CANNIBAL OX - Interview

Last gig on Can Ox's European tour. At the end of an intense show in spite of the fatigue, Vast falls into Cips One's arms on Roy Ayers' "Everybody Loves the Sunshine" while Vordul is singing to it. Half an hour later, we're given their last interview before they fly back to New York the following day. It is more of a chat around a few bottles and an ashtray...

Interview by Came, StereoNidaL and nICO

About the tour...

Vast: i'm tired. It's a part of my life, though, you adapt. I'm about to go home, I miss people, I wanna record, I miss recording. The tour was beneficial for Def Jux, my album, so we have to tour, you know. And after the Transmusicales in Rennes, we thought France needed to see us again.


Vast: it's cool to meet people.

Cips: DJ Fab is mad cool.

Vast: there's a couple of people that we might work with. But mainly we met people that worked our album in France.

Vordul: we were at Generation Radio Station.

Vast: we also had a few fights...

(a conversation about that)

Def Jux as a liberating structure or a factor of uniformity...

Cips: working for the same label does not mean we 're gonna sound the same at the end.

Vast: the best answers to that question are Aesop's and El's albums. No one's gonna sound like each other, although we do practice similarities.

(a short conversation about musical influences and Prince's new album)

Do you think of The Cold Vein as complex and how do you transmit that sense of complexity to a foreign audience?

Cips: did you write your questions on this magazine... Oh, The Wire, that's a good one.

Vast: I can tell you something about that (he explains how every lyric was misinterpreted in that mag). There are elements of The Cold Vein that are complex cause life gets complex, life is interesting but life can be simple and calm at times. That's how our music is, it is a reaction. One song might sound more complex because maybe we're a little more angry or forceful in it but a song that is more honest and to the point will have a simplicity to it. You'll just have to experience what we're talking'll be enough...Yes and no, that's Cold Vein. It's yin and yang, It's experience, that's Cold Vein. There are elements that are very simple, very settled. There are elements that are perplexing and rubikskubish...puzzling...

What about your next projects?

(a few jokes about unlikely album titles)

Vordul: it's gonna be the next day, man, the next chapter of our lives. We're honest so you're gonna know every thought that we're thinking about the world, and also, I guess, in a poetic way.

Cips: these kids are honest, they just write from what's happening. The question is not "what can I do now?", the question is "What affects me?, then write it". That's how I see the way they write.

About your writing...

Vast: we wanna have an element of layer, like a sponge maybe, or like a degree of depth. I don't wanna say “I'm open like a window”, I would have said that when I was 16 maybe 14, (he sings) I'm open like a window...

Cips: made like a tree and leave...(laughs).

Vast: you start growing up, you seek higher expectations as you write. We write at all times, constantly calling our science into question. That's how we master our art...Now I'll say 'I'm open like a window in the summertime' (laughs). Making it better means for us adding visual impact, adding flow technicality... We don't want to have a bunch of songs that sound the same... cause that doesn't move us. Each song is its own pocket, its own universe. Great musicians in the past have shown that they could do that so.. .we're gonna continue that tradition.


Vast: a lot of comic books, conspiracy theory books, a lot of regular things like newspapers or magazine. I peep CNN to see what's going on out there...

(they start to talk about the September events, which deeply affected them but still "life moves on")

What was your reaction to those events?

Vast: we were on tour in Canada. I was a little concerned about my young sister was in downtown for a schooltrip. That's the only reason any of my family would have been downtown but that's about it. Apart from that, I wasn't worried about my family, I knew the ghetto was safe. I knew Harlem was safe.

Patriotic reaction?

Vast: we're not patriots at all. We hate America. But.. .we take opportunities as they come cause it's a free culture, it's a capitalistic culture.. .so we enjoy that freedom but... we don't care about America, we hate America, man. We are a subculture, we represent a people that America is careless about. They make money off of us...

(Vast narrates America's history for about ten minutes... interesting but way too long for me to write it, sorry!).

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