Jeff Bhasker Talks Working With Kanye West

Тжеф бесткер поведывоент как стал прихвостнем НЛК (и зо чем), уведомляент в кокой момент тот вздумол петь с овтотюненгом, розглогольствуент про конпеляцею 808-тьми хертбрейков, розсуждаент про наглый свогертжокенг дрезедрейка и еще там.

I started playing keyboards in Kanye's band around the time Graduationwas released. I was friends with Kanye's DJ, A-Trak, and they needed someone to fill in on keyboards. I was producing at the time-my first cut I got was the title song on The Game's first album—so I was trying to make my name as a producer. I thought it was a cool opportunity to do a live thing and Kanye was awesome. I started from there, but eventually I became his musical director.

Then he started inviting me to the studio to work on his records. Being his keyboard player, we did a lot of stuff. You might remember his SNL performance when it's broken down to just piano and him rapping-that was a good foundation that we built on collaborating because we would get in the studio and just start with the piano.

The first album of his I worked on was 808s and Heartbreaks. We would be writing songs together, but a lot of times we would start with just the piano, a vocal idea, and a drum beat and take it from there.

I think a big part of [why Kanye's live shows sound so good] is because Kanye is such a great producer who has a sensibility of how to produce the music at a show and how it should sound. A lot of times, [during a rap show] the band playing the music doesn't sound right. Hip-hop is not played by a band. The Roots are one of the few people who can pull it off and still make it feel [like rap] but its' a very specific feel and it's very careful in design in how the instruments are used.

We did that album in about three weeks. Then we went on a world tour and polished it off in studios in China, Singapore, Brazil, and all over the world. It got finished while we were on a world tour. That album went fast which was a cool thing about it; that kept it pure. It's not an over-thought version of what it was supposed to be. It was a very zen brush stroke.

With Kanye albums, we do go in very deep, re-think things, layer things, and change and tweak. But 808s has this sort of rawness to it which is cool, very minimal. It taught me a big lesson that keeping things simple can still have a lot of power and still be great.

[The use of Auto-Tune came about] from the live shows. When we performed 'Good Life,' we set up the Auto-Tune so that Kanye could sing the T-Pain part. Once we figured out how to make that happen, it was so fun to do because it's like playing an instrument. Auto-Tune enabled Kanye to take his songwriting further. He's always been a great lover of melody, even before auto-tune.

[I helped write songs] more or less in some cases. Most of them came from him and then we would put the music together. For example, 'Love Lockdown,' there was like five writers on that. We deciphered what the demo might be saying. Kanye just freestyled it. We went back and filled in the words. In that sense, it was contributing to the songwriting.

You need collaborators that understand songwriting to make the song as good as it can be, even if its not like, 'Okay, let's try this melody or that melody.' It's like going along for the ride and being there to say, 'Why don't we change this word?' or "If it went to this chord here, it would be better." So collaboration is a murky, abstract thing. [It's about] having love for song itself, and not being like. 'I don't know where you going with this.

Not everyone has vision. Kanye has vision. But then he brings it to life, too. He's good at both. So it's a twopart part process, you gotta have a great vision and bring it to life. He [explains his vision] in a lot of different ways. [Kanye communicates] directly. He just says what he wants, there's no bullshitting around. You might have to get used to the idea of communicating very directly, for some people it kinda throws them off at first.

We actually wrote [Drake's "Find Your Love"] for Rihanna. She actually cut it, it was just another writing day in the studio. I think No I.D had that drum beat and that's the classic, 'Jeff jump on the piano,' and Kanye started humming in my ear. We started coming up with a melody and I started crafting the music and we wrote that relatively quickly, within an hour. When you think about it [sings, 'I'm more than just an option, hey, hey, hey,'] that's right up Kanye's alley, that's his style, that's all Kanye.

[Kanye pushes] everyone around him and everyone who works with him. It's infectious. He surrounds himself with people that are of the highest quality at what they do and then turns you on your head. He breaks you out of what you normally do. It all goes together in his music, regardless of genre. He's just an inspiring person.

I think that came across a little bit more when it was the, 'He's a producer, not a rapper' and he said, 'Well I'm gonna show you I rap.' I think that came across more that, 'Hey, I have a goal and I'm gonna accomplish it.' Now he's just looked at as the best rapper, but people forget [he wasn't always seen that way]. Now he challenges himself by doing fashion-doing anything-and he's not gonna take no for an answer and he's not gonna let someone else tell him what he can do.

He's gonna define what he can do and when you get around that it rubs off on you or else you're not gonna last very long in that environment. I think everyone who gets around him, he pushes and gets the best out of them. If you wanna be good at something, you have to be around the best people. He's not gonna settle. Once you realize he's not gonna settle then there's nothing left to but deliver something great.

I do like talking about all the great qualities he has because he's misunderstood sometimes. I don't think people really understand how inspirational and what a great person he is. He's an example of what a human being should be. I think a lot of people who don't really understand him would be shocked to hear that statement. But I think that should be the main thrust of what comes across.

He's always trying to do the right thing and what it means to you. Always trying to believe in yourself and don't be oppressed by other people's perception of you. Its all in his music and in the way he lives his life. He's one of the hardest working people around and really self-examines himself in a very healthy way.

He's one of the strongest people that I've come across, going through that time where his mother passed away just to have the strength to deal with that. We didn't cancel any shows and we kept working and he transmuted all that emotion into his music. I do want people to know how inspiring he is, I don't want people to lose sight of that.

I guess when it comes down to it, he's an influential motherfucker. I try to take all the lessons I learned and apply them too doing the fun. album. It's a similar thing: The indie, the alternative, and the mixing a bit of a hip-hop into it which is awesome. It's redefined rock radio a little bit. It's important to keep pushing boundaries. Not just following the trend, you want to set the trend. Not for the sake of setting it either. Art is supposed to be original.


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