MP3: “Beyond the Beyond” by RJD2
Tonight in Columbus OH, RJD2 presents the worldwide debut of his new live band at the Wexner Center. We caught up with RJ on the eve of his big change.
Wes Flexner: Do you foresee yourself going back to sampled-based composition?
RJD2: I don’t know. I can foresee what I am going to be doing in the future, but at this point I am a little too “out there” as an artist to go around sampling shit, and without clearing it it’s a very limiting form to be working in.
WF: When creating the album, did you use equipment from the eras of sound you were striving for?
RJ: Yeah, I spent a lot of time and money buying the instruments that were on my favorite records and then even more time restoring shit. Clarinet, Hammond organ, electric pianos, synths, vibraphone. There are only one or two instruments in my studio that were made after 1980.
WF: Was the transition from producer/deejay to front man, difficult for you? Was it out of necessity or a rooted desire to experience the extreme extroverted side of musical performance?
RJ: I don’t think too much about it. I think there is an inherent disparity in being primarily an “instrumental artist” that’s not part of the group. Because naturally you need to be the “front man” of your own act. But the music is inherently introverted. So it can make things hard. I’m kind of relieved to just be in front of the mic since my name is top on the marquis anyway. It was really hard to headline shows when I was primarily using turntables and a sampler and present it like a big deal.
WF: Has singing been like forcing yourself to skydive, or a natural comfortable process?
RJ: Yeah, a little. Really, preparing to go out and sing the songs is the most like skydiving. In the studio, it’s just…”ok, take 13″. But that’s what makes it so exciting. There’s such a chance for mistakes. I’m looking forward to those kinds of things. I think it’s more interesting to see a performer succeed when they occasionally fail.
WF: All of your band members had their various impacts on Columbus music. Can you recall and memories of being a young man in the crowd and watching Howling Maggie, New Bomb Turks, RC Mob, etc?
RJ: It’s funny, cause Happy is such a humble guy. It’s almost hard to think of him as a rock star, but every now and then I think about that song “Alcohol”, and I think hey, this guy was on the radio when I wasn’t eve thinking about wishing I WAS as musician. Same with Sam. These guys need to work a little harder at being dicks if they’re going to convince someone they are big shots.