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Interviews With Dr Dre'
fly*
post Dec 5 2005, 05:04 PM
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DR. DRE INTERVIEW FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

from wca


Dr. Dre doesnít even listen to his old music, so donít think heís going to tell you what the bass line for ĒDeep CoverĒ is. It shall remain a mystery, as Dre prefers to keep much of his process. He also doesnít like to talk much. Why should he? The music speaks for itself. Dre is the measuring stick for how far hip-hopís come and where itís going. You canít deny the gift the man has for putting together some hot shit. Truth be told, he makes anyone sound good.

A few years ago, he said, ďFuck rap, you can have it back.Ē But itís been three years, and he still hasnít let go; heís got this rap shit in a chokehold. This is a man at the top of his game, but after speaking with him, you get the sense that this is just the beginning. Unlike some who feel constricted by the hip-hop format, Dre feels the music has no limitations. Heís about to take this hip-hop thing to another level. Picture him with a 40-piece orchestra at his fingertips, and you begin to realize how serious it is.

We managed to chop it up with him for a minute about beats, his process, and the life of the super producer. Heís sold over 50 million records and influenced the sound of music more than anyone in the game, but he just wants to keep making beats that snap necks. Dr. Dre is a man with vision. Heís trying to help you see it too.



So youíve decided not to release your new album Detox?

I decided not to do it because I didnít think it would be fair to all the artists that I want to work with. Iím really hard on myself when it comes to my own record, so it would have taken nine or ten months of my time. I could get two or three artistsí albums done in that amount of time, so I decided just to back off of it. I cut a couple of songs, and I was digging the way I was sounding on the mic. Thereís always something to write about. I mean if I didnít have a label to run, and a lot of artists to put out, it would be a different story, then I could just totally concentrate on self. Building my company and getting these artists out is my main priority right now. I spread out the tracks that I did for the record to the other artists Iím working with. I donít think anybodyís going to be mad about it after they hear what Iím doing.


Are inspired by anything thatís going on out there?

I donít think Iím really inspired by anything thatís going on out there right now. Iím not really mad at it, but thereís nothing thatís really motivating me right now except for the artists Iím working with. Iím not just saying that because theyíre with my label. These artists are coming in with some hot new ideas so itís just the stuff that Iím working with thatís inspiring. Thereís nothing out there thatís really different. Thereís nobody doing or saying anything that I havenít heard before.


You have a very strong work ethic, spending days in the studio at a time, working on things over and over until you get it right. How do you know when somethingís done?

Itís a feeling I get when itís right, so I just keep going until I get that feeling. Itís like a butterfly type feeling. When I hit it, and itís right, and the mix is right, thatís when itís time to come out. Nothing leaves this studio until I get that feeling.


Whatís a typical session like for you?

I donít go out to clubs and party like I used to. I just get up, go to the gym, come to the studio. Usually I get to the studio around 3 PM, and my hours can vary anywhere from two hours to, I mean, my record is 79 hours non stop. As long as the ideas are flowing, Iím in here. I feel when I come to the studio, I have the same energy today as I did 20 years ago when I started. I still feel it, I love music.


Can you tell me a little bit about the collaborative process in the studio?

I use the same engineer every day. I work with the same player or players every day. Once I find something thatís working for me, and I dig it, thatís it. I work with a player named Mike Elizondo, itís usually just me and him. Heís a bassist, and heís learning keys and guitar right now. So itís pretty much just me, him, and my engineer Veto (Mauricio Iragorri) in the studio every day just grinding out the tracks; we just go. Every day I come in the studio I try to lay at least two or three tracks down, at least that, before we start working on vocals.


How important is the engineer in your process?

The engineer is very important. Working with me, the engineerís almost got to have ESP to know what Iím thinking, and he has that. Itís like body language, he can almost feel what Iím getting ready to ask him for. Itís a building process, and it took us a while to get to that point. Weíve been working together for years, probably since í98 or í99.


What is that makes a good MC to you?

Again, itís just a feeling that I get. Itís a look that I look for, itís the way that they carry themselves. Of course, the talent has to be there. I look for somebody that when you hear their voice, you know itís them right off the top, itís no question. And we have to be able to get along. The talent gets you in the door, the personality keeps you there. I have to feel like I can work with somebody that I wouldnít mind leaving the studio and going to have dinner with and just chopping it up. That has nothing less than that. I want somebody thatís gonna come in and work, and be ready to fucking really do they thing. Because Iím the first one here, and Iím the last one to leave, I tell Ďem, ďYou canít work hared than me, but try to keep up.Ē


What inspires you?

Just music in general, man. I love making music. This is what I was put here to do, to make music. I love doing this, man, itís almost like a high for me. If Iím out of the studio too long, it feels funny. I got this feeling like, ďDamn, this could have been the day I came up with fucking ĎBillie Jeaní or some shit.Ē If Iím not in the studio, it always crosses my mind.


Do you know when you have ĎBillie Jeaní or a big hit?

Yeah, right off. Like I said, itís a feeling. Most of the time that record comes fast. Itís not one of those things where youíre working on the same record for two weeks, usually that record comes in a couple of hours.


Can you talk a bit about some of the equipment you use?

I love using the MPC3000. I like setting up like four or five different MPC3000ís, so I donít have to keep changing disks. So I have them all lined up, and I have different drum sounds in each one, and then we use one for sequencing the keyboard.


Can tell me a bit about your process of recording drums?

We really take a lot of time on getting the right drum sounds. We EQ the drums before we sample them into the MPC, and then once we come up with the track, we spend a lot of time EQing the drums before we record them into Pro Tools. We take quite a bit of time to get that right, because I know itís one of the things that people like about my music. Iíve used the same drum sounds on a couple of different songs on one album before but youíd never be able to tell the difference because of the EQ.


You mentioned Pro Tools.

I had Pro Tools right when it came out, but I wasnít a fan of it because I lost a little bit of my low end before they perfected it. So, I used to just use Pro Tools for sequencing the albums. But now I think theyíve perfected it enough for me to roll with it, so Iíve been using it quite a bit.


But youíre still using a lot of analog keyboards, I saw a Wurlitzer in the studio, a Fender Rhodes?

Yeah, I love the old school sounds. ARP String Ensemble, Rhodes, old school Clavinet, the whole shit. Iím a big keyboard fan. I donít really dig working with samples because youíre so limited when you sample.


