Posted on Mar 17th, 2008 in Behind The Scenes > Live > Releases by A-Trak
OK so the 2 sentences in the title aren’t exactly related but they’re both pretty exciting. I haven’t talked much about this record thus far and the powers that be are saying you’ll have to wait a few more weeks to find out exactly what it is. But I can say this: I finished an A-Trak record, it’s longer than an album but it’s not an album… although it is all original production. I can also say I’ve been working on it for weeks and weeks and I can finally breathe! Until my phone rings.
I just added a new, unplanned activity to my schedule. It all started when I got a call from Jay-Z’s people about a week ago, as I was in the heat of finishing the Running Man record. Kanye and Jay-Z use the same production company, so I know the guys who manage his tours. This first call was casual. Jay is looking for a DJ for the upcoming Heart Of The City tour, would I be interested? You may remember he saw me perform with Kanye in Manchester and had some kind words. Well, my man Mehdi truly thinks I’m out of my mind for this but I said I can’t do it. I can’t do it in part because I’ve taken this resolution to really focus on A-Trak and Fool’s Gold projects this year, and also in part out of loyalty towards Kanye. Not that I think it would be disloyal to work for Jay, but hey, I was there when Kanye came up with the “Big Brother” hook and concept (it was on an elevator ride) and even when he played the song to Hov. I’m riding with my dude. Ye was actually in Paris for fashion week when I got that call. The next day he came back and I got a text from him, asking who I think should be Jay’s new DJ. At least that told me that Kanye doesn’t feel funny about me being a part of this Jay-Z decision process. But what a question! Sorry to my DJ friends but I really didn’t know who to say. Who do I hand that golden ticket to? Jay’s gonna want someone who knows how to cut but who’s also got a good sense of musicianship to interact with a band. Playing in in front of 10-15,000 people is a lot of pressure. Shit, being asked this question is a lot of pressure! To be honest I told Ye “Let me think about it” and I just set it aside in my head for a few days because at that point I was working 12-15 hours a day finishing up the mystery record and that’s all I could focus on. Then I got another call. This was an official “Jay’s in the other room and he asked me to call you” conversation with his production manager. They know I can’t do the tour. But can I recommend someone who can do what I do? Or if not, can I come to their rehearsals and essentially put the show together for their DJ? They’re asking me to be one of the musical directors, and to tie in the work of the DJ with the band. Now THAT’s interesting. The only catch? Rehearsals were right about to start (this was a few days ago). Luckily for us all, I don’t have many commitments between SXSW and WMC. So I said yes. Yes, Mr. Hova, I’ll do it. In fact I just started today. Word to the hyphen in my name…. Once again it’s the life!
So now I’m in Miami for these rehearsals, and I came here straight from Austin. SXSW was a great success for Fool’s Gold this year! On Friday, I played at the Biz3 showcase at Emo’s along with Kid Sister, Flosstradamus, Cool Kids and the Clipse. There was a line around the block and Ice Cube was in attendance. Then Diplo and I did an impromptu tag-team set (song for song) at this late-night party for Blender magazine and that was the most fun of the weekend for me. Blaqstarr and Kid Cudi were our de facto hosts, with the former crooning about sexy thangs while the latter drilled the Fool’s Gold name into the audience’s collective psyche. I premiered a bunch of new tracks that night including the opening song from Running Man, the new SebastiAn single and the hyper than hype Laidback Luke remix for Treasure Fingers (coming soon on FG). On Saturday the Fool’s Gold DJs (Jokers of the Scene, me, Nick Catchdubs and LA Riots) took over the Fader House in the afternoon in between performances by Santogold, Spank Rock, 2 Live Crew, Blk Jks and Hood Headlinaz. And that night was our official showcase, with special guests Chromeo and some chipmunk mascots running around the venue. I made it a point to catch a few special performances during the weekend. N*E*R*D did an energetic set at a TMZ-worthy Perez Hilton afterparty, and the famed outdoor venue Stubbs had some awesome performances by Vampire Weekend, Digitalism, and once again Chromeo. My only regret is not finding time to get a proper Texas BBQ meal. Nick took more pictures than me so I’m sure he’ll post more on SXSW very soon.
Time to sleep. More Jay-Z stories coming soon!