I recently got word about Exact Change Project, A jazz-hop duo from the origin of Jazz, NYC. They recently released a new LP called Escape Capsule, which is nothing like your ordinary Hiphop release. Including various styles and vibes, Escape Capsule feels like a fresh breeze filled with creativity and originality. For us, it’s the first vocal release we chose to feature, and a very good one at that!
Exact Change Project consists of Luge and Formula J, a duo from Queens, New York. Their vision is taking hip-hop down a new road, embarking upon musical adventures, while exploring the genre’s jazzy roots. It’s a very natural, evolutionary process, and the music will surely continue to transform and reinvent itself. “It’s time for that.” Their debut album “Escape Capsule” was released 18 September 2012. Exact Change Project takes back hip-hop to jazz roots and delivered a top-notch Jazz-hop album which is dedicated to all hip hop fans, who miss the 90′s sounds. It’s an album with a lot of variety, which contains something likable for most. You can download “Escape Capsule” as “name your price” via Bandcamp.
Exact Change Project’s sound is a result of music’s voyage through the 20th century, presenting an original fusion of styles and sentiments. The group is the brainchild of two friends and hip-hop heads from Queens, New York City, musically known as Luge (Keys/Production) and Formula J (Rhymes/Production). In November of 2010, while studying Jazz and living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, they began making tracks together. The duo’s musical tastes had been expanding, and they became fixated on combining their love for hip-hop with their new-found appreciation and interest in jazz music.
By 2012, they had formed a band with a group of prominent Argentine Jazz musicians, played shows throughout the Argentine music circuit, recorded their debut album “Escape Capsule”, and finally, moved back to New York City. Upon their return home, they formed a new band featuring some exciting and talented musicians. Now you can catch ECP playing shows regularly in NYC, as they prepare to record their follow up to “Escape Capsule.” Luge’s piano driven beats are organic, soulful, and inventive, while Formula J’s lyrics are a reflection of life, lyricism, and imagination, delivered with original cadences and flows. Exact Change Project’s creative process is very natural and evolutionary, and their music will surely continue to transform and reinvent itself.
Interview with Formula J
Our friends at U Call That Love sought out Formula J to ask him some questions about the album and the Exact Change Project.
Hi there, what’s good? First of all, we would to ask you about your origins. Exact Change Project is a duo from Queens, New York, but there is another city, which has played significant role in this project – Buenos Aires, the capitol of Argentina. Could you tell us what exactly brought you to this place?
We’re originally from Queens, NY. I’ve known Luge for about 10 years known. We first started getting together to play music about 6 years ago, and we were just playing jazz pretty much at our friend’s studio in Manhattan. In 2008, I moved out to Buenos Aires, Argentina to focus more on music, other cultures, and Spanish. Luge came through in 2010 to study piano after I told him about the jazz scene down there. I was living with some jazz cats at the time, and once Luge came through, we started making beats, I started writing to those beats, and we eventually formed a band with some other jazz musicians, and recorded the album.
“Escape Capsule” was released on 18th September. Are you satisfied with all feedback what you have received?
Not exactly. Because we’d been in Buenos Aires for years, it was hard to come back and drop the album right away. It didn’t really give us a chance to get a strong buzz going for the release. We also did everything completely independently.
You have invited many musicians to compose the structure of the LP, which is not a common way to go about Hiphop albums at the moment. Do you feel like you are unorthodox artists that prefer organic hip hop in a “synth & electronic era”?
We are both Jazz heads; Luge studies Jazz piano and I study a bit of Jazz drums. We’re huge fans of live instrumentation and improvisation in general, so for us it was important to use live instruments at our shows and on the album. That being said, we also love some of the producers coming out today. Cats like Flying Lotus and Thundercat are killin’ it right now, but it’s hard to get into some of the mainstream beats nowadays. We’re seeing a lot of repetition, and beats that are just oversaturated with sound, without much consideration for musical orchestration. We’re aiming to fuse what we love from hip-hop music, with the things we love from jazz music.
Why did you decide to title the album Escape Capsule? Is it an escape from the music scene in 2012 year and a trip back to the previous era with your time capsule?
We called the album Escape Capsule for a few reasons. We want people to visualize the album, the music as an Escape Capsule. It can be an escape from every day life, from the popular music people are used to hearing, from your job, from your country, anything, For us personally, it represents the Escape, the change that we made in our lives and careers when we decided to quit our jobs and move to Argentina.
What’s the NY hiphop scene like at the moment? Is it a good place for artists like you at the moment? I suppose you had a lot experience from another environments like Jazz musicians, so you probably look at the rap movement in NYC with different angle.
The New York scene is actually an interesting scene at the moment. There are a lot of cats coming up that are just on the cusp of blowin’ up, but are probably still considered underground by most. I’m talking about Joey Badass from Brooklyn, Das Racist, Action Bronson, Exquire, etc. Right now it seems to us that it’s all about who you know in this city. We’re playing a lot of shows, but it’s a challenge to get widespread recognition at this point.
In Argentina, we were always chillin’ with jazz musicians, and they were always into our music. No matter what we did, they had some respect for us because we were from New York City, the origin of jazz. Aside from the rap movement going on in NYC, our music is different than most hip-hop that’s out nowadays, so you never know how people are going to receive the music.
Thank you for the interview. To finish it off: what are your next plans for 2013 year?
Right now, we have a really great band here in NYC. Our plan is to keep on doing shows in New York during the first few months of 2013, then hopefully go on tour later in the year. We’re going to be releasing a video for the track Space Slingin’ right around new years, so we’re definitely looking forward to that. We’re looking to continue connecting with fans around the world, and share the music with as many people as possible. We’ve got a lot of new songs that we’ve been playing at our shows, so we’re also hoping to record a follow-up to Escape Capsule in the coming months. We’re probably going to record the next album a bit differently, in a more live studio setting. We’ll see about that though. Stay tuned!
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