Delicious Vinyl

Los Angeles June 2016

February 26, 2017

After visiting NYC in June last year, I bopped back to the West Coast and enjoyed a couple of weeks hustling and catching up with friends in LA. Here are some photos from that time .. Enjoy!

*After staying at Shutters on the Beach back in 2014, having lunch with Michael Sheehy there has become somewhat of a tradition.*

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*I just love it out by Santa Monica and Venice. Whenever the skies are grey I think of Neil Young’s classic On The Beach.*

*I stayed for a week up in the Hollywood Hills and got to enjoy this glorious view each morning*

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*Breakfast on the deck*

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*Hanging out at Christian Audigier’s dreamy ranch in Topanga*

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*Delicious Vinyl HQ on Sunset Boulevard*

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*Me & J-Lockett*

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*Me & Fat-Leezy*

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A Family Affair

January 29, 2017

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It was my last day in LA and such a perfect way to end my stay. I first met Jansport J in the summer of 2012 when he played DVTV (back when we used to party on the roof) and have been a fan of his music and vibe ever since. Needless to say, I was stoked to get to interview ‘Sport for Wax Poetics while in town. (Shout out to the homie Jordan Lockett for hooking it all up!) And an extra added bonus was getting to steal some interview time with Fatlip, who just happened to be kicking around DV HQ at the time.

Earlier that afternoon I had been hanging out in Topanga, the most magical place, drinking cocktails at Christian Audigier’s ranch with my very special friend and fellow free-spirit Lauren. I hot-footed it back to Hollywood for the interview, full of that sensation of awe and disbelief that I think is very particular to LA, absorbing the visceral beauty of the changing surroundings (green and yellow velveteen Topanga mountains turning to the neon pink lights of Sunset Boulevard) and counting my blessings to be creating such wonderful memories with some of my favourite people. I love you LA.

I owe a huge thank you to my friend and brilliant photographer Mekael Dawson for filming the interview and also taking these stills … Enjoy!

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Real Talk with Jansport J & Fatlip

January 29, 2017

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When we filmed the Jansport J interview In the Court of the Covina King at Delicious Vinyl HQ in July, I was lucky enough to grab some time with Fatlip to chat with him and ‘Sport for Wax Poetics about music-making, clearing expectations during the creative process, and the early days of Pharcyde …

Enjoy!

Biggups again to the homie Mekael Dawson for filming the interview, Jordan Lockett for hooking it up, and Delicious Vinyl for hosting! I also edited this video :)

In the Court of the Covina King

January 29, 2017

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Back in July I caught up with my friend Jansport J for Wax Poetics at the Delicious Vinyl headquarters on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. At the time of the interview ‘Sport was deep in the creative process, the “wilderness” as he coins it, of producing p h a r a o h : his raw, 27-tracks long, NYC-inspired, aural tour de force.

Peep the interview to see ‘Sport talk about his musical journey and influences, working with both major and independent labels and legends such as Snoop Dogg, and the timeless quality of the soul music he samples…

p h a r a o h was released January 27th via blackwhitegoldville music/Fat Beats Distribution.

Find it on iTunes here and Bandcamp/Cassette here

Biggups to Mekael Dawson for filming, the homie Jordan Lockett for hooking it up, and Delicious Vinyl for hosting! This is also the first video edit I’ve done myself .. :)

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LA Daze

May 29, 2016

Palm trees in the wind and pizza by the slice. Catching up with old friends under cloudy skies. Writing by blue swimming pools and pink sunsets behind the hills of Hollywood. Oh Los Angeles, since getting to you earlier this month, time has been flying by too fast.  I’m feeling very lucky to be spending time with some of my favourite people out here, because conversing and laughing with like-minded souls is the best.

~Stunning views from The Getty~

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Music-wise, I’ve been listening to my very talented friends Nanna B and Jansport J, as well as a little Neil Young :)

I’ve loved helping out at some Delicious Vinyl events while in town, including the WAX record fair at Capitol Records and Boom Yard LA at Delicious Pizza.

