British producer Pat D and lyricist Lady Paradox release their second collaborative album on December 8th: ‘Soulscapes & Jazz Breaks’. The album has a live twist of Hip Hop, Jazz and Soul and features several live singers, instruments and artists. A very fresh effort from the UK, so reason enough to talk with the artists “who provide that Soul in your smile and that Jazz in your step”!
First and foremost, can you introduce yourself to the masses?
Pat D: I’m Pat D, a Hip-Hop producer from the UK. I make Jazzy, Soulful type Hip-Hop and work with musicians, emcees and vocalists from all over the world!
Lady P: I’m Lady Paradox – I live in Leicester and I’m 21 years old. I write words down and record them over Pat’s jazzy beats!
Who are some of your musical influences? Who or what inspired you to start making music?
Pat D: I don’t know exactly what inspired me to start making beats, I guess Hip Hop as a whole was the driving force. I began DJ-ing and moved from there. Some of my early beat making influences came from the likes of Jay Dee, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, The Roots, Tribe and Large Professor. My musical influences have changed over the years and now include too many artists to mention but some of them include, Bonobo Cinematic Orchestra, Miles Davis, Marc Mac, J-Rawls, Portico Quartet, Zero 7, Donny Hathaway, Isaac Hayes, Terry Callier and many more….
Lady P: A few of my favourite musical artists are Erykah Badu, Ray Charles, Foreign Exchange and Cinematic Orchestra. I’ve always written poetry but I started rhyming over beats when I was about fifteen… I started listening to Lewis Parker and Jehst back then and was really influenced by the scene.
Artwork for their latest release ‘Soulscapes & Jazz Breaks’
Pat D, your beats are heavily influenced by jazz samples. What gravitated you towards jazz samples and what do you listen to when you are in a beat slump?
Pat D: For some reason Jazz really appeals to me. I love Jazz music to listen to but there is something about finding tiny snippets of a 12 minute Jazz tune and re-working it or finding that really special break in a Jazz tune that I love. I think Jazz and Hip-Hop are a great blend because of the way a lot of Jazz music grooves, the swing element in Jazz really lends itself to Hip-Hop and I find the whole thing really soothing, both making and listening.
The stuff I listen to when I am in a slump really varies. I guess I have no set formula I just try and listen to as much music as possible and take in as many influences as I can!
What type of equipment do you use and what piece of equipment serves as your most prized possession?
Pat D: I have a fairly modest set up. I use an MPC100 and run that into Logic 8. I also have a few instruments including a snare, hi-hats and various other bits and bobs. I use these to record and re-sample some drum parts. Other than that it is all fairly standard. I am using a local pro studio (Element Studio) to track vocals and instruments at the moment so they have a range of good mics, pre- amps and hardware which helps alot.
I guess I couldn’t live without my turntables as that is the starting point for all my tracks really, sampling from cd or wav would just not be the same!
Also, I’m hoping to get a fender rhodes fairly soon, so I imagine that will become a prized possession!
How instrumental has the Internet been in terms of exposure?
Pat D: Massive! Everything, pretty much, has been done with help from the internet!
All my connections have been made online including licensing, distribution and export deals! They have all come via the help of online exposure!
Could you provide a discography for fans who are unfamiliar with your work?
Lady P: Pat D & Lady paradox – Soulscapes & Jazz Breaks (2009)
Pat D & Lady Paradox – Kind Of Peace (2007)
And I’m featured on P-Vine compilations such as: ‘Mellow Beats, Spirits & Freedom’, ‘Lovers Mellow Vibes’, ‘Beat Studies’, ‘Beyond The Horizon’ and more.
Pat D: I have had a few releases now, here is a discography:
2006- Pat D & Melodiq- This is the Time 12″
2007- Pat D & Lady Paradox- Kind of Peace CD
2007- Pat D & Lady Paradox- Kind of Peace (Japan Version)
2007- Pat D- Common Remix 12″
2008- Pat D & Various- Take a Little Time CD
2008- Pat D & Various- Take a Little Time 12″
2009- Pat D & Lady Paradox- Soulscapes & Jazz Breaks CD
2009- Pat D & Lady Paradox- Soulscapes & Jazz Breaks 12″
We have also been featured on quite a few Japanese compilation CD’s.
