Nosaj Thing’s debut album Drift is now almost three years old and we’re still eagerly waiting for new music. Thankfully, the electronic producer will finally answer our needs this year. 2012 will the see the light of more material from Jason Chung, so if you are in Los Angeles on Thursday, be sure to catch his set at the Mondrian Hotel (RSVP here). We caught up with him for an awesome interview that explores LA, Timbaland, the Neptunes, and Coachella.
Does being an LA resident influence your output?
Definitely, I grew up here. All the music that was exposed to me has been a huge influence. My foundation is West Coast hip hop, but now, there are a lot of music clubs and communities that deeply influence me. The Smell was a big part. I saw bands like Mae Shi, Miko Miko, Abe Vigoda, and No Age there. And of course, Low End Theory, since it started about 5 years ago.
What local music scenes should LA natives be paying attention too?
Pehr Space. It feels more like a house party. Bands don’t really give a fuck there. That still inspires me. Just true DIY music.
What artist are you most excited about in 2012?
Kendrick Lamar. I was really excited to work with him last year. We did a track together. He has a really unique flow and style. The collaboration was a bit of a promo thing but it happened very naturally. Neither of us knew exactly what was going on but once we got in the studio, we got the song done about two hours. I played him a whole bunch of beats, he picked one, and recorded the hook in 20 minutes.
Toro Y Moi is on the west coast now and a good friend. So I’m very stoked on that. We are also working on a project together. We aren’t taking it too seriously, but hopefully it will drop this year. It’s a great balance because he has a lot of ideas and I’ll take those, add a bassline, and etc. It feels very balanced. I don’t really collaborate much but its working.
As a producer and beat maker, who has influenced your style the most and how?
What got me really excited about it and changed my approach were producers like the Neptunes and Timbaland. I just started getting into production at 1999. at the time that they were just banging out a bunch of tunes. I felt like I could really relate to what they were doing because it wasn’t really sample based and the equipment they were working with I had access to. It was something that I felt like I can do. Music technology was really progressing at that time and getting more accessible. That was a big part.
Before that, Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin, Prefuse, and DJ Shadow.
I love it when you drop the vocals of Portishead’s “Wandering Stars” into your sets. Have they in particular done anything to shape you as a musician?
I got that from my friend/DJ Choimatic. It’s actually not Beth Gibbons. It’s this girl name Katie Enlow, and he sent me this acapalla of her covering it. He was bugging me about doing it so I just gave it a try.
If you can produce a full-length album for one artist, who would it be and why?
It would be dope to work with Bjork. She has an amazing catalog. It would be an inspiration just to do that. Her range and all of her styles that she’s visited in her albums.
What are your thoughts on the direction of Electronic music today?
It’s been a little frustrating to be honest. It’s moves so fast.
What has been your coolest performance experience so far?
I would say Coachella. I honestly didn’t think that would happen to me. In high school, I would trip out because I couldn’t afford to go and I’d only imagine how crazy it would be to play at a festival like that. It was a milestone. While I was playing, I was thinking about that.
Do you have anything special coming up for the Mondrian concert by the pool?
I’ll be playing some new music.
Meet us at the Mondrian in Hollywood this Thursday night for Nosaj Thing. RSVP here.