Answers for Questions vol. 293

seriously-goofy-alpacas
Hi guys. Welcome to “Answers for Questions”. You know the drill, 293 volumes deep…
Listen, I usually don’t ask for favors but my question queue is running dangerously low. I need you to ask me stuff. ASK ME QUESTIONSSSSS!!!! Feel free to ask multiple questions. Go nuts! Get creative! Get weird! Send questions to phatfriendblog@gmail.com or leave them in the comment section. Seriously, ask me anything. i will very likely answer it.
Let’s see this weeks batch, biatch.

Per your instagram picture, do people really tie the open ends of condoms when finished?

I believe you’re referring to this pic
https://www.instagram.com/p/BFEoJ8cxfW3/
As far as i know, that is not a thing but, you know what? I have been known to be blissfully unaware of such practices. If you take a closer look at the pic, the condoms are empty, which only makes it more mysterious. I suppose that’s part of the reason that this pic is so fucking awesome.

When I saw the pictures of you with Willie D, I just knew it was a memorable night for you. So what kind of conversations did you have with Willie D and what was the show like? Also…Do you like Willie D more than Tim Dog?

Yes another Instagram reference:https://www.instagram.com/p/BEXbUonxfdG
For those who don’t know, Willie D (of the Geto boys) is quite possibly my favorite rapper ever. Not to be confused with BEST rapper ever, cause it’s something totally different. But I’m a huge fan of Willie D and got a chance to see him perform in the most intimate setting I’ve ever seen a show in. He played in the basement of a bar I frequent. It’s a small room with no stage. If packed, it would fit about 80 people tightly. But , this night, there were about 30-40 people there, spread across the room. Willie just got in the middle of the floor and rocked a show like it was at a stadium. The thing was, cause he was ground level and walking all over the room, it was mad intense cause he could see everyone. Walking up to people, rapping in their faces. Rapping along with people. I hadn’t see a show like that in forever, let alone a legend doing one. He played lots of old stuff, Geto boys stuff and some new stuff too.
After the show, pretty much everyone in the room wanted to get a pic with him. I generally am not the type to take pics with celebrities cause , i dunno…I’m shy like that. But I couldn’t miss the opportunity. My boy, who organized the event, pulled me into a pic. I gave Willie a pound and awkwardly told him her was my favorite rapper. He was super friendly and gracious. My homeboy turned to him and was like “Yo, this guy makes amazing beats” and then kinda ran down a brief resume to him and Willie looked at me with his eye brows raised like “We should talk”. Alas, that never happened and no info was exchanged but it’s all good. He’d probably sound weird as fuck over my beats but it would still be an honor to give him some.
As for the last question, yeah, I like Willie D more than Tim Dog. He’s got more music, more depth, he’s not just funny and ridiculous. He’s actually a guy who’s made great music.

during the hyperbole cycle following prince’s death, mad people stopped just short of calling him the goat. he made some fun songs and was a fantastic weirdo, but i feel like david bowie was a much bigger loss for music. as a sampling artist, where do you rate prince? is he on mt. rushmore w michael jackson and james brown?

Prince was one of the GOATs of my generation for sure. So was Bowie. They’re both similar , in that they reinvented themselves constantly and made music that couldn’t be pigeon holed. I don’t like the word “Genius” for musicians very often but I think those two are safely in that category. It’s definitely up for discussion that they be on the Mt. Rushmore of music but, limiting that to four heads would make my brain explode. Also, totally subjective. Surely some people would want Elvis or John Lennon there. All depends on what you like. Personally, I was never a guy who bumped a ton of Bowie. I just wasn’t into rock like that. That said, he made incredible music and it was stuff i liked more once i got older. Prince, on the other hand, was a staple of my life since i was a child. I saw “Purple Rain” in the theater when I was a kid. So his music resonated more with me, personally.

I’m writing this while listening to “The Music Scene” album off Youtube. So the question is – how do you feel about having your whole discography on Youtube? Do you see it as something inevitable and helping promoting you to people or otherwise, like “stealing from you”? Me personally, I buy LPs and MP3s of the music I like and I first heard about you via Youtube and I’m using it for sharing the music I like – such as yours – with my friends, but it may not always be the case…

Also, how do you feel about artists (or their record companies) pulling their stuff off Youtube (like Bob Dylan)? Fighting the windmills or doing the right thing?

I have no issue with my music being on youtube. For one, it’s just a “way it is” kinda thing. If people don’t wanna pay for your music, they’re gonna find ways to do that. Secondly, it’s exposure. Sometimes I’ll read the comments on songs of mine on there and see people just discovering me cause of that song. Perhaps those people will come to my shows. Perhaps they’ll buy a record some day. It can only help an artist like me.
As for artist pulling their stuff, I get why they would do it but I don’t see the point, personally. It’s a very old mind state to do that but there’s also something to be said for making your music exclusive. It forces the hand of the people who wanna hear it.
I don’t have the type of pull as someone like Dylan or Prince and they don’t need new fans. their music will always be something people will seek out.
Speaking of prince…it was so ill to realize that, when he died, his entire catalogue was not on youtube. People were scrambling for songs to put up on their facebook walls and came up with nothing but interview clips.

Hi Dr. Tony! This video recently got to my hands, i guess you may have seen it. As you are so much more aware about this culture.

I liked it because i basically only knew about hiphop what you write in your blog, never thought it could be such a complex thing. Most of the people do not realize the labour you guys as producers and musicians do, even though i have followed you for years i didn’t knew much about it.

Any thoughts, critics or comments you would like to add?

I have mixed feelings about this video. On one hand, it’s kinda cool to deconstruct hip hop lyrics like that. Strip away everything and simplify it to just syllables. It’s a way I’ve never considered looking at hip hop. Probably cause,by doing so, you’re kinda taking any human emotion or feeling out of it and turning it into an mathematic equation.
I think what I don’t like about it is the unnecessary nerdiness being thrust upon hip hop. Like, sure, these rappers changed how rapping was done but I guarantee they didn’t sit down and think “I should go “a-c, b-d, a-d,b-c” in my rhyme pattern!” Nah man, they just wrote the raps that came to them. They innovated without the pretension. I’m not saying this video is saying they did that but these term paper like break downs usually just come off as masturbatory to me. It’s cool for a little bit but after a while i wonder if the people who do them even like music or just feel the need to turn everything into math. It’s as if they have to justify the validity of rap by making it into something scholarly. To me, it kinda defeats the purpose of it all.