I observed the fact that you have your own record label called A Bridge Too Far Recordings. What are the advantages of having an independent record label?
Pat D: There are advantages??? Haha! Nah, I guess the main advantage is that you’ve got an outlet for your music and you have complete control over almost everything that you want to put out! It’s nice to see things grow as well. I think that is one of the best things so far. It’s a real challenge but worth every bit of energy and money!
A Bridge Too Far Recordings
Looking at your discography I noticed that you work frequently with Melodiq and Lady Paradox. Describe your relationship with each artist and expound on when you started working with these extremely talented artists.
Pat D: Melodiq was the first artist I worked with really and his style really tends to suit most of my beats so in the beginning I just used to send him stuff all the time and it helped me enable a purpose for the beats I was making. I guess the relationship with Melodiq just carried on from there… I think it always will (We are looking to work on an album in 2010).
I started working with Lady P after my first single came out and I think we connected on Myspace, we worked on a few tracks, met up and decided to work on an album (Kind of Peace). Since the beginning it’s just felt pretty natural, we both suit each others style and so it just works. The second album took much longer than the first and we really wanted to improve as many aspects of it as we could! Hopefully the third will be a step up again!
What separates Lady Paradox from other emcees in the business?
Pat D: Good question. The thing that separates her from some other emcees in the business is her honesty. Hip Hop a lot of the time involves a certain element of bravado and bragging. I feel that what Lady P does so well is open up and make you aware that she is as human as the next person. We all have fears, anxieties, hopes, dreams and we all make mistakes and fuck up from time to time. I think she manages to convey her human side really well, where a lot of emcees play a game, remain closed off and distanced from their true selves! It really appeals to me when people are honest and open enough within their music to admit their flaws and mistakes. I also think she has a really good flow and a really good way of structuring her rhymes! I can’t put my finger on exactly what I look for from an emcee but i know it when I hear it! Something just stands out!
What are some qualities that you look for in regards to collaborating with other artists?
Lady P: If the beat makes me want to write then its good. In my opinion, Pat’s production is the best I’ve heard from the UK – he has a real ear for music so it’s not just looped samples… the way different elements are layered and built up – each beat becomes a piece of music in its own right. Obviously the jazzy feel is something that’s close to my heart so that would be something I listen for. If you check the production on tracks like ‘House in the horizon’ I really don’t think you can fault it… Pat’s quite a perfectionist too so each tiny detail on the beat fits into place.
Explain the concept behind your latest project Soulscapes & Jazz Breaks? How long did it take you to complete the project?
Lady P: I suppose it’s a sentiment that echoed our influences and the sound of our album as a whole. We never discussed what kind of ‘vibe’ we were going for – we just knew we wanted it to be better than the last album and the same principles were used… if we like it we’re happy. If other people like it too that’s cool, but we’re not going to make it to try and please others. My lyrics are a very personal thing, as I’m sure Pat’s beats are – we do it primarily for our own escape but of course it makes me feel good when others can relate too.
Pat D: The concept is really as the title suggest, Soulscapes & Jazz Breaks! The first album was called Kind of Peace and the idea behind that originated from how music made you feel, for example, you could be having the worst day ever and you switch on some music and it doesn’t matter, its all forgotten for that 3 minutes or whatever.
When we decided to do a second album I decided fairly early on that I wanted to include live instrumentation, so ‘Soulscapes & Jazz Breaks’ really seemed to fit with that ethos and helped us to streamline our work into that style!
Pat D & Lady Paradox – Kind Of Peace (2007)
What type of feedback did you receive from ‘Kind of Peace’ and what motivated you to work on a new project?
Pat D: We got some great feedback from all over the world. It was pretty amazing and very humbling to have people from all over the globe tell you that they love your music! My main motivation was to create an album better than that. I knew that I had improved in a lot of ways during and after that album so I wanted to make sure everything progressed as much as possible!
