featured interview

Grouch & Eligh Say it loud, say it proud! Living Legends The Grouch and Eligh are back with their latest effort ‘Say G&E!?’, an album that finds itself in the top ranking of our list of most proLLific albums of 2009. The chemistry is knit tight, the interaction is impeccable, and confirm why both music makers are one of hip-hop’s most appreciative duo’s in this day and age…

G&E is back, it's been a while with solo and crew releases in between, so are you glad you finally got to get in the studio again?

The Grouch: What's a studio? I record all my music through Virtual MC. It's a new iPhone app that allows you to pick your voice and cadence. You just type in your lyrics and it does everything for you. Sometimes Eligh and I use it while we’re driving in a car together. So yeah, that was fun! I'm playing. I'm always in the studio. Working on music with Eligh is always an enjoyable process.

Eligh: We’re always in the studio together, whether Grouch is working on a solo project, or were working on a Living Legends release. But it’s always fun to come back and work on G&E music specifically. I'm always confident the music we come up with will be quality, unexpected gems, which is definitely the case with this new album.

How long did you record and what's your usual recording routine as for writing, matching the raps, producing and mixing?

G: Our oldest song on the album was recorded maybe two years ago and the newest was probably done about a month out from the release date. Some of it was recorded in The Bay, LA and Hawaii. Some in the same studio, some sessions we traded back in forth over the net. Usually the beat comes first, in this case from Eligh, then inspiration for a topic.

E: I think this album was recorded over a year’s period. The mixing aspect always takes a while for two guys who are very picky, and particular with how the finished songs are presented. As far as how our process with producing goes, we usually start with our own beats, then reach out to producers we like and respect for more. This time around, I happened to be the one with a lot of tracks ready to be written to, so as a result, a lot of the songs are produced by me.

The album release date has been pushed back a few weeks, how come?

G: A couple last minute touch UPS. Just trying to get everything right.

E: The release date was pushed a little only because of artwork delays. Once again, two picky guys wanting the best presentation possible!

Eligh, how does it differ working with The Grouch as opposed to working with other artists?

E: Working with Grouch is like working with my brother. It’s easy; we contrast style-wise which gives us an edge, which in turn keeps me excited about working with a long-time friend and musical comrade. It differs from working with others because we pretty much know what each others thought are on what’s tight and what’s not. It’s comfortable.

Grouch, how does it differ working with Eligh as opposed to working with other artists?

G: Eligh and I have been working so long together we almost don't have to talk to communicate. We'll finish each others sentences and all that so the smoothness and efficiency is there.

How did you get to link up with Sage Francis?

G: We toured together on Paid Dues. All the groups travelled in tour buses except my family drove our own separate vehicle. He came over and shot the shit a couple times at truck stops and things. He's a cool dude. Him and Eligh clicked. We respect his hustle.

E: I personally didn't know Sage that well at all, but after that tour, he became a good friend of mine. I left that tour with a lot of respect for what he does as an artist, so when this particular track was being made, we thought of him!

Grouch, how’s life treating you in Hawaii? Why did you decide to move over there?

G: Maui is a great place for us right now. There's no billboards or freeways, most businesses don't have twenty TV's blasting news at you. I'm concentrating on my family first and just trying to live a more pure natural life. I don't think we were put on this earth to work 9-5 until we're 65 and sit in traffic everyday between home and work. Hawaii gives us a place where we really can concentrate on what we think is important.

In what way do you get inspired to write over there as opposed to LA for instance?

G: It's definitely a different vibe. I love the city as well in a different way. It's almost a yin yang situation. The energy can be pure in both places but it's very easy to take negative energy or frustration and turn it into motivation for creativity. I get a lot of that in the city but not always. Hawaii is a very positive, happy place for me. I'm learning to use the energy there. The fact that I travel so much is a good balance for me.

Grouch, 'sober is the new drunk', you rap on 'Breathe' from your latest solo album. The song is a dedication to family life, how much of a change has your life taken since the birth of your daughter?

G: Having a daughter was an immediate wake up call for me. A re-awakening. There were tours that were two months long and I got drunk and ate fast food everyday. I couldn't imagine doing something so stupid now. I came into to this game with my third eye open and somewhere along the line I forgot who I was. Who I am. She helped me remember. Rio and my wife. It helps tremendously to have a good woman on your side. The inspiration I get from them is immeasurable.

