Lamb Rabbit Interview

lamb rabbit respect due interview picture

RD : For those unfamiliar with your music what can you share with them?

LR : I am Lamb Rabbit. I am multi-faceted. I’m a singer. A record collector. A DJ. A producer. A radio host. Really it all just boils down to me being a giant music nerd. I’ve sung since I was little, at first soloing in choirs, then later on studying and competing classically. I also fell in love with what felt like this vast and hidden world of records and record collecting, which led to me stumbling into DJing by accident. Initially it was a means to showcase the gems I’d found that I’d grown to know and love— I wanted to share that knowledge and passion. These days I’m very grateful for DJing. It was unexpected, but it’s paid bills and enabled me to connect with a ton of fellow heads, expand my musical knowledge and further open up my ears and thus my own sound.

As a producer, I produce (or sometimes co-produce) a lot of my own music because I’m extremely particular as to the sort of sound that grabs my soul, and it can be simpler to feel that out on my own. I know my own ear (and my own heart; they’re intrinsically linked!) best, so it’s essential to me that I stay true to that.

Radio happened for all the same reasons. It was a solid platform for me to share music I was passionate about, and unlike most live DJ sets, radio mixes get archived, so that was very appealing to me. Radio mixes become historical artifacts; aural time capsules. I moved to New York about three years ago. I’m from Canada originally (although half of my family is from here: my grandfather is from East New York, my grandmother is from the LES, and my mom is from Queens). Not too long after moving here, I was guesting on friends’ radio shows, and soon a friend asked me to co-host a show with him. Having that platform was such a rewarding experience that it evolved from my wanting to share the music that I loved to wanting to extend the platform itself to the artists and producers creating it. I began inviting artists to come through and guest. Liv.e, Pink Siifu, Adé Hakim, AKAI SOLO, Caleb Giles, brainorchestra, Rast RFC & many more slid through. I’ve wound up making some really close friends and musical collaborators through radio. I’m more appreciative of that than I can put into words.

RD: You came to our attention hosting the ‘UPPERCUTS’ show series for Half Moon BK. There is quite a variety in the guests, from Dap Zini (Psych Ward Records) to Koncept Jack$on (ex-Mutant Academy). What are you looking for as a featured artist for these?

LR: There’s no hard and fast thing I’m looking for. Ultimately I feature artists whose music I feel is on a whole other caliber— a cut above. Hence, UPPERCUTS. I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to share a platform that I so cherish with the artists and producers that are creating the most meaningful, unique, and inspirational work right now. I’m really proud of what Uppercuts has blossomed into. The format isn’t set in stone, but typically I’ll DJ for about 20 minutes and then let a couple of guests perform live sets on air for the show’s remainder. Witnessing it in the studio, the energy is special. Community pulls up and the vibe is intimate. Each episode feels like a glimpse of a musical renaissance: snapshots of enlightened rap, sentient soul, and forward-thinking frequencies permeating New York City. It’s magical. I guess that’s what I’m looking for.

RD: The SP404 is the common thread we see in any event featuring producers and beatmakers. Why is the 404 so favored in a live performance setting?

LR: I think you see SP-404s a lot in live settings because they’re compact, feature-packed, have loads of storage banks, trigger pads, and memory (thanks to SD cards if we’re talking the SX or A models), plus they’re fairly intuitive and easy to use. And 404s are versatile; you can do everything straight off the SP or you can run your laptop or whatever else through it and just use it for the plethora of effects. It’s so small, so portable, so self-sufficient. 404s enable producers to do so much with so little; this is why they’ve changed the game for the scene.

But also I mentioned this question to my friend the other day when we were talking about beat sets and his response was, “I don’t know, that shit just slaps.” 100% valid.

RD: When at home creating, is this your personal weapon of choice?

LR: It definitely is. Because I come from a record background and I’ve always gravitated more towards the analogue side of things, I’ll typically sample straight from my collection and do the bulk of my production work on the 404. I don’t even get super technical or use the sequencer like that. I usually just wind up looping things that grab me or playing around with chops and maybe incorporating some subtle effects before either re-sampling or just recording straight into Ableton. A lot of my production feels really raw to me for this reason. It’s not quantized or perfect in any way. It’s almost a little lopsided, but that’s more human to me. It better resonates with my soul. My thoughts and feelings aren’t neat and symmetrical, so I don’t want my music to be.

RD : You have been rolling out a few singles on your Bandcamp, are these leading up to a full length project?