~Me selling merch at Boom Yard LA @ Delicious Pizza~

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 ~Capitol Records~

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~Limited Edition Ol’ Dirty Bastard Vinyl~

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A couple of weeks ago I enrolled at Studio4 LA, James Franco’s film and acting school here, so have been taking some classes over in North Hollywood. I also attended a really awesome ‘Intuitive Actor’ workshop at SoHo with Todd Savvas at SoHo House, and have been dabbling in a real mix of yoga classes out here. After meeting the gorgeous Millana Snow in West Hollywood, I attended a poolside yoga class with Serene Social at the Standard Hotel on Sunset. A friend also introduced me to Black Market Yoga in Hollywood (where you can flow to Tom Waits!), and most recently I’ve been hitting up the Y7 Studio on Melrose for their hip-hop scored vinyasa classes.

~Chillin’ by the pool post-yoga~

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~Santa Monica Sunset~

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So California

May 11, 2016

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So last week I left my love San Francisco and came down to Los Angles. I took Amtrak because I really do love the time and space that long-ass train journeys provide. On the course of the trip I met a couple of characters who felt like something out of a Keroauc story. One in particular still stands out. His tanned skin was weathered like dirty leather, and he had one brown and one baby blue eye. He asked me if it was my first time on Amtrak (it wasn’t) and where I was going. He said he was going to New Orleans, and when I asked how long he had been in San Francisco, he replied “I got here today.”  Why would you get to San Francisco and immediately leave? He said he lived in San Francisco, but I didn’t believe him. His world seemed like a completely different one to mine, one that was fluid like oil and for some reason it seemed dark. In writing this out I realise it could completely just be my own romantic projections. Maybe he was having a bad day and there was a not so urgent emergency in New Orleans. Either way, he was a little odd and I didn’t choose to continue the conversation much further, but it made me think of how vastly different all of our paths are. I really think an awareness of the myriad routes and experiences there are in life is beneficial; at once you can appreciate your world and see how small it is.

~Views from the San Joaquin~

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~Difficult to capture the peace and serenity~

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The night I got to LA, my homegirl Denisse – aka Girl Is Tough – had a show at La Cita Bar downtown. I pretty much dropped off my bag and headed straight to see her perform. Her voice is so beautiful and I can’t recommend checking out her music enough.

 

~Girl Is Tough in her element~

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After the show we got late night tacos and horchata :)

I’m staying in the super cute neighbourhood Franklin Village, which has several neat spots to check out, including the Bourjeois Pig and the Oaks Gourmet. And I’ve been getting my yoga fix at Yogaworks in Hollywood on Vine – super chill and yummy free tea.

~My new hood~

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~The pool~

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Last Thursday was ‘Cinco de Mayo’, which I’ve honestly never heard of before, but I had a nice time catching up and drinking margaritas with my buddy LA Jay at Antonios on Melrose, before hitting up a party at the old Delicious Vinyl Shop spot on Sunset. I heard a song by Bia called “Gucci Comin’ Home” which I’ve been listening to on repeat since …

~Antonios~

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~My homie blew up all these balloons :) ~

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~Jansport J on the decks~

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At the weekend I finally got to check out Delicious Pizza in West Adams! I remember visiting the space back in 2013 before anything got set up, so it was really neat to come back and see everything in business. I had a ‘Soulflower’ pizza (dig the Pharcyde reference??) which was delicious, and some funky cold sangria (Tone Loc).

~Delicious Pizza~

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~Hip-hop memorabilia~

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 ~Delicious Vinyl Radio~

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I rounded off the weekend with a delicious brunch and catch up with my girl Teru at SoHo House in West Hollywood. One of the marks of a great friendship is being able to just pick up where you left off, even after a long period of not seeing each other. Which, over wine and cheese, we did :)

It’s been super cloudy in LA since I got to town so I’m hoping the sun breaks through soon ..

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The Pharcyde Labcabincalifornia 20th Anniversary Mixtape

November 21, 2015

The Pharcyde’s sophomore album Labcabincalifornia is one my very favourite records. It was a real pleasure to work on this 20th anniversary feature for Wax Poetics, and to assist my homie Chris Read on the anniversary mixtape. Peep the feature below or find it on Wax Poetics here. Enjoy!

