Interview: Busdriver

Interview: Busdriver

Busdriver, with the help of producer Loden, has dropped one of the most musically and lyrically diverse albums of 2012 with “Beaus$Eros” (read the Death and Taxes review). Indeed, it’s an early contender for one of the best albums of the year and we’re only in February.

We recently caught up with Busdriver (real name Regan John Farquhar) about whether his music has a particular vision, how Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin have influenced his sound, and how electronic music is evolving hip-hop.

Tell us a little bit about the creation of the Busdriver project. How has the vision changed over the years? 
There is no vision. Its the nom de plume that I’ve used to carve my way into the music scenes of my city. It just happened and no new vision has been stumbled upon. My approach is learned behavior.

What sort of sounds were you hearing in your head as you were writing “Beaus$Eros?
The largest influence on Beaus$Eros was Low End Theory, a weekly that my long-time collaborators Daddy Kev and DJ Nobody started shortly after we wrapped Roadkillovercoat. A new resurgence of electronic music-tinged rap stuff came pouring over the city and it reaffirmed the sensibilities that music had been stemming from and invited me into a world of other possibilites. So the sounds I was hearing were coming from others, which spurred a host of approaches that I used on the new record.

How did you come across the record’s producer Loden, and can you compare the recording process with him versus Boom Bip?
Working with Boom-Bip used to place my body at the foot of greatness. My faith in his talents was so firm (and still is). I have that same feeling with Loden, but with him I know that the context for our output is looser. There is more room to take chances. And with Loden, those chances become law. Most of the songs on “Beaus$Eros” were skeletal to start with and just magnified with every draft. Or they were hulking and busy, then boiled down to their most essential elements by Loden’s discerning ear.

The record, in my opinion, is brilliant. At what point did guys feel that you were on to something special?
Not until I read that question did I realize that.

How are you staging live performances of the record?
So far they’ve been successful. The vocal pedal that I need to pull most of the songs off just broke… but I think that’ll just strengthen my resolve.

In listening to the album, I was struck by the admixture of sounds, and quite enjoyed hearing a possibly Boards of Canada influence on a few songs or in a few select moments. And I’d always hoped an MC would utilize that template somehow—build off of it, to do what BoC hadn’t done, which is have MCs on their tracks. Is there anything to this or am I superimposing my own listening experience onto the record, or maybe both?
IDM happened. Loden and I were aware of it when it did, more him than I. Beat music and various versions of dubstep happened. Loden and I know this as well. I feel that because I am a rap act it’s assumed that a lot of popular micro-genres in music go unnoticed by me. I don’t know which of my last 4 records hints at that, but I was under the impression that we operated within the confines of these various types of music. I mean, my main producers over the years have been Daedelus, DJ Nobody, Nosaj Thing, Free The Robots, Boom-Bip and others. This has to mean that electronic music means something to my act because it has up until this very day. So BoC’s influence is present. So is Aphex Twin’s, Flying Lotus’s, Dabrye’s, The Knife’s and other shit from other people that I can’t think of right now.

Do you have any music videos forthcoming, and are you involved on some creative level in those?
I wrote the concept for one and just received the treatment for another. If I make any money in the next month they’ll get done. If not, they won’t and the record suffers for it. WELCOME TO THE MUSIC BUSINESS!!!!!

“Beaus$Eros” is now out on CD, vinyl and MP3. Watch the making of the album below.

Below are Busdriver’s tour dates:

Busdriver – Upcoming Tour Dates
Feb 16 – Portland – The Wonder Ballroom  w/ Buck 65 and The Coup
Feb 17 – Seattle – Tractor Tavern w/ Buck 65
Feb 18 – Bend, OR – Winterfest w/ Buck 65 and The Coup
Feb 19 – SF, CA – Slims w/ Buck 65
Feb 21 –  LA, CA – Echoplex w/ Killer Mike, Nocando & Open Mike Eagle
March 1 – SD, CA – The Soda Bar w/ Nocando & Open Mic Eagle
March 2 – OC, CA – The Constellation Room w/ Immortal Tech
March 3 – SB, CA – Casa De Raza w/ Immortal Tech
March 4 – Las Vegas, NV – The Beauty Bar
March 5 – SLC, UT – Urban Lounge
March 7 – Co Springs, CO – The Black Sheet
March 9 – Milwaukee, WI – The Cactus Café  w/ Astronautalis
March 10 – Detroit, MI – The Hard Rock w/ Astronautalis
March 11 – Chicago, IL – Schubas w/ Astronautalis
March 12 – Omaha, NE – The Waiting Room w/ Astronautalis
March 14 –  Austin, TX – SXSW @ 512 Rooftop
March 19 – Denton, TX – Rubber Gloves w/ Astronautalis
March 20 – Denton, TX – Rubber Gloves w/ Astronautalis
March 21 – OK City, OK – The Blue Note w/ Astronautalis
March 22 – St. Louis, MO – The Firebird w/ Astronautalis
March 23 – KC, MO – The Riot Room – w/ Mac Lethal & Astronautalis