Legendary crew Jurassic 5's producer / DJ Nu-Mark spared some time to tell us about their long awaited and anticipated new album, touring the UK, production and forthcoming solo projects.
You must be busy ahead of this summer's J5 release?
Yeah. I'm excited. The new album comes out July 24th and we got heat on there.
How long have you guys been working on the album?
We've been working on this album on and off for about 3 years. We recorded 35 songs and picked our best 15 joints. In that time we never really stopped touring.
Was it a creative or record label hold up?
I think J5 just takes a while to create because there's no real on and off season for touring with us. When you're on the road as much as we are, it tends to slow the recording process down a bit. None of us like doin' that. However, I put out two albums in that time, a mix CD called "Hands On" and an instrumental album called "Blend Crafters".
Are you guys happy with Interscope or do you feel at the back of the line amongst the huge money makers like 50 Cent?
This is the first album where we really involved the label instead of just turning in the project and saying "make it happen". We have a good relationship with Interscope and have a realistic view of our careers. We would be compared to 50 and everyone else for that matter because that's the nature of the business (competetive), regardless if we're on the same label or not. We've made our money in touring and merchandise. A lot of groups can't say that.
Do you think being on an indy would provide immediacy, or does a major still provide the strongest setup overall?
You can't wear size medium forever! So many ducks have to be in line when you're independent. In my personal experience from both sides of the business, there never seems to be enough money to do anything. A major label can provide a video budget and mass distribution etc. If you couple that with internet sales, you gotta real monster.
Heads have been worrying that Cut Chemist is out of the group. What's the real score?
He decided to leave the group to work on his own project.
How do you feel Cut's absence has effected the sound of the project? It still has that vintage J5 sound right?
The album has a vintage sound plus new influences brought in from guest producers and vocalists, just as "Power In Numbers" did. We really just do what we feel. The J5 sound was established based on what happens between the entire group. No one man runs the ship.
Being the main producer this time round, does the record have a far stronger Nu-mark soundmark to it?
I produced 7 songs out of 15 songs on the album but I wouldn't necessarily say that this album sounds more like me then the last album. I'm truly a team player at heart and feel that balance is imperative in the completion of an album. I really don't want our albums to have one sound. I welcome dynamics and new ideas never attempted before. I take this same belief to the stage.
What are some of the tracks we can start anticipating? Can you let us in on some of the vibes and any guest spots?
The new single features Dave Mathews (really soulful joint). We worked on 2 tracks by Salaam Remi (Fugees / Nas producer). Mos Def popped through and did a vocal bit on a song I produced called "Where We At". We're putting out a separate 12" with a Brazilian joint I did for the DJ track on the new record called "Canto de Ossanha. Lots of goodies!
How did you feel your compilation mix and the Blend Crafters projects were received?
I thought both were well recieved, especially because I didn't really set out to have any promotion behind them. Both "Hands On" and "Blend Crafters" seemed to pick up steam, even in the last 4 months. One of my Blend Crafter's tracks was used in a UK Vodaphone commercial.
Have you got any projects lined up at the minute and what can you tell us about them?
I'm working on another mix CD in the vein of the last "Hands On" CD. I'm currently searching for international mc's to bless some tracks and for the first time ever, I'm shopping my beats to artists outside of J5.
Will a Nu-mark solo album always just be the beats that didn't make a J5 cut, or do you make a strong distinction between the group and solo thing?
I'll be doing both. I try not to keep too many rules with music. Music seems to lead the ear to truth regardless. I have no real plans for a debut Nu-Mark LP at this time.
What equipment are you spending the most time with in the studio at the moment and what essentials would you recommend a newbie on a budget?
I'm workin a lot with Pro Tools, MPC 2000 and Reason. I would recommend Reason if you're on a budget.
Are there any particular artists and producers that you've really been enjoying lately, and what names would you like to work with?
I'd really like to work with Ghostface, Mos Def, Kanye and anyone new that really has a unique flow.
What other scenes and genres are you interested in and do you think you'll produce in these fields?
I'm really into Soul and Funk and I will definatley work in these genres as I already have.
I've seen your UK shows. You guys seem to really love this country, or are you just super energetic wherever you go?
We're a bit partial to the UK because you guys broke us as a band. When the states had their heads turned, the UK embraced our beats and our message.
When do you think you'll be heading out on a European tour again?
July 24th for the new J5 album! We'll be touring in Europe in September!
You guys really project positivity. Do you have days off where you go into the studio and make dark gangster shit to vent off?
We've made dark shit as a group and individually but not necesarily gangsta shit 'cause that's not what we stand for. Too many deaths around us to promote that.
Is the Charli 2na solo record still getting made and what are the others up to?
Chali's album is dope and it will come out 2007. Not sure if the other mc's plan to release solo albums yet.
What should we be bookmarking for the latest news and live dates?
Have you got any messages you want to throw out to the fans?
Thanks for keepin up with us. We can't wait to see you! Take care, Nu-Mark.