Saturday, February 20, 2010

Q & A with OC Notes, Pt. 2

If you missed part 1, check it here. Picking up where we left off, Otis just revealed that he is a chef, this took the conversation in a whole new direction.

TML: How'd you learn to cook?
Just having to work. I use to just work, I didn't graduate from high school I always worked food service jobs and I think I got conditioned to be a food service person cause I can not be a server. Or even a buser is difficult for me. I hate when people, if someone is like an asshole to me, I don't give a shit, I'm not fucking with you. I can't be a server who has to deal with assholes, naw it's not gonna happen. I can't help it.

TML: The kitchen is a good place for that.
Otis: Plus cooking is hella fun. it's fucking dope.

TML: I love cooking. What is the Otis signature meal, signature recipe?
I don't really have a signature meal, I like to make pasta. It's quick, it's easy and it's fun. You can just do little shit just to change it up and give it a whole nother name. It's like i added some (whatever you like) to this so we are gonna call it something something whatever. I'm actually just really good at following directions. This is probably the first kitchen job where I've had to make, where we change shit all the time and I'm used to just the same shit all the time. I worked at hella pizza places that shit was fun, i got sick of that.

TML: Where do you get your drums from?
What do you mean?

TML: Do you sample them, do you find them on reason?
I do everything man.

TML: Or do you play it live?
Yeah.

TML: Can you record it down here?
I don't have a drum kit. I had an electronic kit in Phenoix going to school, i had an electric kit in my living room. But i don't have that anymore. If I had one I would use it. There are times when you have it. Things come and go, you know what i'm saying.

TML: Absolultly
I've actually really been into getting the patches on here (Reason) cause they have a lot of old drum kits in here and just playing them out so that everything sounds just some live shit, play some guitar over it.

TML: I've been playing "Icing" at work, it's such a dope song.
For real? That's so crazy. I'm glad man that cats like that shit. That shit kinda blows my mind.

TML: Was it an old beat, or did you make it for that purpose?
Naw it was old, it was just so random. we were just in the lab, it didn't take that long at all. We was in the lab chilling, it just kinda came together I said some shit and all of a sudden like boom.

TML: You got a track.
It was wild I just didn't expect it to be so huge. Everyone is like oh it's so tight and I'm like it is, it's hella tight. It's a dope track. It's hella short.

Otis takes a phone call, I turn off the recorder. When it was turned back on Otis is struggling with a broken keyboard.

TML: Technical difficulties.
That's how it goes. A lot of my shit just broke recently.

He swaps out keyboards and gets things working. The sample resumes playback on loop while Otis starts digging through drum kits again.

TML: Do you listen to Flying Lotus?
Naw, not really. He's cool though. I like his stuff. I don't really listen to a lot of cats. I mean I do but I don't. I listen to a lot of the same shit. I listen to shit i like. But mostly I just try to make shit, my own shit. I listen to my shit.

TML: Does listening to your shit help you in making new records?
Yeah. Well just, I don't know. I just like it a lot. I listen to a ton of other shit don't get me wrong but as far as newer shit goes, like i heard some Flying Lotus shit and it's like, I don't know, I just don't be bumpin it hella. I do listen to a lot of Madlib. Always have. I love Madlib and like Stevie Wonder and shit.

TML: Do you like Madlib's Yesterdays New Quintet shit?
Oh yeah i love all of his shit. He can do no wrong to me.

TML: Did you hear his record with the dude from Azymnuth? Jackson Conti.
Otis: Oh the brazialin dude, yeah that shit was incredible. That shit was mind blowing. He ah, crazy bro. He just does whatever he wants. that's why I like him so much, that's how I am.

He has selected what drums he wants and while we continue talking it's sporadic as he plays his keyboard laying down drum patterns.

TML: I heard that there are other studios in this building. Do you collaborate with any of them?
Yeah I've collaborated with some cats. Vitamin is over there, The Physics are back there. There's these cool ass dudes from Oklahoma that are across there, they actually do stuff in Tacoma, they have an ill ass studio across the way, like it's really nice. There is a couple random cats. Some artists and shit. This cat has a lot of cool guitars around the way.

