I had an opportunity to interview one of the up and coming producers in the Hip Hop underworld. Because teleportation hasn't been released out on the public market as of yet we were forced to conduct our interview via email. I have not changed a thing as I wanted to keep the interview in its original state so don't mind all the grammatical errors for all you anal mf's.
Where are you from and how did that influence you in creating your voice as a producer?
i'm originally from Illinois pretty much right in the middle of everything, but moved around a lot as a kid throughout the midwest. i got started with music early on and got into record-collecting even earlier. (my first record was a mickey mouse disco record! hahaha) Hip Hop was my early love, back in the 80's. i was pretty good at breakdancing when i was 8! I played trumpet from my preteen years until i was about 19-20, when I started getting into actually spinning records, then making original electronic music in '98-'99. dead/phish show attendance was from about 93 until 98, with raves being a huge part of my life (attending and promoting and eventually DJing) from 93 until 2001 or so. it was all about the acid house and IDM back in the early days, then i fell in love with Hip Hop again with DJ Shadow's "Endtroducing". Saul Williams' "Amethyst Rockstar" sealed the deal for me. Check out the *lyrics* of "Coded Language" for a nice view into where i'm coming from with music.
i hosted shows on 2 different radio stations in champaign-urbana, often doing crazy collages with pitchable tape players, DAT, CDs and vinyl. the midwest is sorta known for its psychedelic scene, so i spun a lot of bleepy experimental music: Warp Records, Merck, Rephlex, Caipirhina, Ninja Tune, covering every genre of electronic basically, gaining a huge knowledge of music via the radio shows, which obviously influences me as well.
since about 04 i have been making a sort of glitchy experimental hip-hop and dubstep ish stuff, usually with some super wonky bass and . very trippy stuff. i definitely make my music for people on drugs. it's a lot of fun. sometimes i have to do the drugs to make the music sound the way it does (taking drugs to make music to take drugs to).
it's probably most similar to maybe Flying Lotus, Prefuse 73, Dabrye, something along that line, with traces of Dilla, Aphex Twin, or Burial. i really want to put an album out on Warp, simply out of respect. i could die a happy man if i did that. : ) they have given me so much enjoyment, i would straight up GIVE them the music! hahaha
You go by the name Hipgnosis does that in any way reflect your beliefs (gnosticism)?
Yeah HipGnosis is a multi-layered name, really. There's the obvious hypnosis association (which i have studied extensively along with psychoacoustics, cymatics, brainwave entrainment theory, etc. some heavy stuff.) My music is very entrancing also, with my goal being to try and reach states of heightened awareness through simply listening to music. i am a gnostic that has been influenced by shamanism, chaos magick, ancient gnostic religions and early christian theology/cosmology, the western mystery traditions and the eastern mystery traditions, freemasonry and other initiatory systems, Thelema, and so much more. (In college i studied comparative religion, with a focus on Eastern religions and Pre-Christian pagan traditons.)
Do you read a lot and if so what type of stuff do you read and how does that play a part in your music.
i read a lot of non-fiction mainly, but spice it up with select fiction. i'm usually reading several books at once, often a combination of books on spirituality, esoteric studies, music, and psychology. i'm really into what i call "Mindfuck Fiction". you know, like philip k dick, neal stephenson, stuff like that. william s burroughs, robert anton wilson, and a few others too. it's pretty influential on my musuic, often contributing to the moods of my songs in some way.
Most of my readers are part of the cannabis culture so I must ask you what is your take on the herb? Do you use it? And if so how does that play a part in your creative process and/or production?
man, i smoke pretty much 24/7. i am an ardent suppporter of legalization and medicinal use. i smoke to relieve anxiety and for fun, and for inspiration, and for boredom-relief, and for having a bad day, and for having a good day... you get the picture. it's a major factor in my music tho. you can dig my stuff anytime, in any mindframe (espec. since i have so many diff styles/releases) but it's best enjoyed when under the influence of some nice herbs or fungus. :) or both!
Some producers are sensitive about this subject almost like magicians when you ask them about their tricks but I still must ask what are some of the tools you use to create your music?
well i can use almost any electronic instrument and most softwares as well. having worked in studios for several years, it was necessary to become versatile with Digital Audio Workstations, as everyone is going digital these days. ProTools is pretty popular in recording, but for production i use Ableton Live and a bunch of VST instruments and effects. i'm self-contained with a laptop and a keyboard, truthfully, so shows are easy to do. i have a crazy cool "virtual studio" in my computer with limitless possibilities. :D
This is a bit off topic but are you into the occult, magick, etc.? And if so how do you incorporate this in your music?
it's not off-topic at all, actually. i have been involved in magick and the occult since i was about 11. i started reading books on initatory systems, OTO rituals, Aleister Crowley, Theosophy, etc. in my teens i became involved in Temple Ov Psychick Youth (TOPY) started by Genesis P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV. i have since developed more of an eclectic, open-ended chaos magick-style syncretism of belief systems and rituals, which i am constantly rearranging and changing from day to day, year to year.
i'm interested in Free Illuminism, enlightenment, evolution, future-thought. i am trying to start a lodge, in what i have dubbed the "Open Source Occult" movement. i want the hierarchical despotic "ownership" of the Gnosis to be removed from the elitists who keep it hidden. Gnosis should be available to all, for we are all the makers of our own salvation. Organized religion only hints at the Mysteries. The "secret societies" that hold the keys to them are too incestuous and tightly closed. not more.
What have you got cooking now (recent projects, collaborations, etc.) and where can people find your music?
i always have like 20 thousand things going on, but here's some of my upcoming stuff. sometime september-ish i'll be releasing the first of two 4-song instrumental EPs on an independent label with the follow-up a few months later. (not going to drop names yet.) i just started collaborating with a singer-songwriter from canada named Helen Austin. amazing voice and songwriting. my collaborations with Pixieguts from Australia continue (though slowly due to my writer's block on lyrics.) doing some remixes. i'm still in the conception stages of a new collaborative project called "the black thumb" with a new producer, so i don't know when that's happening. i have a new track on a compilation on Lab Beat, the label that put out "Scientific Illuminism (Is For Sissies)" (my last album) coming out soon also. i do the weekly show "Between Zero and One with HipGnosis" every Wed at 10 pm Central/11pm Eastern time on http://glitch.fm , with the blog for it at http://thereisnotwo.tk . there's links to everything at my website http://hipgnosis.us including free downloads, DJ sets, archived radio shows, and links to purchase music too. i update regularly, so keep checking back. i'm on Twitter *Way* too much, so if you want to bullshit with me and get cool links to music and reading material and whatnot, follow me @HipGnosis23