On the occasion of his much anticipated new album Cosmogramma, we asked prolific LA-based producer Flying Lotus some questions about his process, beginnings, influences, and favorites…
What was different in the process and creation of new album, versus Los Angeles?
Life inspired this, enough amazing and terrible things to stir me up enough to create this thing. It’s the longest I’ve ever worked on something, lots of lil intricate pieces. Getting all the micro details in place. Might be a lil much at times, but I felt the story I was telling needed to be this way, I been through a lot since the LA album.
What programs, hardware, and instruments were key in shaping the sound?
All the computer stuff is just toys, I can use any DAW and get my sound out of it, thats something that’s embedded in your DNA. The most important additions to this album were having more musicians in the mixes and string arrangements. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do but haven’t had the resources.
Anything non-musical, influence your sound (ie. places, books, art)?
Seeing the world is one of the many blessings that come with this job and that has to be one of the most inspiring things. Get to go and hear music from all around the world, from London to Tokyo. There’s a lot going on and it’s all inspiring. Being on all those planes get me reading some interesting stuff. ‘Hyperspace’, ‘The holographic universe’. Really liked the Miles Davis Autobiography.
What have been your favorite places to DJ over the last couple years? Who do you like to DJ with?
Favorite places that AREN’T LA?? ummm… London is my 2nd home, and when I hit the road I like to go with Kode9 he’s got all the latest stuff from all around the world and he plays it all so well. It’s always inspiring beyond music, he’s a wise samurai. I love that guy.
How did you get started in music production? What was your first production gear piece? How did you get it?
Started out pretty young, I was about 15-16, my cousin was making all types of crazy electronic music and I’d always mess around with his machines, he was really supportive and eventually got me my first piece of gear which was the Roland Mc-505 groovebox. It was a cool box you could make beats on. Had sounds you could edit and freak. Was a good thing to learn on because I actually had to make melodies on it, which helped my ears when I got more into sampling/composition.
Journey In Satchidananda is a Lab classic, any stories about growing up the nephew of Alice Coltrane?
It’s funny to talk about these things, in such a way, but I’ll say. She was the most amazing example of greatness I’ve ever had the chance to witness in human form.
The LA beats scene has been going strong for a couple years now, what direction or style do you see the LA beats scene evolving to?
There’s so much room for it all to expand, and grow. Its so fun to sit back and watch sometimes. There’s some amazing things happening here in LA and all around the world. We’re in such a great time for art/ creativity. I’d like to see my music friends live out ALL their creative dreams. Some of the world’s most creative minds of our generation will emerge from this scene and in the end it won’t just be about music.
What was it like to work with Thom Yorke? What was his level of musical awareness? How did that get hooked up?
He’s great, obviously a seriously inspiring cat. Very thankful that he did a dance in my musical universe. From what I picked up he’s got his ears to everything and all genres but he has a special place in his heart for the underground.
What were you like in high school?
Was kinda a loner stoner kid, kinda chubby and awkward. Thinking about this stuff makes me feel funny.
top 5 dj records?
Bohannon – summertime groove
J Dilla – Ruff Draft
Self hypnosis instructional vinyl
Mr Oizo – analog worms attack
Pierre Henry – Le voyage
top 5 non-dj records?
Soft Machine – volume two
Weather Report – Sweetnighter
Alice Coltrane – Lord of Lords
Charles Mingus – Black Saint And The Sinner Lady
Radiohead – Amnesiac
top 5 places to eat?
Bulan (vegetarian Thai, LA)
Dosa Truck (Indian street food served in LA)
cici’s cafe (amazing lil restaurant, next to a record store in the valley)
bossa nova (its a cool lil Brazilian spot in Hollyweird)
home the restaurant (near my house, so I don’t have to make breakfast, LA)
things you like to do non-musical?
For the longest time I’ve been working at visual art as well. Drawing, making cartoons and such. Really into the visual work lately, making some film/music projects and it’s inspiring to work with cameras and light again. Hopefully I’ll be able to slowly work my way into releasing some of that work soon.
word on the street is that you like Asian girls, true?
HAHAA,The streets tell tales, I made a track called ‘Asian Girl Fetish’ that was actually dedicated to my good friend Adam. The streets should know, I’m no racist.
2LP and CD versions will be on the site soon so check back!