Kmag touches down with the Los Angeles-based Atlantic Connection for an exclusive preview of the two-years and 40+ tunes that went into the creation of the highly anticipated Love Architect LP.
Again, we can’t express how much we love the advance copy we received of the album. Even though the styles and tempos are across the board, there is this very definite sense of taking the listener on a journey. Were you working with a conceptual framework from the beginning or did the underlying themes of the album come together on their own?
I think an album should represent a period in time for the artist more so than a moment. Singles are like moments: often fleeting, and sometimes remembered. An album should stand the test of time, be listenable again in 10 years without sounding dated.
I have a huge amount of musical output, many styles for many outlets. Sometimes I finish multiple tunes in one day, so deciding a direction for an album was hard because I had to ask myself, “How do I represent ME and MY vision through all this music? How do I find myself within all these vibes?” Those were the first questions.
I noticed during the two-year process of writing this album that a certain sound emerged through some of the songs. It was something different and deeper than the rest, so I developed that sound, tailored it and created something full and finished.
You essentially started writing the LP in 2010 and wrote two albums worth of material. How did you take the original 40-odd songs and boil them down into the final 13?
I started writing this album on Oahu in 2010 after leaving a desk job for MTV to move to Hawaii for a bit. Funny thing, however, is that none of the songs I wrote out there made it onto this project, but the vibe and inspirations did. I think that was where the album began though, in Hawaii. Mahalo to all crew out on the islands, thanks for the love and inspirations!
After a year back in Los Angeles I had racked up a lot of music: everything from films, TV shows, videogames and work with other artists. Within those directions I found the desire to complete this album for myself and to show my fans (old and new) what I AM all about. I found my original songs were going one of two ways mood-wise: either really tough and dancefloor, or really deep and spacey. I felt these two grooves and saw the two directions of me, then decided to attack the deep and spacey one first.
My advice to other producers on this and the best advice I’ve ever heard was an interview Erykah Badu gave while she was working with Mark Ronson. It was something to the degree of “He’s nervous about playing me the song because he still IS the song.” That resonated with me, and made complete sense. Every song a producer writes is their best work because they literally still are the music, and the music is still them. Step away from the studio for a few days, take a look at your collage…no doubt some of the pieces will suck, some will be amazing and some will be ok. It’s knowing how to reorganise those pieces to make many new collages, or make one amazing one. However you want to attack it, there is no wrong way. Just don’t forever BE the song and you’ll have a stronger objectivity for it.
What happens to those 20-odd tunes that didn’t make the cut? My sense is that many producers would have a hard time letting go and somehow try to force them into the final product at any cost.
Well, I actually have another album on the slate for possibly later this year. That one focuses on my more heavy dancefloor side, so no worries they will all make their way to the public soon enough.
In our last conversation you also mentioned that “a certain sound emerged which represented where I’m at now” – speak a bit more to that – how do you see yourself evolving as an artist and in what way do you see this album reflecting where you’re at artistically?
As far as evolving as an artist, I think that comes naturally over time, for me, finishing this album was an evolution of my sound. It’s like you’ve finally got past a certain point; you can move onto something new. It reflects where I’m at artistically because it’s the perfect representation of me in the now. You’re hearing the view from my window seat, seeing my inspirations, my surroundings and witnessing my flux, but at the same time we’re all in it together.
This is no doubt related to that sense of “retro nouveau” and “classic psychedelic culture” that you believe are having a sort of contemporary “renaissance” – what are those ideals and how do you see them being reflected in Love Architect?
The vibe of love, that’s what’s making a renaissance. There are many cultural and historical similarities between now and then, civil rights, war, technology, new physics discoveries, space exploration. As such, it’s bringing people together, it’s promoting new ideologies through expansion in theories, physics and ways to love. In other words, while a great deal of the world is still asleep or participating in negative experiences, those who are awake are getting full blasts of “this is how it really is” and we’re running with it.
Love Architect as a title is extremely provocative and lends itself perfectly to the vibe of the album as a whole. What does it mean to you and how do you see it contributing to the overall framework of the project?
The title just randomly came to me. I had played around with a few other names, but Love Architect just felt right. My music is often times about love, how we’re living in a time where love is finally making a comeback, and constructing that emotion for other people through music. Behind that construction is an architect, and the architect builds love.
It’s always difficult to choose a favourite track, but is there one track that came together in a special way?
Fourzero41 is probably my favourite. Last year I attended a memorial service in North Carolina for Lance Presson (aka 4041) on the 10-year anniversary of his passing. Lance was the guy who got me into d&b so many years ago. I used to hang out at his house and watch him mix for hours! Dude was incredible, as well as being one of the most promising producers I’ve ever had the privilege to know. I’m pretty sure Lance’s favourite drum break was “the Amen” – he was so good with it. Anyway, I always wanted to collaborate with him but unfortunately never got the chance, so this was my way of paying homage, saying hello, hopefully I did him justice!
There’s also an exclusive remix on the LP from Kastle that I know you were extremely excited to lock down.
Oh yes, Kastle’s remix… so ill! We were introduced by his manager at an event called Expansion, which was held on ranch outside of Los Angeles and we hit it off. It was quite evident that Kastle and I shared a lot of the same views and moods in music. At the time though, he was touring a lot with 12th Planet, and I too was busy working on several film scores, so a collab wasn’t much of a possibility. However, after working with Tali on My Love and trying to arrange some remixes, he was first on my mind. I reached out to him, sent the stems, he murdered it, sent it back and we put it on the album.
Speaking of exclusives, there’s a rumour floating about that you have a very special and exclusive treat for Kmag readers?
I owe my fans! I’ve had a lot of people waiting on me for another album for a good couple years. I finally have something to give back, and say “thanks for hangin’ with me through all that!” So, I’ve decided to give away the album, in its entirety, until June 16th. Download it here. Please enjoy, share and tell people to purchase when it drops on June 19th.
Looking ahead, where do you see Atlantic Connection going from here?
Before I get into any of that, I want to say thank you. Thank you to my fans, to my management team, my agency, my designers, my family and friends for believing in me through all these years.
With that said; I’m interested in starting a live show of sorts: visual, musical, special guests…the works! It’s an idea now, but its quickly pushing its way to the front of my brain so I’ll have to act soon I think. Also, I just finished off 10 remixes for MTV and Extreme Music’s indie artist promotional company Hype Music. Those remixes were produced specifically for a new show premiering on MTV this Fall, and will likely be available for retail as well at some point.
I’ve got a new weekly radio gig for www.ukbassradio.com that just started called The Future Soul Show. I’ve also just signed the paperwork to launch a new clothing line and production company, working on the internal development now. The music will certainly be continuous as well. There’s another album project we’re playing with, plus a few new singles and remixes on my new label Atlantic Connection Music. Then hopefully some upcoming collaborations and production for some major label artists too!
Words: Chris Muniz
View original interview HERE