In the past seven years, Flying Lotus has evolved into a master craftsman for innovative beat constructions. His techniques of maneuvering emotions, ideas, and sounds and shaping them into sound patterns (and sometimes no patterns), that take devotees into an exploration when they hear the music – his name synonymous with experimental production, and through his new Until The Quiet Comes project he hopes to give fans a more inward retrospect of who he truly is within the music. We had the privilege to speak with FlyLo about it all – read below.
What is a 'Flying Lotus' in your own words?
To be honest with you I don’t really have an amazing story for that (laughs). It was just one of those days where I’m learning how to make music on a computer and I was trying to pick a file name to save the track, and I really wanted to pick one that fit the track opposed to who I was. I kind of just wrote the shit down (laughs), and it wasn’t really something thought out, kind of just did it and ran with it.
Tell us what a typical day consists of in the life of FlyLo.
Days are usually the same for me – I roll out of bed and get right to it whether it's email, or working on mixes from the night before, there’s always something to do in front of that computer. There’s not a day I skip that routine.
How would you describe a Flying Lotus fan?
A Flying Lotus fan I think is a kid who smokes a lot of pot, and his activities include dabbling in psychedelics once or twice, loves all types of electronic music and hip-hop, and it’s probably a guy or kid in college (laughs).
Who inspires you musically?
At the moment, so many people in so many different ways. I really like a lot of the electronic stuff happening. A lot of it’s kind of cool because it’s on some trap beat shit. I also like this new rap shit that’s happening with Odd Future, A$AP, SpaceGhostPurrp and Kendrick Lamar just to name a few. It all seems cool and fresh at the moment and I’m enjoying it.
And how about your musical inspirations in early life?
I was really into Dr. Dre as a kid, I grew up right around when Doggystyle came out, and I was 10 years old. That was the first time I fell in love with rap and hip-hop and it was the first time I heard something come from hip-hop that was melodic and beautiful, yet real aggressive and reflective of LA - it was perfect. So when I was beginning to DJ at 14, I was trying to be like Dre man.
Speaking of Dr. Dre, if you were able to work with anyone in the realms of hip-hop, who it be?
I would really like to work with Busta, Missy, those were people I really loved coming up. Even guys like Kanye, I was thinking to myself “damn, I should be in Hawaii working on that cool summer project.” If I was doing that, then I’d really feel like I’m up to something, but I’m not there yet (laughs).
But there’s new guys like Tyler, the Creator who I’d like to work with, Azelia Banks, A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar. I love those guys, I really find kinship to the new generation because I feel like they’re able to be the kids that we weren’t allowed to be when we were coming up, you know? I feel way more in-tuned to this new hip-hop as opposed to this previous generation of guys (no disrespect to them).
When did jazz come into play with your music?
I’ve always been into jazz, but I never really figured out a way to get the hybrid across, you know. I started using jazz in my music when I began my previous Cosmogramma album. I was really inspired by musicians on the scene like Thundercat and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and these amazing jazz musicians who were doing stuff for different artists. I just tried to take my music forward and open it up for other people in the studio because I was working by myself for so long. So when I started doing that, it really helped me ideal things I couldn’t necessarily see myself. Ultimately, it really helped open up the music.
What was the concept for this album?
For me, in retrospect of the style in my Cosmogramma project, it was a personal record and the scope was really broad. I wanted to cover a lot of ground in that project and I think I do a little bit on this one too, but I felt like with this album (Until The Quiet Comes), I wanted to make it more personal, more introspective, more of an intimate journey than it being a broad journey. Also, I felt like the last project was a big statement so I wanted to make another statement as equal, but in a different way. So my approach was making an album more quiet and minimal, more restrained than the previous one. I just feel like this one is more focused, it doesn’t have any loose moments, and it’s all part of one story.
Sounds like the concept and album title goes hand in hand.
The keyword in this is “quiet.” I wanted to try and tie in and bring in an experience that was a little more inwards. The title itself refers to a lot of things – it refers to bliss, nirvana, death, sanity and meditation. And I always find this quote in my head, “Do this shit until the Quiet Comes,” and it’s something I keep saying to myself.
You mentioned meditation, does that play a large role in your music?
I do try to meditate as of late, because the quiet ain’t quiet lately (laughs). However, music is the best meditation though, because you’ll get lost on some genuine shit you don’t even think about where you’re at or how you got there. All that matters is the creation and the moment.
You have some notable features on it such as Thom Yorke and Erykah Badu, can you share with us how it was working with each artist?
There’s familiar ground there, I’ve done tracks with Thom Yorke before we’ve worked on this project, so we kind of have a comradery in the music. I would send him stuff and he would send me stuff and we would go back and forth on what we thought was sick. With Badu, she has Thundercat (my bass player) in her band and one day he started playing her his solo album and from that, she hit me up like “yo we gotta work!” and the result is what you hear on this album.
What’s your favorite track on the album?
I can’t pick one, it changes. Sometimes I feel like if I’m in a jazzy mood I’ll pick one thing, if I’m in a heavy mood I’ll pick another thing. But “The Nightcallers” was really fun, “Sultan’s Request” was really fun, but it really all depends on the vibe you know?
Any final words?
Stay inspired at all cost, that’s our only responsibility as creative people of this time. Stay inspired.
FlyLo's new album Until The Quiet Comes is available now on iTunes.