But you came from a sampling background?

Actually, most of my music has been played. Back when we started with the N.W.A. thing, it was a lot of drum loops, drum samples, and what have you. But if we were going to sample something, we would try to at least replay it, get musicians in and replay it. If it was something we couldnít replay, we would use the sample. Iíve tried to stay away from it as much as possible throughout my career from day one.


Any surprising musical influences?

Iím a big P-Funk fan, that was it for me growing up. Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, I was influences by all of those guys. Thatís what really motivated me to use live instruments on my records. Just listening to the way they put their records together. That appreciation came from my mother. There was always music being played in my house when I was growing up, and thatís all I heard was 70ís soul. And then the DJing thing came along.


How did you get into DJing?

What motivated me to want to DJ was Grandmaster Flash. I heard ďThe Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of SteelĒ and I was blown away. So, me and a friend of mine at the time decided to tear apart a couple of component sets and make our own little mixer and two turntables. And not too long after that, my mom got me a mixer, and that was it for me. But I would have to give credit to Grandmaster Flash for getting me into the business. We had dinner once in New York, heís a cool brother.


Do you think your DJing background has made you a better producer?

Definitely. I would definitely not be as good of a producer if I hadnít started DJing. Because thatís where I really started paying attention to how records are made. I would critique and just listen and say, ďI would have done this different.Ē So that definitely was a stepping stone to what Iím doing now.


When did you realize this is something you were good at? That this is something you wanted to do the rest of your life?

This club I was DJing at at the time had a little demo studio in the back of it. I made a couple of demos, played them in the club, and got a good response. So I just started making it a little bit better here and there, and the next thing you know I had a record out. Everybody was digging it, so I decided that this was the job I was going to take.


Hooking up with Eminem has been a big turning point for you. Did you know he was going to have the effect he did?

I knew it was going to be big. I didnít know it was going to be this big. I didnít know it was going to be half this big. I knew people were going to get into him, and love him, and just think heís a crazy ass white boy. But I had no idea it was Oscar bound. Itís a perfect example of an artist coming in and taking advantage of the situation. Thatís what he did, he came in, and he works his ass off. Everybody that came in the studio and really put their thing down, and really put it together has been successful with me. Everybody else that Iíve worked with thatís slacking ends up having to go to somewhere else to do their thing.


So itís either put up or shut up?

Thatís it, you got to come in and go to work, man. I open the door, like I said, youíre not going to work harder than me. The harder you work, the harder Iím going to work. At least Iím going to try to make sure thatís happening.


Do you think itís hard for some people to push themselves to that level? Do they have different expectations?

I think some people that Iíve worked with expect to come in and for me to wave a magic wand and say, ďDing, hit record!Ē But itís not like that. You have to come in and give some energy, and we have to put the same amount of work in on the record. Itís not just going to be me putting my hand in your back and moving you around like a puppet.


Some say hip-hop is a young manís game, yet you defy that. How?

I donít think itís a young manís game. Itís all in how youíre putting it together, and how youíre carrying yourself. If you feel old, itís going to turn out like that. I donít even think about that. I feel like I could turn 50 and still make a hot hip-hop record.


Is there potential for a hip-hop Rolling Stones, still rocking the mic at 70?

I think so. I donít I want to necessarily see a 50-year old rapper, but being behind the scenes, making tracks, and producing, thereís no age limit on that. Itís all about whoís keeping it hot. You could make a hot hip-hop record if youíre 70, you just gotta know whatís going on in here, and know what the people want. If people are talking about somebody being too old, that means that sound is getting too old. Itís time to start your game over, reinvent yourself or something.


Is that what you do?

Thatís exactly what I do; I try to reinvent myself. If you keep doing the same thing, people are going to get tired of it, thatís when it becomes old. So, I gotta keep reinventing myself. Plus, when I put a record out, I think a lot of people are influenced by my music, and I think thereís a lot of shit that comes out that sounds similar to mine. That makes the sound become old a little bit faster, so I definitely have to keep reinventing myself and trying new things.


Have you ever considered producing a non-hip-hop album?

Definitely, I would love to do a rock album. I would love to do a Black rock album. Ghetto Metal. Itís just a matter of the right lead singer coming along. Once that happens Iím off and running. Thatís all I need is a singer, weíll put the band together later. If I get the right front man, Iím going to try that.


Is the music industry ready for a Black rock band?

Theyíll be ready for anything thatís hot. If itís hot and itís different, and itís working... Look at Lenny Kravitz. Heís hot as shit.


You seem like a real perfectionist.

I am a perfectionist, but it has a lot to do with the people that are around you. They have to have the same vision, the same motivation. It takes a while to get the right people around you; it takes a long time. But I think Iíve finally done it, I think this is going to be my crew for a while.


Youíve contributed work to a number of soundtracks. Have you ever considered scoring a film?

Yeah, thatís one of the things I want to get into. I started studying music theory, learning how to read and write music. Itís been over two years, so Iím really getting involved in that. I definitely want to get into scoring movies. I have to have the knowledge, so I think in the next four or five years Iíll have it down, Iíll be ready. Iím not even going to attempt to do something if I donít think Iím going to be great at it. I know for a fact thatís something that I could be good at, but I have to get the knowledge first. Thatís almost like learning a new language. I have to really understand what Iím doing, I have to learn that language. It takes a while, and I want to be the best at it, so Iím going to put the time in.

Has learning music theory influenced what youíre doing in the studio?

A little bit. Itís actually broadened the way I look at music and listen to it, just knowing how the notes are placed. I pay attention to all that a little bit more now. A while back, I thought it would hurt me, I thought I would start paying too close attention, and maybe miss something. But I think itís helping out. And once I really get that shit, ďLook out!Ē (laughs)

Youíve got more money than these dudes out here that are still talking about cars and jewels, yet you donít focus on that in your music. What keeps you rooted?

I talked about it a little bit when I was younger, but this is a job, man, thatís all it is. Iím serious about music. Itís a job, and I want to get paid of course, but I donít need to talk about it. If I was a plumber, I wouldnít talk about the money I was making, Iíd just talk about my job. Iíd be talking about pipes and shit. All I want to talk about is the music and how we can better it.


How can we better it?

I think we just need producers who are willing to stick their necks out there and try new and different things. I love Outkast and what theyíre doing because theyíre trying some new and different things, and itís working for them. They stick their necks out there, and it works and I love that. Thatís what we have to get more of.

