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Hudson Mohawke - A Polyfolk Spree

Author: Nina Bertok
Monday, March 9, 2009

While Hudson Mohawke’s music has been called just about everything from a “messy confusion” to the “future of hip hop”, the Glasgow sensation insists it’s actually neither, as he tells 3D’s Nina Bertok.

Real name Ross Birchard, one of electronica’s biggest mysteries surprisingly cites Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado among his biggest influences.

“I certainly don’t make music to deliberately try to make people confused,” Birchard announces. “I always felt that the real point of interest in my music was the fact that it was electronic yet still quite accessible. I’ve never believed that you have to be a really forward-thinking or underground musician to get it.”

While Birchard may be fairly modest regarding his music’s impact on both electronica and hip hop, others are hailing the producer/DJ as one of the biggest things to happen to both genres.

“For a long time it really scared me,” he confesses. “That’s why I took my time with the EP [Polyfolk Dance, 2008] and especially the album that will be coming out. I needed to get back to the stage I was at before I started getting all this exposure and praise. I find it quite hard to deal with. It took me a while to get over that and get settled back into a proper mind-state to make music.”

Currently in the process of putting the finishing touches on his debut album, Birchard says the record will be a big mash of various influences.

“There are a lot of mainstream and RNB influences on the album. There is also a big ’70s and ’80s synth-prog influence, as well as electric guitar type of stuff. I think it’s important to have an album that makes sense and can stand up on its own with the music, and not just to have these random ideas put together. I’ve done that in the past as well.”

Not only has Birchard been busy wrapping up his first ever “proper” long-player, the Mars Volta keyboardist Isaiah Owens also recently employed the services of the in-demand young producer.

“I’m really interested in collaborating with bands and other vocalists on music,” Birchard says. “I’m doing a remix right now for one of the members of The Mars Volta who has a new project called Free Moral Agents and so I am working with them. Actually, I’m just putting the finishing touches on that too today. It’s just one track we’ve done but I’m hoping to do some more stuff with them, maybe even The Mars Volta in the future.”

In his own words, there’s no denying that Birchard has come a long way in the recent years since first putting beats together on his PlayStation.

“There was a PlayStation game where you could make music and it was a really good introduction because it’s possible to actually make some decent stuff on it,” he says. “The follow-up to it was called Music 2000 and it let you take the beats out of the PlayStation and put them on a CD. So that was an introduction to sampling too. I’ve always tried to push my equipment as much as I can, even in ways it’s not supposed to be used for, so a lot of the time I would end up just breaking stuff.”

WHO: Hudson Mohawke
WHAT: Polyfolk Dance through Warp / Inertia
WHEN: Out now