Today we have a special guest. Floyd the Locsmif has been bumpin’ progressive beats the old school way since the late ’80s. Hailing from the ATL, the musical locksmith has added his unique and soulful creations to everyone from John Robinson to 50 Cent (yes, that 50 Cent). Locsmif takes the time to remember to the origins of the music he loves and stays true to the vintage process that makes his beats sound so thick and lush. Cosign recently caught up with Floyd the Locsmif and discussed the process of his upcoming album in the influential Divine Design series, as well as the movement of digital hip hop production. Check out the wise words of one of the most creative and established producers in the game.
Floyd The Locsmif- “Always Bless ft. John Robinson” off Divine Dezignz #1.2: Re-Discovered
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. What have you been working on lately and what colabs are you looking forward to?
Well lately I’ve been working on another instrumental album to go with my Divine Design series. It’s called “Number Two: Soul etc.”. I’m also working on a compilation called “Conversation Pieces”. So far its got Dave Ghetto, J-Live, Superstition, 4ize and a couple others. I’ve also got a joint off the latest J-Live album that will be out tomorrow (May 27th).
What’s the name of the track off the new J-Live album?
It’s called “What You Holdin’?” The album’s called “Then What Happened” off BBE Music.
I’ll check that out for sure. Is there anyone out right now as far as MCs who you’re really feeling right now?
Yeah, there’s a lot of cats. I’m feeling the EMC group, I’d really like to do some stuff with them. There’s so many people out right now though. I’m just tryin’ to put out good music, really. Whoever will mess with my style of production, I’ll work with them.
What about producers? Anyone you’ve heard lately that you’ve really loved?
I’m feeling the 9th Wonder and Buckshot album. The last beat I heard Primo do was a remix of Big Sug, that “Let The Music Play” joint. I like the consistent cats, Pete Rock‘s album is definitely consistent. You know, all the usual suspects I’m still feelin’.
So when you’re putting out these instrumental albums, what’s the process that you go through? Do you spend time on a few songs for a specific album or do you go through a collection from years past?
I try to keep a theme for each album. Some beats that I’ve made I don’t really want to hear anyone rap over so I’ll put them to the side. Then I’ll try to come up with an idea for the mood and I’ll put together all the beats with the moods for a beat compilation. That’s usually how I got about those albums.
What mood would you classify this new album as?
It’ll be soulful, there will be some abstract stuff, also some classic era hip-hop. Just diggin’ mainly, looking in those crates for some samples and drums. Just some vintage hip-hop.
Ill. I saw you had a remix album of Outkast tracks awhile ago. What was that about?
That was actually a mixtape I did with DJ Jamad, it was a double mix CD. My version was all original beats with Outkast acapellas, I think it came out in ’04. Basically, my boy Fabian at occasionalsuperstar.com had this painting of an Outkast collage with different faces on it. We were like, “man, we got to do something with this painting” and we made it the cover the mixtape. Between me and Jamad we had every Outkast 12″ with acapellas on it, so we got them and put the beats on them. He has the “Afromentals” mixtape series, he did a mix of Outkast, and pretty much anything associated with the Dungeon Family. He mashed up his CD, and I did the mixing and remixing on my CD. Kind of like a classic mix, you know.
Yeah, definitely. As far as equipment, I know you specialize with the MPC, is that what you’re still using?
Yeah, I still use the MPC 2000, that will always be there. Now, I’m messing with the Korg MS2000. I’ll think I’m gunna jump into the digital world soon, I’ll probably get on that Logic. A lot of my friends have been using it, and it’s so easy… It’s almost too easy, it’s almost cheating. But there’s just so much you can do with it, like if I’m in the car I can pull out the laptop and if I’ve got a folder with samples I can just go through and make beats just like I’m at the crib. That’ll probably be my next move, I haven’t got into it yet so yeah I’m still old school with the MPC.
Are you doing any live shows or sessions for the new album?
Yeah, I’m working on a set but I don’t quite know how I’m going to do it yet. It’s going to be a live set and a DJ set. Hopefully by the end of June maybe mid July I’ll start hitting some spots up.
Ill, are you keeping that mainly in the south or are you taking that all over?
I’m going to try to take it worldwide. I’m trying to hit Europe, the west coast, all over.
Is there any thoughts you have about hip hop production nowadays?
Well now you’ve got programs like Logic, Fruity Loops and Reason and it’s making it real accessible for people. Like Logic, it already comes with music. This one Usher joint I heard, every sound in it comes from Logic, all you gotta do is drag and drop it’s so easy. So you got what I call “microwave production” which is pretty much done in 30 seconds and boom, you’re ready. But then you still have the authentic style where cats still go diggin’. There’s still definitely cats that still go diggin’, you can tell it in the sound. It’s a much thicker sound and richer sound, it’s not so quick. But I don’t knock the digital stuff because there’s still a lot of cats killing it. There’s a lot of cats still using those vintage techniques to make beats on the new equipment. I definitely don’t knock it but you definitely have some that take advantage of it.
Yeah definitely. What are some of your favorite spots for finding records in Atlanta?
