Saturday, May 1, 2010

Breaking the Ice: Q&A with Collective Efforts

The boys of Collective Efforts have been putting out soul-tingled hip-hop for nearly a decade now. Song after song is packed with a suave sound and inspired lyrics, the band is part of a revolution of rap with a reason. No bling, no hoes, just pure talent and a beat that would convert most rap haters. With their most recent release, Freezing World, the band are ready to breeze past their competition and set the mood to chill.

Chavez: Your new album has lots of lounge influence, and is probably your most atmospheric record to date. What kind of things inspired you guys in terms of the sound and lyrics?

J. Mil: The vibe came from the atmosphere and climate the world is going through right now. That mashed with the seasons. It translated to our environment. We’ve been experimenting with these sounds and making sure they are cohesive.

C: You have so many amazing songs in your catalog, and this album definitely has lots of great ones. What’s your personal favorite on the LP?

J: Well, some of the songs are easier to translate live, but I would have to say that number four, “So Cold,” produced by Ben and myself. The song blends all our influences: rock and jazz. Has straight forward lyrics, and an up-tempo vibe. Due to the nature of the content, that bleeds to our audience as well.

C: Definitely. It’s been a few years since your last record. From start to finish, how long did this album take to make?

J:We’ve been writing since our last record. We wrote the first song about a year ago.
C: The sound on the album is so cohesive and themed, but are there any songs on the album that were completely different in demo form?

J: There are. I would say that “This Far” went through the most transformations. Keyboards were added and textures were as well. For the record you wanna try to have a sense of peaks and valleys.

C: For sure you have a fanbase, but what kind of dreams in terms of success do you have for the group?

J: The funny thing is, we don’t do it [perform] for the fame or status. We do it for the effect and our passion for the music. With that said, you want to affect more people. We want to offer an alternative to people. Not saying that what’s out there is good or bad, but we just wanna reach a more diverse audience.

C: You guys do have the goods for that kind of success, but where does it come from? What’s your songwriting process?

J: Our process goes down a lot with me and Ben. Either we do a drum break or sample of a melody, and add different textures and layers that drives the lyrical content. Just because there aren’t words, there is still an emotion attached to it [the sound]. Ben writes in his room with his door closed. I write on the patio. With music, what you say is going to last forever. You never know hot its going to affect the listeners. We try to be really careful about that. The biggest ritual is going back and checking each other. Because once it’s out, you can’t take it back!

C: Wow. That’s quite a process! Now with all the songs you have written and released, if there were a song you could put in a time capsule for future generations to listen to and get an idea about what Collective Efforts were about, what would it be?

J: I wish I could pick one thing to represent us. The problem with that as I’ve noticed with our listeners would be they have a different perspective on every song. I don’t think one song defines us. It just depends on the mood.

C: Fair enough, here’s an easier one to answer. What artists inspire you as a rapper, a songwriter, a producer?

J: That is an easy one. A Tribe Called Quest, Outkast, The Roots, J-Live, Jay Electronica, Hieroglyphics…

C: Great stuff. Now last question. Is there a question you’ve never been asked, but always wanted to be asked?

J: Well, I’d like to touch on, we’ve been together seven years. All of us have grown some artistically. We are like a family and I extend that to our fans. I’d like to acknowledge our support. It’s something that we really appreciate. I’d like to thank them for all the years of support.

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