Sunday, July 24, 2016

"Cutting It Up" with Jurassic 5/Ozomatli DJ & Brainfreeze Co-creator Cut Chemist On The Eve of The Audience's Following (The Witzard Interview)


"The Audience's Following is a 10-year anniversary fan club edition version of The Audience's Listening. I like to call this the bizzaro version follow-up to [The Audience's Listening], as it features songs that never made the cut and demo versions of songs that did. There are also B-sides from vinyl singles, plus a special mix of the original song sampled for "What's The Altitude" by Curtis Knight[-Zeus]. Have fun listening to the album that was almost released 10 years ago. It's the follow-up and the audience is still following and listening and... whatever else," world-renowned DJ Lucas "Cut Chemist" Macfadden wrote within a short 7/11 Bandcamp description attached to The Audience's Following. Now, I don't mean to get all fanboy here, but I've been actively wishing and working on scoring an interview with Cut Chemist for about 3-5 years now; I can remember purchasing Jurassic 5, Cut's on-again off-again and recently reunited group's Power In Numbers (2002), which I can honestly say was (and still is) amongst my first favorite Hip-Hop albums! In addition to his work with long-time crews Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli, Cut Chemist has worked with everyone from Brainfreeze co-creator DJ Shadow to Hip-Hop-indebted Alt. Rockers Incubus and has even toured the world with the likes of "She Wolf" songstress herself, Shakira; Macfadden has appeared in a number of critically-acclaimed feature films including Juno, Up In The Air, and Jennifer's Body as fittingly, either a DJ or chemist. The Audience's Following, Cut Chemist's quasi-follow-up and "bizzaro" step-brother to his 2006 debut, The Audience's Listening is currently available in all of its 15-track glory from Macfadden's own A Stable Sound imprint and can be purchased a thrifty, well-deserved $12 on his personal Bandcamp page. "Slurp slurp!"


Sincerely,

Matt Horowitz
The Witzard Editor-In-Chief

I. How does The Audience’s Following relate to its 10-year-old predecessor The Audience’s Listening? Now, correct me, if I’m wrong: but is it essentially a “bizarro” collection full of B-sides, remixes, demos, and incomplete tracks from the Cutting room floor?

That's exactly how it relates. These songs were recorded during the same sessions as the album The Audience's Listening. Some were intended to be B-side only songs, some promo only material, [and] some actual songs that were changed at the last minute.


II. You previously told me that “[“Sea of Time” is] the song I sampled. I have the reel for the [Curtis Knight-Zeus] album and mixed down a special instrumental for this occasion;” how would you attempt to best describe your unconventional process of deconstructing and reconstructing “Sea of Time” into what would eventually become “What’s The Altitude?”

I think the description "deconstructing and reconstructing" might not be the best, but just simply "sampled;" I sampled the opening guitar and bass riff and sped it up, as the basis of the song. It was an odd riff that I found sexy and playful, like the lyrics to the song, so I thought it made a better match than the original beat I had for it, which was more break beat Rock-sounding.


III. What’s the correlation or musical relationship between Curtis Knight Zeus’ “Sea of Time,” “Addictive” from The Audience’s Following, and the final product- “What’s The Altitude?”

The Rock break beat-sounding sample I originally made for “What's The Altitude,” then was re written as a song called “Addictive” also featuring Hymnal. It became a staple when performing shows, even though it wasn't released on the album. A few years later, it got licensed to Skate 2 video game and garnered some recognition from the gamer community. I was always asked if and when it would be released.


IV. Now, I know you guys have released a handful of stand-alone tracks since somewhat suddenly reforming back in 2013-14, but do you and your Jurassic 5 brethren have any immediate plans to record and release a proper, and might I add, long-awaited, follow-up to Feedback (2006)?

Jurassic 5 has no plans to release newly recorded material, at least until we finish releasing older unreleased songs from previous album sessions. So far, we've released two. There are many more to go!


V. How does your recording process differ when recording a 45-centric album like Brainfreeze with DJ Shadow and a more emcee-based producer’s album like The Audience’s Listening/Following?

The mix CD’s I've done with DJ Shadow are simply just that, mix CD’s. An artist album is an entirely different “ball of wax,” so to speak. It takes much more time and requires a different sense of arranging, as these are 3-minute compositions that involve both sampling and live instrument playing/music-writing. It's an artist expression, rather than a display of just musical taste, so a lot more thought goes into how it relates to me as an artist and as a person.


VI. While The Audience’s Following was refurbished and released to coincide with its predecessor’s recent 10-year anniversary (fittingly 7/11), what ultimately made you decide to revisit these abandoned or formative album sessions now?

