Gasoline Monk – Millimeter of color

by Horror Sleaze Trash on July 3, 2012

Album can be caught here – digitalmonksound.bandcamp.com

HST: Last time we spoke you just unleashed Computer Love (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8P-Hm3Ro0Q) Which i still thinks is fucking amazing and play any chance i can – whats been happening since then?

GM: Shit bro, it’s been a while since we spoke then, which is too bad cause I always enjoy shootin the shit with you. And thanks for the love!

An enormous amount has happened since then – 6 mixtapes, for one. Probably the biggest thing for me both musically and personally was spending half a year in Denmark, studying under the experimental producer Spejderrobot with a class full of kids who knew way more than I did. It was really humbling, it kind of broke my style down and made me hate my own music for about 3 or 4 months, and then when I got back to Boston and started combining that new knowledge with my old instincts and aesthetic, I became 10x the producer I ever was.

MOC Release Dirtywork

I bet you some people still like “Computer Love” more than any of my newer songs. That’s cool. I’m more ambitious now and more in control of the sound than ever, and I go some places that not everybody is comfortable going. Traditional hip hop heads are the ones who give me the most love – they recognize that, despite being kinda tripped out and surreal, I’m working from an infinite respect for the old methods and they can probably even hear in my music that I listen to Billy Cobham and Weather Report way more than I listen to even some of the classic shit like Biggie, Wu…

And on my day to day grind, I’ve been running Digital Monk Soundsystem, which began as a podcast series for DJ mixes and is now becoming a record label. I’m very excited for the Powerplant album we’re releasing in August, MAGNIFICENT WIND – I did some production work on that. We have a ton of ideas to make Digital Monk an outlet for our very specific artistic vision – shoutout to Dirtywork, who’s in charge of the art side of things, and who is one of the best painters in Boston.

MOC Release Lesbians

HST: Your a busy man! Brilliant, now its the new joint, Whats the mind set behind millimeter of color?

GM: Well I’ve been releasing mixtapes for a few years, doing remixes, producing for some local Boston dudes, DJing clubs and stuff like that… MILLIMETER OF COLOR is where I got to the next step, which was making my first album. And part of it comes from, like I said, loving Billy Cobham, Weather Report and dudes like that – I buy their records, and I love their ALBUMS. I’m not trying to listen to a couple Cobham songs on Youtube – I want to hear the whole thing and understand how he makes a gesture over the entire body of 45 minutes of music. Cobham is especially influential because he’s a visionary – he’s just the drummer on his records, but he’s arranging the whole thing, he’s organizing this whole PROJECT. That’s probably why Powerplant was the first people we chose to release outside of ourselves, because they see things in those terms too – none of us are trying to make radio hits. We want to make timeless albums.

MILLIMETER OF COLOR was my first stab at that, even though it’s only 6 songs and less than 15 minutes. It was a little burst. I tried to express myself, my different aspects, and do it in a way that you could maybe think of as one long song with 6 acts. I’m already working on the next album – that’s just how I think about things.

MOC Release Gas Monk & Two Beers

HST: Are you still writing as much as you sued to? any thing in the mix at the moment?

GM: I’m not writing anything at the moment. I wrote one poem the other day. But I do think someday I will need to decompress and I might go to the woods for a while, and then, maybe I’ll write. I know it’s still in me, to work with words like that. Shoutout to Jeremy Robert Johnson and my Swallowdown Press family anyways, cause they’re always in my heart.

MOC Release K Smith

HST: We lost a few big names in the scene this year and last – some i know you drew great influence from (ODB just to name one) – IN that sense, where is the music going to go for inspiration when the old kings go the dirt nap?

GM: There are so many new kings that I don’t think it should affect the evolution of music – it’s definitely sad, but we still have RETURN TO THE 36 CHAMBERS and all of the albums the dead emcees left us. I would have loved to see what Dilla would’ve done after DONUTS. But there’s still Madlib and Stones Throw doing incredible things, Flying Lotus and Brainfeeder, etc. etc. In my city, we lost Guru, but we still have Edo G. And we have Reks who will probably take the torch from Edo, if he hasn’t already. We have so many more too. There’s always new talent. And hopefully, people are looking deeper into the past for inspiration on what to do next, rather than just trying to mimic the new hot things.

MOC Release Nick DiBella & A Junky

HST: Biggest influences at the moment. Life style or musical?

GM: Vinyl records is definitely one of them. I sample them almost exclusively now, which I never did before MILLIMETER OF COLOR. And I listen to them obsessively, and I spend a retarded amount of money on them. I mean, it’s not that much – I’m very far from rich – but it’s way out-of-proportion to the amount of money I spend on practical things like, you know, groceries, toothpaste… listening to things on vinyl also just promotes the idea of thinking of albums as whole pieces instead of a collection of parts.

Other than that, I dunno… marijuana does a lot!… and being around people who are excited about what they do, whatever it is, and aren’t lazy about getting it done – like you, Ben… honestly it’s probably just kind of dosing myself with high volumes of stimulus as often as possible – when I was younger this often just translated to “mushrooms etc.” but I’m not just a drugged-out little guy anymore, I’m actually pretty calm most of the time. I’m either partying to the fullest or studying with total focus. Or just thinking. I remember Nova from Powerplant asking me what inspires me and the only thing that came to my head was “thoughts.” I guess I’m a pretty simple person.

MOC Release V-Low & Dom Sanders

HST: “Raise your hand if you got a bad habit of talkin shit to cops when you’re drunk” – Gimmie a story, i love shit talking cop stories.

GM: Haha, I’m just bad with this… the most significant problems occurred at the end of crazy nights in Providence, RI nightclubs. There’s a lotta crazy shit going on in that city – and a lot of fights outside clubs, sometimes getting pretty serious, so there’s always just cops milling about on horses and shit. And I’ll just be blackout and talking shit, actually that has happened multiple times. I’m always the dude to question everything and turn what should be a pretty routine cop-criminal exchange into a problem. I do this to myself. Or if they’re breaking up a party to go let them know how much I appreciate their service, it’s not even funny you know, I don’t even get a kick out of myself. I just can’t find it in me to make it easy for them.

HST: Haha, give em hell dude.  Are you still got itchy feet? Traveling around Plenty?

I really wish man, but unfortunately I’m not. I’m having a hard enough time paying rent. But I was lucky because earlier this year I was able to go to Denmark to play a couple shows and got paid enough there to cover my travel costs – and like I said, I spent a lot of time there before that, so I got a lotta friends… so it was kind of like a free vacation to me, with some really fun shows in the mix. I played in Odense and Aarhus and I managed to fit in a few days to just chill out in Copenhagen. I met a lot of awesome people last time around too, so I know next time I’m in DK it’ll be a lot of fun and filled with shows… but yeah, I was hoping to get out for Plugout Festival, which I played in 2011, and really it’s just been a bit of a (healthy) struggle here in Boston so it might be a minute before I can go too far away from here…

That’s all good with me though man, Boston is where I want all of this unfolding anyway.

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