Place: Gnome et Rhône Café, Lyon, France
Date : February 26th, 2004

Hip-Hop Core: Now that I have the EP in my hands I realise that, last year, when I first met you, you already had a perfect idea of what "Now Soon Someday" would be like. How come?

Beans: The goal of the EP was just to put out more material that I had at that time, I guess. I knew that I was going to work on an EP after that tour last year. I've finished most of the EP in the summer time but during the tour I already had an idea of the titles I wanted to put on there. Some of the titles changed a little bit, like 'Gold Skull' was originally called 'Smell My Love', and things like that. But, yeah, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do.

HHC: You've produced "Now Soon Someday" without any help from Earl Blaize. Was that a true will of emancipation?

B: Well, it is a step for me because it is the first thing that I produce without any outside influence. I think it shows what my sound is. The next album is a bit more uptempo as well. Basically, the first album was more a reflection of older material with some newer stuff; the last track being where I was going. The EP is kind of like where I was at the time it was recorded. And the next album will also reflect where I am right now. It's an ongoing progression for me. I'm evolving and I switch up too. The newest stuff is directing fast-forward, I could say that… But then, the next one will be like a live band!
Being by myself, I have to get used to that process of doing everything on my own. On "Now Soon Someday", I just worked with one engineer. We just did the sessions, laid down the basic foundations and then I went back, layered and add what was needed. And, in the end, it came out to be what it was. I've done nearly everything on my own this time. If you take the beat for 'Win Or Lose You Lose' for instance, it was done on a 4-track. I was mad, I got in an argument with my daughter's mother and wrote that. I just spent the next day writing it.

HHC: What attracts you to minimalist sounds?

B: If I use a lot of elements, considering the way that I rhyme (that fast), you get lost. It won't make any sense. It would just sound like it would be muddle. That's why I leave enough space for the words, so that the words don't get lost. That was also part of the reason why I printed the lyrics.

HHC: 'Composition In Void' has a distinct old-school-meets-next-school flavour, something that already infused the previous LP. Is that something that you want to accomplish (melting together the sound of the 80's and the sound of the future?

B: I don't know. It's not something that's done too intentional. It's just a reflection of where I am. It's just maintaining that spirit. People just hear different things in the music then…

HHC: On 'Win Or Lose You Lose', you describe yourself as a "misunderstood presence 2 much future 4 this present". Do you really think that you're misunderstood?

B: In a way, yes. I don't think the picture is quite clear yet as to what's exactly happening. I'm not sure that people know exactly where to put me and how to classify me. They're still wondering: "What type of artist is he?" or "What is he doing exactly?".

HHC: What gave you the will to write the autobiographical 'Crevice'?

B: Just dealing with things, dealing with family situations… I think it's a matter of just being able to show somewhat of a sense of vulnerability; not being afraid to show some wounds basically.

HHC: Why did you choose to bring in some outside producers (El-P & Prefuse 73) on this new effort?

B: Well, those tracks on the EP are just remixes. But El-P and I have the same manager and I tour with Prefuse a lot so it wasn't really a puzzle. Else, I'm not that interested in rhyming on other producers' sounds for my albums... I mean, I'm gonna do some stuff with Dabrye (but for his album) and I'm going to do some tracks with Mark Pritchard for the next record… but that's only 2 tracks though.

HHC: The EP was supposed to be released last September. What happened?

B: Well, it got pushed back. That's all. It was finished since September but it was just that the scheduling got pushed back. Record business bullshit…

HHC: In 2003, you've done a lot of tours, with Prefuse 73, Mike Ladd, The Rapture, DJ Krush, etc… How do you feel about touring so much?

B: You've got to tour. That's your livelihood. You don't really make any money only selling records. You make most of your money on touring. You sell more records the more people see you. So the more you tour, the more money you make. I've got bills, man. I've got to tour, I have no choice. Plus, I like touring!

HHC: All the people that have seen you on stage agree to say that you're a "live artist", meaning that you truly have an incredible stage presence and that it's where you seem to enjoy the most. Where does this stage presence come from?

