The Varsity: In 2009, you established your own record label, Electrical Connections. How has that been going?R: I have very low expectations, so I’m never in a situation where I’m over my head. So at the moment everything’s great—it’s manageable, a lot of work and I feel like I’m fighting a great fight. Overall, I feel justified and strong about the choices that I’ve made so far.TV: Did you have any set goals in mind for your fourth solo album, The Colossus?R: I think the main goal was to inhabit the working approaches that I had used in the past—those basically being using sample-based instrument music, working with rappers, working with singers, and then live instrumental music.TV: Speaking of which, you’ve got an amazing lineup of artists accompanying you on this record, including everyone from Kenna to Phonta Coleman. Is it ever difficult to match artists to songs, or do find it to be a relatively organic process?
R: Usually it’s pretty obvious, but it can be difficult to get the people you want for particular songs. There’s a song on the album that I had a pretty specific idea regarding how it should be formatted and how it should progress. Naturally, though, there were a couple of lineups before I was able to get it executed. But by and large, you throw a bunch of stuff against the wall and see what sticks. It’s a lot less romantic than you’d like to think. But that really is the way things work when you’re recording an album. So, what you end up hearing is what ends up getting recorded.TV: The music videos for “The Glow” and “Let There Be Horns” are easily some of the most innovative I’ve seen in some time. Are you the brains behind the operation?R: No, I basically just okay them. I let the video guys do what they do best. I don’t like someone “arm-chair-quarterbacking” me when I try making a record. So I figure these guys know more about video production than I do. As long as their idea isn’t anything ridiculously offensive or stupid, I basically let them run with it.TV: Are there any pieces of technology you could not live without?R: I’d like to think that regardless of whatever existed or didn’t exist, I could still go about making music. But the main things that I absolutely need are the MPC sampler and the Pro Tools rig.TV: I recently saw a documentary called Copyright Criminals, which discussed the strict and unfair sampling laws in the U.S. How do you deal with rigid sampling laws?R: I feel that my opinions are pretty irrelevant. You’ve got to play by the rules. It’s like what I think about the fees that my bank levies, because I’m not going to be able to go in there and talk them out of charging them. I see sampling in the same way.What I do think is interesting is that if we were to theoretically move towards a world where no money is generated from recordings, then labels would have a lot less of a vested interest to go after artists for copyright infringement. Lawyer fees are so expensive. What are people going to do? It doesn’t make sense to spend $250 of lawyer fees to recover $100.TV: Time for a series of questions containing the word “rap.” Who’s your favourite rapper?R: At the moment, Ludacris.TV: Favourite rap group?R: De La Soul. Or Wu Tang Clan.TV: Favourite rapper you have worked with?R: Ahhhh. I don’t think I can decide.TV: Rapper you would like to work with?R: Ludacris.