Science Fiction is a true hip-hop musician and instrumentalist. Taking influences from hip-hop and beyond, Science Fiction has crafted beautiful music that breaks down barriers and walls of all races and cultures. Born in Nigeria, lived in the Middle East and now in America, Science Fiction has took the knowledge from his travels and channeled it into his music.
With the help of Third Earth Music, Science Fiction has just released the highly anticipated instrumental hip-hop album “Walls Don’t Exist”. It is a beautiful, soulful and psychedelic album filled with angelic beats, ethereal melodies, beautiful samples, and a powerful soul. “Walls Don’t Exist” is an extremely personal album that is completely instrumental. On a rainy June weekend in 2003, I talked to Science Fiction about the power of music… all music. Science Fiction is an intelligent musician with many different influences ranging from hip-hop to soul to R&B to trip-hop. Science Fiction is using music to break down the walls of race, expectation, prejudice, and conformity. He does not just make hip-hop music. Sci Fi makes interesting, unique, exciting and entertaining music.
MVRemix: What goes on?
Science Fiction: I’m doing alright man. Just got in from work, trying to relax. I still work a day job at the moment…at least until the groupies come and carry me away, while showering me with kisses and rose petals.
MVRemix: Your new album is called ‘Walls Don’t Exist’. Why that title? Tell us about it?
Science Fiction: I Actually got that title from an ‘Anti-pop Consortium’ line. I believe Beans said it. Basically, it refers to a few things. The first of which is obvious. By saying walls don’t exist, I’m basically declaring that there is no box to put me in. No particular genre that would adequately describe what I’m doing. Also, it kind encompasses the main concept/storyline on the record. The non-existent walls are essentially me being honest about things that I’ve been through. Kind of putting myself out there. It’s a pretty personal record. But then again, what’s the point of doing music if you don’t pour your soul into it.
MVRemix: Do you have a favorite song on ‘Walls Don’t Exist?
Science Fiction: Hmm…I bounce back and forth. Somewhere between ‘Carousel’, ‘the Sunshine’, ‘Hold on’…and ‘Let go’. I think ‘Let Go’ is slept on. That song is ill to me.
MVRemix: Can you explain the name Science Fiction?
Science Fiction: Yeah…I picked the name ‘Sci Fi’ back when I first started producing because I was big into B-movies at the time, and that’s all I would sample from. Old school flicks from the ‘50s with terrible effects and dialogue…that was my original inspiration. To be honest with you, I feel like I’ve outgrown the name. It’s pretty dorky. But what do you do…I have no one o blame but myself.
MVRemix: As a producer, who were some of your major influences?
Science Fiction: Most of my major influences weren’t necessarily hip hop producers. Sure, I was definitely schooled by the likes of Shadow’s “Endtroducing” and everyone else from the Beatminerz, to El-p, to Pete Rock…but I think the fact that I had a rock and roll background kind of shaped my style.
MVRemix: Can you explain to us what the phrase ‘Broken Jazz’ means?
Science Fiction: Broken jazz is my pre-emptive strike on the know-it-all journalists or store clerks who would either come up with some off the wall phrase to describe my work, or just box me in with other stuff that they don’t have a name for. I love jazz. And I love breaks. Every producer will tell you the art of deconstructing a piece of music and reshaping it into something else, is a beautiful thing. It just seemed like the natural thing to call it. I kind of feel like musically, I talk in a language that’s a little different from a lot of other cats out right now. Samples and soul are the syllables. Broken Jazz is the tongue I speak in…native to none but me.
MVRemix: Why did you choose Third Earth Music?
Science Fiction: Man, signing to third earth was a no-brainer. All I had to do was look at the roster at the time. The Juggaknots…Mr.Len…the Masterminds…These were all cats that I had been listening to for years. I didn’t have to think twice once the opportunity presented itself.
MVRemix: You were born and raised in Nigeria. What was that like? When did you leave? How do you think it affected your music?
