Madlib Interview By Huwston
Madlib appears the ultimate flag waver for the contemporary take on traditional Jazz. The Hip producer, MC and musician works on more projects than we may ever know yet the consistency in his sound always guarantees a rewarding listen.
There’s a certain spirituality to your more instrumental output. Do you believe in reincarnation and the possibility of an old soul’s flavour being evoked in your work or through your work?
’Of course – happens all the time. Every time I do old music I get in the right mind frame and something just comes out. You don’t think it about it while you’re doing it but you go back and hear it and it’s like you didn’t even do it.’
You were recently awarded ‘hero of the year’ on Gilles Peterson’s All Winners Worldwide poll. Do you feel like a hero? Do you feel like an ambassador for Jazz?
’Hahaha – nah I’m just a guy doing music trying to bring stuff that you don’t hear everyday to people. I like to think that all people understand it – on either the jazz or hip hop vibe. Its good music hopefully – hero – no! I don’t feel like a hero at all. Anybody could be doing this.’
The words ‘Jazz’ & ‘Jazzy’ sure are trendy, though your sound seems to be a lot more representative of the essence of jazz – musicians on the breadline, addicted (drugs, women, music), and more often than not, quite alone. Would you fit the bill of the fly guy or the grimy? Why?
’I have no idea!! Haha… Fly guy – nah. Everybody looks at me as this jazz guy – I like psychedelic rock and reggae as much as I love jazz. It’s funny I’m known as this jazz guy. ‘
Your works are called your ‘invasions’ – do you feel like you can claim no ownership to the sounds you’re working on? The word seems out of place as your history in Hip Hop and Jazz solidifies you as one of the only people in the industry who can claim ownership over the things you touch like the Blue Note remixes. Your thoughts?
’Its both ways- Depends on my approach. How much I put into something is how much I take. With Blue note – some of the songs were all mine – I played all the instruments etc. I did that all myself so they are mine. Certain tracks I just remixed. Either way I feel no distance from the music– my personal touch is on it all so its mine. The next person wouldn’t do it the way I did it – they do it their way so it’s theirs.’
Catch Madlib at The Gaelic Club for the opening of the Hip Hop Film Festival this Thursday 26th of Feb and look out for local pressings of the entire Stones Throw catalogue available thru Creative Vibes soon.