Behind the Beats: L'Orange
First and foremost who is L'Orange and where do you reside?
My name is Austin and I'm a North Carolina producer.
Describe the hip hop scene in your area.
I'm currently living in Nashville, TN, but everything about my style and music mentality is from NC. North Carolina has a rich hip hop community these days. There are producers and MCs all over the state that are dropping amazing material. People are pushing hip hop in different directions. It's exciting to be apart of.
How long have you been making beats?
I've been making beats for five years, but I've been making music since I was thirteen. I started playing bass, then I went to guitar, then drums. I didn't find my style until a couple years ago.
I love your jazz influenced production and your dedication to the oldies. Did your upbringing play a part in your instrumentation style?
Thank you very much. It did actually. I would sit in my room and listen to the radio with a cassette player. I would scan the radio for old jazz songs and record my favorites. They would get all cut up and pieces of the radio hosts would get cut in. Seems like that has come full cycle.
In 2011 you released The Manipulation EP and Old Soul. What was the concept of The Manipulation EP?
The Manipulation EP starts as a man is left by a woman he loves. He falls into a depression until me meets someone new. He goes through the cycles of a new relationship while coming to terms with the reality of love. The beautiful, the ugly, the awful and the amazing.
I love the concept of Old Soul and how you blended your production style with Billie Holliday. What made you select Billie Holliday as a muse?
Billie Holiday has always been my muse. I actually based the project on a poem I wrote a few years ago.
I noticed that your material has minimal vocals. Do you believe that the absence of vocals showcases your beatmaking ability?
Maybe. I find that I can say more without vocals. I'm a writer, so being able to tell a story with an album is important to me. I want my music to move like poetry, but run together like prose.
Are you a software or hardware based beatmaker?
I'm a hardware producer. I use an MPC 2500, SP303 and hundreds to thousands of records. I record into the computer and mix it down in Logic Pro.
Who influenced you to make beats in your youth and what beatmakers inspire you today?
I started wanting to make beats when I heard The Digable Planets in the 90s. The way they combined jazz with poetry is a big reason I'm in hip hop today.
Today I listen to a lot of different music. Oddisee is a huge influence on me. Kev Brown, yU, Kaimbr, Apollo Brown are all doing amazing things. And of course, Kon Sci (of MindsOne) has been a huge influence on me, especially in my early years.
What emcees would you like to work with in 2012?
There are a lot of really talented MCs around this year. I've been admiring Has-Lo's style lately. His project, In Case I Don't Make It is incredible. I love Kenn Starr's work. I'd love to work with Stik Figa, Invincible, Fresh Daily, Homeboy Sandman. Man, the list goes on. I got to work with Kaimbr, yU and Hassaan Mackey last year. That was an incredible experience.
What are some of your biggest goals for 2012?
Hopefully, 2012 will be big. My two goals are to release my first first full length album and press my first vinyl. I'll be releasing music throughout the whole year though.
What are some of your influences outside of beatmaking?
When I approach making music, I turn to poetry and movies. I love film noir I try to let that bleed through my music. I love Bukowski, Saul Williams, Marilyn Monroe. My favorite actor lately has been Hayden Sterling.
How can the masses get in contact with you?
Hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail me. I try to make art for people. That's why I release my music for free. Anyway you'd like to get in touch with me, I'd be happy to talk.
Any final words?
"The worst sin that can be committed against the artist is to take him at his word, to see in his work a fulfillment instead of a horizon."