Anderson .Paak

COOL COMPANY’S SLICE OF PARADISE
November 7, 2016 9:00 am

Are you ready to take a trip with Cool Company? The Brooklyn duo recently released their Slice of Paradise LP, and it’s a sublime taste of a tropical summer holiday, perfect for escaping these blustery autumn days.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS got to engage in some correspondence with Cool Yan and Fat Matt, and got the inside story on the album’s creation.

Congratulations on the recent release of your album Slice of Paradise. What’s the most important thing you learned during its production?
Y: I think on this project we really started to break out of our shell and take ownership of our style. We started being a little more experimental and just did what felt right to us even if we were bending some rules we may have been previously trying to abide by.

M: We developed a few techniques for processing Yan’s voice that I didn’t perfect until the end of the recording process. I was also learning about some of the Native Instruments Komplete plugins as I went, but that is just a part of being a musician. You are always better after working on a project than you were before.

Is there anything you were looking to do on the album that you couldn’t do on your previous releases?
M: On this album, we were able to bring in some talented instrumentalists and vocalists to add their sounds to the work. Yan and I can cover everything if we need, but adding back up vocals, brass, and guitar from people who were much more skilled in those specific areas gave the sound an extra dimension.

The songs on Slice of Paradise seem a lot less silly (for lack of a better term) than “Call You Back”, the song many of your fans may know you for. Was there a conscious effort to make more “serious” music?
Y: I think we’ve always made serious music since the beginning, but when it comes to the singles and one-off releases, we like to have a little fun and keep things light for our audience.  At the same time, with every song that we write, we continue to grow and some of this new music is representative of our continued growth.

Were you two friends in high school? I read you met in choir class.
M: We came from different grades and friend groups, but I think we each thought the other one was funny and we started hanging out. We also had Latin class together and Yan would always fall asleep because it was right after lunch. The Latin teacher would always get flustered when she saw him asleep and yell at him.

What was it like to meet back up in 2012? How did the creation of Cool Company come about?
Y: We started making music for fun with a bunch of our hometown homies and sometimes it’d just be the two of us chilling making tracks and writing raps. We noticed it had a totally different vibe and style than when we would all work together and it just sort of grew from there.

Are both of you originally from Brooklyn?
M: We are both from New Jersey; we moved to Brooklyn after releasing our first album. I guess we are part of the change; lots of creative types move into the city seeking an outlet to express themselves.

Is it financially difficult to be a musician in the city? Are you in a position where you need to balance a day job with your musical career?
M: It definitely requires some differences in lifestyle from friends of ours with full time jobs in Manhattan. People take Uber everywhere; I don’t even have the app on my phone. We get by by living relatively far out in Bushwick, sharing a big apartment with a bunch of other people, cooking meals instead of ordering, and generally trying to take care of things ourselves instead of paying someone else to do it.

For money, I work out of our studio recording, producing and mixing for other NYC artists, and teaching lessons. Yan works in a restaurant and occasionally does graphic design and songwriting and recording work.

Are there any bands in Brooklyn you feel deserve more attention?
M: There are a lot of great contemporary acts in BK, and we’ve been fortunate to be able to play shows with a few of them. Lewis Lane, Greg Banks, Lawrence, Blood Cultures, Lady Moon & the Eclipse, and The Northern Orchard are some of our favorites

What kind of music are you currently listening to?
Y: Right now I’m listening to a lot of top 40 stuff cuz I like stay in the loop, but I also listen to a lot of alternative R&B as well as some old school Motown. I’m always trying to find new music that I haven’t heard as well as keep up with what new stuff is being released, whether it’s real popular or more grassroots.

What albums would you recommend for someone looking to get more into soul and R&B music?
Y: I love anything from Frank Ocean, Anderson .Paak, The Weeknd (especially his earlier stuff, even though I still love his more current pop sound). Emily King, Esperanza Spalding, R. Kelly, Majid Jordan, there’s so much good stuff out there.

M: I’d recommend Emily King and Anderson .Paak as well, also King, this amazing group of 3 ladies making beautiful R&B music. For classic stuff, my favorites are Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield and Sly & The Family Stone.

What is your favorite NYC pizzeria?
M: My favorite is BD Pizza on Stanton St. near Arlene’s Grocery. It’s the only dollar pizza place I’ve found that gives you parmesan, plus the fact that it is a dollar makes it so much tastier.

What’s next? Are you planning to tour?
Y: We been really preoccupied with the Slice of Paradise record, so we haven’t been able to invest much energy into our live shows. But now that we’ve dropped the album, our next priority is gigging around the city, so look out for us playing around in the next few months or so. We also may set up a tour for next summer and hit some festivals. My family is from London, so we are also trying to get over to Europe for a few shows too.

ODE TO THE END OF SUMMER
August 1, 2016 5:21 pm

All good things must come to an end as all people know. Be it the final climax of your favorite summer movie, the ultimate ladling of icy green summer gazpacho, or even the sunset on the last day of your final real summer vacation, time has a cruel habit of overstaying its welcome and continuing to exist well beyond our capacity to enjoy it.

Truly, we must savor these dwindling summer days. There is only ever today, always and forever, presented as future but turned present upon confrontation and then past as it disappears into memory. Hauntingly beautiful, terrifyingly predictable, waveringly consistent; the end of summer has been staring us down since the end of spring. Despite my best effort to avoid eye-contact, it is time to acknowledge its mystery and gear up for September.

So with that in mind, we’ve assembled a few songs you might enjoy to help get you there. Don’t think of it as goodbye summer but as hello autumn. It is the most thoughtful of seasons, chilly and colorful, waiting in the wings, eager to take its place as the metaphysical envelope in which we live our daily lives.

