Q&A with Busdriver (Also: Downloads)
Some people have been following Busdriver since 2001, and others only get to know about him now. But it’s never too late to discover new music, even if it’s more than ten years into an artist’s already-successful career.
Busdriver’s newest album from Fake Four promises to “shock fans and confuse the unconverted into unwilling servitude,” and it’s safe to say, it does. Something of a masterwork, Beaus$Eros is less a collection of songs and more a large-scale composition than you’d expect from a nameless genre like Busdriver’s — i.e., a rhythmic, semi-melodic kind of hip-hop that fuses electronica with rap and, dare we say, poetry.
Busdriver’s seventh full-length release was produced by Loden — a gifted producer based in Belgium — and the European influence is audible. In fact, Beaus$Eros is such a lush album, it’s almost difficult to decide which elements to follow. But while the record’s components might have run the risk of canceling themselves out, Beaus$Eros is a case when things come together beautifully. (A little surprising, considering Busdriver and Loden worked on the album remotely, without first having met in real life.) From the premier track, “Utilitarian Uses of Love,” the listener is launched into an extended musical journey. The song’s complex beat and multilayered melody works its way into every piece — from the hip-hop/happy “Bon Bon Fire” and plaintive, almost-creepy “Kiss Me Back to Life,” to “NoBlacksNoJewsNoAsians” and “Ass to Mouth” (we’ll let those tracks speak for themselves). It’s all part of the 14-song trip into love, despair, and longevity — with Busdriver behind the wheel. Buy a ticket and take the ride — you’ll see. In the meantime, we’ve included some swag below, including a mini-Q&A with Busdriver himself. Check his complete tour dates to catch him live.
Q: Beaus$Eros — it’s the title of a song on your new album, and the name of the album itself. Tell us the meaning behind the name.
A: In retrospect, it sounds like an introductory dating course for women. But what I was going for was a sum of my failures as a fiancé. A heading that adequately labels the five-headed sea monster that is an amorous relationship with a man like myself, while using a play on words that hints at Cupid’s bow and quiver of heart-piercing arrows.
Q: Why did you decide to work with Loden to record the album? Describe his role in the process, as well as your working relationship.
A: I was attracted to Loden because he is an incredible musician. But as a plus, he is the most attentive producer I’ve ever worked with. Our process probably wouldn’t have worked without his commitment. The songs all required a good amount of file swapping, vigorous editing, and prayer. His attention to detail far surpasses mine, so tonal issues that I normally wouldn’t address were all under the microscope. The lack of a label or any promise following the completion of the record was a huge factor for me as well. It raised the stakes overall and ramped up the stress factor a few notched above intolerable. That being said, making records with no money has never been more fruitful.
Q: Did you really teach music camp for food stamps?
A: No. That was an analogy for rapping to strangers for a living. It was funny at the time.
Q: It seems as though Beaus$Eros is super-cohesive, in that all the songs work together to tell a larger story for the listener. What do you feel is the album’s narrative or the theme? What were you hoping to “say” with the songs?
A: It’s a bit embarrassing, but… I’m begging to be loved. Begging to be taken back. Aside from that, I’m exploring themes sonically that I’ve hinted at in the past. The emphasis on melody is more present in this record than ever before.
Q: How do you feel about Beaus$Eros being called your most “avant-garde” album yet? What do you think that says about your previous albums?
A: Avant-garde is a loaded term. For my albums in the past, it’s meant that my work was either alienating or just plain strange — for the sake of strange. Rarely good and groundbreaking. That being said, I don’t know if this one is truly the most avant-garde of records in my catalog… but it definitely is the most honest.