Tech N9ne

Today TECH N9NE and MTV offered fans an exclusive look behind the scenes of the music video for “Hiccup,” the first video off the newly released EP, Therapy. The idea for the track came to Tech in a dream (as explained in Part 1 of our interview with Tech and Ross Robinson) and evolved into one of the rock/metal crossover EP’s heaviest and most memorable moments. The video features live performance footage and candid conversations on set with director Anthony Devera. Watch the video via MTV now.

In Part 2 of our Venice beach interview with Tech and Robinson, Tech talks more about his personal relationship with Ross, why he wants to take Therapy on the road, and ideas for future collaborations…possibly even with the Slipknot and Metallica camps? We can hope.

Ross, how is this particular project different from any other rap/rock collaboration we’ve seen in the past, particularly those you’ve worked on (e.g., Limp Bizkit)?

Ross: The stuff in the past I’ve done has mainly been bands. This — basically taking Seven’s material and messing it up…

Tech: Totally

Ross: Basically giving it that feeling of uneasiness, maybe a little anxiety. A feeling of, “Oh my god, what’s gonna happen?” It’s dangerous a little bit, ya know? Just give it that human sort of swirl and feel.

Tech: He knew it would work.

Ross: It was just mainly, have fun. Have fun, and not know what’s gonna happen, because we didn’t know what was going to happen. And that’s the fun: not knowing. For me, it’s comfortable to not know because when you jump into it and you have badass players with you, you know it’s gonna be good. You have a feeling about it, and then you turn that feeling into a sound. It’s as simple as that.

Tech: It’s crazy it came out so well because in the midst of doing this I had a major album come out (Something Else), so I had to do press in the middle of this shit. It was nerve-wracking because I had to leave in the middle of creating to go to a fucking radio station that I’d never fuck with in the first place. And I’d feel awkward because they’d be like, “Oh, I like your song with Kendrick Lamar…” I’m like, “Yeah, I’m doing some rock shit down the way…hurry up. But thank you.” [Laughs]

It’s like this duality. I’m feeling like Jim Morrison down here and fucking Elvis Presley up here…I don’t know.

Do you have to tap into a different head space for different projects, going back and forth between rock and different styles of hip hop?

Tech: Nah, I’m me all the time.

In one of the skits on the EP you and Ross talk about the “massive potential” of this project. What is that potential? What would you like to see come out of this?

Tech: I just want people to hear it. That’s what “successful” is to me. I want everyone to hear it. I don’t care. I think it’s worth it. It has the potential to be massive and massively taken in.

Are you trying to get more people into the idea of cross-genres or…

Tech: Not really. I just did music with Ross. Ya know? If people copy, it’s on them. We just did music. We’re not trying to say, “Ok, everybody do this.” Nah, we just got in the studio…it turned out. They didn’t want me to hear any of the beats until I got out here, and that’s how we did it. I just had to go raw. I wasn’t planning to wake anybody up saying that this is the new style of music. No. We’re just doing music, and that’s what came out.

Ross: Yeah, I like that we don’t really have to do anything. Just create something good.

Tech: People on Twitter are like, “It’s surprisingly wonderful.” Like, you’re a rapper… And a lot of rock fans are looking at it and saying that it’s surprisingly wonderful, ya know what I’m saying? Because I am a rapper. It’s unexpected.

Ross: You’re a singer.

Tech: You made me sing…

You’re also a bit of a growler on this. You sound like Ivan Moody on the top of “Public School.”

Tech: That’s crazy. Five Finger Death Punch? Ivan got a growl, man….I did that one at Strangeland. I had to close my eyes and picture me being in front of the water, so I conjured the ghost there. They got it on tape. I didn’t know I could do that…that’s the ghost!

How did you get connected with Five Finger for that LL Cool J cover (on Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1)?

Tech: They called Strange Music and said they wanted Tech to do a song. I’m like, “[Gulp].” And I was on tour, doing my show in Vegas at the Mandalay Bay, and they have a studio right down the road. So eight o’clock in the morning I got dressed and went down to the studio. Originally I wanted it to be something original, like I wanted to do my shit. But when I got there and heard it, I was like, “Oh yeah. One hundred.” I want to do a lot of things with them. Possibly tour with them.

Would you ever do a Mayhem or big metal crossover tour?

Tech: That’s how it started. I did the Sprite Liquid Mix Tour back in the day with Hoobastank, and 311, Jay-Z, and N.E.R.D. We put rock bands on our shows sometimes. But it’s coming. Ross is probably going to be the reason I’m catapulted into that shit all the way. Linkin Park, we’ve been trying to work together for a long time now. I hope they hear this and think, “Fuck that. We gotta get Tech again.” ‘Cause I did a song for them earlier this year, a remix, but they haven’t put it out.

So now Ross is probably going to make it to where I’m on Ozzfest or something. [Laughs]

Is there anyone you can think of that you want to work with that you haven’t already (in rock and metal)?

Tech: Lots.

Have you done anything with Slipknot?

Tech: No, not yet. We almost did.

Ross: Those guys don’t really record that much.

Tech: Almost. I almost got them on the last album–Corey. I met Clown for the first time last year. I don’t know, man. That’s one of my favorite groups, so let’s see.

Ross, any plans for a future project already with Tech?

