[Interview] Typical Cats: This Is The Interview
RubyHornet: What was the impetus to record this new album more than 8 years since the release of Civil Service? How long coming was this and how close was it to not coming at all?
Qwel: Now that the record is here in my hands, it is obvious to me that it was always gonna be done. So many things aligned in order for this to happen the way it did. The impetus behind making this record was the same drive we have always had to make music: we want to listen to it. There has been a lot of sub-par Hip Hop music recently and we want to hear what we like, and it sounds like 3. I think it’s what sustains our sound, we dip in the cut and kick it from a place where we don’t succumb to trends and phases. We shut out the world and get busy, sometimes it takes eight years to get to that spot, but it’s a dope spot to get to.
DJ Natural: These dude’s been killing it pretty much consistently since 2004, although I had a couple of years in there where I didn’t really do much creatively. We always had a real sense of allegiance to the crew, and love for our collective creative process, and we’d get reminders of that whenever we’d meet up for TC shows throughout the years. After some years of creative hibernation, I woke up a couple of years ago with a hunger to make more music with my guys, and that hunger hasn’t done anything but grow since. Once we met up to work on some of the first songs for this LP, it was obvious that we still had it as a crew. A little more time into it, I became convinced that our best music is still ahead of us. I still feel that way.
RubyHornet: All you guys are in different places these days and on somewhat different journeys. Where did life take each of you from 2004 to 2012?
Qwazaar: Since Civil Service dropped in ’04 there’s definitely been some change. I moved to Cali in ’05 right after the Outerlimitz album dropped. I was blessed to bring my beautiful baby girl into the world, and ever since then I’ve been globe trotting and experimenting with the music. It’s addictive cause it seems like the more open I get with tackling different sounds, like with the Dirty Digital projects to the Bat Meets Blaine music, the more passes I get to travel across the world. Dirty Digital got me in Europe, Bat Meets Blaine and TC got me in South Africa. So I’m curious where this next one takes us so I can come home and tell my daughter all about it.
Denizen Kane: Speaking for self…shoot. Where didn’t it take me? Between ’04 and 2012, I was a bartender, repair man at SEARS, call center operator, and reformed clown-head. I went to junior college. The lights got cut off. I had a daughter. The lights got cut on. I got divorced. My son learned to play guitar. I got married to the love of my life. I got a degree from a hippie college in Vermont (Goddard). I started working with high school kids (Youth Speaks). Some homies of mine turned a story I wrote into a play (Tree City Legends). I found my favorite taco truck (El Novillo, in the parking lot of the Guadalajara in Oakland). I broke my ankle. I went to the hospital. I got a bionic ankle. My girl said we’re having a boy (coming this November). The tribe of Kane was baptized into the Orthodox Church (alleluia). And then Qwelly called and said we’re getting the band back together and Qwa and Nat showed up wearing black suits and hats and shades and Dan pulled up in a cop car he bought at an auction in Calumet City with some dry white toast and four whole fried chickens and a coke. And I took off my apron, picked up my guitar, said, “Let’s boogie,” and jumped in and brought Blue Lou with me. It’s been wild.
Qwel: I’m working on some deeper mathematics,tutoring in Gary, writing books, raising babies, killin mics, traveling the world, and trying to not waste a single moment of my waking life, which I have somehow been so blessed to have lived thus far. If I could time travel back to 2004 and tell myself that by 2012 I would have a wife and babies and have multiple world tours under my belt.. I would not believe me.
DJ Natural: I moved to Brooklyn with my lady, got married, went to Social Work school, and been working in a clinic in Brooklyn for a while now. Now I’m a therapist by day, beat head by night….
RubyHornet: Have you guys kept in touch a lot over the years? Was there any adjustment period needed to get acclimated to where each of you are at musically? Part of the story, and a great part about Typical Cats is the way you guys met and all came together around Hip Hop and WHPK. Is it weird at all to record an album in different places?
Denizen Kane: I think no matter where one of the cats wanders, we follow with our ears. There’s always music, so we were never out of touch. Whenever we convene, it continues where we left it. We’re more grown than Civil Service, for sure. For CS, we were more in our own headspaces and on our own trips. But I’ve learned a little bit about listening since then.
Qwazaar: We’ve always been in touch. Of course there’s down times along the way when we’re not communicating as much simply because life is happening, going from being youngun’s to now being grown men with families expanding. But as D said, we pick up where we left off, with a few added sprinkles and wrinkles from what we’ve learned while we were apart. On the music side, for me it’s never been too difficult to get re-adjusted. Even when we weren’t recording music together, we were still rocking shows together and talking music and just listening to each others projects, critiquing and dapping. We wrote together all over for this album, some in Oakland, some in Southern Cali and finished writing and recording it all back in the mid-west. So we were always right there together.