So, this is my last discovery and it came from Canada : Dead Horse Beats is a young and fresh beat-maker from Halifax.
He is an experimental hip-hop and trip-hop producer who demonstrates a lot of variety in styles through his work. His last E.P Chains round my legs just came out with featuring from mc’s from Paris, NYC, Accra (Ghana), Toronto, Brighton, Miami and Cleveland.
Who are you Dead Horse Beats ?
Well, basically I’ve been involved with music and performance for quite a long time. I played in bands all throughout middle school and high school. I used to play drums in a funk band, and dabbled with guitar as well. Then when I went away to university I didn’t really know anybody and I couldn’t play in any bands; so I started to get into hip hop. At the start I was rapping and just looping old funk songs or psych rock songs for beats. I went by Illfrid Laurier during this time, but after a couple years of not getting any respect because I’m a nerdy white guy, I just started to focus on making beats. I gave up the rhymes and just set out to learn every detail of Cubase while I was working in a really small town in Eastern Canada called Rocky Harbor. I was living in a 5 bedroom house by myself and was the only person in town under the age of 30. So I basically locked myself in the house when I wasn’t at work and set out to learn some skills on the instrumental front.
One day… Valentines day around 3 years ago I decided that I was going to change my name to disassociate myself from the rapping aspect and I thought, hey why not “Dead Horse Beats” what white college kids don’t try to be DJs and hip hop producers; at this point it’s really beating a dead horse.
Choosing this name really turned out to be a kind “B Sharps” moment. I really liked for about a year and now I really don’t like it at all but it’s too late to change it… haha.
What drove you in to abstract hiphop ? Who were your heroes ?
A guy called Edan is the reason why I started to make hip hop. When he put out Beauty and the Beat in 2005 it really opened my eyes to a whole other possibility in the way hip hop could sound. I wanted to do that kind of thing. It was a really life changing record for me. Aside from Edan, I’ve always been a huge fan of guys like RJD2, Cut Chemist, Dilla, Caribou, Bonobo and 20syl from the French groups Hocus Pocus and C2C.
How would you describe your music?
I guess, at it’s core it’s instrumental hip hop with some pysch and some electronica in there as well. I like to sample a really wide variety of stuff but always give it that dense, epic, psych sound that I think is characteristic of a DH B.
Could you tell us more about your last L.P ?
Sure. My last record was called Stop, Thief! It was the product of a friend of mine stealing thousands of dollars of my instruments, records and equipment. I had all these loosie beats laying around that I had been working on for no specific project and had been planning on releasing them for some time. This event really was the catalyst for the release of the album, because obviously I wasn’t in very good financial standing after having a tonne of my stuff stolen.
The record ended up getting to the top 3 best selling albums on bandcamp 3 times over the span of the last 3 months. So that was pretty awesome. Big shoutouts to Ryan for breaking my trust and stealing all of my stuff.
Who would you love to work with one day?
Oh man… so many people. My homie L’Orange just released a record with Blu on it. It would be amazing to work with him. Some of my other favorite rappers that I’d love to producer for… 1995 (from Paris), Edan… Ghostface would be a dream come true. Strangely enough – and I really mean this – I would love to produce a track for Lil B.
What is your agenda for 2013 ? touring ? How will live show work?
I have a couple of releases planned for 2013. I’m just finishing up an album called Chains ‘Round My Legs which I’m really excited about. It’s a collection of songs sampled from 1920s chain gang work songs of the deep south and features rappers from Paris, NYC, Accra (Ghana), Toronto, Brighton, Miami and Cleveland. It’s going to be extremely fantastic and I can’t wait to drop it. I’m also working on an EP with the homegirl Khali Carela. She’s a 16 year old singer with an amazing voice. I’m going to be making beats for her and we’re going to be putting that out somewhere down the line.
In terms of touring: I’ve only really started to play live in any kind of serious way in 2013 and it’s been going amazing. I played a show in Montreal for around 600 people with xxyyxx that got a great response. Now I’m playing with Rustie in March in Montreal and a couple more dates in Halifax and Toronto with some BIG things planned for the spring and summer that I can’t really discuss right now. But touring is definitely in the plans.
Do you have one specific memory of your artistic career you would want to share with us?
Probably the best night of my life in music so far was when I finished playing with xxyyxx and people wanted to have their pictures taken with me and wanted high 5s and stuff. It seemed really surreal, and was kind of a culmination of everything I have been working for since I started doing this as a job.