Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Free the Robots: Interview

Free the Robots are fantastic. They have evolved from a more jazz-y electronic project to more of the Low End Theory/dubstep style over the past couple years. Yet, they have always maintained a sound that was unique. Free the Robot's new album, CTRL ALT DLT, is out today!

So we will start at the beginning in general how do you make your music?

My process of making music is a mixture of manipulating sounds from synths, instruments, effects and obscure records. A good amount starts from improvisation, re-editing and re-construction. When I let things flow, without thinking too much, is when the ideas come naturally.

Obviously all producers have their own tricks and secrets, but as someone who wants to start making beats what programs do you recommend? I myself try to keep it as simple as possible. Reason, Record, and Ableton Live.

What do you look for in a sample?

It really depends on what kind of song I want to make. For the most part my goal is to find open parts; Rhodes, drums, sounds that can be altered as an accompaniment to other samples and original composition.
I also have an attraction to music from the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s. Theirs a certain type of grittiness that just sounds right with my music.

As your records have progressed you seem to have gone from more Jazz-y samples to more dusty space sound. I like both, but when creating them do they take different mindsets/things you look for in samples?

Just a little experimentation in different sounds and melody. I came up on some fresh vintage & modern synths, took a piano class and starting writing. Unlike my previous works, the use of samples was not meant for the melodic content of most of the songs on this record.

What artists inspire you?

I can find inspiration from almost anything. Diversity in my record collection is what keeps me interested. I go through different phases that rotate in my headphones. Over the past month all I’ve been listening to is Dub Reggae, Oldies and Doo-wop music. Who knows what next month will be like. No matter how unrelated the music I choose to listen to is, somehow it influences me to make what I make.

You have been associated with a bunch of cool labels including Obey Records and AlphaPup, what has that been like. If I remember correctly you were putting stuff out with Obey right about when Shepard Fairey was blowing up, what was that like?

It’s definitely been a blessing to be in the Los Angeles area right now. There is so much talent, and synergy between the artists here. We’re generally all fans of each other, and the fact that everyone is so productive, it keeps everyone inspired.

You are about to release an album on Alpha pup records who have one of the best collections of beat makers in LA, how did you get involved with them? I thought that Nosaj Thing's Drift was last years best LA album, and looking ahead I think you and FlyLo are going to duke it out for that title this year.

Between Flylo and Nosaj, those are some huge shoes to fill. It’s really not about competition. Were all friends who bring our own flavor to the table working separately, but collectively in the larger scheme of things. That’s how LA works so well. There’s a mutual respect between the artists and no matter how large anyone gets, were all people on the grind.

I got involved with Alpha pup after a few shows at the Low End Theory. The Gaslamp Killer was the one who initially brought me on board, but after the first show, I became an instant regular. The more I played, the more I showed up, the more I became part of what was going on. Daddy Kev saw my progress as an artist and brought me on.

Lastly, I wanted to know about you restaurant. How did you get involved with it?

The Crosby was created from a diary of growing ideas that my friend Phil and I kept while we were working at a, now defunct, art gallery. When the spot went down, we had all the ideas ready, brought on our other partner Marc, and made it happen. The opportunity presented itself, we took it.

Are you there most days?

If I’m not on the road, I’m at the restaurant. It’s almost got a “Cheers,” vibe to it now. A lot of friends and family are always showing up. Its work, but it keeps me sane.

Are you involved in the Menu selection and stuff like that?
We have employee/management tastings, and give input. Other than that, we pretty much give free range to our kitchen staff. They always seem to surprise me with new ideas.

When I read that you were apart of it and held weekly live music events, I was surprised that so few artists did something like that. Do you think your restaurant has helped create an electronic music scene in OC?

I know LA has a strong electronic music scene, but Orange county is usually over looked. Electronic music has always been apart of OC, but it was generally confined to House, Electro, and Disco dance music. When it comes to “Low End” type future beats, LA beat makers & DJs, The Crosby is the only place it exists.


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