[Interview] Constant Deviants

Rencontre avec le groupe légendaire Constant Deviants, qui nous a fait l’honneur de répondre à nos questions. Leur nouveau projet « Avant Garde » est dans les bacs le 12 mai.
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Hello Constant Deviants!!  First of all, how are you?
M.I. – Absolutely enjoying life !

CUTT – Everything is great

Avant Garde drops on 12th May.  When did you start preparing and writing the album and how long did it take to record?  What are some of the themes you are addressing in the album ?
M.I. – We started working on Avant Garde just over a year ago. We don’t like to rush albums. We are always recording, so once we come up wth a concept for an LP we allow it to create itself. As far as my writing goes, I speak about what I see on a day to day basis. I write about my reality

ALBUM COVER

I read you have spent time in Switzerland and France and it is there you had the idea to name your project « Avant Garde ».  Which cities have you visited in France & Switzerland, and did you have the idea of the album first and went there to draw further inspiration, or were you motivated by being there?
M.I. – We visited Lausanne, Geneva, Montreaux , Vevey, Baden, Zurich, Paris and a few other places I can’t remember just now. We knew it was time to create another LP, and being there ignited the flame

CUTT – The trips were definitely an inspiration to us both. Experiencing the culture in places other than the US sparked a different creativity.

I know you work with Switzerland’s SWC.  Have you thought about working with any French artists, and if so, are there any you have in mind?
M.I. – We have worked with Nes Pounta, Dirty Def and a few others in France. We would love to continue to work with artists and producers in France. We appreciate the love we get worldwide and we would like to continue to reciprocate that


Do you have any favourite tracks from the album, or any which have particularly important meaning to you?
M.I. – Today I’m feeling « I’m Still Up » but it changes every couple of days. That’s what makes a good album. One week you have one favorite and the next its different

CUTT – I really like the album as a whole, but the title track Avant Garde is a favorite. « Machine Gun » would be another, I really like the energy on that track. High powered.

M.I., you are in Baltimore, and Cutt, you are in New Jersey.  How easy do you find it to record together given the distances involved?  Is there any stage of the recording process when you do get together?
M.I. – We have worked together for so long we already understand each other’s vision. Usually we get together at the final stages of the project. Even when we lived in the same house we would create in our separate spaces so it’s easy and second nature to us.

CUTT – We really are on auto-pilot now as far as creative direction as a group. This makes it easy to work in our own space. We can knock out a track that both of us are 100% on without even discussing it.

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I know you are both working on new projects.  Can you tell us more about them, are they for Constant Deviants or solo projects, and will any be released this year?
M.I. – We do have an EP we are working on together. That’s a secret though! And I have a few other solo projects in the works as well. I would say something else will come out before the end of the year.
CUTT – There are some Six2Six projects that are in the works that will be wrapped before the end of the year. I also just completed producing an album for a young Queens NY MC Aye Wun. Super talented artist.

What are your thoughts on the current rap scene and the « trap wave » ?  There is a lot of diversity so which aspects of it do you feel you can relate to the most?
 
M.I. – There is a time and place for everything. I love it, I just wish the mainstream would be more diverse and not be locked into one sound so much. But in reality that’s what makes Hip Hop so special. What music genre has stayed the same forever? I relate to all the sounds because I keep an open mind
CUTT – The music has gone through many transformations over the years. The 90’s were different from the 80’s, 2000 different from 2010. I never minded the changes. There are new songs and artists that I enjoy. The diversity is what keeps it alive whether good or bad.
Since you began in the 90’s, what would each of you describe as your best experience in that time?
M.I. – I have a hard time pinpointing a single experience because I try to make every day a special day. I would say the day I decided to make this dream a reality I began a ride that has introduced me to so much about life

CUTT – There were many great moments at that time. It was a time when we were creating and learning at the same time. It was all new. Seeing and hearing our first 12″ was one of my most memorable. It definitely motivated me to take the craft seriously. Still motivates me to this day.

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As an Emcee M.I., and as a dj & producer Cutt, which artists would you say you feel influenced you the most at the very beginning, and have there been any other individuals through time you feel you learned from to help your careers? 
M.I. – I would say all of the usual suspects influenced me early on, but to be honest my crew really brought me to the next level as an MC
CUTT – There were many that I learned from first hand, like DJ’s, producers and engineers. All helped me advance my skills. There were also influences for me mostly in a production sense. Mostly artists that were out at the time. I definitely have a list, but too many to name.

Turning to recent high profile cases of racial tensions in the United States, particularly involving the police and the black community, do you feel artists in the States should address this more and speak out more openly and publicly?  Or is it your opinion that many of the well known artists there already take a strong stance against what is happening?  Do you have any thoughts on how these problems may be resolved?

M.I. – Really it’s not new. That has been happening all the time, it’s just the media is publicizing it now. It’s part of a bigger plan and plenty of artists have been speaking on it for decades now. That’s what Hip Hop is. It’s an expression of our community so there will always be people that talk about this stuff. It’s not for everyone though. Some will and some won’t. As for resolving it, I would say we would have to resolve a lot of other issues first to be able to honestly even look at how sick that shit is.

Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers here in France?

M.I. – Thank you for taking the time to read this article and give us a chance to be heard. Hopefully those who aren’t familiar with us will give our music a listen and enjoy it. Merci

CUTT – Thanks for taking the time to listen. Thanks and to all who have supported us throughout the years.

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