Google+ Beathearts: The Beathearts Mark de Clive-Lowe Sitdown Part 2


The Beathearts Mark de Clive-Lowe Sitdown Part 2

(If you missed Part 1 read it here: The Beathearts Mark de Clive-Lowe sitdown part 1)


Who were your musical heroes when growing up?

At that time, when it was hiphop and early New Jack Swing, it was the whole Native Tongues collective. It was all the classic early ninties jazzy hiphop. For me, hearing all that, it blew my mind completely! It was funny, because at that time I didn't understand sampling, so I was like how are they making this? And I had some drum machines and was wondering why doesn't my stuff sound like their stuff, haha!

A friend of mine at school was a rapper working with a DJ who was sampling and at lunch time we played each others demos. I hear his demos and was like “it sounds like hiphop, how did you do that?” Ah, it's a sampler!

But then [I got] into the piano more. It was a lot of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Kenny Kirkland. He was a great piano player who used to play with Branford Marsalis. They were huge influences. And then when it came back to club music, like I said a lot of jungle and I really didn't care who made it, I was a big Peshay fan when he was really doing it.

With the double bass?

Yeah exactly! The Nu Yorican Soul album was a life changer, absolutely! The Innerzone Orchestra stuff. Early Jazzanova, when I first was in the UK, Caravelle, Fedime's flight - that early Jazzanova shit, that was a huge influence. So yeah, it was a pretty broad mix of everything but generally if it had some hump and some groove and some musicality, then I liked it!

Jazzanova – Fedime’s flight

That's also one reason of the reasons why we’ve followed your musical output for years. Everything from neo-soul, to broken beats, to 4/4 deep house to hiphop to jazz. Are there any musical genres and styles you’re curious to discover?

There´s always more to do, I mean I love to collaborate with a rock guitarist, and have a real culture clash and see what happens. I love collaborating with different people, I think everyone you work with have a different background. You know, Miguel's background is between classical and jazz, and we crossover in the jazz, but then, his classical thing is pretty much as far apart from me as my club music is to him. So when we work together it's a whole different vibe, which is beautiful, I love that. And there´s always more people to collaborate with and everyone brings out something different from each other.

Any dream collaborations?

D'Angelo, Herbie Hancock, Q-Tip, maybe a few more. But I'm lucky that I've been able to work with people who I really respect, I mean someone like Pino Palladino, we play together all the time, whenever we see each other we play. He'll call me up saying “what are you doing?” He'll come around and he has his bass with him, so then yeah, I guess we're gonna play haha! It's super cool that I have that kind of relationship.

When I do Church in New York, another bass player, Mark Kelly, he's The Roots bass player now, he does Church, and he's amazing, you know I feel very lucky to work with different talents and also pretty much of the amount of music I've made now, if it's someone I wanna work with I can call them and about at least half the time they probably heard something I've done, so there's a nice angle to start working.

I did a remix for [Brazilian musician and producer] Ed Motta a few years ago, I had a lot of fun with that. We've never worked directly but we talked about a little bit and that'll be fun. I like it when music is fun basically. If we're enjoying it then I collaborate with anyone almost.

Ed Motta –E Muita Gig Vei (Mark De Clive-Lowe Mix)

You know that D'Angelo had the world premiere of his tour in Stockholm in January?

Yeah, I saw the videos! When I saw the Voodoo tour that changed my life definitely, so it's great to see him back. About a month before that tour I did a gig with Chris Dave with his band and Pino was playing base, and it was funny because we were playing The Line. Hearing Chris and Pino playing that together, I was like “Wow! Shit, this is a great band!”

We interviewed Robert Glasper and Chris Dave here last summer and heard that they’ve joined you at the Church sessions to jam. How did you hook up with them? Any plans to record anything together?

Haha, dude, I was playing and I look up and Chris was on the drums! Haha! Simple as that! Robert and I have met a few times over the years and now whenever we see each other we catch up. We haven't done anything musical together but we talked about it. But right he's stupid busy, and I'm pretty busy, but it will happen. We’re always saying let's go in the studio one day and fuck around and see what happens. Chris, whenever I see him we get together, he's a great musician.

Absolutely! To us, one of the highlights of the D’Angelo concert was the 8-minute drum break session with just Chris Dave on stage when the rest of the band took a breather.

Yeah, I can see that! Chris is crazy!

Chris Dave drum solo @ Philadelphiakyrkan, Sthlm, Jan 26th 2012

What are your inspirations today? Records or tunes that have recently blown your mind?

I do listen to a lot of old music, and I think.. no, without going on about that, forget what I was going to say, haha!

I love the James Blake record, that was really fresh, so different. And being in LA, with the Brainfeeder crew with Gaslamp Killer, there's always good stuff. I did the Low End Theory weekly party a few month back and it was fun to play it. It was also fun to hear the Low End Theory resident DJ's play their own music and stuff their working on and the kind of bass culture in LA that's really cool, I like that. It's a really cool party, I think James Blake was DJ'ing that night, and he did an amazing dub step set.

