This interview has been sitting on the shelf for longer than I care to disclose and for that I apologies. In my defense I can only say that when Dj Marsellus Wallace first reached out to me about interviewing his friend Question I really didn’t have any idea who the man was. Mike (Marsellus Wallace) is deep in the record game and so when he told me Question was up on his stuff it stood as a very strong co-sign.
As is usually the case for me, beginning writing is the toughest part, and thus introducing a man I have yet to meet had me caught up in a furry of unfinished drafts. I did the social media thing in attempt to get to know him and we did the email thing a few times, but I still felt like like my writing was doing his work a disservice.
Question has his hands in a myriad of projects at all times and is a veteran in multiple fields. He’s a talent as a producer, designer, and as a DJ, and is constantly working in each of those respective mediums. Just watching the flow of material from my computer screen was enough to have me second guessing myself. Should I use this blog post to feature the new album or cover the podcasts he’s been doing, or should I focus entirely on some of the new album art he’s cranking out? I wanted the timing of the post to work for both of us, but what has now dawned on me is that the flow of projects won’t stop, the design work won’t be less impressive, and the best thing to do is just lay it out. So here it is. The timing was a bit shaky, but I’d rather you get there eventually than never at all.
-THE BAG MESSENGER
THE BAG MESSENGER: When did music first come into your life?
QUESTION: I’ve been exposed to music pretty much as long as I’ve been alive. My mom sang in a church choir and pops had a nice record collection so I was plugged in at an early age.
THE BAG MESSENGER: When did buying records enter the picture for you?
QUESTION: I bought my first record in 1983 and I STILL got it til’ this day. It was Renegades of Funk – Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force. The collection didn’t get thick til’ I entered high school, that’s when I pretty much spent lunch money to buy records.
THE BAG MESSENGER: How did you first discover hip hop?
QUESTION: I’ve got Afrika Bambaataa to thank for that! After Planet Rock came out, there was just no turning back for me.
THE BAG MESSENGER: When did you get your first set of turntables?
QUESTION: I didn’t get my first pair of 1200’s until I was in high school. Before that, I was on some super budget belt driven joints!
THE BAG MESSENGER: Any early experiences you care to share?
QUESTION: I got my first gig doing house parties with my pop’s home stereo amp and speakers for $20 bucks, and I was 15 at the time. I had to bring an electric fan to put on top of the amp or it would over heat and the party would be over! I kept saving the money I made to get better equipment. It took some time, but it was worth seeing your hard work pay off.
THE BAG MESSENGER: How did you get involved with design, and production?
QUESTION: There’s two things that has remained consistent in my life and that’s music and art. When I was a kid, I used to draw for hours while listening to music. Both crafts have been with me ever since. I worked in radio from 94’-99’. My college years consisted of doing live radio mixshows on the weekends, while I went to school in the weekdays. I left radio right after I got my degree in Multimedia and Graphic Design and started working full-time in the action-sports industry. I started my own design consultancy in 2002, and I’ve been blessed to work with everyone from industry leading skate companies to lifestyle and streetwear brands. As for music… I was always fascinated with beats & sampling in general. I picked up my first sampler which was the ASR-10 back in 95’. I learned how to sequence on it and the keys was a bonus since I knew how to play. I moved up to the MPC-2000 and I was hooked from then on. I started doing remixes at first, then started working on my own sound. I still use my mpc but i’ve migrated a lot of my production to Ableton Live in late 2009.
THE BAG MESSENGER: Did those two come into your life, through hip hop, or were they things that you picked up along the way?
QUESTION: Somehow I knew I was going to do both. I have identical high respects for design and music in general. As for beat production, a good friend of mine named Soulo was in a group called The Sound Providers and he inspired me to put my music out there. Another key figure is my man Freddie Joachim who actually opened me up to digital production, both these guys have helped me craft my sound.
THE BAG MESSENGER: How would you describe your production style?
QUESTION: My music is primarily a mixture of obscure jazz samples, heavy beats, and live orchestration. I was heavily inspired by jazz music and it was just natural for me to go that route. I also have a lot of soul and funk influences, and that pretty much completes my sound.
THE BAG MESSENGER: What does your production setup look like these days? How has it changed?
QUESTION: My current setup is pretty basic – mpc2500, macbook pro, my record collection, and my drums, but I recently picked up a vintage 73’ Fender Rhodes piano in mint condition.
THE BAG MESSENGER: Where do you find inspiration, be it for design, or production?
QUESTION: Pretty much everywhere. For design, I sometimes dig through my record collection. Album cover art always sparks ideas, then I end up playing records all day haha! Oddly enough, I tend to listen to full albums when I’m designing. I’ll hear something and stop working immediately, pull the record back and start chopping samples on the spot. If i’m deep in a project and hear something, sometimes i’ll just write the song name on a postit and stick it on my screen so I don’t forget to go back to it later.
THE BAG MESSENGER: Has Serato changed the way you get down? Are you still buying records?
QUESTION: Serato is definitely a convenience. It’s a blessing for people like me, I wouldn’t want to lug a rare record around or cue burn an only copy. There’s a certain discipline you get from digging crates and collecting. I don’t think I can ever stop buying records. I’ve edited my collection massively in the past decade and only kept what I consider “essentials”. I just don’t have the room so I gotta cut the fat.
THE BAG MESSENGER: What kind of things are you looking for these days?
QUESTION: Nothing in particular really. Lately i’ve been picking up a few obscure joints like Les Baxter’s 101 Strings, some 60’s psyche funk. There’s only a few spots to dig around SD, but I love diggin’ at the swap meet. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
THE BAG MESSENGER: Any interesting digging related stories? Favorite finds?
QUESTION: Most random digging story. I was in New York in the les and I ran into this guy sitting on a crate of records so I asked him if he was selling, he replied “only if you’re buying!” The man ended up being a collector who is about to lose his home. He walked me into a store front filled with records from floor to ceiling. I was there for at least 3 hours. I ended up buying extra baggage to haul my findings.
THE BAG MESSENGER: What is the Beat Kitchen? How long has that been going on? Who is involved?
QUESTION: The Beat Kitchen is a collaborative project with DJ Charlie Rock (Rock Steady Crew / Dojo Soundz). Charlie and I go way back, he used to come out to the jams I’m spinning at and i’d do my set while he kills it on the dance floor. We wanted to do a once a month event that primarily focuses on the music we liked. We play everything from golden era hip hop to afrobeat, bossa nova and funk. The Beat Kitchen started it in January this year, and runs every 2nd Saturday of the month. We’re still trying to build up the night and it just keeps getting better.
THE BAG MESSENGER: What is Analogue Studies?
QUESTION: Analogue Studies is a music hub that holds my blog, current releases, projects etc… I launched it in 2009 as a networking tool, basically another way for my fans and like minded individuals to connect.
THE BAG MESSENGER: What are you working on now?
QUESTION: I’ve got a few collaborative projects in the works, and another album for an early 2012 release.
THE BAG MESSENGER: What can we expect to hear from you in the future?
QUESTION: I’m preparing to work on a live instrumental project with my good friend Freddie Joachim. We’ve been talking about this project for some time now and it’s going to be interesting as it unfolds. Stay connected:
Our friend Michael The Lion is back with a new release on Soul Clap Records. Find A Way is a groovy inspirational disco slab that is perfect for getting the work week jump started and keeping the dance floor bubbling on a weekend night.
Play it loud!