Name: Þórður Ingi Jónsson aka Lord Pusswhip
Current release: Lord Pusswhip's new album – LORD PUSSWHIP IS RICH – is out via Heavy Knife (listen on Spotify).
Gear Recommendations: Effectrix is a dope glitch VST which I’ve used a lot. SubBoomBass by Rob Papen is a super fun synth VST.
If you enjoyed this interview with Lord Pusswhip and would like to explore his work in more depth, visit him on Instagram, Facebook, twitter, and Soundcloud. He also has a personal website.
What was your first studio like?
Oh my god, it was horrible!
Me and a group of friends in high school were renting a total shithole room near the harbor in my hometown Reykjavik. There were no windows, the carpet was filthy and there was a constant infestation of fruit flies for some reason. I remember we sampled a lot of vinyl back then, as I still do sometimes.
The digital studio promises endless possibilities at every step of the process. What is it that you actually need from these potentials and how do go about you selecting it? How do you keep control over the wealth of options at the production stage?
The way the digital studio is set up affects the eventual outcome, even though it promises us endless possibilities. Media is like languages, and you don’t have endless possibilities with languages because they have a definite structure and framework.
So, for example, the way the timeline on the digital studio is set up to go from A to B, that probably has huge effects on the outcome of the music you're making because it’s framing how you’re actually thinking about the music.
It’s a tool like anything. Like Orson Welles said: “The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.”
A studio can be as minimal as a laptop with headphones and as expansive as a multi-room recording facility. Which studio situation do you personally prefer – and why?
Honestly, I’m still learning about consoles and how the professional studio actually works, so I work mostly in the box. It’s funny how most modern producers, at least in hip-hop, usually just show up to a studio, put their laptop on top of the console and plug it into the speakers.
It’s been said by wise men that producers with the most broken, fucked up computers tend to make the best beats. When I was in the studio with Tony Seltzer from New York, who’s one of the best producers in the world right now, his laptop screen was all types of fucked up and shattered - I still don’t get how he managed to make beats on it right there, which he was doing fast too. I also saw him DJ a show with that computer!
Within a digital working environment, it is possible to compile huge archives of ideas for later use. Tell me a bit about your strategies of building such an archive and how you put these ideas and sketches to use.
I definitely love going back to old stuff that’s been collecting digital dust somewhere on my hard drive. I frequently remember some minute detail from an old unfinished beat or an old sample or loop that I never ended up doing anything with and use it for the beat I’m currently working on which needed that little bit of spice.
It’s a great feeling when it works out because you feel like you saved that element on your hard drive for a reason.
Despite the aforementioned near endless possibilities, many productions seem to follow conventional paths. How do you retain an element of surprise for your own work – are there technologies which are particularly useful in this regard?
I’ve heard people complain that using a digital studio won't result in as many “happy mistakes” as using all analog gear, but that’s not my experience - though it can obviously be more prevalent in analog audio.
I try to embrace any mistakes that might happen because sometimes new ideas might emerge from that.
Have there been technologies which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?
Soundflower totally changed my sampling game. It’s an add-on - basically just a virtual soundcard so you can record the source audio from your computer. This made it so much easier and faster.
Do you personally see a potential for deeper forms of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in your music?
For sure. I’ve heard interesting things from artists such as Holly Herndon and Arca working with A.I. in their music. It’s totally something I’d be interested in.
If you’re reading this and you’re working in A.I. and music, hit me up!