EVERYTHING IS NICE WITH LUCAS DIPASQUALE
March 30, 2016 10:02 am

What do Canadian 20-somethings have in common with Jamaican dancehall music? Everything, apparently. Lucas DiPasquale went viral in 2014 with his acoustic mashup of Popcaan tracks and just recently he was at SXSW, performing with bands including The Posterz and The Lytics.

We caught up with Lucas in the lobby of absurdly luxurious Austin hotel The Driskill to get his side of the story.

lucas

Was this your first SXSW?

LD: Yes, it was incredible. I didn’t know what to expect. I’d never been to Austin, never been to Texas. Honestly, other than Miami, I’ve never been to the southern United States. I’ve never really explored down here, and it’s just a different United States – different than the big metropolises like New York and Chicago, way different. I love that.

I got there on Tuesday. I had some good meals and did a few shows on Tuesday and Wednesday, and saw some great acts.

Did you see any bands that you thought were really good?

LD: I saw Anderson .Paak, Jake Bugg, both of them just incredible. Blew my mind. I saw Jack Garratt at a Playstation kind of event, he was…as a person who uses loops onstage, I have an acoustic guitar, and I try to do my own one-man kind of thing? He blew my mind. Just incredible.

You’ve been playing guitar since you were eight-years-old. What inspires an eight-year-old to pick up a guitar?

LD: I actually asked for drums. I always had rhythm, but my parents were like “Ehh…I don’t think so, let’s get you a guitar.”. So it kind of just happened, and then I didn’t really start playing until I was 14 or 15 years old, and then I just started singing all the indie and alternative music I was listening to, and some of the rap music, trying to play it on the guitar.

And then you had that viral video.

LD: I kind of just played whatever I wanted on guitar through high school, and then in my first year in university, at the end of it, I made a Popcaan cover and it did well. It started my career.

Did the idea for your video initially come as a joke that turned into a realization that you were actually really good?

LD: I didn’t take it as a joke, but I saw it as just a cover. I listen to that music, I wanted to show my buddies that, and I was just like “Yeah, this is cool.” It’s like singing anything else. And it did well, it got a lot of attention, a lot of people respected me for that more than they respected me for anything else. I like all music, so I was just happy that people dug it. I was flattered by it; dancehall people, Jamaican people, people who are invested in the culture really liked it.

You look at artists like Iggy Azalea, who are doing something in the same kind of vein as you, and they’ve had these intense knee-jerk reactions from the public. Was that something you were concerned about?

LD: It’s still something I’m concerned about. Cultural appropriation is a discussion, it’s a conversation that needs to be had, and it’s a real thing. When you’re not real about it, or you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, then people should be upset with you. But I covered the song because I love rap and dancehall music. So music that’s not necessarily made by, you know, my race…hip hop is born in New York, so it’s “not supposed to happen”, but through the internet and by other means of communication, the music got to me. And I love it. So I just sing whatever I sing.

Are there other artists in Toronto that you feel deserve more recognition?

LD: There’s a guy named John River who’s just an incredible rapper. I’m not sure how much you know about Toronto, but there’s a greater Toronto area; so he’s from Mississauga, I’m from a place called Markham, which is just 45 minutes outside Toronto. And I don’t know him or anything, and I just started listening to his music, but I think he’s gonna bust.

You were in college when you released your video. Did you leave school to pursue your career?

LD: Yeah, so after I made the video I got a few emails from music people and record labels, asking if I was serious about it, and I don’t really know if I was, but I took a few meetings. And then my manager now, I signed to him a year and a half ago, to his production company, and it kind of just started it.

Was it a hard decision to leave school?

LD: I really liked school. I was at Ryerson for radio and television arts, and I loved it. I still love it, I still go back and make videos and stuff. But I was also waiting to do this for a while, and I think I can do this well, and I really want to perform for everyone. It was hard in the sense of “Do I want to stop going to school?” But it was easy in the “Yes, I’d like to make music. Yes, I’d like the opportunity.”

Are you considering moving to a place like New York or Los Angeles to pursue your career, or do you think you have everything you need in Toronto?

LD: Currently? Absolutely, I think I have everything I need. The future changes, and you never really know what’s going to happen, but I love Toronto and as long as I have what I need, I’d stay there forever.

What are your favorite places in Toronto to listen to music?

LD: I listen to a lot of rap music, I listen to a lot of indie and alternative music, but it’s still established artists; they’re always playing at the ticketed places like Sound Academy. My aunt sings at this jazz bar called The Rex, and I just went there the other day and I love being there.

You just released your first EP in October.

LD: There are four songs with a live version of one of them, so five tracks. That was crazy for me. It felt like my career was leading up to that, and it happened, and I was like, “Wow.”

Do you have a song from there you enjoy performing the most?

LD: I think “Come Home” is a lot of fun to play when I’m not in Toronto, because it’s about going home to Toronto and I really feel it when I’m playing it.

I’m going to be releasing a new album, probably this summer, and there’s a song called “Pager” that I’m going to start working on. It’s about my family, and I always play it in my sets. Every time I’m singing about my grandpa, and my mom and dad, I really feel it. So that’s probably my favorite song.

Do you find you’re often inspired by your family?

LD: I’m close with my family. They’re so supportive, and they’re different. I’ve been exploring the world and meeting new people, and you meet such lovely people most of the time, and you meet some people who just aren’t like your family. You realize you have really good parents and I have two brothers, they’re twins, and they’re all really good people. So you realize how blessed you are when you start exploring people and realizing what you had and what other people had and it’s cool.