March 28, 2014



Minneapolis and St. Paul have become an indie rap Motown, given resident artists like the Doomtree collective, Big Quarters, Lizzo Bangs, Rhymesayers Entertainment and the Fill in the Breaks yoga master Ecid. Currently on the road with Fake Four Inc’s Louis Logic grinding out shows on their Rhymin Gosling tour, Ecid took an hour to answer some questions about his production style, the family environment of his home town scene, and a new album coming this year.

You’re from a fairly well known hometown scene at this point. What’s it like being in a place filled with folks like Doomtree, No Bird Sing, Big Quarters, and Rhyme Sayers Ent.?

Oh man, it is insane. I love the fact that I can go out any night of the week and see my friends playing somewhere in-town. One of the coolest things is that a lot of them have careers too. The scene is just so supportive and open to people as long as they make dope music. Another perk is that when I need some advice about what to do with my own career I can get advice from so many perspectives. We really are lucky and kind of spoiled.

Yeah I’ve always been jealous of the welcoming feeling you guys seem to have out there. Is there a competitive nature to any of it or is everyone really excited to see each other make strides toward progressing their careers and the scene?

I think at times it can get competitive. But for the most part the people that are working hard all support each other. I think there is nothing wrong with healthy competition. If I hear a new record from so and so that is super awesome I don’t get salty about it I get inspired.

So you rhyme, and make your own beats. I know your bio says “Ecid pushes the limits of sampling, it’s not so much what he samples, it’s what he does with every note.” Explain your process a bit. Do you start with a record or drums?

When I first started making beats, I always started with the main sample first. I would find parts I liked in a song and then micro sample them down to 16th or 32nd notes depending on the composition. As I kept digging and evolving, I would find samples of drums and stash them away for the perfect sample to use them with. But I’ve never been a fan of just straight looping. Which is funny too because a lot of the stuff I sample starts out from a great loop and then I often times ruin it. As of late my style has flipped a ton. I started using Ableton more and more and because I make most of my beats starting entirely from a synth melody, now I like to make a live drum loop first to play around with.

I’m still sampling but just in a more integrated fashion. The bass line is from a MOOG, the hook loop is a sample, the bridge is a bunch of different choppy vocal samples, and then the 2nd verse in the beat could totally switch to a live guitar loop with the same MOOG bass line now running through a distortion pedal.

Do you have any rules about where you pull sample material from? Some cats are strict with “vinyl only” while recently in an interview Quelle Chris mentioned pulling from youtube, as did Blockhead, because it’s easier and cheaper. What are your thoughts on that?

Man, oh man, I have expensive taste. I have tried to dig through Googling, blogs and stuff like that but it’s just not the same for me. There is a special energy you get from digging in a record store for 2 hrs and finally finding something that makes you go “oh shit!!!” it’s something I can’t even explain. It just inspires me right away. So I stick to sampling off of vinyl. I also tend to use my turntable in all kinds of different ways and I like running samples from the tables into other gear before it goes into my DAW.

I also think there is something really rad about finding those rare awesome records to collect and share with friends. Yup, I’m one of those guys.

I also am fortunate enough to have a team of guitarists, keyboardists and vocalists that let me record them and chop up there performances now too

You are also one of the rare DIY artists who are pressing up wax on newer releases. Do you ever question the real need for physical goods in a digital era?

Oh man, yeah. Physical media is SO TOUGH! As far as the physical media thing goes, there are a few things that keep me doing it. First off, I am lucky enough to have people that love my stuff that it allows me to fund the pressing of a CD or vinyl through pre-orders. It might not pay for everything but it definitely helps. I also find that if you are touring enough it still worth it to have physical media. I decided to press Werewolf Hologram on vinyl because I had a feeling that, that album was good enough that it would be appreciated by not only hip-hop fans that buy vinyl, but the music fans/nerds that are into indie-rock/electronic and all that. I think if you are releasing vinyl you definitely need to pool fans from everywhere.


Is it ever a battle on deciding if you should do it with each coming release?

