Continuing DTYD’s support of Seven Davis Jr., who is also a poet as you will learn through this interview as well as a business man amongst many other things, we sat down for a little chat via email. I got to talk to the talented LA resident about his influences, including gangsta rap, on to some of the finer nuances of house, understanding the culture surrounding house music, his new album on Jay Simon‘s Must Have Records, and of course much more.
To sweeten the deal, Must Have Records bossman Jay Simon put together an exclusive mix, full of soulful b-sides and other hand-picked rarities, including tracks from Seven Davis Jr. and the likes of Erdbeerschnitzel, and Kyle Hall. Stream or Download Jay Simon’s Must Have Promo Mix after the interview.
What’s something about your musical background that has nothing to do with the music you’re making now? Like did you go through any crazy phases in your youth?
Yes, I went through several crazy phases in my youth. Some good, some funny to look back on some just all around bad. However, I believe it takes both good and positive experiences to mold a person and I’ve had my share of both.
Being from Houston, did you hear a lot of artists like Z-Ro and Big Moe, basically all the dirty south gangsta rap getting rinsed?
I was born in Houston and raised in California so I spent time back and forth. I am very familiar with and have been influenced by the dirty south sound now but the periods I lived in Texas I never really listened to it. I was more into and exposed to southern Oldies/Blues/R&B classics at the time.
Jay Simon said on his twitter and I quote, “i really wanna get more young black people into soulful dance music.” Do you think that the demographic that he’s speaking about has a negative connotation about “house” music?
Yes. I know for a fact there is a demographic of not only African Americans that see house music as negative or specifically males that think its feminine. When I was a teenager I use to avoid house music. I didn’t understand it until I started going out into the house clubs and experiencing the culture. There really is a culture. Then I realized there’s more to it than most know. I actually think it’s healthy music for people of all nationalities to listen to.
Also, I used to be a hip hop dancer/choreographer then I started to go out to house clubs with other dancers to battle/ circle it up and that’s where it clicked for me. I quickly recognized that there were some house tracks that I just didn’t like at all. After a while, I decided to start making the kind of house beats that I would want to dance to myself or hear out at a party.
Your record, ‘One,’ which is forthcoming on Jay Simon’s Must Have Records, it has a great, warm house vibe. But you’re not typically one to produce house tracks even though your sound definitely teeters somewhere in between… kind of similar to the way Kyle Hall’s productions straddle different genres –
I was fortunate to grow up in many different spectrums of the musical world from gospel to mainstream to underground and etc. Typically I have mostly released a lot of hip hop, trip hop and broken beat stuff but I’ve been producing house for a while it just hasn’t gotten around until now.
After we started talking, you sent me a bunch of unreleased material through Dropbox. Do you tend to finish productions without ever submitting them to labels? What other labels have you worked with other than Must Have?
Yes, I have a lot of ideas that I like but may not feel it’s the right time for so I’ll record them, get them how I hear them then lock them away until it is the right time. The main labels I work with currently are IZWID and Must Have Records. However, remixes/collaborations with other labels are currently in progress for release in 2014.
You said that you don’t DJ. Do you have a live act?
Yes I usually play live either with a band, dj, drummer, sometimes just to tracks, all depends. Try to keep it simple. I’m in the process of learning how to dj.
Is the scene in LA receptive to the kind of music that you’re playing? What part of LA do you live in and what are some different places that you like to hang out?
For the most part I believe LA has been receptive to what I do. I’ve received a lot of love and support here so far. I don’t get out much however, it’s like I live in LA but I don’t. Outside of music I am also an entrepreneur and I do business projects in other parts of the U.S/overseas that keep me pretty busy on my downtime from music. When I do have time to hangout I prefer to go eat with friends, LA has great food, or see a show and or hit up a party or just chill. I’m very low key and still kind of a tourist here.
In addition to producing I know that you’re also a poet. Do you have any poetry published anywhere?
Yes I am also a writer. I have published a collection of poems on Kindle/Amazon titled “Life In Deep Space.” It is currently only available online. I also do some tv/film writing with projects in production for 2014.
When I reviewed your One EP, I tried to describe the immaculate, laid back vibe that seems to straddle, as I said earlier, a couple different genres. Tell us what you were going for with these five tracks?
Each song I had a specific vibe in mind when originally recorded, fun party atmosphere. Also, they were recorded a good amount of time apart from each other. It was Jay Simon who actually made the track selection for the One Album and it was after that I realized the tracks flowed together. To be honest, it was very unconscious on my part.
Anything else I left out?
I am currently setting up a tour overseas in the spring for the Must Have Records release. Then the next release is the 12 inch record with Kutmah on his label IZWID titled ” The Feel High Experience “. It is going to be way different from the One Album. A lot darker but still playful, more on the experimental hip hop soul side. I’ll be playing a “character” almost like Andre 3000 did for The Love Below but not the same. We are very excited about it.
What’s your best piece of advice?
Have fun with it.