Anticon’s Odd Nosdam gives Sound Colour Vibration an exclusive interview
David P. Madson aka Odd Nosdam is a very well known figure in modern electronic and experimental music. As one of the co-founders of the Anticon Records in the 90’s and a leading voice in production for so many of the labels artists, Nosdam planted seed after seed in the 90’s and 2000’s. Sole, Doseone, Nosdam and many others in the Anticon circles innovated experimental hip hop in a way that was all there own. Mush Records was home to Nosdams most well known project with Doseone and Why?, cLOUDDEAD. Having worked on 100’s of productions released, film scoring projects, touring, splits, collaborations, remixes and other various works outside of his own projects, Nosdam has stayed busy musically for 20 years and has over 50 releases among his various groups to show for it. From Mike Patton’s Peeping Tom to his collaborative efforts with Why? under the moniker Reaching Quiet, Nosdam has been a staple of modern experimental music and serves as one of the founders of beat music.
When one of Nosdams beats is on, there is no mistaking who it is. His uniqueness and flavor will surely stand the test of time. A sample list of collaborations and groups Nosdam has worked with include cLOUDDEAD, Reaching Quiet, MadToons Beach Orchestra, Peeping Tom, Boards of Canada, The Notwist, Sole and The Skyrider Band, Genghis Tron, Themselves, Why?, Doseone, Greenthink, Sage Francis, Dosh, and Jel. This is only the beginning of how many artists and settings of creation he has found himself in. Nosdam is easily one of our favorite electronic producers, not even a question.
We contacted Odd Nosdam about opening up some dialogue on his career thus far and to find our what he has planned for release in the near future. These are the results of exactly what he sent us back.
Odd Nosdam interview with Sound Colour Vibration.
Conducted by Erik Otis.
In the 90’s when you were formulating a lot of the techniques that you use when producing music, who were some of the fellow producers around you that shaped your vision and what are some of the experiences you share in these times that stand out the most?
Dudes like Mr. Dibbs, Boom Bip, Yoni Wolf. went to high school with Fat Jon. One particularly memorable experience from 1998: Buck 65 joined Jel and Doseone in Cincinnati to work on the lost North American Adonis project. happened one day at the greenthink massion. Jel was knockin out the dopest beats like it was nuthin on the SP1200. Buck & Dose killin raps one take. quickly realized I needed to step my game up and soon after made a couple beats with Dose and Yoni in mind. they wrote, rapped, and called it cLOUDDEAD.
You self released your album Plan9 and later reissued it with Mush Records, what are your thoughts about that record when looking back at it now that it has been over a decade since its inception and release?
plan9… meat your hypnotis. my second tape, released in’99. still thinkin of it as a sketchbook mess of sounds and ideas. nosdam’s foundation.
The group a lot of people know your work from is cLOUDDEAD who also signed under the Mush label, how was it decided to release all the 10″ you guys did before compiling the first full length from all these special releases?
’99. one day Yoni Dose and I were kickin it at the Mush palace and played Lulu & Mr. Muush some music we’d just recorded, some shit we thought was pretty cool. dudes agreed and offered to release the shit on 7″ wax. but then someone had the idea of doing a series of 7 dead inchers. argument and we settled on six fucking 10 inch records. each of course with unique theme and guest like Illogic, Signify, Sole, Dibbs, Josiah
When creating music for cLOUDDEAD’s Ten album, how much of a concept and theme did you guys try and create together and how much of the album came out of spontaneous creation.
musically Ten was much more of a collaborative effort between the 3 of us. Im sure Dose and Yoni got pretty deeeeep, but I was not around for the writing sessions. was on beats & mixing. you heard about how yoni did shaker on 3 by rubbin with styrofoam his harry chest? cool shit
I did not hear about that, sounds crazy. You feature DJ Nobody doing a rare freestyle take on your debut record Plan9, how did you meet Nobody and what do you think of the Low End Theory family he is a part of?
lovin the Low End fam. super chill dudes bringing this beat shit full circle. much respect. regarding the rare rap on plan9, it’s not by the Low End Nobody, but by a Cincinnati cat called Nobody. dude was co-host of Dibbs’ radio show from back in the day.
Definitely did not know that, thanks for clearing that up for me. Having pioneered a wave of sound amongst the beat producers in the avantgarde field, who are your favorite producers from today’s generation?
Mike Slott, Teebs, Edan, Jonwayne, Tobacco, Mophono, Matthewdavid
You have lived in different cities and settings in your career, all while making various albums. In one of your albums you record a shake down from your apartment window, how much do you feel your surroundings affect your music?