And also, I hear a lot of music, a lot of new music, because I working on it myself. I collaborate with Zed Bias a lot, and I love what he's doing. But I do feel a little overwhelmed with new music right now. I mean, the number of people who hit me on Soundcloud or send me an mp3 or send me an Bandcamp link. I can't listen to everything, and when I do take the time to listen to it, it's not very often that I'm impressed.

But I really love people who work on their craft and master what they doing to a point where they have their own sound. But if I wanna hear something that sounds like Flying Lotus, I listen to Flying Lotus basically. Not that I answered your question at all, haha!

Mark de Clive-Lowe live @ Low End Theory Party LA dec 14 2011

We love what you do, and it's just great to hear where that comes from.

It comes from a lot of old music really. Like the arrangement, musical content comes from the influence of all the older music, of what I call classic music. The sonic approach and sometimes the production approach is influenced by new music, and somewhere in the middle it meets up, if that makes sense.

Another of our favorite track of yours is the Cosmos track with Sandra St Victor. It was the first time we heard a straight up house tune from you and it got such a driving gospelesque vibe to it. How did that song come about?

She smashed that tune, she smashed that! I first saw her on backing vocals at a Chaka Khan gig. Chaka to be honest didn't sound that good. And near the end of the show, she let her backing vocalists sing like eight bars each, and this woman named Karen Bernaud went first and she sounded amazing, and I was thinking “Wow, she sound so amazing, surely this other girl won't sound that good?” And next girl was Sandra St Victor, she sounded incredible! So this is back in the myspace days, so I hit Sandra up on myspace, said I loved that gig, you sounded amazing, and we just kept in touch over the years.

Sandra St Victor & MdCL - Cosmos

And then maybe two years ago I was doing a show in Brooklyn, she happened to be visiting New York, so I said why don't you come down and jam a bit. She did the whole gig and it was this crazy mix of soul, funk, opera, gospel, I mean even opera, it was crazy!

So after that, we were like I guess we’re gonna make some music now? Haha! I just chose some tracks that I was working on or I might have made one fresh for her, and she just knocked them out.

Any upcoming collaborations with her or tracks with a similar vibe coming up?

Actually I'm doing her next album at the moment, which is basically a downtempo soul record, with no dancefloor stuff, and she sounds amazing on it.

Sandra St Victor - At My Spheres/F.M.A.O.-ocity/Cosmos/Cosmos (Souled remix)

You're coming back to Stockholm in May. We haven't had the chance to experience it ourselves yet but heard so much about Church. Tell us about the Church concept.

Yeah, that's not a Church gig, because basically when I do Church it's bringing other musicians with me and we go from the jazz like I said and then more the club thing, but then I also do a solo live set, which we call Remix:Live, and I'll have acapellas on the turntables and then I create live remixes. Everything is made as it happens, nothing’s prepared, and it's basically a house set, but it's all live. That's gonna be a lot of fun!

Any plans of recording/releasing the Church experience on wax/mp3?

Yeah, at some point, I mean I record almost every gig. There may be some releases of that maybe. I’m also working on a new record, it's definitely influenced by Church and will have some of that vibe in it. It's really cool because it has brought me back to my jazz roots and helped my find ways to bring that together with the other stuff. So you're gonna hear that more by the next album, for sure.

Mark de Clive-Lowe 'Zombie' (REMIX:LIVE at Southpaw)

I've started working on an album right now, I've been given an open access to the vault of four great classic jazz labels. They told me to do whatever I want [with their back catalogue]. So I've started that, and that's gonna be the next album. Basically remixing and sampling, some Coltrane, some Ellington, all sorts of stuff, so just fucking with it, having fun with it basically, haha! So that's definitely gonna crossover into Church.

Talking about jazz remakes, did you hear the 1960 What remix by Opolopo?

Yeah, I love Gregory Porter, he'll be doing Church in New York sometime for sure. And Opolopo did a great job on that.

Gregory Porter - 1960 What? (Opolopo Kick & Bass Rerub)

There's a whole movement of New Zealand artists, like Fat Freddy's drop with Joe Dukie, Electric Wire Hustle with Mara TK, Benny Tones and now Myele Manzanza & Funkommunity, all fantastic musicians. Where does that sound come from and what makes it so rhythmic and laid-back?

The sound comes from dub, roots and reggae. There's a huge history of that in New Zealand. Especially in Wellington, which is where, all those guys are from. They got into Badu, Dilla and all sorts of other stuff, but they love that reggae dub bottom in. There's a lot of great stuff coming out of there. But in Auckland where I grew up there were definitely more house and jungle, and the two cities had their different sounds, it's kind of interesting.