Science Fiction: Born and raised there, yes. I think I moved to the States permanently in like ’96. But I had lived here before on and off as a kid. I’m not sure if there was that great an effect on music, it was more of just, traveling opens your mind to everything in general. Music was just one of those things.
MVRemix: Why did you like in the Middle East? For how long? What was it like?
Science Fiction: I was in the United Arab Emirates for 3 years. It was dope. The desert is dope. A whole different climate. The sand is too hot to walk barefoot on during the day, and the nights are cold. And the people were interesting, just as they are anywhere else. I appreciate my time there.
MVRemix: Do you go into the studio with pre-produced tracks and themes or do you work right from there?
Science Fiction: Nah, nothing is pre-meditated. I basically just work with the music and see what concept it presents to me. I don’t really feel like I have a say in the matter. Songs will name themselves, and determine their own length and mood. I’m just a vehicle.
MVRemix: You won a Battle Of The Beats tournament. What was it like? What do you think caused you to win?
Science Fiction: What caused me to win? My guerilla tactics. I left horse’s heads in the beds of all the judges and threatened their families over the internet. Nah, I dunno. I guess I had an edge because my beat stood out a little. There were some really good entries, I just happened to come out on top.
MVRemix: What emcee/group would you like to collaborate with in the future?
Science Fiction: Hmm…well I’ve had the honor of working with MF Doom, and that’s like the cream of the crop right there. I’d like to work with Madlib, Jaydee, Breezely-Bruin, J-Live, the Roots, Mos Def, there’s a dope new group coming out of Houston called “the Foundation” that I’d like to get with as well. It’s a long list…Oh. And I can’t forget Esthero too.
MVRemix: What LP or Cd has been in your turntable or your player recently?
Science Fiction: Hm…I recently put the Roots’ “Do you Want More” back into rotation. Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” and Coltrane’s “Ole” I’ve been bumping a lot lately as well. I’m about to cop that new Radiohead too. Been waiting on that for a good minute
MVRemix: What are some of your favorite instrumental albums?
Science Fiction: Tortoise’s “Standards” and DJ Shadow’s “Pre-emptive strike” are the first ones that come to mind.
MVRemix: You have a diverse musical background. Tell us about it.
Science Fiction: Uumm…basically I started off playing drums in a Nirvana/grunge cover band when I was a teenager. Then picked up the guitar, and started singing a bit. When I got to college I kind of switched over to producing, and the rest is history.
MVRemix: Fill in the blank… To me, music is___________
Science Fiction: Everything.
MVRemix: How do you feel about you being compared to RJD2?”
Science Fiction: Well I can’t say I’m surprised. But it’s not something I lose any sleep over. He went through the same thing when he came out. It was Dj Shadow this, and Dj Shadow that. Anyone who listens to all of “Walls” will realize I’m doing my own thing. As are the other two guys. There’s more than enough room for all of us.
MVRemix: Your music breaks the boundaries (or walls) of hip-hop. Like Moby and DJ Krush, it is difficult to classify it into a specific genre. How intentional was this?
Science Fiction: Well I didn’t set out with the intention of “being on some next level”. I set out with the intention of doing me first and foremost. I’m not threatened by anyone, or scared of falling off, because I’m the best at what I do. No one else can do Science Fiction like I can for the simple reason that music is, or at least should be a personal expression of the individual. To be honest, I doubt I’ll ever pull another “Walls…” out of me. That was kind of a moment in time, I went through it, and now I’m on to the next.
MVRemix: What do you think of Moby? DJ Krush?
Science Fiction: Honestly I don’t know much about either of them. I know Moby is big into the environment and Mtv loves him...but I’ve honestly never listened to any of his music. I’m sure I’ve heard some of it in passing, but I couldn’t’ tell you a song title or hum a melody. From what I know of Krush, he’s dope. I’ve heard a few tracks, and he’s definitely nice. I liked the joints with Black Thought, and El-p.
MVRemix: What is the key to being a successful loop-digger or crate-digger?