LR: Yes, definitely. On Valentine’s Day I dropped a 2-track EP called Strange Luh. Both tracks are hallucinatory lo-fi covers that call into question the effects that love can have on our mental. My vocals are pitched down on both joints so they feel a little like they’re off a Screw tape, except the beats are more contemporary so you get lost in time. It’s meant to feel displacing. It’s not for everyone, it’s super weird and oneiric. It’s gotten some play on WFMU, dublab, and on Canadian radio as well, so I’m happy it’s resonating with a few souls.

Last month I dropped another 2-track EP featuring AJ Suede. He’s based in Seattle but slid through my old spot while in town a little while back. I made both beats on the 404 while we were chilling and we wrote to them on the spot and recorded everything right then and there. I’m singing on both tracks, but AJ is front and center. His wordplay is immaculate. We’ve got a second EP in the works now.

A limited run of Strange Luh 45s came out last month and sold out, and the EP with AJ Suede should come out on vinyl shortly too. I’ve had work out on tapes before but never on vinyl, which is the format dearest to my heart, so this is an exceptionally special chapter for me.

I just released another single, Slide, with an accompanying music video— my first! Groovy lil boogie produced by my NC brother C.R.I.S.T.E.N. The video is super silly but I was just feeling like we needed a warm distraction from what we’ve all been going through with the Corona madness.

Hopefully very soon I’ll be able to release my full length debut, Heart True. It’s pretty much finished, it’s just in the process of mixing and mastering. Most of it is either produced or co-produced by myself, and it’s primarily sample-based, although there’s a lot of live instrumentation too. Upright and electric bass, sax, flute, drums, guitar, keys. There are features throughout from some of my favorite artists, who also happen to be some of my favorite people. My rule for the project was to disregard clout and only work with artists who to me are moral 10s; just really solid souls, through and through. I feel like I know a ton of extremely gifted artists, but not everyone is as equally gifted at being a decent human being. I really don’t care how talented you are or how much pull your name has. If you’re egotistical, if you’re a dick, if you’re inconsistent in just straight up treating others around you with kindness and respect—without ulterior motivation—you’re a dub. I feel like I see a lot more of those behaviors and attitudes than I would like to, but I refuse to let them into my own personal world. And that was this album. So it really is an accurate representation of my whole heart.

 I know it’s completely cliché to say, but it really doesn’t fit into any singular genre. It’s laced with an honest injection of rap from some real ones, but beyond that it weaves through terrains of spiritual jazz, psych folk, hymns, and weathered soul. There’s a cut that sounds like ambient reggae until a verse comes in. One friend recently described another track to me as feeling like equal parts RnB and shoegaze. Someone else told me that each song felt like a painting. I loved that. I was super vulnerable and bared my whole soul on the album; I’m glad the strokes came across.

RD : You’ve seen your share of performances/sets, does anyone stand alone as a favorite to watch?

LR :There’s definitely no one single person, but honestly a lot of the artists who’ve guested on my shows are my favorites to see do their thing live. AKAI SOLO’s freestyles are unmatched. Adé Hakim radiates infectious levels of positivity during his performances— I’m convinced he’s secretly a beacon of light in human form. When Stack Skrilla guested on Uppercuts he performed 1000 (shoutout JLVSN on production) in its entirety from front to back perched on a stool, and the studio was full but you could’ve heard a pin drop. That one was really special to me.

RD: As we know, anyone can be in NYC at any given time. Have you guys had any random, noteworthy guests at these functions?

LR :We don’t really get random guests because Half Moon is a closed studio, so anyone coming by needs to have a personal invitation. Also as far as I’m concerned, anyone who takes the time out of their day to come by to show love and be supportive of the underground is noteworthy.

That being said, quite a few people have slid through. Mndsgn came by when Malik Abdul-Rahmaan and I did a special two hour B2B vinyl freeform episode last year in celebration of Ramadan. Stack pulled up before he was on the show himself for JLVSN’s set. Many of the artists who have been featured guests have returned to later shows to show support. Tyron Perryman has dropped by, which means a lot to me because his Tea & Converse podcast really is so essential and beautiful, and I’d like to see more platforms bridging gaps and being supportive of one another the way that he is. Honestly, I’m honored anytime anyone pops in, because it all just boils down to showing love and support, and we all need more of that— in this community, and just in general, period.

