Here’s a lengthy, but good interview with El-P. It touches on the making of his most recent project, “Weareallgoingtoburninhellmegamixxx3”
“El-P needs no introduction, after entering the public consciousness in 1996 with his group Company Flow he has gone on to run one of the most widely acclaimed independent hip hop labels, Definitive Jux, and has also put out two largely successful solo albums. He is famed for his work as both a rapper and as a producer and has gone down in history for his contributions to the genre as a whole.
His latest project Weareallgoingtoburninhellmegamixxx3 drops August 3rd on Gold Dust so we caught up with him to discuss the project’s origins, his creative process and his thoughts on why his music sounds like it does…
What’s the story behind Weareallgoingtoburninhellmegamixxx3? I understand that the other mixes in the series were only out on a very limited press, what was the thinking behind giving it more of a widespread release?
Well, a couple of things really; the other ones were just available on tour, I only pressed up about 500 of each and they became these sort of cult favourites of my fan-base, but I always got a lot of shit from people because they couldn’t get their hands on them. I just felt like it was a good time to put something out for people to give them something while I work on my proper follow-up to I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead which is going to take me a little longer to complete because obviously it’s a little more complicated than doing an instrumental album.
Gold Dust approached me to do a record, and at the time I had already kind of started to compile this thing and it just happened to be the right timing. It just made sense and it seemed like a cool thing that people would be into a little bit and a good way for me to wrap my head around some music. I just felt like jumping into something. So that’s it really, nothing too lofty.
What challenges come with putting together an instrumental release? Was the process of making this album similar to how you worked on Company Flow’s Little Johnny from the Hospitul which dropped back in 1998? How do you feel your production style has developed since then?
Well, when we did Little Johnny From the Hospitul I had no fucking idea what I was doing. I had never done any instrumental music before apart from a few random little things and I’d done some production work for people but I had never done an instrumental record. I don’t think I had ever even done an instrumental song; maybe I had done one or two. So that was really new territory for us at the time, you know it was kind of a weird idea. No one expected us to do that in 1998; people looked at us like we were fucking crazy because it was a follow-up to Funcrusher Plus and it was an instrumental record. A lot of time has gone by since I did my first instrumental album and this one and I’ve learned a shit load about music and gained a lot more experience in production since then.
This record was produced in a very different way to Little Johnny from the Hospitul. The challenge with it is; everything that is on this record came from a collection of things that had never really come to much and that I had laying around, things that I had started and that had never really gone anywhere, as well a few things that I had not used from other projects. Firstly I had to go in and make them instrumental songs, most of them were not instrumental songs; they were small pieces of music that probably were going to have me rhyming over them or someone else. I had to sit back and look at them and give them some sort of structure: a beginning, middle and end in whatever twisted way I could do that. That was a challenge.
I had to add another layer of production from the originals to connect the songs, you know; to make sure they were cohesive. I did each individual song, I mixed them down and I bounced down all the stems, then I had to go in and essentially re-produce the whole thing to make it really continuous, to make sure that if you play it will run right through. So I tried to make this record just a cool little mix that you could throw on and that would really just flow mostly. I’m pretty happy with the results of, it was fun to make. It was definitely a bit of a unique thing, I probably did this faster than I’ve done any record before.
How long did it take you to make would you say?
Well, not counting whatever time it took to make the original pieces that I drew from which were scattered throughout the last couple of years, I’d say probably about four months. I really just sat in and just got immersed in it. It’s a lot easier to do that when you have that sort of direction. Doing an instrumental album is a lot less taxing than trying to you know, write the great American novel.
I remember hearing in another interview that New York remains a constant source of inspiration for your music, can the same be said for this record?
Oh definitely; no question. It’s just something thats ingrained in me at this point. This is where the noise comes from, this is where the clutter comes from. In some weird way I think it’s just me trying to assimilate all of the random noise and chaos and it’s my little way of controlling it. It’s worked its way into the way I do music. I’m trying to I guess control the sound in some way, it’s chaos but it’s my version of it. I think that New York has to have affected me because I don’t think that the same reference and the same sounds, ideas and the same aggression and moods would really have emanated from anywhere else, at least in my life. I think my music would sound a lot different if I grew up in California.“ | Read More | Knowledge Mag