Instrumentals for Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s Piñata
Instrumentals for Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s Piñata
Egon recently visited Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood to offload some of his music knowledge with a mix and interview for Gilles’ syndicated Worldwide radio show.
On the web: gillespetersonworldwide.com
J DILLA “THE DOE” + INTERVIEW WITH SUPA DAVE WEST.
In 2001, J Dilla set out to record an album with his favorite hip-hop producers, one of these being Supa Dave West. Over a decade later, still in the long process of getting this full project released, we finally get to hear Dilla & West’s collaboration, mixed, mastered, and released on vinyl in the form of J Dilla’s “Give ‘Em What They Want” EP.
The EP contains three vocal tracks and two instrumentals. Of the three vocal tracks, “The Doe” and “No One’s Home” were produced by West and recorded December 2001, and the title track “Give ‘Em” is J Dilla’s own completely reworked version dating September 2002.
We spoke just yesterday with Supa Dave West about this collaboration.
Rappcats: How did you and Jay first meet?
Supa Dave West: I had a record deal at the time with Q-Tip’s Museum Music in ’97… I would go over Tips house to vibe, and we both started hearing about each other from that point. I met him sometime between then, when I started working with De La. We hung out a couple of times when he would come to NY for meetings. We both produced records for De La Soul. We talked a lot about our music philosophies. This was the pre-social media days. Everyone was just grinding… but we kept in touch.
In 2001 he told me about the project, working with his favorite dudes, producers that inspired him. He asked me to send him something. I sent him 36 beats and from those he picked 4.
What was your process like back then?
I worked on the ASR-10 and MPC 2000. These beats where made on MPC, needle dropping on melody spots in the record to a rythym and then looping it… one take usually… real art shit! I started doing that around ’98.
And then you worked together in person. Tell me about that.
Yeah, I would come though Detroit every year around Christmas, heading to Canada to make a huge beat tape for first quarter after the holidays. He picked me up where I was staying in Detroit in 2001… He eventually demo’d 4 joints but while I was there I dumped two beats and those ended up being “The Doe” and “No One’s Home”
“The Doe” was made before Jay’s version, “Give ‘Em What They Want”?
Yes. The “aahh” vocals on “Give em” was originally from “The Doe.”
We both respected each other as producers, but we talked about a lot of ways to realize the music, from a musicians point of view. That’s where I think he was coming from. I’m a drummer, and came up playing gospel. We connected in that way.
Jay did a lot of editing. He payed attention to detail in ways a lot of producers didn’t. He was heavily effecting his music and sound designing… that attention made the music special.
While these Dilla tracks from over 10 years ago finally see the light of day, what are you working on now?
Beat Boxing – an instrumental project, not with one ID to the next, but based on a whole storyboard… the companion, Spit Boxing with MC’s… and the third, Chop Sticks, a break beat record. I’m also in the studio working on De La’s next album, and doing something for Faith Evan’s next one… a song called “Miracles”.
Deluxe reissue of a legendary ’70s California bedroom-made psychedelic album.
Restored/remastered transfer and never-before-heard demos. The CD/LP book contains dozens of unpublished photos and images and a thorough investigation into this exceedingly rare artifact.
Psychedelic rock record collectors have been repeating the name Heitkotter as if it were a mantra ever since the first copy of a hand-made demo LP turned up in a Los Angeles music publisher’s reject bin, with nothing more than that word scrawled across a plain white jacket (see it in the photos below).
The world has never heard something like Heitkotter – it is a unique piece of art unlike anything that came before or has come after it.
Now-Again Records embarked some years ago to find out more about Heitkotter’s music and his story, and in the process, visited the house where his album was recorded, found his musicians, rescued the demo-recordings that paved the way for this album, uncovered unpublished photos and paintings by the man behind the visionary album.
Stephen David Heitkotter was a Fresno, California kid who came of age in mid ’60s. He was the drummer for the Fresno garage wunderkinds the Road Runners, and even wrote a song for the band – “Pretty Me” – for one of their lauded 7-inch singles. Nobody really knows what happened after the band split up, becoming victims of the Vietnam War draft like many garage rock bands.
Stephen never made it to Vietnam – his meeting with the draft board is when he first started showing signs of mental illness. He stayed in Fresno and became a bedraggled post hippie who left the Age of Aquarius defiantly proclaiming that he would become a singer, songwriter and visual artist: Black Orckid.
The bizarre LP known as Heitkotter – recorded in around 1971 and pressed in a run of less than twenty five copies – was culmination of his artistic career. Ross Dwelle, Stephen’s childhood friend and the drummer on the record, describes the bedroom sessions in a handsome Craftsman home in Old Fresno as this young trio “trying to play five songs written by a man losing his mind … probably stoned the whole time.”
Stephen’s schizophrenia worsened in the ’70s. Towards the end of the decade, his parents – loving yet exhausted – institutionalized Stephen, and he has been the State of California’s ward ever since. His older brother William – who licensed Heitkotter for release on Now-Again – still sees his Stephen once a month, but he never mentions Heitkotter or its legend to him – Stephen himself is incapable of fathoming it in context, and it might tear him away from the fragile rope that still moors him to this earthly reality.
Heitkotter, this time issued as Black Orckid, as we assume Stephen would have wanted it – is too complicated to be written off as a symptom of a greater ill, or lionized by a few (and dismissed by the majority) as “outsider” art. It’s a rare and vital look at 60s and 70s American rock through the sad story – and incredible music – of an untethered soul. And as Now-Again shows in enlightening more of Stephen’s backstory, it can also be considered sweet, kind and optimistic. The Heitkotter tale is cautionary, but Stephen’s music is as close to the sublime as American rock has ever ventured.
Photos from the LP book showing Heitkotter’s photos, paintings, and original hand-signed album cover.
ON SALE: BADBADNOTGOOD – III
Rappcats exclusive: BBNG has remixed Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s “Shame” and with the approval of the MC and Producer, the MP3 is included here as a bonus track.
BADBADNOTGOOD is a trio of musicians – Matthew Tavares on keys, Chester Hansen on bass, and Alex Sowinski on drums. They formed at Toronto’s Humber College Music Performance program in 2011, and quickly started changing the rules of what an improvised jazz group should be, and what hip-hop music could sound like.
The group released two collections of music on the web – BBNG EP and BBNG 2 – and won praise from the four corners of the globe and collaborated with Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt, MF Doom, Pharaoh Monch and RZA among many. They signed to Innovative Leisure last year, and now released their first full length of original material on III.
BBNG live this week in Europe:
Tue 6 – Boilerroom.tv
Tue 6 – Xoyo – London
Wed 7 – The Exchange – Bristol
Fri 9 – Brudenell Social Club – Leeds
Sat 10 – Deaf Institute – Manchester
Mon 12 – Botanique @ Orangerie – Brussels
Tue 13 – Point Ephemere – Paris