Anybody else stand out? We spoke with Nottz for this first issue, and he was very excited about having contributed tracks to Detox.

Yeah, I got a couple of things from him thatíll probably be used for somebody else now. I like Nottz. I love Kanye West. I love the Neptunes of course, they have their thing, theyíre trying new things. Who else? Just Blaze. Timbaland. Hi-Tek is hot as shit, I love Hi-Tek. This new guy weíre working with right now, we just signed as a producer, his nameís Focus. Heís a new up-and-coming producer, heís hot as shit.

I understand youíve recently sent some beats to Burt Bacharach.

We did a little thing together. My piano teacher introduced us. Burt Bacharach came by the studio, and we chopped it up for a little while. I gave him a couple of skeleton tracks on a CD, and he went home and played some piano over it. The next thing I know they had this jazz trumpet player play on the record, and it sounded hot. I think theyíre going to put it out. I would like to really get in, and do something from scratch with him as opposed to me giving him a track, and him going to his studio and doing his thing, and us sending it back and forth.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully, Iíll have my music theory down and I can score a movie or two at that time. Iíll definitely be making hip-hop records, looking for new hot artists. Iím really trying to score some movies though, thatís what Iím working on. Thatís a big challenge. To conduct a big ass string section doing something that I wrote would be ridiculous. Thatís the dream right now.


Whatís your legacy? What do you want to be remembered by?

I donít really think about that. My thing is just coming in here and making records, and hopefully people will go out and buy it and bump it. Iím just trying to come in and better myself when Iím in here. If I had to give an answer to that Iíd say that Iíd like to be remembered as a person who really cared about his music, and really entertained people with my talent. I just want to be remembered as being the shit.


And thats not all folks....

Dr Dre in the Lab

from www.hiphopgame.com

Recently, the Los Angeles Times did a survey among 22 record company executives to name the artists they believe will sell the most records over the next seven years. Dr. Dre was at the top of that list. One executive said that Dre, who won a Grammy in February for Producer of the Year, might be the greatest talent in the music business right now. Hip-hop is the most dynamic sound in pop, and he?s the king of hip-hop.

As I walk into Record One in Studio City, Chatman is in between juggling phone calls and greets me with a warm smile, informing me that Dre is on his way. He invites me into the control room where Dr. Dre?s Dream Team is already warming up. Ensconced in Studio B, engineer ?Veto? (a.k.a. Mauricio Iragorri) is tinkering on the SSL 8000, while Mike Elizondo, bass player, and Scott Storch, the expert on keys, file into the studio. The activity seems normal, even mundane, until Dr. Dre walks into the room. The vibe in the control room shifts up a level of energy. During a lunch break, the conversation turned to a VH-1 documentary on The Doors that Dre had seen the previous night, and, after commenting on how much he liked the keyboard sound, Scott Storch immediately launched into what was a near-perfect rendition of the classic Doors sound. Soon Mike Elizondo had joined in on bass, Dre added a beat at the turntable, and, before you knew it, a song was born!

Contrary to media reports that his recording sessions are filled with drugs, alcohol, and gang warfare, all I saw was positive energy, professional vibe, creativity, and solid business. After completing a call with his prot駩 Eminem (a.k.a. Marshall Mathers), where he was advising the young rapper on some crucial business decisions, Dre turned his attention to the interview at hand...

Dr. Dre can be described as many things : a catalyst, an astute businessman, an innovator, but perhaps the most interesting description of the man, born 35 years ago as Andre Young, is his description of himself as 'a motivator.' 'I?m a very good motivator,' he shares. 'I direct well. I?m a person that will spend three or four hours working on one line of a song to get it correct. I have to be able to work with artists who are ready to go through that torture.' Some of the artists that have signed up for his unique brand of ?torture? are Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and the hardcore rap group N.W.A., which Dre founded in the mid ?80s with fellow rapper Ice Cube and signed to Eazy-E?s Ruthless Records.

Although Dr. Dre had been rapping and DJing since his early years growing up in one of L.A.?s rougher neighborhoods, Compton, he?s surprisingly realistic about where his truest talents lie, and that?s in production. In addition to being credited with inventing gangsta rap, he?s responsible for creating his own musical style : G-Funk. This patented, often imitated style of music immediately became the defining characteristic of the entire generation of music. There are few that would argue that from the introduction of G-Funk, Dre?s sounds and rhythms shaped the future of rap music, while impacting its history at every turn.

One of the key moments in Dr. Dre?s career came in 1992, when he founded Death Row Records with his friend Suge Knight. This became a platform for Dre?s obvious production talents. He released only one solo record for Death Row, the critically acclaimed The Chronic. While the production values behind G-Funk dominated the hip-hop world for the next four years, collaborations with stepbrother Warren G and the immense success of Snoop Dogg?s 1993 debut Doggystyle cemented Dre?s name on the list of the most powerful and influential men in the music industry. Unfortunately, all of this success did not prevent the eventual collapse of the record label in 1996 amid financial difficulties and creative differences, not to mention a lengthy murder trial for the label?s star, Snoop Doggy Dog.

The businessman in Dr. Dre had matured through all the challenges and obstacles of the ?80s and early ?90s. His instincts served him well when he made the decision to bail from Death Row Records almost a year before its ultimate demise. Eventually, he formed Aftermath Records and turned his production, mixing, and writing energy toward a young rapper he found in Detroit called Eminem. This collaboration not only resulted in Eminem?s 1999 debut record, The Slim Shady LP, and the multi-platinum smash follow-up The Marshall Mathers LP, but also a Grammy for their collaboration on 2001?s Forgot About Dre.

Dre explains, 'Forgot About Dre? was actually Marshall?s idea. He said I have an idea for a song, I just need some music to it. So he sent the chorus to me and then we went to work on our music. We recorded it at Granny?s House Studio in Reno, and then we put the song together in a couple of hours.' The collaboration also garnered him a Grammy for Producer of the Year. 'That was big,' confides Dre. 'I love the fact that I didn?t have to go on stage and give a thank you speech. I didn?t have anything written down. As it turned out, when they called my name for Producer of the Year, I just stood up. That?s going to be the perfect ending to my life story.'