Me: Is this a little artist community here at the OK Hotel?
Oh no man, just cats doing their thing.

Me: How did you and Rik Rude link up?
Man, a long time ago at Westlake, not even that long ago, he used to work at Nordstrom and there was this cat, he lived at this one complex and this other cat who lived in the same complex and it was just kinda a magnet of engergy, mad fools would always be up in this dudes crib and shit. Rik lived in the same complex and I just met him through that whole situation just through you know being in the town and shit. You know, I be out here and we linked up and shit. Boom. We just wanted to always do a project together and I had all these old instrumentals and dropped it on him. We came up with an idea a long ass time ago and he picked like 5 of those out of the whole CD and I went to school and I came back, and when I came back I was all super serious, cause I went to school for music, felt all motivated and shit. We just knocked out all the rest of the tracks, we only chose 3 out of those original 5 and just made a whole new shit. Just put it together and it's hella filthy bro.

TML: Is it done?
Yeah it's finished. We have a special, we want to release it, it's gonna be crazy. It's a collectors piece. It's not gonna be like oh you can go get your CD at Easy Street and blah blah blah.

TML: Like what Ish did with the Shabazz release?
Naw that shit was tight, the Shabazz shit was hella filthy bro. But it's like, boom. We have a big idea for the release.

TML: Is it gonna happen this year?
Oh yeah, it's gonna happen this year, soon. Very soon. We gotta get funds, trying to just get that shit, balance life. I'm all about it bro cause it's so good, Cats are gonna love it man, so it's motivating.

TML: You come up with some pretty crazy album titles, where do they come from?
I don't know, I should play you some shit. They are just names of records dog. I just have hella shit. Most of that shit is hella old. From when I was like 17.

TML: How old are you now?
I'm 24 now. I got a lot of shit man. Alien Taxi Service was made in Arizona. I made that while I was at school.

TML: What School did you go to?
The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Scienes, it's like a recording school. It was cool, little six - eight month program it was tight. Yes it Hurts, have you heard that one? This is like my acoustic album, I made this in Arizona too. A lot of it was for projects and shit.

TML: For School?
Yeah. We'd have to do all these crazy recordings with different mic set ups and shit so like I'd write these songs. I didn't like to record other people, there wasn't very many ill people down there. My homie Easy was hella ill, and some cats were ill. But we were like fuck it we make music might as well record ourselves. So everytime we had a project we recorded each other, got our shit done. I love this record, it's slept on.

TML: Is it on the site?
Yeah but you have to pay for this one. (laughs)

TML: How much is it?
Five bucks, I think you can name your price seriously. You gotta buy music though. I feel like if it's good enough man people will buy it. People don't want to buy it, ok. One day people will buy it. I don't really be tripping on it bro. I just want people to listen to good music. I don't really care. I like to cook bro. I'd be satisfied.

TML: You are happy cooking?
I would be happy doing that, because I'd still make music. As long as I can always make music. I might get upset seeing hella wack cats get hella far but it's like there is a business side to this shit. Cats want to play that game that's cool, get that money. I'd like to get that money but I'd never sell my soul for that shit. I'd never sacrifice my family, some shit that is important just for some fake niggas to kiss my ass. I'd rather, you don't have to do that. That's a gift.

He begins just playing random beats, some of which ended up in the folder of freebies in yesterdays post.

I did this shit with the good life crew when I was like younger bros, hella old rap songs. They are way filth, just some random cats. No one will ever hear them. Greatings From ... did you get that one?

TML: I don't think so.
That's an older one, that's a good one.

As tracks play the show from the night before at Chop Suey comes up.

Tay Sean was here last night.