I chose to release this material for a few reasons. One, I wanted to do something special for the 10-year anniversary. Originally, I was going to just re-issue [The Audience's Listening] on vinyl, as it was 10 years ago, but then as I was going through old [hard] drives, I realized I could offer something that would help complete a narrative to the story. The thought process of what evolved and became the album and stories told, were cut that were meant to be told on future singles. Unfortunately, the campaign didn't get that far and these singles couldn't come out, except for “Mean Gene” and “Beats Thru Space."


VII. How did you happen to get in touch with recently reformed She Wants Revenge to re-work “What’s The Altitude?” for their Electro-based CD maxi-single remix? What were your feelings concerning Adam 12 & Justin Warfield's submitted The Audience’s Following re-work?

Just so we are clear, [She Wants Revenge] did the “Altitude” remix on 2006 when they were still a relatively new group. I've known Adam 12 for years in the LA DJ circuit. I was a fan of Justin's Rap stuff from years ago. I liked what they were doing and I thought it would be a great way to tap into the [Indie] Rock scene which I really liked at the time. A lot of [The Audience’s Listening] was inspired by OK Computer, Nirvana, and The White Stripes, believe it or not. I think I had my label reach out to them and they said “yes.” I'm sure the DJ connection with Adam helped their decision, but I was also flattered that they liked the song. I remember playing it in Barcelona during Sonar Festival in 2005 well before it came out. Diplo, who was DJing everywhere in the world that I was at the time, came up to me and told me how much he liked the song and that it would blow up. I was happy to hear that as it was a special song for me. I've known Hymnal since I was 12-years-old and I felt like we made a very unique-sounding song together.


VIII. Walk me through this, if you can, Cut Chemist: how does a song like A. “O Jardim “ or B. “Siesta” (demo) transform into something so completely different, yet their progressive final products, “The Garden” and “Storm?” How many iterations do you generally go through before ultimately ending up with you finalized album versions?

How does “O Jardim” and “Siesta” sound so different than their finished products? The answer is a lot of time spent: “O Jardim” is the live musician session recorded in Brazil in 2002. It was intended to be used as pieces to a song and not a song on its own. “The Garden” went through years of evolution, before I deemed it finished. The songs embryonic stages started in 1993. Throughout the years, it would evolve into what would be “The Garden” and a lot of its transformation had to do with that session in Brazil. It [really has] such a life beyond [the] arrangement of samples. It helped give [The Audience’s Listening] range beyond just a DJ album for me.

“Siesta” is also considered a “sketch” of the song that would become “Storm.” I knew I wanted Edan on the album. He enlisted Mr. Lif on his own, which was fine by me, as I was a fan, but didn't know him personally. The beat was a rare 45 with a rugged break beat, which was the template for my album in 2004. It was that year that I wanted to challenge myself with more [uncharted] territory. This is when I found the “Vox Populi! Megamix” song, when I was in Rome. I wanted something more Psychedelic and Electronic. I put that under their verses and a light switch in my head flickered on. This was the sound I was looking for and they were the perfect emcees to usher that in.


IX. How would you describe your 2013 world-music compilation Cut Chemist Presents FUNK OFF: Vox Populi! & Pacific 231 and its companion limited run "FUNK OFF MEGAMIX" 12-inch? What is their musical relationship to your noteworthy compositions "The Storm" and "Work My Mind?"

This was a head-scratcher for some. I love this project. It all started with the new direction of “Storm” when I found that Vox Populi! record in Rome in 2004. It kind of changed my life. Once I was hip to their existence, I had to search for more of their [catalog]. When I found them on MySpace, I made friends with the man behind the group [Axel Kyrou] and he sent me all their material. I was fascinated by it all. I wanted to sample everything, but I also decided to share their genius with the world by releasing a compilation of my favorite songs of theirs. The comp. is called Cut Chemist Presents FUNK OFF. I was asked by my Japanese label, who first licensed this project, to do a mix for Cut Chemist fans in order to present it in a more DJ-friendly context; this is how the “FUNK OFF MEGAMIX” came about. It was a great way to introduce this music in exactly the way I wanted it to be heard... as Hip-Hop! “Storm” and “Work My Mind” are both songs that sample music from this catalog; on my upcoming album, I will feature more [songs], including a sequel to “Storm” featuring Edan and Mr. Lif again and I will also include some new music collaborations with Vox Populi! that I'm very excited about.


X. Are you able to divulge any information concerning your proper follow-up to your last full-length, Sound of The Police (2010)? Will it likely feature the re-appearance of “Outro (Revisited)” or Chali 2na & Hymnal-assisted “Work My Mind?”

Sound of The Police was not an artist album. It was a mix album, much like the ones I did with DJ Shadow. I think [The] Audience's Following is the closest to a follow-up album to The Audience's Listening, hence the title. I've been working on a new album that originally was a home for the songs “Outro (Revisited)” and “Work My Mind,” but I'll have to see how the album shapes up, to see if those stories still fit in context with the narrative. So far, “Outro” has become a lonely island, where as “Work My Mind” is still on the album tracklist.

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