Google+ Beathearts: The Beathearts Robert Glasper Experiment sit-down (Exclusive)


The Beathearts Robert Glasper Experiment sit-down (Exclusive)

Artists: Robert Glasper, Chris Dave
Event: Stockholm Jazz Festival
Location: Stockholm
Date: June 19th 2011


During the recent Stockholm Jazz Festival we had the pleasure of sitting down with Robert Glasper and Chris Dave after the show. We talked about their show, the upcoming projects, their relation to Jay Dee and of course the omnipresent Dillaludes. Read the whole thing exclusively here at Beathearts. Enjoy!

The Robert Glasper Experiment is:

Robert Glasper: Keys, Rhodes
Chris Dave: Drums
Derrick Hodge: Bass
Casey Benjamin: Vocals/Vocoder

Beathearts: As many others, we first discovered your music on Benji-B's Deviation show on 1extra where he played your absolutely stunning unreleased Dillaludes. Dilla's life, music and passing was a major inspiration for us to start writing about soulful underground music. What is your relation to Yancey's music?

Robert: We first worked together on Bilal's first album. We went up to Detroit and stayed there for two weeks to jam and record with him. I was in his basement the night he put together the beat for (Bilal's) Remanisce (often interpreted in Glasper's live Dillaludes). After that we built a relationship, so when ever we went up to Detroit we used to hang out at the shows or mix a record and it just developed from there on.

Bilal performs and talks about the creation of Remanisce

Beathearts: We've heard that you worked together on a couple of occasions. How did that come about and what have you put out together?

Chris: Oh yes, he has some tracks out.
Robert: We did some alternate tracks for Bilal that didn't make it to the first album. Some of them are out and about, but it's not official.

Beathearts: When did the two of you (Robert Glasper & Chris Dave) hook up?

Chris: Around 2001 but it's still not officially confirmed! (Laughs)
Robert: We're both from the same hometown (Houston). We went to the same highschool but back then only knew each other by name.
Chris: I think we met in New York working with Bilal, but the first show together was back in Houston with Bilal.

Beathearts: How did the concept of the Dillaludes come about?

Robert: I just wanted to do it in a trio format on my second record on Blue Note (In my element, 2007). I mean a lot of people jumped on it after he got sick and passed on, but I was playing Dilla's stuff before he got sick because I loved his music. I talked to him about it about a year before he passed away and the idea just struck a chorus. You know, most jazz musicians wouldn't understand but I came up with the Dillaludes because I was playing his stuff anyways. So to pay homage we just put it on the record. It was a lot of live excerpts from a bunch of Dilla tunes we played over the years.

Beathearts: Apart from the obvious jazz, funk and hiphop influences there seems to be spiritual and gospel influences in tracks such as Y'outta praise him. Who we're your musical heroes when growing up?

Robert: There are too many. I mean we could literally go from Richard Smallwood to Kirk Franklin to Billy Joel to Bruce Hornsby to Herbie Hancock to Oscar Peterson to back to Herbie Hancock. (Laughs)
Chris: From Dilla to Herbie Hancock to Wayne Shorter to John Coltrain to Hancock (laughs) to Radiohead.

Beathearts: You did a remake of a Radiohead track on one of the albums, Everything in its right place, how did that come about?

Robert: We love Radiohead and we've done a bunch of Radiohead covers over the years in our shows.

Radiohead - Everything in its right place

Beathearts: Did you ever work with Thom Yorke (Radiohead's lead vocalist/songwriter)?

Robert: No, but Chris was on Exit Music (Radiohead cover concept album) together with Meshell Ndegeocello. They did The national anthem song off Radiohead's Kid A album.

Beathearts: Who are your inspirations today? Artists/people have recently blown your mind?

Robert: Hm...Little Dragon! Bilal.
Chris: Common, Lupe Fiasco. Coldplay, Fleetfoxes, Radiohead. Then there are alot of under ground groups that inspire. It all depends on what's in people's iPods when we get on the tourbus traveling around. We get a lot of inspiration from what people around us play when we're on tour.

Beathearts: For a long time there we're very few artists/groups that could pull off a vibrant live instrumentation hiphop/rap set. The last couple of years there has risen almost a movement of groups that bring that old school organic live sound. El Michels Affair is one example - we love what they've done with the wu-tang tunes on Truth & Soul back in 2005. Booty Cologne and Grafisk Musik are great but rare Nordic example. Another example is Elzhi & Will sessions Illmatic tribute and then there's of course the Roots. For us, your interpretations of Dilla's tunes feels like a reboot of the live hiphop experience. A great way to develop the hiphop/jazz music into something more durable/classic material. Have you ever tried recording with rappers/vocalists the way El Michels Affair has?

Robert: Well, in a week and a half we're all going into the studio to record the next album planned for release on top of the year. When we all go into the studio it all happens there. We don't have anything predefined but we do know who the special guest are: Mos Def, Q-tip, possibly Lupe Fiasco, Common, Erykah Badu, Meshell Ndegeocello and Bilal. Sometimes we have an idea what we want to do with certain people, sometimes we don't. We'll see what happens in the studio and take it from there.

