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Friday, March 23, 2007

RJD2 - "The Third Hand"

"The Third Hand", the latest release from RJD2 is now in stores. Here's a little interview the good folks over at URGE sent me. Check it out.

"URGE: The Third Hand marks a major change in your music. Talk a little about your evolution from longtime track producer into more of a songwriter.

RJD2: Before I first began working on [2002's]Dead Ringer, I realized I was going to take a stab at doing a solo record, just as a producer. Even then, the concept that I wanted to achieve was to take the tools I was working with -- the MPC, loops and samples off of records, the same nuts and bolts that you use to make a beat for a rapper -- and apply them to things from the music world, like having a bridge or a chorus, or having a section of the song that's not the same chord progression. I felt like there had to be at least two chord progressions. Anything that I released as a solo artist [had to work with] these ideas. So the process is still essentially the same, but what I'm using has changed.

URGE: For instance, you are now playing your own instruments?

RJD2: Yeah, this album is recorded live: keyboards (Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Hammond M3, Casio CZ1000, Yamaha CS40), a couple of guitars and a couple of amps. All of the drums are still done on the MPC. I've been working on engineering and miking drums before this album, the science and the knowledge behind recording a drum kit. It is a complicated thing to do right, but I haven't gotten to that point. That was the reason I decided to use an MPC: The tones and engineering that you can get from a drum break, I haven't achieved that yet [with live drums]. But I just learn as I go along. The best learning experience you can have is screwing up.

URGE: The indie hip-hop community that has been your main audience is known for being pretty insular and not embracing change. What kind of feedback on The Third Hand have ou received from them?

RJD2: A kid wrote me a MySpace message last week that said, "Dude what happened to your music? You used to make music that was all mellow. What happened to songs like, 'To All of You' and 'Since We Last Spoke'? What happened to you?" And that was just a relief to get, it made me feel so good.

URGE: Why?

RJD2: Because it was funny and weird that he would pick a song like "To All of You," which was a tangent on the record it was on. But it illustrated that people are going to pick up on different things. When you dabble [with a lot of styles], what you do is not always so clean-cut and defined. And I just thought it was interesting that somebody came in to listening to my records on a second album, several years [into my career], and picked up on this very mellow song that I felt like was very unlike anything I've ever done before. And that's what he wanted me to go back to."

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