solid steel 40 – david axelrod interview [download]

Solid Steel 40 - David Axelrod Interview coverI don’t listen to interviews much, simply because my attention span just can’t cut it.  But ever since Skidz told me to check out the Solid Steel radio show (Ninja Tune) interview with David Axelrod (2001) I went mental on it and it’s been a regular recurrence in my playlist. Whether you’re a sample-head, history freak or overall music lover, this is THE interview to check out.


When it comes to sampling the first three names that pop into my head are James Brown, Bob James and David Axelrod. There is a significant difference between the first two and Axelrod: Brown and James are both best known for being performers, respectively in the field of funk and smooth jazz, and they’ve both been sampled in a lot of mainstream commercial productions. Axelrod, on the other hand, is a name you won’t find under the performing credits, and the few hits he’s been a part of aren’t widespread known as being sampled material.


Simply put, David Axelrod’s music isn’t easy listening like the funk standard James Brown set, or the put-it-behind-some-feelgood-commercial borderline cheesy stuff Bob James did. Especially the two more well known Axelrod albums (Songs Of Innocence and Songs Of Experience) are bombastic orchestral masterpieces, making them more accessible to the music-lover than the charts listener. The overall vibe is haunting and melancholic, another thing that puts them opposite of most of James Brown’s and Bob James’ work.


That covers one aspect of the interview: it’s soaked with Axelrod’s own music, his favorites and some tracks that sampled him. The other part is David himself, a humble man who simply loves music and hasn’t gotten arrogant or pretentious while being revered by contemporary great names like DJ Shadow, Dr. Dre and Diamond D. (he actually wrote a song to honor the last two, called “The Doctor and the Diamond”). The stories he tells about the people he worked with in his decade-spanning career are feelgood tales with heavy name-dropping that’ll keep you on Wikipedia for hours.


I could write on for pages and never really capture the feeling of the interview and the man himself. Since the original page where Skidz found it isn’t online anymore ( I’ve uploaded the 1hour interview here. The tracklist of the music can be found below:


01. David Axelrod – The Warning
02. David Mccallum – House Of Mirrors
03. Myriam Makeba – Quit It
04. Art Tatum – Willow Weep For Me
05. Lou Reed – Walk On The Wild Side
06. David Axelrod – Holy Thursday
07. Black Sheep – Without A Doubt
08. DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World
09. David Axelrod – The Human Abstract
10. David Mccallum – The Edge
11. Howard Roberts – Dirty Old Bossa Nova
12. Tribe Called Quest – Jam
13. Howard Roberts – Gasoline Alley
14. Cannonball Adderley – Space Spiritual
15. Sly And The Family Stone – If You Want Me To Stay
16. David Axelrod – Crystal Ball
17. The Electric Prunes – Holy Are You – Reprise
18. David Axelrod – Jimmy T
19. David Rose – Main Title From Exodus
20. Lou Rawls – Life Time Monologue
21. David Axelrod – The Little Children


Below are two tracks which contain Axelrod samples that you probably do know.