Well, first of all, I mean I grew up listening to a lot of soul music, and kind of funk oriented stuff. I did gradually become a fan of some hip-hop, and I used to go out a lot in the late ’80s dancing and stuff to clubs. But I never had any idea that I was going to end up doing a project like that, or I mean it just never occurred to even — a part of my — it was in my spirit to do anything like that. I think a number of things happened.
A, for some reason I started getting approached by a bunch of electronica people who were actually fans of my music. I remember one night that I was just at a party, and DJ Spooky was a DJ there. I just went up to him and introduced myself to him after and said it’s really cool, your set. And then he goes “Yeah, I know who you are, I have a bunch of your albums.” And I was just like oh, really? And then he started saying, “We should really collaborate someday.” I was just thinking to myself, what? Collaborate? And I was like yeah, why not? But I still thought it was a joke, like yeah right.
And then I started — there was a record store in New York that I used to go in to. I can’t — Other Music. And Beans from Antipop Consortium used to work there, and he started just coming up to me when I’d go in the store. And he would tell me, “I’m in this group. We should do a collaboration someday.” So, I just said yeah, why not? Again, I thought it was just a joke. And then I started seeing like articles about Antipop Consortium, and his photo, and I’m like oh, that’s that guy that works in the record store. And I checked them out and thought it was great and cool, but I still — but then I started thinking like why are all these people in the kind of underground electronics? Because there were a few others too.
They would just like stop me on the street and start talking about music, and it really hit me that there was something in my language that some of those people got something out of. And so, fast forward, I’m recording for Thirsty Ear, and the band Spring Heel Jack also was recording for Thirsty Ear. And they put it — their English kind of electronica band, and they asked Thirsty Ear about doing a collaboration with all the jazz musicians that were there, some kid of ambient jazz album.1
So, that’s where it kind of first happened, and there were not beats per se on that album, that was more of an ambient type of album. But that put the taste in my mouth for doing some kind of acoustic electrical type of things. And from there, it just grew. Like, you know, I started meeting a lot of people, talking to a lot of people on the whole idea of doing projects like that, started to seem kind of like a natural evolution.