Ross: My idea is to do another one.

Tech: Totally. It’s gonna take on a life of its own.

Ross: It’s a preconceived conception kind of resting. We don’t want to plan too hard with something that you want to be different.

Tech: I haven’t heard any bad reviews yet. I’m waiting for someone so say, “He can’t sing!” but nobody’s said that. They’re like, “More singing, Tech.” I’m like, damn.

Ross: That’s what I say too.

The singing is really good, and nothing on the EP sounds at all the same. The tracks are all wildly different.

Tech: That’s insane right there. That’s what [Ross] said. That’s hard to do.

Ross: And it’s not a full album either. It’s pretty cool.

Did everything you worked on make it on to Therapy? Or were there some tracks you scrapped?

Tech: Everything we did made it. I just wanted to do more. I think we had twelve slated, but when the business gets involved, it’s like you can’t do an EP over seven. Dammit.

Ross: You really turned it on, man.

Tech: I don’t want to stop, man. It’s wonderful. It’s wonderful. Just creating shit, from here. And it works. People love “Hiccup,” and they love “When Demons Come.” I was kinda iffy about “I.L.L.” because it was my idea. I was like, “I need a party track on here,” and then I got the master and was like, “Wow…that’s crazy. I guess I was wrong again.” Sometimes when I have weird-ass ideas about my indulgence with ladies, I’m like, “Okay, it’s redundant.”

Ross: [Laughs]

Tech: I’m a Scorpio male, so I was kinda iffy about it.

Ross: In the season. [Laughs]

tech n9ne therapy

Do you spend most of your time now in Venice or Kansas City?

Tech: I spend most of my time on the road. I spent like two weeks here, and I wish it was two years.

What is it about Venice? It draws a lot of artists.

Tech: It’s just everything. It’s the people, man. It’s the whole vibe. It’s hard to explain. I’ve been living over the hill for like ten years in Sherman Oaks and never really came down here. Now I’m like, “I never wanna go back over the hill, ever.” Everybody in the area…there’s just love in the air.

Ross: When I was looking to buy, I looked at Malibu and Hollywood. This was just perfect. I grew up in a desert town where basically white was the minority, so I feel more comfortable when it’s not a bunch of scared white people living together. It’s a total mix. This is my comfort zone.

Tech: When I heard we were coming to this spot [today], joy just ran through me. This is my area now. I sat out here on the sand with my transparent mask, writing. People would ride by like, “Aren’t you Tech N9ne?” I’m like, “Yeah, man. I’m here doing my therapy session with Ross.”

So do you think the therapy sessions were successful?

Tech: Yes. I know it was successful. It got shit out of me. The story I told at the beginning of “Shame On Me” — I wasn’t supposed to say it. That was my wife before she was my wife. When I caught her on the phone with somebody else for the first time, it broke my heart. I wasn’t supposed to say it…it came out of me. And “Stop the Sailor” — it’s so personal that the person it’s about cried when they heard it. It’s sad and it’s noble, ya know what I’m saying?

Do you call Ross now any time you need therapy? Is he now your therapist?

Ross: [Laughs]

Tech: Yeah. [Laughs] I’ll send him a picture or text…it’s like a religious outcry. Like, “I’m here. I’m here, I’m alive.”

Final thoughts on Therapy? Anything you want to make sure people know about this project?

Tech: It worked. I got all those things that would eat me alive on inside, out. Me being bitter about my education. Me being bitter about getting my heart broken the first time. Me being aware that people that are evil are coming around because of success and that you just have to be prepared when demons come.

I will say that as someone who is just inundated with rock and metal all day long, this is so different and so cool…

Ross: See? That to me is the coolest thing. To not be in the mass. To stick out and do something that we don’t plan and just stick out like that. How cool is that? The bass player from Metallica [Rob Trujillo] met with me, and he is doing this Jaco Pastorius movie. Ya know about him?

Tech: No.

Ross: He’s a bass player from the ’70s who changed fusion music. He’s this sicko badass, like he freaked everybody out. He went on to be really self-destructive and became this homeless guy on purpose, and he was beaten to death. So this massive legend that [Trujillo] is in that world, he made a movie out of it. Jaco has a [nephew] who did a bass thing and put it on your site. He riffed over your raps. It’s the coolest thing. Over you. And he wants to play on it as well. So basically, make a track with you and this guy riffing over you. You gotta hear it. You’ll trip out over it. It’s really cool.

Tech: A lot of things are going to blossom from this.

Ross: And it ties you in with Metallica pretty heavy. Bands like that, they become so bubble-ized, so in their world, and it’s hard to infiltrate that. I don’t know. It would be an unheard of thing to hear this mixed with that in any way, shape, or form. I don’t know. I think it’s really cool.

That would be a pretty amazing collaboration…

Tech: Totally. It’s on my radar. The only thing about all the people that came through — Wes, Ortiz, Alfredo, Sammy — the hardest thing for me is when it comes time to do this thing live, everybody is so in their world I don’t know what I’m gonna do! I don’t want just any band playing this. I wanna go on the road with this thing, I want to do the songs from Therapy live.

Keep up with Tech’s latest releases, tour dates, and more via his website.

The official music video for “Hiccup” is scheduled for worldwide release within the next few weeks.