Perhaps he should start preparing his acceptance speech for next year now because an Engineer of the Year Grammy is certainly not out of the question for the technically savvy Dre. He humbly admits that, although he defers to his engineer of choice, Veto, on certain things, he himself is the man behind the board for the majority of the projects he works on. His roots in recording began in a small studio in the back of a club in Compton where he used to DJ. 'I would just come in there during the week and just try to create my songs, just messing around, seeing if I had it. I would play them in the clubs on the weekend and I would get good responses, so I just kept doing it and it became my profession.'He continues, 'I learned how to engineer basically from that club. I also learned a lot from this engineer, Donovan, at Audio Achievements in Torrance. We used to work together a lot, and I eventually started working by myself on mixes. I wanted it to sound a certain way and I felt nobody was going to be able to dig in my brain and get the sound out that I wanted except me. Everyday I would learn something new. I?m actually still learning with all the new technology.

Through the years, as any engineer would, Dre has defined his choices in audio gear. He?s candid about his love for any and all Solid State Logic consoles, as well as the Studer A827. He always uses Quantegy 499 tape. His mic of choice is the Sony C800G, which is the only mic he ever uses on vocals. When recording vocals with the Sony mic, he runs it through a Neve 1073 mic pre, and then through the SSL compressor and a dbx 160, but he admits to very little EQ on the vocal. Dre explains, 'I usually record vocals flat. The only time I put EQ on vocals when recording is if I know for a fact that I?m going to want it to sound like that during the mix.' He continues, 'When I want a little more crispness out of the mic, I use the 1073 EQ with just a little high end. I don?t use too much compression; maybe 4:1 with the outputs set to zero. I usually do my compression afterwards. I like the compressors on the SSL. I usually have the ratio up to about eight or ten on a lot of things.' Dre, a die-hard fan of analog recording, is one of the few producer/engineer?s left in the world that have not jumped on the Pro Tools bandwagon and, true to form, he makes no apologies for that.

'I tried digital a couple of times and I don?t really like it. There?s just something about it. For me, it?s not fast enough just yet. I tried to record into Pro Tools and got one of the best Pro Tools operators down to record the music, and it?s just not me. Not yet,' he concludes. 'We had the Sony 3348 in the studio, and I tried a couple of songs on it and it didn?t give me the sound I wanted. The kick drum started sounding transparent. It wasn?t good.' When it?s time to mix down, Dre makes the unusual choice of mixing straight to DAT, so you can imagine that the DAT machine is a key element in any studio he chooses to work in. Dre?s DAT machine preference is the Panasonic 3800.

The question on everyone?s mind, though, is what gear does Dr. Dre turn to make his signature beats? Engineer ?Veto? confides that there?s a laundry list of toys that make a Dre session complete. 'The brain of the whole thing is the MIDI sequencer, the Akai MPC3000. We use the Korg Triton keyboard. Usually that?s the controller ? the Nord Lead and Korg?s MS2000. Lately we?ve been trying out the Alesis Andromeda A6. Someone recommended a Waldorf cue, and we seem to like that one as well. They let us try it for a day and we said, 'Yes, we?ll keep it!' You might also find a nice array of vintage keyboards on hand, including those by Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Moog, and Roland. But Veto says what you won?t find in use on a Dre session is a lot of outboard gear.'

'We don?t use a lot of outboard gear,' Dre concurs. 'I doctor the vocal as far as de-essing and maybe some low-end EQ for the kicks. We use a lot of EQ on the console and all the limiters. Most of it comes out of the SSL and into the quad compressor. I like the sound of it on the mix bus. That?s the SSL quad compressor in the center of the console'.

Dr. Dre certainly knows his way around the studio and in and out of a ?tool box. This knowledge he credits to once having his own studio, complete with an SSL 4000E/G. 'We did a lot of Eminem?s first record at my home studio. Actually the first song we did together, ?My Name Is,? was done there,' remembers Dre. Eventually he removed the studio from his home and is now vocal about his love and support of the professional, commercial facility. 'I kind of got tired of having a home studio because you get to the point where you want to feel like you?re going to work. Plus, sometimes you have to work with people and there?s just some people you don?t want in your house', he laughs.

This love for the commercial recording facility has Dr. Dre hanging out on a regular basis at L.A. recording hotspots like Larrabee West, Encore, and, of course, Record One. 'We mix most everything at Larrabee West. I just like a studio that?s comfortable, has a lot of space, and, very important, has a lounge with a kitchen,? he shares. ?The equipment is important, but, to be honest, I?m still working on the same board I?ve worked on since 1990. The important part is who?s pushing the buttons.'

Dr. Dre just finished 'pushing the buttons' on a new project, D12, the first act on Eminem?s label, Shady Records. D12 is an 'incredible group' Dre praises. 'All the guys in the group are great musicians. They all have really crazy personalities, you know, and I love working with them. I think they?re going to be a big group. Eminem is the sixth member in the group.' Also on the horizon for Dr. Dre is his first foray into surround sound mixing. 'I?m going to record and mix my next record in 5.1, so it gives me a whole new world to work with. Hopefully, then people can just throw it in their DVD player and have a little blast of entertainment.'

One thing that?s evident about Dre is that he strives to keep his audience entertained regardless of what he?s doing. He wants the records he makes to stand out and intrigue the fans long after they first listen. He ensures this, he says, by putting what he calls his ?sprinkles? into the mix. He explains,'People come up to me on the street and say, ?I hear something different every time I listen to your record.? That?s what I like to hear ? that?s the sprinkles.'Even when he?s self-producing, he challenges himself constantly. I really take a lot of time on each song and make sure it?s okay ? I?m my worst critic. I want to make sure it?s right.

The multi-faceted Dre has put plans in place to expand his empire by adding two more talents ? acting and directing ? to his already impressive resume. Dre fans can look forward to a Snoop/Dre reunion with the release of a movie they?re currently filming together, The Wash. The power duo will also collaborate on the soundtrack of this ?dramedy.? Dre spills another interesting tidbit ? he?s going to direct a movie within the next year. 'The first movie I?m doing is called Raincoat. It?s all about?condoms,? he muses with a grin. Acting is a true passion that he intends to explore fully in the future. ?I want to do a really big movie and have it come across really good. I want it to have the same feeling that my records give people. This movie is going to be interesting.'

