Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pursuit Grooves

Whilst getting myself acquainted with what was to become this revered beat scene that once barely made a bleep on the sonar, I discovered Pursuit Grooves like many had through the Cinnaman's and Jay Scarlett's Beat Dimension v1. Being the intrepid traveler I was at the time, I found myself in NYC one year, sitting in Pursuit Grooves former clothing boutique, sitting around during some festival - chatting about all things PG. That was in 08. FFWD to 2012, and she's since made lots more music, voyaged across many more continents and taken in more projects. I chatted with her right before she left for another set of dates.

I 1st came across your material on the seminal Beat Dimensions v1 and the track Push Up. I then made my way back to find the Fun Like Passion LP. Did you have any other recordings before that??

Fun Like Passion was my first album. It was self released on iTunes and Bandcamp and actually includes the track Push Up. That was followed by another self released album called Wild Art Forestry which actually includes the track "Pressure" which ended up going on Fox Trot Mannerisms which was put out by Tectonic.

Push Up

If yes, when/how did you officially start as Pursuit Grooves??

I started using the name Pursuit as an MC in high school, but while attending college I added the Grooves. It was a bit more fitting for me as a producer.
As I say "I seek, hunt and capture ears"!

You MC and also do some singing. Did that come before the production or vice versa?

I started MCing just slightly before I started producing. I was always writing lyrics. Back then I was taking 12 inch hip hop instrumentals and rhyming over them. I always had a keyboard around because I had taken piano lessons as a kid for a short time. But around 14/15 I got a Yamaha PSR 410 or something like that, that actually let you record patterns. It had 5 tracks. You could only use internal sounds but it had some decent drum sounds and some warm synth/pads so I was making some decent hip hop/ r&b tunes. Maybe a year later I bought a 4 track cassette recorder so I could also lay down vocals & rhymes. I ended up also making beats for high school friends who were rhyming at the time as well.

When I go back and listen to songs like Mushroom City, it almost seems to lay the foundation for your migration from classic 4/4 cadence to what you're currently messing about now these days. Were you starting to chart a different course back then??

Growing up I was a huge Teddy Riley and later a Timbaland fan. They were both nonconventional in a sense with tempos and beats. Teddy Riley was pretty upbeat and Timbaland was very broken with his rhythms so perhaps subliminally that was all an influence to me. Plus being from Washington DC/ Maryland I also got a bit of that Baltimore house bump so I was always open to varying tempos. I was also listening to a lot of trip hop and artists from Europe while in college. Making tracks that were also purely instrumental also allowed me to not worry about if certain beats could be rhymed over or not.

You've since gone to work with a variety of different labels and sounds. Can you run down your inspirations for doing so?? And were you approached by these labels 1st or did you create the work and send them some of the work for their feedback??

For Tectonic, I had emailed a few labels via Myspace (when that was the place to communicate). I had made some new tracks that I felt really good about and figured they needed proper distro. My first self released album Fun Like Passion actually got a lot of decent press and play for a self release. I still have the Straight No Chaser Mag that gave it a great review so I knew I had something, I just had to get it to the right ears. Tectonic was an unlikely place as I was not traditionally dubstep by any means and was more hip hop and broken beat for sure, but I was happy that Pinch took it on. Being a producer, MC and vocalist I've always had a few talents that I could offer so I've been approached for remixes, guest vocals etc. For various genres which is awesome.

Again, always seemingly looking for something new, you took on this GUSHEE project. Can you tell us how this duet got started and what that sound and concept is all about?

Gushee is a project with Cheldon Paterson out of Toronto. That was also a myspace connection. We were really vibing on our love for trip hop, Portishead, Bjork and such and decided to collab. One track turned into a whole EP which I am really proud of. It highlighted me more as a vocalist which was something I had kind of shyed away from because I really wanted to be a producer mainly. But folks kept telling me to sing more because it was this warm raw beast that was different so I went with it. With Gushee I could share the production responsibilities plus Cheldon has amazing mixing skills which was so beyond what I was doing at the time mix wise. He made those tracks float into another universe. We made two videos for that self titled album as well. Both on youtube :) The album is on iTunes and Bandcamp and we've got some new stuff in the works. So I'm in Toronto a lot.

you also have something else bubbling in the works from later this yr. Can you talk about that??

Yeah I have an EP coming out early summer under the alias 91 Fellows on Deepblak Recordings. Its a tribute to my grandfather who passed away late last year. I had just arrived in London to play at Fabric and found out right after my gig that he had died. I couldn't make it back home unfortunately because I had commitments to other gigs in Europe so I decided to do a tribute project to him. I finished most of it while I was in Europe over a three week period.
Its a bit haunting, kind of cinematic dub. I was about creating a certain mood and all of the titles are related to memories of him. I also wanted to take away the pressure of making something upbeat and so hip hop or dance driven. 91 Fellows is an outlet for me to experiment with sound
and really focus on building a soundscape. It's really hypnotic stuff.

you do quite a bit if gigging across the globe. What have been some of the best and worst times of touring?

I've been really lucky to play Europe numerous times. Japan and Australia was amazing. Everyone has been so great. The promoters, hosts, audiences etc. To me its not a matter of how big or small, I'm happy to be able to share my music to people around the world. Its an experience I would not have had if not for music. The worse was probably having by SP505 blank out on me twice. Once in Manchester and once in Glasgow. That sucks!!!!! Machines ya know. I'm really considering adding some live instruments/percussion for live gigs so if all else fails its me and the drums!!! Gonna go all Sheila E with it!

Ok. production weapons of choice, and why?

I have 3 boss sp505s because as I mentioned it crapped out on me twice and I had to buy new ones. I've had the first since 2002 and I'm just so used to it. Its great for chopping sounds and I love it for live shows. I use it for producing along with a computer and some synths. I really like learning things inside and out. Just my preference. But as I say, they are all just tools. Its more about your brain and soul and where that leads you creatively.
On another note I'm writting this while at the DC airport. And I just witnessed history. The Discovery Space shuttle is making its rounds before retiring to the Smithsonian. Wow. Its amazing how we experience so much change in our lifetime. I cherish the little things and live in the moment. You just never know what life holds in the future :)

You can keep up w/ Pursuit Grooves trough her site, soundcloud or hit her up on twitter as well.


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