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On November 14, 1995, West Coast rap group the Pharcyde released the sublime LP Labcabincalifornia. It was the follow-up to their kaleidoscopic, gold-selling first album Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde, which had won over audiences with a refreshingly upbeat sound and cartoon-ish aesthetic on tracks like “Ya Mama,” “Passin’ Me By,” and “Otha Fish.” While equally beloved by devout fans and released only three years after their debut, the band’s second album, however, is a much more mature and soulfully sombre work.

“Every-time I step to the microphone I put my soul on two-inch reels that I don’t even own” is the haunting refrain that loops round and round over the hypnotic beat of Labcabin’s sobering and self-aware track “Devil Music.” From a band who initially won over the hip-hop scene in the early ’90s with their open and light-hearted music, what had prompted such profound meditations on the nature of being a recording artist?

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The tremendous critical and commercial acclaim that Bizarre Ride received led the group to embark upon extensive touring (note: prior to the Pharcyde’s success Fatlip had never set foot on a plane before) and experience the inevitable pressures of success. Consequently, their follow-up Labcabin is in part a collection of deep reflections from a young band catapulted into stardom. Intimate musings on love, morality, music, relationships, conflict, life, and death feature throughout and resonate through the record’s rich melodies.

The tone of the Pharcyde’s music altered as their careers advanced and awareness of their surroundings became nuanced; after starting out sharing tales of teenage angst and mischief the band began talking about the pressures of the music industry and seedy experiences of earning a living through music. From the standard tales of high school crushes in Bizarre Ride’s “Passin Me By”—the classic hip-hop joint of adolescent unrequited love—uglier dynamics of romance were introduced and played out in Labcabin’s “Groupie Therapy.” The band had experienced how popularity-boosting success can attract opportunistic crowds and distort one’s real-life grounding. Even seemingly light-hearted songs about getting high reflect a marked change in the band’s outlook. Bizarre Ride’s “Soul Flower” overflows with infectious energy and enthusiasm for the rap game they are breaking into: “Michael Ross is the genie and he’s giving us our wishes,” whereas “Splattorium” on Labcabin has a much more mellowed tone and disillusioned stance: “Rollin’ herbals for the verbals. Extractions and distractions,” showing getting high as a distraction from the troubles of the industry.

The Pharcyde’s frustration with, and deviance against, the music industry and mainstream West Coast hip-hop of the time is visualised in Spike Jonze’s video for “Drop” as the group deftly defy gravity—dancing forwards whilst the masses surrounding them play in backwards motion. The video’s aesthetic and innovative directorial style are perfectly in tune with the song’s musical context and warped aural composition, courtesy of the late, great, J Dilla (back when he was still Jay Dee).

Labcabin did not initially receive the same level of reception that it’s predecessor did upon it’s release, but is a work that has steadily gained recognition. Widely upheld as one of the most influential hip-hop producers and cited as a favourite by many, J Dilla’s fan-base has been solidly growing since his tragic death in 2006—a classic case of posthumous praise of artistic talent. Dilla’s notorious innovation in sampling and his absorbing production style can be heard in the singles “Runnin’” and “Drop,” working his magic on the Stan Getz Jazz Samba Encore and The Beastie Boys, respectively.

Much of the album’s composition holds a strikingly intimate quality,  heightened by the sense that the songs chosen to be woven into Labcabin’s rich tapestry are the intensely personal and dear music tastes of the band. Straight from the soul of SlimKid3 comes the production of “She Said”—could there be a more magnetic and broodily compelling use of sampling than the presence of Buddy Miles’s electric guitar from his rendition of Neil Young’s “Down by the River?” You can imagine listening to “Down by the River” over on repeat at night, and just feel the longing and desire rising in the chest of the song’s protagonist.

And for Fatlip, incorporating “Da Mystery of Chessboxin’” into “Devil Music” stems from his personal admiration and adoration of the Wu-Tang Clan. When talking of realising the level of dedication from hard-core Pharcyde fans he has said in interviews: “Well, I can fathom it. Because I know how much I love Wu-Tang…” The placement of the verse, his own inspiration, “my hip-hop will rock and shock the nation” within such a mellow and disillusioned track is a very bittersweet poetry.