Yeah man, it’s definitely a battle from release to release. I could see my next official album being a vinyl only release and instead of pressing CD”s maybe doing an app or a USB drive.

So, when you aren’t touring do you have a regular 9-5?

I do not. I do a ton freelance production and pretty much make sure I am always playing enough shows every month to stay a float.

Last year I became a certified heat yoga instructor, so that in the future I could have the option of teaching yoga when I’m not on the road and don’t want to play shows for a while; especially when I work on new projects.

I also see yoga teaching as an extension of my “brand” it’s a huge part of my life and I plan to incorporate it into my touring somehow in the future.

Do you set out to do a specific number of tours a year?

As far as tour plans go. I really try to do a solid amount of gigging from Feb-June every year, and Sept-Nov. If you don’t hit it hard in those months it’s tough to get by, right now I’m trying to tour with as many people as possible before I drop my new record. I really want to build it up and then boom! So hopefully I play at least 100-150 shows this year. I think the most I’ve done in a year so far as been between 50-75 shows.

Which leads me to the Rhymin Gosling Tour, How has that been going so far? I’ve heard Louis Logic had some health issues to start?

It’s been great so far! We’re having a blast aside from Lou’s health troubles. What a fucking G, man. I thought for sure he wasn’t playing in KC with me and then he somehow recovered enough to make it in time to play.

What’s the hardest part about showing up to these towns and playing every night?

I think the hardest part is that when you’re on a DIY tour you almost never know what you’re going to get. You might play a city that last time was amazing and this time around it was the worst show ever. Because it’s a bad night of the week, or a bad promoter, or just didn’t work out. But that’s the magic of it too. We played a few small towns so far that were SUPER awesome. I didn’t have any expectations of them being good at all or people showing up and knowing my stuff but that’s the beauty of what happens when you put yourself out there.

So, with this coming spring, what’s on the horizon for you? I know you said you had a new album; is there a title/theme behind it yet?

When I get home from this tour I have a homecoming show, a record store day at Fifth Element and then Soundset. Then the plan is to finish the record, which is called Pheromone Heavy.

The theme behind the title is that no matter what we do in life and where we go there are things embedded in our DNA that we can’t escape. These things make us who we are for better or worse. I grew up without a dad, raised by an amazing single mom. As I get older I start to wonder about what the other half of my body is made of. I’ve never seen a photo of my father. No clue if I have other siblings or anything. So the album also deals with me making peace with the unknown.

That’s an incredible concept and theme. I can fully relate to that!

I have never worked harder on a record in my career. From the writing, to the beats, I’m making a serious, big rap record but also having the most fun I’ve EVER had as an artist. I feel free

This is your first Soundset right?!

Yup, my first Soundset and I couldn’t be more excited. I have been testing out these new songs on tour and holy shit people are going to freak out.

That’s amazing; that has to feel like an achievement especially with this years line up! Is the kid in you tripping out about playing a show with Nas?

Oh man, yeah playing with Nas is CRAZY and Cypress Hill!

So outside of the new solo record, any other projects you’ve lent beats to?

There are a few awesome friends I am trying to get beats to. I don’t want to put them on blast. But I also am taking steps to start working on a record producing for my friend Ashley Gold. I’m super into female vocalists and have been trying to reinvent a new sound for her.

I produced like six beats on the new Sammy Warm Hands album (of Illusionists), but for the most part though, I have been really focused on making this new album a home run. Once it’s finished I will be attempting to make beats for a bunch of bigger artists and play that game.

Right on! Busy cat! Okay, Word association time. Just say the first things that pop into your head.

Ceschi: Amazing artist

Falafel: Fuck yes

Gentrification: Williamsberg

Dessa: Queen of Minneapolis

Rage Against the Machine: Lots of yelling

Pancakes: I wish I was stoned

Kevin Bacon: Great hair bro

Fill in the Breaks: My Baby

Do you have any final words for us?

Man, I’m just super excited and grateful for being able to do what I do. This is so fun. Thanks for having me! The rap life is worth every up and down.