I guested on keyboards on a couple of tracks for Myele Manzanza. He's one of my favorite new talents out of New Zealand, I dig what he's doing. And I did a track together with Dallas Tamaira (Joe Dukie) that's never come out called So Tru. Every now and then I listen to it, or a play it to someone, and they be like when are you gonna put it out? And again, funny enough we were listening to the Dwele demos, and at that time Dallas never heard Dwele. So one day I was playing him all that stuff, and we said let's make some music! So it was again influenced by Dwele haha!

Myele Manzanza - Big Space feat. MdCL

But you know I try whenever I can, especially when I get back to New Zealand, I try to do some collabs and work with people. There's an amazing producer named Submariner very few people know about outside of New Zealand. But he's like New Zealand's Pete Rock, he's crazy. He produced a record for a samoan rapper named Khaz the Field Style, and most of the record is in samoan, but his flow is so hip, it's like listen to De La Soul, but in Samoan. Even if you don't understand it, sounds cool you know, haha!

Recloose - Dust feat. Joe Dukie (Submariner Mix)

But is there a "New Zealand sound"?

There's definitely a sound, but I don't feel part of it. I definitely am very proud to be from New Zealand, and I am a New Zealand musician by definition, because that's where I am from. But New Zealand sound, especially the way you talk about it, evolved pretty much after I left. It was starting with Fat Freddy's Drop, and before that there was a band called Bongmaster, and they started developing that sound for sure. It was funny because they had a band called the Crackhead Experience. And Fat Freddy's Drop is the name of type of acid. Haha! So yeah they were all kinda interrelated.

Bongmaster – Ground my ego

But I feel much more influenced by my time in the UK as far as stylistically and then a lot of american music. From the jazz side, sixties and seventies jazz through to Dilla, Soulquarians and the whole Philadelphia sound. To me, those were the things that shaped me more then the New Zealand sound.

But I definitely support them, it's all family. And it's great seeing people like Electric Wire Hustle, they're almost ten years younger than me, and I saw them growing up and it's great seeing them doing their shit, it's very cool.

There so many great live bands, who does these live hiphop shows. Jazz musicians who grew up on Dilla like BadBadNotGood, Will Sessions and El Michels Affair, have you ever met these guys?

I checked out some of their music online, but I haven't met them. But it's great to see jazz musician helping jazz music evolve in different ways, and I think Robert Glasper has been a big part of that. And no one did more for it than Dilla, he made it okay for musicians to like drum programmers, that changed the world. Suddenly you got drummers checking out Dilla. It's funny, if I’m working with a drummer, if they haven't checked that stuff out, it's like we can not really communicate musically. That's part of the language now, which is amazing. One guy changed the language of music, that's incredible!

What can we look forward to from you in 2012?

Well, like I was saying before, this album project remixing and sampling classic jazz releases, that's the next big thing I'm working on. And it may be more than one album to, so that's fun.

There’s that, Sandra St Victor's record and then there's a big band album coming out on Tru Thoughts. It's like a twenty piece big band and I have the MPC and keyboard and stuff, it's quite fun. The big band is called the Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra, they already exist in Rotterdam, and they asked me to guest with them for a show, and we ended up recording and the record is coming out later on this year. There's always a lot of stuff going on, haha!

Any thoughts of a pure hiphop production album?

Yeah, I thought about it often, I don't know why I haven't done it. I've got notes somewhere with like all the guest haha! I really thought about it. And I know I can get to most of the people I wanna get to quite easily, so I’d love that to happen.

MC John Robinson guested on Church in New York, and the last month was the anniversary of Biggie's death, so we did an acoustic jazz kind of flip of Unbelievable. John got up, DJ Spinna was doing cuts with the R. Kelly sample on that. Spinna, the band, John, it was crazy. John was rocking the "Biggie Smalls is the illest" and then Spinna cut up "Biggie Smalls is the illest", haha! It's not online or anything yet, but I know that show was video'ed and I'm pretty sure it was recorded, so there's potential there. We had so much fun playing, especially to do it in New York on that day. And maybe if the recording didn't work out I'm actually may re-record it some time anyway.

You know, I love hiphop to death, like a lot, so it would be great to do a project like that.

Biggie Smalls - Unbelievable (1994)

Lastly to wrap things up, got any memorable tour stories?

There's a million tour stories, there's plenty I can't even repeat, haha! But it's been great to be in a seat to see the world this way, you know, to go places I never thought I go. To be able to share music to people who I never thought I meet is amazing. And it's a really blessed and privileged lifestyle, and seem to be continuing, so I feel very lucky like that.

That's it. We're looking forward to all your upcoming project in 2012 and hope to hook up soon again! 


If you missed out on Part 1 of the interview check it here: The Beathearts MdCL sit-down part 1.

Beathearts selection of MdCL freebies:

Church mixtape vol.1 & 3:

Download: Mark de Clive-Lowe - Church Vol.1 + Church Vol.3

As a bonus here's MdCL's ode to the late Teena Marie:

Download: Mark de Clive-Lowe ft. Sy Smith - Teena (Lovergirl Syberized) 

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