Answers for questions Vol. 135

Hello everyone!
Time once again for my version of AMA. Ask me anything. Really. Do it.
In fact, my question queue is getting kinda thin so I actually need more questions. Send them my way. Either email them to me at or leave them in the comment section below. Either one works. Just a side note, if you do send a question, get creative. I’ve answered questions for years now on here so “what’s your biggest influence?” type question will be ignored. Feel free to get weird and abstract. This column can be both informative and strange…if you let it be.
Anyway, here’s this weeks batch.

Recently (over the past year or so) multiple “microgenres” of music have been popping up; the most popular one being “vaporwave.” It’s essentially slowed down 80s music (occasionally chopped up with some added reverb), but fans of it claim it’s some kind of social commentary on our consumerist culture or some bullshit like that as a way of justifying its simple (and imo lazy) production. I’m a fan of sampling and sample-based music in general, but I think this is just a genre full of talentless people shitting out incredibly easy to “produce” tracks in order make a quick buck by selling them on limited edition cassettes. As someone that produces sample-based music, what are your thoughts on this?

It would appear you’ve made you mind up on this one, huh?
This is my first time hearing of this “genre” so it’s popularity is kinda suspect for me. Sure, it may be cool in some circles but I’m pretty sure people aren’t making money off it. Do I think it’s lazy? Well, if this song you posted is an example and it’s all just one thing looped for 7 minutes with minimal additions, then yes. it’s lazy as fuck. But what separates that from any old classic MF Doom beat? I love those tracks and the vid you posted could literally be an out take from “operation doomsday”. So, I don’t think it’s that big a deal. This genre isn’t enough of a real genre to really deserve an opinion either way.
It’s funny though cause this genre seems like the spin-off of that weird 80’s film score music renaissance that got popular when the movie “Drive” came out. This is like the boring version of that.

I hear NYC is pretty famous for it’s police corruption. Do you consider this to be true? Have you got any good examples of how New York’s finest abuse their power?

I’d say police corruption is pretty big in most major cities. NYC is no different. Outside of your basics racism and arresting people to fill quotas, I can’t say I’ve personally seen anything like that happen. That certainly doesn’t mean it’s not there though. I’m not exactly on the cutting edge of crime in the city. I spend most of my days in front of a computer listening to obscure Romanian psych rock samples. Come and get me, coppers!

Hey Blockhead, how do you pick the names for your songs? Is it totally
random, just whatever you’re feeling the day the song gets finished or
is it some super deep and meaningful shit people like me just can’t
understand….It seems like in general artists who don’t have vocals
seem to have some pretty weird song titles. Why is that? I mean grape
nuts and chalk sauce? Which one of you jerks drank my arnold palmer?
Kinda has me wondering…

It depends. More often that not, it’s one of two things. An Inside joke with myself or just the feeling the beat gave me. With the inside joke titles, it’s often just me going down a rabbit hole until I land on something that has a nice ring to it. Like, with “Which one of you jerks stole my Arnold palmer”, That started from a place of “this sounds like a song for the summer” then turned to “I’m seeing people sitting on a porch having beverages on a warm day in July” to “I’d like an Arnold Palmer (a half lemonade/half Ice tea) in that situation” to “What if someone stole my Arnold palmer?” to “Which one of you jerks stole my Arnold palmer?”.
“Grape nuts and Chalk sauce” came from me thinking the beat sounded middle eastern. That reminded me of falafel. I think falafel sucks. They taste like grape nuts and chalk sauce. Boom…a title is born.

But, more often than not, the title is based on the feeling. “Raining clouds” felt like a before, during and after of a major storm. “Expiration date” was based on the inevitable course of a relationship coming to a close. Stuff like that. I pretty much just try to either lead the listener to where I’m coming from or confuse them with inside joke nonsense. So, my advice would be to never look to deep into the song titles. It might not be worth it.

Question, when do you think you’ll call it quits with playing ball?
I think about this all the time. As my main source of exercise and one of my favorite things to do, I wonder when the ship will sail. I play ball with a few guys well into their 40’s and early 50’s so there is a little hope. When i used to go to the park, there would be some dudes in their 60’s there. I suppose the biggest challenge is just not getting badly hurt. Recovery time is a motherfucker the older you get. Even now, in my mid 30’s, I’m constantly a little injured. My ankles, my back, my groin. Something is always off. I’d imagine that just gets worse and worse. SO, to answer the question, I’m hoping I can be one of those 60 year olds that’s still functional enough to play with other 60 year olds. That’s my goal.

So after going to Coachella and seeing Aesop perform, my boyfriend and I who both read your Facebook/Blog were wondering how you would fare at such an event? I don’t know if you’ve performed there before, but is it the epitome of everything you hate in the world? i.e. hot, sweaty, drugged up, bare-foot, pretentious hipster indie kids who don’t know half the music they’re rolling balls to? Would you be in and out of there after your set, or would you stick around to people watch/drink/enjoy the show?

