Introduce yourself, crews, affiliations, etc.
Blake9: Name is Blake, I produce for three groups, Nine:Fifteen, The Acorns, and Yesterday’s Truth on my label, Candlewax Records.
Bisquite: What up this is Bisquite / Comel / Da Character. I’m know for my work with Time Machine and Nine:Fifteen. I’m down with P.U.T.S and Giant Panda.
How did you guys first hook up?
Blake9: I met Jet Set Jay [aka Jaysonic of Time Machine] in 2000 after graduating college. I’d see Jay and Bisquite doing shows as a group called Time Machine. We were all living in the same area, Washington DC. Eventually, Jay and I would run into each other at clubs etc. I began talking to him about music and making beats. Jay and I would goof around on the MPC. One day I made a beat and brought it over to Jay’s house and played it for him. I heard this voice coming from the living room, “that beat is sick”, or something along those lines. It was Bisquite. He and I eventually start making music. That beat was our first song and my first release, the Irish Carbomb Music 7-inch single “Say What.”
There’s been a handful of singles over the years, but why’d it take nine years for a Nine:Fifteen album to finally drop?
Blake9: When Bisquite and I started to record we were living in the same area. We eventually started working at the same place in 2001 – 2003. But, Bisquite’s priorities were with Time Machine. Rightfully so. I mean, in reality, that was the group he started in. He eventually moved to LA in 2003 to be with Jet Set Jay and Mekalek. To push their music. I was just lucky enough to have the opportunities to work with Bisquite. Also, to work with Time Machine. I DJ’d a few shows for them in DC when Mek couldn’t make it down. Just before Bisquite moved to LA, we finished the “Spilt Milk” 12-inch. We continued to work together when we could. In 2007, we started to record material for the project. In 2008, I think we just got a system down for us to record and really be prolific. In 2009, we put out the “Plastic Wrapped Couch” single and finished our album. I think we just got really serious about finishing what we started.
Basically, between the projects he was working on with Time Machine and Nine:Fifteen, and the projects I was working on with The Acorns and Yesterday’s Truth just distracted the focus on the Nine:Fifteen project. We were also still trying to figure out where we wanted to go with Nine:Fifteen. We knew we wanted to do something no one else was doing. We knew we wanted to innovate. I think it all just really came together in 2008. We plan getting started on our second album very soon. I’ve actually already started sending Bisquite some beats. At the end of the day, we still put out three 12-inch records, a digital single, and recorded a track with Count Bass D. That’s pretty good.
Bisquite: We never focused on an album we made songs as they came along. We could’ve made an album out of the singles we had but we decided to present something completely new. I guess because we had the vehicle to put out music we didn’t really feel the need to put out music on a yearly schedule. I was also very busy with Time Machine so in between that I would make music with Blake9.
“Owning what you say is sometimes more important than what’s being said.”
On tracks like “Guarded Things,” one of my favourites, it almost seems as though Bisquite is really more than one person. Are these just different flows/styles your using or are they more like characters you’ve created?
Bisquite: This is DA CHARACTER coming thru on this one and all through out the album. DA CHARACTER is the only person all the other persona’s just represent his movement. The reality is I’m just a vessel to spread DA CHARACTER message. In the making of the album the first appearance was on “Nasty Boy”. The beat was so much more than a “hip hop” beat and though you don’t hear DA CHARACTER voice per say you hear the tales of decadence peep AndrewBlake.com to get an idea of what DA CHARACTER be into. And so that style was the only way to tell that tale and the others DA CHARACTER is on. Owning what you say is sometimes more important than what’s being said. Like DA CHARACTER say “I TRIED TO SPEAK SENSIBLY BUT NAW AIN’T NOBODY WANT TO HEAR ME… NOW THIS BOY GONE HAVE TO SCREAM”
So does Da Character rep for Nine:Fifteen exclusively or is he going to start showing up on Time Machine records etc…?
Bisquite: As it is obvious Nine:Fifteen is very different from Time Machine. The last thing I want to do is make an album that sounds like half of Time Machine. The Time Machine process is very thoughtful and planned the Nine:Fifteen process is very impulsive. Da Character likes to hear songs like “Dirt” and “The City of Everything” he may be in the studio session but not the song or maybe?
How did you manage to keep the overall vibe of the album cohesive while still experimenting with all sorts of sounds?
Blake9: Really, I was just head down, producing. Trying to do something I’m not used to doing. Which was literally producing a track from the ground up. Trying to keep in mind what Bisquite was trying to achieve. Also, keeping in mind what I’m trying to achieve. I think we both agree on wanting to carve out our own niche per say. We do hip hop, however it’s not all we do. We can take it and push some boundaries and limits.