Lady P: I would say the feedback was overall very positive. It was the first album either of us had done and the whole process was very new to us… there’s only a few tracks on that album I still enjoy listening to. I think we realized how we would do things the second time round – having the live instruments, certain guests we wanted to include and emphasizing the softer sound. We were so excited to release the first album that we didn’t consider each track in such a way that we did with this one. There has been tracks left out of this project… the last one was released when we reached a certain number… We’ve learnt the art of quality control!
Being that you two are UK-based artists, what are some of the prejudices that you have to overcome to appeal to the Western market?
Pat D: I think we have to overcome a lot less than we would have done ten years ago! There are plenty of very good UK artists that have paved the way for people like us! I also think that with the presence of the internet things have become more even and it’s possible to be a little different and still do ok.
Lady P: I’m not sure that we do appeal to the Western market! The music we make doesn’t really reflect anything that’s mainstream right now – we just do it because we love it.
Some artists in America have stated that Hip Hop is dead, while the international market is booming with talent. What is the state of hip hop in the UK and what genre of music dominates the airwaves?
Pat D: UK Hip Hop is as it’s been for a while. There are some very good artists working hard on their craft! I wouldn’t say the scene is massive but it crosses over into a lot more genres than I think it does in the U.S.
The airwaves over here are controlled by Pop music, some good music creeps through, most of it doesn’t and you have to go searching for it!
Lady P: I would say generally that most people who used to be into UK Hip Hop are now into dubstep or grime (talking of people I know)… you still have certain artists like Speech Debelle coming through. We’ve definitely lost the golden era of UK hip hop but there is still people doing their thing and doing it well.
I love the honesty and maturity of Lady Paradox’s rhymes and the wonderful backdrops that you incorporated. Why should people listen and/or buy this album?
Pat D: People should listen because it is something different from your standard Hip Hop music. People should buy it because the artwork is great and deserves to be bought purely for the CD cover alone! (you should also buy it for the music!!!)
Lady P: People should check it out to decide if they like it. If they like it they should buy it because it makes us feel good and we’re broke!
I also noticed that this album has more guest appearances on it. Who are some of the guests on the album and how were they selected?
Pat D: The guests are all people who we know, have worked with before or have been wanting to work with for a while. We just contacted people who were into regarding the tracks and most of them jumped at it…… we have appearances from Benjamin Zephaniah, Selone, Efeks, Melodiq, Eva Lazarus, Shaheen, Izzy G, Yousif and some bloke called Praverb!!!
Lady P: Benjamin Zephaniah is one of my favourite poets – I used to read all his books when I was a kid and it was real nice to have him on the album. His spoken words added another element to the album that we hadn’t been able to explore before – he’s been very supportive of us and it was just great to have him in the studio.
Then artists like Izzy G and Yousif are close friends of mine – again, the topics just really suited their style.
If you could pick any artist or group to work with right now, who would it be?
Pat D: I’m not sure. I’d really like to work with a nice female acoustic soul singer…… don’t know who though!
Lady P: I’d still really like to work with Polarbear and Cinematic Orchestra.
Which projects are you working on in the future?
Pat D: Plenty of projects in the pipeline, EP with Efeks, an album with Melodiq and hopefully an EP with Praverb in 2010!
Lady P: I haven’t really thought about what I’m doing tomorrow yet! Hopefully another album with Pat…
What are some of your interests outside of hip hop?
Pat D: I like films…… I like a lot other things too but mainly music related!
Lady P: I’ve got a great interest in people and society. I’m a youth and community development worker and I love my job. I’m also well into films and collecting records!
If you were not making beats you would be…
Pat d: A different person.
If you were not creating rhymes you would be…
Lady P: Writing essays thinking about how much I’d rather be writing rhymes.
Any final thoughts?
Pat D: Thanks to everyone who has featured on the album, everyone who has pre-ordered and everyone who is going to buy it!
‘Souscapes & Jazz Breaks’ will be out on 8th December on A Bridge Too Far Recordings. You can pre-order it HERE.