Chicago producer DJ Earl today shared a delectably fluid remix of 21 Savage and Bulletproof Dolphin's collaboration with Nick Hook, "Head," off his debut LP Relationships from last year. Peeling back the hectic motions of Hook's original, Earl adds a curling lead synth to restructure the song's melodic foundations and emphasizes 21's vocal with a strong, simple, and bass-heavy arrangement.
Hook was recently a guest on Jubilee's Pre-Game Podcast for THUMP, and is currently on tour with El-P and Killer Mike, a.k.a. Run The Jewels. He's also anticipating the April 7 release of the deluxe 2LP edition of Relationships, which includes exclusive photos by the producer as well as handwritten liner notes.
Ahead of that, we spoke to Hook via email about the tour he's on, how he hopes to look back on Relationships, what he's got coming up in 2017, and more.
THUMP: What about DJ Earl's as a producer made you want to commission a remix from him?
Nick Hook: So many things. From a non-technical standpoint my favorite thing about the way Earl produces is how he circles energy. His background as a dancer and also as part of a marching band make the tracks translate so well on the dancefloor.
It's been amazing to see him progress since we've met. The whole world will know soon enough.
How have you felt about the reception of your album so far? Ten years from now, how do you hope to look back at the release as a body of work?
Honestly I couldn't feel any better about it. I had to finish the album three times over, and it was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. To trust the songs, to trust the business side, to trust that I would get through it was totally worth it.
I've gotten so much good feedback about the album. From what it made extremely close friends feel, to DMs on Instagram about how my approach to music inspired them. It's just the best feeling to know how much you made from an honest place, and letting go of what other people think. This is me, take it or leave it. I've been working so hard my whole life to get to that place.
The wild part about all this is that I never set out to make an album. I lost two of my friends on the same day, almost two years ago to the day as I write this. I had some wild feelings for a girl. I realized the studio and yoga were the sanctuaries for me to feel ok, and I put ALL my energy into my album and nothing else…
10 years from now I am going to look back and remember that that was the 2015 edition of me. Who I was with in the studio, who I was with in life, what workspace I was in. That was me. I will always be able to go right back to all that. Just like I can with my previous work, with music I've done with others. That's why it's called a record. Honest art is just encapsulating you at that time.
You're in the middle of a North American tour with Run The Jewels right now. How has that been so far? We know you've been a fan of theirs for some time.
It's been so fucking amazing. I could write a whole book about the tour already and It's only been 3 weeks! To see El and Mike destroy the fucking stage every night has put the whole tour into the mindset that we all gotta walk on stage and give it our all. Our security guard Jah has also been teaching us Jeet Kune Do, so Killer mike El and I have been throwing punches. The bus has been a magical experience. I've never been gifted this much weed on tour. This could go on forever, but yeah, It's been a fucking honor.
As far as being a fan, I've been a fan since literally day one. A large bulk of RTJ 1 and a bit of RTJ 2 was done in my studio. To see Mike and El come together was one of the most inspiring things I've ever seen in my life. It showed me that all of our paths are completely different. Some of them start at 10, some of them start at 24, some 37… But if you stay true to that path you will be rewarded.
Here's a video of us on RTJ 1 with Big Boi.
What are your plans for 2017 aside from this tour?
2017. Music videos from the album. More touring. I have a bunch of songs with Nadus that I would like to release, I have some music with Junglepussy in the works that I think is really special.
I need to go back to Mexico and talk to the gods down there. More yoga, more Europe. More reading, but most importantly I just want people to hear my album from front to back and I realize that going out to connect with people is the best way to do it.
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