Mostly I hit up no-name thrift store back alley joints. But there’s a spot called “Wax n’ Facts” that’s been in Atlanta for a long time. “Earwax” is another legendary spot, they’re actually moving and they’ll be reopening later this month. Those are definitely classic spots, but there’s a lot of little spots around.
Nice, I’ll look for those. Is there anything else you want to mention?
Just look out for “Divine Design 2: Soul, etc.” and “Conversation Pieces” compilation. Also, look out for the “Rare Groove Effect” that will be part of a beat CD. Look out for production on the new J-Live album, anything that comes out of Tasteful Licks records, High Wire Music, and definitely look out for anything that comes on In The Loop Entertainment.
For more information on what Floyd The Locsmif is up to stay tuned to his website here.
| words by Justin Staple |
Designer Scott Hobbs presents the world with the Attigo TT. The TT enables DJs to manipulate sounds via sensors, and adds an ill visual interface that makes this device revolutionary. Check a video of the Attigo TT in action here.
Brainfeeder revolution coming to ya’ll. Don’t miss FlyLo‘s new “label” in action. Hopefully this will come to the states soon. Read more about what Brainfeeder is in the SAMIYAM interview. Get tickets to the festival here.
To get you pumped here’s a brand new XLR8R interview with FlyLo:
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Spent a long morning in my barn with a flutist and a mic. This is the end result.
music and sparse words by miles
This is dope– Wu-Tang’s GZA the genius introducing his young MC son Kareem Justice to the world. Apparently Justice is going to spit on the anticipated Cuban Linx II. As Pitchfork says this epitomizes the “coolest Take Your Son To Work Day of all time” plus an ill Shogun Assassin sample at the beginning. Check it out here.
Justin Vernon has found something in the sound of closely mic’d fret buzzing and the Wisconsin woods. Formerly of DeYarmond Edison out of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Vernon has taken his time to craft a folk record with an unusual (and consistently intriguing) ambience that elevates it to something entirely different. Neo-Soul? A little bit. Noise Folk? It has that aura. Original? Without a doubt. Bon Iver (from the French for “good winter”) is the love-child of all these elements, and Vernon is working within a whole new framework – redefining folk while embracing it.
This new project is an exercise in influence definition. Embracing the Nashville-crooner era Dylan, Bon Iver opens the record with the transcendent “Flume” – his voice hovering above the soft acoustic guitar and a feedback screeching guitar. The songs construction seems straightfoward until the bridge, which enters a lovely feedback/harmonics exchange, only to jump back into the driving chorus. We’re left, I think, with a strong sense of what makes Vernon different from all the other “Singer-Songwriters” who have been embraced by the independent scene. He’s taken the weird folk that bands like O’Death and Vetiver have been playing with for years and he’s given it honest-to-god sentiment.
The album unfortunately lags with “Lump Sum”, a song that emphasizes his vocal range at the expense of simple arrangement and effect. Expectations, however, are quickly more than exceeded by the following song. There is no way I can present this in a simpler manner for you, so here it is: “Skinny Love” is pretty much the best track I’ve heard all year. It’s the kind of tune that haunts you, takes you to bed at night – a tune to take with a sleeping pill and shot of whiskey before a hard sleep. Somewhere between his open tuning, slightly wavering rythym, and transcendent voice, he pins down his sound so well, you’ll figure that Vernon has been enjoying some old soul music along with his 70s Tom Rush records and 90’s Elliott Smith. And when the bridge rolls around, and he’s hollering “Who will love you?”, it comes with the same dissapointed aggravation that colors the entire record, and it becomes the centerpiece for the album. Lyrically, It doesn’t seem particularly impressive until you realize that he can introduce that sentiment just as easily in his softer lines (“come on, skinny love, what happened here?”) and continues to do so for the next six songs or so.
A word on the lyrics in general: Vernon plays with surrealism. The Thoreau-esque lyrics of “The Wolves” and “Flume” play along nicely with the more harmonious Dylan impression of “re: stacks” and “For Emma”. Do we then have a falsetto that gives Cee-Lo a run for his money and lyrics that make other sad-sappy songwriters seem weak by comparison? Yes. Buy this record without hesitation.
Words and Subliminal Messages by Miles King
This weeks designer is Dutch illustr-ordienare Parra. With a minimalist style reminiscent of old comics and French pop art, Parra brings back the beauty of graphic art with a marketable canny. He started out as a skater who knew he could draw but was sick of the art school brainwash. Now, he’s chillin’ out in Amsterdam illustrating for various musicians and companies while designing for and managing his own clothing brand Rockwell Clothing.
When he’s not busy doing that he sells out galleries stateside in New York and LA and sells his personal pieces for some bank. Also, he’s in a band called Le Le.
In all, Parra has found a commercial niche that has hoisted him out of obscurity and into the illustrator mainstream where one can do more than get by– they can get famous. All while still doing the colorful characters that he loves.
Lately he’s been dipping into animation, producing a genius music videos for Le Le for a track called ‘Breakfast’. Peep it here.
Heres the advice:
For further studies:
||words by Justin Staple||