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JR&PH7 The Good Life According To JR&PH7 How does the life you want to live look like? Kanye West and Cali Agents both gave their vision. Now German producer's duo JR and PH7 does the same with their next album 'The Good Life' on Soulspazm Records. Artists like Sean Price, Phonte, Freeway, Saigon and Ras Kass, and more, are philosophizing along with them...

JAZZ ON A SUNDAY

According to Kanye West, 'The Good Life' is having champagne on a plane while gettin some brain.' What's 'the good life' for you guys?

JR: Having a great family and friends, being happy with what I do and just enjoying life. Playing a nice jazz record on a Sunday, simple things. I'm happy to say that I'm living my good life at the moment.

'We wake up when we want to', Planet Asia raps in Cali Agents' song 'The Good Life'. As long as you make music, will you ever be able to wake up when you want to?

JR: Ha, I will be a father soon, so I guess the baby then decides when I'll wake up. But I have a day job. It's within music, but it's still a day job and you still have to get up and get the work done. However, I'm very happy with it, although my alarm clock rings at seven in the morning.

PH7: I guess it's nice to be Planet Asia (laughs). On weekends I wake up when I want to. During the week I have to get up early as well, also for other things than music.

You went to the US earlier this year. Did you record most of the album over there?

PH7: Actually no, we were in the US to shoot a few videos for the album. We shot 4 videos in NYC, Philly and New Jersey. We also did a few radio shows and hung out with the good people from Soulspazm Records and Foundation Media. We definitely had a blast.

Oh, please tell us moreā€¦

JR: For me the best day was probably our last day in New Jersey where we just hung out with our homies from St. Joe Louis and just had an overall fun day after all the video shoots were over and no more work had to be done. We organize everything around our videos ourselves so it's always kind of stressful. (laughs)

PH7: For me the best was Cinco de Mayo (a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, ed.). Two dollar Tequila shots in NYC, amazing!

So you didn't record in the US, still, for your first album you recorded with half of the featured artists in the studio...

JR: 'The Good Life' is actually the first project where we did more over the internet and sending files back and forth. We love to be in the studio together with the artists we work with and record them ourselves but I don't think it's the only way to do great music. After all we have almost met everybody we work with in person so there is a connection and not just a business relationship. Communication is key since we still want our albums to be coherent and sound like one.

PH7: A lot of the artists on 'The Good Life' are people we have already worked with. So we know how they make songs and how we go about things, so therefore it's also cool to work with them over the internet because we know each other musically.

You've already worked with a lot of 'household names' in the underground, but now, with Freeway (110 623 followers on Twitter) you have a guest with lots of exposure...are you prepared to see your Twitter followers triple, with the new release?

JR: I doubt that will happen (laughs). I mean we are happy for everybody who likes our music and supports it in any way but we are realistic enough to know where we are at in the big picture. It seems that we might not have millions of fans but the people who do make an effort to check for our music, all seem to be quite happy about it. It's more like organic growth, nothing happens overnight.

PH7: For me working with Freeway was not about working with somebody who might have a lot of Twitter followers but more working with a great artist. I have been a fan since his Roc-A-Fella days and I still like his stuff today with Jake One etc.


DIGGING VINYL

We went digging a few times in Cologne, we remember Schallhandel, GrooveAttack and a somewhat hidden, really packed basement in a white house. What other spots would you recommend?

PH7: Actually I don't really dig in stores. I have many friends with huge soul collections, therefore it's more digging in their basements.

JR: Honestly, now that I live in Copenhagen it has been a while that I dug for music in Cologne and back then I mostly did flee markets. Up here in Copenhagen I check stores like Can, Soundstation and Mint Records every once in a while.

Is there a decline in vinyl shops? We have the idea that it's starting to grow bigger again, vinyl shops, the record buying...

JR: I think overall they seem to stick around. I wouldn't say that it's growing too much but the ones that are still around seem to do ok. What's definitely missing here in Copenhagen is a spot where you can buy current releases across all types of genres. Plus the prices for new wax here are ridiculous.

PH7: I still feel like stores are dying, but more vinyl is sold, especially on the internet. However, these online stores destroy your mom and pop shops.

