Typically, every week I like to find a chill song or two for you guys to listen to as you ease into Sunday morning. Sometimes it’s a piece of ambient music or downtempo hip-hop or jazz that you can play as you put on a pot of coffee. This morning, the music is the coffee. Producer RJD2, known for his experimental psychedelic hip-hop, released another track from his forthcoming album Dame Fortune, due out on March 25. The first single from Dame Fortune was the soulful “Peace of What” featuring Jordan Brown. The follow-up is this upbeat funky (mostly) instrumental “The Sheboygan Left.”
Getting sneak peeks at unreleased albums is a perk of my job, and I was fortunate enough to get an advanced copy of Dame Fortune. In my opinion, the album is RJD2’s best work yet, encompassing everything the producer has done up to this point in his career, from raw hip-hop grooves to swirling funk to psychedelic ambient interludes. My favorite track on the entire album is the delightful inexplicably titled instrumental track “The Sheboygan Left.” I sort of somehow already knew this one would be my favorite track just based on the title. It’s a fun, dazzling little piece of lighthearted funk. I recently got a chance to interview RJD2 and I had to ask how he came up with the name to one of my new favorite songs.
Mike Andrelczyk: One of my favorite tracks on Dame Fortune is “The Sheboygan Left.” How do you come up with a name for an instrumental?
RJD2: It’s basically a David Bowie thing – rumor has it, so I’ve been told, Bowie had this writing technique where he would take singular phrases on paper from like books or something, and he would cut them out and put them in a hat and he would rearrange them randomly. It would present you with the spark for an idea that you could never come up with yourself. To make a long story short, I just do the same thing in the Notes function of my iPhone. So, if I see a phrase that I like or something pops into my head, even if it has no meaning, I’ll put it in there. And sometimes I’ll just randomly juxtapose things against [each other] and that title came out of that approach basically.
MA: Yeah, I know that cut-up style was a William Burroughs thing too. Maybe Bowie got the idea from Burroughs. Is that you repeating “Sheboygan” on the track or did you find it somewhere?
RJD2: Oh really? Or maybe the anecdote that was told to me was actually a Burroughs thing that was misrepresented. Who knows? That’s a thing that I found off a spoken word recording.
Stay tuned for the full interview with RJD2. And be sure to check out RJD2 when he performs at The Chameleon Club in Lancaster on March 18. Purchase tickets here.