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WYDU Interview with Paten Locke: PART TWO

by Travis on July 2, 2009

Part two, right and exact. Paten talks about the album itself, Super Ramen Rocketship. He also talks about the wacky name of the album as well as some of his upcoming projects. A great time had by all once again. I highly suggest if you are a vinyl head, you pick up the single. If you are a hip hop fan, pick up the album. Thanks again goes out to Paten, Daisey, and Bat, three of my favorite people that I’ve met through this blog. Big ups!

W: You said you did everything over in Germany, so that means it’s done right? The album is recorded and ready to go?

PL: Super Ramen Rocketship, and yes, it’s done. It has a date of Sept 22nd, ummmm, I think. I’m confused about it, because we are just figuring out dates. It’ll be in September. It’s fourteen tracks, well actually thirteen tracks and a bonus track. If anything the bonus track might be the one that might change. We’ll see….

W: How is this going to be different than say a Smile Rays album, or an Alias Brothers albums?

PL: Oh well…..

W: Besides the obvious….

PL: Well one thing about this album is that it has something that not many hip hop albums have anymore and that there isn’t any guest appearances. None, in any form. No one else made a beat, no one else rapped, no one else wrote a song, no one else did a cut. It was all me. Ever record you get anymore seems to have something, a feature or a beat. Even Kanye had some outside production. This record has no one else on it. That’s just so I can sink or swim by myself. That’s the main difference…..wait, that’s technically not true (silence, then he yells) FUCK!….Well, technically, that’s not true. Daisey is doing background vocals on it. No leads, every time she is singing, I’m singing as well. Ehhhhhhh, I’m still going to go with the no guest appearance thing. Shout outs to Lady Daisey though, BIIIIIIIG shout outs to Lady Daisey (laughing)…..

On top of that, aesthetically and musically, it’s definitely not like a Smile Rays record. When there is more than one person in the group, it compromises your ideas. They are not just YOUR ideas. You have to collaborate. This album is a single person’s vision. I didn’t have to consult with anyone else, it’s all on me.

Sonically, the Asamov record is a true hip hop record, it’s true school hip hop. The Smile Rays, is a funky old school sort of thing going on, with the break beats and all of that. My shit is definitely not like either one of those. It’s a little less throw-backish. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the kind of beats that Drake or Kanye is using today, it’s not like that. I think it sounds different. The Smile Rays is a one of a kind sound, so I can’t compare it to that. It’s not overly upbeat or positive, nor is a hip hop oriented as say the Asamov record. I’m talking about myself on a lot of it and my situations, stuff that people can relate to. And since I did all the beats, it’s different that way. It’s my sound, it’s how I sound.

W: When you started off doing this, was that the goal, you wanted it to be all you. Or was that just kind of the way it ended up happening?

PL: That is something that just kind of came up through making it and how I wanted to present my music to the world. I’ve been making music for a while. I think it just kind of happen that I made a lot of friends through tours and I’ve talked to a lot of people. It was possible to get someone like Slug on the record, you know, someone kinda of big. Even Mr. Lif or Ak, who are real good friends of mine. Then I started thinking, I could get this person, I could get that person. The problem I thought with that is it’s not even my record. So I started backtracking from that and going the opposite way. I just wanted to make my record. I make as many beats a day as anyone I know and I rhyme as much as anyone I know, I might as well do this my way. It was a challenge and a statement about the collaborations and the trends in hip hop music. It’s cool, and I like seeing that, but I remember seeing records that had no guest appearances on them. I just wanted to take it back to something that is “different”.

W: One MC and one producer, you don’t see that at all anymore...

PL: Yeah, I mean you see a producer who is an MC as well, but usually he is going to have at least a bunch of other guests appear on the record. Anything I can do to be different that I actually agree with, I have to do….