How did you see America before 9/11? Is your view on the nation different as a result?
hmmm…It’s hard to even remember before then , at this point.
I’d say it was just carefree. We assumed we were untouchable. War was something that happened elsewhere and we were this civilized country with no worries. Whoops!
To say it was a simpler time is an understatement. Like, the thought of terrorism didn’t even cross my mind and I lived in the one place it was most likely. I remember the first WTC attack happening and I didn’t even bat an eyelash.
Hell, flying was simple. We didn’t have to take our shoes off. Liquids could be large containers and not in a special bag. It was a free for all. There was no fear or looking around your plane at anyone of possible muslim descent with a raised eye brow. I feel bad for any muslim person who has to get on planes now cause, inevitably, there’s gonna be some dumb asses who assume they’re up to no good just by being on the plane. It’s ridiculous.
Is my view of the nation different? I mean…i guess so. We’re still the same people. Some of us are rational and have logic. Others are living in constant fear and think the worlds gonna end any days now. 9/11 definitely allowed a lot of people who were looking for a reason to freak out to finally have a reason and that created a dangerous and reactionary faction of the US. The culture of fear was really put on the front lines and, honestly, it’s the reason a fucking turnip faced moron like Donald Trump is a presidential candidate. So, yeah…the country is much different because of 9/11. We “handled” it when it happened but we’re also still feeling the repercussions to this day in a major way.

Answers for Questions Vol. 292

images
Hi there everyone. I hope your memorial day was full of deep thoughts and bbq. Welcomes to a new edition of “Answers for Questions”.
You ask, I answer…Simple stuff. I’m definitely in need of some new questions so, if you’ve been wondering something or anything about ANYTHING, now is a good time to ask. Send me questions to phatfriendblog@gmail.com or leave them in the comment section below.
Be weird. Be creative. I’m almost 300 volumes deep here so a lot of ground has been covered.

Would you rather cut off a you’re hand or your foot?
I’mma go with hand cause , at least, I could still walk. Being functional with one hand seems a lot easier than being functional with one foot. Also, creepy question, guy!

Your Wikipedia page says you’re also known as “Tone Capone”. Have you ever actually called yourself “Tone Capone”?

Hahahaha…that goes to show you depth of Wikipedia.
I have never called myself that or been called that with any seriousness (can you imagine?) BUT it was a jokey name I added to my first gmail account cause , when I made it, I had no idea it would come up again. So , clearly, whoever wrote that wikipedia portion must have emailed with me and gotten one from “tone capone”. That name, btw, was taken froma harlem based gangsta rapper in the early 90’s (pretty tone capone).

Do you think it is absolutely necessary to register with a political party? I never liked the idea of choosing sides so I am unaffiliated, but I’m beginning to think that being associated with a particular group can have its benefits, such as a sense of belonging and equality with like-minded people. Or maybe I am thinking about this too deeply and it isn’t that big of a deal.. thoughts?

I’ve literally never given this a moment of thought. As long as it doesn’t stop you from voting for whoever you want, seems like a pretty empty title. I certainly didn’t register as a democrat and , all of a sudden, feel like I was part of something bigger. I just felt like registered as democrat…cause that’s probably what I would be voting for. Then again, I’m not the type to really read into that kinda thing at all so I’m on the other side of this concept than you might be. I’d imagine it would only make a difference if registering for different political parties meant you were treated differently. I still get cold calls from republican organizations on my land line (yup, I still got a land line motherfuckers!) so their obviously not checking on my party affiliations anyway.

Do you think you will ever leave NYC? Have you ever wanted to live anywhere else?

I can’t see me doing it unless some outside reason forces my hand (IE: The Tidal wave of 2035). I’ve never really wanted to live anywhere else. I travel enough to miss NYC when I leave. I’ve been in some cities where I could imagine living (S.F., Montreal, London to name a few) but I’ve never even remotely considered moving to one of them. I would like to visit those types of places for a few weeks at a time at some point though. To me, that’s enough.

I have noticed that sometimes when people experience some kind of significant pain in their life, it seems to make something click in their head. They might have a better appreciation for their life and the lives of others, or may feel driven to go to lengths to accomplish something they never before thought they could. Have you ever had an experience that completely changed you (maybe negatively, but generally in a positive way) and made you run a bit faster, work a bit harder, keep trying until you couldn’t then try again, or just straight up get shit done.

Man…I wish I had a good answer for this. Like, in a perfect world, I’d like to be able to say that “Yeah, one time I was down cause of so and so then I fought my way out and was a better person!” but I haven’t had that. I mean, we all go through our ups and downs but my nature is pretty even keeled. I’ve always been a pretty down the middle, centered kinda guy so even when bad shit has happened I’ve just sorta stayed the course. I’d be more prone to accept reality than trying to overcome it via hard work. It sounds lazy…and it is!

Do you think it’s imperative to drive with both hands on the wheel? Many people are one-handed drivers, and the “10 and 2” rule doesn’t really apply to someone driving a stickshift. Would you feel unsafe riding with someone who doesn’t keep both hands on the wheel?

Well, I don’t drive so I don’t even know what difference it makes. But, I’d venture to guess it’s on a driver to driver basis. Some people need to use both hands, others are cool and know that one hand looks way more bad ass.

If you had to choose one of the following instruments to play for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
-harp
-bagpipes
-accordion
-theremin
-didgeridoo

Hmmm….I think It’s go with harps or accordion. The others just seem limited in what they can do.
A harp would be the hardest to play (I’d imagine) so it would take me a long time to learn it…and assuming I got my whole life, that just seems like the logical choice. I like accordions but that sound might get tiring after, i dunno, a week or two.

You meet a lot of people at your shows, have you met anyone (male or female) that you felt an instant connection with and kinda wished you could hang out and get to know them better?

I’ve met people that I’ve felt were very cool and enjoyed talking to them. I can’t say I’ve ever been like “Oh man, we gotta become close friends!” cause I don’t really operate like that. Most of my close friends have been around for a long time and I’m rarely looking to add on new people into my life on that level. But, the cool people I’ve met at shows I generally see again down the line, when I’m in their towns and we build a nice rapport.I get them in shows for free, maybe we get a meal. Stuff like that. It’s cool to know people all over and when you actually do like a person, it makes visiting cities you don’t know well much more pleasant. But I’d be lying if I said I’m out there trying to make life long friends with people I meet at my shows. That kinda stuff only happen organically with me and takes lots of time.

