I remember that the bass was turned up slightly more on the mix from last week, and I thought that was good - or whatever. Like, there were some little things in there that he said that he came to, like, really enjoy my opinion or at least, like, my little comments on the songs. So I was kind of destined to probably be a studio rat.
So when I was working with Amy Winehouse on "Back To Black," you know, she had all these beautiful songs, incredibly well-written and just her on an acoustic, nylon-string guitar. And she'd play them for me, and then I would kind of drum up my idea of what I thought - make a demo with what I thought the drums should be doing, the guitars - like, quite a crude demo.
DJing is an art that I have the utmost respect for, and I've been practising it since I was 17 years old. Doing Tom Cruise wedding-type things becomes the focal point of every interview, and you realize that you have to cut it out if you don't want to be answering questions about that.
Basically, there's a good friend of mine who works at EMI Publishing, a publishing company. He had asked me - he was like, you know, do you know this girl, Amy Winehouse? She's in New York for a day. She's kind of meeting people to maybe work with on her second album.
You know, like, there's songs like "Valerie" and "Bang Bang Bang" that I was so proud of. And, you know, the level of success that they had - if they were little cult hits meant that, you know, I could sellout Webster Hall or Williamsburg Musical Hall or the El Rey theater in LA. Like, that was having made it to me. So the thought of having a number one song in my own career, like, never even registered.
It's like every time you have one of these, you're sort of - your lease is renewed another five years. And that's kind of great for me 'cause that's all I really want to be doing still at this point, like just making records and getting to work with, like, artists that I think are exciting.
Dave Guy, the trumpet player, is an incredible musician. He came into the studio one day, and they had just cut a cover of "Sign, Seal, Deliver" for something with Sharon Jones, and I just was blown away by how they got that sonic. I mean, it was just so much the real deal.
My grandmother always used to wear this English perfume called Tuberose and then she died and then I dated this girl who wore the same thing. Every time I hung out with her, I could only think of my recently deceased grandmother. So sometimes a signature scent can be good and sometimes it can be bad.
And I remember that about three years before that, her first record had come out. And I just remember really liking this one song off it called "In My Bed" and being a little bit enamored. This, you know, this young kind of Jewish girl from North London, you know, I have the same thing - from a Jewish family from North London - with this incredible voice.
Being a die-hard Knicks fan, I remember hunting down these orange-and-blue Nikes that they only released in England. And I used to hunt for sneakers when I DJ'd in Japan. But then Nike flooded the market with a head-spinning array of color combinations and it just didn't seem cool anymore.
I mean, my wife is always like - I don't write lyrics. So I couldn't, like, really technically write a song for anyone. I could write a very nice instrumental. So she always sort of gives me a hard time because it's just such a ridiculously impossible standard to live up to, that your step-dad wrote that song for your mom.
I didn't really get that good at cutting because I didn't have those three years of gestating and nurturing my skills in the bedroom. I was kind of, like, out and playing in clubs after three of four months, because I was pushy with promoters. But I would just listen to the radio - Stretch Armstrong and Red Alert - and then I would go hang out with Mayhem, who did the WNYU hip-hop show.
I got into DJ'ing because I started to listen to New York radio a lot. Obviously, I knew the stuff everybody knew, like Beastie Boys and Public Enemy, but I heard "Who Got the Props" by Black Moon, and I went up to this kid in my school with the Walkman on and was like, "What is this? You must tell me how I can get this now." Because there was no Shazam or googling lyrics.
Then, you know, the other more-traditional role of the producer in, like, the kind of Quincy Jones sense is kind of part arranger. So you're coming up with, like, these - you hear these songs that are quite bare-bones, and you dream up what's the band doing? What's the rhythm section doing? What's the guitars, strings, pianos - that sort of thing. It's almost like a little toolbox.