TML: After Chop?
I heard it was poppin. I'm so happy. When I go to shows now folks are actually psyched in the crowd. People are having fun. For the lognest time people been like you go to the show and cats are just (shows a mean mug face) - cats are letting loose again it's so inspring. I remember ill ass house and loft parties, the craziest types of people around and everyone was partying until 6 in the morning. After the show is the after party, it's still like that but now I can see it being like all the time. People have tried. Cats just want to get down. Cats is shining man. Cats is tired of being assholes. Thats how I feel. I just want to get down with everyone. I smoke weed, get my drink on, i eat, sleep, shit, let's party!

TML: Make music and party.
Yeah that's what it is, you only live once.

TML: What do you think of Bandcamp?
I love it. Cause it doesn't cost you anything. I like the fact that it's hella simple. They only let you put your album cover and the music and maybe a little picture in the background. Now they let you sell your merch and they give you stats and shit. It's all so basic, I get tired of, like on myspace people have all sorts of shit on there. Honestly it's about the music. It's like boom -just a way to get your music out there for free.

TML: Do they take anything from the stuff you do sell?
Nope, they don't take any money. I've sold a couple joints. It's funny I've been on bandcamp for hella long. People really don't buy music. But they do buy it if you put in the work. Casue I now the more I get out do a show, like off this "Icing" shit, I've performed it a few times with Stas and Cat. After that I would see the stats and shit. That's the crazy thing about life, you put in work and you can see the result of your work.

TML: Do you have a fair amount of downloads on the free stuff?
I don't even have 100 downloads of the free stuff bro. I have like 500 something listens in a month, people don't really download shit wich is mind blowing. This shit is on iTunes (Dap Confuser) and I've been selling that shit on iTunes and it's been blowing my mind. This dude hit me up from Berlin Germany like, "I love this record." From Berlin, I'm like that is tight!

TML: How many sales you got?
I don't know yet. I just have gotten facebook comments and messages on my mailbox people telling me they like it. It's crazy to me.

TML: How many did you press?
I pressed about 20. I have 15 left i think. I pretty much just did them for promo. Then when i get my dough up, which I actually came across some shit, i'm gonna press some more.

Remembers left over wine from the night before, start chatting about music he has playing in the background.

I talked to a guy who said I need to get my shit out. He's right.

TML: Yeah I would say the same thing. I like how you are doing whole projects with an arist.
It's cool to do songs, but I don't really like doing songs. then that whole experience , I don't know, it's more like a party and shit which is cool, I like to party. But this music shit is important to me. I want the outcome to be something that is filthy. Not to say that that doesn't ever happen.

TML: You are doing exactly what you want to do.
If I make some songs and I'm like really, what's gonna happen with this song?

TML: Is There A Le'Roy album coming?
Otis: One of these days, I guess. We are gonna record some shit. I want to play Bumbershoot or something like a big show. Like that shit is so much fun, it's hella crackin.

Starts up a brazilian sample in the background then flips through more sounds, heavy bass sounds.

You got the LNHE (Linus Aristotles Hydroponic Explosion) album?

TML: Yeah that and the Nathaniel (Nathaniel Nathaniel True Tales of A Narcoleptic) album.
Tight. That came from my mom, she calls me Nathaniel even though it's not my name. And I'm a Narcoleptic. I'm tired all the time.

TML: What's your family think of your music?
They love it bro. For the longest time, I've always been on music. But they never wanted to hear that, they are hella educated, go to college. Man I've done everything wrong. But now that they see my shit on iTunes, they saw a couple years ago cause i had Greetings From The 9th Dimension and i put that up for free on torrents in like '06 or something and that shit has been downloaded like 15 thousand times after i added it all up. I'm like damn, that shit has been downloaded so much. That's a lot of people who have at least heard it. It's cool and so that made them very happy, and they support me. Now they support me big time. My moms saw the Stranger first time she was excited, my sister was excited. I told my other family and they all bought it on iTunes and were hitting me up, my cousins like "I didn't even know you did this." This is all recent shit. My family is getting back together, or at least the family I've never really known. The power of music.