Science Fiction: Leave no stone unturned. None. Find your secret weapons, and keep them that way...Secret. That reminds me of a Buck 65 line…”so don’t ask what my drums are, cause I either won’t tell you, or I’ll have a list of phony records to sell you”.
MVRemix: Will you ever emcee or sing?
Science Fiction: One step ahead of you. I don’t think I’ll be emceeing anymore. I started off doing both, but kind of decided to focus on music. As far as singing goes, that kind of goes back to what I was saying earlier. I sing on everything now. I don’t really do any strictly instrumental tracks any more. That’s bound to alienate some of the people who were big fans of the straight instrumentals on “Walls…” but the way I see it, if it’s dope. It’s dope. In whatever shape it comes in. A lot of people still don’t realize that I sang on a majority of the tracks on walls, in some shape or form. It just wasn’t always in the fore-front.
MVRemix: What was the last incident of racism that you encountered?
Science Fiction: Ah, now we’re getting to the good stuff. Racism these days is a lot more subversive than it used to be. But it’s still here. A few weeks ago I did a show at a college. So I’m chillin at the bar before the show, talking to this girl that goes there. And she’s like “yeah, this is the first time we’ve had a hip hop show on campus like this…usually they have rock bands….you see those police men over there? Yeah they usually aren’t here…they’re only here because this is a hip hop show and they’re scared something will happen”. And I was like “wow”. But I suppose that shouldn’t surprise me. When cats like 50 Cent (who I happen to like by the way) don bullet proof vests on stage, I guess that’s the message hip hop as a whole is putting out. Or maybe that’s the only side of it that the media is willing to portray.
MVRemix: Abortion - pro-life or pro-choice?
Science Fiction: Pro-choice. My girl and I were talking about it a while back and she told me that interestingly enough, the majority of people who are in those picket lines outside of abortion clinics are actually men. Kind of odd, since they never actually have to have children themselves. Anyways. I’m pro-choice.
MVRemix: Death Penalty - for or against?"
Science Fiction: Against I think. But honestly, I don’t know how I would react if heaven forbid, I was put in the kind of situation where someone I loved was taken from me. I would probably be screaming bloody murder.
MVRemix: Where were you on Sept. 11th, 2002? How did you deal with it? How do you think it has affected or will affect hip-hop?
Science Fiction: I was on campus at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Typical college student, I woke up probably around noon, all late. The first plane had already hit I think. I got out of bed, signed on to okayplayer.com, and saw people talking about it. It took a while for everything to sink in. Then I joined the throng of people walking aimlessly…dialing friends and loved ones in New York. With no reply. It was surreal. People were literally heading for the hills. Sadly, I don’t think it has affected hip hop much more than providing some weak emcees with more weak punch-lines. We had a few dopes songs to come out of it, like ‘Satisfied’ by J-Live, or Mr.Lif’s “Home of the Brave”, and a few others…but the culture itself was not greatly affected. If hip hop is a microcosm of our daily lives, then that would imply that we as a people weren’t greatly affected. I don’t know. Looking back, I can’t really say that we were.
MVRemix: How do you feel about the state of America these days?
Science Fiction: Hm…If I say too much, I’ll probably get deported with my Nigerian ass. Haha, cause you know I’m still not a citizen right. Seriously though, America is a nation with some deep-seeded issues. I’m a foreigner so I have a somewhat unique perspective. An outsider on the inside looking around? I don’t know. The grass is not always that much greener on the other side though. I’ve lived in the Middle East and Africa, nowhere is perfect. You just kind of have to make do with what you have, and do your part to build a better tomorrow.
MVRemix: What do you think hip-hop needs these days?
Science Fiction: Well…I don’t think much about it to be honest. But that’s not a diss or anything. I’m just not impressed by too much right now. There is a lot of dope stuff out there, but as a whole. Hip Hop in ‘03 isn’t anything to write home about. As far as what it needs, it just needs people to be themselves. To quote the legendary RZA, “Do you, cause you can’t do me”. Speaking of hip hop these days, that new Pharoahe Monch song “Agent Orange” is CRAZY. Yeah, he’s someone I would be honored to work with as well. These days I’m more entertained by the so called mainstream, than I am by the underground.