W: How come it’s taken so long for this solo release? You’ve been around the scene since the early part of the decade, but it’s just now coming to fruition eight years or so…

PL: Yeah, something like that. It was just never my primary focus. The focus was always on whatever group effort I was doing, whether it was The ABs or The Smile Rays. The thing about both of those groups is that they are comprised of individuals that can do their own thing and they are doing their own thing right now, so it only made sense that I did mine. Willie E(vans Jr.) put out his solo record. The whole idea behind the
Smile Rays was to see Daisey blast off and do her own thing. That was something I thought about happening just as much as I thought about my own record, was seeing her hit the big time.

Tres came to me and said, “Do it.” I guess I was just waiting for someone to say, “Do it.” Anyone could have suggested it years ago and I would have done it. Tres is actually someone that puts out records, so that made it even better. Even now I’m always collaborating with other people, it’s something I’m kind of known for. That’s another reason I wanted this record to have no guests. I’m tired of getting on the stage and someone says, “I love that Willie E beat”, and I have to say, “I PRODUCED THAT!!!!” (laughing)….

W: What do you hope to accomplish with this record. Are you looking for platinum sales or do you just want it to be well received by the true hip hop fans? What is your ideal outcome for this record?

PL: I really would like this record to be well received. I would love for people to book me for shows and say, “We’d love to hear you rap.” I just want to take the next step with this, it’s my introduction in a true sense. It’s really the first time for a lot of people hearing me, so I’d love for people to say, “We really liked the record,” or to even say, “We really don’t like the record.” It’s weird, I’ve never really gone through this particular emotion before, “hmmmm, I wonder…?” I’m not going to let it hurt my feelings if it flops and I’m not going to let it blow my head up if it does good. If people generally just say, “Whatever,” I’m probably still make another record. If the reception is great, I’ll make another record (Trav is laughing hard by this time). Either way it’s something I’m proud of and it’s something that is necessary in my walk through life. It’s perfect time, this is how it’s supposed to happen.

At this time, just a few of my good friends have heard the record. I really didn’t want to play it for a lot of people, since I don’t know for sure when it’s coming out. I’ve gotten a good response out of it. I just want it to be well received. I’m not looking for anything other than people liking it and translating into me being able to do more shows and move in an upward fashion. I’m cool with whatever rate as long as its upward.

W: Cool, cool. Are all three of those songs on the 12 inch on the album as well?

PL: Yes, they are. You know what’s funny with that? I think Tres wanted me to give them a song that wasn’t going to be on the record, but I didn’t know what was going to be on the record when I did the single. It just happened all three of them ended up being on the record. They all hold down different points in the equation. I got “Just Me”, which is the Mike Matasow reference, “Break Thru” is the single, it’s just an introduction, letting people know how I get down, “I’m not a Christian, I’m not a Muslim, and I’m not a Jew”. The other, “Funky Hit Record”, which is actually my favorite, it’s just a little more funkier. Those are all three going to be on the record.

W: Did you record a lot of material for this album? Did you have a lot of different songs to pick from?

PL: I recorded way more than what was on the album, but that was because of the idea of working with this European label. I was just recording mad shit, also just because I was with Bat, I wanted to take the three months to record as much shit as possible. Bat would be like, “Wait a minute, is this for the album?” And I’d be like, “No, let’s just record this and see what happens.” His agreement was to record my album, but he ended up recording my album and then half of this EP that I’m going to put out and a few songs for whatever this next record is going to be. The whole time he was like, “Man, we should do some Smile Rays songs,” and I’d be like, “MAN I’M STRESSED, I NEED TO GET MY ALBUM DONE!!! DON’T BOTHER ME WITH THAT!” (laughs)

I’m going to put out this EP, I did this old record where it’s just me bugging out and not being so serious. I recorded some stuff for that, it’ll be out locally and at shows and probably digitally to promote the Tres record. I recorded a bunch of shit that isn’t going to be on the album and it’ll turn up someway. Also I have a bunch of collaborations in the works and shit I’m doing with other cats, and that stuff will be used to promote the record as well.

