Insomniac Magazine feature:
Scotland’s Hip Hop production team Jazz Spastiks
Last week we interviewed mic master, junclassic, about the new vinyl release of his 2011 album, “Mode 7.” This week the ultra-talented producers of the project, Jazz Spastiks (aka The Slipmat Brothers), receive the spotlight treatment on the same topic. Read below as Edinburgh, Scotland’s production powerhouses reflect on the making of “Mode 7” and discuss their creative process.
2011’s “Mode 7” was one of the best fusions of Jazz & Boom Bap since A Tribe Called Quest’s classic albums in the 90’s. How did the collabo between you & junclassic come about & what made you choose that particular style instead of a more modern sound?
Ha Ha! Wow, that’s a big compliment. Thanks man! A Tribe Called Quest mean a lot to us and without them we probably wouldn’t be doing what we do today. As for style to us it’s just the sound of what we consider to be Hip Hop. All genres start off underground and then eventually become commercialized and exploited solely for the purposes of making money. At that point it’s of no value from a creative or artistic point of view. So we are just expressing ourselves through the medium of Hip Hop in the most creative way we can and that means listening and learning from all the amazing artists that have gone before us. The collaboration with junclassic came about because we saw him on a Damu The Fudgemunk video where he’s rocking some beats on his MPC on a street in NY and jun busts some rhymes along with K-Sise, a friend of his, who we also worked with on the “Bust Ya Melon” Remix.
We’ve been a big fan of junclassic since then. He’s a beast on the mic but a really nice guy and he’s always working on new material. It’s a real honor to have had the opportunity to create with him and we look forward to doing more in the future.
“Mode 7” was only available on CD and digital platforms when it was first released. What influenced you to release it on vinyl five years later, and why do you think the project stands the test of time?
We have been working with a really cool label called Dusty Platter and after releasing a few other albums with them they looked at our back catalog and thought “Mode 7” was the sort of project that really deserved to be on wax. I’m glad to hear you say it stands the test of time. That means a lot to us. It’s impossible for us to judge our own work in that way. To be honest it seems like only yesterday that we made it!
Describe what makes Jazz Spastiks different from other producers on the scene?
I think we all genuinely make music for the love of it. None of us are going to get rich from this although we could go down that path if we chose to, there is more to it than that. We never compromise on the integrity of the music and everything we release is something we genuinely love and believe in. Being able to play a small part in people’s lives in this way is something really special and that means more to us than anything else.
Walk us through the recording process of the album. Was everything planned out meticulously or did it all come together in a natural, organic fashion?
Well jun was in New York and we were in Scotland but we were able to communicate so quickly and easily that it was as almost as if we were together. We only collaborate with people who are on the same wave length as us and from that point of view it is surprising how much can go unsaid because you both have the same end goal in mind. Like jun said(in Insomniac Magazine’s previous interview)it was a fairly quick process which saw us finish the album in a few weeks. We already had a lot of the beats made and so it was quite easy to bring everything together.
When did your interest in Hip Hop begin and who were your major musical influences?
As mentioned earlier, Tribe have been a huge influence on us. DJ Shadow’s “Endtroducing” was also a major part of our education on sampling and beatmaking. Madlib and MF Doom and of course De La Soul…There’s too many to mention and I always regret missing some out when asked!
Do you feel that underground Hip Hop has the same impact it had in the 90’s?
Obviously it’s a completely different scene now to the 90’s, but to us it seems like things are really thriving. We turned off the TV and radio years ago and never read papers or stuff like that. It stops almost all of the incessant propaganda that you are constantly bombarded with and allows you to engage with people and things that you are genuinely interested in and that matter. There are all types of communities for every niche interest under the sun and underground hip hop/jazz hip hop is no different. So many small labels and independent artists have been able to create a product and reach an audience that I think it’s a really amazing time to be doing this.
Will there be more junclassic/Jazz Spastiks collabos in the near future? Also, tell us about other upcoming projects in the works.
Yes, we just made a funky, up-tempo banger for a track on the new Pen Pals and junclassic collaboration, so look out for that soon! Also, look out for our full length album with Pen Pals dropping very, very soon. It’s called “Made For The Underground” and I really think it’s some of our best work to date!
Final thoughts? Shoutouts?
Big thanks to Insomniac for this great opportunity. Shout out to everyone who is a nice person!
– Interview by Kevin Keith
You can check junclassic’s “Mode 7” interview here.