For a man that needs no introduction, he continues to re-introduce himself back into the music scene with increased relevancy and humility. More of a living legend than just a producer, Lawrence Muggerud, better known by his stage name DJ Muggs, has conquered just about every genre he has set foot on. We can easily associate him for being Cypress Hill’s DJ and producer, or perhaps for having produced tracks for Funkdoobiest, House of Pain, Dizzie Rascal, U2, Depeche Mode and many more. And yet, after spending some time talking to him the last night, it is clear that he only cares about one title, that of a musician devoted to the craft. With music evolving every second of every minute of our lives, only a handful have been able to keep up, and even fewer can bring forward the level of consistent talent DJ Muggs demonstrates. He has inspired many to pick up DJ gear at Musician’s Friend in an attempt to create a similar sound.
Dark, aggressive and almost exhibiting a life of its own, the Sound Boy Killa exposes a new side of DJ Muggs we have not seen before, although always expected. As if he is reconstructing the rules of dubstep, the much less hip/hop influenced EP, indulges in emotional and grinding overtones that while overly layered, still feel smooth and organic.
Conceptually, it is classified as a Dubstep release, yet it breaths through an unprecedented amount of experimentation existent between the tracks. “People of the Earth” for example showcase a synergy between dubstep and drum and bass while the lighter tracks like “Sound Clash Business” bring in an energy of Trap surrounded by more natural sounding percussion elements. Our favorite however, are the filthy wobbles that continuously flirt with the sporadic manipulation of vocal samples on “Drop the Beat”.
DJ Muggs is offering his fans the Soundboy Killa EP as a gift to his fans in the form of a free download. The release is a bit darker than his upcoming LP release “Bass for Your Face”, but it will prepare you just the same. You can stream it below as well as download it in full.
Download: Sound Boy Killa EP
To celebrate the release, we were able to get chat with DJ Muggs about the current state of music and find out more information about his love for bass music.
TMN: Hey Lawrence! First off, here at TMN we are always interested in discussing the evolution of music, and we feel like there is no better person to interview than having you, DJ Muggs, not only share with us your experiences but also talk about your soon to be released forthcoming LP “Bass for Your Face” out on January 15th on Ultra Music. On this very same note, so much has improved [in technology] over the last couple of years, from your perspective as a producer, has the process of creating a track changed for you?
I think it has.
TMN: Have you been able to port over the same process when creating electronic music the same way you did with Hip/hop? Not specifically on the technical side but when it comes to composing it, do you find yourself starting with the beat first before you move into the melody? Walk us through your process?
Yes I would say I start with the beat first. With Hip/hop I might start with the music first because a lot of times we would have samples and stuff. But usually with electronic music I start with the drums and build from there, then bassline and all the other sounds on top of that.
TMN: Hip/hop has been a huge role in your life, obviously. However I am curious to know some of your first memories of electronic music and what ultimately pushed you to produce it? How long ago was this?
Well, we grew up with electronic music. We grew up with records like “It’s Time”, “The Egyptian Lover”, “Clear” and “Cybotron”. All that techno funk, you know what I mean? It was really raw. When I go back and listen to it, Man! This is was like, maybe what dubstep was at that time. You know?
TMN: Yeah, and it felt very underground for a moment too.
Underground but in L.A. that was the gangsta shit. You played that at the gangsta parties. The girls would be into Debbie Deb and all that, but all the hard shit were pretty much all these records. From there I have always been a big Prodigy fan all along, and Chemical Brothers. Even with hip/hop and the increase usage of drum machines, to me that was electronic.
I would say that when I really started to dabble [in electronic music], when I actually started producing it was about 2008-2009. I was DJ’ing a lot and touring, and I was always looking for new tracks to play. One day I would be playing Apex Twin and other nights Jane’s Addiction, so when I would come up with my sets I would search for new music every day.
TMN: Being from Latin-decent, what is your take on the more Latin inspired subgenres like Cumbia-House and Moombahton that emerged a few years back?
