One emcee, one producer group projects are few and far between these days, so when Netherland producer Soulseeker and United States emcee A.L Laureate teamed up to become Flesh of the Mind I had to take a listen. A.L’s brutally honest lyricism on numerous topics from religion to the end of days combined with Soulseeker's haunting and boom-bap inspired production, made for an album you want to dissect and analyze, so I brought the duo in to tell us a bit about the background behind the project. You can peep “Flesh of the Mind” here.
IntroSoulseeker: They say that when writing a paper, you should write your introduction last, so you know exactly the remainder of the text that the reader needs to be introduced to. I never do, but here I finally did. I just know they’d be proud of me… Yeah, well, anyway. The sample was an absolute joy to work with, with the wide open vocal sample and all.
AL: The idea for this song came out from my first conversations i had with SoulSeeker and the various similarities we shared with our personalities. Being viewed as Enigmas made this track as a perfect first track for us to do together.
SoulSeeker: This is the first song we did together. When I came across Alex’s Closed Eyed Insomnia record, I just knew I had to send him an email to collaborate. I got my dopest beats in a .rar file, and sent him this. As for the song, he did his part first, and had the whole chorus done by himself. I thought it was a good fit for a back and forth kind of chorus, so I recorded my part and cut the relevant parts of his out, creating this we’re all cool going back and forth in the studio kind of feel exchanging files via email. My verse is basically me acting cool both in general and with some stuff I learned in my first year of university, giving reasons why we do these songs when we really hadn’t done any yet...
AL: This joint was presented to me by SoulSeeker with the concept and the chorus and his verses including. The insomnia that i had been suffering with at the time made this a perfect soundtrack for me to lay down more specifics about my struggle with lack of sleep.
Soulseeker: The stylized writing of the title is actually due to me not liking spaces in my beat files, and ICantSleep makes it seem more like a lower-case L than a capitalized i. It seemed cool though. As you can imagine, in this time I had some sleep problems. The chorus is actually from me having misheard some song’s lyrics. The stereo sections ended up as a happy accident at early stages from the beat, so I thought I’d exploit that.
AL: This has to be easily one of my favorite verses ive ever written. Just off the way the color schemes i broke down throughout my verse the chemistry i established with SoulSeeker made this joint complete.
Soulseeker: This song is actually really personal to me and I decided to write this after making the beat, using the famous Get Out My Life, Woman drumbreak. It just seemed fitting, you know. It was crazy how well Alex came and dropped his verse to this, and him using the colours he writes the letters in is probably the text that stuck most to me from the album.
How Much feat. Skribbal
AL: During the time SoulSeeker and I were working on this Flesh of the Mind project i began building with various other emcees online. One of those emcees was Skribbal from California. After hearing Skribbal's music i instantly knew we had to work together. SoulSeeker and I put the concept together then I presented it to Skribbal and he was down to do it and the result was this politically fueled track.
Soulseeker: When I heard the song I sampled here, I immediately knew I wanted to use it to create this beat that would alternate a lot between very thin and fragile, and powerful and bombastic sounds. While mixing, I realized my twofold democracy line actually didn’t rhyme until the end of it (excluding democracy, economy which really doesn’t count), which left me embarrassed enough to re-record the whole verse differently, but it never came out half as nice, so I just let it be.
AL: The first time i heard this beat I was hooked to the vocal sample SoulSeeker included which states: "I Know theres something beyond us beyond that i dont know much" those words humbly resonated with me, and gave me the idea of writing a song about the last days on earth and the rise of the anti-christ. Living in the days we live in we see this more apparent and closer to come about. My goal with this track was to have people self-aware of the direction the world is going in and not be in the dark about it.
Soulseeker: When Alex first recorded this song, I thought it was so dope that I really wanted my name on it as well, so I decided to stand yelling in the back of his vocals, and add a little something-sumthin’ at the end. Now my name is on it as well. Oh, and if you prefer to skip the outro, it’s cool. That’s just my pretentious sonic representation of my internal chaos, you know?
Intellectual Horror feat. Ensilence, Ali Dahesh, Esham
AL: Given the name of our group Flesh of the Mind and the conception of it from the mind of SoulSeeker it would be only fitting we included a track with something dark and mentally unraveling to those who hear it. This cypher type joint is special to me having the opportuniy to work with Ensilence, Ali Dahesh, and Esham. As SoulSeeker had been working with Ensilence and Ali Dahesh i reached out to Eshams managment for a verse and after speaking with Esham himself he loved the joint and even layed the ending Intellectual Horror sound byte on the of the track. Definitely was an honor working with all these incredible artists on this one joint.
Soulseeker: If you’d see how I made all these beats, you’d know that I’m a horrible producer, but just really great at finding dope samples, and it’s clearest here. Fuck, that sample is great. Anyway. I loved this beat so I wanted everyone I was working with at the moment on it (read: Alex, Ali and Ensilence), so I did. When Alex told me he got Esham for the final verse, I was super psyched to have a high school hero on my own track. Big shouts to Ensilence and Ali Dahesh as well for doing these verses, I absolutely love them.
Nuthin Nice ( Forgive Me ) feat. Anjuli & Venessa Renee
AL: This is the most personal track i wrote on this album. The first verse circles around the thought of the everyday reality that happens to artists in this industry and the path it could lead you to if you let yourself be sucked into it. The second verse is about my mother and the life she lived leading up to the time i was born when she did everything within her means to raise me to be the man I am today. To bring it all full circle i wanted to separate hooks on the track to give that resonating effect of both verses on the track with angellic voices to tie it all together. I had worked with Anjuli on my first album Closed Eyed Insomnia and Venessa Renee i reached out to and fit perfectly to make it all come to life.
Soulseeker: Save the intro, I think this may be the newest beat on the album, and I think you can hear it in the drums. This was another song Alex did solo that I wanted my name on, but this was too fucking perfect for me to ruin, so I left it be. I think we can all agree that was for the best. I have no sense for music, and I just cut up dope pieces of music and put them back together, so to hear that people actually got to sing so goddamned beautifully on this, is amazing.
Soulseeker: Extras: So, the cassette has a few bonus instrumentals to try to even out the lengths of the two sides. Those, admittedly, are much newer than the intro, but since they’re a little tape extra I left them out of the count. I actually realized afterwards that I had written a pretty cool verse to one of them, but now you’ll get to enjoy them in their raw beauty.
Extras #2: There’s also a little promo track that I made, even more recently, that’s not really on the album, but on soundcloud only. When it came really close to releasing the cassette, I was talking to people that I knew about it, and some people were sceptical about releasing a cassette in the modern days. Hearing the resurrecting on cassette sample on a CYNE track, I knew there was only one thing I could do. So I did. I had just moved into a new place, finally reuniting with my record player and tiny record collection, so I made this beat with vinyl celebrating the cassette tape format like the true fucking hipster that I am.