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Also why I'm here
I started making music when I was 10 or 11. Back then, nobody would have called it 'making music,' because all I did was cut together different parts of a song and loop them by pausing and un-pausing the record button on my Sony high-speed dubbing tape deck. Nowadays, that is music, though.
My brother gave me the idea, after popping on a cassette 'dub remix' he had made of a Bobby Brown song.
All he had really done was take the instrumental and dubbed in occasional parts of the vocal version. But I was entranced, MY brother had hijacked this professionally recorded work and made it something new.
Maybe now if I listened to it I would laugh, but I was nine when he showed it to me and shortly thereafter when he played the Dust Brother's remix of Pete Rock & CL Smooth's "Paid In Full," my mind exploded.
All these hilarious, irreverent samples played in time with the beat of the original track, it was so completely different from anything I had heard. My brother lip-syncing along with the samples, the Chinese-sounding girl saying "By George, even longer groooooves" and the white suburban Tv commercial dad saying "Good night, kids!" at the end of the song absolutely cracked me up.
Shortly after that, Prince seemed to catch on to this new way of sampling irreverent stuff, scratching it on a record.
This was in 1989, already sampling was becoming a thing. That thing, the idea of sampling, of taking one thing and turning it into another thing, has informed my whole thought process.
I started making my own tape-deck pause-button remixes, and eventually figured out that my old mac computer had a mini headphone jack and a microphone jack on it.
I played a sample from a Pizzicatto Five CD into my computer, using Hypercard, the only application that let you record a sound and then look at the soundwave and cue it like a sampler. That totally amazed me, it was the first time I looked at sound.
Then a video editing program came pre-installed on our next computer. I had no videos, but the software had audio tracks. Multiple tracks. So I took a Portished song and remixed it using these multiple tracks.
For my first two or three albums, now only in the hands of a few people, I used samples liberally. Everything was a sample. I loaded them into a program called "Player Pro" which was a 'soundtracker' program, looking like a vertical MIDI layout, and samples would cue when the cue bar rolled over them to the BPM.
Now I use Ableton. That's pretty much it...
Black Flak’s tracks