How many times have people called you Tony The Tiger and told you that you’re GRRRRREAT!…?

So many times…when I was a kid, that was the go-to joke. Mostly cause frosted flakes commercials were a big deal. It never bothered me. Coulda been waaaaaaaay fucking worse. I coulda been named “Dick” or something that rhymes with an awful word. Hell, I knew a dude named “Noah Gay”and his life as a 12-17 year old must have been a nightmare.

I’m lucky that “Tony the tiger” and “Tony Bologna” were the pillars of my adolescent nicknames. Not at all damaging.

Answers for Questions vol. 291

comedy-hamster_3497562a-large_zpslsfv6ej6

Hi guys. Welcome to another edition of “Answers for Questions”. You ask it, I answer it. My questions queue could use some refilling so I urge and and all inquisitive people to fire off some questions at me. Send them to phatfriendblog@gmail.com or leave them in the comment section below. Go nuts. Get weird. Be creative. Ask multiple questions. I’m at your disposal. Okay? great. Also, I’m accepting “Dr Tony” questions as well , for those of you who need life advice. Go for the gold.


Here’s a hypothetical for you.

Imagine you were offered the lump sum of 2 million dollars to produce a celebrity Hip-Hop album, ala “Rappin Rodney”.

Do you turn down the offer to keep your integrity? Or do you happily take the cheddar and give zero fucks about how the end product is received?
If yes, WHO and WHY would you work with from the following people & how would you create a distinct style that suits their personality/characteristics?

Tim Allen
Sly Stallone
Rowan Atkinson
Amy Schumer

I would say yes, assuming I was allowed to make the kinda beats I make. If they hired me and told me to make a pop record, i wouldn’t even know where to start.

Not only is 2 million a lot of money, I’m at the point in my career where being a “sell out” doesn’t fucking matter to me. That something 20 year olds with no bills to pay worry about. That said, this is all contingent on me being able to make the music I want to make. After all, what’s the point of having me produce an album if it’s not going to sound like me?
Of the options given, I’d go with Schumer or Stallone. Schumer cause I like comedy , think she’s funny and it might actually result in something interesting. She’s also the only option that actually probably listens to rap music at all. So there would, at the very least, be a slight understanding there. I’m not sure what the album would sound like stylistically but it’s would obviously be a comedy rap album so so we’d be doing satire based songs. Meaning, I’m probably try and mimics other genres. Something I’ve done before on the “Party Fun Action Committee” album.

Stallone I’d pick simply cause the idea of him rapping is hilarious and could somehow turn into some cult album that people will love 30 years from now.
Stylistically , it could go one of two ways. I could take the easy route and make an album of old samples…shit from the 70’s that sound like rocky or maybe even italian stuff from the 50’s , full or harmonicas and upright bass. OR, just give him my 12 dopest beats and see what happens. It would kinda be like what Primo did when he made the first group home album.

Who are some artists who you never want to meet but like their music?

I’d say most artists. I don’t really have a vested interest in meeting my heroes. It’s not like we’re gonna become friends and start hanging out. Best case scenario, they’re friendly and the interaction is positive but, beyond that? Meh. My experience with these things has been underwhelming so I don’t even try. Shake their hand, tell them you are a big fan and keep it moving. That said, I feel as though I’m able to keep a person and their music separate. Like, if I met someone like Tom Waits and he was a total asshole to me (just thinking of a random example), i wouldn’t start hating his music after that. Conversely, if I met Will.I.AM and he was the nicest guy ever, it may soften my take on his music. Like “Yeah, I don’t really like what he does but he’s a really good dude”.
In general, I’m fine if I never meet anyone I’m a fan of. The aura of celebrity doesn’t do much for me.

Any funny stories on doing psychedelics? How were your first times doing psychedelics?
Would you ever consider doing DMT at your age? (For like, depressing stuff, or can be for experimenting aswell) Also, have you thought of learning to play an instrument and read music?
I don’t know why but I always picture you playing a trumpet.

The first time I did psychedelics was at hampshire college in the mid/late 90’s. They used to have a huge halloween party there every year and some of my friends went there so I would go visit them. About 5 friends and I ate some shrooms and walked around the campus, tripping the fuck out. It was amazing. So amazing, in fact, it became a tradition until all those guys graduated.
I’ve written about this before I think but the funniest thing I ever saw while tripping was a family of rollerbladers wipe out right in front of me. I was down in battery park city, by the water, just sitting on a bench. I saw a line of about 6 people who seemingly were all related, snaking their way down the bike path, hands on hips. That itself was weird and funny to see but when one of them lost control and they went down like dominos, I lost it. It was one of those laughs where tears are streaming down your face and you think you might never breath again. I was legit hyperventilating. I was high so I really don’t even know how far away they were or if they saw me losing my shit but that will forever be my favorite moment while tripping.
As for DMT, I’m good on that. I’ve had enough people explain what it’s like to me to understand I have zero interest in feeling anything like that. I’m past the point in my life where self discovery via drugs is of any interest to me. If I do drugs now, it’s for fun. Everyone who’s ever told me about has spoken like it was a transformative experience that changed how they see the world but, looking at most of the people who told me, can’t say that world is one I would ever wanna live in. No offense to them, just not for me.
As for learning to play instruments, nah. I’m simply terrible at learning and my attentions pan is that of a fruit fly. It’s amazing I can’t even sit here and write this, let alone, learn to play an instrument.

Have you noticed a difference across cities with how much people tend to use their phones during shows? Like filming and taking pics during the show etc.
I’d say the phone usage thing is across the board. It’s less so in europe. Especially the further east you go. Americans though? We live via our fucking phone screens. Seems counterproductive to experiencing something first hand but I guess that’s just how it is. I know when I’m at a show and I wanna capture something, I’ll do it for like 15 seconds, feel dumb and give up. It’s not like recording that shit even sounds good or has replay value. It’s more like a proof of attendance. I’ve seen people just sit in the front row and record entire shows on their phone. Why, I will never know.