We would expect nothing less from The Doctor.
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CindyLove
post Nov 27 2009, 04:37 PM
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Read this...and feel that this needs to be re-read again and again...might also be inspirational to others. smile.gif

QUOTE (fly* @ Dec 5 2005, 05:04 PM) *
DR. DRE INTERVIEW FROM SCRATCH MAGAZINE

from wca


Dr. Dre doesnít even listen to his old music, so donít think heís going to tell you what the bass line for ĒDeep CoverĒ is. It shall remain a mystery, as Dre prefers to keep much of his process. He also doesnít like to talk much. Why should he? The music speaks for itself. Dre is the measuring stick for how far hip-hopís come and where itís going. You canít deny the gift the man has for putting together some hot shit. Truth be told, he makes anyone sound good.

A few years ago, he said, ďFuck rap, you can have it back.Ē But itís been three years, and he still hasnít let go; heís got this rap shit in a chokehold. This is a man at the top of his game, but after speaking with him, you get the sense that this is just the beginning. Unlike some who feel constricted by the hip-hop format, Dre feels the music has no limitations. Heís about to take this hip-hop thing to another level. Picture him with a 40-piece orchestra at his fingertips, and you begin to realize how serious it is.

We managed to chop it up with him for a minute about beats, his process, and the life of the super producer. Heís sold over 50 million records and influenced the sound of music more than anyone in the game, but he just wants to keep making beats that snap necks. Dr. Dre is a man with vision. Heís trying to help you see it too.



So youíve decided not to release your new album Detox?

I decided not to do it because I didnít think it would be fair to all the artists that I want to work with. Iím really hard on myself when it comes to my own record, so it would have taken nine or ten months of my time. I could get two or three artistsí albums done in that amount of time, so I decided just to back off of it. I cut a couple of songs, and I was digging the way I was sounding on the mic. Thereís always something to write about. I mean if I didnít have a label to run, and a lot of artists to put out, it would be a different story, then I could just totally concentrate on self. Building my company and getting these artists out is my main priority right now. I spread out the tracks that I did for the record to the other artists Iím working with. I donít think anybodyís going to be mad about it after they hear what Iím doing.


Are inspired by anything thatís going on out there?

I donít think Iím really inspired by anything thatís going on out there right now. Iím not really mad at it, but thereís nothing thatís really motivating me right now except for the artists Iím working with. Iím not just saying that because theyíre with my label. These artists are coming in with some hot new ideas so itís just the stuff that Iím working with thatís inspiring. Thereís nothing out there thatís really different. Thereís nobody doing or saying anything that I havenít heard before.


You have a very strong work ethic, spending days in the studio at a time, working on things over and over until you get it right. How do you know when somethingís done?

Itís a feeling I get when itís right, so I just keep going until I get that feeling. Itís like a butterfly type feeling. When I hit it, and itís right, and the mix is right, thatís when itís time to come out. Nothing leaves this studio until I get that feeling.


Whatís a typical session like for you?

I donít go out to clubs and party like I used to. I just get up, go to the gym, come to the studio. Usually I get to the studio around 3 PM, and my hours can vary anywhere from two hours to, I mean, my record is 79 hours non stop. As long as the ideas are flowing, Iím in here. I feel when I come to the studio, I have the same energy today as I did 20 years ago when I started. I still feel it, I love music.


Can you tell me a little bit about the collaborative process in the studio?

I use the same engineer every day. I work with the same player or players every day. Once I find something thatís working for me, and I dig it, thatís it. I work with a player named Mike Elizondo, itís usually just me and him. Heís a bassist, and heís learning keys and guitar right now. So itís pretty much just me, him, and my engineer Veto (Mauricio Iragorri) in the studio every day just grinding out the tracks; we just go. Every day I come in the studio I try to lay at least two or three tracks down, at least that, before we start working on vocals.


How important is the engineer in your process?

The engineer is very important. Working with me, the engineerís almost got to have ESP to know what Iím thinking, and he has that. Itís like body language, he can almost feel what Iím getting ready to ask him for. Itís a building process, and it took us a while to get to that point. Weíve been working together for years, probably since í98 or í99.


What is that makes a good MC to you?

Again, itís just a feeling that I get. Itís a look that I look for, itís the way that they carry themselves. Of course, the talent has to be there. I look for somebody that when you hear their voice, you know itís them right off the top, itís no question. And we have to be able to get along. The talent gets you in the door, the personality keeps you there. I have to feel like I can work with somebody that I wouldnít mind leaving the studio and going to have dinner with and just chopping it up. That has nothing less than that. I want somebody thatís gonna come in and work, and be ready to fucking really do they thing. Because Iím the first one here, and Iím the last one to leave, I tell Ďem, ďYou canít work hared than me, but try to keep up.Ē


What inspires you?

Just music in general, man. I love making music. This is what I was put here to do, to make music. I love doing this, man, itís almost like a high for me. If Iím out of the studio too long, it feels funny. I got this feeling like, ďDamn, this could have been the day I came up with fucking ĎBillie Jeaní or some shit.Ē If Iím not in the studio, it always crosses my mind.


Do you know when you have ĎBillie Jeaní or a big hit?

Yeah, right off. Like I said, itís a feeling. Most of the time that record comes fast. Itís not one of those things where youíre working on the same record for two weeks, usually that record comes in a couple of hours.


Can you talk a bit about some of the equipment you use?

I love using the MPC3000. I like setting up like four or five different MPC3000ís, so I donít have to keep changing disks. So I have them all lined up, and I have different drum sounds in each one, and then we use one for sequencing the keyboard.


Can tell me a bit about your process of recording drums?

We really take a lot of time on getting the right drum sounds. We EQ the drums before we sample them into the MPC, and then once we come up with the track, we spend a lot of time EQing the drums before we record them into Pro Tools. We take quite a bit of time to get that right, because I know itís one of the things that people like about my music. Iíve used the same drum sounds on a couple of different songs on one album before but youíd never be able to tell the difference because of the EQ.


You mentioned Pro Tools.

I had Pro Tools right when it came out, but I wasnít a fan of it because I lost a little bit of my low end before they perfected it. So, I used to just use Pro Tools for sequencing the albums. But now I think theyíve perfected it enough for me to roll with it, so Iíve been using it quite a bit.


But youíre still using a lot of analog keyboards, I saw a Wurlitzer in the studio, a Fender Rhodes?

