Someone who makes the music of echolocation;
with each beat you're sent a wave of white light revealing what's in front of you.
Music to swim and fly, float and drift, be and be nothing to.
If any of this sounds interesting, I've found your man.
The music of Nosaj Thing (Jason Chung) defies classification.
An attempt at labeling would have stupid results
("instrumental ambient hip-hop electronica").
It's just safe to say he's unique.
NT: I was into skateboarding with my friends in grade school and got into DJing when I was 13. I was involved in the music programs at my schools and starting writing songs after a friend of mine gave me a bootleg copy of Reason.
AHWF: How did you make the step from being a kid who makes music on his computer in the privacy of his own home to playing for crowds anywhere and everywhere?
NT: One of my good friends was into the DIY scene in LA. We used to go to this venue called The Smell to see new bands. I got inspired by them and started figuring out how I could perform my music so I got a demo copy of Ableton Live and started opening for friends.
AHWF: Your music has so many different aspects - seems to escape the grasp of any single genre. Where would you call your comfortable, musical home? On the corner with a ghetto blaster, at a rave with glowsticks galore, a dark basement with ten people crowded around you and your macbook?
NT: At home, in my studio. Writing songs is very therapeutic for me.
AHWF: Kid Cudi uses your song "Aquarium" for his track "Man On the Moon". What sort of interaction was there for his use of the track? And what do you think of his transformation of the song?
NT: I got contact from Cudi through MySpace early last year. This was before I've heard his music. He told me that he really felt the song and had lyrics that would go perfect for it so I said yes, let's do it. I like what he did with it.
AHWF: You're essentially an instrumental artist, but after seeing what artists like Cudi can do, is the idea of dipping into producing for other artists appealing?
NT: I'm always open to work with other artists. I just did a few beats for a couple emcees from LA but I think I'm going to keep my own projects instrumental for now.
AHWF: How does a song of yours progress from nothing to a complete track? Is there a formula? Like you find a sample, or maybe begin with a beat going through your head?
NT: I usually start with sound design then try a few chord progressions/melody. I rarely finish a song in one sitting. I like to revisit my projects after a few days to see if it still sounds right.
AHWF: Who are some musical influences that have always meant something special to you since day one?
NT: Beatles, Daft Punk, a Tribe Called Quest, Radiohead
AHWF: What does The Smell mean to you?
NT: I've seen a lot of really amazing artists there, it really inspired me to do something different and keep the music honest.
AHWF: I get a cinematic vibe when I listen to some of your songs, are there movies you get a musical influence from? Or just any influence for that matter?
NT: Edward Scissorhands/Zelda video games
AHWF: I love it when an artist like yourself has a knack for having every noise they use in a song pleasing to the ears (Air, J Dilla, Aphex Twin, etc). What are some of your favorite sounds in the world, whether from music or just in everyday life?
NT: Piano, juno-106, female vocals.
AHWF: What are some guilty pleasures of yours? Blast any Wham albums when no one is home?
NT: hmmm...can't think of one off the top of my head but I really like 90's rock and RnB.
AHWF: If you were born 40 years ago, do you think you'd still have been making music at the same age? Could Nosaj Thing's music exist without our current technology?
NT: I hope so, I'd like to be better at the piano. I love piano music from Satie, Chopin, and Debussy.
AHWF: Your music feels quite thought-provoking at times, to me at least. I find myself in a sort of mathematical mindset, for some reason. What kind of thoughts go through your head when you listen to your own creations (other than the critical ones: "I should've turned that snare down," etc)?
NT: I try not to get to critical when I listen back. I don't spend much time doing post-production. I think about what went through my life emotionally when I made the songs.
(a huge thanks to Jason and Danyell for the interview)
The 8-bit plumber crushing his enemies, the teenage warrior out to save the princess,
these are people a lot of us have cut our ties with since childhood.
But not ytcracker – he’s still well acquainted with these neglected friends from our past.
ytcracker is the undisputed king of nerdcore, which probably is a new term for you.
It’s nerdy rap, rap that is conscious of technology, er.. he puts it best himself:
“I am a computer criminal - a web graffiti artist - basically taking the essence of hip-hop and gangster culture and integrating it with the new society. Making money, making music, ensuring that the message of the downtrodden geek who made something of himself against all odds are all part of my mantra, and it reflects in my lifestyle.”
Nerdcore is best presented in his brilliant (and free) concept album,
N.E.S. (Nerdrap Entertainment System),
where he raps over the revamped soundtracks of our youth, dirty south style.
You can download this album by clicking here.
Or you can just listen to each individual track below:
No Asher Roth.
Check our interview below.
(This interview is unedited, because I can’t help but keep it realcore)
RH: What was growing up and going to school like for you? Were you a quiet guy or all over the place?
yt: looking back, i was a pretty annoying and loud kid. i had it pretty easy in elementary school and spent 98% of my time in the computer lab. thanks for keeping me grounded, computers!