If you had to do one of these things, which one would you do?
1) Hike the Pacific Crest Trail (~2,600 mi)
2) Bike coast to coast (~3,300 mi)
3) Complete an IronMan triathlon (2.4 mi swim, 112 mi bike, 26.2 mi run, completed in <17 hrs)

All of these have to be done continuously, without breaks. With the first two, a break would mean stopping and flying home for a couple weeks then going back. You would be able to stop in a town for a day or two to resupply, fix gear, etc. The Ironman triathlon has additional time requirements (along with a lot of other rules)- like, the swim must be done in 2 hrs, 20 mins, the bike must be done in 8 hrs, 10 mins, and the marathon must be done in 6 hrs 10 mins.

I think the Pacific coast hike would be my only plausible option. I haven’t ridden a bike in like 25 years and have zero confidence in that as a skill that would take me 3000 plus miles. The iron man thing would probably just kill me and the fact I’d have to be doing it under a clock? Fuck that. I’d drown 1/5th through that swim.
I would loath every second of the hike and camping is truly hell on earth but at least it could go at my own pace. I’d probably be in great shape afterwards too, so that’s a bonus.

How long do you think human civilization will last?
I think we got maybe 150-300 years left. After 150, i feel as though we will be low on all natural resources, the weather will be nightmarish and the economy will be in the toilet. I think , within the next 100 years, shit is really gonna hit the fan. Wars, famine, no clean water, etc…and it will take another 100 years or so after that to finally finish off all mankind. Roaches will be chilling though. They got this.

Hey Block, I heard a rumor that you’re moving to New Jersey because you’re tired of city life, is this true?
HAHAHAHAHA
Nah man. Never. I have no plans of leaving NYC at any point , unless I’m forced out by powers beyond my control. And , if I was, i wouldn’t move to jersey. Now, don’t front…you didn’t hear that rumor. You made it up so you’d have a question to ask.

Answers for Questions vol. 290

2074873988_9dfe798ca9_b_zps6arldzqv
Hi guys. Welcome to Answers for Questions. you asked me stuff and I answer it. I always need more content so don’t be shy. Also, if you need love/life advice, send those questions as well. Email me all questions to phatfriendblog@gmail.com or simply leave them in the comment section below. Get weird!
Let’s peep this weeks batch.

How much do you put into consideration regarding the audience when performing? (e.g. playing more uptempo, “danceable” beats, sampling popular music) Do you ever feel like you need to compromise your own tastes to appeal to the masses?

Many people discovered you through The Music Scene, and I’m sure you’ve played it hundreds of times already at shows. Do you ever get sick of that song, and if so, how do you try to keep it fresh for yourself?

Does performing with instrumentalists interest you? Do you personally enjoy performances that involve improvisation or jazz musicians?

You mentioned that LA, Portland, and Denver were great places to go for the beat scene. I’d love to work with a bunch of artists/labels based in LA, but was surprised when you mentioned the other two. Who comes to mind for you in Denver and Portland?

1)I play the set I’m gonna play regardless. The way my live set works, a path is already in place. There is room to maneuver within the set but what songs I play doesn’t change depending on the audience. This has certainly worked against me but, then again, i’m not a DJ. I could go up there and just play entire songs but that’s not how I do my music live.
I will say, when I’ve dj’d at bars and stuff (not playing my own music) it’s definitely a constant compromise of finding a happy medium between music I like and music the average drunk person at the bar wants to hear.

2)I mean, I get sick of all my songs. Playing them live over and over again is definitely boring. So, I gotta change up the way I hear them (during my live set, I blend my songs with all sorts of other songs, vocal clips, etc…). But really, the energy from a crowd can make me get into it more.

3)Not really. I have live instruments on all my albums and I enjoy bringing in that kind of improvisation but, as far as performing live, it simply wouldn’t work with what I do.

4)Well pretty lights is from denver and that’s just a bubbling scene. There are so many acts coming up there right now and , more than anything else, it’s a place where people go out to shows and party. Portland has Emancipator and , much like denver, it’s a place where up and coming artists seem to be flocking to. I’d say,when I said they are great places for the beat scene, i meant there is a lot of support from fans there. They are both a creative environments with a lot of support systems in place.

Would you rather live in Council Bluffs, Iowa and eat whatever food you wanted or stay in NYC and be only limited to penne pasta noodles and lemon pepper?
Jesus…that’s tough. I mean…the idea of eating one food for the rest of my life sounds like torture so I suppose I would be forced to live in Council Bluffs. No clue what that is but I can’t be eating penne every meal for the rest of my life.

Have you ever found yourself in a moment where you’ve either flexed your celebrity or, looking back at a situation and been like, “that was kind of a diva move”. I know we’ve all had instances of self entitlement but has that ever effected you, being a well known musician?
Nope. I don’t do that shit. Ever. Partially, cause my “celebrity” is a joke. I don’t get noticed when I’m out. I’m low key. I have no sense of entitlement when it comes to this music life so the last thing I’d do is try and flip my situation into a way to get some cheap benefits. I go the other way. I try and not bring it up as much as possible. Like, when I meet people, I go out of my way to not talk about what I do for a living. And even if they ask, I’m pretty vague until pushed to the point where I have to speak about it. Not cause I don’t wanna talk about it or cause I am ashamed but cause I want to be judged on my own merit as a person. And, generally, no one has any idea who I am anyway so it’s a win/win.

What is something you’re okay with overspending on? Or rather just spending a lot of money on. For instance, once I started spending more than $5 on sunglasses, I could never go back.

Also, what do you think is the weirdest thing that people will shell out crazy amounts of money for?

Food. I will throw money down on an expensive meal, no questions asked. I’m pretty frugal in life. Not cause I’m cheap but I simply don’t have desire to own a lot of stuff. But food is one of my favorite things so you will never see me turn down a meal cause a restaurant is expensive. I’m all in, as long as the food is worth it.
Weird thing that people spend money on? I mean…lots of things. Like a $400 pair of jeans seems a but much. Women spending thousands on Handbags and fancy shoes they wear twice ever is insane to me but, hey, I’m not them. I’m very simple in my approach to life so things that are generally “extra” don’t make sense to me. Like decorative pillows. I dunno. I get why people buy them it’s just nothing i would even think to own. I buy things out of necessity , in general.

Do you try to call your rapper friends by their rapper name or do you throw in their “real” name every once in awhile? Along with that note, any stories about rappers being called their born name and getting pissy that you’ve witnessed?