Essentially, Labcabin is a record that has endless depths and layers to experience and delve into—not only with regards to the music’s composition, but the stories and tensions behind it’s creation. Referring to the various arguments and fallings out that occurred during the recording process, J Dilla even said: “The making of the Pharcyde’s Labcabin album was hilarious. It was just all the way. It got me prepared for what was ahead in this rap game.” SlimKid3 also concludes that certain songs would have been different “all together on a spiritual level” had certain fights not broken out and been resolved as they were. While unfortunate that conflict was such a feature of Labcabin’s creation, both verbal and physical conflicts between members as well as inner conflicts within themselves, it is an undeniable component that contributes to the album holding such intensity and honesty.

Stemming from such turbulent times, Labcabin rose like a phoenix from the flames—transforming all of the Pharcyde’s energies into a sonically stunning and cohesive listening experience, one that flows like some beautifully haunting dream. Even with six different producers (including Diamond D and M-Walk) and varying emcees on each track, there is a consistent spirit and a shared mood that permeates the record.

To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Labcabincalifornia, our friend Chris Read has crafted a fly-as-pie mix of album tracks, remixes, and original sample material. Tune in and enjoy!

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Tracklist:

1. Les McCann – ‘What’s Going On (Live)’ (sampled in ‘Bullshit’)
2. The Pharcyde – ‘Bullshit’ (Instrumental)
3. Chris Read – ‘Theme #3’ (Scratchapella)
4. Bob Marley – ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ (Loop) (sampled in ‘Bullshit’)
5. Gary Burton – ‘Sing Me Softly of the Blues’ (sampled in ‘Bullshit’)
6. Rodney Cee & Kevie Kev Rockwell – ‘Stoop Rap’ (sampled in ‘Pharcyde’)
7. The Pharcyde – ‘Pharcyde’
8. Cal Tjader – ‘The Bilbao Song’ (sampled in ‘Groupie Therapy’)
9. The Pharcyde – ‘Groupie Therapy’
10. A Tribe Called Quest – ‘Lyrics to Go’ (Loop) (sampled in ‘Groupie Therapy’)
11. Minnie Riperton – ‘Inside My Love’ (sampled in ‘Groupie Therapy’)
12. Stan Getz & Luis Bonfa – ‘Suadade Vem Correndo’ (sampled in ‘Runnin’)
13. Run D.M.C – ‘Rock Box’ (Extract) (sampled in ‘Runnin’)
14. The Pharcyde – ‘Runnin’ (Acapella)
15. The Pharcyde – ‘Somethin’ That Means Somethin’
16. The Beastie Boys – ‘The New Style’ (Extract) (sampled in ‘Drop’)
17. The Pharcyde – ‘Drop’
18. A Tribe Called Quest – ‘Check The Rhime’ (Loop) (sampled in ‘Drop (Beatminerz Remix)’)
19. The Pharcyde – ‘Drop’ (Beatminerz Remix Instrumental)
20. The Pharcyde – ‘Y?’
21. Mass Production – ‘Keep My Heart Together’ (sampled in ‘Moment in Time’)
22. The Pharcyde – ‘Moment in Time’
23. The Pharcyde – ‘Devil Music’
24. Wu-Tang Clan – ‘Da Mystery of Chessboxin’ (Loop) (sampled in ‘Devil Music’)
25. Roy Ayers and Carla Vaughn – ‘You Send Me’ (sampled in ‘The Hustle’)
26. The Pharcyde – ‘The Hustle’
27. Vince Guaraldi Trio – ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ (sampled in ‘Splattitorium’)
28. The Pharcyde – ‘Splattitorium’
29. Cannonball Adderley – Walk Tall / Mercy Mercy Mercy (sampled in ‘She Said’)
30. The Pharcyde – ‘Passin Me By’ (Extract) (sampled in ‘She Said’)
31. The Pharcyde – ‘She Said’
32. The Pharcyde – ‘The E.N.D’
33. [Bonus Track] The Pharcyde feat Lizzy Parks & Giles Barratt – ‘Runnin’ (Chris Read Rap Renaissance Remix)

Fatlip Interview : What’s Up Fatlip?