Special shoutouts also go to Benji Socrate$, JLVSN, DFNS, Lungs, Phiik, JVH, Silence, Døøf, Keenyn Omari, Devoye, and akari, who have all pulled up time and time again. Makes my heart swell. Same goes for all of the guests who have travelled to be on Uppercuts. Pro Zay flew in from Texas. Murky came in from Akron. Last episode Jah-Monte Ogbon came in from Charlotte and Koncept Jack$on from Richmond. Elijah Bank$y and ZekeUltra are both pulling up from out of town for the next episode (whenever we’re able to normalize a bit again, looking past this pandemic). It’s an honor. And it demonstrates that what Uppercuts is doing is valued. That’s not lost on me.

RD : If you could enlist any 5 musical talents in the world for your full length debut, who would they be?

LR:The full length is already done, so they’re already on there! It’s more than 5, but Akeema-Zane, AKAI SOLO, DFNS, GyPzzy, Koncept Jack$on, Master Holy & Murky all kill their features on Heart True. akari, Devoye, Evan Lawrence, Furozh, Hajino, Keenyn Omari, Oluwaseun Odubiro, Syl DuBenion, and a few other friends also contributed incredible production and/or instrumentation to the album. And every single one of those souls are beautiful. We here.

RD: Shouts/special message for the people

LR: Holla literally every single person I listed above. Golden nuggets all of ’em. Thank you, honestly, to everyone in the scene who has been supportive of me, of my vision, of my musical journey. It’s still just the beginning but I already feel so fortunate to get to work with so many incredible people and have the support and encouragement of so many more.

Also I would be seriously lacking if I didn’t extend special thanks to my Half Moon family. Darian and Tyler have been present for almost every single episode of Uppercuts. Starr and Mel have both come through the station to support on days they’re not even working because they are both bb angels. Surf has been ridiculously enthusiastic about Uppercuts from the jump, which has meant the world to me. In February the station was closed and got opened up just so we could do the show. I felt that. And I’m hyper grateful to Gam, Matt Thompson & JVH for capturing more footage than anyone deserves, and to Gary Franks for being a design genius and bodying so many of my visuals. My team is undefeated.

Special message= STAY HEART TRUE! Extend kindness. Show love. Don’t get swept up in bitterness or feel like everything is a competition. Work together instead of trying to tear each other down. Follow your own unique vision, and be genuine. The right people will take note. And just let the rest roll off your back. We’ve all got this.

Track Lamb’s movements here https://www.lambrabbit.com

 

Producer Spotlight: The Standouts

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We had the chance to catch up with a production duo on the rise. In a short period of time The Standouts have delivered full projects with Bub Rock, WateRR, and Lord Juco. A Dot and C Dot have been stashing inventory and they’re prepping for a major run in 2020.

RD: You guys have linked up with some of the finest names in the underground over the past few years. When did this all start? How long were you building up inventory?

A Dot: As far as building up inventory, we’ve had samples/ loops/ beats from like 2004 we just always saved that type of stuff. It really started in 2018 when I saw an IG video of Bub Rock and I thought he was dope. I just wanted to get a beat to him, but that turned into a whole EP (XV). From there he plugged us with Ty Farris and other artists started working with us. We had beats on deck and samples that we could use so we just started from there.

RD: Did you guys get into production at a similar age? Who was the first one to get serious about this?

A Dot: C Dot is my younger cousin by 7 years. I started getting into it around my sophomore year, like 2001-2002. I was watching BET and that Jadakiss Knock Yourself Out transitioned into We Gonna Make It, and that was it for me (shout out to the Alchemist). All of us (my cousins, his brothers) would just hang out like family do and alternate between hoopin, playing the game, and messing with Fruity Loops. As time went on C Dot got really into it too, and we would just kick it ride around and really study music. Literally listening to 9th Wonder sample mixes and stuff like that. I’d make a loop and have him do the drums on the beat. Someone on MySpace wanted to buy some beats from me on these two beats where I did the sample and he did the drums. The rapper picked those immediately with no hesitation. I sold those beats, and brought $40 to C Dot for his piece of the profit and it was on from there.

C Dot: My love for beat making started back in elementary honestly. I owe it all to the Grinding beat, shout out to Pharrell that is really started it all for me. Beating on the tables with pens and shit I literally would get suspended for beating so much. That lead me to playing the snare in middle school on a drum line that they basically made because we had such a cold line up. I was too smart to not be in school learning, so I wanna say it was one of my coaches that put me in band. Anyways that band background was the springboard for my beat arrangements and all the percussion and shit I would utilize back when other producers beats were complete ass. We didn’t wanna be trash so we just kept at it, and A Dot is such a wizard with anything he puts his mind to so after a few years we really started rocking and making a little cash.