MVRemix: What was the worst hip-hop fad?
Science Fiction: Haha that’s a hard one. Anything Ja Rule has done comes to mind. Nelly comes to mind too. Hip hop has done some really stupid things, but what genre hasn’t? I won’t even go into the big hair bands rock had a few years ago. You know what was a funny fad though? Those Africa medallions they had in the 80s. How come no one who actually lived in Africa had those! We’d be watching videos on cable like “YO! WHERE CAN I GET THAT?! THAT’S KIND OF ILL”. I guess cats over in the states thought they were authentic African joints. I still kind of want one actually. I missed that whole phase.
MVRemix: Who are some of the producers out now that you are feeling?
Science Fiction: Madlib, Bugz in the Attic, Jay Dee, Kanye West, and Just Blaze to name a few. Dwele is dope too. I’m mad he has a song called “Hold On” that’s better than mine. Haha. Oh, and my man Nicolay from the Netherlands is rather nasty as well.
MVRemix: What is your relationship with technology?
Science Fiction: I’m not a big gadget head., my man Chris always has have the hot new thing out…but at the same time I was a computer science major in college, and I do all my production on the computer, so I’m definitely not a luddite. I practically pay the internet rent as much as I’m on there.
MVRemix: Do you have a favorite musical instrument?
Science Fiction: The Rhodes. Without a doubt, the Rhodes organ.
MVRemix: What song took you the longest to do?
Science Fiction: On the album? Hmm. I’m trying to think, because typically I work really fast. And that’s something I used to think was cool. But as I mature, I realize that music isn’t something you should race through. There’s no rush. I heard Ja-rule talking about how he was going to do his album in a matter of weeks, and I laughed. That’s ridiculous. Maybe if I had taken more time on “Walls” then it would have been that much better. I’m going to try and savor the process more from now on. I can safely say I did every song on walls in one night. And that’s not necessarily something I’m proud of. It’s kind of lazy to just do a song in one take and say “aight, its dope, I’m done”.
MVRemix: What are you live shows going to be like?
Science Fiction: The live show is pretty much just me rocking with my band. Doing vocals, and some guitar on occasion.
MVRemix: What does ‘Je Reve De Vous, et Je Me Reveille En Pleurs’ mean?
Science Fiction: It’s French for “I dream of you, and wake up crying”. That was inspired by this weird dream I had about some girl I was in love with dying. When I woke up, I was still crying from the dream. It was pretty strange.
MVRemix: Your instrumental songs have very unique titles. How do you come up with them? Do you make the music first or do you have a title first?
Science Fiction: The music always comes first, then the titles.
MVRemix: Can you explain the title ‘Like Metal Hands With Paper Scissors’?
Science Fiction: Haha. I’ll quote the song itself. “I don’t like to talk about them, or say its about this, or it’s about that. As long as the listener can relate to it, or find something in their lives…then that’s what it means”. There’s kind of a bugged out explanation to that one, I’ll leave it up to people’s imagination.
MVRemix: Who is ‘Christine’?
Science Fiction: Hahahaha. Oh hell no dude. There’s no way I’m giving THAT info out. I’ll say this much though. She was a girl I was seeing who ended up messing with a friend of mine. She wanted to get grimey like a Nore song. So this is how I got even. I mean, it could have been a lot worse. At least I didn’t call her number out on record like Jean Grae did on the Mr.Len album.
MVRemix: When and how were you first introduced to music?
Science Fiction: My earliest memory? I remember my parents used to have ABBA and Kenny Rogers records around the house. Hmm…I think I still know some of the words to “the Gambler”. I’ll spare you the details.
MVRemix: What person has been the strong influence in your life?
Science Fiction: Mom dukes. A truly strong and beautiful woman.
MVRemix: What are some of your favorite books?
Science Fiction: Haruki Murakami’s “The Wind Up Bird Chronicles” and Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” are two of my favorites.
