On this Labor Day, we take it to Europe and chop it up with Eskazed and Nobody, the French duo who make up StrAwdogz. Originally from Brittany, France, StrAwdogz moved to Paris, where they met Chicago native Dope Chic and DC’s Yaway, who currently live there. These four recently made a video for Music Was The Case, which was released. Check out the interview below, and for more, hit them up on Facebook.
the9elements: What’s your favorite non-rap album of all time and why?
Nobody: Harvest from Neil Young because it remains me holidays on the road with my parents and today I still play this CD on my own car. Heart Of Gold is one of my favorite songs of all time.
Eskazed: Genius Of Modern Music, which is not an album but a compilation of the greatest themes from Thelonious Monk at the end of the forties. My dad use to play jazz guitar and I used to heard Ruby My Dear or some other every time when I was a kid.
T9E: What’s the experience of working with American emcees versus French ones?
Nobody: First of all, for the moment all the singers we had work with were singing in English. Because it sounds better to us than French lyrics.
Most of the artists we used to listen to, even in Hip Hop, reggae or electronic music, expressed themselves in English and we think that the flow is more musical than in French. But we are working as well with French singers who are singing in English. We noticed that working with artists who sings in their own language is more efficient (for evidence, ask an American emcee to do it in French, he will find some problems). We figured out that it goes faster to do recording sessions with American rappers than French ones. In fact, they go straight to the goal with more self-confidence. These are two different cultures, so two different ways to work.
T9E: Describe Brittany to someone who’s never been there.
Nobody: Just the best place on Earth. We came from Vannes, a small town on the Atlantic coastline, just in front of New York. The sea, the trees and the sympathetic people who like parties and beer, wine and rum. It’s a land with a large community of musicians and during the summer, there are so many international music festivals. Some people say that it’s raining too much in Brittany, but we say that it’s only raining there on pricks.
T9E: How do you guys approach Hip Hop production as opposed to your more electronic creations?
Nobody: When we start a track, we don’t care if it will be an instrumental track or a song with lyrics until a certain point where we feel if it needs some vocals or not. After this choice the process changes. If it’s an instrumental or riddim we concentrate on the melody and we try to find a theme. If we decide to work on a song, we keep some space for the voice and we focus on the singer energy to do something together. It happens sometimes that we propose the same riddim to different singers to record different versions.
T9E: What’s Holistique all about? Who’s involved? What are future projects planned for the label?
Nobody: Holistique Music is an independent label created by three musicians (Eskazed and two other guys) to release records of different kinds of music. But Holistique is mostly a studio where we are rehearsing and recording in Montreuil, in the suburbs of Paris. The last album release was Eros Vs. Thanatos, the third album of Eskazed, so an electronic music project. By the way you can find Dope Chic and Yaway on it on the track called Paris Noir. The future projects are two videos for this album, including Paris Noir. We plan also to release an EP with Strawdogz, in a more reggae style. And there is also the second EP of Benoit Baron titled Chanson Française. So you see it doesn’t matter which kind of music it is, we are just a group of friends who are united by the same passion of music.