If you’ve heard of slick New Orleans-based producer Russ Liquid before, you’ll probably be familiar with the man’s soulful mix of jazz and funk with contemporary electronic music. Now, the producer’s been hard at work with his new project, the closely named The Russ Liquid Test, and today marks the day that all his hard work has paid off with the fruition of their debut EP 1984, now available via GriZ’s All Good Records imprint.
The EP features seven funky tracks that are sure to have you moving from start to finish. With elements of modern dance beautifully placed next to more conventional jazz and funk songwriting, rapper appearances, there’s a welcome forward-thinking ‘little bit of everything’ factor to the EP that really seems to be missing in dance music.
The duo also took the time to shed their thoughts on what they’re trying to accomplish with the record, working with GriZ’s record label and more in a short interview below.
Whats the significance behind the number ‘1984’ and how does that translate to the music?
Andrew: I think it was more about the era that we were vibing on when we were making the track. We were listening to a lot of 80’s dance music and funk so the track definitely has that feel.
Russ: member 1984?” lol George Orwell, big brother, Trump, Clinton, rights to b free, are we free? what is freedom? Also… 1+9+8+4=22 which is a fact.
How did you two meet, and what prompted you two to team up on this project?
Andrew: We met while we were both touring with Gramatik. Actually, we started making music together the day we met, in Piran, Slovenia. It was apparent from the beginning that we had a lot of musical chemistry.
Russ: We met through working with Gramatik. We just clicked ya know…. similar views, and knowledge that complements one another in a creative environment. I really enjoy sharing the creative music space with Andrew.
There are a lot of live elements within the music itself, do you think that’ll become the new trend within music production?
Andrew: Yeah I think so, at least until some new technology comes out that changes the game again, like DAWs and midi controllers did. Music has this history of new technology changing the game until it becomes fully embraced and more people learn how to use it. Then it reverts back to quality songs and musicians. It happened with multi-track analog reel to reel tape machines, then drum machines, then digital recording. All the musicians freak out and think that they’re going to be replaced by technology, but it always comes back to quality songs.
Russ: I feel that more and more artists are popping up that are using the electronic music vocabulary in a live setting… those that are successful at doing this really stand out in my opinion. It’s inspiring to see groups like BRASSTRACKS gain popularity.
What was it like working with GriZ and All Good Records?
Andrew: It’s been a pleasure really. We’ve done some work with Grant on a few of his tracks, whether it’s playing instruments or engineering horn sections and backup vocalists, at our studio in New Orleans, Neutral Sound Studio. He is an amazing producer that has a very clear thought of what he’s looking for. It’s great because he’s one of those guys that has characteristics of the old school producer, which means, not just sitting in front of a computer and programming, but getting in a studio with musicians and getting deep into the process. So when we were looking for the best way to release “1984”, All Good Records was a natural fit, due to the way they appreciate musicians and musicality in general, not just the same old stuff that is in a lot of EDM music today.
Russ: I like Grant and his label All Good records because it stands for something good. Creating community through music. That’s my sh1t!
Lastly, where do you guys see the role of jazz within the music world today?
Andrew: To me, Jazz is very present in today’s music. Maybe not with a big band like Louis Armstrong, or the quartets of the 50’s and 60’s, but the harmonies and melodies and thought process are everywhere. Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly” is a massive album that is probably 50% Jazz, 40% Hip Hop, and 10% Funk. It’s all over the place in a great way. All the Neo-Soul stuff is also heavily influenced by Jazz, as well as Gospel. So it’s definitely still a major force in music, even it’s a bit disguised.
Russ: We just want to learn from the past to make for a better future. We learn from jazz to create new. We don’t actually wanna play swing music or “jazz” but we wanna borrow elements and use them in the recipe.