Mittwoch, 4. Juli 2012

Crate Escape: Interview with Soundsci

With the success of Stitch By Stitch latest interviews I am proud to welcome a part of the honorable "Soundsci" to talk about the genesis of the formation, the latest releases and what the world can expect in the near future.

Hopefully; and I mean hopefully the name "Soundsci" is already an existing term within everybody's record collection and in case it's not you'll definitely try to change after listening to their latest album "Formula 99".

SBS: Jonny Cuba, nice to have you here! How are you? Please be so kind to introduce yourself and all the members of Soundsci.

JonnyCuba: I'm good thanks, lets get straight to it: My name is Jonny Cuba I am one half of the production team behind Soundsci along with DJ Ollie Teeba from the Herbaliser who is also the groups DJ. Holding down vocals we have three Emcee's: Audessey (Mass Influence), U-George & Oxygen (Spox, Sputnik Brown). Mr Krum is our art/product director.

SBS: Also a warm welcome to Audessey, Oxygen and Crate Escape overlord DJ Cro. If I remember correctly Oxygen became a new "Soundsci" member right before the recordings of the new album started? Please tell us how you connected.

JonnyCuba: I first heard Oxygen on the Sputnik Brown 'U having Fun Yet?' 12" single, I was blown away by that cut, the rest of the 12" was fire too. At the time Sputnik Brown were doing a rolling remix contest on Myspace (remember that place)?! I submitted a remix & they hosted it for a week or so. I asked if they wanted to collab on what was to become the track 'Formula 99' they seemed interested but things kinda got lost along the way, as they tend to when the time is not right. When I started putting tracks together for the LP together I reached out to Ox again as Sputnik Brown seemed to have gone their own ways & he came with an ill verse on that cut so it seemed natural to ask him for another verse & another... At this point he was like "Am I in this crew or what?". We were honoured that someone of his caliber would want to roll with us.

Oxygen: Just wanted to add that being a fan of the groups all the other members were/are affiliated with made the decision a simple one. Like Jonny mentioned, the future of Sputnik Brown at the time was unknown, and I was really impressed with the sound & style Soundsci was bringing. Before making the decision, Sputnik Brown had previously done a show (our final one in fact) at Knitting Factory in NYC with Ollie's group, Herbaliser and I had gotten to vibe with Ollie in NYC on other occasions. It's necessary for me as an artist to work with people that I'm comfortable with. Soundsci is just what I was searching for.

Audessey: I first spoke with Ox actually on the DWG forums. Being that were both two grown ass men still loving, repp'n, supporting this hiphop of ours it was cool building with him. The connection that Ox and John had lead for the opportunity for us to be able to build together on a musical level. I really must say Ox brings lyricism, flow, content, and every/all the intangibles that you would want. Having him in the circle has definitely made me a better emcee, writer and made the group stronger and you can and will hear that impact on future material. When we wrote out the song "Formula 99" it was a matter of just breaking down the nuances of the song with the verse that I wrote out and sending him that and after no time he came back with a ill verse and the rest I will say is history. The best has yet to come!

DJ Cro: FUN FACT I was in NY and had arranged to meet Ox when he was mixing "Gone Diggin'" for vinyl release, the session got postponed so the day we were meant to meet he wrote his first verse for Soundsci which became the LP title track 'Formula 99'.

SBS: Before we start talking about the new album I would like to portend on your official debut releases "Dig For Victory EP (2009)". Please give away some internal details and talk about your cooperation with DJ Cro's Crate Escape Records.

JonnyCuba: Well I had started some cuts with Audessey and didn't really know what to do with them. I posted a couple on DWG for people to hear & get some feedback. DJ Cro messaged me pretty quickly, he was doing the Kurious Demo's EP & feeling his way into running an independent label. The fit seemed natural and familial.
Audessey: Cro is a work horse the man behind the scene with the action making sure that the details of the release are taken care of. He has been a constant fan and supporter of the music that we make.

DJ Cro: I'd been a fan of Dynamic Syncopation and Mass Influence for years and knew DS had worked with Juice Aleem who's a Birmingham artist I've known for a long time through gigs and doing radio and I rate him highly. I'd seen Jonny on DWG and a track was posted with a beat Jonny had flipped previously and just sent him a message to say I was a fan. I'd heard The Remedy, we talked some more and the EP materialised after a few different ideas and the material increased. We decided to keep it as a 12", the hip-hop format of choice. I'm really happy we got 'Think' on there too, RIP Jax. Audessey needs to do more beats!

SBS: In 2011 you released a two track 7inch. Because the a-side track is featured on 'Formula 99' I guess the single was a teaser for the new album but featuring also an exclusive b-side track. The record got temporary released on Skyline Recordings. How did it happen?

JonnyCuba: Interesting 45 that one, Skyline boss Malachi tipped Ollie Teeba to this great soul loop which went on to become 'Class in Session'. U-George went in on that one, the third verse constantly amazes me, such intensity. 'In a Flash' was like the title it just swirled up out of nowhere, I heard the sample & knew it would be a Soundsci cut immediately. I played it to Audessey & Ox they both recorded on it within a few days of hearing it. I took the track to Ollie Teeba's lab & he layered on the intro & we got it to release standard together. As Malachi had am interest on one of the tracks it was the perfect opportunity to get a solid 45 out there promptly. So often when you make beats & tracks they linger on hard drives for far too long waiting for circumstance to becomes favourable. Not on this occasion it happened 'In a Flash'.

SBS: Back on Crate Escape Records the album "Formula 99" became available late June this year. The album is 14 tracks strong, the CD has three additional bonus tracks. Please tell about the recording period. 