B: I guess I just get it from experience. Just from doing it. I've been doing this for a while, man! I've been touring since I was like 23, 24. I'm 32 now. It's been a while. I feel like I'm comfortable on all facets now. I like the studio as much as I like the stage. I like the whole process. This is a matter of experience. Over time, I'm just being comfortable with my own… I'm pretty focused in every thing that I do. For instance, I like to stay in the studio for long hours. I don't have a set-up in my house so when I go to the studio I'm really focused. I mean I have a keyboard and everything but I don't have a real set-up in my house yet. That's pretty expensive. It gets kind of frustrating because there are certain things that I want to do right now at the moment and I have to wait. So it's a pretty big release for me to be recording.

HHC: It's the second time that you're touring France on your own. How has it been so far?

B: The tour's been cool. Really. Last night in Paris was the blast. The crowd was great. I was kind of surprised honestly.

HHC: Warp has created the rap subdivision Lex. Why haven't you moved from Warp to Lex?

B: Because I'm signed to Warp! It allows me a latitude to do different things, very interchangeable parts. Like I can go on tour with everybody: The Rapture, DJ Krush, etc. I don't really have to be so boxed-in as to what I'm doing. I can just do what I do. If I'd stay on Lex, I'd be like… just hip-hop. Just in a box.

HHC: Concerning collaborations, you haven't done many. Why is that?

B: I've just done something with Dani Siciliano. Apart from that, to be honest, it's just that nobody asks me!

HHC: A few words about the packaging of the EP. Once again, the artwork has been made by Ron Croudy. Why did you select him and what inspired you to use this kind of "book" format for the CD release?

B: That's going to be the format for every release for me from now on, honestly. So, that way, I can print the lyrics because I don't want what I'm saying to be misinterpreted. I just want the lyrics to be upfront. The picture is of an ex-girl, you know. I used Ron Croudy because Ron is my man. He did the last couple of Antipop stuff and my first LP as well. He looked out, so I continue working with him.

HHC: Some years down the line, which Antipop album is your favourite and why?

B: I like the one that nobody heard: "Shopping Carts Crashing". I honestly think it was fucked up what happened to that record because Priest and Sayyid didn't want to put it out. I thought that shit was stupid. It would have showed a logical transition from "Tragic Epilogue" to "Arrhythmia". And people wouldn't have been like: "Oh, that's a big transition!" It would have been like a nice gradual progression. I think "Shopping Carts Crashing" would have gotten immediate hip-hop fans into Antipop rather quickly so, by the time "Arrhythmia" came out, the audience would have been a lot stronger and established. It would have been like nice building blocks for people to grow with Antipop and see where Antipop was going. I think it would have been nice to have showed that.
I would definitely like to re-release that so it comes out domestically and so that it won't be an import and people won't be scared to buy it. I would re-release "Tragic Epilogue" and take out a couple of cuts so that it'd be a better album. I would take out a couple of tracks of "Shopping Carts" as well, like cut out some of these instrumentals. But I'm kind of proud of "Shopping Carts" because it took three weeks to make! We had to rush to do that album, man. We had to hand it in by a certain time. When we got the deal, they said: "We have to have it by a certain time". It started off as a EP and then they said they wanted an album… but if it was going to come out by this time then it had to be done by this date. So we had to rush. That was basically everybody in their own house coming up with beats, riding there (Earl's house); Earl mixing and trying to do whatever he could… That was the shortest amount of time Antipop ever did a record in and it turned out to be one of the best.

HHC: You've said that you have a new solo LP is in the works...

B: Yeah, it will be released this fall. It's called "Shock City Maverick". From now on, I want to put on a schedule of album-EP-album-EP-album-EP… That way, I can consistently have stuff out and just consistently keep touring. I want to make sure the record's with longer songs. Long for me is like 4 minutes long. But I like to write just 2 verses. Just keep it moving you know. Most of the album is finished. It's like 80% finished. I've got to tweak some things. I'm going on the road again for another 3 months in March so I've got to finish it before I go back on the road. I have to have it done by May.

HHC: Do you still record some of your vocals watching porn?

B: Yeah. I'm just a sexually-driven person… (laughs).

Interview by Cobalt
March 2004

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