Babe, Terror answers the Questions of Doom
Babe, Terror is about to drop a veritable summer time 'high impact' drone onto unsuspecting citizens of the internet, via Erol Alkan's Phantasy records. Srsly into this new record. Babe, Terror has been updating the tropicalia templates, and has moved into a mash of Beach Boys melting in 98 degree heat, whilst Madlib is heard, on a balcony, dropping beats, whilst somewhere in the distance, he directs lo fi choirs and attaches it onto the 'tracks'. It is a symphonic dance move coming from the unconscious. Can't say enough good things about Babe, Terror. So much so, that we had no choice but to get him into Bad Vibes world and have him answer the Questions of Doom.
Why have you called the album 'Knights'?
It just came like magic. The first version was a tape i made to give a girl. I was at the book store she used to work. I used to stalk her as a mad, and one day she looked in a cool a way to me, and I thought: "I will make music and she will be impressed". I made a tape, probably with some beats and the songs that were loaded in my MP3 that day. It sounded terrific and a fearless, valiant thing to do. It came in my mind the idea of a freak guy stalking around romantically. It's something that a crazy, fancy dressed contemporary knight would do. It was me. A guy dressed like in RPG, but mentally.
You seem to be into the Beatles, is Knights, your attempts to translate the Beatles through Babe, Terror's world?
Yes. One first thing to be said is that the last great invention in music is, still is, "Revolution 9". It's deniable, but I think we are all on that base. I love Eric Copeland, Panda Bear, Jane, a lot of things in classic and experimental hip hop, People Like Us and a lot of the things coming from these sample-based-haunted-music labels, but in a certain sense, we are all doin "Revolution Number 9", and we'll be goin on with that. For a long, long, long time. People Like Us is the true contemporary musical Beatle-thology for conviction and definition, while some of these artists don't even know about "White Album,". But it doesn't matter. All the hip-hoppers and sample enthusiasts are making that. Not a post-academical sample music, but strong pop music with samples and ideas from others, like Lennon imitating Orbison and Holly and Motown in 64, and like Lennon doin "Revolution 9" in 68. Lennon is the artist behind all the music, he is clearly the choice of God to lead everything in this field, today and for a long time yet.
Well, this been said, my intention doin music was, always, being the Beatles of my apartment. Compose an intimate, intern score like The Beatles composed their score for me and many others. The first rule of Babe, Terror as a project of music is composing music that sound really great to me, music that should last to me. It was always like that, even when I wasn't using music I listen day-by-day to build my own. I want to be Beatles for myself.
'Knights' seems far more cinematic than your previous records with Phantasy, why do you think you've taken on more of a technicolor scope with this record?
My idea of music was always about making scores, creating technocolors with sounds. If I'm able to create a more cinematic sense of movement and narrative right now, that's probably because I'm a better maker and, above it, a better listener now.
What are some of samples used?
I'm afraid I can't say, but one day I will.
Kinda has a Madlib meets Panda Bear feel -- are you moving more into 'dance' music with Knights?
Well, I'm really excited about dance music, I'm discovering lots of things and records in this field in the last 4, 5 years, and since post-"Weekend" days I'm trying to find a way to make my own kind of internal dance music. I can't do it in a established sense. I don't like the meaning of the word "producer" in this field, and I can't do productions anyway, I'm not even a pro, which is something I wouldn't like to be (I just want to find some music, to be made and listened)... But, yes, I'm addicted to beats and the pulse, as listener, and so I try to find a way to work with them, in my own sense.
Knights 'feels' like it was sequenced deliberately - was this an intentional narrative choice?
I had 6 or 7 ideas for 3 beats. I've put together the ones that seemed alike and harmonious. Then I had 3 tracks and a choral to connect a to b side, which is "Cleric". Then I just thought: "well, this comes first, and it is good to close the album". Ah, "Lifantastic" should be a single track of 20 minutes. Then I realized a natural connection between different sections and made a cut that transformed it in 2 tracks, "I" and "II". I sequenced the record after making the cut, just using the intuition and a soft level of decision, like "it's good to start, it's good to come 2 songs after, it's good to finish". Finding titles for tracks was a major pleasure time shortly after sequencing. I felt I could englobe and join all the ideas and words in the world and they'd still sound like in a knight-universe.
Do you feel like Albert Ayler - 'if they don't get it now, they will ... eventually'.
To be honest, yes.
'War' has a nice symphonic build -- it is a striking title, how is that work in relation to the record?
I made "Knights" in two nights. I was connecting sounds, drawing things from MP3 to the computer, deliberately. Connecting and discovering paths between them. In the first night I was just discovering "Savagestic". Then I'd go for shopping, I'd buy peanuts and beer, and in the other night I'd try another thing. And so in the second night I discovered "War", when I drew a record I never tried before. The first part is unrecognizable. The same track gave me the end section, which is more hymnical.
Frequently, the last track to be made is the best, cause the first tracks are training time. I realized "War" is the sound of my own life speaking at the end of the record. The "Lifantastics" and "Savagestic" are more cerebral and from distant worlds I was exploring. "Cleric" is an important part of me too, a typical lo-fi choral I like to do since "Mount Dorothy". But "War" - and it was like that since the time I caught the good road out in that set of samples - It's me watching Robert Zemeckis films and Amazing Stories series in the 80's. The song has this taste. It's an old picture of myself.
You bury your vocals under effects - are you trying to make the vocal disguised, and more international?
In a certain sense, It's me dressing a mask, yes. Giving birth to a character. like If I killed Claudio of "Weekend", which was the purest, and then i turned that into a more abstracted version of me. A character, really.
Do you feel your unconscious helps build the music you record?
Yes. Like in what i said about films and series when I was making "War". That was just there. But It was a driven discovery, by my mind like crossing secret paths, for sure.