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Lanzo Interview: Bringing Something Different to the Table

Regular readers know that I'm partial to Lanzo's trippy cocktail of jazzy samples, rugged drums, warm bass lines and quirky humour.  His 2012 debut EP 'Suspension of Consciousness' is a favourite of mine.

A major part of Chicago's beat scene, Lanzo works at a prodigious rate: knocking out solo tracks and collaborations with pals including Norman and his Young Ho Collective brethren. 

With his latest EP 'Burn Better Trunks' due April 20, The New Beat Maker caught up with the man himself to talk influences and the creative process

TNBM: When and how did you get into beatmaking? Who were your early influences?

Lanzo: I’ve been into hip hop since middle school.  I listened to a lot of Eminem, Mobb Deep, & J Dilla.  I started engineering for other people, then eventually one of my homies convinced me to jump on the mic.  From then on I balanced skating, Playstation & music.  The instrumentals started coming in 2007.  (Solomon Vaughn aka Boonie Mayfield aka) BoonDoc convinced me to buy an MPC.  As soon as I saw his ‘BoonDoc on the MPC’ videos on youtube, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.  Definitely peep those videos if you have the time.  Dude KILLS the 1k (MPC 1000).

BoonDoc convinced me to buy an MPC.  As soon as I saw his ‘BoonDoc on the MPC’ videos on youtube, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.  Definitely peep those videos if you have the time.  Dude KILLS the 1k

TNBM: How has your set-up changed since you first started out, if it has?

Lanzo: I was chopping wax on a MPC 1k & layering sounds over my beats with a Microkorg, then recording it straight into Sony Acid Pro with a cheap little interface. 

Now, I primarily use MPC 1k, SP404, Ableton and some vintage gear for that analogue sound.  I just recently copped a reel to reel.  Shit sounds madd proper.  I don't limit myself when it comes to equipment.  I love when homies bring over new gear.

TNBM: Let’s talk workflow for a minute: how does a Lanzo track happen? Do you find a sample you like and start to build a track around it, or do you have a preconceived idea in your head and then start working on sounds and samples to bring the idea into being?

Lanzo: Sometimes I’ll have a preconceived idea.  That’s usually when the good stuff is made. Otherwise I’ll just float in the studio and start messing around with some random ass sounds and hopefully get something ill.  I love messin’ with breaks, video game soundtracks and exotica lounge records. That’s my jam.

I love messin’ with breaks, video game soundtracks and exotica lounge records. That’s my jam.

TNBM: How does your workflow change when you’re collaborating with artists like Norman, Morbidly-o-beats and your Young Ho Collective partners? Does each person play an individual part, or does everyone ‘muck in’ and do a bit of everything?

Lanzo: We keep the room smoggy and play musical chairs.  I’ll usually start at the MPC1000, maybe throw down a drum track, then Norman will come outta nowhere and throw some percussion on that cake, then m.o.b takes the seat and throws in a sick loop.  We rotate whenever someone comes up with a solid idea or just wants to contribute.

TNBM: Speaking of Young Ho Collective, can you break down who the Collective is?:

Lanzo: The Young Ho Collective consists of myself, BagelMan, Nicky Troubles, Kid Vision, Knox Fortune and Seenmr.  The majority of these cats make experimental trap beats.  Seenmr makes super chill soul beats.  The collective is mostly hype music, which is where I kinda play the part of bringing something different to the table.

TNBM: I’m a big fan of your ‘Suspension of Consciousness’ EP.  Can you tell me a bit about how it came about?  

Lanzo: The title pretty much says, ‘People have been sleeping on these beats.  If you are listening, let the beats take you away, let them Suspend your Consciousness!’.  It’s pretty much just another beat tape full of my best material within that time frame.  My favourite track is probably ‘VooDoo Potion #10’.  Shit goes hard. It’s a little eerie sounding and the Dolomite cuts are perfect.

TNBM: I’ve noticed you love pitching sounds up and down to sometimes disorientating effect.  When and where did this love affair begin?

Lanzo: I’ve been pitching since 89' yo!

TNBM: You’re from Chicago, what part does Chi-town play in your sound?

Lanzo: I’m not sure how it plays a part. I’ve never left, so it’s kinda hard to say.

TNBM: What are your plans for the rest of 2013? Anyone you want to shout out? Projects you want to promote?

Lanzo: I’m dropping a new EP entitled ‘BurnBetterTrunks’ April 20th.  There’s going to be a promo video in the next couple weeks. Gonna be hella dank.  Norman and I are talking about a full EP release.  Peep the Lanzo Chronicles for visual sensations.  I just directed a video called 'Body By Belladonna': super trippy.

YOUNG HO COLLECTIVE radio debut at:

SHOUTS to all my Chicago fam. Norman, Morbidly-O-Beats, the Young Ho family, DrGoom, Indigo High, Happenstance Guru, Impolite Society, Mr.Merge, Join The Studio, SCC, TAO, Shardtron Guardians of Tomorrow, Jacob Linden, Push Beats, Drew Morton, Jmurr, Sev, Peters Revenge To Creativity, all my SC followers, DJ Carebear, Effgen, Boudros, everybody that consistently follows/supports Lanzo, YOU! CHEERS.

TNBM: Finally, what advice would you give to new beatmakers?

Lanzo: Do you. Keep cranking the tunes out. And burn better trunks.

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