Good day to you. I’m about to hit the road for the rest of the month. If you live in the US and wanna see your boy play some music, check out these dates: https://phatfriend.com/2013/08/27/upcoming-blockhead-shows-tis-the-season/. This also might mean a slight lull in productivity on this very blog but I’ll do my best. It’s hard to find time to write when you’re exhausted every day and waiting to catch planes.
Anyway, As always, i need your questions to make this column work. If you got them (Or if you need any sort of advice about ANYTHING for my Dr. Tony column) send questions to: email@example.com Or leave the questions in the comment section below. It’s all anonymous so have fun with it.
Anyway, this week’s batch turns more into a session at the shrink for me somehow but that’s good, right? Let’s be honest with one another.
What inspires you today as an artist in creating new music and what exactly are they? In the past year what would you say has had the most profound impact in creating new stuff?
This inspiration question is one I, as well as pretty much anyone who ever creates anything, get asked all the time. I fully understand why people ask it and harbor no ill will towards those who do but it’s one of those questions I kinda loath. Let me explain.
People have this deep fascination with this concept that high art (not claiming my music is high art, btw) is birthed out of some sort of magical creative whirlpool that only exists in the mind of artists. Well, maybe I’m weird but I’m not that guy. Or perhaps I can’t recognize “inspiration” at work, while it’s happening. When I’m making song, I don’t get flushed over with a warm feeling , with millions of thoughts swirling around in my head, that then leads to a creative masterwork. I sit down and make beats. That’s it. What happens during that time is as much creative as it mathematical. It’s like doing puzzles for me. Basically, it’s musical Candy Crush. I love making music but there is no palpable thing that inspires me to do so other than I enjoy doing it and it makes sense to me.
For example, when 9/11 happened, it was a life changing experience. Everything was different in my world after that. However, I wasn’t all of a sudden thinking of amazing new ways to express those feelings musically. Perhaps if I was a lyricist, that would be different but I make music without words. On top of that, I sample. So, it’s not like I’m sitting by a piano and letting the feelings pour out from my fingertips. I’m going through records and looking for sounds. I work with what’s in front of me. So, literally, I’m inspired by what songs I sample. Not a feeling or mood I’m in. All that stuff comes into play later after the fact, when the song is done and I evaluate how it makes me feel. But the creative process itself? There is no inspiration other than what I’m sampling.
I realize this question might be a huge let down for some of you to read but the last thing I ever wanna do is blow smoke up peoples asses about the creative process. I’ll leave that kinda bullshit to Will.I.Am. and people who think candles and incense boost the creative process.
You have mentioned several times that you are pretty laid back person that doesn’t harbor a lot of regrets. While I’m sure you are pretty relaxed, you are also human( I think ) and done things or not done things that you look back on with at least some regret or remorse. My question is what is your biggest regretin your personal life and what is your biggest regret when it comes to your career? If you could one re-do for each area (personally and professionaly) what would it be?
I gotta admit, all my regrets are shallow.
For my personal life, if would be wishing I wasn’t such a pussy with girls when I was younger. I wasted some formidable years being scared of getting ass. I think that’s common for guys in their teens but I really feel I blew it on many levels. Luckily , I had my late 20’s to make up for it but still, I do have those regrets pop in my head way more than I’d like to admit. Like thoughts of blown opportunities at high school parties where things were basically handed to me but I was too shook to act on it. Shameful.
As for my career, I would have liked to have networked more during the indie rap hay day. When Def Jux was popping and I had a little heat behind me, i was way too content with just laying in the cut, making beats for the few artists i knew personally and that was it. I feel like I could have gone out my comfort zone a bit during that time and linked up with some really good rappers, and made some good music with them.
So, basically, all my regrets (in both career and life) stem from me being insanely passive and lazy. Awesome.
What is your next album going to be titled?
I’m not sure yet. I’m still trying to figure it out. I’m in the mixing part of the process so the songs are all basically done. I’ve got some ideas I’ve been playing with but I’m not sold on them yet.
To be honest, naming albums is one of the most annoying parts of making them cause that name becomes this thing that you will talk about endlessly once the album drops. It’s as if it becomes more important than the music. Every interview talks about the title like it actually matters to what is inside the album. I could call my new album “Songs in the key of dog farts” and it wouldn’t make a difference in my eyes. But , for press, everyone needs an angle. It’s so funny to me cause, when I made my last album and called it “Interludes after midnight” , every person who reviewed it or interviewed me wrote about how the album is an ode to this certain era of growing up in NYC….which it was. But that shit is all figured out after the fact. I wasn’t making the album thinking of that shit. I was simply just working on songs with no connection to one another. That’s really what my albums are. My job is to find a connection (and a song order) that brings these 12 or so separate entities together into one cohesive piece. Sometimes, all it takes is a good album title.
So, yeah, I gotta figure that out.
Perhaps I should brainstorm some possible album titles here?
The case of the backwards toilet roll
Garfield explains it all
Songs about whatever you think they’re about: The album (I actually like that title and, in a perfect world, I’d call every album I make that)
as I sit here waiting for my dentist, in extreme anxiety, I wonder if this is how the world is supposed to turn. my question for you is do you think that societal norms like dentists, doctors visits, and things we do that obviously arent bad, but allow us to live an unnaturally long life are a positive thing? because the way I see it, a few hundred years ago we were dying in half the time. and it’s because of these things that we live to be 100 and die a slow ass death from cancer or some shit. what the fuck is up with that? not saying I don’t want to live long. but something about life seems off…
I mean, it’s good and bad. The idea of living to 100 sounds like a nightmare. It just seems like you’re being alive cause you can be, not cause you want to be. Shit, I wake up and hobble to the bathroom cause my ankles are wrecked from years of basketball. I can’t imagine how shitty they’re gonna feel when I’m 80. And that’s just my ankles! What happens when I start shitting my pants and forgetting everything. I know that with age comes wisdom and (hopefully) serenity but all the wisdom and serenity in the world seems useless if it’s inside of a body that can barely function normally. There’s a women I see on my block who must be in her early 80’s. Her back is so jacked up she walks around in an L shape using a roller cane. She’s at a 90 degree angle at all times. I see her and think “There’s no way she doesn’t wish she was dead all day long.”
Maybe it’s just me…I dunno. But that just seems like a life I’d want no part of.
However, on the bright side of things, I think with all the advancements in medicine and healthy living in general, the middle aged years are way more comfortable. I play ball with dudes in their 50’s who can still keep up with guys in their 30’s. That’s pretty awesome.
I guess I just think there’s that crossover between being old into being REALLY fucking old where things just cease to have a point. You got grand kids? That’s awesome. That’s something to live for. But you have no family and live alone in an apartment with 3 cats and need a stroller to walk down the street? Eh, seems to me like you’re just wasting air you probably don’t even really feel like breathing.
I live in THE cigarette smoking capital of North America – everyday, everyone, everywhere. I’m not even mad at that, it’s just the way it is here…. but I wanna know, what’s the smoking status these days in nyc? How common is it?
People still smoke here. Mostly when they’re drunk. Definitely nowhere near as Montreal (or anywhere french people live cause you motherfuckers SMOKE). I have noticed less and less people being full on addicted smokers and that it’s more a casual thing. Then again, I’m in my mid/late 30’s so many of my heavy smoking friends have stopped or slowed down considerably. I’d imagine if I was hanging with 20 year olds, they’d smoke a lot more. I’m not basing that on anything other than the image that just popped into my head of some petulant 22 year old girl impatiently sucking on a marlboro outside of a bar while she ferociously texts whatever guy she’s fucking at that moment. That’s pretty much every 22 year old girl, right?