Catch A Groove: I first became aware of you from the Low Budget Soul record “I Warned You” Was that your first official production credit?
Rise: Yeah that was my first official credit! I’d been doing beats for local rap demos and the like for a few years, but that was the first real release I was featured on. That was around the same time that I was passing beat tapes to Replife & Deborah Jordan….and quietly praying that they’d pick something! Eventually Simon at Futuristica took a chance on me and well, here I am!
Catch A Groove: I also know you from Replife’s “Change 4 dolla. I love the chords on that record.
Rise: I loved making that song! Myself, Marc Rapson & Soulpersona co-produced the track, so I can’t take credit for the chord progression: that was a signature Marc Rapson “one take” moment!It was also the first time that I met Replife in person, so there’s a lot of good memories tied up with that one…
Catch A Groove: “Messages” has a spiritual jazz vibe all the way. Besides Pharoah and Alice Coltrane, who are some of your admirers of this era?
Rise: Pharoah Sanders is the big one for me: In my opinion he’s probably the greatest living jazz musician. He doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his contribution to music. There we so many great musicians in that era it’s hard just to pick a few….Joe Bonner, who played piano on a lot of Pharoah Sanders & Roy Brooks records, is a personal favourite. There’s just something about his playing that I gravitate towards.Hannibal Marvin Peterson is another one who should be recognized more than he currently is: some of his early/mid seventies work was amazing. And I couldn’t miss out Sun Ra!! One of my all time hero’s.
Catch A Groove: One of the first records from this era that really blew my mind was Pharoah’s “The Creator Has A Master Plan”, What record did it for you?
Rise: The Creator Has A Masterplan is epic! That was one of the first Pharoah Sanders track I heard, along with “Greetings To Saud (Brother McCoy Tyner)….those tracks just blew me off my feet. Coming originally from a hip hop background, I had the idea in my head that jazz records were just sample fodder. The first record that really opened my mind up to jazz was George Duke’s “Capricorn”. I had a teacher at high school who recognized that I was a bit unruly but was interested in music, so he bribed me with jazz records if I handed my homework in on time! That was one of the first records he gave me….needless to say I handed in every assignment on time after that!
Catch A Groove: Wow! That’s the kind of teacher I needed
Rise: Yeah I owe that guy quite a lot really: he saved me years of digging and discovering artists by chance. I basically had a jazz crash course for the last 2 years of high school!
Catch A Groove: When I heard “Psalm 64” I nearly went nuts and replayed it ten times over, what inspired that record?
Rise: Psalm 64 was really inspired by the Pyramids (Idris Ackamoor’s spiritual jazz group in the 70’s). I loved their fusion of the spiritual jazz feel with African percussion and drums. I guess really that Psalm 64 was my homage to the afron-centric movement that was happening in the early 70’s jazz scene. On a side note, I picked the name totally at random: it just seemed to have a nice ring to it. When the album came out a friend of mine handed my a copy of the bible, open at Psalm 64….and the passage is headed “To The Chief Musician” which was an amazing coincidence!
Catch A Groove: Wow, that’s more than a coincidence that title was meant for you.
Rise: Yeah it was certainly an odd coincidence! There are parts of the record where I’ve intentionally referenced people and other things, but that one just appeared from nowhere. I’m just glad that it tied in with something relevant!
Catch A Groove: On “Requeim”, the words spoken are symbolic of the times we live in today. Was that the message you had in mind not just with this record but the album in general?
Rise: When I first started out with the record, I was trying to capture the atmosphere around the late 60’s and early 70’s that inspired many of the jazz musicians of the time: hence the Malcolm x quotes and such. The more I got into adding monologues into the mix, it became apparent that a lot of what I was adding was just as relevant to our world today, especially “Requiem”, which is quite referential to what’s going on in North Africa right now. Overall though, I wanted to present a positive message. I’m always conscious of the fact that a lot of musictoday is concerned more about wealth and a “get your’s first” attitude than it is about the spirit. I think it’s important to offer people an alternate message to the one they’re bombarded with on the radio everyday…..or at least as much as you can by doing an instrumental record!
Catch A Groove: I could definitely hear someone like Blu, whose one of my favorite's drop a verse or two over your beats. Is there anyone out there you would like to work with if you had the chance?
Rise: Well Blu is number 1 in my wants lists – one of my favourite lyricists of recent years. I’d love to make that happen one day….Folks like Ursula Rucker and John Robinson are also pretty high up my collaboration dream list. Aside from that, most of my favourite artists are the people I’m currently working with like Deborah Jordan and Replife. I feel really blessed to have made it to a level where I can collaborate with people of that caliber.
Catch A Groove: I love Ursula Rucker! That would be a dope collaboration, of course any work between you and Deborah or Replife would work as well.
Rise: Doing a track with someone like Ursula would be amazing – I’ve always been a big fan of the whole spoken word and jazz combination.Hopefully on the next Rise record I’ll delve into that side of things! Catch A Groove: What other projects do you have in store for us?
Rise: I’ve got loads of projects in the pipeline this year! Myself and Jesse Futerman are working on some tracks right now: hopefully we can get a 7” together later in the year. I’m currently working on the next Mecca:83 EP which is sounding great so far. I’ve got Jneiro Jarel & Replife on that project which I’m really excited about. Myself, Replife, Simon S & Dj Spinnerty are working on the beginnings of a group project which is looking very promising. I’m hoping to get in the studio with Nick from Emanative soon aswell and get to work on some live Rise material!
Catch A Groove: Oh man! I know that would be fire! That can’t happen soon enough. A live show definitely has to happen, I’ll be there for that.
Rise: Well it’s early days yet, but I’m feeling really positive about it. Rep’s trying to work out arrangements to visit the UK again this year and I’m trying to make is out to the US at the end of the year so you never know…a live show would be great!
Catch A Groove: I’ll be checking for that Mecca:83 record as well, you have a 7 inch out already right? Rise: Yeah there’s still a Rise 7” floating around: sold out for the most part but I believe Kudos Records still have the last few copies. The first Mecca:83 EP is a nice little free download on the bandcamp page as well (solarsoundsystem.bandcamp.com)
Catch A Groove: Well much success with the record, I see nothing but good things moving forward for you.