Interview: Eric Lau (‘The Mission’ Q&A)
Earlier this year London’s own Eric Lau released his latest musical offering “The Mission“ – an aurally absorbing and detail drenched EP with Detroit’s notorious rapper Guilty Simpson. Lau’s heady production style and Simpson’s distinctively rough vocals perfectly compliment and balance one another.
On tracks like ‘He Said, She Said’ their union results in beautifully tender and raw hip hop that reaches deep to the listener’s soul. There’s been a great deal of hype and deserved praise for “The Mission” from all angles, so, we pinned Lau down for a little Q&A to find out more for those who missed it…
How did the ‘The Mission’ come about as a project?
Kilawatt Music approached me to do an E.P with one emcee. I chose Guilty Simpson because I wanted to work with him again ever since we did a track called ‘For The D’ a few years back.
How would you describe the sound or concept?
The sound is just straight hip hop, from my perspective. I just wanted to give the people a project that is sonically pleasing.
Does the title ‘The Mission’ have a meaning?
‘The Mission’ is a simple statement of my intent which is to continue the legacy of hip hop music that I love.
Vocalists on there are pretty varied (Guilty Simpson, Fatima, Oliver Daysoul) – what drew you to working with each of them? Were you deliberately trying to mix it up or juxtapose their styles?
To be honest I did whatever the music told me. Guilty Simpson is one of my favourite hip hop artists and I feel we work well together. I’m happy that this project will show a different side of him which may surprise some people. Fatima and Olivier Daysoul are family and the music called for their incredible vocals talents. They are both fans of Guilty so were really down to do whatever was best for the music, and I am forever grateful to them.
Is your production method different when you’re working on something that will have vocals to something that will be purely instrumental?
Definitely. Producing a song for vocals requires a different skill set to producing instrumental music. A rap vocal is like having a long solo within a piece of music and it’s important that there is enough space so that both elements can ‘talk’ to each other.
Is it ever strange hearing your work with added elements or someone else’s input on top?
It’s always strange as you get used to what you have created. It’s like being an architect with the knowledge that someday there will be graffiti on your building. All you hope for is that the graffiti artist understands you and makes your building come alive!
Why did you decide to release a deluxe vinyl edition? Do you feel it’s important to preserve vinyl and record-collecting culture?
It was a label decision but I’m totally for it. The vinyl will have the instrumentals and bonus tracks as a reward for the record buyers out there. I do feel it’s important to preserve vinyl as it’s a higher quality format and because it’s important for artists to have a ‘record’ of their music. What I mean by this is that if every computer in the world was to crash and lose all its data you would still have a record of your music in a round piece of vinyl!
What else have you got lined up for 2012?
I’m going to be working on my next full length LP, an instrumental project, a film score and production work for other artists.