W: So when you went to Germany, did you have the concepts done already and just knock a bunch of stuff out there.

PL: I had all but two of my beats done before I left. I went over there with just folders of my beats. A month before I left, I just locked myself down and made as many beats as I could. I took about a 100 new beats that I just made and just started writing ideas for songs. Some old, some new, you know, that kind of thing. I just started putting everything together on a daily basis. When I got there Bat was like, “You got everything written, you got everything ready to go…,” and I was, “Yeeeeeeeeeaaaaaah…, I just need to write mad rhymes.” And as I said, there are even two beats that are on the record that I made while I was over there. I brought all the tools I thought I needed to make a record. All the beats, the foundations for a bunch of rhymes to build off of. Then daily I just kind of moved forward. I’d go into Bat’s studio/bedroom and just take it from there. I tried to go there as prepared as much as possible, because I knew time was going to be important. I spent a lot of time arranging like how the album should go.

W: Is there a concept to this album then?

PL: The concept is actually the title of the album, Super Ramen Rocketship. It means a bunch of stuff, but specifically what I’ve been announcing at shows as a guest artist for Lif. Basically Super Ramen Rocketship, in these tough economic times, “Super Ramen” is basically a metaphor for making something from nothing. People have to scale back down to Ramen Noodles, but people figure out shit to put in that to make it worth while. They figure out how to make something “Super” out of the bullshit times we are in. The idea is making something from nothing then taking that to higher heights. Taking the Ramen, making it super, then blasting off in your rocket ship.

It’s funny, because I eat a lot of Ramen. I probably eat more Ramen than the average muthafucka. I just like it, I eat it when I have other shit I could be eating. I also like it because it sounds like “rhyming”. It’s like “Super Rhyming Rocketship”, which I like and is intentional as well. I had another title for the album. I told it to Bat about halfway through recording it and he looked at me and said, “What el
se you got?” So I had to think of something more clever. When I came up with Super Ramen Rocketship, he said he was down with it. I have a super rhymin’ rocketship in my backyard that I’m building. I AM a Super Rhyming Rocketship, anybody who makes something out of nothing is a Super Ramen Rocketship.

This all ties into what hip hop is to me. It’s making something out of nothing. It’s certainly the foundation and the essence of what hip hop came from, making something out of nothing. Afrika Baambaataa coming out of the Bronx gangs, there was nothing was going on for him, but he was self propelled with the idea of the Zulu Nation. That was a cat that was working with a Ramen budget, the whole Bronx was working on a Ramen budget, and they made something out of nothing. Flash, using a light switch for a fader, something out of nothing. That’s what it is, that’s what we do. Sampling, not that it comes out of nothing, but it’s a bunch of raw materials, but it’s recreating and making something out of it and throwing a bunch of rhymes on it. All of that, it just really stands for hip hop, Super Ramen Rocketship.

W: Deep, I’m digging it…..

PL: Aaaaaand, the lead singer from the 80′s (and early to mid 90′s)…..did I tell you this already?

W: I think so….

PL: Yeah, a lot of people hear the title and think it’s pretty good, but she was like, “That’s the best title ever and I’ll never forget it.” I feel real good about this one. I felt horrible about titles at first, because I came up with one and Bat shot me down so fast, it was something terrible. But he made me come up with something, so it worked out.

W: The album is coming out on vinyl too, right?

PL: That’s right. I tell you, I want to put all this shit out on vinyl. I’m definitely going to do a 45, I want to put out an instrumental album. Lots of vinyl. You gotta get on they vinyl list…

(We break into a conversation about vinyl, what we purchased, my parents rock collection that I’ve come into possession and the old rock group Sugarloaf and other vinyl/music related subjects)

W: (Back to the interview) After the album, what do you have planned in the future?