RH: When did you get your first computer and was there anything you considered your first big accomplishment with it?
yt: my dad was an engineer at martin marrietta (later merged as lockheed martin) so i had a personal computer in my house when i was literally a baby. no one really believes me, but i was reading at 2 years old AND i have the cassette (lol cassettes) recordings to prove it. at 4 is when i started programming in basic, and my greatest accomplishment at that age was coding a dancing "mr. bojangles" on my ti-99/4a. actually, that probably is still my greatest accomplishment. i lead a sad existence.
RH: It seems like regardless of music, computers could take you far. When did you decide to create music with your abilities, and what motivated you to start?
yt: i've always been a big music junkie. i play a variety of IRL instruments and produced a lot of electronic music in scream tracker/fast tracker in my youth. hiphop and electronica are my two favorite genres, and they go together well when rapping about being a dork.
RH: You call yourself "the undisputed king of nerdcore" - have you always embraced your nerdy ways?
yt: always. see this picture for more info.
RH: A lot of artists are able to throw together songs quick these days – do you think a great song needs painstaking effort and time, or can classics be made with a drum machine and a half hour?
yt: the latter, most definitely. nothing is wrong with pining over a track or album a la chinese democracy, but these days it is so easy to record and strike when the iron is hot. hell, the iron can be lukewarm and you're still in good shape.
RH: Is there any technique to your flow going into a song, or do you just go with whatever pops in your head?
yt: pretty much whatever comes to mind. i'd like to think of myself as a versatile rapper with different rhyme schemes and cadence and not be a one-trick pony, but i am probably just delusional.
RH: Hip-hop and video games - when did you make the decision to blend these two ?
yt: both are favorite pastimes of mine, so i suppose the fusion was inevitable. once i find a way to combine them with eating play-doh, the trifecta will be completed.
RH: The Nerdrap Entertainment System is an amazing concept. You use some classic NES soundtracks for each song, why'd you choose the ones you did? And how has reception been of this album?
yt: i think my choices were semi-arbitrary, but sometimes instead of playing my stereo, i would clean my room to mega man theme music. The limitations of the 2a03 sound are very apparent, and the composers of those nintendo games got such slamming beats out of such lo-fi tools says something about the brilliance of our ancestors.
most people love the album - i did a side project called the 8bitboys (http://www.myspace.com/8bitboys) where we destroyed some more 8 bit music. i just like the nostalgia.
RH: I'd love to know, can you think of your top 5 classic games?
yt: for the nintendo, i'd have to go with dragon warrior, tmnt, zelda 2, battletoads, and double dragon 2. for the computer, it is a million-way tie with all the old sierra games (space quest, king's quest, leisure suit larry, etc.).
in the arcade, i love spy hunter and galaga.
RH: What's the hardest game you've ever played? (Anything that can contest Super Ghouls N Ghosts?)
yt: there's this hacked rom of super mario 1 called "air" that is the biggest pain in the ass ever. back to the future was retardedly hard, and so was gauntlet.
RH: You're a hacker-turned-rapper, can you talk a little about your hacking history? Ever get in serious trouble?
yt: i'm just a criminal, period. if there is a way to break the law doing something, i'll probably do it for the lulz.
i lucked out with my high-profile hacks - no jail time, just fines and restitution. i'll probably get slapped with a RICO suit for digitalgangster.com, but i'll cross that bridge when i get there.
RH: Why do you think there's so much nostalgia in music nowadays than ever before? Mostly towards the 80's/early 90's.
yt: if you think about it, the history of recorded music in general is VERY recent, as are motion pictures and the like. i think every decade going forward is going to see a resurgence in style, fashion, and music from (n - 20) because it is easily rediscovered and reminds people of their youth. get off my lawn!
RH: How do you feel about your hometown, and would you like to stay there forever or try living somewhere else?
yt: i love colorado springs - i always get homesick. i'll definitely keep a base of operations here, but i love the ocean. my mom's side of the family is all hawaiian, so i will probably wind up dying there. also, they take american money.
RH: Is there anything you can't wait to achieve in the near future?
yt: i just want to have fun and live life to the fullest. if i develop alzheimer's as a result of my unapologetic hedonism and debauchery, i pray that i will have done enough moronic things that i can hold on to at least two or three memories i can be embarrassed about.
A huge thanks to ytcracker for taking the time for an interview,
The future of music is versatility and the annihilation of labels that artists have always had to work under.
I promise you this.
We're already witnessing artists dipping from one genre to the next: Kanye singing, Lil' Wayne rocking, Passion Pit's hip hop production. But I think B.o.B should be the poster child of this transition.
B.o.B (which he says can stand for whatever you'd like, from "business over bullshit" to "Barack over Bush" [back when it was relevant]). He's a multi-instrumentalist rapper, rocker, singer - basically everything-er.
He writes better rock songs than the majority of rockers, and writes better raps than the majority of rappers. In his song "Lonely People" he manages to sample the Beatles, make a statement on the popular cliques we're all familiar with, AND have it just be a solid song. not just a solid rap song.
He's also got a song called I'll Be In the Sky that has four million plays on his myspace. Don't you feel lame for not having heard it!
You should probably listen and love it, in that case:
AND he's got two free mixtapes for you to download.
Wow, what a guy.
(click the links for an instant download)