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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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…
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.
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.