9 am I woke up quite early and was out of the house by 8:30. I’m in London right now, which is pretty rare as I live in LA, but we’re working on the next album. I’m staying in an Airbnb in Clapton and the studio is in Tottenham, so I’m cycling along the River Lea. This morning was a very sunny day, and cold – something I’m not really used to anymore so it was quite refreshing.
I was listening to a song called Roof by wiki, which is from his 2021 album Half God. I’ve listened to it thousands of times; once I get hooked on a record, I play it again and again. In the song, he talks about being on his roof in New York and he describes the people down there, everyone being kind of in a simulation. It is a truly visually inspiring piece; I remember feeling that at that time it seemed really applicable in London. He describes the wind hitting his face and releasing endorphins, and that’s kind of what I was doing in a way because I was on my bike. It was just a really cool moment.
4 p.m. I headed to Tottenham Hale station to catch the train as it was really cold and the sun was starting to set. It was a pretty miserable and drizzly situation and I was snuggling into my coat as best I could. I was listening to 48 by Maxo with Pink Siifu, a song I’ve heard countless times because I produced the album it came from. The beat is by Madlib, which is just sick; I had the privilege of chopping into a few effects. It’s really good to listen to music that you have been involved with. Initially, when you listen to it, you notice every minor detail, it’s like that task needs to be done. Then it’s kind of nice, just being able to enjoy it as a listener, and enjoy the lyricism and the general presentation of the music. Maxo and Pink Siifu’s verses are so good.
8 p.m. I arrived at the Aspers Casino poker room in sunny Stratford; it’s quite dark and dull to be honest. I played poker for years and recently got back into it. For me it’s one of the best games ever, it’s so interesting and multi-layered. I usually listen to music to try to stay focused and not get bored: when you get bored, that’s when you start losing money. You start pushing it, you try to force things to happen. I put Thowy’s Revenge on Benny the Butcher; he’s got this attitude that’s so powerful, and that’s the kind of presence I’d like to have at a poker table, a “don’t mess with me” kind of presence (in my stupid way). I listen to his record a lot, but I just felt like I had something pretty nasty at the time.
10:45 a.m. I walk to the Co-op in Clapton and listen Maxselections from our NTS show. We currently have a residency for our album Die Cuts, and we make each show a little album of what we do. This kind of collage approach is something I also do in music with sampling; I put different elements together to create something that feels complete. We want the shows to be good documents that people can refer to when trying to understand what we do.
Each artist we invite chooses a few songs and answers a few questions; it’s always interesting to hear a little glimpse into someone else’s mind. Maxo always puts me on good things; one of the songs was an instrumental piece, which is really good. It was just a great way to set the scene for this record, because it’s so different from what we’ve done before and involves so many different artists that people probably wouldn’t associate with us.
5 p.m. I was sitting on a bench in Markfield Park, down the road from the studio, staring at an unused football pitch and trying to write lyrics for a song on our new record. We have a computer and a set of monitors in the studio and Kai is working on some instrumental stuff. I was struggling to find the right words, so I decided to listen to someone else’s music. I like Babyxsosa, it’s known to be hard to track down and work with, but it’s kind of a to-do list for me. I listened to Drama Baby/Malibu because the melodies are so strong, and that’s something I’m really trying to incorporate into the music we’re writing right now. For the first time, I’ll be the lead singer on the next album, which is weird and a completely different challenge.
10 p.m. It had been a long day and I was preparing dinner. I listened to this demo that Kai had recorded; it’s a guitar driven instrumental and it sounded great. I think the best way for me to come up with lyrics is to have the song in the background, so I had that instrumental on loop. It’s the best way to find those catchy melodies, something can suddenly come to mind. It also makes dinner more interesting, I guess.
8am I ran to Markfield Park and back, listening to My Gang Young Naked, an incredible artist from Atlanta. His EA Monster album is so good: the beats are great and all the subtle melodies get in your head, but it’s menacing. It’s perfect racing music because you’re pounding the concrete and you need something to push you forward. That morning, Young Nudy was pushing me in the back with a pitchfork.
5 p.m. Return to the Airbnb by bike. I had been in the studio with Kai and Andrea Balency-Béarn, who sings and plays keyboards at Mount Kimbie when we play live. We did vocals and wrote a lot of stuff for the album we’re working on. One of the bands we used as a reference point for this fairly simple bass guitar focused idea was division of joy. I had flipped through Unknown Pleasures and Interzone popped up; I listened to the little nuances in the way the ideas are presented. I’m not naturally drawn to guitar music right now, but you have to listen to the classics.
9 p.m. I went to bed and thought about the day. I scrolled through Instagram and saw that my good friend from LA, Live, had just released a song called Ghost. It’s always disgusting to see someone with an amazing voice being really experimental in the music they make. I honestly think Liv.e is the next Beyoncé, she’s going to be massive. Lying in Clapton, I was transported to Los Angeles for a second through the music. And that put me in a really optimistic mood: I can’t wait to get back to California, so any idea what’s going on there is great. But also before that, I have a task to accomplish. So that made me want to really continue what I’m doing.