The dope producer gives us an extensive insight into his new album 'Seldom Seen Often Heard' from the sounds to the guests and artwork. Read all about it and what the future holds now.
What's up Ghost, how's it going? Sup Tony? It's going pretty good. I'm tired but you know I'm used to that.
The album everyone's talking about. What's it called and what's it like?
Well I'm not sure everyone's talking about it just yet, but hopefully they will be after they've heard it and had time to digest it. The album is called 'Seldom Seen Often Heard' and it's like a fucking journey man! It's hard to describe your own shit without sounding like an idiot, but in a nutshell it's a lot of different emotions over the last couple of years in musical form, and a journey through all of that. The good moods, the not so good, etc etc. I wanted to give the album something I felt has been lacking a lot over recent years, bar some obvious exceptions, and that was some real feeling in the music, so that's how I'd describe the album. It has a lot of feeling!
What's the thinking behind the title? Are you a reclusive workaholic?
Yeah, you pretty much summed it up. I'm not one of these people who likes to chat a lot and not actually get things done. I don't chat much. I don't go out bragging about my music. I'm in the lab working hard, getting my business taken care of and you'll hear me more than you're likely to see me.
How long did you spend making it and how relieved are you that it's all done and dusted?
I spent a year of recording and mixing to get it done, and probably another 6 months to year piecing the album together in my brain! It wasn't an overnight thing. I'd planned how I wanted it a long time ago. Just a case of finding the right pieces to the jigsaw. Relieved, yes, and para' also. I mean, I put my fucking heart and soul into the album and a fuck load of late nights and everything, but I'm relieved and I just want people to hear it now.
Are there any tracks you're particularly fond of, or which you reckon people will rave about more than others?
Well I'm fond of the whole album! I mean, for different reasons certain tracks stand out more for me but not because of any other reason other than when I did them, some shit was going on and I captured the moment of where my head was at the time, like 'Basic Instinct' and 'Round Trip'.
As to what other people will rave about, I dunno. I mean, I hope that people will get what I've tried to do, and will see that it's music at the end of the day. I'm not flavour of the month. I'm in it for the long term and to make good music.
How did you hook up with the various rappers on the project?
Well I've known quite a few of the featured artists for a good few years, I.E Kashmere, Verb T, Asaviour and IQ. The others, I've met over the last couple of years and it was just a case of hearing people I was into and then seeing if they wanted to be a part of the project. Most of them did and that was that.
Was it a conscious decision to have a few of them on several tracks as opposed to bringing in more rappers?
Yes, very much so, 'cause I know those guys can hear what I'm doing with the music, so they're gonna write to that. That's exactly why Kashmere, Verb T and Asaviour feature on there as much 'cause they can hear the mood of the music and get with the vibe. That's so important. I didn't want a project featuring a whole bunch of emcee's right now. I wanted an album that has a start, a middle and an end and it's not easy to do that when you have a different emcee on every track. I don't even like the fact people call it a producer led album. I know it is, but there's more to it than that. Just needs people to listen and take it all in.
Who'd be your first choices if you had to get other emcee's in to use your beats?
Nas. In all honesty, anyone who can catch the vibe of what I'm doing and is prepared to deal with it, I'll work with if I like what they do.
The instrumental 'Round Trip' suggests you'd make a really nice vocals free release. Is that a possibility?
Yeah. I'm deep into something along those lines. For me, it's all about confidence though. Now I have the confidence to know that I can do it and do it well, and now other people can hear that for themselves, I've kind of introduced the fact that you can expect something along those lines in the future. To just come out with an instrumental project is not easy. But you know I got a lot of different angles to the music that I do that people don't know about. With the album they'll start to realize that, as I have.
That guy Biscuit's starting to show up on more production credits. What can you tell us about him. He plays flute right?
He plays flute. He's mad talented with it, and can cut like a mofo too. He works a lot with LG who is sick musically as well. All I can say is, watch out for his features. He's got a lot coming.
Would working with live instruments be something you'd like to try, as opposed to concentrating on sample based beats?