February 12, 2015

I clearly remember the first time I met Fatlip. I had just started working for Delicious Vinyl in 2011, and had gone out to grab food with some of the guys. When we came back to the office, Lip was chilling sat in my chair. Being the Pharcyde devotee that I was (and still am) I quite literally froze. I felt like such a dork but it was also a pretty cute moment. Since then we have enjoyed many fun times in LA and on tour, and I now count Lip as a good friend.

Here is a little interview I did with Fatlip in London in 2012, just after the 20th anniversary of Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde …


Throughout the label’s history, Delicious Vinyl has always maintained funky and fruitful international relations with the UK. Hailing out of West London, the original, acid jazz ‘pioneers’ the Brand New Heavies joined the Delicious family in 1990. And, it was on their 1992 release Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol. 1 that one of the labels most prominent acts made their debut. The song that introduced a particular young group, who were to change the face of West Coast hip hop, to the world, was an infectious, energy-fuelled jam called ‘Soul Flower’. The influential group in question were none other than The Pharcyde.

After the release of the seminal debut Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde in 1992, The Pharcyde played their first London show at the legendary venue The Jazz Café in July of 1993 – and were described by one UK journalist as ‘four freaky guys from LA who see the world through a haze of reefer smoke and strut their stuff, without instruments, over a hail of jazz samples and ‘phat’ beats’ (dig the awkward British inverted commas over phat – England is full of reserved hip hop fans).

Just as Los Angeles has been celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Bizarre Ride in true style, London Pharcyde fans have been showing their support for Fatlip on his European DJ Tour this year. And, if his wild set at East Village back in February is anything to go by, with uncharacteristic levels of abandon.

So, I caught up with Fatlip at The Breakfast Club in Hoxton last weekend, in between his London and Brighton shows, to chat about his UK tour, Bizarre Ride Live, and Pharcyde memories…

How would you describe The Pharcyde, Fatlip?

Pretty much from the beginning we were just homies, creative dudes, hanging out, smoking weed, making music and having fun.

Tell me a bit about your experiences back when you were Jammer D…

Jammer D was the first rap name that I came up with, as I was in a dance group in high school called the Jammers. The dance culture happening at the time was a big thing throughout all of the high schools in LA. We used to have huge dance contests, and dance to Kraftwerk, CyberTron, and all of these European, early electronic groups, as well as Uncle Jamm’s Army, early Dr Dre stuff.

Then, I got out of high school, fell in love with hip hop and started trying to write rhymes of my own. I would just write constantly, day and night – taking no-sleeping pills just so I could stay up all night, smoke cigarettes and write. I was a real writer back then. That’s Jammer D; a real lyricist.

At the Bizarre Ride Live show last month for the ‘Return Of The B-Boy’ finale you all busted out some impressive dance moves.

We’ve been doing it for so long; the whole dance thing was a huge part of the Pharcyde show. It engages us more with the music. But that finale was fun, and we got to dance with one of the best poppers ever: Boogaloo Shrimp.

What was the highlight of that show for you?

The moment somebody told me it was sold out. That was the moment. I heard it at sound-check, and my mood was lifted through the roof; I was walking on clouds. You know, it was twenty years later – people didn’t have to support us, we didn’t have to have fans, we didn’t have to have gotten this far. That was the highlight; that was a great feeling.

The energy just before the show was incredible.

Oh and then every other moment after that, up until a week later I was still feeling it. It was an incredible celebration. When are we going to have an opportunity to do that again? Never. So that’s what made it a special moment, and the fact that it went off well…

So what’s next on the cards with everything? What have you got coming up?

Continuing to build my DJ Fatlip brand is really what I’m focusing on, and then my production after that.

Are you recording with any of the guys that were involved recently?

Yes – me and Tre are doing a record. The album is going to be released in Japan, and a single is going to be released in the States. We’re about to shoot a video in Brazil this month, so I’m excited about that too. And then hopefully the Bizarre Ride Live show – since it’s the twenty year anniversary – our plan is to continue touring it for the whole year.

Did working on the Bizarre Ride Live show feel similar to when you were recording the Bizarre Ride album?

