Thursday, July 8, 2010
Since We Last Spoke: A Brief Conversation with RJD2
When RJD2 stormed onto the scene in 2002 with his debut album Deadringer, he wowed critics and fans alike with his astonishingly beautiful sample-based music. Songs like "Ghostwriter and "Work" were undeniable, and the album went on to be regarded by many as one of the year's finest.
His follow-up effort Since We Last Spoke showed that RJ wasn't merely a one-hit wonder. While it may not have been as seamless of an album as Deadringer, it boasts some of my all-time favorite songs. His reworking of "Bless the Telephone" by Labi Siffre ("Making Days Longer") still reminds me of the summer of 2004. I was completely in love with a very close girl friend at the time and that song managed to capture exactly how I felt about her, both lyrically and musically. RJ managed to do justice to the original while making something that was uniquely his own.
"Making Days Longer"- RJD2
Since 2004, RJ has continued to climb the ladder of success. His song "A Beautiful Mine" was chosen as the theme for the award winning TV show Mad Men. With no signs of slowing down, RJ released his fourth studio album The Colossus earlier this year and is now a completely independent musician.
Read below as RJ takes a moment to touch on his recent work as well some other random odds and ends that I threw his way.
Also make sure to check out RJ's website. You can order music and merchandise directly from him by clicking here.
DJ Sorce-1: In terms of equipment used for sampling, are you mostly using computers, samplers, or a mix of the two?
RJD2: I'm still using my trusty MPC sampler. I have 3 of the 2000XL's now, but that's still my main axe in the arena of sampling.
DJ Sorce-1: What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you on tour?
RJD2: I think it was the time that I flew to the wrong city. It was in NC last year, i can't remember the town name, but i know that there were two towns in NC with the same name. I flew to the wrong one. At around 3pm, I entered the venue address in the GPS of my rental car, and it said the drive was 8 hours. I somehow managed to rush back to the airport, get a new flight, and make it for my set at Trinumeral festival. Crazy.
DJ Sorce-1: What, if anything, is the thing you miss the most about being signed to Def Jux?
RJD2: I guess the most missed thing of being signed to any label was the sense of security. I feel like I'm truly out on my own, so to speak, and all the responsibility is on me. But i know I'm doing the right thing for my position right now.
DJ Sorce-1: What is the best thing about your current label situation?
RJD2: I own my own master recordings.
DJ Sorce-1: How many records do you own?
RJD2: Dunno. About 5,000, give or take 500 or 1,000, i think.
DJ Sorce-1: Do the majority of your samples come from vinyl?
RJD2: 99.9998%. I can count the times I've sampled something off of anything other than vinyl on one hand.
DJ Sorce-1: What is your favorite city or town to dig in?
RJD2: Columbus, Ohio. I know all the spots, and it used to be a goldmine.
DJ Sorce-1: What is the most meaningful peace of feedback you’ve heard or read about The Colossus?
RJD2: Gosh, I don't know. That's tough. A lot of people have said a lot of nice things about it on tour.
DJ Sorce-1: Which track on the album took the longest to construct?
RJD2: Probably "Walk With Me", just because it took a long time to figure out the chorus. The chords of that part are a little obtuse. Plus, the tracking took a long time.
DJ Sorce-1: Is the song title “Gypsy Caravan” a reference to Van Morrison (I am seriously curious if it is)?
RJD2: No, it's not, but now I'm curious as to why it would be.
Editor's Note: Van Morrison has a song called "Caravan" from his album Moondance. In the song he makes several references to gypsies. Word.
DJ Sorce-1: What album/s were you listening to for inspiration while making The Colossus?
RJD2: I was actually reading a lot at the time, which i think was a big contributor. Harold Bloom, Derek Jensen, Malcolm Gladwell, and others were probably a bigger inspiration than the music i was listening to!
DJ Sorce-1: If you had unlimited access to one artist/band's catalog for remixing/sampling purposes, who would you choose?
RJD2: Probably The Meters.