Depends on the rappers. If I met them as the rappers then, chances are, I call them by their rap names. But If I knew them before that, I call them by their birth name. It’s really a case by case thing. I don’t have many close friends who are rappers. I know tons but only a handful I’d consider my actual homeboys. And those guys I call by their real names.
As for rappers getting pissy about being called by their government names, not really. I gotta say, it is a little weird when a stranger comes up to me at a show and is like “Hey Tony!” cause then I feel like I’m supposed to know them or I’ve met them. It gives this false sense of familiarity which can be confusing cause I’m constantly meeting people when I’m on the road. It’s impossible to keep track. It’s feels a little presumptive of someone to do that. I get why they do it and realize that it’s not done for any bad reasons but still, it throws me off. I’ve spoken to other musicians who feel the same way. It would be the same thing if a friend of mine called me “Blockhead”. They know me better than that.

how would you say you achieve “not giving a fuck”, especially today with the oversaturation of EVERYTHING, and living in a clusterfuck city like NYC? Thoughts?
Not giving a fuck is kinda easy when you’re naturally apathetic. I’m just kinda like that so it’s easy to brush things off. Thing is, I still feel things and get fired up about random bullshit but it dissipates quickly. Honestly, sometimes just firing off a dumb tweet or writing a blog post will clear the chamber for me. It’s like exorcising demons. Once it’s out, it’s no longer on my mind.
I should also add that I’m at an age where so little REALLY matters. It’s like “Does this effect me life in any way? No? then who cares?”.
I’d say living in a place like NYC makes not giving a fuck easier cause there is always a sense of things being bigger than you. You got your little problems but, oh look, that homeless dude is on fire. It’s easy to be distracted from the distractions here and that’s another reason I love it so much.

Hey Tony,
Why don’t more producers make beats in 3/4? This jay z beat is the only one I know of https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2pc3kD2iV8w
If you drop some beats in 3, I will be the first to pick em up. Or maybe you already I have?
Thanks man.

There’s a difference between 3/4 and a swing rhythm. Most songs that people assume are 3/4 are actually 4/4 but with swing. I’ve made a few beats like that… “Four walls” and the beginning of “Planes and trains” are two that come to mind. But actual 3/4 beats are rare. Only one I can think of is Aceyalone’s “The hunt“. Honestly, listening to it now, I can’t even tell. hahaha.

Have you ever had Vegemite?
I have not ever actually put it in my mouth BUT one of my best friends growing up had it in his house all the time cause his mom was from New Zealand. I smelled it once and almost barfed. We played a trick on his brother and made him a Peanut butter and jelly sandwich but put a huge dollop of Vegemite in the middle. Sufficed to say, he gagged and chased us around the house with a whiffle ball bat while we howled with laughter and evaded his swings.

Answers for questions vol. 289

5460_2850_960_zpsys5lo3gm
What up everyone…Back from the road with my dude Eliot Lipp. We had a great time. Thanks to all you that came out. It was a pleasure. That said, I’m happy to be home and will be loafing like a champion for as long as I can.
Anyway, welcome to “Answers for Questions”. My life long quest to answer every question anyone could ever ask me. if you would like to join history, ask me stuff. Anything. Make it interesting , if possible cause it only makes this whole thing more fun to read.
Send me questions to phatfriendblog@gmail.com or leave them in the comment section below. Be creative and weird!
Let’s check this weeks batch…

When do you think an artist should use a publicist? Is it as simple as if you want your shit on blogs etc then use one. Do you use one? Worth the $$$?

That’s a question I’ve actually discussed at length with many artists and I can’t say I’ve ever come up with a conclusive answer.
I can say the a GOOD publicist can help a lot. Creative ones. I don’t think I’ve ever had one like that but there are certainly artists who had publicists pulling strings that made their whole career take off.
Typically, a publicist will do a few things. Get you on blogs. Get you interviews. maybe some sort of printed media. It’s basically their job to spread the word. Thing with that is , in 2016, “the word” is a fleeting concept. To get a write up on a blog is cool and all but, by the end of the day, it’s at the bottom of the page and all but forgotten. It’s a weird thing to spend money on.
At the same time, i’ve done albums with and without them and , when you have a good publicist, it does spread the word better than you ever could alone. For instance, Ninja tune’s reach is much further than mine and that was clear when I put my own album out versus them putting one of my albums out.
To be totally honest, I’d say it more important to have something go viral (a video, a story, a song) than to have a publicist. But no one really can control what goes viral so that’s basically leaving it up to fate/luck. That or someone with pull getting behind you. Like if “The Needle drop” or “Pitchfork” give your album a good review, that’s a better look than a 1000 tiny blogs writing up your album. Most of which, by the way, barely even listen to the music. They just rehash the bio your publicist writes and post a song.

What’s your experience with international relationships? Could be you or friends. Culture clashes , language barriers etc. You ever dated someone whose first language wasn’t English?
I’ve never seriously dated anyone who was from another country (long distance style). I’ve dated people who grew up elsewhere and then moved to the states. I’ve dated one or two ESL people briefly. My experience is it’s just like dating someone from here. The ESL girls were kinda tough cause the language barrier was a little difficult but it wasn’t a deal breaker or anything. People are people, you know?

You play lots of festivals yea? If you went out of your way to just fuck with festivals do you think you could play them solely year round and live off them?
I actually don’t play THAT many festivals. My music isn’t really made for that kinda vibe. I don’t do massive EDM music. I make rap beats, basically. Generally, when i do play festivals, i’m the only artist like myself on the roster.
I don’t really have control over how many festivals I play (I get offers and take them) but I don’t think i could live off them year round. Partially cause i don’t get that many offers but also cause festivals aren’t really a year round thing. They tend to happen during the warmer months.

Whats your method for sleeping in an airport when necessary? Do you sprawl on the floor like a middle school child, try to retain a shred of dignity and look for a bench without those awful unmovable armrests and lay down, or try to sleep sitting up?

Have you ever been in one of those VIP airline member lounges, they cool?

I don’t do it. Never have. I’m a terrible sleeper. I can’t even sleep on planes, let alone a bench outside of a plane. I’ve been in airports more tired than I’ve ever been but just toughed it out cause , hey, I know that sleep will be shitty and anxious. I suppose I’ve trained my body to just be able to stay up when there is no other choice. I pretty much sleep like a person in jail anyway. Lightly and ready to spring up at any moment.

I’ve never been in on of those VIP lounges. I’ve never even flown first class. I’m a blue collar traveler to the core. I’m a coach riding, group C boarding motherfucker.😦

Several times I seen phish being mentioned on your blog. Usually with a shitty connotation by a reader in a hypothetical Q n A. You yourself have mentioned them. It seems like the hip hop community hates on them hard. I think mostly this is due to the exposure they’ve had with their “shower-once-a-week” fan base than the band’s actual music. Whats your thoughts?