I’ve played my fair share of festivals but never anything remotely as huge as Coachella. But, the point is, I’ve seen that world on some level. My whole M.O. with festivals is typically to get in, do my show and get out. Not cause I hate everything about the festivals but cause I don’t wanna get stranded in nature. Typically, i stay at a hotel near the festival site but lots of these things are in the middle of nowhere so it’s real easy to be forgotten and left to your own devices. Speaking of devices, phones pretty much never work at these things either so that’s another issue.
There have been a few that I’ve hung out at a little afterwards. It really just depends on the accommodations. but, I’m also not really a drug guy and booze is hard to find sometimes at these events so there is rarely much for me to do at them.
But the people? I don’t have that much of an issue. Sure, many of the festival folk are not the typical type of people I hang with but they’re usually pretty nice and friendly. I’ve never had an issue with them and , really, they’re no different from people at my shows in a lot of ways. Just with way more hula hoops, glowsticks and less shoes.
For more on my festival life, here are some pieces I’ve written in the past about them. Some of these are pretty old and you can kinda see how my viewpoint evolves as I go…so don’t be put off by any harshness in the earlier entries. Of, if you’re more like me, enjoy the harshness. Either or.

A)Have you ever successfully worked a sample from music in a genre not typically sampled in hiphop (emo, indie rock, avant garde stuff, etc) into one of your tracks?

B)Which track off Interludes After Midnight took the longest to finish?

A) Sure. all the time. I actually go out of my way to find that kind of stuff. The problem with some of it (in particular emo and indie rock) is that I don’t like sampling current music (anything made before the early 80’s is usually my cut off). Partially cause it just doesn’t feel right (Part of sampling is taking something old and making it new. The way things were recorded in those older eras has a lot to do with what makes the sample good) but also cause I’m more likely to get caught sampling some newer shit. I’ve sampled tons of weird avant-garde music over the years as well as any genre you can think of. I’ve tried it all at some point.

b)I’d say the toughest track on “Interludes After Midnight” was “Beyond Reach”.

Mostly cause i was working around vocals and the original song was in a strange key. At least one that I must not typically work with cause finding parts to match with it was way harder than it typically is. Also, the breakdown in the middle went through many different incarnations until I felt I got it right where I wanted it to be. I typically work with lots of fluidity and rarely go back and questions choices but , with this song, I went back a bunch of times cause it felt off.

16 thoughts on “Answers for questions Vol. 135

  1. I’ve sent you some extremely odd questions in hopes of adding some color to your blog at the expense of my(entirely anonymous)self. I can think of some other weird shit to ask if you need more..

  2. Always wondered…when you are performing, have you ever had to go to the bathroom really bad, like you want to run off the stage for a minute just to get it out of your system. I wonder this because I drink at a lot of shows and sometimes I can’t make it through a set without running to take a piss(usually after “breaking the seal”). Probably not as much of an issue since you are not a big drinker, but I know “artists” that drink before shows and sometime are tanked on stage. Any interesting stories you have or have heard from others? I know Action Bronson has been well documented pissing during his sets. Seems like it would be more of an issue for bands like The Cure of Bruce Springsteen who put on 3 hour+ sets. Are breaks planned for when a set is more than 45 minutes long? Thoughts?

  3. Hey Block, Ive heard of music being called “over produced”. I have an idea of what they mean, an artist lets their music be overly worked and hense becomes generic, but i could be wrong. What would that mean to you? Also is that something youre conscious of during your process or do you generally know when somethings done and to leave it alone?

  4. I’m not a fan of your rapperless music(I don’t dislike it, I just don’t really listen to instrumental shit, much like yourself) but am a huge fan of your writing and blog. Is this something you encounter very often?

    • I share this sentiment. Would you be willing to write raps (or commission others to do so) based upon this content? Is it not more rewarding working with a lyricist and creating something more similar to the music you actually listen to?

      • As this is a follow up on an unanswered question, I’ll just nip it in the bud here.
        I still do work with rappers. I have 4 albums (one already out with illogic, one that’s done with billy woods and one that’s almost done with Marq spekt and one secret surprise) in the can with mc’s. So, there’s no shortage of those. I don’t really feel a need to commission rappers to rap on my instrumental beats. While I may listen to rap, making instrumental stuff is my main creative outlet. It’s what i tour behind. It’s what has been keeping me alive as a working musician the last 5 years. And i like making instrumental albums. I just don’t listen to other peoples instrumental albums. I’ll get more into it when i eventually answer the initial question.

  5. when i wipe my ass, i hunch forward spread my legs and wipe back to front releasing the toilet paper before it reaches my taint. i found that wiping this way gets my butt the cleanest, i dont know if its the angel or the fact that you have more space to work with but most people think im strange. most people reach around there back and wipe front to back(sheep!!!).

    which brings me to question, what do you do? have you ever tried to switch it up? is it possible that the vast majority of people have been missing out on a cleaner butt hole by wiping over their backs?

    • I once knew a very fat person that had a bizarre wiping technique. They remained sitting, then lifted up their junk, reached between their legs from the front, and wiped back-to-front.

      Everyone in this conversation was obviously shocked and disgusted. The fat person was equally shocked to find out that this was not the norm.

      I always assumed that they used this technique because they could not physically reach around back and wipe front-to-back. Maybe they were just not civilized.

      • youd have to be pretty fat and have t rex arms to not reach around your back. dont sweat the technique, just try it. in all honesty i have a very libertarian stance on how one wipes there ass, what im sayings is i believe people are wiping their ass the wrong way.

        look how long it took to make a fan with no spinning blades or a ketchup bottle that has a spout on the bottom? lol all im saying to you is, do you ever wonder whats outside that box your in?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s