The rise and rise of HAAi
Chicago production unit Supreme Cuts – made up of members Austin Keultjes and Mike Perry – have been producers on our radar for some time, having been behind the boards on tracks for rappers like Mykki Blanco and Main Attrakionz, as well as putting out the solid 'Chrome Lips', a heavy collaborative mixtape with young rapper Haleek Maul.
Their latest project is 'Divine Ecstasy', their second full-length album. Moving away from the spacey instrumental designs of their debut 'Whispers In The Dark', 'Divine Ecstasy' introduces a stack of guest spots and songwriting flourishes, a sensible development from the duo.
Supreme Cuts will be playing in London on February 20th at the Old Blue Last, so before that, we asked them to give us a mix which moves through hip hop, rave, footwork, and beyond. They also took a bit of time out to answer a few questions over email (their responses are attributed to both members of the group) about 'Divine Ecstasy' and what they plan to do when they're in the UK.
Hello Supreme Cuts. How ya doin'?
Supreme Cuts: "Pretty good, considering it's been -10 degrees here in Chicago!"
What's this mix all about?
Supreme Cuts: "Like all of our mixes, we wanted to start slow and ease into some heavier, party time stuff (or at least our version of that). We also wanted to throw in some unreleased tracks by our friends."
There are a lot more pop songs on your new album rather than straight up beats-n-raps. How was the songwriting experience for you guys?
Supreme Cuts: "We made instrumentals together over the course of a few months in winter 2012-'13. The vocalists all just sort of fell into place: people that we share a mutual respect with, friends, and people that get us pumped. We let them all choose which track they wanted to sing on. Then we just vibed out with them over email or Skype, told them the concept of the record, traded inspiration tunes, and Youtube videos. We told them all to keep it lyrically vague. Down, with Dave, Khallee, and James (GTW), and It's Like That, with Yen-Tech, were the only songs we all wrote together in the studio, partying and hanging out and getting goofy.
"One thing I will say is that the vocals on every song ended up mirroring what we were feeling when we made the instrumentals. So close it was, like, twisted. Collaboration is so fun, there are so many possibilities."
You're hitting London soon. Is there anything you plan to do, or anywhere you plan to go, while you're here?
Supreme Cuts: "Mostly just hanging out with our friends who live there. People keep asking us what we want to do, but we usually just say Big Ben, or fish and chips… apparently blood pudding is Scottish, so unfortunately none of that. Neither of us have been to Europe, so we have no idea what to expect."
Five of your favourite things right now, musical or non-musical. Go!
Supreme Cuts: "Bravely Default (Nintendo DS). Seinfeld (also Kenny Kramer, the real Cosmo Kramer). Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride. Young Thug and Bloody Jay's Black Portland (all day, every day). The Diamond Age by Neil Stephenson."
Memphis Industries released 'Divine Ecstasy' on January 27th 2014. Supreme Cuts will play the Old Blue Last, London, on February 20th 2014 – more information and tickets here.