Interview: L’Orange

Fashionably Early has solely been known to give you the dopest hip hop out at gut-wrenching speeds but we are looking to expand our horizons and do more. With that being said, here’s our first interview with a producer who goes by the name of L’Orange. Enjoy.

[Trixx] Tell the people who L’Orange is

[L’Orange] Well- I’m a producer from North Carolina. I think that L’Orange extends beyond who I am, and describes a different way of perceiving music. L’Orange is a beautiful ugly of sorts.

So where exactly did you get the idea for the name?

Orange has always been a color I didn’t necessarily identify with, but one that I admired. It always stayed a constant in my life until I got the nickname in high school. It kind of stuck with me from there. I went through a phase where I went by L.O. but that never felt right. It’s strange, it’s hard to pronounce and it’s not terribly catchy. I dig it.

Haha, I definitely dig the name. What or who was it that first got you into hip hop?

Man, when I was a kid I had a lot of role models that came and went. When I was around nine or ten, a girl about twenty two or so was taking care of me. At this point in my life, I’m at home searching through the AM stations for jazz, scratching down poems and short stories. So she puts on The Digable Planets and it blows me away. I’d never heard jazz and poetry combined so fluidly. It was amazing. From there I went to Tribe Called Quest and read Tupac’s poetry religiously. I identified so closely with the style that I couldn’t listen to anything else.

Through listening to your music, I learned that you heavily use samples. As a matter of fact, your last entire project was entitled “Old Soul”, and you sampled many different soul records. Where did this admiration come from and who would you say is your favorite soul artist?

I do use samples heavily. In fact, everything you hear on my albums comes directly from vinyl. I have a musical background, but I didn’t find my style until I submersed myself in sampling. The admiration definitely comes from my childhood. While all the kids were listening to whatever was on the radio at the time, I fell in love with jazz. I loved how much it said without using words. Artists would tell stories through their instruments. It was fulfilling. Actually, on Old Soul, I exclusively sampled Billie Holiday. Soul is such an abstract genre that it’s hard to say what is or isn’t soul, but Holiday is definitely my favorite. I’ve been listening to her all my life. Her style is raw and imperfect, but it’s those same imperfections that make her so beautiful.

I happened to catch you mention many different role models that came and went. Elaborate on that. How was your home life growing up?

It was mixed. I have two great parents, but I spent a lot of time alone. Most nights I would stay in my room and write or read until I fell asleep. It didn’t take long for me to realize that going out and being a kid wasn’t my thing. I’ve always had a relationship with depression and anxiety, so keeping to myself was common. I had to find a balance between using it as a source of inspiration while still maintaining my day to day life.

How did you first learn how to produce records?

Well I made a lot of really shitty ones first. The thing about producing hip hop is that nobody will tell you how to do anything. I think, by it’s nature, hip hop is an effort of self-discovery. Someone that’s building on an ASR-10 or Reason 5.0 is going to do things completely differently than I do. So I would look to the producers I knew with my palms up, and they would nod and tell me to figure it out. Once I figured out the logistics, I started to get influence from my community. A guy named Kon Sci, from the great MindsOne, pushed me in the right direction. He showed me the possibilities for a producer like me. He introduced me to a new understanding of the culture. He’d come over with a stick and a carrot; I’d show him my new joints and he’d nod to some and shake his head to others. But that’s what I needed at that point. He’s a big part of my growth as a hip hop producer.

So with that being said, what’s your piece of hardware of choice when it comes to making beats?

I use an MPC 2500 and an SP-303. Every now and then I’ll break out the MPC 2000XL for a specific sound, but I rely on my 2500 for my day to day work.

If you could work with one artist, a producer a rapper or even a singer. Who would it be?

Ah man. That’s a hard question. I’m pulled in different directions because there are so many artists that I respect. I think it’d have to be Oddisee. He’s one of the most brilliant minds in music in my opinion. But I mean- DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Kev Brown… They’re the best. And that’s only touching on the producers.

In 2011, what record label do you feel put out the best music?

This is actually an easy answer for me. I love what Duck Down is doing, I’ve got a lot of love for Jamla, Rhymesayers and Stone’s Throw, but Mello Music Group is putting out some of the most creative and innovative material I’ve heard. Apollo Brown and Hassaan Mackey put out Daily Bread, Oddisee put out Rock Creek Park and yU released The Earn. That’s an incredible year. I was blessed to work with two of their finest talents in Hassaan and yU on Old Soul. They’re as talented as they are humble. It’s inspiring.

Just the answer I was looking for. I’m a huge supporter of Mello.

My wallet and I are big supporters of Mello too.

Haha same well, what’s your opinion on mainstream “hip-hop”?

I have no opinion on it. There are gems that surface from time to time, but for the most part, to have an opinion on it would imply that it impacts me in any way. I don’t mean to be dismissive, but I try to surround myself with music that makes me feel. Typically, I don’t feel anything for mainstream releases. Loving something gives it meaning. Hating something gives it power.

That’s a great quote man. Alright, a little off topic but if you could sleep with any woman in the world, who would it be?

Man, this is obscure, but Audrey Plaza. She’s a comedian and probably my first celebrity crush. She’s beautiful and is as deadpan as I am. Someone needs to let Audrey Plaza know that there’s an obscure hip hop producer that wants to meet her. haha. I know I’m forgetting names upon names right now, but that’s who came to mind, so I’m sticking with it. Also- Melody Gardot. My next project is another dedication remix project, and I’ve fallen in love with her style.

One more obscure question, I happened to catch you mentioning fantasy basketball on Twitter. What does your team look like and as a fantasy owner with Byron Mullens, what can I expect out of him for the rest of this season?

Haha that’s great. I’ve never been competitive, never really cared for sports, but I’ve always loved basketball. I grew up watching the Utah Jazz, but when I moved the NC, I adopted the Bobcats. My team is looking ok. I’m currently last in my league, but I’m in phase one of my comeback. Got Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry and Kobe so hopefully my team’s looking up. Byron Mullens has been amazing for us this year. We traded for him two weeks before the first game and he’s looking like an early candidate for Most Improved Player. #MullensMafiaMy team is called, “One Hundred Pounds Of Curry” because I lose so much.

Haha, that’s a pretty awesome name. I have Kobe also so my name is also centered around him. I’m “Where Kobe Happens”.

Alright, last question, what can the fans expect from you in 2012?

I’ve got two goals for 2012. I want to release my first full length instrumental record (which has been planned and conceptualized for a couple years now) and I want to press my first vinyl. I’ve taken the digital age of music in stride and have released all my albums online for free, so I’m excited to hold a copy of one of my projects.

That sounds great man. Thank you so much for your time