MVRemix: Some of your music has a psychedelic quality to it. Have you experimented with drugs?”
Science Fiction: Not really man. I’m a hyperactive enough guy as it is…so I don’t dabble with drugs. A few drinks at the bar, but that’s it. You know, the usual poppin’ crys and passing couvasier(sp?) that us celebrities like to revel in.
MVRemix: What do you feel about the term ‘Trip-Hop’?
Science Fiction: Got nothing against it. I know it bothers some people. But I guess journalists needed something to call Portishead. They’re a dope group by the way. I’ve covered “Glory Box” a few times at my shows.
MVRemix: What advice would you give to an up and coming producer?
Science Fiction: Find your own sound. Then stretch it to its limits. And never be afraid to experiment.
MVRemix: Why did you move from Atlanta to California? How is it going? Has the move altered your music in anyway?
Science Fiction: I wanted to check out the sun for a bit. It’s a whole different culture out here, and I like it. But I think I’ll be heading back down south soon. I don’t know if moving affected my music. Half of “Walls…” was done here, the other half in ATL. I really got on the jazz tip when I got to Cali though. Probably cause of the nice weather.
MVRemix: Word association time. I’m going to say a name of a group/emcee or producer and you say the first word that pops in your head. So, if I say ‘Chuck D’, you may say ‘Revolution’. Okay?
MVRemix: DJ Premier
Science Fiction: chop.
Science Fiction: bounce.
MVRemix: Dr. Dre
Science Fiction: snoop
MVRemix: Manny Fresh
Science Fiction: stunna
MVRemix: Swizz Beats
Science Fiction: Casio
Science Fiction: Shaolin
MVRemix: Mos Def
Science Fiction: Melody
Science Fiction: death.
MVRemix: Freddie Foxxx
Science Fiction: Hard
MVRemix: Gil-Scott Heron
Science Fiction: Drugs
Science Fiction: Beth
MVRemix: How do you feel that you have grown as an artist?
Science Fiction: Well, I definitely still have a bit of maturing to do. I’m a relatively young guy in the game, and I’m pretty much open to everything. I think I’ve learned that its safe to step out of the box a little bit..It’s so much roomier out here. I like it much better.
MVRemix: What is the biggest mistake you made in your career?
Science Fiction: I have yet to make it, but I’m sure I will at some point. It happens to the best of us, that’s how we grow.
MVRemix: What is a major misconception that you feel people have of you or your music?
Science Fiction: Well there’s the obvious “yo this cat sounds like _____”, I won’t bother mentioning any names. But all that will settle itself in time. At this point, I just want to get the word out. People can form whatever opinion they like after giving it an honest listen.
MVRemix: What can we expect from Science Fiction in the future? What collaborations?
Science Fiction: Well my next single “hold on” has a great b-side. “Hold on part 2” featuring MF Doom. It’s not at all the same vibe as the original. It’s pretty grimy and aggressive. With Doom on it, you know I had to come correct. There’s also a remix of “hold on” by Nicolay. You might know Nic from his work with Little Brother. As far as other projects, I’m putting out a single in august under my real name/alias “Wale Oyejide”. It’s kind of a foray into my jazzier side. The song is called “Kaya”. I’m basically taking it slow for the moment. I’ll be touring in a few months. And I don’t plan on putting out another Sci Fi album in a while. I want to be sure to come harder with the next one, so I’ll take my time with it. But I am constantly writing and recording. I’m really excited about my new stuff.
MVRemix: What do you want on your epitaph (your gravestone)?
Science Fiction: Two words. “Hold” and “on”. That phrase means a lot to me, for different reasons.
MVRemix: Any final words for the people who will be reading this?
Science Fiction: Yes. I’m really grateful for all the support I’ve had thus far. Keep it coming. And for those of you who haven’t heard the record yet, I’ll spare you the pompous claims of “I’m changing the game!” or “This is that next level shit”. It’s good music. It’s honest. It’s art. Give it a listen and swing by angryrobotrecords.com to tell me what you think.