I think “hate” is a strong word. Hip Hop doesn’t give a fuck about Phish. They don’t give a fuck about Soundgarden or Ween either. It’s not just Phish.
That said, I think people, in general, make fun of phish and jam bands cause it’s an easy target. Most things hippies are into are easy to make fun of.
I personally haven’t heard much phish music. I did listen to a podcast called “Analyze phish” where comedian/writer Harris Wittles tries to convince comedy writer Scott Aukerman that phish is good. On that show, they play clips of live stuff and album tracks. From what i heard there, I could gather that Phish are very good musicians who makes really boring music. Jam bands, in general, don’t appeal to me. I don’t care for noodling. It’s just some masturbatory bullshit that doesn’t even sound that good to me. I’m not really a rock and roll guy to begin and the solos were always my least favorite part of jazz so it’s simply not my cup of tea. Also, the lifestyle that goes with it is not my cup of tea. I don’t like festivals. i don’t even like live music that much. I definitely don’t like doing tons of drugs around a bunch of hippies. It’s not for me. But do you, Phish fans, you’re not hurting anyone.

This is a revisit. Puppy vs 10 year old girl. You gunna drown that puppy huh? Can’t punch a female? Plz elaborate on how living with the knowledge of punching a 10 year old girl in the face would fuck with you more than drowning a puppy.

It’s not like it’s a choice I wanted to make.
The question was would i rather punch a ten year old girl as hard as i can in the face or drown a puppy.
Obviously, both these options are terrible. I wouldn’t do either ever in a million years.
My logic is that humans come first. I would never punch a girl OR a child. So a girl child is like twice as bad. As much as puppies are adorable, I don’t have a human connection to them. I’m also not a big pet/animal guy. I certianly don’t wish harm on anything but I’m not a dude who loves dogs or cats. I’m pretty much indifferent about them (I actively loath cats though). Again, drowning a puppy (or anything really, even a cat) would fuck me up. And the person who originally asked this questions is definitely an asshole. But in a battle between human or animal? I’m picking human. I realize there is a large swath of humanity that prefers dogs to humans but I am not one of those people. When a dog that I can converse and share ideas with exists, lemme know.

What does a sound guy in a music venue do? is his role crucial? will he be obsolete anytime soon?
Uh, yeah…he’s crucial. He makes sure the sound from your instrument/lap top is heard clearly by the people who come to the shows. A good sound man is incredibly important. I’ve had countless shows fucked up by inept sound guys. Even been to a show of an artist you like but the sound is shitty and the experience is ruined ? That place needs a new sound guy. Or a new sound system. A good sound guy knows a room and understands who sound works. He also is into his job and stays by the boards during a show to make sure everything is going well. A bad sound guy just connects some wires, gets the sound to a passable level and is out smoking cigarettes during your set while people in the front rows are holding their ears.
So, yes, very crucial and they will not be obsolete any time soon.

Answers for Questions Vol. 288

1274_e5d0_960_zps4dnzwody
Hello everyone! Welcome to another edition of “Answers for Questions”. My never ending quest to answer every question anyone could ever ask me. If you have a question, don’t be shy, fire away. send them to me at phatfriendblog@gmail.com or leave them in the comment section below. All i ask is be creative. Be weird. It makes it better for both of us.
While I got you here, I just wanna give a heads up that I will be doing some shows out west this week with Eliot Lipp. San Diego, L.a., S.f. and Seattle. For more info check HERE. This also means my posting may be scarce on the blog this week but, you know, who really gives a shit about that?
Okay, let’s go….

I get the impression that a lot of people in America are super PC and if you say something non-PC people will think you’re a privileged piece of shit. My question is how careful are you in general conversation to not offend anyone and do you think that over the top political correctness is another product of the internets global retardisation

Man, things have changed a lot over the last 20 years. I feel like it’s all in the name of good but ,sadly, the result is that everyone is kind of a pussy. It’s nice to see people learning to respect the lives of others and, in turn, not using certain words and speaking of certain lifestyles with disregard. However, in order for this to be possible it appears we have entered into a time where everything is a trigger and anyone who’s ever felt some sort of way about anything is out there policing what other people say. It’s a tricky situation. Cause, being PC means all sorts of different things. At one point it was something like referring to black people as “African Americans”. Now it’s more along the lines of what’s the right term to use for things related to gender equality. As a straight white male, I’m really not in a place to say shit about anything. The natural privilege that comes with being a straight white man is so engrained in our society that I have to basically just step back from topics like this and let the people actually involved tell me what is what. I’m fine with that. Sure, lots of the word based stuff is semantics to me. But, again, not my place to decide who gets to be called what. Like I think about how the word “midget” is now thought of to be offensive when , growing up, it was literally what you called little people. Like, that WAS the name. Or using the word “retarded” to describe someone with mental development issues. Same thing. Now these words are off the table. It’s more a case of getting used to things than fighting them.
So, to answer your question, I’m pretty careful to a point. More so in conversation than I am on this blog. Not cause I don’t have my own beliefs (and trust me, I think a big portion of what people get uptight about is ridiculous) but more because why rock the boat? If I’m talking to some stranger about whatever, do I really need to inject some word in there that might offend them just to prove some weird anti-PC point? It’s just not worth it. Now, if I know you? All bets are off. I say outlandish shit all day cause friends “get it”. The understand context and the concept that humans are multifaceted. Also, jokes. They get Jokes. But strangers? You gotta be more careful. It’s unfortunate that it has to be like that but, like I said, there is a greater good to it. Hopefully ,it will even out eventually cause some of the things people get upset about are just fucking insane. Gender, race, human rights, etc…those are all real things that deserve focus and change. But if someone makes fun of your gluten allergy or the kinda clothes you wear? Getting upset about that isn’t being “P.C.”. It’s you being a sensitive pussy who thinks, just cause you believe in something means it can’t be joked about or questioned. And that’s the problem. The P.C. movement isn’t a product of global “retardisation”, it is a product of the pussification though and that’s only cause people keep adding their little causes to the movement. THAT shit scares and saddens me but, hey, it’s the world we live in.