Me: Bringing families together.
It's cool man, I'm not doing anything bad. I've been making music, this is what I do. My family is kinda square. I always been like this is what I do up here, now they are like damn this is what he's been doing. Very cool man, I feel very blessed.

He pauses for a moment, beats play. He resumes.

I want to drop this record called Doo Doo cause it's gon be funky. It's gonna be hella filthy, cats are gonna dig it. I'm pretty excited about it. Me and Rik Rude, Lord Vintage and THEESatisfaction, I am most excited about. All those cats are hella talented. There's so many sides to Rik, i don't think cats be knowing. And THEESatisfaction, those ladies are so talented. They can't make wack shit it's impossible.

TML: Are you gonna be doing a whole project with them?
Oh Yeah. We got the BPA you the know, Black Power Arrangers, that's a whole thing in itself. That's kinda a collective.

TML: Who's in that?
Shit, me, Stas, Cat & Chuck - CC, that's it. We are gonna make songs, it's not THEESat and OC Notes anymore its Black Power Arrangers. They are so good at making songs, I love it. It's hella inspiring. It's enjoyable, you know your shit will just turn out great. If the song isn't going cool we'll just vibe out and do it another time. Nothing is forced. A lot of cats force themselves in the lab, like ok i gotta write this 16 bar rap, smoke a thousand blunts and drink a bunch of booze oh I gotta focus. It's not like that, a lot of cats can't do that, can't just naturally make a song, they have to force themselves to do that. The process is awkward. It's never like that with THEESatisfaction. And CC.

TML: Who is CC?
Otis: Choclate Chuck, i just like to say CC (laughs)

TML: Would you ever consider taking the a cappella's and putting those verses over your beats i.e. Jay-Z remix tapes?
I thought about it. I used to be interested in stuff like that years ago. Like when dangermouse did the grey album. I was like that's cool, but i like to make my own shit. I have ideas I want to get out, like maybe one day I'll have an idea in a song and I'll do that. But as of right now i don't really have any interest in doing that cause Jay-Z did his own shit. I know hella cats who are ill, have hella ill raps, just need an exposure an outlet to rap. I'll put them on because I benefit from that.

TML: I like that Black Diamond & Blueberry Blunt Mix
I like that one, might be the best one I made.

We've moved from beats to random tunes, one catches my attention.

TML: What is this?
This is an Antonio Carlos Jobim song, I have it written down somewhere.

TML: Do you rap for fun?
Man... I was rapping before I made beats. I used to just, when I lived in Puyallup, I think it's funny when I talk about Puyallup because it's like such a weried place in my life, but it's like when I lived there I did what I did - it was cool. But um, I used to rap hella. There really isn't any black people there. Me and a couple other cats. I was that dude who rapped. A large part of that was why i started making beats instead of rapping because I got sick of just being, oh this guy raps. Yeah I rap shit is tight, I could be so much more. It got to a point where people didn't even pay attention to that. Now it's like an art yo, an instrument, so it's like, I always rap, but I feel like it has it's time and place. If I'm out sometimes I don't feel like rapping. I always see cats getting called out, like oh man lets cypher. I feel like sometimes cats might be uncomfortable but they feel like they have to cause they are a rapper - naw dog, do what you want do. Sometimes I feel like rapping, sometimes I dont. I do know that cats exercise that shit everday. Those are emcees, I mean shit I'm an emcee, but I'm a muscian first. That's just part of what I do. There's some filthy cats in the town though dog.

---

Again many thanks to Otis (and Audioasis!) for letting me invade the studio for an afternoon and pick his brain. Along with the assortment of tracks in yesterdays freebies folder he also gave me a folder titled Smoke Shop Sessions - I think you know what to do after you download this. It's short and sweat but so enjoyable. It played on repeat this afternoon for awhile.

Get IT.

1 comment:

Jonathan Cunningham said...

Solid interview. Love that OC Notes is getting recognized more and more for his music contributions in Seattle. Tight.