How did you end up on Mush?
R: I’d been making music for a while, and Adam (Dose) got a hold of that, some Log Cabin and Shapeshifters and some solo Radioinactive work, so we had the album done, and it actually took them, Mush, some time before putting it out. Almost a year and a half…and another year later, here we are on the Mush tour.
There are lots of older material on your Pyramidi Lp, are you here to show some of your new stuff?
R: well, we’re of course performing a certain amount of Mush material, but we’re definitely here to show some of our new stuff.
Is your new album done?
R: we have the Free Kamal LP that’s done, and we’re sort of looking for a label to put it out, maybe in Europe or something. Just planting seeds to make it grow basically. And the crowd’s reaction in Germany was good. We were impressed at how knowledgeable the crowd was. Everybody recognized the Beneath the surface track we play just before the bass even kicks in.
speaking to Anti MC And how did you end up with Radioinactive?
A: I used to rap with a guy in a group called the Sidewalk Kids… They were later in a group called the Universals, and they then started Log Cabin. I used to rap with one of the member’s of the original Log cabin’s little cousin. Then I started rhyming with them, and one day Kamal (Radioinactive) called me and he came by my house and we recorded the song ‘Who I am’, that was later on the first tape we put out together, the music maxi single. It had ‘Pyramidi’, ‘The Music’ and ‘Who I am’, the three first songs that appeared on record. And we’ve been working together ever since.
And you don’t rap anymore?
A: nah, unless I’m really drunk at a party.
R: we couldn’t afford to bring the entire band over, but we normally have a jazz quartet, and me.
Radioinactive, you also do beats, so how do you decide which ones to use?
R: well I usually don’t like rapping over my own beats. I can just tell him very randomly what I want to talk about, and we’ve been friends for so long that we’ll have the same way of seeing things. He’ll be able to just find various records and put interesting combinations together to come up with what I had in mind.
It shows because there’s a real uniformity on the LP.
A: well we have the same ex-wife. We took the train the other day with guys from Germany who were at the show, and they knew everything, it was amazing. They knew about every song that ever came out, stuff we had no idea even managed to reach Germany.
What did this Log Cabin and Shapeshifters experience bring to you ?
R: it’s done a lot for me the whole Log Cabin thing. We made an album and never released it. People went their different ways, but I’m not bitter at all, I only try to remember the good things out of what came out of that. When you have a history with people, even if you don’t get along with them still, you have a lot of love for them. I got locked up into jail with Murs. We both got arrested in two different places and ended up in a cell together. We were actually shackled together.
There was an evolution in your flow. Is it intentional, or did it just come naturally?
R: I don’t really think so. I just did an album with Busdriver, and there’s some really quick rapping. I’m just trying to explore different styles and places. There’s a lot of stuff that’s not on Pyramidi and that’s a lot faster or a lot slower. If you listen to the new stuff, there’s not just fast or slow, basically. There’s no boundary, it’s not good to put fences.
Your rimes are pretty tough to understand, do you use free writing techniques?
A: well I’m the one who writes them, he just says them, and I read a lot of Dali, sitting on the toilet seat.
R: well it’s a combination of rhythmically fitting in ideas, without making them rime too much. It’s just very visual ideas that put pictures into your head. Sometimes I’ll just bind seemingly unrelated ideas to create some type of coded language. It may read like nonsense…certain combinations of pictures may give you certain emotions. It’s just like a flip book with a different image on every page. Taken separately it may not make sense, but if you take it as a whole, then a global picture takes form.
There are many Arabic and latin influences in Pyramidi.
R: my mother is Egyptian, and my father was born in Mexico, but he’s mostly latin. My dad plays flamenco as a professional, and he’s (pointing to Anti MC) got such a rich musical knowledge too. We both grew up surrounded by crazy music.
A: how many jazz records can you sample anyways? I know of many Californian producers who all use the same records, even if they don’t use the exact same bars.
We talked about Busdriver, are you planning on doing more things with him?
R: I’m on a track on his new album called Temporary Forever. And we did an album together, I think it’s going to be called The Weather, but I’m not sure, it’s supposed to come out in the winter, with this guy called Daedalus who makes those weird sort of electronic productions. It’s very different and rhythmically challenging. We’re excited. We’re also doing a series of 10" on Mush.
Do you know anybody from the French scene?
A: Serge Gainsbourg, Charles Aznavour, Edith Piaf, and Le petomane. This guy was incredible.