KRS can make you think. Chuck D can make you act. M.O.P. can make you hit your momma in the mouth, but who can make you experience a feeling? Is it Tupac? Is it Mary J. Blige? Well, Science Fiction, an instrumental hip-hop producer has found a way to convey emotions to his audience through sound alone.
With his album, “Walls Don’t Exist” slowly becoming a conversation piece in the underground, Science Fiction may be the next to reach a peak formerly known as the best kept secret. All biting aside, this record leaves listeners with many questions, like a good movie. AllHipHop sat down with Science Fiction to get some of these answers, and the behind the scenes details. We think this is an artist, and an album worth learning.
Science Fiction is an artist who carefully crafted out every last detail of his album. The righteous pay a sacrifice to get what they deserve, and Science Fiction is climbing upward.
Allhiphop: I’ve been reading how you call your music “broken jazz”, you invented this, let’s get into that…
Science Fiction: Well, that’s what I do, I guess, right now. When I first came up with the term, I thought “you don’t want to put the word Jazz into anything.” Because it’s such a huge genre, and you’re gonna get so much hate and so much flack because that’s like quoting the Bible or something to certain people. So one hand, I was pretty hesitant. But if you look at hip-hop, it came out of sampling Jazz breaks and Disco, whatever. I’m a big Jazz fan right now. That’s primarily what I sample from. My favorite song of all time is a John Coltrane song. To me, it’s just to pay homage to what I think is a huge influence on me. The broken section is all hip-hop: sampling, and chopped beats, and like taking something – disassembling it, and rearranging it until it becomes your own interpretation of it.
Allhiphop: Jazz is improvisational, does that carry into your work too then?
SF: The live show is a completely different thing. But the recording aspect, like the vocals, a lot of people don’t know that I sang on the majority of the album. The stuff people think are samples are really just me. And that just comes from putting random music together and seeing what feelings you get from it. The music speaks to you, all the crazy titles and stuff like that just is me vibing out to the music and seeing what I get from it. If I feel like it needs an angry tone, I’ll feel an old angry white dude or chick singing, that’s what I’ll pull out of my voice. It’s definitely a lot of letting the music talk for itself.
Allhiphop: Track titles, yes. You have the best track titles I’ve seen on a record in years. How’d you name them?
SF: I hate when cats talk to you about an album and say, “track 9 is great, track 6 is hot”.
Allhiphop: Word to Little Brother.
SF: Exactly. I know, I was playing their record today, they’re great guys. But yeah, it’s like people don’t really pay attention. Especially in a genre like instrumental music, what do you have to describe it besides the titles. The titles came from a lot of the music. The album, being a concept album itself, kind of really held that together. ‘Cuz all of it was entirely made by accident. I was messing around for a while, and then I was like, “oh shit, I have this thing and it sort of weaves itself together chronologically.” It’s a kinda like a direct message to someone. But I kept it kinda anonymous because the whole love story is something everybody has experienced, or will at some time.
Allhiphop: That person, have you received a response from him or her?
SF: Not yet. It’s about one person. It’s about many people as well. I pulled from general experiences. And people always ask me about the track, “Christine”. That’s actually a real chick. I haven’t heard from her yet.
Allhiphop: Your track “Sunshine” is just incredible. The liner notes blow me away too…
SF: Yeah, that’s the first single. The album is basically split into four sections. That’s the prologue. “Sunshine” is about after going through whatever it is you go through: be it relationship trouble, or life troubles, whatever it is – there’s always something there. Even if it’s just music, coming home after a rough day and playing a favorite song. There’s always a silver lining. And to me, that silver lining is the sunshine.
Allhiphop: You sang incredibly on that cut. How much musical training do you have?
SF: I’m not formally trained at all. When I was growing up, I used to play in little Grunge bands in the 90’s. I was a drummer in the band, and the guitar player taught me guitar. That’s the extent of my training. I kind of regret not learning to read music. Knowledge is something you could always use more of. So I’d probably like learning as soon as possible. For the most part, I have a pretty good ear for stuff.
Allhiphop: And you’re relatively new to production…
SF: Yeah, probably in the last four years, I think.
Allhiphop: So with a great record, I ask you – in production, how much is skill and how much is passion?
SF: You could argue that to be a great producer or musician you need formal training. But I don’t know how much training a Timbaland or a Dr. Dre…you know, they didn’t go to school for music. I didn’t go to that much school for music. So a lot of it is passion. Technically training is what separates the masters from everybody else. ‘Cuz you look at Pete Rock and Preemo, and they have the technical skills down to the point that you can’t fathom what it is they do.
Allhiphop: I know it’s been only a couple months, but how has this record affected or changed your life?
SF: It’s a couple different things. It’s cool ‘cuz you get to look at something. It happened so quickly for me over the past couple months. A few months ago, I was in college, being a programmer and all that, which I hated. I got this now. So it’s like, “oh shit, you have this physical manifestation with what it is you love to do the most.” That’s a feeling you cannot convey. It still hasn’t me to have an album out in stores. It’s too surreal to really comprehend. I’m gonna take a lot of time before I put the next one out. That, for the simple fact that it’s about living. If you gonna put something out on record, you can’t duplicate the process and drop another album. You basically have to live and go through life, and from that, draw your inspiration.
Allhiphop: So will you be working everyday though?
SF: Yeah, that’s the thing about creativity. The reason I have an album out now is because I would stay up til’ five AM every night doing beats. It’s like a muscle, you keep flexing. You keep learning stuff about yourself and about the music. You can’t get complacent and stop. You still have to work.
Allhiphop: In your record liners, you mention “alone” a lot. How does your solitude make you who you are and come through your music?
SF: To me, you never know what people are going through on the inside. No matter what kind of surface life or how unhappy or how upset they are on the outside. While, I’m not a really depressed person, everybody goes through stuff. So to me, music is always my escape. I’m alone a lot. It’s weird cuz now that I got a girl again, it shows in the writing. Things are just different, and I’m in a different mood. You can’t mask me.
Allhiphop: Ending on a cliche label question. Jean Grae’s part of our family, but hearing from you, tell us about Third Earth and how they really accepted your project?
SF: It’s on the low. They’re a really slept on label. It’s weird cuz like people don’t realize they have the Jugganauts. Because that’s a record that I heard years ago, and I had a horrible dubbed copy on tape. I love that record to death. At the time I signed with them, they had Aceyalone on the roster too, and Jean Grae. It’s kinda like what Rawkus was like in the mid to late 90’s. It’s just a label reaching out to the abstract.