Robert Glasper Experiment ft. Lupe Fiasco - Kick push (Live)

Is there a title?

Robert: Not yet actually. We're still trying to figure that out.
Chris: Triple booked! (Laughs)

Beathearts: And what about you Chris, you also have an album coming up?

Chris: Yes, we're all trying to get shit done. Derrick (Hodge) and Casey (Benjamin) have albums coming up as well later this year. My album is kind of in the same vein as Derrick's. Not exactly like the (Robert Glasper) Experiment but we vibe of the venues we're playing at. At some point, it's probably going to be a big ass tour with all of us playing our separate joints and end up in the Experiment with all the special guest. So we're hoping to tour the world with that shit.

Beathearts: Are there any other potential collabs coming up?

Robert: Maybe Karriem Riggins. I meet Karriem in Dilla's basement. We talked about doing something together but never really committed to putting something out.
Chris: I've done a few things with Karriem for a couple of the albums that he produced where I was playing the drums.

Beathearts: Looking forward to that! Karriem is a great inspiration for us as well. We did a feature of him earlier (Detroit's best kept secret - Karriem Riggins). His joint projects with Madlib are just out of this world.

Karriem Riggins - 12's in 8's

Beathearts: Just like Benji-B, Gilles Peterson and others, the blending of styles and genres is what we believe brings music forward. Have you heard about a German group called Brandt Brauer Frick? They've put together a European twist of what you have done with the Dillaludes. They're a trio of classical musicians that started jamming live instrumental versions of techno classic. Another example is Wajeed's upcoming Electric Street Orchestra project where he teamed up with Detroit legend Mad Mike (Underground Resistance). Have you ever worked with artists from the more electronic genres?

Robert: I'm not really that into electronic music. Not that I'm not open to it.
Chris: Nah, he's organic! Straight up organic! (Laughs)
Robert: We've not ventured into that area yet but I'm down. Let's try it and see where it takes us.

Beathearts: You work in several different constellations. As solo artists, The Robert Glasper Trio, The Robert Glasper Experiment. Is there a different theme or idea that separates them?

Robert: We all do things separately as well as together. Chris is on Adele's latest record (21).
Chris: Rob has produced Gretchen Parlato's new record (The lost and found). If you don't know her you're about to hear more about her soon!
Robert: We both do stuff with Maxwell.

Beathearts: Were you both here (in Stockholm) for legendary Maxwell show in 2009?

Chris: Yes, and Derrick (Hodge) our bassplayer to. That was a good show!
Robert: We also played with Mos Def, Q-tip, Erykah Badu.
Chris: It's all like a big family.

Maxwell - Don't you ever wonder (live @ Berns, Sthlm 2009)

Beathearts: Was it our hearing or wasn't there a Badu track amongst the Dillaludes tonight? I think it was I want you off Worldwide Underground?

Robert: I don't know. Maybe Derek played a baseline and we all just went into it without even realizing it. That's how we do it. Just vibe off each other.

Beathearts: Another one of your tracks that stopped us in our tracks the first time we heard it was the instrumental version of Dilla shine ft Zynzelay. From what we hear it's a rework of Busta’s “Show me what you got” where Dilla sampled Stereolab “Come and play in the milky night”. Could you tell us the story behind that track?

Robert: On the Double Booked album we did outtakes of Dilla songs and gave them to Gilles Peterson and he threw them on the Internet. So then Zynzelay, who we didn't know, found the track on Youtube and put a vocal on it. We didn't know her at all. So, a friend of mine that do know her, called me and told me about it. So, no it's not officially released. It just happened.

Robert Glasper Experiment-Dilla Shine ft Zynzelay

Beathearts: Finally, we have to ask about all those unreleased Dillaludes. Is there ever going to be an official release? Glasper/Dilla-heads would pay a lot of money for a live double album of the unreleased Dillaludes...

Robert: Oh yes definitely! We're probably gonna throw some of them out on this record coming up!
Chris: Oh, we're gonna hook'em up for sure! Nothing planned but we're definitely gonna put them out there.

Robert Glasper Experiment - Dillalude


-The Robert Glasper Experiement's new album is planned for release at the end of the year

-Derrick Hodge's album is scheduled for release fall 2011 (Myspace)

-Chris Dave's and Casey Benjamin's albums have no set release dates but they both hope to get them out late 2011. Check their Myspaces for more upcoming sounds:

2 reactions:

dJm said...

thanks for posting this great interview. really interesting to hear about how all these guys met and started playing together. There is a real sense of community about the jazz-hiphop movement today.

Beathearts said...

Thanks for your feedback! It was very inspirational to meet up with Robert and Chris and we had a great time putting it together.

If you haven't already seen it we recently interviewed Slakah the Beatchild. Another great beatmaker and musician.

Check it here: