The creative landscape is changing. Technologies like Pro Tools, the iPod, and peer-to-peer networks have become mainstream in the digital age, creating a wild frontier of sorts in music. Independent artists can reach mass audiences once forbidden to them. These technologies are fostering the rise of “semiotic democracy”—where more and more people are no longer passive consumers of mass media, but active participants in creating culture. Cops vs Lawyers, Issue 3

السبت، أيلول ١٠، ٢٠٠٥

Digable Planets Back in Orbit

Interview by Thomas Hynes
Flix by Matthew Reamer

This summer, the Digable Planets came through San Francisco for two nights of funk-pumping, sold out sets. The Bay Area was privileged to be a part of their long-awaited reunion tour, which was nine years in the making. In between packed nights at the DNA Lounge and the Independent, they were nice enough to spend a frank minute with us.

SHOUT: You guys were part of an emerging sub-genre of music, combining rap with jazz. You blew up and then broke up. Everyone wants to know, what happened?
Cee-Knowledge: Well, after the second album, you know. Part of that was the time, just trying to get away, not liking it, the grind and wanting to pursue other, separate endeavors all worked as a combination for us to split.

What you been doing? Where you been living?
Butterfly: I live in Seattle. Mecca lives in Philly. And Doodlebug lives in New York. As far as what we’ve been doing, you know, working on music. And living life.

Why the reunion tour right now?
I guess it’s more about, why not right now? We’ve always been working on it, working towards it. It’s not being worked on in any kind of specific context. It’s something we always wanted to do. We always missed it; making music together. We’re friends who miss each other. It’s just life.

I heard there was an album in the works, what’s the deal with that?
We’ll probably be finished making that at the end of the summer.

What’s the difference making music back then versus right now?
The only difference is how people are different. It’s different people now. There’s a lot of materialism in hip-hop right now. A lot of material to work with. But there’s also more compact and digital techniques. So there are more beats.

Why is there so much misogyny in hip-hop right now?
Because that’s how it is in America. Anything you have going on in America, or society is going to be reflected in hip-hop. Hip-hop is always going to reflect that.

Do you see hip hop merging with jazz or other genres today?
Music is really music. Some people do this specific type of music. And others see that everything mixes in with everything else. It’s just music. As long as it’s done with vision and talent, it doesn’t really matter. It’s only seven notes, you know what I mean.

What would you like to see more of in hip hop?

Ladybug, Doodlebug, Butterfly. Is there any significance to insects?
Definitely. It’s community. Insects work together toward the same project.

What are you listening to right now?
Mars Volta, Kanye West, Luda. I listen to thousands of cds man. Thousands. I’m always listening to something.