By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Brooklyn's Ratatat has beat-making down pat with their aptly titled sophomore record, Classics (XL). With more guitar parts than a Lynyrd Skynyrd reunion and enough samples to make Girl Talk blush, the duo, Evan Mast and Mike Stroud, create infectious, stadium-sized instrumentals that seamlessly bridge the barriers between electronica, rock and even ambient music.
Beatmaster and renowned laptop artist Mast, aka E*vax, spits the grime on Volume 2 of Ratatat's mixtape series, which is available only at the band's live performances.
DO: Ratatat's first mixtape shamelessly tore into Top 40 hip-hop. What were you striving for with Volume 2?
EM:It's mainly something that we just do on the side for fun. It's not an intense process like writing an album; it's more immediate. We craft the beats and lay the verses on top of that. With the new one especially, we're really going more for the hip-hop production, trying to get it to really hit hard in all of the right places.
Personally, I'm a huge fan of Devin the Dude. I would really like to work with him or Ghostface.
What's been your most interesting experience thus far with the mixtapes and remixes?
We got to meet Beanie Sigel; he's a pretty cool guy. We were supposed to interview him for a magazine, but it didn't go too well. I don't think they ever printed any of it. They just ran some photos. At one point though, we were playing some of the beats for him through headphones and he was freestyling to them. It was pretty killer.
What sort of questions did you have for Beanie Sigel?
I don't remember the questions, but I know that he didn't really ever answer them. He was pretty out of it. There was a time when he just started rambling on about spaghetti. How hip-hop has all of these ingredients and what not. Everyone was pretty lost by the end of it.