It totally did. Pretty much everybody that was involved in Bizarre Ride was there; even our old road managers were there. So with the rehearsals, the DVTV ustream, and all of the meetings and stuff like that, we were all hanging out having fun for the whole time. Even the sound-checks were fun, because everyone was there.

Has it been strange to go straight from that to being on a solo tour as DJ Fatlip in the UK?

Well, it’s what I do and I like to do both. I love being there with my friends doing a big show, but the DJ Fatlip thing is my own personal thing, so I enjoy that as well.

Is it good to maintain the two at the same time?

Oh it’s great; the best of both worlds. There’s no denying that the whole Pharcyde thing is a part of who I am. To be able to combine the two in the same year and the same time frame is really nice.

How do you find Pharcyde fans in the UK compared to back home?

Kind of the same, they’re just younger. It is weird how the styles have transferred – the way that kids view hip hop, we viewed it the same way back then. That style has maintained over a period of time – kids kind of dress the same…

Older music often translates to younger fans if it was originally recorded by an artist when they were at that same age…

Oh totally. I agree with that. Because the expression is a young expression; you made it in a time of your life where you were just open to everything, and had a lot of energy, and that translates to the music. It was raw; it was something that we were getting from somewhere else. So it was like a raw self-expression. And that’s something that you can only do at that age when you don’t care about anything else – we weren’t trying to be sexy, we didn’t care about having money. It was just that raw, hip hop feel.

Do you have any stories from your UK tour?

Well, there was the time I lost that charger – two times! I lost mine and Spin Doctors…I guess I was having a lot of fun on this tour and, you know, sometimes when you have fun things get…

Lost.

Things get lost. It’s the sign of a good time.

Do you have a favourite Pharcyde memory, from any point in the whole journey?

My favourite Pharcyde memory is the day that we found the sample for ‘Passin’ Me By’ and came up with the idea for the chorus. It was before we even got a record deal, and I remember everybody in the room bouncing ideas off of each other. We already had the beat and there was a feeling that something new was about to happen.

All the Pharcyde members have their own style – was it ever conscious to want to differentiate yourself or carve your own identity within the group?

The thing with us is we always started out with a chorus, and so we always had a theme. That allowed us to go and write our own interpretations of this one theme, which was the chorus. With ‘Passin’ Me By’ we had that theme and all of us told our own story about how somebody had passed us by. Most of our songs were like that, and because of the theme we were naturally able to shine individually as each member told his side of the story. So, there was some togetherness on the chorus within the theme, but then we were also able to express our own personalities.

Do you have a favourite Pharcyde song?

I would have to say ‘Passin’ Me By’. Definitely. From the beginning, the first verse, to the last it’s just hands down my favourite. And I like ‘Pack the Pipe’ a lot too.

‘4 Better or 4 Worse’ is such an intense song to me – I think of the main beat as kind of dark and intense, and then the samples are super dreamy – it’s like everything magnified, in terms of the mood and emotions.

Yeah. There were a lot of layers of samples on that first record. J-Sw!ft was a piano player, a real musician, and the way that he looped all of those samples and combined the keyboard elements…

When L.A. Jay was playing all the original Bizarre Ride samples on the DVTV ustream – you could recognise the elements and hear how the songs came together.

So when L.A. Jay was playing those records, that was just like the time that we found the record collection. We found those records and were listening to them, and then we were like ‘something is going to happen, we have got to make something out of this’. We had never heard that music before. We discovered all of this great music, and that was inspiring for us. That was really inspiring.

As well as the music – what else, what other things, inspired you at that time?

We thought we were political. I was all angry and rebellious back then. Just always sitting around, smoking weed, talking about the injustice…

I think that definitely comes out in the album.

That’s what you do when you’re that age right? Talk about revolution… Bob Marley was also somebody that inspired me back then too: his approach and his message. He spoke about injustice, but he also spoke about love and peace and all of that. Just to hear that – it was good for the soul.

I mean there are messages, like you can protest about injustice or whatever.  And then there are messages like James Brown would say – he had a lot of messages. When he said ‘it’s a man’s world, but it’s nothing without a woman or a girl’ – that’s a big message. The messages were a lot more positive in songs back then. And it’s inspiring to hear that.

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