The opening paragraph of these pieces usually serves as an introductory piece, but none are really needed for Animoss. He produced one of 2018’s finest albums with Orpheus vs. The Sirens for KA (under the group name Hermit And the Recluse) and added to his highlight reel with more placements for Roc Marciano on each of his last 3 solo albums. He also had a placement on Chuck Strangers spectacular Strangers Park album, and is currently developing Metal Clergy, a effort involving himself, Ka and Roc. Catch up on his history, his relationship with Don C of Arch Druids and more below.
RD: Let’s start with Brothaz Bent, a four man group consisting that had yourself and Don Chalant in it. Don rhymed quite a bit on the album, while you and he produced the entire Up From The Desert album. Talk to us a bit about the groups beginnings, the making of that project and your relationship with Don.
A: Brothaz Bent was a project that I didn’t even like, that’s why I never used my name on it. Originally we were gonna do an album under the Druids name with a few of those people in the group as rappers but it just never really worked out. Our friend the Lost Occupant was one of the illest rappers at the time. They started doing stuff in high school and I linked up with them right after when I was 18 and first got back from a school in Mexico. Some songs got recorded but we ended up making the Brothaz Bent shit , which I was never thrilled about.
RD: Your production style tends to have an earthy, organic feel to it. It really sets the tone while letting the rhymes breathe. What are some works, or specific producers that inspired how you make music?
A: When I was growing up it was really Dre and Muggs. I was big into that when I was a kid. When I went to visit family I had in New Jersey, my cousin would put me on to all kinds of dope shit: Nas, Gang Starr, Pete Rock, Redman, EPMD, basically all the good east coast shit in the 90s that I didn’t really know about. That’s when I was a little kid. Then I started to be interested in beats because I knew DJ Premier was the guy who got a producer credit on the Gang Starr stuff, so I was like that must mean he does the beats. Then when I would look at the liner notes for everyone I liked albums I would always see his name as a producer. After awhile I was like , dam this guy always has the best songs from all my favorite artists. Of course Tribe, Mobb deep as well . All the production was so fire to me. I remember always seeing people with an MPC in pictures and wanting to fuck with it.
RD: A few years after Brothaz Bent, you started working with Roc Marciano quite a bit. Starting with the Do The Honors/Warm Hennessy singles and all the way to Behold A Dark Horse, you seem to have a great relationship. What is a session with him like?
A: I mean Roc is family, he’s like an older brother to me. I owe him a lot. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be involved with artists that I work with now. We had done sessions together early on like Warm Hennessy and some of this other ones. And doing some of Reloaded when he was finishing, but honestly he does a lot of stuff by himself. He just will vibe at his crib and write when he is chillin watching basketball or movies and recording himself. Sometimes I don’t hear the songs before they come out and sometimes I’ve don’t know the song arranging for his albums. When I do that for him I end up playing the songs so much that I have to take a break and won’t listen to it for a long time. Sometimes it’s nice to not be too familiar with the song so I get the excitement when new stuff drops.
RD: Roc has kept his production team tight over the past albums, using only a handful of people. Would it be fair to say a bond has developed over the years?
A: I mean yes basically the last question ties into that. We have a good relationship. I’ve had a beat on a lot of his records since Reloaded so we seem to always find something to do together. I think he likes me to add on at least a little something to his records.
RD: Yourself and Don were the A&R’s for Reloaded, can you break down your tasks for that album?
A: I mean I was going to Alchemist spot with Roc all the time. He would record some stuff and I would be in the session. Some were my beats, some not. Actually the song History on Rosebudd’s Revenge was from a Reloaded session. Sometimes the A&R would be me coming up with an order for songs or just kinda giving Roc a little input. Rosebudd was one of was one were I felt like he gave me the credit because I was there, but I really didn’t do too much. On Rosebudd 1 I was doing the song order and all that which was fun but more hands on. Song order on albums is super important. Like when Ka and I did the Orpheus album, the song order really was everything.
RD: You don’t strike me as a man who shops his work, what elements have to be in place for you to work with someone new? Is there a level of trust and respect that have to come first?
A: I like to work with people I find interesting. I like to branch out now into other lanes other than the Roc/Ka world. I love producing for them, don’t get me wrong, that’s what I came from. I like working with my brother Chuck Strangers too. He’s not in their lane at all but very influenced by their music and so many other kinds of music. He really has his own things going on and doesn’t sound like he’s trying to sound like anyone else. I just did one for this kid named Medhane that is fire. He’s a younger kid from New York, super talented. I just heard songs I liked and followed him on Twitter. He followed me back and told me he fucked with the Orpheus album and I was like ‘bet, let’s do something’. I sent him a beat at 7 am and had the song back by 10 am and it was fire! I’m open to work with people , I just wanna do good work. I wanna bounce between worlds like Ka, Roc, Chuck , and Medhane all these dudes are dope but not necessarily in the same lane. I also linked with this dude Fly Anakin and you’ll be hearing good stuff from him, he came through my crib when he was in LA with Gray Matter, they’re good dudes. We got some good stuff done.
RD: Hermit and The Recluse-Orpheus vs. The Sirens was Album Of The Year for many listeners, it really takes you away to a different place when listening to it. Did Ka come to you with the concept in mind? How did that record develop into the final product?
A: We met when Ka did the Iron Age video out here in LA. He came through the crib just to hang out and listen to beats. I did one of the beats for Orpheus on the spot and he was like ‘wow’ and we linked up again and after a few times he was like we should just do an album. He came up with the concept but some beats were already in place. After he told me the concept I tried my best to make it like a movie score that would fit for a film on some Greek mythological vibe. I didn’t want the beats to sound the same or go from one to the other and have people like ‘this beats sounds like the last one’.
RD: What are some of your own favorite works?
A: Argo for the Orpheus album is one of my favorites of all time. In fact the album was “done” and he was catching a flight back to New York the next day and we were hanging out. We had made a deadline saying that this was the last trip of his to LA, so he had said the album done, and had called an Uber. I had just put some shit together and was on the headphones because we had a movie on and I played the beats for him. He canceled his Uber and wrote to the song for an hour and there you have it, Argo made the album, and it’s probably my favorite song on the record
RD: What does the future hold for Animoss? Is there anything left undone that you’d like to eventually get out?
A: Like I was saying before, the future involves bouncing around into different worlds. Of course new stuff with my friends like Roc, Chuck and Ka, but also new people. I want to contribute to artists albums, and do my own projects too. I’m all over the place with samples so who knows what I’m gonna be into. I just wanna do good joints with good artists and add on my piece.
RD: Favorite piece of gear, and if applicable, what piece would you love to get a hold of?
A: Overall my favorite piece of gear is probably the MPC 2500 for work flow purposes, especially with the JJOS but that’s some nerd shit. I started on the MPC 2000XL, so that will always be a special piece to me. I’ve been playing with some other machines lately. The first beat I made on the 303 is gonna be on Medhane debut album, out Nov. 2019 so check that out. Other than that I’m not really looking into gear. Maybe some outboard gear in the future.
A: Shout out all the listeners and supporters. All the love means a lot. Peace!
Follow the man on Twitter @ANIMOSS_ and IG @animoss