Thursday, August 30, 2007

K-N-J SPOTLIGHT #1: Lynn Ness

Hey folks!
This is the first installment in what I'm currently calling the "Kicks-N-Jams Spotlight."
It'll feature an artist and cover some of what they're doin', or have done, and what they will be doin' in the near future. Hopefully you dig it and will get a little learned about some talented cats who haven't gotten all the attention their abilities so richly deserve. We might even talk shoes if at all possible haha!

The first artist we're gonna spotlight is California producer & crate digger extraordinaire Lynn Ness. He came to my attention via an extremely jazzy 12" that featured Yesh (of WeeBeeFoolish), Sach, & L Roneous. I was immediately impressed with the depth of this guys digging for jeweled samples and the way he layered them with extremely fat and dusty drums. I've been impatiently waiting for more ever since. It came out on New Medina Music in 2005. So click on the tracks then sit back and check out Lynn Ness.

Download "Ain't 2 Much" ft Yesh
Download "Droppin' Jew-els" ft Sach

1) when/where did you get started as a producer?
I didn't start producing on my own until around '96. But there were a number of things that led up to that, so I would actually say around '95 or so, I was really getting the bug to make beats. At that time, I was friends with a couple cats here in San Jose who were tight with the Homeliss Derelix and PB Wolf. I was kinda casually rhyming back then and got a beat from G-Luv that he pieced together real quickly when I was with him in the lab one day, and that definitely helped push me into the production arena. Just seeing it all come together like that. The process attracted me. Plus, I've always kinda been a nerd like that, so seeing the sampler and all this gear piled up with mad records everywhere just really appealed to me. Shortly after that, I ended up going to Chicago for a summer to attend art school and I became really close friends with this cat who had just transferred out from Atlanta. We both came from the same school of hip-hop and we just clicked. We would walk the streets of Chicago just freestyling, bugging out and exploring the city. I remember he told me he had a little sampler that he'd mess with from time to time, and one day I go into his dorm and he's got it hooked up and was putting together a little loop. Man, I was so geeked! From that moment, I knew when I got back to San Jose, that was what I wanted to do. Four months later, that's exactly what I did, and here we are now. Over ten years later, still digging strong and having fun with it, man.

2) You are an Adidas addict. What was your first pair of Adidas? Or your favorite pair?
I'll be honest, I really can't remember my first pair of Adidas. I was probably about a year old! All the men in my family played soccer professionally, and my father was actually sponsored by Adidas for a long time, so I would get a lot of stuff from him. Right now, my favorite pair of Adidas is my Sambas. They're my everyday beaters. I can get them dirty and scuffed up without worrying about how hard they are to replace.

3) Who were some of your early influences? the cats who made you wanna do this?
It was definitely cats like Prince Paul, Diamond D., Buckwild, Tribe, Premier, Beatnuts, No I.D., Beatminerz. Those were the main guys, for sure. And they still make me wanna do this. All the stuff they did in the early '90s that I came up on is timeless to me. And inspires me now just as much as it did back then. Throw on Dah Shinin' and I just get so amped! Or O.C.?! Man, forget about it.

4) current influences or just favorite artists of the moment?
I would say for the most part, my current influences are my past influences. I don't really stay too current with hip-hop and maybe that's going to be my downfall. I don't know. I just heard a nice track from this group called Y Society that impressed me though. Big up to my man Omar. But on the day to day basis, I get most of my influence from jazz and other stuff from the '60s and '70s. Music was just so much more personal back then. And even with hip-hop in the late '80s and early '90s. That's what I miss the most, especially with hip-hop. So I guess it's only natural that I'm influenced largely by music that was created during decades passed. And plus, being a record digger, I think it really gives you a much clearer perspective of the big picture. When you're buying all these amazing records that are 30/40 years old, you see how they've stood the test of time. Then you listen to some shit that came out last year and it's already sounding mad dated! It's bugged out.

5) any meaning behind the name?
Yeah, it means "for the people" in Arabic. Of course, not spelled like that, but that's where it comes from originally.

6) any secret artists (or not so secret) that you are working with?
Well, I'm casually working on a group project with Sach (ed. note - of The Nonce) and Mista Sinista (ibid - of The X-Men) called the Cookers. We finished two songs thus far and one of them features Aloe Blacc. That's a slow moving project though because we're all in different places, both geographically and psychologically. Needless to say we've definitely had our share of hurdles, but I really hope we can manage to get it done one day. I think it will be a beautiful listen. I'm also finishing a couple remixes for Pigeon John that will hopefully be coming out this Fall. Otherwise, just working on things for myself here and there. I'm kinda piecing together an instrumental thing that I'd like to hand out to some folks, but mostly it's just for the homies. If some interest develops, maybe it will get released on a little larger scale but I'm trying not to get ahead of myself.

7) who would you like to work with? dream collabos?

Sadat X comes to mind. Also, Ghostface, Dres.

8) a guilty pleasure?

In-N-Out burger? Gold chains maybe. Haha. Can't say I've ever acted on that one, but I've definitely done my share of fantasizing, and that makes me feel guilty enough!

9) your studio and gear setup?

Nothing too crazy. MPC60, ASR-10, Planet Phatt, a computer, turntable, records. That's about it.

10) what gear did you get started with?

Got started using an E-mu Emax sampler, along with Cubase.

11) does that gear still get used or hold a dear place in your heart or are you happy to be rid of it?

No, it definitely does. I really liked what E-mu did with the Emax I and II samplers. Their sound was very similar to the SP, but in keyboard format. And it didn't have any filtering. But it had that rawness to it. Such a heavy sound on the drums. I've actually thought about picking one up again. They're pretty inexpensive.

12) best crate digger tale?
Hmmm. A few come to mind, but I'm gonna go with the most recent. A month or so ago, I copped an original mono press of a Bill Evans' record for like $6.00 and sold it on eBay for over $200. Didn't really find shit else that day, so that was a welcomed surprise! I'm not huge on the selling side of things because I'm much more of a collector, but it is something I'm trying to do more of. Especially when it's with a really sought after title that I don't mind parting with. But I'll be honest though, I listened to that Bill Evans heavily for the two days prior to selling it and was having some serious second thoughts about it. But with all of my crate digging affinities aside, you have to remind yourself that no matter how much you love them and the music they hold, records are just things, man. And like all things in life, they're destined to come and go. I cherish them for as long as they're with me, but I try not to get too attached. Famous last words perhaps.

You can check out Lynn Ness at his myspace page.

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