Quite a bit. shake down & other fucked up situations were caught on tape while living in Oakland. at the time I was really into collaging the crap out of my music and recordings from the second floor window helped sharpen the emotional knife of Burner and Level Live Wires.
Jel is a producer that like yourself built many foundations in the experimental producer scene, what does his legacy mean to you and whats some of your favorite music from him?
Jerry Loguns. a good friend with good hair. feelin quite fortunate to have known dude for 12+ years. currently mixing his follow up LP to Soft Money. shit’s on some next level jel. very solid
You got to complete soundtrack music for the skateboard company Element, how did this opportunity arise and how challenging was the soundtrack to make?
Kirk Dianda, prior to landing his Element gig, used my tunes in some skateboard videos. for Element he’s directing their feature film ‘This Is My Element’ and has the idea of hiring Nosdam to custom create music to match the skater’s unique styles… most challenging aspect was sitting in editing room @ Element headquarters with skaters, viewing video parts & listening to music I composed. skaters were either completely cool or super bitchy like your boy Bam Margera. Dude throes a hoes fit = refuses to skate to “a fuckin beat” kinda crushed me. beat was ‘We Bad Apples’ however homies like Brent Atchley and Tony Tave were ultra chill and really inspiring to work wit. for Brent I made ‘Fly Mode’ for Tony ‘Wig Smasher’
I was fortunate enough to see you open up for Why? during his 2004 tour of the States and you did a video presentation of vintage project video images of slaughter houses, where roaches would disperse under excess blubber and fat left on the floors of these places amongst other vivid and repulsive imagery that defines our culture. Have you made many films projects like this and do you ever plan to release these types of films?
I do indeed dabble in video. the slaughter house footage is from a documentary titled ‘Meat’ by Frederick Wiseman. played some choice records along with his film.
You have released a few compilations, all self released simply titled Vol 8, Vol 9, etc. I got my hands on Vol 9 and really loved the beats, what compels you to still self release your material and how much material are you sitting on that could potentially see release in this series?
quotin’ Big Black “if you’re diggin’ what you’re doin’ keep on doin’ what you’re diggin”
You recorded with Why? and Dose One extensively, seeing an EP split release, cLOUDDEAD, remix work, guest appearances on all of your guys’ records and the collaboration groups Reaching Quiet and Greenthink. What have you gained from them and your time around them that you have not from any other human beings?
there is much to gain being creatively intimate with others
Flying Lotus, Teebs, Lorn and many others who have come after you are really making a name on the Brainfeeder imprint, whats your thoughts on the direction of the label and the music that has been coming out from them?
my first real exposure to the LA beat scene was @ a Low End Theory beat invitational in ’08. met guys like Matthewdavid, Ras G, Nocando. show blew me away. not only had I never experienced my music on such a powerful sound system before, but a lot of the stuff I was hearing that night really twisted my wig. so yeah, since that show Ive been a lot more open to what labels like Brainfeeder, Alpha Pup, and Leaving Records are releasing.
You are known for a lot unorthodox usages of samples, resulting in some really gritty and raw sounding production that not many touch upon. What is the gear that has helped you most with the results we have seen in your body of work?
constantly on the look for records records records and more records. Dr. Sample 202 303 404, MPC2000, SP1200, compressors, cassette track8, Pro Tools.
Burner and Level Live Wires were the latest full length albums to be released on Anticon Records from yourself. What were some of the most challenging and rewarding elements of composing and piecing those albums together?
them 2 records are the results of living in Cali post cLOUDDEAD. suppose the most challenging and rewarding element was keeping a steady focus and seeing the records through to completion.
Mike Patton is an artist you have worked with extensively for his group Peeping Tom, how did you come to meet him and how different was it working with him than other artists you have worked with?
We met through a mutual distributor, Southern UK. Mike hit Jel and me up for production assistance. we went over to his place, chilled in the basement and agreed to get down on some tunes. one noticeable difference with Mike is dude has better stories to tell.
cLOUDDEAD was fortunate enough to record with John Peel for his Peel sessions and release a record from the recordings, what was this experience like?
as with most things cLOUDDEAD, quite memorable. we did 2 Peel sessions. first one was recorded in Cali and released on 10″, second one was performed live in Peel’s studio. I chatted with Mr. Peel only briefly. he left a lasting impression for sure. much respect.
You have been releasing music non stop for well over a decade now, what are your plans for the future?
got a bunch of stuff in the works. next up: Serengeti LP + EP, both co-produced w/Jel.
Thanks for your time Odd Nosdam