Without question, 2012 has a been year that’s been championed by Hyperdub; from strong releases from the likes of Fhloston Paradigm (aka King Britt), to the LP releases of DVA, Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland (of Hype Williams fame), and Laurel Halo, all to universal acclaim. However, when it came to Cooly G’s LP, Playin Me, things were obviously different from the start. As an artist with a pretty extensive history for club-friendly tracks, the album presents a more personal and purist side of Merrisa Campbell. Swooning with textures of soul, RnB, funky and tribal rhythms, the album is nothing short of a satisfying entryway to one of the most unique and ubiquitously charming producer personalities out there. With our uniformed appreciation for all things Cooly G, the producer took some time to speak with URB about her album process, her forthcoming plans with her live show and label, and unquestionably, about vibes. Check out the interview after the jump.
URB: Congrats on the album; it took a couple years to finally put out after some delays. Was it due to personal constraints or were you not fully satisfied with your tracks at the time?
COOLY G: It was just because I was on tour, and every time I came home and had spare time, that’s when I would wait for a vibe to kick in and work on tunes; it wasn’t planned, it was all about the right timing.
URB: The album is fantastic, it share similarities with previous Cooly G productions but breathes new life into the entire album by being more song-oriented. Was being more vocal a huge focus on making this album?
CG: I didn’t think about it, honestly. I just tried it out and in the past, I’ve done full-on vocals for most tracks, I’ve just cut most of them out. But as an album, I was thinking maybe I could give a bit more, you know? It wasn’t an overly-conscious decision. Just pure vibes. When I had time I’d do tracks on the airplane, my son helped me vocals; there were 20 tracks and then I saw Kode9 and we cut it down. It ended up being a personal journey, it was quite nice and natural to listen to it.
URB: You do let your voice be a centerpiece on some tracks, but you never stray from percussion that has been synonymous with your sounds. Was “funky” a prevalent influence on this album or was it just a background to your approach to songwriting in this case?
CG: Truly, it was just vibes from the heart from that day. It might’ve been I due to being really upset, and saying “fuck it”, with what you hear on the record being the result. I don’t call myself a singer, I just put my voice on there, just put my voice as a sound; one of many that you hear. I just let out what I feel that day; my microphone is always ready to go. I never get a chance to prepare things because I have kids to put to sleep and when that’s done, I just go into it ready for anything that comes out of my mind and my mouth.
URB: Staying on “funky” for a minute, your DJ sets haven’t always been funky-centric; they’ve surely been rhythmic, fun, but more streamlined towards great percussive house music. What’s your take on “funky” with critics saying its ship has sailed from the limelight?
CG: The tunes I listen to are really deep, tribal and bassy. It’s based on what I grew up on like reggae, ska and drum ‘n bass. Whatever music I play reflects on music; I just think that the ‘funky’ thing was a bit hype; people like T. Williams and myself that were thrown into that circle, but now obviously it’s gone pear-shaped. People rave and do stupid things; I reckon they wouldn’t play funky house because people don’t behave themselves. Grime was more dramatic because of clashing and small groups but to me, the funky house scene was nice parties and then became too much, people became too wild, too involved. Then all the funky house parties would get locked off and no one supported it. It was time to dissipate, I suppose.
URB: Certainly, Playin Me is going to have people chat about what you can bring live; how’s the live show been evolving since you’ve started it, I believe it was debuted last year? What’s your primary goal with a live performance as opposed to your DJ sets?
CG: The first thing I think about with a booking is me getting a proper soundcheck, with the set-up right and the mic sounding perfect. It’s a whole different thing and it’s fucking exciting. When you sing and stuff, it’s like entering another world. I go nuts, I’m scared and try to run away. I start going mental but when I play the first track, I’m alright. It’s being a bit more feminine a bit as well, because when I’m DJing I’m jumping up and I might as well throw CDJs at someone. I love music and when I hear something that’s good to me, it goes through me.
URB: At this point, do you have a preference between the two or is it one in the same end goal for you; just playing out to people listening?
CG: I just love it both, but at times with a live set I really want to DJ to accompany it. I want to do more and play and lay it all out for the people vibing.
URB: Now with the album out, what’s next for you in 2012?
CG: Building up my live show, it’s kind of new to me but it’s going to blossom. I’m gonna release more Dub Organizer stuff. It’s going to be part two of the latest release and after that it’s gonna be solo EPs with surprises.
URB: Finally, when people finally listen to the record, what do you hope they can get out of it?
CG: Enjoyment and smiles. I want people to smile by the end.