITE?!?! Poop!
I realize this blog has the maturity level of a 4th grade locker room sometimes but the amount of shit related questions I get is concerning. For all parties involved, myself included.
That said, shitting is awesome and I’d give a good shit a strong 9 out of 11.

Why does the US have so many lawyers???
Probably cause it’s a high paying job and people want to make money. Also, there are a lot of scum bags in the world and when you can’t work on wall street cause you’re bad at math but you still are really good at arguing, being a lawyer makes all the sense in the world. If you think about it, we’re a country of blow hards who won’t ever just shut up so getting into law is only natural for those who can afford the school.

What are some telltale signs that make you aware that a girl is flirting with you?
Laughing at everything you say. Touching your arm when she doesn’t need to. Staring at you too long and often. Fellating you mid conversation while at a dinner party. Deep throating foods while making intense eye contact with you. Asking you if you’d like to go to the bathroom with her. Talking super close to you , to the point where your ear is in her mouth when she speaks.
Any of those things, really.

Block, do you have any friends that you think could really enjoy hip hop if they gave it a chance? How do you go about introducing people to new music? I know from experience that playing it to them at parties is just about the worst way.

I’m much closer to 40 than I am to 30, so my friends musical tastes are pretty etched in stone. That said, I don’t know many people who don’t listen to any hip hop ever. The thing is, no one my age gives a shit. I keep an ear out for new music but I also work in music. For people who don’t, past a certain age, it’s not a priority. Not even close. If I have a friend who’s curious about the new shit I like, I’ll make them a playlist or something but that rarely happens. In general, in regards to putting people on to music, I’ve always been a “you come to me and I’ll play you some shit” kinda guy. Pushing my taste on people has never been my style. I never wanna be that guy who corners people and forces them to listen to what they’re liking. I’ve been in that situation many times and it’s got a very low success rate.

Why is it that you and whoever your partner is choose to name your collaboration albums after whatever both your names are (Blockhead and MarQ Spekt, for example)? Have you ever thought about giving the duo a name?
In my mind, it’s not my album. It’s the rappers album. I just produced it. If we’re a group, then sure. But in the case of Spekt, Billy woods and Illogic, it was just a collaboration. Also, in all those cases, neither of us are big enough names to pull some “madvillian” kinda shit. If Spekt and I had called the album “Blockspeqt” or “Marqhead” , no one would have a clue what we were even referencing. I’m a fan of keeping it simple and
not trying to be all extra about shit.

I can’t remember if you’ve ever discussed the legalization of weed in Colorado and Washington before, so I’m wondering what you think about it. I know you don’t really smoke, but with your tour going through Colorado would you be more inclined to smoke there than in another state?
If I smoked? Sure. But i don’t so this legalization thing means nothing to me on a personal level. I would feel the same if it was legal to publicly shove radishes up your ass. It’s not something I do so it doesn’t effect me enough to care one way or another about it. I do think it’s a good thing in the sense it’s making a shit ton of money for those states and , in general, weed isn’t very dangerous , in my eyes. If anything, at it’s worst, it makes people kinda boring and dumb. but so does daytime television and no ones going to jail for that.

Answers for Questions vol. 202

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Hello everyone. I hoped you enjoyed your labor day. I waited till the final weekend of the summer to actually step into the sun and now my legs and arms look like red hots. Awesome.
Anyway, this is where you guys send me questions and I answer them. Simple stuff. If you’d like to join the fun, please do! email me questions at phatfriendblog@gmail.com or leave the questions in the comment section below. Br creative. Get weird. It makes it more fun for both of us.
Here’s this weeks batch…

Hey blockhead I’m a huge fan of both your music as well as phatfriend and a question id like an answer to is what (in your opinion) was the most freakishly bizarre thing that you’ve seen, heard, or experienced while touring? Im sure its been asked a million times but I really appreciate a good what the fuck moment.