I play a lot of my sounds live in a sense that it's not all loops. I chop things and re-jig them in my mpc. Live is all good but I think all live wouldn't be something I'd go for just yet. But I'm looking to use some live stuff in a lot of what I do, be it flute, shakers or whatever. People shouldn't think they're limited just 'cause it's sample based. It's what you do with the samples.
Lately quite a few producers have put out full length releases. What have been some of your favourite?
Well they've all brought something to the table. I've known Baby J quite a few years and he's doing his thing. I gotta big him up, and Evil Ed, Blufoot. I think they all do something different and I think I did something different from those guys. It's all good 'cause you can see everyone's different angles on Hiphop and albums, and all working hard to try and reach their goals.
When you hear a beat you really like, do you get competitive and run to the lab to try and do better?
Haha, I think healthy competition is a good thing for all producer's and the music in general. I just want to make the best music I can, and if I hear something I really like I think 'OK, I gotta do my thing and make it the shit', even if it doesn't sound like what anyone else is doing. I've found my strengths now and my sound, so I make the best I can, doing what I do in my way.
What are the main pieces of hardware you use in the heart of your studio?
Really the MPC 2000XL, but I use a few others things too like my computer to mix. People need to not watch what is in fashion to use and find out what they work best with. It's different for everyone.
If hiphop didn't exist, what genre do you think you'd most likely be producing within?
Who knows? A lot of the music I like these days stems in some way from Hiphop anyway, so it's hard to suggest. I'd like to get into soundtracks though. That's one thing I really want to do.
Do you think more soul orientated tracks like 'Talk To Me' are on the horizon? Where did you find the classy singer Devorah?
I don't even feel that's a soul track. I mean, it's essentially Hiphop sounding. I was lucky to hook up with her actually, through a friend giving me her details. I asked her to send me something she'd worked on and it was a couple of drum and bass tracks, and they were sick, so I sent her the tune and that was that. She has a great voice and isn't trying to be all RnB. She has her own sound and style. I had been working with some other singers who were also great, but their voices weren't quite right for that track.
Talk us through your interesting album cover. Who designed it and what do those symbols in the oval shape mean?
The cover was designed by an artist called Will Barras. I picked his work out from a load I was checking and he happened to live very close by. So I gave him some music from the album and talked him through what I was trying to get across and he came with ridiculous idea's that totally was what I was looking for. The symbols you'll have to work out when the album gets released.
Do you believe in Ghosts, and what deceased hiphop personality would you most like a visit from?
I do believe in them, and now I'd have to say J Dilla. Damn, that was a big loss.
Now the album's wrapped up, what projects are sketched into your timetable and when do you think they'll see the light of day?
Well, there's a few things I'm thinking about at the moment. There'll be another 12" off the album first. I'm thinking about the new album already and have been for a minute. I'm working on some music with Devorah. We're going to try and piece an album together this year. I'm also going to try and sit down with Kashmere, Verb T and Asaviour and get this Invisible Men project together for the end of the year. It looks like there will be a compilation of some older tracks coming on CD but that's potentially for Japan only later this year, and I'll continue to produce tracks for people as well. I've done the title track on Asaviour's new CD, track for Kashmere's LP, some stuff with Verb T, tracks with Dubbledge, Parke, Genesis Elijah so man, I'm keeping busy. I'm also mixing some other projects right now like DJ IQ's debut album. I'm keeping busy though, as always.
Do you perform DJ sets like many producers and when/where can we catch those?
I do like to DJ. People can still catch me in the London area doing my radio show every Wednesday 20.00–22.00 105.1 FM. Live wise, we're going to be doing a little tour and taking the music out to everyone. I can't wait. I feel like I had cabin fever. I have no dates right now but stay tuned and all will be revealed. The tour we'll be doing over the next couple of months, details are coming, so I'll be listing everything as soon as I hear what the deal is.
Have you got any shout out's you'd like to make or ten word description of how amazing the LP is?
I'd just like to shout out everyone that has bought the previous releases and supports and enjoys what I'm doing, the fans, the shops, the DJ's and distributors. Shout out to all the artists I worked with on the album. Breakin' Bread, Disorda and Butcha @ Suspect Packages and everyone who knows me! Big up for taking the time to do this. And no, I'm not going to describe the album other than I hope people enjoy it. Peace.