Yeah, I love the old school sounds. ARP String Ensemble, Rhodes, old school Clavinet, the whole shit. Iím a big keyboard fan. I donít really dig working with samples because youíre so limited when you sample.


But you came from a sampling background?

Actually, most of my music has been played. Back when we started with the N.W.A. thing, it was a lot of drum loops, drum samples, and what have you. But if we were going to sample something, we would try to at least replay it, get musicians in and replay it. If it was something we couldnít replay, we would use the sample. Iíve tried to stay away from it as much as possible throughout my career from day one.


Any surprising musical influences?

Iím a big P-Funk fan, that was it for me growing up. Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, I was influences by all of those guys. Thatís what really motivated me to use live instruments on my records. Just listening to the way they put their records together. That appreciation came from my mother. There was always music being played in my house when I was growing up, and thatís all I heard was 70ís soul. And then the DJing thing came along.


How did you get into DJing?

What motivated me to want to DJ was Grandmaster Flash. I heard ďThe Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of SteelĒ and I was blown away. So, me and a friend of mine at the time decided to tear apart a couple of component sets and make our own little mixer and two turntables. And not too long after that, my mom got me a mixer, and that was it for me. But I would have to give credit to Grandmaster Flash for getting me into the business. We had dinner once in New York, heís a cool brother.


Do you think your DJing background has made you a better producer?

Definitely. I would definitely not be as good of a producer if I hadnít started DJing. Because thatís where I really started paying attention to how records are made. I would critique and just listen and say, ďI would have done this different.Ē So that definitely was a stepping stone to what Iím doing now.


When did you realize this is something you were good at? That this is something you wanted to do the rest of your life?

This club I was DJing at at the time had a little demo studio in the back of it. I made a couple of demos, played them in the club, and got a good response. So I just started making it a little bit better here and there, and the next thing you know I had a record out. Everybody was digging it, so I decided that this was the job I was going to take.


Hooking up with Eminem has been a big turning point for you. Did you know he was going to have the effect he did?

I knew it was going to be big. I didnít know it was going to be this big. I didnít know it was going to be half this big. I knew people were going to get into him, and love him, and just think heís a crazy ass white boy. But I had no idea it was Oscar bound. Itís a perfect example of an artist coming in and taking advantage of the situation. Thatís what he did, he came in, and he works his ass off. Everybody that came in the studio and really put their thing down, and really put it together has been successful with me. Everybody else that Iíve worked with thatís slacking ends up having to go to somewhere else to do their thing.


So itís either put up or shut up?

Thatís it, you got to come in and go to work, man. I open the door, like I said, youíre not going to work harder than me. The harder you work, the harder Iím going to work. At least Iím going to try to make sure thatís happening.


Do you think itís hard for some people to push themselves to that level? Do they have different expectations?

I think some people that Iíve worked with expect to come in and for me to wave a magic wand and say, ďDing, hit record!Ē But itís not like that. You have to come in and give some energy, and we have to put the same amount of work in on the record. Itís not just going to be me putting my hand in your back and moving you around like a puppet.


Some say hip-hop is a young manís game, yet you defy that. How?

I donít think itís a young manís game. Itís all in how youíre putting it together, and how youíre carrying yourself. If you feel old, itís going to turn out like that. I donít even think about that. I feel like I could turn 50 and still make a hot hip-hop record.


Is there potential for a hip-hop Rolling Stones, still rocking the mic at 70?

I think so. I donít I want to necessarily see a 50-year old rapper, but being behind the scenes, making tracks, and producing, thereís no age limit on that. Itís all about whoís keeping it hot. You could make a hot hip-hop record if youíre 70, you just gotta know whatís going on in here, and know what the people want. If people are talking about somebody being too old, that means that sound is getting too old. Itís time to start your game over, reinvent yourself or something.


Is that what you do?

Thatís exactly what I do; I try to reinvent myself. If you keep doing the same thing, people are going to get tired of it, thatís when it becomes old. So, I gotta keep reinventing myself. Plus, when I put a record out, I think a lot of people are influenced by my music, and I think thereís a lot of shit that comes out that sounds similar to mine. That makes the sound become old a little bit faster, so I definitely have to keep reinventing myself and trying new things.


Have you ever considered producing a non-hip-hop album?

Definitely, I would love to do a rock album. I would love to do a Black rock album. Ghetto Metal. Itís just a matter of the right lead singer coming along. Once that happens Iím off and running. Thatís all I need is a singer, weíll put the band together later. If I get the right front man, Iím going to try that.


Is the music industry ready for a Black rock band?

Theyíll be ready for anything thatís hot. If itís hot and itís different, and itís working... Look at Lenny Kravitz. Heís hot as shit.


You seem like a real perfectionist.

I am a perfectionist, but it has a lot to do with the people that are around you. They have to have the same vision, the same motivation. It takes a while to get the right people around you; it takes a long time. But I think Iíve finally done it, I think this is going to be my crew for a while.


Youíve contributed work to a number of soundtracks. Have you ever considered scoring a film?

Yeah, thatís one of the things I want to get into. I started studying music theory, learning how to read and write music. Itís been over two years, so Iím really getting involved in that. I definitely want to get into scoring movies. I have to have the knowledge, so I think in the next four or five years Iíll have it down, Iíll be ready. Iím not even going to attempt to do something if I donít think Iím going to be great at it. I know for a fact thatís something that I could be good at, but I have to get the knowledge first. Thatís almost like learning a new language. I have to really understand what Iím doing, I have to learn that language. It takes a while, and I want to be the best at it, so Iím going to put the time in.

Has learning music theory influenced what youíre doing in the studio?

A little bit. Itís actually broadened the way I look at music and listen to it, just knowing how the notes are placed. I pay attention to all that a little bit more now. A while back, I thought it would hurt me, I thought I would start paying too close attention, and maybe miss something. But I think itís helping out. And once I really get that shit, ďLook out!Ē (laughs)

Youíve got more money than these dudes out here that are still talking about cars and jewels, yet you donít focus on that in your music. What keeps you rooted?

I talked about it a little bit when I was younger, but this is a job, man, thatís all it is. Iím serious about music. Itís a job, and I want to get paid of course, but I donít need to talk about it. If I was a plumber, I wouldnít talk about the money I was making, Iíd just talk about my job. Iíd be talking about pipes and shit. All I want to talk about is the music and how we can better it.


How can we better it?