Eligh, you’ve made an album with 1) your mother and 2) mixing hip-hop with Folk music…

E: My mom has actually been on many Living Legends albums, three or four of my solo albums, a G&E album, and a 3MG album. I just never thought to do a whole album with her and I, until we put together a children's book a few years ago. She wrote a story, and asked me to draw some pictures for it. Four years later, I woke up one morning, called my mom, and told her I thought of the title to our album together, and we needed to make it! She was having the same ideas in her head. My mom is like my sister. Were very close and I attribute my love for music to her, so working with her was easy, and just a matter of time. People are responding in a crazy beautiful way!! We’re both sooo excited. It’s touching people on so many different levels. Somehow, folk and hip-hop work when it’s done by mother and son.

As for promotion, how much of a help has Internet been for you guys, since you’ve always run without a label and you were one of the first to sell your albums via an in-depth Internet store?

In regards to the internet, we stood out more before because there weren't as many hip-hop groups on the internet. Getting new people to go to your specific website used to be easier. The net's helped a lot but most of the groundwork was covered in the real world not the virtual one. If we wanted our music in Japan we physically brought it there on cassette tapes. Things have changed to say the least!

Living Legends have been known for touring and performing on a thorough basis since day one, you’ve been selling records, tapes, CD’s only at venues, how important is touring still for LL?

G: For ten years I made my living off solely selling CD's and touring was just icing on the cake. I did it for fun. Now that I've been through it so much. I know that I enjoy being at home and in the studio more than touring. Touring is more necessary for me these days, definitely one of the biggest promotional tools. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy it. I love what I do and it's part of what I do. If I don't get out on the road every once and I while I get an itch to do so.

Can we expect you in Europe again soon?

E: I should say we will be back out there, we need to be there more, but it’s hard to get the word out independently if you’re not in peoples faces often.

G: Definitely trying to get to Europe. I love travelling and "travelling" is bit different then touring. Our music enables us to see the world. I'd like to tour Europe someday with enough time to actually absorb everything.

You did release a record through Rawkus one time? Was it just like a kind of experiment and did you have to put your principles aside?

E: It was so long ago, honestly, I don't even remember what we put out with them! (laughs) I don't think any principles were laid to the side with that. Rawkus was releasing some cool shit back then.

G: So much has happened before and after. I don't regret much. Just learn from it.

MURS signed with Warner Bros, is that gonna happen with any other Living Legend soon and how does the rest of the crew react on that?

G: Everyone in Living Legends is a grown man. What's right for one may not be right for the other. Who knows what the future will bring?

E: I know for me, I'm proud of MURS. He put a lot of work into getting where he is, and I think the crew shares that opinion. I doubt you'll ever see us signing to a major. But ‘never say never’ I guess! I know Id love to be producing for major label artists!

Will MURS remain a Living Legend?

G: I think so, He's never told me different

E: MURS, as well as any member of this crew, is a Living Legend as long as they want to be one.

Is Hyphy the sound of tomorrow?

G: The hyphy sound is just another sound; it didn't replace or take away from anything. It just added to the pool of options.

E: I think it’s kind of fading out now. But then again, I'm not really up on that scene.

Grouch, In what way would you compare yourself to Sesame Street’s The Grouch?

G: We're both characters that my daughter loves.

Eligh, in what way would you compare yourself to Lord Of The Rings’ Gandalf?

E: Gandalf, the wandering wizard. (laughs) I make magic when I produce. I’m not a cocky guy, but I pride myself on producing a different sound than everyone else. I'm a wizard in this shit.

What's the first rap album you bought?

G: LL Cool J – ‘BAD’.

E: ’I'm Bad’, LL COOL J!!

What's the latest album(s) (rap or non-rap) album that you uploaded unto your iPod?

G: Beyonce – ‘Sasha Fierce’ for my daughter, Mykah 9 – ‘1969’ and Zion I ‘The Takeover’.

It's gonna be a proLLific 2009, what else can we expect from you and yours?

G: Bicasso - ‘Rebel Music’, I'm working on a new solo. Soon a new Zion I & The Grouch

E: I'm about 85% into a new solo release. I'm super excited about how it’s coming along. I have a project with my boy Magi, called ‘The Brothers Grime 2’, he’s a dub step/all around sick producer. We’re collecting beats for that project. Grouch and I have multiple collaborations with very hot people coming up..2009 is going off!!!!!

Shout-outs?

G: All the free thinkers and conscious people. I pray for the rest.

Amen.

 

POSTED 03|01|2009
conducted by Cpf

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