Knicks vs Celtics
Knicks:Walt Fraizer,Earl Monroe,Benard King,Melo,Ewing

Celtics:Cousy,Pierce,Bird,Garnett,Russell

Who wins in a 7 game series?

Celtics. Easily. Fuck the Celtics though.

What was it like making the decision to drop out of college? Was it more of a “fuck it” decision or did you have everything planned out? I don’t see myself getting through college but I’m scared I won’t be able to support myself without it.

Me dropping out of college was a culmination of a few things. One was “Fuck it”. I didn’t like school. Never did. Didn’t have interest in learning what was being taught to me and I figured I could save my parents a shitload of money if I just didn’t go back. That said, there was no plan. No at all. I just knew that school didn’t “work” for me. I had been a bad student and someone who genuinely didn’t give a shit about it my entire life. I didn’t get sad when i got bad grades. I didn’t beat myself up when things didn’t go well. This was because I truly didn’t care (or try). So, dropping out felt like that. Nothing. I clearly recall driving away from school after knowing I wasn’t coming back , thinking “i will never have to do homework again…”. Looking back, part of me missed the idea of college. The social aspects. But not the learning. If i could, I might have gone and lived on campus for four years but it doesn’t work like that.
All that said, I got lucky. The jobs I worked after college were trash and, had music not worked out, who knows where I’d be now? At best, a bartender. At worst? i really can’t even imagine.

What do you think of the word ‘cunt’?. where I’m from it is used quite freely (not even as an insult) e.g. “oh yeah, Tony’s a good cunt” or when toasting “cheers cunts!”, the loose rules are not to bomb it in front of children, girls and grandmas. In the workplace (blue collar) it would be unusual to hear it dropped less than 20 times in a day. Would this frighten you or would you not give a shit?

I don’t get offended by curse words. Ever. So, to me…hearing or saying “cunt” is nothing. At the same time, culturally, that word is much different in the states than it is over seas.
Here it’s looked at as the most fucked up thing you can call a girl. Like, “bitch” to the tenth power. If I’m calling someone a cunt, they are a fucking awful human being (and they are a female). So, it’s one of those words you really got to weigh out the usage of. So, no, it doesn’t get thrown around much here but when it is used, it’s done so to make a very clear point.

The question I have for you is, what do you make of artists, particularly rappers from outside of the US that rap in fake American accents? Personally I think it’s silly and I’ve tried to understand why they do it but I just don’t get it so I’ve given up on trying to understand it and just let it be. Do you think that rappers from outside the US using a fake American accent is the equivalent of a producer using a sample and that’s why these rappers see nothing wrong with the fake accent?

I didn’t realize that was a thing. Like, all the foreign rappers I’ve heard sound foreign.
So, if this is in fact a trend, it hasn’t made it over here yet.
That said, if you think about it, it’s not that crazy.
Rap is from America. It’s an art form created here and, to this day, the validity of it is still based on sounding a certain way. I mean this in the sense of “what is accepted in the states” in terms of rap. Outside of some british mc’s and, i guess, MC Solar you will pretty much never hear a rapper with a foreign accent have success in the US. It just doesn’t play. I know I heard that shit and immediately zone out. So, if a rapper from another country seeks the validation of the US rap audience (which is understandable cause this is where it all comes from. It’s the major leagues of rap), why would he not try and sound as american as possible? It’s similar to white rappers throwing on a heavy fake “blackcent” in order to sound more authentic. It’s corny but I see why they do it. They just wanna be accepted.
As far as your “using a sample” comparison, it’s nothing alike. Sampling has been a part of beat making since hip hop began. Rapping in german has not been. The fake accents (that I’m not aware of but you seem to be talking about) can only be the result of rappers on the outside looking in, trying to fit into american hip hop.

Michael Jordan coming out of retirement AGAIN.

Thoughts?

Well, that’s not happening so my thoughts are “where did you get this misinformation?”

I’ve been a big fan of you and Aes for a few years now (when I say big fan, I freak out when I come across vinyl copies of either of your works). I wanted to ask you what advice you’d give a 16-year old hip-hop nerd like me who’s an aspiring producer?

This is one of those FAQ type questions but there really isn’t an answer. Sadly, my advice won’t help or hurt you. There is no secret to being good or being successful. You either are or you aren’t. Sure, having a natural talent for making beats is a good building block but things like timing , luck and who you know are just as, if not more, important.
My only advice to anyone wanting to do this is to work hard on it, try and find your own sound and don’t get caught up in what other people are doing. If you dedicate your life to making trap beats cause that’s what’s hot right now then, in 8 months from now, when that phase has passed, where are you gonna be? Make your own path. Also, don’t expect it to work out. For anyone to have a career in this kinda of thing is a fluke. It’s like playing a professional sport. A guy like me is still in the minor leagues. I make a living off this shit but I’m far from rich. So, make music for the love of making music. If it pans out, that’s great. If not? well, you do it as a hobby cause it’s something you like doing.
Regardless, keep doing it until it’s not fun anymore.


Do you ever refer to women as “ma’am?”

I do on random occasions. I don’t even know why, to be honest. You would think I would save it for an older woman, as a sign of respect but it generally blurts out my mouth when I’m getting my change from a cashier at some place like chipotle. There is something kinda funny about called a 19 year old Chipotle cashier “Ma’am”. It’s not a diss but it definitely makes them be like “say what?!?”.
Also, i definitely use it more when I’m down south but I think that’s just what happens. It’s in the air down there.

Answers for Questions vol. 287

Lovely-Cute-Animals-15
G’day mates! Welcome to another edition of “answers for questions”. You ask stuff and I do my best to give you answers. I’m always in need of new questions so don’t be shy and fire away. You can either email me questions at phatfriendblog@gmail.com or leave then in the comment section below. All i ask is be creative…and weird. It makes it more enjoyable to read and write.
This weeks batch is…educational? kinda sorta.

What do you think of the much-discussed gender binary? Do you believe in masculine and feminine principles, and that rebelling against them is subversive, or attractive?