PL: I guess the same thing I was doing before the album, which is trying to push the album. I’ve also for the longest time wanted something that I could really go all out on, in terms of pushing it. My idea is to run with it. I actually have a reason to show up to the clubs by myself, or anywhere I show up. I could be at the grocery store and someone can say, “Hey, you have that album out!”

Besides that, I’ll continue to work with Asamov (The ABs), I’ll continue to work with The Smile Rays and see where the next places I put out different projects are. Just more of the same man. I don’t see much changing. I just want to be heard.

W: You did that little thing with Willie and Mr. Lif’s album, Dumbatron…..

PL: Oh yeah, we are definitely working on that, the Dumbatron record with Willie. We did that at a couple shows. Willie has been opening up for Lif and I’ve guest appeared at a couple of shows and we’d also do the song from Lif’s album live on his set. After awhile after fucking around with it, people started to come up to us about it. We want to do it completely sample free I think. We have some more ideas for it. The original idea was just me and Willie freestyling. Not pre written rhymes, not reading from a blackberry or something, just Willie and I freestyling off of each other. He kicks a rhyme, then I kick a rhyme. We got back and forth then just tweak it. So it does take a bit of actual face time.

There also a cat here named Tough Junkie that I’ve been working with forever. I’m sure we’ll have something thrown out in the future. I’m fucking with Cool Calm Pete, Baje One and a gang of other cats. Oh, my man Dillon’s record, I produced that entirely….

W: I was going to ask about that next….

PL: Yeah, there are a lot of things going on. I want to concentrate on my record, but technically I have a whole another record with Dillon and the Dumbatron thing coming up. I’m talking to this cat Fluence from Uncut Raw, ever heard of them?

W: Yeah…

PL: Fuckin’ phenomenal producer. I’m a fan of his shit and he was saying that he is a fan of my shit. I really really want to find the time to do something with him. I don’t know what will be, but I would love just having him send me beats all the time. All type of shit.

Dillon’s shit though, I know he is inclined to put the shit out himself, but he wouldn’t mind putting it out himself. It’s a really good record. I produced it entirely, but it’s a completely different record from mine. My beats on my are all over the place, but he’s beats are differently different from my choices and he raps way different. It’s a really good record though, I really liked the direction he took it. I’m looking for him to truly do something with that.

W: Yeah, I’m excited to hear that too.

PL: This is news to me. I was with Lif in the UK a couple weekends ago, and Lif was telling me that his next album is going to be 90% produced by me. You know how that goes, but it was exciting to hear. We’ll see if Lif is blowing smoke up the proverbal bootay or not. We’ll see. Then he proceeded to play me a bunch of songs of my beats that he had rapped over. Like a whole albums worth, so I was like, “Ok!” It sounds pretty good, a whole album with Lif would be dope. I got to send some beats to Ak, for what ever he is doing.

W: So you are busy….

PL: Yeah man, I could really go on and on. I try not to get too excited about some of these other projects so I can save some energy for myself. I got a gang of shit going on. I got an instrumental project. I trying to get an instrumental project for you, something exclusively through Wake Your Daughter Up.

W: I’m always down for that.

PL: I got some shit man, Bat ain’t the only one with beats, I got some beats.

W: So anything you gotta say before we finish this?

PL: Ummmmm, eh, naahhhhh. Actually, any graphic artists out there that like my music, get at me. I’m trying to work with graphic artists right now. I just want to build a relationship with people, get ideas for logos and the such. Right now I’m just trying to build my team. I’m really stocked up with rappers and producers, but some graphic artists and people that have t-shirt companies. I’m hoping Willie blows up still, like he should and he is recognized for the musical genius that he is.

W: We are still playing tag back and forth actually…

PL: That’s good, once again, I beat him to the punch. It’s all good with me. That’s about it. I want people to listen to Super Ramen Rocketship, and talk about it. The next record I do will probably be completely differernt, that mellow shit that I’ve been talking about.

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