Man! I LOVE all that shit. That shit is so fun to party. I love reggae, I loved reggaeton before. But you know what? What gave it all up was due to the copycats not bringing their own music into it, and just copying someone else music because it’s a formulated music a lot of times with electronic music. There is a formula where everyone has their own sound, many times determining who sticks out, who goes to the forefront.
TMN: That is an amazing answer and I completely agree with you. Now with things being so saturated and overly layered, we are starting to these movements of going back to the bare-bones and I find them even more appealing, including Trap and many of the other heavily beat based subgenres.
TMN: This leads us quite perfectly to your current project. Your forthcoming LP release is titled “Bass for Your Face”. Can you tell us a little more about you came up with the name? Is this a statement to the aggressive nature of the musical style? Or is this perhaps a more literal expression of a bare-bones approach that focuses on bass music.
Going back to the basics. Growing up in a L.A., you know, L.A. is a car culture, a Bass culture. It [sometimes comes down to] how many 12inch subwoofers can you fit in the car. You want to be heard from 4 blocks away, you did not care if you had tweeters or nothing, you just bumped. So it is like “Bringing the Bass to your Face”.
TMN: You have been brewing this for about 3 years now?
Yes. I actually finished it last year and just have been waiting for it to come out.
TMN: Have you been forced to update some of the earlier tracks you produced since it has been a while? Tell us about the the life cycle of a track before you decide it is ready for release.
There is two ways. Some of it definitely gets updated, there are things you can always add and improve upon. However there are other tracks that are left untouched. If you can capture that initial spirit, then I just leave it. A lot of it is that no one wants to touch it, and at the same time no one wants to leave it alone. I updated that stuff. I realized some things were just wack and I took it out.
TMN: The list of collaborations for this project is completely astonishing including Danny Brown, Public Enemy frontman Chuck P., Belle Humble (an unknown Finnish singer he discovered on SoundCloud), Dizzee Rascal, Killa P, Freddie Gibbs, and Roc Marci. Is there anyone you really wanted to collaborate with but ultimately couldn’t due to time and scheduling?
Hmm. I reached out at a couple vocalist but I can’t really remember at this point. I think I pretty much did what I wanted to do, man. Almost everyone I reached out to worked with me.
TMN: Who do you look up to in the electronic music scene? Who are your favorite artists?
Who do I like? I like Flying Lotus. Benga. I like The Gaslamp Killer , EPROM, John Wayne out of L.A. and a lot of the LA stuff coming out I am really feeling.
TMN: I feel like you would be a Bassnectar fan, no?
Yes! I really like Bassnectar as well. It is so hard man so many names! Bassnectar too because he doesn’t get stuck in no tempo. He is free and uses a lot of music. He has some things that are hip/hop flavored and overall he seems like a well-rounded cat when it comes to music.
What is the one song on your itunes/collection you have heard recently that you wouldn’t necessarily want anyone to know. Got any guilty pleasures? Something most people would be surprised you listen to?
TMN: Haha that is not bad! It’s a good song.
I have kids and I always teach them about music. We listen to oldschool rock, we listen to the 80’s. All those songs are great. It helps you out too because when you finally sit down to write about music you know what catchy stuff is. You just have to apply your energy and your spirit into it. You know what I mean?
TMN: Absolutely, so off the topic of music for a bit. You’ve lived in NY and you have lived in L.A. Which of the two has the better food?
Oh! They both have incredible food man. With New York you can get anything at any time from anywhere and L.A. shuts down at 2 am. The food depends on where you go, because that is one of my hobbies. But at the moment I would have to say L.A.
TMN: Another curve ball, if your music was an animal what would it be?
My music would be a motherfuckin’ BEAR!
TMN: Wrapping things up, what are you looking forward to the most for the next year?
TMN:Do you feel like you always have to prove yourself no matter what genre you are in, with every time completely ignoring your past accomplishments?
The past is the past. If I were a football team and I won the championship 4 years ago, that was cool 4 years ago and I got to wear my belt but I am a student man, I am still learning. There is a lot I want to do and a lot more I want to experiment. I will go where the energy takes me. Do whatever I feel like doing. That is why I feel like I am bluffing now because I can do whatever the fuck I want without having to worry about it.
TMN: Huge honor to have been able to talk to you, any last words you would like to say?