Nov 10, 2017

NanaBcool

While your latest release, “2AMCRUISE”, is easy on the ears, and very accessible, there’s a lot going on in the instrumentals that suggest something much more varied and complex than your typical, radio-ready tunes. What myriad of influences come together in your music?

There’s so many I can name, but what comes to mind first are Michael Jackson, A Tribe Called Quest and the TV show “How to make it in America.” My goal was to merge the idea of those influences and visuals I loved the most, while also making a soundtrack for the original millennial (the kids that remember AIM, Limewire, Nextel chirp chirp, burning CDs, you feel me).

What’s your creative process like? Do you find yourself writing lyrics, or are you producing first?

I’m always writing lyrics, so most of the time when there’s a new beat I usually have at least a line or 2 to start the idea of the song. But it’s really more of a back and forth. For example, Simen Sez and I went to see Masego perform in 2015 during CMJ, and his performance inspired us so much we decided to go to the studio right after. Real talk, it was around 2 am when we went. It just happened that earlier that day him and Aidan Carroll were jamming and thank God they recorded what they put down. As soon as I heard what they did, I went in the booth and freestyled for probably 16 minutes. And “Cool Bounce” was born.

Electronic instruments open an incredible variety of sonic possibilities and that can be distracting. How do you stay focused on songwriting with all those knobs to twist?

I work with an amazing team. Simen Sez produced all but one song on 2amCruise. Aidan Carroll was always ready to either add bass or keys/synth sounds. This project was really about collaboration between producer and songwriter. It was the same with OddkidOut, he had a sound and I found a way to make my voice another instrument on top of the music created.

What are the synths and drum machines you used in recording your latest album?
Ableton! Drum kits, samples, some from drum broker.

Arturia’s synths and instruments, Omnispheremy personal favorite

We finessed everything and picked dope sounds, it took lots of time and patience lol. I hope to sit with a few people one day and play all of the different versions of the songs.

Arturia Omnisphere

What feelings, people, events and/or records inspired your latest record?

Honestly, the places I’ve lived in the past 5 years. Moving to Chicago after college for about 2 years. Then Atlanta. And finally ending up in NYC, Brooklyn to be exact, going back and forth to D.C. in between. Not to sound corny but I feel like life is really a cruise, a 2amCruise, so this project embodies these places, and the experiences along the way. There’s only 6 songs, consider it the Pilot.

What other NYC emerging artists are you enjoying these days?
Oooh shoutout time. I’d like to think that every NYC artist I’m enjoying right now is the homie so when I say these names go look them up and add them to a playlist. Here we go: Reez, Simen Sez, Aidan Carroll, Imani Beau, Mel Chante, Saint Kwam, Mari, LION BABE, The Flood (Nano, Taahr, Brock Legend, Vars, Shroom, Tothamax), Tom Charles, Kid Singapore aka Shaun Benjamin, Moe Moks aka Moses, AL Cheekz, H.I.M., Jordan Bratton, Carnegie Kid, Laolu, Joey Jordan, YS Lost, Jeff Woods, Sydney, Olu Bliss. That’s a lot lol but trust me it’s worth looking up, every single one. I really hope I didn’t forget anyone.

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