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Pigeon John - conducted by Todd E. Jones  

Pigeon John's Pool Party Never Ends

November 2006

MVRemix: What have you been listening to lately?

Pigeon John: The new Sean Lennon record. Hello! He's royalty. He came from royal blood. He's the last one! It's a great record and all self-produced. It's called 'Friendly Fire'. It comes with a DVD with movies and stuff. It looks real expensive. There's also a bunch of crazy cameos too. Carrie Fisher is in it. You realize that this dude is freaking royalty for real. I would love to hear what people, in his genre, think when they press play. It's really dope stuff. It's simply intimidating. It makes me feel dumb. Anyone can do the whole retro thing, but he can do anything he wants. My personal opinion? You can do exactly what you want because where you come from. The style he did it was so simple and so completely modern. It's timeless stuff.

MVRemix: Last time we talked, you told me that you were working on a track with Count Bass D. What happened with that?

Pigeon John: Yeah, we finished it, but I don't know where or when it will come out.

MVRemix: Count Bass D's new album, 'Act Your Waist Size' is dope.

Pigeon John: Who knows if it made that record? We did a song called, 'Leaning'. It was a hymn song with singing on it called, 'Leaning'. His new album is called, 'Act Your Waist Size'?

MVRemix: Yeah, actually, there aren't many guests. The only one I can remember is Van Hunt.

Pigeon John: Oh, wow!

MVRemix: Do you still talk to your old group, L.A. Symphony?

Pigeon John: Yeah. I don't talk to them that often, but once in a while, I do. It just seems that the times are changing, dude. Times are changing. They are doing their own things and they have their own life decisions and stuff. I definitely keep in touch with them. There are just different mind states. I really that was what happened.

MVRemix: On the song, 'Power, Money And Influence' from Guru's 'Version 7.0: The Street Scriptures' album, Talib Kweli remarks that Pro-Tools made producers lazy. Do you agree?

Pigeon John: No, I don't. That's a classic case of an older guy commenting on the younger generation. Every generation does that. It's just very common to think that way. Even though I may think that way too, I don't want to because I know that it's not true. I remember when people used to pick up a guitar and say that they were going to start a band. To their older generation, they were being lazy. To be in a band, was like that. The older generation literally thought it was not music, but those kids were actually playing instruments. It is just a case of an older generation commenting on the new generation. When my nephew makes his beats, he loves that stuff! He loves what he's doing. There's a magic in his eyes and I recognize that magic. I'm like, 'Dude, Oh! It's the same damn thing!' Now, do I like it? Maybe. Maybe not. Time goes on. There is always going to be something. I'm very sure that in the future, Pro Tools is going to be considered old school. They may think that the real way you are supposed to do hip-hop is Pro-Tools. People will say, 'We actually used to have to record in Pro-Tools! We had to bounce the hooks!' In the future, we'll be saying, 'Now, you guys have to use Liquid Face', or whatever it will be called, where you just think of a song and it comes out. Plus, to say Pro-Tools made producers lazy, you are saying that 9th Wonder is lazy because he essentially uses Pro-Tools type of thinking.

MVRemix: Who are some contemporary producers you respect?

Pigeon John: My favorites are J Dilla and Madlib. Those two always were cutting edge. When everyone was sampling, J Dilla was electro. Like for 2 years straight, J Dilla was all electro. Look at the Frank N Dank stuff. I remember he wasn't doing it as much. It wasn't really cracking. Then, we went back to sampling. That's when 'The Light' by Common came out and all of that stuff. I think that the way he used sampling definitely was at the height of his creativity. It's the same way I think about Madlib. He's the only producer, in hip-hop or whatever, that Blue Note opens up their catalog for. That has never happened. You know that producer, Nigel (Godrich)? He is the guy who produces Radiohead. They don't open their stuff for him. But, a lot of people consider Nigel Godrich, obviously, better than Madlib. I would love to produce Madlib to produce the next Radiohead album.

MVRemix: Since you are a fan of Radiohead, what do you think of the Radiohead tribute albums, the remix albums, or the reggae album called 'Radiodread'?

Pigeon John: I heard a couple of songs and they are pretty hard. They're freaking hard! I would love the big boys to bow down to the little guys. I think Madlib is dope. The last Paul McCartney record was him, essentially bowing down to this younger guy, Nigel Godrich. It was really dope! It was one of the best he has done in a while. I think that friction is exciting. I like when a big band works with a smaller producer. Still, look at Nigel. Anyone can go to him and it is going to be huge. Like, Beck working with Nigel Godrich cancelled each other out. Beastie Boys working with The Dust Brothers was magical.

MVRemix: The album, 'Paul's Boutique' by Beastie Boys was excellent. It is one of my all-time favorite and essential hip-hop albums.

Pigeon John: They were not known. That's what I'm saying! They were not big. Beastie Boys, at once, pretty much laid the entire foundation of Beck's career.

MVRemix: 'Paul's Boutique' did not get the deserved love until years later.

Pigeon John: I loved it.

MVRemix: You usually produce a majority of your albums, but on 'Pigeon John & The Summertime Pool Party', Chris James produced a majority of the album. You also have DNAE, Rjd2, Rhettmatic, and Great Jason on production too. How was it lending over the production duties?

Pigeon John: With this record, I wanted to open up the doors. With 'Pigeon John Is Dating Your Sister', I pretty much produced most of that. With 'Pigeon John Sings The Blues', the same thing. I just wanted to open it up the doors. For me, it was more exciting. I was running into all of these bomb beat makers. New songwriters is what I like to call them. It got me excited. Working with other people, I would work a little differently. I would fall in my groove more naturally. Like, a show with just me and a guitar would be slightly one dimensional. It may be pretty good, but when I have a backing band, I'm more free. I can do this or that. I can change up and have a bigger sound to the show. I think a show can be equally as powerful with just me and a guitar or me with a band. But, for this record, I wanted that bigger feel. I wanted that flashy, sing-songy, tap-dancing, baseball bat type of freaking let's party type of feel.

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"Plus, to say Pro-Tools made producers lazy, you are saying that 9th Wonder is lazy because he essentially uses Pro-Tools type of thinking."