Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: Interviews, Mashups, Music, Twin Cities.
It has been less than three weeks since Wugazi first reared its head on the Internet, the Fugazi/Wu-Tang Clan mashup project debuting in the form of the “I’m So Tired”/”C.R.E.A.M.” bootleg “Sleep Rules Everything Around Me” (which has since seen 135k Soundcloud plays). Though its creators were initially silent, the project was eventually pinned to Twin Cities artists Cecil Otter (Doomtree) and Swiss Andy (the Millionth Word, the Swiss Army). As additional tracks began to spill out onto the web the duo’s work continued to be greeted with a strong reception, Exclaim suggesting that “it works so well that you’ll be left thinking Fugazi were trying to make hip-hop this whole time,” and LA Weekly concluding that “it’ll change fans’ listening experiences of these already classic songs.” To get a better idea of where the inspiration behind the mix came from CB got in touch with the Wugazi godfathers, discussing the events that led up to its creation and the possibility of future mashup work. The entire Wugazi: 13 Chambers album is available as a free download via Soundcloud or Wugazi’s official site.
Though the production took around a year to complete, the impetus came long before that. I read that The Grey Album had a role in inspiring Wugazi, but what was it about Fugazi and Wu-Tang that made you think: They have to go together. Though you were fans of the acts for years, they’re not exactly complementary, musically.
Swiss Andy: In as many ways as they are different, they are also similar. Both are very sincere, raw, aggressive & emotional. By no means did we ‘know’ it would work until the first night when we made “Sleep.”
Cecil Otter: Yeah, Andy and I are the type of people that will try anything and spend as much time as possible making it work. If it doesn’t work after we try everything, we just start on something else. Lucky for us we don’t like boundaries and Wugazi made sense on our first attempt to make a track.
Of all the mashups that are released on such non-stop basis, what do you think is it about Wugazi that has attracted people the way it has?
Swiss Andy: I think it is a combination of how much people love both these groups, and the amount of care we put into it. Instead of just throwing one thing on top of another, we re-produced for the a capellas using Fugazi as sampling fodder.
Cecil Otter: And it’s good, too.
Speaking to Crossfire, you guys mentioned that there were a variety of unfinished tracks and just didn’t end up working. Between those songs and quality Wu a capellas that you couldn’t get your hands on, which combinations of originals did you most hope would work together that didn’t make the release?
Swiss Andy: Where to start… From Fugazi, definitely “Long Division.” We tried everything we could find on it, and it just never felt right. A capella wise, “Triumph” & “Bring da Ruckus” for sure, but there are so many more.
Cecil Otter: I wanted every O.D.B. a capella ever made.
Do you recall the moment which put the idea over the top for you, like “I think we’re onto something here”?
Swiss Andy: We made “Sleep” the first day and couldn’t stop listening to it, would play it for friends and freak them out. But we were doing this more for pure enjoyment than anything else.
Cecil Otter: One hundred percept labor of love and I knew Andy was on to something the minute he brought the idea up to me. I didn’t think it would do anything like this though. I just it would be fun to make songs, have a couple drinks and show the songs to our friends. Most of our friends were more excited then we were. Pretty much the reason I kept going with it.
Did any of the Doomtree family want to get in on the production — lending a hand or creating it as a group project a la Affiliyated?
Swiss Andy: Not really, but we kinda kept it to ourselves.
Cecil Otter: They were always very supportive though.
Though you said to the Washington City Paper that you’re “not trying to do another record like this anytime soon” do you think you’ll pursue creating individual mashups again in the future?
Andy: We have so many other projects we would rather work on, that I think it is doubtful. Remixes, sure. But mashups, probably not.
Cecil Otter: I would like to just keep writing and producing.
[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]