A Dot: Oh yea! I forgot I was in band in middle school too. I was playing the clarinet but I noticed I was the only dude playing clarinet so I switched to trumpet. First Chair on both instruments too, we been on some music shit.

RD: What is the division of labor in the group? Does one member do a certain part of the beat, or does it vary?

C Dot: For a few years I was doing drums and A Dot was chopping samples. Then it switched to me chopping samples and A Dot doing the drums and arrangements. Then I went off to college and would never go to class so I had plenty of time on my hands and started to overwhelm A Dot with all the samples I would send through. Eventually I got tired of waiting on him to do something with certain joints I would send, and started just doing it all myself and that’s really when The Standouts became like a real legit force that could hold up through any test of time. I grew off the tree A Dot planted but have different inspirations musically so where my shit is more melodic and tends to change up every 4 or 8 bars. A Dot comes in with that gritty hardcore dark ass evil tone, but beautifully put together shit and whenever we do collab on a beat these days it comes out crazy. Once the money really starts coming in and we can make a living off this shit we’ll do a lot more tag teaming. Right now we’re just building our skill sets more and more till it’s time to really go!

A Dot: We’ve done it all from switching up on who’s doing the drums vs. chopping the sample from of course making beats together via email. Now we both do everything, but the emphasis varies. My emphasis is on the mix and the sonics of it and C Dot being an artist himself he’s gonna put an emphasis on the arrangement and making sure the beat isn’t 100% monotonous. So its not necessarily like we cooking up together side by side but we definitely each play a part on each beat.

RD: Is there a different mindset producing a full project as opposed to a few placements?

A Dot: To be honest, fully producing projects just happens so organically so there’s not really a mindset. If we send an artist a pack of like 3 or 4 beats when we first get to building they might just like 1 of those 4, and make a fire ass song from that. That sets off a light bulb with us, so the next batch we send they might fuck with 3 out of 4, and now we got 4-5 songs and the songs start to have a theme, which lends to the title, then cover art and so on its all just super organic. Perfect example of that is The Plaza EP with K Burns. That shit came together in less than 24 hours like that!

RD: Of the full projects done thus far, which one do you think most encapsulates The Standouts sound?

A Dot: That’s a good question that’s really hard to answer personally speaking. We don’t really have a certain sound we just cook up randomly and try to send beats we think they would float on. We’re not saying “this sound like something such and such would rap on” we’re saying “damn such and such would kill this shit.” There’s a difference.

C Dot: When it comes to the Standout Sound the only thing that makes it all comparable is the laugh at the beginning. Outside of that you really can’t put your finger on what a beat from us will sound like and that was our goal from the jump. Our main focus is to just make it dope no matter what style it is that way we won’t ever have to worry about being boxed in.

RD: We realize that often times the cat has to stay in the bag, is there any upcoming work you can discuss?

A Dot: Of course the shit that’s already been posted about such as Eddie Kaine’s Nezzie’s Star project. Spoda’s project Audio Trafficking will probably be out by the time this comes out. There’s a couple of other projects we got cooking and artists that we are working with but they in the early stages so I don’t wanna jinx nothing. There will always be things in the tuck for guys like Ty Farris and Bub Rock.

RD: First 5 calls you make to start a Standouts album, no budget involved.

A Dot: I can’t even say because I’m actually gonna make those calls so ya’ll stay tuned.

C Dot: No budget involved I’m going with a dream line up so I’ll roll with Jim Jones off top. Earl Sweatshirt,Willie the Kid, Bankroll Fresh (R.I.P) and Action Bronson.

RD: Message for the listeners?

A Dot: Appreciate ya’ll fuckin with us and we gonna keep cooking up we here and we ain’t stopping.

C Dot: Appreciate all the love and support. Y’all have only got a glimpse into one of our bags so stay tuned. Niggas really musically inclined in a major way so the more comfortable these artist get with allowing us to take more of the direction the more of the bags you’ll see.

Support Standouts produced projects here

https://waterr.bandcamp.com/album/the-honorable

https://lordjuco.bandcamp.com/album/white-walls

https://bubbarock.bandcamp.com/album/xv-prod-by-the-standouts

https://eddiekaine.bandcamp.com/album/nezzies-star