- Sat, 2004-06-12 17:32
The sound of Buck 65 (born Richard Tefry, aka Stinkin' Rich) is refreshingly original - just like the story behind it. Currently living in Paris, he was born and raised in a town populated by a few hundred people near Halifax Nova Scotia and developed two main passions in life: baseball and hip-hop. Although scouted by the New York Yankees his dreams of being a big time ball player in the major league were never fully realised. His attention became fully focused on music.….
Buck 65 is about as different to the stereotype of a modern rapper as you can be. Sonically Buck 65 has developed his own unique take on hip-hop; sincere and honest lyrics tell stories of real life experiences and are delivered in a style more Bob Dylan than Bad Boy Entertainment. The lovingly handcrafted and produced breaks are the distillation of a crate-digging habit stretching back to when a ten year old Rich bought his first record as well as teenage years spent immersing himself in the genre.
His diverse influences are testament to his unique style and include Grandmaster Flash, Tom Waits, Simon and Garfunkle, Johnny Cash, DJ Supreme and Fats Waller. Impressively, Rich is also responsible for the full hip-hop tripartite of MCing, DJing and production work that makes up the Buck 65 sound, he lets other people do the artwork though.
I Like music caught up with Rich (aka Buck 65) as he releases his new album, Square.
I like music because...music reminds me that I'm not alone.'' Buck 65
ILM: You’re living in Paris right now. Does it inspire you musically living there, being such a culturally rich and diverse city?
Buck 65: Paris inspires me. You’d have to be dead for it not to, I think. They don’t exactly subscribe to the ‘new is better’ credo which suits me perfectly, being the throwback old-timer.
ILM: You’ve developed your very own unique take on hip hop (which we like by the way) – how would you describe its whole vibe?
Buck 65: The vibe comes from Mt. Uniacke, the town where I grew up – it’s rural Nova Scotia for christ’s sakes. I’ve also embraced my growing up – and hopefully my maturity. That’s all in there. If you listen to some blues from the 20’s and 30’s you’ll find stuff that’s similar to where I am right now – the Talkin’ Blues they called it. It’s music from the guts. Dirt road styles.
ILM: Your sound seems to be more about real poetry than other hip hop records, do you have any famous poets who inspire you in particular? Do you write poetry as well as songs, or do your poems ultimately become your rhymes?
Buck 65: Bukowski definitely inspires me. I read a lot. I don’t listen to hip hop anymore. I don’t think about poetry. I just try to write to best of my ability. I try to express myself as effectively as possible. When I write outside of music it’s usually prose. I’m trying to write a novel…
ILM: Your new album, Square is out next week. Can you give us your own personal description of it, and describe a couple of your own personal favourite tracks?
Buck 65: Square is a step. It’s subtly more old school than some of the previous work. It’s pretty – I hope. It’s quite personal. I think it’s my best composed work to date. I really challenged myself on the From Storm Clouds Come Angels… piece. It has an unconventional time signature for hip hop. I like the song that tells the story of Stella…
ILM: Is the album representative of what we would hear if we went to see you 'in the flesh?
Buck 65: I think so. There’s a lot of story telling going on during the live show. And if we spent a week together we’d watch old movies and maybe throw a baseball around.
ILM: Impressively, you are responsible for the full hip-hop tripartite of MCing, DJing and production work that makes up the Buck 65 sound, what advice to you have for those seeking a career in production?
Buck 65: I think the key to being a decent producer is being open – minded to all forms of music. Don’t confine yourself to one genre or time period. Don’t be afraid of music theory either.
ILM: And how important is it to you to have control and skills in all three areas?
Buck 65: It’s all personal for me. And I’m admittedly a control freak. Before I go into the studio I hear the finished songs in my head and I wouldn’t really trust anyone else to reproduce it accurately.
ILM: What in your eyes makes a good hip hop tune? Are you pleased with how this monster called hip hop music has progressed and where would like to take it in the future?
Buck 65: For me, I need the total package. I like to hear well written rhymes, good beats and, ideally, some quality DJ work. Originality should be a given, but it’s rare these days. I’d like to see the music broaden it’s horizons but I’m not holding my breath.
ILM: Can you describe the Buck 65 process of making damn fine music?
Buck 65: I let the idea’s stew in me for a long time before I begin fiddling. When the time comes, I just press down on my tongue. It’s not pretty. I am usually alone in the dark.
ILM: Do you have a dream collaboration? Anyone you’d love to work with musically?
Buck 65: Tom Waits would be the ultimate. Or contributing to a David Lynch film, but that’s pure fantasy.
ILM: Can you describe your favourite place on earth?
Buck 65: There’s a place called Tofino in British Columbia where you find yourself on a white, sandy beach, sandwiched between rain forest and the Rocky Mountains. Pretty friggin’ spectacular!
ILM: What are your early memories of music and what/who are your main musical influences now?
Buck 65: When I was very young I was into Kiss. It had more to do with the spectacle than the music. I discovered hip hop in ’81 or ’82, when I was ten. Now I mostly listen to old jazz, blues and bluegrass from the ‘20’s and ‘30’s.
ILM: What is in your CD player / on your decks right now?
Buck 65: Lately I have been rotating Sparklehorse, Leadbelly… I’m pretty into PJ Harvey.
ILM: What does the future hold for Felix Da Housecat – Spring and Summer?
Buck 65: He’ll begin to shed his winter coat come April and then he’ll be looking to mate.