I think we just need producers who are willing to stick their necks out there and try new and different things. I love Outkast and what theyíre doing because theyíre trying some new and different things, and itís working for them. They stick their necks out there, and it works and I love that. Thatís what we have to get more of.

Anybody else stand out? We spoke with Nottz for this first issue, and he was very excited about having contributed tracks to Detox.

Yeah, I got a couple of things from him thatíll probably be used for somebody else now. I like Nottz. I love Kanye West. I love the Neptunes of course, they have their thing, theyíre trying new things. Who else? Just Blaze. Timbaland. Hi-Tek is hot as shit, I love Hi-Tek. This new guy weíre working with right now, we just signed as a producer, his nameís Focus. Heís a new up-and-coming producer, heís hot as shit.

I understand youíve recently sent some beats to Burt Bacharach.

We did a little thing together. My piano teacher introduced us. Burt Bacharach came by the studio, and we chopped it up for a little while. I gave him a couple of skeleton tracks on a CD, and he went home and played some piano over it. The next thing I know they had this jazz trumpet player play on the record, and it sounded hot. I think theyíre going to put it out. I would like to really get in, and do something from scratch with him as opposed to me giving him a track, and him going to his studio and doing his thing, and us sending it back and forth.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully, Iíll have my music theory down and I can score a movie or two at that time. Iíll definitely be making hip-hop records, looking for new hot artists. Iím really trying to score some movies though, thatís what Iím working on. Thatís a big challenge. To conduct a big ass string section doing something that I wrote would be ridiculous. Thatís the dream right now.


Whatís your legacy? What do you want to be remembered by?

I donít really think about that. My thing is just coming in here and making records, and hopefully people will go out and buy it and bump it. Iím just trying to come in and better myself when Iím in here. If I had to give an answer to that Iíd say that Iíd like to be remembered as a person who really cared about his music, and really entertained people with my talent. I just want to be remembered as being the shit.


And thats not all folks....

Dr Dre in the Lab

from www.hiphopgame.com

Recently, the Los Angeles Times did a survey among 22 record company executives to name the artists they believe will sell the most records over the next seven years. Dr. Dre was at the top of that list. One executive said that Dre, who won a Grammy in February for Producer of the Year, might be the greatest talent in the music business right now. Hip-hop is the most dynamic sound in pop, and he?s the king of hip-hop.

As I walk into Record One in Studio City, Chatman is in between juggling phone calls and greets me with a warm smile, informing me that Dre is on his way. He invites me into the control room where Dr. Dre?s Dream Team is already warming up. Ensconced in Studio B, engineer ?Veto? (a.k.a. Mauricio Iragorri) is tinkering on the SSL 8000, while Mike Elizondo, bass player, and Scott Storch, the expert on keys, file into the studio. The activity seems normal, even mundane, until Dr. Dre walks into the room. The vibe in the control room shifts up a level of energy. During a lunch break, the conversation turned to a VH-1 documentary on The Doors that Dre had seen the previous night, and, after commenting on how much he liked the keyboard sound, Scott Storch immediately launched into what was a near-perfect rendition of the classic Doors sound. Soon Mike Elizondo had joined in on bass, Dre added a beat at the turntable, and, before you knew it, a song was born!

Contrary to media reports that his recording sessions are filled with drugs, alcohol, and gang warfare, all I saw was positive energy, professional vibe, creativity, and solid business. After completing a call with his prot駩 Eminem (a.k.a. Marshall Mathers), where he was advising the young rapper on some crucial business decisions, Dre turned his attention to the interview at hand...

Dr. Dre can be described as many things : a catalyst, an astute businessman, an innovator, but perhaps the most interesting description of the man, born 35 years ago as Andre Young, is his description of himself as 'a motivator.' 'I?m a very good motivator,' he shares. 'I direct well. I?m a person that will spend three or four hours working on one line of a song to get it correct. I have to be able to work with artists who are ready to go through that torture.' Some of the artists that have signed up for his unique brand of ?torture? are Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and the hardcore rap group N.W.A., which Dre founded in the mid ?80s with fellow rapper Ice Cube and signed to Eazy-E?s Ruthless Records.

Although Dr. Dre had been rapping and DJing since his early years growing up in one of L.A.?s rougher neighborhoods, Compton, he?s surprisingly realistic about where his truest talents lie, and that?s in production. In addition to being credited with inventing gangsta rap, he?s responsible for creating his own musical style : G-Funk. This patented, often imitated style of music immediately became the defining characteristic of the entire generation of music. There are few that would argue that from the introduction of G-Funk, Dre?s sounds and rhythms shaped the future of rap music, while impacting its history at every turn.

One of the key moments in Dr. Dre?s career came in 1992, when he founded Death Row Records with his friend Suge Knight. This became a platform for Dre?s obvious production talents. He released only one solo record for Death Row, the critically acclaimed The Chronic. While the production values behind G-Funk dominated the hip-hop world for the next four years, collaborations with stepbrother Warren G and the immense success of Snoop Dogg?s 1993 debut Doggystyle cemented Dre?s name on the list of the most powerful and influential men in the music industry. Unfortunately, all of this success did not prevent the eventual collapse of the record label in 1996 amid financial difficulties and creative differences, not to mention a lengthy murder trial for the label?s star, Snoop Doggy Dog.

The businessman in Dr. Dre had matured through all the challenges and obstacles of the ?80s and early ?90s. His instincts served him well when he made the decision to bail from Death Row Records almost a year before its ultimate demise. Eventually, he formed Aftermath Records and turned his production, mixing, and writing energy toward a young rapper he found in Detroit called Eminem. This collaboration not only resulted in Eminem?s 1999 debut record, The Slim Shady LP, and the multi-platinum smash follow-up The Marshall Mathers LP, but also a Grammy for their collaboration on 2001?s Forgot About Dre.

Dre explains, 'Forgot About Dre? was actually Marshall?s idea. He said I have an idea for a song, I just need some music to it. So he sent the chorus to me and then we went to work on our music. We recorded it at Granny?s House Studio in Reno, and then we put the song together in a couple of hours.' The collaboration also garnered him a Grammy for Producer of the Year. 'That was big,' confides Dre. 'I love the fact that I didn?t have to go on stage and give a thank you speech. I didn?t have anything written down. As it turned out, when they called my name for Producer of the Year, I just stood up. That?s going to be the perfect ending to my life story.'

