Close To Me ft. Jay Fresh

Raise your hand if you are proud to be a resident of the wonderful state of Colorado, native or not.

This weekend, one of the native music legends is making a return to his home state to take over the ears and hearts of all his fans for two nights. Derek Vincent Smith, better known as Pretty Lights, is heading to Red Rocks this Friday and Saturday to bring his Color Map of the Sun home for a spin.
On Friday, Smith will have special guests Talib Kweli and Blue Sky Black Death while Saturday, some of the talented artists on the PL Music Label will open the show.

One of those amazing artists is the electronic futuristic Supervision. Recently on the heels of releasing his new EP “Telekinetic” in June, Supervision is about to bring the funk, hip-hop and electronic sound to the Rocks. TMN was lucky enough to sit down with the artist and chat to his about his music history, his latest release and his love for hip-hop.

TMN: Today, I have the pleasure of sitting down with SuperVision one of the very talented Electronic/Hip-hop artists on the Pretty Lights label. Thanks for sitting down with us today, where are you writing to us from?

SV: Home sweet Texas. Dallas Tx currently.

TMN: Well let’s start way back from the start when you were just a kid. Was there music in your house as a child? Did either of your parents sing or play instruments?

SV: My parents listened to a lot of classic rock, and blues. Def some soul and disco. My dad played drums as a younger man and worked/managed nightclubs and venues in the south growing up.

TMN: And what about for you, did you have any musical background?

SV: I played sax in 6th grade. I Managed to be top 3 in chair most weeks but # 1 and 2 practiced while I did not. Later I learned to make a turntable an instrument with turntablism and practiced religiously. I guess because school made me pick something and djing was by choice.

TMN: One of the great things about your music is that you gather a lot of the sounds from electronic hip-hop of the late 80’s early 90’s. Was that music you were drawn to when you were younger and do you remember when was the first time you actually heard that type of sound?

SV: When I was 9 my uncle had just moved to New York and when he came back to visit, he brought back De La Soul, Tribe Called Quest, and The Pharcyde. They remain my favorite hip hop groups of all time to this day. He gets a bulk of the credit for me developing the taste in music I have. Good hip hop and good hip hop beats are my foundations. I consider myself a hip hop dj. We will play any genre if it’s dope. We know how to cut and work a vinyl.

TMN: Now the other thing I noticed when reading about you, you have had 16 years of experience on turntables, 16 years that is crazy amazing! Can you tell us what inspired you to first get on the turntables and what continues to inspire you today to keep making crazy beats on the turntables?

SV: I had a friend who when I was 15 that was a house mucis dj who played in the local rave scene. Not long after I got my first pair of turntables. We went to this place called the Decibel in Dallas which was total warehouse style rave. Apparently the end of the scene because not long after it was over and raves were no more. This was my introduction to djing but within a few years some crucial things happened for me. I heard dj Shadow who to this day is my favorite artist of all time and my biggest influence. I also saw the documentary called “Scratch”. This was in 2001 when I was 18. There is something about a turntable that is holy to me. Holy in a way controllers are not. You can learn how to use controllers and be djing out in weeks. No one on the planet can go use turntablism and learn how to dj out in a few weeks. Any good scratch dj/turntablist has logged significantly more hours than the cats on controllers in the scene today. Bottom line it’s the real jedi master way. I like controllers too and I use some but I mix with turntables.

TMN: Let’s talk about your music making process for a minute. You have talked about that you to go old record stores, dig up old records, chop them up and then make something entirely new that fits your electronic sound with a lot of funk and jam in the piece. How do you go about looking through the records? Are there specific sounds or maybe even artists you know will have the type of feel you are looking for?

SV: I like to dig and cut up old records for a lot or reasons. Mainly because they captured a sound and feel at the time that is golden to me. The 60’s and 70’s are my go to decades. I totally judge a book by it’s cover which works in the context of record digging. I stay away from popular records most the time. The more obscure the better. Once and a while though it is fun to flip something in a new way that people have heard flipped before.

TMN: I absolutely love that you are taking this early school of thought, cutting up old beats, and applying it to make the music adapt and become your own sound. I know there can be a little controversy today when it comes to making original work versus making remixes; do you have an opinion on that or even on your own work?

SV: Hip hop beat making was founded on sampling and I like helping keep that around but in a new sound. The controversy is from people who haven’t taken the time to truly analyze sampling. If all you do is sample one break from one record, slap some basic drums on it and add raps.. well then yah you don’t deserve a ton of credit. If you sample multiple records and make parts fit together in a collage, then you deserve a lot more credit because this task can be more difficult than just making a song from scratch without samples. Not only does our crew do that but we manage to mix the most advanced sound design of today with sounds from half a century ago and make it sound good. That is some difficult music making and another reason why the PLM sound isn’t saturated like every new genre that comes out today. I can make a song from scratch with no samples faster than one with any day. I have some I’m sitting on for other projects so I speak from experience. Derek just shut the hatters up on our sampling. I think it’s the best record he has ever made and he created the samples.

TMN: Because you do take a lot of amazing older music, is there a particular musician who has been a big influence on you from back in the day? And what about today, are there are musicians who you look up to?

SV: I guess apart from the influences I have mentioned, the artist from the past that I was exposed that I liked the most would be Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix and John Coltrane. Later I would be influenced by more people like J Dilla, Dj Premier, Prefuse 73, Amon Tobin, RJD2 to name a few..

TMN: Can we talk about “Telekinetic” for a minute? Now, this amazing 6 track EP just dropped in early June and has gotten a lot of love from fans and critics alike. Each song has its own unique feel with electronic melodies, fills, drops, builds all of those things. Talk to us about the making of this EP and what you wanted the end product to be like.

SV: On my newest Ep “Telekinetic”, there is a collection of sounds and samples I have worked on since “Telescopic”. I picked up records from stores all over the country while touring and organized them which I had not done before. Also I had some goals in mind basically boiling down to a record where my game as a producer and engineer had been stepped up. I felt like I was almost there with my first Ep but had a little further to push my skills. Although I do plan on improving my skills forever, now I am confident and deliberate in my production. I’m rolling out a lot of remixes to follow up my Ep while a work a new one. I don’t plan on letting more than a month or two go by without giving something to my fans because they have been awesome and I love making them happy.

TMN: Well as always thanks for taking the time to chat with us today and best of luck for the rest of the year!

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