I’ve actually had a fairly tame touring existence. I think that has to do with me not really hitting the road extensively till i was in my later 20’s. I’ve also been in a relationship for most of that time so that kinda wipes out any crazy/funny groupie stories that might happen otherwise. I’m always envious of people in their early 20s who tour. That must be so much fucking fun.
The only stories that pop into mind are ones about safety in cities I was unfamiliar with.
This one time I played a show in Detroit. I was staying in a hotel about 5 blocks from the venue. Being someone who’s used to walking everywhere, this was great for me cause I didn’t have to deal with taking a cab or getting a ride to the show. i could just pack up and make it there on my own. So, I walk to do soundcheck around 4 pm. I Do that and just sorta kick it at the venue till it’s time for me to play. I was an opener so I finished my set around 10ish. I get paid and I’m all ready to walk back to the hotel but the people working there are like “NO!!!!!”. They literally wouldn’t let me walk 5 blocks cause it was night time in Detroit. I tried to make a case of “It’s all good, I’m from NYC and this is how we get around” but I had a dude stand in front of the door like “No man, we’re calling you a cab. Trust me on this one”. So, I drive back (it’s like a two minute drive) and the streets are empty. In my mind, I could easily have just walked back with no issue. The next day, I run into a dude who was also performing that night and apparently he had gotten robbed and punched in the face…in the stairwell of the hotel we were staying in. Fair play to you ,Detroit. You are terrifying. i will never question your safety precautions again.
The other time that I recall is playing in Milwaukee. I finished my set and couldn’t get a cab cause there were too many people already getting cabs outside the venue. So, I did the thing I’d do in NYC and just walk up a few blocks and try and intercept cabs before they hit the main strip. So, I wander into what looks like a suburban residential area. Like nice houses with lawns and shit. I’m kinda drunk so my attention isn’t exactly laser focused. Out of nowhere pops two crackheads. A guy and girl. They start chatting me up and I’m just sorta casually shooting the shit with them. I’m pretty much just waiting to see if a cab comes by while these two crackheads ask me crackhead like questions that are basically working their way towards asking me for a dollar. It’s a dance I’ve done before and it’s no different no matter what city you are in. 5 minutes into this conversation, a little clarity takes over and I realize I’m standing in the hood. I guess I was so oblivious cause, well, it’s Milwaukee…but nah, this was actually a totally fucked up ghetto I was chilling in, on the street , at 2 am with two crackheads. So, I told one of them “Hey man, you find me a cab, I’ll give you 5 bucks” (to be clear, the crackheads were not a threat. They were old, small and cracky). He dashes off and two minutes later a cab pulls up. I honestly have no clue how he did it. I gave him five bucks, wished him and his lady well and got the fuck out of there. Right before the cab pulled up, I looked down the block and saw a mass of people moving my way. they were too far to really see what the deal was but I could tell it was a group of 10-15 people. By the time the cab got there, they were maybe a black away. As I drove by them, I saw a group of drunk teenagers kicking over garbage cans and pretty much just fucking up everything they passed. Like a dust storm of trouble slowly destroying everything in it’s path. So, basically, that crackhead saved me from a possible incident. So, in a way, hooray for crack!

Why do the men of NYC catcall to the extent that they do? It’s in a league of its own (when you compare it to any other major city within an English speaking country that is)
Is it worse here? I’ve never noticed. Clearly, I’m a guy so it never happens to me (except on gay pride weekend) but it’s not something I really pay attention to. Like , i walk by construction workers every day and never see them say shit to women. This in no way means I don’t think it happens (I know for a fact it does) but you’d think , if it was a prevalent ,I’d see it with some frequency. What I do see all the time is scum bags kicking it to girls on the street from their cars. That’s the worst. That and dudes who just creepily stare a hole into girl when they walk by them. I mean, shit, I look at girls when I walk around but I’m at least subtle about it. A quick glance and maybe a head turn if I wanna see the backside. But Some dudes will straight up stop walking and stare at a girl like she’s on fire. The funniest is when I see a gross middle aged dude stare at a wildly mediocre looking girl like that. That’s some “i just got outta jail” shit.
but why is NYC the worst about this? Probably cause it’s the most walkable city in the US and it’s full of people. That alone is gonna make any social interaction more common. Especially ones involving scum bag degenerates.

do have a least favorite follower? Be it twitter, Facebook etc

Like one person you’re like “holy fuck I hate this person “?

I don’t think I can pinpoint one person. I have a bunch of twitter and facebook followers who annoy me. Some say snarky shit for no reason (and aren’t funny). Some do that thing where they just reiterate a joke you just made right back to you. Others are just straight up weirdos who tweet cryptic nonsense at you all the time. Those people scare me a little cause they seem very unhinged. I’m a fan of sanity online so anytime someone comes at me from a weirdo angle, I tend to want that person to go away.
I think what happens is that I’m pretty accessible on those sites and people see I joke around so they assume they can fuck with me like they know me. Problem with that is , they don’t know me and that kinda shit talking (playful or not) doesn’t translate on the internet. It would be different if we were friends and had that familiarity but we are actually total strangers so it doesn’t work like that. I can’t tell when someone is being an asshole or just kidding. And cause there are so many real assholes online, I just assume people are being the worst at all times.
Also, anyone who has ever seriously said “first world problems!” to me after I tweeted a joke, I hate you so fucking much. Not only cause that’s a corny thing to point out on the internet (first world thing right there) but it just shows a lack of creative thought in how you go about interacting with people. Especially strangers online. Basically, it’s something dickheads say to make themselves feel better by trying to make others feel like shit. Fuck that. If you’re following me on any social network, there’s a 95% chance you’re chilling comfortably in the first world.

Which t-shirt slogan do you think best embodies the angle of your average bro on tinder?
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phat-dong

I’m not on tinder so it’s hard to say but, from what I’ve seen, it’s more douche bags than people who can’t speak correct english. So, I think I’d say the “Phat Dong” shirt is most indicative of tinder Culture. A bunch of dudes looking for the quickest possible route inside a strangers vagina. Dudes who wear shirts that reference their dicks generally aren’t the classiest fellows.

Hypothetical question: If sampling became completely outlawed, or for some strange and unimaginable reason it simply didn’t exist any more… Would you attempted to make non sample based music? or just bite the bullet and give up music?

I mean, it’s getting close to that point, isn’t it? People can still sample but making money with that kinda music is basically a wash.
To answer the question, i would be extremely bummed but I think I would push ahead. What I’d probably do would be align myself with some good studio musicians and just “produce” in the old timey sense of the word. I’d do the drums and whatnot but pretty much orchestrate the rest. It would certainly make creating music a pain in the ass and far more complicated but it would be better than nothing.