Perhaps he should start preparing his acceptance speech for next year now because an Engineer of the Year Grammy is certainly not out of the question for the technically savvy Dre. He humbly admits that, although he defers to his engineer of choice, Veto, on certain things, he himself is the man behind the board for the majority of the projects he works on. His roots in recording began in a small studio in the back of a club in Compton where he used to DJ. 'I would just come in there during the week and just try to create my songs, just messing around, seeing if I had it. I would play them in the clubs on the weekend and I would get good responses, so I just kept doing it and it became my profession.'He continues, 'I learned how to engineer basically from that club. I also learned a lot from this engineer, Donovan, at Audio Achievements in Torrance. We used to work together a lot, and I eventually started working by myself on mixes. I wanted it to sound a certain way and I felt nobody was going to be able to dig in my brain and get the sound out that I wanted except me. Everyday I would learn something new. I?m actually still learning with all the new technology.

Through the years, as any engineer would, Dre has defined his choices in audio gear. He?s candid about his love for any and all Solid State Logic consoles, as well as the Studer A827. He always uses Quantegy 499 tape. His mic of choice is the Sony C800G, which is the only mic he ever uses on vocals. When recording vocals with the Sony mic, he runs it through a Neve 1073 mic pre, and then through the SSL compressor and a dbx 160, but he admits to very little EQ on the vocal. Dre explains, 'I usually record vocals flat. The only time I put EQ on vocals when recording is if I know for a fact that I?m going to want it to sound like that during the mix.' He continues, 'When I want a little more crispness out of the mic, I use the 1073 EQ with just a little high end. I don?t use too much compression; maybe 4:1 with the outputs set to zero. I usually do my compression afterwards. I like the compressors on the SSL. I usually have the ratio up to about eight or ten on a lot of things.' Dre, a die-hard fan of analog recording, is one of the few producer/engineer?s left in the world that have not jumped on the Pro Tools bandwagon and, true to form, he makes no apologies for that.

'I tried digital a couple of times and I don?t really like it. There?s just something about it. For me, it?s not fast enough just yet. I tried to record into Pro Tools and got one of the best Pro Tools operators down to record the music, and it?s just not me. Not yet,' he concludes. 'We had the Sony 3348 in the studio, and I tried a couple of songs on it and it didn?t give me the sound I wanted. The kick drum started sounding transparent. It wasn?t good.' When it?s time to mix down, Dre makes the unusual choice of mixing straight to DAT, so you can imagine that the DAT machine is a key element in any studio he chooses to work in. Dre?s DAT machine preference is the Panasonic 3800.

The question on everyone?s mind, though, is what gear does Dr. Dre turn to make his signature beats? Engineer ?Veto? confides that there?s a laundry list of toys that make a Dre session complete. 'The brain of the whole thing is the MIDI sequencer, the Akai MPC3000. We use the Korg Triton keyboard. Usually that?s the controller ? the Nord Lead and Korg?s MS2000. Lately we?ve been trying out the Alesis Andromeda A6. Someone recommended a Waldorf cue, and we seem to like that one as well. They let us try it for a day and we said, 'Yes, we?ll keep it!' You might also find a nice array of vintage keyboards on hand, including those by Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Moog, and Roland. But Veto says what you won?t find in use on a Dre session is a lot of outboard gear.'

'We don?t use a lot of outboard gear,' Dre concurs. 'I doctor the vocal as far as de-essing and maybe some low-end EQ for the kicks. We use a lot of EQ on the console and all the limiters. Most of it comes out of the SSL and into the quad compressor. I like the sound of it on the mix bus. That?s the SSL quad compressor in the center of the console'.

Dr. Dre certainly knows his way around the studio and in and out of a ?tool box. This knowledge he credits to once having his own studio, complete with an SSL 4000E/G. 'We did a lot of Eminem?s first record at my home studio. Actually the first song we did together, ?My Name Is,? was done there,' remembers Dre. Eventually he removed the studio from his home and is now vocal about his love and support of the professional, commercial facility. 'I kind of got tired of having a home studio because you get to the point where you want to feel like you?re going to work. Plus, sometimes you have to work with people and there?s just some people you don?t want in your house', he laughs.

This love for the commercial recording facility has Dr. Dre hanging out on a regular basis at L.A. recording hotspots like Larrabee West, Encore, and, of course, Record One. 'We mix most everything at Larrabee West. I just like a studio that?s comfortable, has a lot of space, and, very important, has a lounge with a kitchen,? he shares. ?The equipment is important, but, to be honest, I?m still working on the same board I?ve worked on since 1990. The important part is who?s pushing the buttons.'

Dr. Dre just finished 'pushing the buttons' on a new project, D12, the first act on Eminem?s label, Shady Records. D12 is an 'incredible group' Dre praises. 'All the guys in the group are great musicians. They all have really crazy personalities, you know, and I love working with them. I think they?re going to be a big group. Eminem is the sixth member in the group.' Also on the horizon for Dr. Dre is his first foray into surround sound mixing. 'I?m going to record and mix my next record in 5.1, so it gives me a whole new world to work with. Hopefully, then people can just throw it in their DVD player and have a little blast of entertainment.'

One thing that?s evident about Dre is that he strives to keep his audience entertained regardless of what he?s doing. He wants the records he makes to stand out and intrigue the fans long after they first listen. He ensures this, he says, by putting what he calls his ?sprinkles? into the mix. He explains,'People come up to me on the street and say, ?I hear something different every time I listen to your record.? That?s what I like to hear ? that?s the sprinkles.'Even when he?s self-producing, he challenges himself constantly. I really take a lot of time on each song and make sure it?s okay ? I?m my worst critic. I want to make sure it?s right.

The multi-faceted Dre has put plans in place to expand his empire by adding two more talents ? acting and directing ? to his already impressive resume. Dre fans can look forward to a Snoop/Dre reunion with the release of a movie they?re currently filming together, The Wash. The power duo will also collaborate on the soundtrack of this ?dramedy.? Dre spills another interesting tidbit ? he?s going to direct a movie within the next year. 'The first movie I?m doing is called Raincoat. It?s all about?condoms,? he muses with a grin. Acting is a true passion that he intends to explore fully in the future. ?I want to do a really big movie and have it come across really good. I want it to have the same feeling that my records give people. This movie is going to be interesting.'

We would expect nothing less from The Doctor.

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