JonnyCuba: It took a long time due to various factors: One being that our engineer No Sleep Nigel was setting up his mixing facility, it took a while to perfect. One early track we recorded was 'Keep On' which also appeared on T-Love's Picki People compilation on Brawl records (shouts to T-Love & Slurg for that). 'Formula 99' the title was also kicking about for a while as I mentioned earlier. U-George's solo cut on the LP 'Da Livin' was also created at the same time as 'Formula 99'. If you listen carefully you'll hear the connection beat wise. I'd also been thinking about doing the beat for 'Candyland' for a while. 'Lockdown', 'Hey Hey' & 'Ill Dialect' were done in quick succession after the initial tracks I mentioned. 'Trees' & 'Give Thanks' were late contenders.
Audessey: It's kinda crazy we can get into these recording "grooves" where we can knock out a series of songs rather quickly and that's how it happened here. We knocked out the song in a decent matter of time and then we would go back and forth on them nit picking at them (working on the minute details) until we were all happy with them. All of the songs happened a good matter of time and the more we understood the process of what we were doing and how we were going to do it the music really started to take its own shape and form.

DJ Cro: One of the main things is the quality of music that gets submitted by the group, everyones really passionate about their craft so it's not like theres 100 tracks that need to be cut down, its a very organic process. In the same way the group naturally expanded from the first EP, Ollie became more involved, U George and Ox became full time members after being featuring on tracks. The only outside production came from Jaisu who I know through my involvement with 'Louis Den' and he was a big fan of Audessey. The group and myself really rate Jaisu's beats so I'm proud we're the first people to put him on vinyl. Hopefully I can speak on everyones behalf that we're all fans of the featured artists with them collaborating out of mutual respect and personal connections rather than phoning in a random verse, I think that comes through in the end product. We took great care with how the audio was handled, Nigel is really invaluable in his mixing skills and the mastering chain was kept anologue to give the vinyl the best sound it could have, I'd rather take time and get it right than rush and put a substandard release out and regret it later on, the vinyl will outlive us all!

SBS: For the album you also offered a nice collectors set. How do you perceive the collectors movement and will you continue with special editions in the future? 

JonnyCuba: I like to give people who are interested something special, I have some issues with the 'limited' market, however it seemed right & proper to make a set of items that linked in around the music. Much of this was only possible when Darrell Krum entered the fray. He has a concise sensibility that echo's soundsci's music. Also he can work to a brief like no other artist I've worked with. Collector sets are cool but it must never be at the expense of the music, that is at the heart of the matter.

DJ Cro: I've always like the idea of rewarding the fans with something special, especially when they put their money and faith in a project, in this case by pre-ordering with minimal snippets (which we also thought was important, we've embraced digital technology and outlets but ideally the first time someone listens to the album it would be from the vinyl, LOUD!), as Jonny's said there are some things about the limited market that I personally don't agree with either but theres lots of areas where it allows you to do some really great things. Stilts killed it with the hand drawn TP sleeves on the EP, we wanted to do something different with the album and be able to offer it to more people this time round and I hope people feel they got good value for money. Krum's original blackboard design was so strong and the inspiration for the stickered bundle sleeve came from the Beastie Boys Hip Hop Sampler 2LP. We made sure the bundle had a hidden suprise to thank the fans who supported too so I'm not expecting (m)any to come up for resale in the future. Being in direct contact with alot of the groups fans is a really great experience and one of the main reasons for me to keep putting out music and the feedback is so much more direct. To answer the last part of the question yes I'll be doing more special editions in future but will stick to black vinyl because it sounds best...

SBS: I think it is necessary to mention and respect your selection of artists creating the artwork for your releases. For the first release you worked with our friend "Stilts", for the second and third release Mr. Krum was responsible.

JonnyCuba: Stilts did some awesome one off illustrations for the Test Presses for Dig for Victory. Having Darrell Krum grace us with his artistic direction has galvanized Soundsci from amateur to professional. I cannot speak of him highly enough. Krum's proliferous output is a testament to his skill & dedication.

SBS: Before we finish would you like to betray something about forthcoming "Soundsci" releases / projects?

JonnyCuba: Ultimately Soundsci will keep on doing what we do best even if it's only to make our own heads nod in that stupor you fall into when music is taking you out of yourself. Look out for various projects in the near future, as the group evolves different members fall under the spotlight.
Audessey: The best is yet to come as we have yet touch or dived into the full potential of the music that we create. We can only hope you enjoy the ride as much as we do.

DJ Cro: As the group has expanded it seems to have really motivated everyone, theres some incredible music being made I can't wait for people to hear that will be a great follow up to the album. There have been some remixes from outside the Soundsci camp that have been handed in too but I'm not saying anymore...

SBS: Thank you very much for spending your time for this interview. I am happy we became friends over the last years and I gladly promise to follow your movement in the future.

Oxygen: More grown man heat over grown man beats. If you're into that sort of thing, get up on the Soundsci crew! Hoping soon we can take our act on the road and complete the connection with our listening audience.

JonnyCuba: Thanks for your energies, giving us time & space, peace
Audessey: Much thanks Thor for the support and as always our mission is clear we are here to remind you why you fell in love with hip hop and that will never change.

Oxygen: Much respect to you and what you do to preserve the culture, Thor. Keep up the great work! Peace.

DJ Cro: Thanks for taking the time to do the interview Thor, your support is really appreciated.

1 Kommentar:

  1. nice interview and work on this man!!! Thanks to you and the Soundsci crew!


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