You must think I’m much smarter than I am or that I read books or something cause I’m not aware of the “much discussed gender binary”…but lemme google that right now…hold please.
Okay…I’m back. Ah…that’s more simple than I expected. I see the word “binary” next to gender and expect to have to figure out equations on dicks and vaginas.
I think it’s become a whole lot of grey area. Just listening to high school kids talk, hearing a 15 year old boy say he’s gender fluid is something that would never have even been thought of 15 years ago. I feel like I’ve discussed this here before but it’s almost as if to simply be a boring straight person is looked upon as lame. Which is obviously a huge shift from how things used to be. I partially don’t believe most of these people are even that “fluid”. Like, the majority of them will date and marry people from the opposite sex and outside of an experimental experience here and there, they’re straight. It’s good that the world is finally caring less about such things cause being persecuted or judged based on who you fuck is ridiculous (assuming both parties are willing and adults) but it’s also in our nature to front. That said, teenagers are gonna do what they do and who’s dumber than they are? No one.
As for the whole idea masculine and feminine principals, that’s changing too. It’s as if both sexes are taking notes from each other with hopes of maybe meeting in the middle. That said, i do think certain things are engrained in our DNA. Men and women are undeniably different. To pretend that isn’t the case is short sighted and not really healthy for opening a healthy dialogue. We, in general, feel and act differently. There’s nothing wrong with that though. One isn’t better or worse than the other. At the same time, it’s not like one day, a new generation of men are going to wake up and just all of a sudden be driven by emotions and deep feeling and women are gonna wake up driven by simplicity and logic. I’m not saying any of those characteristics are specific to either sex but, in general, it seems to be thats the way things lean.
i honestly don’t even know if I answered you question but it seems more like something someone should write a thesis on than I can wrap up in two paragraphs.

how important was “The Music Scene” animated video to your success at the time it came out? I understand it aired on adultswim for a while. Did you have any input on what the animation depicted? It’s a really brilliant video and it’s always the first thing I show anyone who doesn’t recognize your music; the pairing of a dope song with super interesting visuals is something to behold.

I would say that video revived my career. Not like I was floundering and gonna quit before it came out but it reinvigorated interest in what I was doing. Prior to that I was “The guy who made the beat for “daylight” by Aesop” or “The guy who made insomniac olympics”. Both those things were good to have under my belt but they also were from years earlier. When “The music scene” video came out, people freaked out over it. Rightfully so…it’s an insane video. But it also got people looking into my other work and , around that same time, i started booking more tours. All of a sudden, I had new fans (younger fans too) and I would close my set with “The Music Scene”, where as it was always “insomniac olympics” before that. So, yeah…it was a huge deal for me and to this day it resonates. I have someone mention that video to me at every show I do. It’s become a starter point for people to find out about my music.
As for input on the video itself, I had nothing to do with anything. That was all the artist. Which is fine with me. He did a great job and my two cents wouldn’t have helped him at all.

do you watch any cartoons or animated films you’d recommend? I feel like you would have good taste in adult cartoons. Maybe its just a weird assumption.
ehhhhh…I watch some things here and there but I’m not really a guy who seeks it out. Like, outside of South park, there’s no animated show I watch with regularity. I check on Adult Swim stuff sometimes but even that is rare. I’m skeptical of cartoons for some reason and , generally, have to be won over for me to get into them. Even when they’re good (bob’s burgers, archer) I don’t find myself compelled to watch them. Dunno why.

With NYC’s massive gentrification, are there neighborhoods in any of the boroughs that you would not go to because of imminent danger/crime/etc?
Sure. I would avoid going to brownsville or east New york in BK. I wouldn’t go to multiple parts of the Bronx. I’m sure queens got some areas I’d avoid. That said, I’m an adult and that kind of shit doesn’t scare me like it did when I was a teenager. I’ve walked through and hung out in many fucked up hoods in my life…in and outside of NYC. I still felt safer in most of those places than i do when I’m in the woods in the middle of nowhere.
Thing is, there would never be a reason for me to go to any of those places in the first place. Honestly, that’s something that hasn’t changed with all the gentrification. The shitty hoods have always been shitty but they’ve also been removed in the sense that no outsiders really ever need to be in them. The dangerous areas that I went to when I was younger were fringe places. They were the places in the midst of being gentrified. Like , when i was a teenager, the lower east side was fucked up. But I still went there cause there was a reason to go (buy weed, bars, shows). So , that in itself shows the hood was changing. It was dangerous but not so much that I’d be scared to go there.
I wouldn’t have set foot in bed-stuy, BK ten years ago but I recorded my last album there. It’s all about having a reason to be somewhere.

I always love the feeling of nostalgia from listening music that I enjoyed in the past, but I’m curious to know if an artist could get the same feeling from there own music. Are there any of your past projects that envoke a sense of nostalgia when you listen to them? That is of course if you even listen to any of your own music in the first place.

I’m so sick of my own old music it’s not even funny. I pretty much never listen to any of it. I listen to the new shit I’m working on as a means to figure out what I’m gonna do with it but the old stuff? Not often. Every now and then I’ll have a moment where I check out some song I made 10 years ago just out of curiosity. Sometimes it makes me roll my eyes, other times I listen and think “man, how did I do that?”.
One thing that I definitely do is focus on the more obscure songs. Like if I never hear anything from “Music by cavelight” again, I’d be thrilled. But I’ll dig into weird album cuts off “Downtown science” or “Uncle Tony’s coloring book” just to remind myself of where my head was at musically at that point.
But, in general, nope. I don’t go back to my old work. I’d rather move forward than bask in the old shit.

When you drink, do you fill your cheeks and swallow several times, take big gulps, or small sips with small swallows?
Interesting.
It depends what I’m drinking. If it’s water, I take big gulps. If it’s carbonated I will sometimes fill my cheeks. If it’s got booze in it, I take smaller sips. You could say I’m a versatile drinker.

Just curious how the song “Cook It Up” came about, with you and Jer singing. It’s really good!

Oh man…that song. Well, when Aesop was making “Bazooka tooth” I believe “Party Fun action Committee” was already out…or had just dropped. We sang a lot on that and I think Aesop wanted some weird singing on his album. Thing is, neither jer nor I are serious singers. We’re passably okay at best. I forgot about this until recently but Aesop unearthed some demos from that era and played me a song I sang a hook on that I have no recollection of ever even recording. Sufficed to say, it was awful and thank god it never made his album.
Anyway, “Cook it up” seemed like the perfect place for our vocals cause the song was kinda tongue in cheek and I made the beat. During that time, the Neptunes were singing on everything so my performance was clearly an homage to that whole style of falsetto. I think Aesop wrote the lyrics. I may have helped with a word or two but I don’t really recall. But, yeah, we recorded it and that was that. It helped launch my singing career for sure. You might know me by my stage name “Bruno Mars”.