Bisquite: Newman’s [of Giant Panda] contribution played a big part. When he made that song for us “New Blanket” I knew it be the glue to the album. He made the song while staying at my house halfway thru the making of the album. Once I had the piece of the puzzle I knew we could pretty much go as far and indulge as much as we wanted. No matter how wild the album got I knew his tune would bring the listener back in. So when arranging the tracks that’s exactly how we use his tune “New Blanket”. The biggest compliment someone can give this album is to say it’s cohesive. Our biggest thing is innovating. I truly don’t know of any other album that presents so many ideas yet all the ideas are still perceived as one belonging to each other.
You guys have done of bunch of neat mini-videos where you give a little insider info about tracks on the album, are there any official music videos in the works?
Bisquite: Definitely. “Nasty Boy” and “Guarded Things” have to be made. Were looking at next to start production.
Living in different states now, do you have many opportunities to play live together, any touring planned for Electric Blanket?
Blake9: It is complicated living in different states and getting things done. However, I can say this, we lived in DC for three years 2000 – 2003 and we never got as much done as we have in the past two years. I just think we found a formula in late 2007. I’d love to do some touring / shows, but that’s difficult too. Ideally, I’d like to do some shows for this record. I mean, that’s the goal, getting out there and doing it live for people. So, any of you out there looking for a solid group to bring along on tour, holler at us. I think when I go to LA this winter / spring to shoot a video, Bisquite and I will be looking to do some performances.??
Bisquite: The state separation thing does keep us from playing together, but we do link up every now and then and if any touring comes up you know we’ll go in.
If you could convince any artist/group to collaborate with Nine:Fifteen for a new album, who would it be and why?
Blake9: I mean, not sure if I’d want to collaborate with these folks, but I’m really feeling the new Kid Cudi, Flaming Lips, Mayer Hawthorne albums as of lately. I’d like to collaborate with any of those folks. Until we get the co-sign from those guys, I think progressing my production style and focusing on making beats is a good road to take, head down, produce, and hopefully when I pick my head up next, there will be some folks there wanting to work with us.??
Bisquite: I’d like to work with HOV/Jay-Z before he taps out, Atlas Sound, Future Engineers, PHD.
What are the best parts about living in your respective cities right now (Alexandria, VA / Los Angeles, CA)?
Blake9: For me, I grew up in the suburbs of DC. So, I’m home. My family is around. I have a job in the city. I DJ in DC. This is just where I’m at. Where I’ve been. I think it’s cool that technology lets Bisquite and I work together, without being in the same area. I also think it’s great that I can go to Los Angeles and always have a place to stay and a friend that I can visit.
Bisquite: LA is good for me. You can’t be weird in this town. It really nurtures artist. The local bands here are dope, pot is legal and it’s always sunny. what we talkin bout.
Tell me about Candlewax Records.
Blake9: Candlewax Records started in 2003. I had a label before called Irish CarBomb Music that I released three 7inches on. The “Say What” 7inch was Nine:Fifteen, before we were even Nine:Fifteen. The flip side featured our boy Pasha the eMCee. But, that record is the first recording that Bisquite and I ever did. I also put out a 7inch produced by Jaysonic aka JetSetJay on green vinyl and I did 7inch with instrumentals by Stoerok and myself on blue vinyl. I deaded ICB because I didn’t want what I was doing to be associated with terrorism, even though I was referring to the drink, Irish Car Bomb. I just didn’t want any confusion and at that time, people were very aware and sensitive to terrorism. Was getting a little tired of explaining myself.
Candlewax / ICB has always been about friends making music together. I produce three groups on Candlewax Records. They are Nine:Fifteen, the Acorns, and Yesterday’s Truth. I have a group of friends that I work with or have done music with. Bisquite, Mad Squirrel, Ionic, Pasha the eMCee, Prego w/ zest (3.5), and Radel Esca. I’ve done collaborations with Count Bass D, Shawn Jackson (Nine:Fifteen), and Vex da Vortex of Boogiemonsters fame.
Bisquite: It’s like our own launch pad. We do what we want, when we want how we want. FRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEDDOOOOOOOM
What other projects do you each have coming up or in the works right now?
Blake9: ??I continue to send beats to Bisquite. I’d really like to follow this project up with another, quickly, so I’ve been sending him beats almost weekly. I’m finishing up mixes on a project I did with Vex da Vortex of the Boogiemonsters. With the recent spotlight on DC thanks to Wale and his click, I’m trying to work with some folks from his crew. I’d like to work with X.O. in particular. Hoping we can work something out. Yesterday’s Truth has some music that I think we’re going to put together and make available for free in the spring. So, we’re trying to stay present and continue to try to be heard. ??
Bisquite: I’m fallin back right now. I like to let projects run there course. We’ll be back next year.
Any last thoughts, shouts?
Blake9: I’m thinking how nice it would be if people would explore our album and share their thoughts with us. Shout out to our fans first, the folks reading this interview, Candlewax Records, Nine:Fifteen, the Acorns, Yesterday’s truth and all of our affiliates and friends.
Bisquite: Naw, there’s no history… Thanks man for the opportunity!