When I first heard The Beautiful Now it felt like I was transported back in time to an era where the SoulAquarians still reigned supreme! It’s not that TBN’s music sounds exactly like that, but it definitely has that warm, soulful feel to it, and it also picks up where that amazing movement left off. Life At Ease, the first single from the debut EP from this quirky Swiss production duo, is a kalimba and soul-clap driven gem that features none other than producer / emcee Jneiro Jarel. That’s right, that’s the same brother who cut that tasty record with MF DOOM back in 2011. It’s a nice head-nodder and a perfect joint to cool out to, preferably with a spliff or a cold brew, especially after a long ass and stressful day. The track was taken from a forthcoming EP called Moes, which will be dropping October 19th.
To get a bit of 411 on the project we reached out to the fellas for a short back and forth.
Are you guys MF DOOM fans?
Toni: Honestly, not really, although we are aware of his contribution to the scene. We found out about JJ Doom after we discovered Jneiro Jarel’s album „Three Piece Puzzle“. That record had a great impact on us.
No way?! Wow! Then y’all better do your homework and get yourselves a copy of Operation Doomsday! Otherwise them Hip Hop passes of yours will get revoked type quick!! Jokes aside, your latest single, Life At Ease, features Jneiro spitting bars – how did you guys hook this up?
Flo: We knew that whoever records for us has to be someone with an open-minded approach to music. When we discovered the „Three Piece Puzzle“, which has been with us constantly BTW, we knew that we wanted to work with Jneiro at some point. Originally, we asked him to cut just one track for us, but during the process we recognised how great it feels to make music with him. He asked for another joint and that became „Life at Ease“. The first track was „Through the Window“ which will be out on our upcoming EP. Or, you can preview it on Lefto’s show which is on Mixcloud, he played it a week back..
You have a very distinct style, it has a bit of that Dilla DNA it, but it also taps into a whole range of Afro-Diasporic flavours, what’s up with that?
Toni: Growing up in the nineties, I was surrounded by a lot of different sub-genres of rap music. Years later, I found out that a big part of the stuff that I really loved was produced by Jay Dilla. As a bass player I was always interested in his samples. While searching for their sources I discovered Brazilian and African music, which I’ve been absorbing deeply in the last years.
Is most of your stuff played live, or are you guys sampling some rare vinyl nuggets as well?
Flo: Both! Using samples is a different form of playing an instrument. We have no specific formula for creating music. But often it’s a mix of a lot of live playing, plus some programmed stuff. The specific moment in the studio tells us where to go with it.
Being that your project is clearly rooted in old-school or golden-age hip hop – what do you think about trap as the dominant production style, and the use of autotune etc.?
Music-wise, Trap is inspiring for us! And as open-minded musicians we love styles like Ijexà, Changuï, Maloya, Gnawa, as well as some crispy Preemo Beats.
Life At Ease was taken from a full EP, entitled Moes, which will be dropping in a few weeks, can you tell me about what we’re in store for?
Moes comes with a bunch of hand-picked guests. Aside from the other JJ song, there will be songs featuring emcees Stimulus and Yamin Semali. Our motivation was to place these cats in different contexts. We are very happy with the outcome and we believe that we created some truly refreshing pieces.
In closing, what the fuck is a Moe?
Toni: The moment. The now.
Oh! Okay. Ha ha ha.