Interview The Alchemist
A few after releasing Gutter Water with Oh No, we've found back the same Alchemist. Two years passed since Chemical Warfare but our boy Al' did not change at all. He's still about musical visions and surprising jokes. Basically, we talked about eagles, Oxnard and Jason Goldwatch. And other stuffs.
Abcdr Du Son: Your beats as well as Oh No's are very different from the ones we usually hear from you guys. Don't you feel you're going to lose people here? Or maybe you just do not really care.
Alchemist: Collaborating with Oh was an opportunity of being looser, and I really felt that way and we were rhyming and doing the beats. You know I do not go back much to listen to all the shits I've done all over the years. I just do it and move on. I've had the chance to do this project… do I always want to be stuck in a box and sound like me. What is my sound? I do not even know. Maybe if you average all the shits I've done in the past you could get something. But truthfully, I sample and change my mind every five seconds. As for this project with Oh my mind was really open with all things he suggested. I did that because I knew Oh No was really dope.
I trusted him. I did not know him much before. I just knew his rhymes and beats were crazy. I was like "let's just have fun and create." Of course we were inspired by Madlib and Dilla by just collaborating. But even more than that, I was thinking about jazz musicians when you flip through all the records and you see something like Bob James and Earl Klugh, you look on the back, and you see recording live in Stockholm, in 19something, and you're like "I do not know if these guys knew each other before, but they did an album together and that was just dope." I just felt the same way when I started this project. Sometimes he was sending a joint and twenty five minutes after that I was sending him it back with lyrics on it. It was a lot of fun doing this album together, all about rallying.
Ab: How did you guys work together? Were you sending each other e-mails with instrumentals?
Al: Yeah, sometimes e-mail… but most of the time I attached a disk to the ankle of an eagle and sent the eagle to Oxnard!
Ab: [Laughs] Woah! How many eagles have you got?
Al: Well, we do not really keep track, a lot of them get lost or get caught before reaching Oxnard. Some of them also get shot before reaching the place. One time I just talked with Madlib and told him to check his e-mails. I had sent him an e-mail with a file attached just using my brain. [Laughs]
Ab: Basically, this project was all about spontaneity, with no real goal?
Al: Well, the goal just created itself on its own when developing the sound. If I had to make beats for a new album, I would be like "Yes, this is some Gangrene shit." Now we have something like a sound scheme based on the records we've been doing. It's like if you could turn you brain off and do stuff like that, you would get Gangrene ? Does it make sense?
Ab: Yes, it does make some sense. Even if it is chaotic sounds, we know you like chaotic stuffs.
Al: I'm not gonna lie but France to me is like sophisticated in my opinion when it comes to music taste. Paris always showed a lot of love for Mobb Deep. And I appreciate the honesty you guys have, just saying when you do not like shits. I always remember the love people had in Paris for Mobb Deep's Hell on Earth album. It had such an impact. I feel like angry today, with the same darkness, chaotic mindset I had at this time.
Ab: We had a look again at the videos you've done for the Gangrene project. Notably the crazy "Sickness" video. What was the main idea behind this one? How did you guys managed to make it?
Al: That video is the creation of the entire brainchild, thought of, created, executed of a very creative guy : Jason Goldwatch. I had nothing to do with this video, he just whipped together the most grotesque shit he could ever fucking find. I could not even watch it the first time I saw it. He just put it out on his own and I guess people are just as sick as he is as some liked it. They are probably fucking sick in their minds to watch it. Well... Big up to Jason Goldwatch. You know, he is incredible. I did not agree with what they wanted to do on that one. I don't think we could go too far though, like pull a leg or two, or cut one's finger and that's it. What did you think about it?
Ab: It is a pretty freaky video. Honestly I would not watch it before going to sleep. Do you think you could do something like a gore video, a kind of Living Dead shit?
Al: Gravediggaz has already done that kind of thing. And Gangrene is not on some "shoot grab" shit. I do not have any preconceived ideas regarding the musical scenery. I just want to do music that becomes Gangrene. I hate regular. You know, safe is wack. I didn't feel the video matched the music, but what you gonna do, what you gonna do? [NDLR: in a mafiosi' kinda tone, Tony Soprano style]. What you gonna do? [Laughs] Jason has done most of the shits for Dilated over the years. He is fucking weird, smells bad, never changes his clothes [Laughs] He looks like Tom Cruise if Tom Cruise had lost his job. That would be a nice description of Jason Goldwatch. He is one of the genius of our time.
Ab: You had the same approach for the "Take drugs" video?
Al: Yes, you know Jason is a very artistic guy. When we started to do the Gangrene project with Decon, he kinda got us in-house there. So it was clear we would have Jason to deal with all the visual aspects of the project and he was all excited about it. So we have let him deal with it. As for the "Take drugs" video, he was talking about a gun with a condom over it, beating people up, stuffs like that. I just let him do the fuck he wanted to. I did not understand it but it was all fresh.
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Hell On Earth
Politics as usual
Alchemist & Just Blaze