Pro­ducer pushes tech­nol­ogy re­form

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - COVER STORY - By Mark Richens

Over 30-some­thing years as a part of mu­sic, dig­i­tal sam­pling has be­come more re­stricted by the in­dus­try even as tech­nol­ogy to ma­nip­u­late and re­com­bine sam­ples has in­tro­duced in­fi­nite cre­ative pos­si­bil­i­ties.

That’s the ten­sion at the heart of Amerigo Gaz­a­way’s work. Un­der the Soul Mates Pro­ject la­bel, the pro­ducer’s “con­cep­tual col­lab­o­ra­tions” metic­u­lously com­bine sam­ples to imag­ine team-ups that never were, like Fela Kuti with De La Soul (“Fela Soul,” 2011), A Tribe Called Quest with Phar­cyde (“Bizarre Tribe,” 2012) and Marvin Gaye with Mos Def (the two-part “Yasiin Gaye,” 2014). Th­ese free down­loads be­came In­ter­net sen­sa­tions and brought adu­la­tion from the mu­sic press. There was a prob­lem, though: Although he wasn’t charg­ing for the mu­sic, he hadn’t cleared the sam­ples, and record com­pa­nies came call­ing with cease-and-de­sist or­ders.

“It’s tricky: The ‘Yasiin Gaye’ got shut down in 2 days,” says Gaz­a­way, 30, who will play a cou­ple of DJ sets dur­ing Wed­nes­day night’s preview party for “Has­san Hajjaj: My Rock Stars” at the Mem­phis Brooks Mu­seum of Art.

“It in­spired me to come back with Vol­ume 2 ... and one of those tracks ended up be­ing picked up for an Ap­ple ad (“You Are Un­de­ni­able” from the “What Will Your Verse Be?” cam­paign). “It’s a more sim­pli­fied ver­sion of the track, eas­ier to clear, but we were able to work that out and get that track on itunes, and that’s helped us a lit­tle bit in terms of peo­ple not im­me­di­ately shut­ting us down.”

Gaz­a­way’s ex­pe­ri­ences have led him to be­come an ad­vo­cate for copy­right law re­form and for tech­nolo­gies that ease the process of clear­ing sam­ples.

“There’s gonna be evo­lu­tion,” he says. “(The in­dus­try) will al­low it as long as they can mon­i­tor it and keep it un­der their ecosys­tem.”

Pro­ducer Amerigo Gaz­a­way will serve as DJ dur­ing the preview party for Has­san Hajjaj’s “My Rock Stars” ex­hibit at the Mem­phis Brooks Mu­seum of Art.

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