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I think it became a bit more accessible over the years. The more time I spent on it, the better I got at it, but also it grew out of the idea of making experimental music out of pop — I wanted to make pop out of pop. So where it's at now is I experiment with new stuff every day — sample new music and try different combinations and just kind of see what fits. And it goes on to become part of my shows.
Is there one particular era or genre you like to mine most?
Um, it's tough. I'm 27, so I grew up listening mainly to '90s music. So I think that's a huge influence, from all different sorts of genres: a lot of '90s hip-hop to a lot of '90s alternative or indie — even more '90s techno-pop and dance music. But I'm open to anything.
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I feel like as this project goes on, I just continue to explore pop more and more and kind of dive into the radio depot and buy a lot more albums. These days, as this goes on, I'm digging even more into the past. But I think the absolute goldmine for me is more '90s-based stuff, on a personal nostalgic tip.
Who has sued you for copyright infringement?
Are you in favor of some kind of royalty sharing with the acts you sample?
Yeah, I believe in the idea of fair use, which is what I could claim if there was an issue. It basically states that you can use songs without permission if your work is transformative and if it's not impacting the potential sales of the artist. I do believe in that, so it's not like I feel like I'm getting away with anything here.
But I also wouldn't be opposed to a system for sample-based music where there's some kind of roof or ceiling as far as the overall amount that was paid out, so it wouldn't be a rich man's game. When you're dealing with hundreds and hundreds of samples, it makes it impossible to even consider going that route.
So I definitely believe in fair use, but I also think there could be a more organized system of pay that would make it easier for people. It's something that would benefit the artist being sampled as well as the person making the music. To me, it would seem to be a plus to be sampled, bringing attention to songs that might not otherwise receive it.
Did you really pose for Playgirl?
No, I posed. I wasn't nude, though. I was excited when they called; I thought it was pretty ridiculous. And I told my parents about it and they were just like, Don't get naked for that magazine. I really didn't want to disappoint my parents!
That's funny. Did you think it was a joke when they called you?
Yeah, I totally thought it was a joke. At first they said they were just covering music, so that kind of made sense; then they started pushing a little bit. They said they wanted to do a photo shoot, and I said, "Yeah, no problem." Then they said they wanted to do a sexy photo shoot, and I was like, "What's that mean?" [They were] kind of pushing it a little further to get a naked shot without actually saying it.
Even when I showed up for the shoot, the photographer was like, "Yeah, I know you don't want to get naked, but if you want to, we're all comfortable here, blah, blah, blah." They kept pushing and pushing. I almost felt kind of lazy for not getting naked for them.
What can we expect from you at the Culture Room this Sunday?
I don't know; every time I come to Florida, it's relatively insane, so I kind of want to bring it there again. It's become a thing now. I usually come through a city once a year, and it feels like the fans raise the bar for me. The intensity of the shows and the size of the shows have picked up, and the fans are such an integral part of what I do. I try to get them involved to the point that they are the band even more so than I am.