Tech N9ne: "I Would Never Conform for Any Amount of Money"
You're an artist who's pretty open with your past with the struggles you've had with drug abuse and depression. Do you ever feel like an ambassador to people in parts of society that aren't as open with some of the struggles they've had?
I'm an open book. I'm transparent. Quincy Jones taught me when I was younger, he said, "Write what you know and people will forever feel you." That was the best information he could ever give me because I started writing my life. As far as society, yeah, I don't really care what they think about me. They've labeled me a Devil worshipper for so many years, and I overcame that. But nah, I don't feel a certain way about people and their beliefs. We're all different in every aspect. We all have different cultures, we're all different cultures, but the one thing I did and learned from Quincy Jones is to tap into emotion. And that's what we all have in common. We all know sadness, we all know happiness, we all know madness. We all know confusion as one.
|Photo by Erik Hess|
|Tech N9ne at Soundset 2013|
I read some criticism on a message board where someone said they respected you, but they didn't feel you rapped about things they could relate to. It made me wonder what kind of life they were leading.
Yeah. I'm so ambidextrous -- I'm not repetitious when it comes to subject matter. If someone can't relate to me, you've got to wonder what kind of life they lead. I might do a song called "Areola," as a joke, about women's breasts. Somebody that has never had sex at 25, and don't really know what to do with ladies, might not be able to relate to that. "Well, I haven't seen a titty in my life except for on television or a porno," and there's people out there like that. If it wasn't true, they wouldn't do movies called The 40 Year Old Virgin. So there's some people out there who can't relate to some of the sexual music I do as a Scorpio male, but when I spew all my pain, a lot of people seem to connect.
A lot of the partying songs I have, maybe they can relate to songs like "Caribou Lou" because they drink it and I tell them how to make it. But maybe these people don't party. Maybe they're in college and studying to be lawyers or doctors. But on the other hand, I have a lot of lawyers and doctors that love Tech N9ne. It's just different walks of life. I had to understand that, because when I reached up like that, I attacked it like, "What do you mean, I don't relate to you? What do you do?" It could be a really religious Christian or Muslim, or Buddhist or whatever that think that Tech N9ne, some of the things I speak is nonsense. But if they listen closely, they will always find something that they will relate to.
You have the Therapy EP coming out soon in early November. You did that with Ross Robinson [Korn, Slipknot, At the Drive-In], right?
Yes I am. I've been listening to the mastered version for the last three days, and I am beside myself in a wonderful way. There's seven full songs on there because it's an EP, and I'm in love with all of them. I can't believe how it came out. I sat on Venice Beach with Ross Robinson and wrote a song a day, right on Venice Beach. Right on the water. This is what came forth and it's truly therapy. I named it Therapy because I worked with Ross in the past on this documentary called House of Shock about a haunted house down in New Orleans. When I was there doing that for him, the way we connected I was like, "Oh my God, he'll pull shit out of me," and I was already inside-out and transparent, but Ross is a different kind of muse.
I knew once we agreed to do a full project with him that I was going to call it Therapy, because that's what it was going to be. So when we got to the house on Venice Beach, he'll say something to the effect of, "So what do you want to do on this one? What do you want to talk about? What do you think you're going to pull out on this one? How do you feel about this one? If you're going to write a song called 'I Like Ladies,' are you going to talk about passion? You have to dig deep down into yourself and call forth what you really want to say to the female sex." With all the songs, he did that. It was truly therapy. I knew it was going to be that before I went to record. He told people to come in and play guitar, play drums, play bongos.
Who are some of the people involved in the recording?
Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit came through and recorded on most of the songs, dude. He was staying there those two weeks I was there. He was just getting away at that time and moved in Ross' house. They're really good friends. I was there and he was there, and he'd come downstairs and say, "Hey, I like that, let me see what I can do." It was so wonderful. Sammy Siegler [Youth of Today, Glassjaw, Limp Bizkit] came and played drums, and Alfredo Ortiz, the percussionist of the Beastie Boys, played bongos. So many people came through and played bass.
It was so wonderful how it came about and how we created this music with my producer, Seven. It's wonderful, brother. I wish it would come out today. I think we're going to leak one this week, and I'm totally anxious to hear it. Some of it is punk and some of it is ultra metal. Some of it is super melancholy. And some of it is self-indulgent, like that song "ILL -- I Like Ladies." I'm three-dimensional. It's all Tech N9ne, but it's totally different.
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