What Laura Says' Mitch Freedom on BobbyBrandNew, Crash Street Kids, and Terra Firma
Welcome to the latest installment of our weekly feature, Sound Off, in which Jason P. Woodbury is joined by a different guest each week to listen to and discuss three tracks from local Phoenix artists. If you would like your songs to be considered for future Sound Off columns, please email email@example.com.
Mitch Freedom of What Laura Says needs little introduction. His melodic, soul-inspired bass playing is the bedrock of the group, giving the pysch pop jams a urgent sense of boogie.
Dude's also a big time music listener, too, always riffing on what records he's currently spinning. Mitch stopped by the New Times offices to listen and discuss some local jams from rapper BobbyBrandNew, old school rockers Crash Street Kids, and the shoegazey Terra Firma, and his own band's songwriting process.
What Laura Says performs at Creamy Radio's Thanksgiving Eve Show at Sail Inn on Wednesday, November 23.
BobbyBrandNew, "Keep Trying"
Born in L.A., raised in Texas, and now stationed in the Valley of the Sun,MC BobbyBrandNew released the Now Boarding mixtape earlier this year. Vist BobbyBrandNew's official site for more information.
Mitch Freedom: I thought it was good shit, man. Great production style. In the past year or so, I've really been trying to reacquaint myself with modern hip-hop, because I feel like I was reared on classic rock, but when I first sought out music on my own, hip-hop is where I rested in the beginning. I was brought up in a time with some of the most classic hip-hop [like] Low End Theory, I remember the first record I ever bought on my own was Enter the Wu. So it's really cool to see the transformation that's taken place, and now it's kind of coming back full circle. I enjoyed the style. I really listen to samples, too, to see if I can pick out what it is. The piano sample sounded familiar...
Up on the Sun: I know what you mean about listening to samples. With those De La Soul or Tribe records, you can always go back and listen to the source material. I got into jazz because of that kind of hip-hop. I think it's that way for a lot of people our age. You think of it as this stuff old music, but you hear something and think, "Oh, that's so cool." I didn't recognize anything specific in this, but the production style is awesome.
It hits on some really great roots, as a hip-hop artist you are trying to accomplish. It's a very fine line; obviously everybody has their own thing they are putting out, influences they put into it, but a big part of it for me is creating accessible music on that end. Not too many production techniques, not too [complicated]. That seemed straightforward: a couple of key elements, and also lyrical content. I'm so over all this grandiose and or violent imagery. I mean, the main populace is probably over that, as well. I enjoy a positive story or a positive flow.
As positive as lyrics about being a pedophile can be. [Laughs] I know he's just joking, but I thought to myself, listening to this, even though it came out a couple months ago, I felt like I was listening to the news. When he joked about the pedophile thing I thought of Penn State, and then the chorus, "Is there more to life than just surviving," it felt very Occupy. It's a sentiment I think a lot of people are thinking right now, for really the first time in our generation. Like, "What a minute, am I always going to be poor? Am I ever going to own a house?"
I enjoyed the realistic view point. It's not happening in a lot of hip-hop. I really love Odd Future, but after awhile the lyrical content gets to be a bit much. How many songs can you rap about pot smoke and fucking people? I love the production style and I love the rhyming style, they are always serious MCs, but I just need something I can kind of relate with.
I read in Spin that Tyler, the Creator mentioned he was sick of rapping around raping people [laughs]. He had a record by [jazzy, psych-hop band] Stepkids on.
I love that band.
They are so good, he said something like "This is what my next record is going to sound like."