The right here, right now, can be a minefield for artistic endeavors. Whenever someone reviews your shit using “zeitgeist” or, in a schizo attempt to negatively locate oneself, describes it as ‘future-’this, ‘tumblr’-that—sell your set up and run for the hills. In no time they will proclaim you as ancient as a YG track about the AOL messenger.
Of course, being staunchly in touch with current aesthetics is the only way to create, so don’t bother. The trick seems to be to not only detect the building blocks of a style and recreate a feeling but to keep ahead of the curve by re-organizing them in ways that open new conduits.
Louisiana producer James Prudhomme AKA Suicideyear has been making beats that sound complex and timely for a while now. For the most part, he excels to a degree that makes you wonder why Yeezus almighty has not yet helicoptered him to Hawaii. Instead, his productions struck a chord with a wide range of kindred spirits from Brooklyn to Atlanta to London. OPN picked up his instrumental album Remembrance for Software Recordings, and MCs as different as Rome Fortune and K9 have jumped on his tracks.
SY’s latest offering, the collabo EP Brothers, alongside New Orleans’ Outthepond, is no exception. His first release in almost two years is the perfect mixture of flashy and menacing—every glossy melody leaves you with a hollow aftertaste, stripped down, grimey loops tower up only to dissolve in chaos, and uptempo beats get matched by weirdly pitched synth choirs. It makes sense that he cites the drastic build ups and mood changes of video game soundtracks like Metal Gear Solid as a major influence. We reached out to the producer duo to hear more about their long-standing friendship and what’s cooking in the NoLa underground at the moment. –Julian Brimmers
How did you guys link up for Brothers?
Outthepond:I met James in high school through a mutual friend we had. I always played music: piano, percussion, etc. But hearing James’s music made me really interested and I began from there. So we been friends for a while and we always just kick it and collab on stuff. James hit me one day and was like, ‘we got so much work together let’s drop a tape.’
Suicideyear:I’m not up to much in the days so it’s nothing to go over to Chris’ to work on something or just cool it. I felt like the collection of beats we were sitting on had been shelved for someone to use for way too long, plus I just wanted to give people something back for waiting two years.
Who of you is better at finishing tracks?
Outthepond:Prolly James lol. Sometimes I might make something and I can see the potential in it, but I just don’t know what it needs and he’ll come through, clean it up and add some melodies and/or drums, and it goes crazy from there.
The EP was produced between New Orleans & Montreal. Suicideyear, did you prep some sketches during RBMA or did the two of you go back to Montreal to work on stuff there?
Suicideyear:The former! Chris had sent me the project file for “Yuro” in Montreal during my stay at RBMA and I started “38” up there as well.
Any artists in particular that influenced the sound on this one?
Outthepond:Nothing in particular really. I listen to a lot of Herbo, Future, PnB, Kur and so on. A lot of old Wayne, too.
Suicideyear:I been listening to a lot of Chilly Gonzales, Stevie Wonder, ‘n 12tildee. Same with Chris on Herbo. The MGSV soundtrack has been pretty important for me as well.
You’re both working and living in New Orleans. What’s the scene like these days over there?
Outthepond:After the storm I was living in Baton Rouge for some years but I’m back now. The scene is growing. A lot of young dudes with raw talent and ambition.
Suicideyear:A lot of people have come together and done a lot of DIY shit in the city as far as music comes, so it’s nice to see that kind of community, a lot of people like Saint Heron and Freewater have been blessing New Orleans with raw shows for a minute, too. Big up to them!
Outthepond, there’s not an awful lot of info about yourself on the net. Mind introducing yourself a bit? How come you produced for Rome Fortune?
Outthepond:My first CD that I could remember was that Get Rich or Die Tryin’. I used to recite the album word for word all day…my mom would hear me cursing and come snatch it out of my hand lol. I got a lil older and started hearing Wayne and that was that. I use FL Studio. I get inspired when I hear music and I know that person means what they’re saying. Or seeing someone my age or close to it grinding, and getting to it. G herbo, Kodak, Sosa etc. James and I were in the studio with Rome I believe. They were working on some music and James played some of my stuff. He was feeling it and I reached out to him.
Speaking of Rome Fortune: “Lust,” the EP’s opener has served as the instrumental for Rome’s “Trap Lady,” right? What made you decide to start the EP with the instrumental?
Suicideyear:To me it sounds like the beginning of something/anything…But it’s also the oldest song on there, so I guess in a sense we wanted to get it out the way as well.
How do you decide whether an instrumental will become a rap beat or a stand-alone track?
Suicideyear:I don’t even know, to be honest—I wish they could be both. I don’t know if rappers like this though.
Outthepond:We just make it, usually with no intentions for it. And then listen to it, and I guess whatever it feels like it ends up being.
SY, you’ve worked with one of the most criminally underrated grime/road rap MCs out of the UK, K9. Is there more to come?
Suicideyear:Not too much on the books right now to speak on but go get that Mad In The Cut 2!!!
Between “Remembrance” on Software Rec. and Brothers, it has been a bit quiet around Suicideyear. What have you been up to in the meantime and what are you working on at the moment?
Suicideyear:Before finishing Brothers I had finished a new EP called Hate Songs coming this year, and I been working on some collabs to come soon, kind of been wanting to pay tribute to Barter 6 and release something titled Metal Gear Solid 6.
Lastly, can you two give us some names to listen to that will make 2017 a considerably better year than the last one?
Suicideyear:Lamont, Jiggamoney, Chynna Rogers, and Tee Grizzley!
Outthepond:Outthepound & Suicideyear…and Jimmy Wopo.