“They say you get as long as you need to make your first album, but the second one you get a year!” jokes Cut Chemist.
No sweat, folks -- this scientist is ready: The Los Angeles native recorded hundreds of songs before selecting the final 12 for his Warner Bros. Records debut album, The Audience’s Listening (release date: 6/13/06).
Consider this: Cut Chemist’s songs have been built with the assistance of thousands of rare, crazy, odd, eccentric and quite often unplaceable samples from other records, a truly global library that has been amassed from his extensive travels and dates back to sometime around 1977, when a young, pajama’d Lucas Macfadden was photographed asleep and snuggled up tight to his very own vinyl copy of Disney’s Haunted Mansion - dedication from the early days.
Throughout his life, he’s honed his skills as a record hunter extraordinaire (though he probably doesn’t throw his fresh kill up on the wall like other marksmen). That’s a history that has built up into a varied and uplifting album that even defies his complimentary characterization as someone known to play with sound in unexpected ways.
It’s true that The Audience’s Listening was a bit of a long time in the making, but imagine how relatively little time Cut Chemist has had in the laboratory. Mainly, he’s toured a lot. He spent 12 years as a DJ and producer for LA hip-hop dynamos Jurassic 5 (which traversed the country and world via packages like Lollapalooza and The Warped Tour), five years playing the turntables as a beautiful instrument backing up the Grammy-winning Latin alternative band Ozomatli, and several years releasing highly bootlegged mixtapes (such as his Brain Freeze Original Soundtrack collaboration with DJ Shadow in 1999, a much sought eBay delight that lead to another popular meeting of the two in 2004’s Product Placement tour and DVD). Throughout it all, he’s found the time to helm his own recurring club nights in Los Angeles (these days he can often be found on Saturday nights playing at “Funky Sole” at Hollywood lounge Star Shoes).
As an in-demand DJ that’s always tried to further his craft as a producer, Cut Chemist has had to juggle a lot more than beats over the years. But, after departing Ozomatli and, more recently, Jurassic 5 in late 2004, his focus is finally squarely on himself.
“That’s probably part of why it took me so long,” he says of the album. “I had to retrain myself into seeing that I was the only one here. There’s really no one else I have to clear things with.”
Free and clear from committee vetoes, sure. Free and clear from clearing rare and not-so-rare samples, not so much.