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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week - Spills
Monday, December 20, 2010

If you’ve bounced along to Jesse Abraham’s “Yoga,” and if you frequent this site there’s a good chance that you have, you should know that the reason you were bouncing was one part Jessie Abraham and one part Spills. Spills is a producer who’s been working in NYC’s underground hip-hop scene for a number of years and his infectious sound, and long list of artists he’s been working with, is beginning to catch people’s attention in a major way. A handful of days ago, while Spills was on a flight to India, we shot emails back and forth for an interview. During this conversation that could only happen due to the wonders of technology Spills discussed his long history as a musician, how his ethnic background has affected his time in NYC and his music, and the very unfortunate way he came to be known as Spills.

Adam Bernard: As we do this interview you are on your way to India. What’s in India and how often do you make that flight? I hear it takes damned near 24 hours to get there.
Spills: My cousin is getting married. I'm also going to be recording / collaborating with some local musicians. As a child I used to go to India every year, but I haven't been there in about five years. The non-stop flight from New York to New Delhi is actually only about 13 hours. 

Adam Bernard: What do you do to stay sane on a flight that long?
Spills: To be honest, long plane rides are one of my favorite things in this world. I love having that much uninterrupted time to make beats, watch movies, eat plane food, which I LOVE, write answers to interview questions - from awesome bloggers - and nap. If I could live like that forever, never going outside, always in the air, I would. In fact, since I was a kid, every time I'm on a plane I fantasize about never landing, about how a gas-plane would have to pull up underneath us and fill us up so we could keep going, around and around the world forever, never stopping. I'm kinda weird.

Adam Bernard: So your goal is to live in the air, but where are you originally from and how did you first get into music?
Spills: I was born in Kerela, India. Spent my first six years there then moved to the UK, then to Florida, then to Lexington, Massachusetts, where I spent most of my childhood. Lexington High School has one of the best arts programs in the country - I played flute, tuba, flugelhorn and guitar with orchestral and jazz bands. I realized I wanted to spend my life making music when I saw a scene in a Ken Burns documentary where John Coltrane was playing his version of “My Favorite Things.” I had never seen or heard music that was so spiritual, so pure, so transcendent… my mind was utterly blown. Also, being surrounded by incredibly talented kids motivated me to practice hard. I've always loved learning and developing as a musician. I love being inspired.

Adam Bernard: Have you encountered any tensions due to your background while living in New York City?
Spills: Not at all. I did encounter subtle racism while growing up in the UK, and a little bit in Boston. In NYC, my background, and more importantly, my beard, has gotten me nothing but discounted halal food and cab rides.

Adam Bernard: That settles it, I have to grow a beard! Moving from food discounts to music, have you found your ethnic background having any effect on your work?
Spills: I suppose so. My early years were spent listening to Indian music, so I guess what I think “sounds good” will always be influenced by that. I especially enjoy using world percussion. I'm also into Arabic sounds and melodies; I find that they capture a deep, aching sorrow in a beautiful way. However, I think in this day and age, anyone can listen to, and be influenced by, any kind of music from all over the world. My background, or anyone's background for that matter, therefore doesn't really make that much of a difference. I think that's a beautiful thing.

Adam Bernard: Let’s talk more about your music. What’s your process like and what are your favorite pieces of equipment to use?
Spills: Usually I'm inspired by something I hear. We live in an age where it is possible to create any sound you can imagine and to share that with the world. There is so much amazing music and art coming out of Brooklyn, which never fails to get my juices flowing. In terms of equipment, all I really need is my Macbook Pro and my DT770 (beyerdynamic) headphones. I use a variety of different MIDI interfaces, depending on the situation. I run Reason 4 and Ableton Live through Logic Pro 8.

Adam Bernard: Jesse Abraham’s “Yoga,” which you produced, is a certified hit in NYC’s underground hip-hop scene and on YouTube. Where else might people have heard your work, and what are you working on, and who are you working with, next?
Spills: People may have heard Alphabutter, a project I dropped with Jesse Abraham early this year. They may have heard a joint I just dropped with Oveous Maximus via GlobalGrind called “Mr. Bustelo.” People may have heard some of my beats via BAB Collective. I think there are a bunch of other tracks floating out there, but its hard to keep track. I got a few projects lined up that I'm REALLY pumped for. I'm releasing a series of five song EPs with different artists. One will be with Cavalier of New Rap Order, who just got back from Japan where he destroyed the Tokyo Music Festival. That's going to be some straight 2015 hip-hop shit. I'll also be dropping an EP with Backwordz aka Baxter Wordzworth, tentatively titled Art Break, early next year. Listening to Bax on that project is like freezing your heart, shattering it into a thousand pieces, and having Salvador Dali rearrange it into a surrealist sculpture for you to put in your bedroom. Other than that I got some, one or two, beats on upcoming projects by some of my favorite NYC artists, including but not limited to: Warren Britt, MC K. Swift, Jesse Abraham, YC the Cynic, Top $ Raz, Dru the Monster, MC Faceman, BS and Albert Rhymestein aka Dollar Coffee, Otis Clapp, Truth Now, BAB Collective (Miz Metro, feleciacruz, Adrienne Mack-Davis & Erin Barra), and Final Outlaw.

Adam Bernard: Finally, how’d you end up with the name Spills?
Spills: I knocked over a glass of liquid while performing, destroying a $10,000 sound system.

Related Links

Website: spillsmusic.com
Twitter: twitter.com/spillsmusic


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:27 AM  
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