Music list time!

Top five records to play on a lazy Sunday:


JR:
Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto - 'Getz/Gilberto'
Kings of Convenience - 'Rules'
Erykah Badu - 'Baduizm'
Kev Brown - 'I Do What I Do'
Shawn Lee - 'Sing a Song'

These are records I have been playing in the last few weeks not necessarily all time favourites...

PH7:

John Mayer - 'Continuum'
Drake - 'So Far Gone'

Top five records to play on a road trip/voyage

JR:
Bonobo - 'Black Sands
Foreign Exchange - 'Connected'
Mos Def - 'Black On Both Sides'
The Doors - 'The Doors'
Grassroots - 'Passage Through Time'

Top five records of Slum Village

PH7:
'Climax'
'Reunited'
'Get Dis Money'
'1,2'
'Intro Detroit Deli'


ANGRY BIRDS CANDY

JR, you did an internship at SevenHeads, that was some of our fav labels back in the day, they had Unspoken Heard, El Da Sensei, Djinji Brown! How do you remember that period?

JR: I remember that time pretty well. It was my first time in NY, in 2003. I was sleeping on a friend's couch for a few months and meeting a lot of nice people that I'm still down with today, for example The Saint of the Good People. I needed an internship for college and I was lucky enough to have the funds to fly to the US. Basically, I e-mailed a few labels whose music I loved and I ended up at SevenHeads. Pretty soon after I was there, they shut down their doors. Unfortunately, but as so many record labels at that time.

Sicknature, producer and Snowgoon from Denmark told us the following about his home country: 'The most important reason is that not so many people listen to the hard hip-hop here. So reachin out to the rest of the world, and not only Denmark, makes more sense. Agree? DJ Illegal said the same about Germany. What's your view?

JR: I don't know, do I listen to hard hip-hop? Not too much (laughs). But anyways I actually think that what I consider the German hip-hop scene is alive and well. However, we make niche music. It's not meant to be for the mainstream listener. Considering that, of course it makes sense to create music that can be heard worldwide. In the end it doesn't influence our creative process though, we just create the music we love and hope someone is listening.

What are some of your latest music album purchases?

JR: SBTRKT, The Gaslamp Killer, Miles Bonny & Brenk Sinatra, Blu & Exile, The Tymes...

PH7: Kendrick Lamar, Baauer, XXYYXX Frank Ocean,...

It's not only JR and Ph7 but there's also The Drumkidz. How important are their role and input?

PH7: The Drumkidz are important for us since we can use either studio facilities for recordings and they master all our stuff, so it bumps!

There are some nice words by Mayor Hawthorne on your Bandcamp page. Any collabs on the way?

JR: Ha, that would be nice, we'll see what the future brings.

On the Amazon page of your album 'The Standard', the answer to 'What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?' is Damu The Fudgemonk - 'Supply For Demand' understandable?

JR: Well I guess. I'm not too familiar with Damu's catalog but what I've heard so far I liked. I really liked some of his Y Society partner Insight's stuff. I've got a bunch of his 12"s at home.

PH7: Actually I never heard of him (laughs).

What's your fav ice cream?

JR: Amarena all the way!
PH7: Yoghurt or Tiramisu.

How do Angry Birds sweets taste like?

JR: I went to Helsinki earlier this year and brought back some Angry Birds sweets and soda. The candy tastes great, the soda is really awful, just way too sweet. You can find so much Angry Bird merchandise up there, it's crazy. But if you ask me I take the candy over the game at any time.

What's next for JR and PH7?

PH7: Right now we will just promote 'The Good Life' as much as possible. We still have some videos in the making etc. that has to be taken care of. When the album is wrapped up we'll see what happens and what doors open up. Other than that we started a project with Chuuwee from Sacramento and are a couple of tracks in. That's what's next!

Shout-outs?

JR: Shout-out to whoever is reading this. Get in touch with us and let us know what you think about our music.

'The Good Life' drops November 6th 2012 on Soulspazm Records / Foundation Media / Jakarta Records (2LP/ CD / Digital) !

 

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