Sunday, September 12, 2010


There's no box you can put Jason Brown AKA Phingaz into. There's no way to pigeonhole him, he's not a bird. He digs the dope shit and happens to work with a bunch of talented individuals known for making moves. I had a great time reading his response and I'm sure you will too. Enjoy.

NT-Who are you? Where are you from and where do you call home?
PH-My name is Phingaz - But my parents and friends call me Jay.  I'm born and raised in Utah - its pretty.  I live in south Minneapolis - that is home.

NT-Why the name Phingaz?
PH-I was part of a rock/funk band all through high school.  I played Bass.  I had really big hands and everyone made fun of me.  Especially the drummer in the band - we called him Sloth Dubbs (He plays in like 3 bands now: Feel Good Patrol, Shades of Gray, and Samuel Smith Band) one day he dubbed me fingers - and it stuck.  When Phaust and I formed Sinthesis we were really feeling the PH thing - so I ran with it.

NT-How long have you been making music?
PH-Roughly since the 7th grade. So 12 years now? That's weird...

NT-What's one of your fondest memories of music as a kid?
PH-I had this giant trunk that I could fit in when I was young.  I would sit in the trunk with my parents really crappy beat up boom box and make mix-tapes off the radio.  I wish I could find some of those tapes...

NT-Are you picky when it comes to producing for an artist?
PH-I think I am - but I think the question holds more weight the other way.  I like a certain sound/style and I really want the artist I'm working with to hold the music in the same light.  When its working - its working.  When its not - its not.  I really like to work with people who have a vision - I create a lot of beats on a 'project' basis.  Meaning I don't have this huge vault of beats that are un-used.  I like to paint a song for an artist with a particular feeling or emotion or something that they want to convey.  So if your a picky rapper - I'm your guy.

NT-Who are you working with at the moment?
PH-I've given a slew of beats to Status Reign for his Solo Album. I JUST finished mixing and mastering ToneKrusher Smith's newest album "Big Bombs Of Love."  I made all the beats on it - except 2.  Egypto handled those.  We are dropping it FREE REALLY SOON!! I'm currently wrapping up the final Capaciti disk - "8 1/2 Months."  I made a few beats - but I mostly sat behind the sounds mixing and sang on a bunch of the songs.  He is gonna give that away for free too in the next few months. Sinthesis is super hard at work on a new disk.  Its a completely new sound and we are damn excited about it.  I just spent a week in Utah with Phaust recording and working on songs. We also have 4-5 songs on an EP that we plan to give out for FREE before the new year! So Free is the name of the game here. Lastly - I'm making a bunch of beats for TQD's next album.  I won't get into details cause that's his Dilla-yo!

NT-How did you meet?
PH-The BNC guys?  The short story is through Egypto Knuckles.  The long story involves DU Nation, a crazy Mix-Tape (The Mixed Up Tape SHOUT OUT!), a bunch of booze, music, and somebody that Frugalis doesn't allow me to talk about anymore.

NT-What groups or bands are you really digging right now local or national?
PH-Locally Cecil Otter is one of my favorite musicians.  I'm all about his production and his flow has this awesome story-telling feel, Rebel Yellow is one of my all time favorite local disks.  Kristoff Krane has been a favorite since the day I didn't realize I was running sound for Abzorbr when I had just finished telling them I like the local group Abzorbr.  The National is a crazy grab bag of craziness.  Trombone Shorty's new album is AMAZING!  The Black Keys and anything Jack White touches.  I'm a huge Tool fan and I still bang Primus on a daily basis.  I've been listening to a lot of Big L and Outkast - I'm really really, really, really hoping 3 stacks drops a new disk soon.  Please?!

NT-Where do you do your digging? Do you have a secret crack spot you get your vinyl from?
PH-I used to live right in Uptown and I would hit the Cheapo a lot - They just have a staggering amount of vinyl.  I really like Hymies Basement.  The crack spot?  Egypto hipped me to a place - but I'm not gonna share it cause EVERYONE is a producer now-a-days and I don't want them to go snag all the good shit first!!

NT-What's your record collection like?
PH-Lots of obscure sound records - I like the crazy stuff.  Improv recordings - weird sounds.  Solo instruments.  But I also by records to just listen to them, non-sample related.  I think the last thing I listened to was Jethro Tull "Thick As A Brick"  I go through phases of records, sometimes all funk/soul stuff.  Sometimes Jazz - Sometimes weird improv doesn't-really-make sense music.  Or I get attached to certain instruments and buy a shit-ton of records around it.  My last obsession was the Flute - I'm still in that phase.  Herbbie Mann say whhhhhat?!? 

NT-Who were some of your inspirations in your early years? Who, after listening to it really made you decide to make music?
PH-Primus and The Red Hot Chili Peppers were the two groups I listened to growing up.  I really feel like those guys are masters at their crafts.  I could listen to them for the rest of my life and be completely happy.  There catalogues are deep - lots of experiments - lots of new ideas.  They constantly move in a forward motion.  I try to do that - I don't like to stand in one musical spot for too long.  Gotta keep it moving.

NT-Who do you think is the one producer or Producers changing the game like he or they see fit? The way they want it? Like a Danger Mouse or Dan The Automator?
PH-I don't think its one specific producer.  I think hip-hop and music is going through a hyper change right now.  Hip-hop acts are taking main stages at massive outdoor festivals!!  That's HUGE!  I think Kanye has always done his own thing - I didn't listen to 808's - but I think he's a giant force behind a lot of changes.  I think guys like P.O.S are doing amazing things too.  P.O.S is super cross genre - and he makes his own beats - and he taps into an entire other circuit of fans.  That's massive.

NT-In your mind is there any one or two records that is absolutely perfect or damn near close?
PH-Anyone in Background Noise will tell you this: Red Hot Chili Peppers "Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik" I own WAY to many copies of this album. Its my favorite album ever - it's got everything you need; Funk. Hip-Hop. Rock. Humor. Pain. Blues. Sex. Soul. Its a monument of an album - I could recite this thing forwards and back - WITH animated guitar, drum and bass solos. I've said it before and I will say it yet again - This album is Perfect to me.  I find new little subtle things to pay attention to with every listen. (I've listened a lot)   

NT-Is there anything about those album(s) that you know they just "got it right"?
PH-Its the little things.  Like on "Suck My Kiss" - The chorus is played 3 times in the song. Each time after "Is she talking dirty" there is a few hits the whole band does.  Each time they do a different amount of hits, depending on which time through the chorus it is.  3 hits for the first time, 2 for the second, 1 for the last time.  Its so subtle but it makes such a huge deal to have that patience like that! I'm gonna stop - I could type PAGES about this album.

NT-Do you have any "desert island" records to share?
PH-See above.
Led Zepplin 4Atmosphere - God Loves UglyParliament - Mothership ConnectionDredg - El CieloPrimus - Sailing The Seas of CheeseOutkast - AqueminiSoul Coughing - Irresistible BlissAesop Rock - Bazooka Tooth and....Jethro Tull - Thick As a Brick.

NT-Could you describe your music-making process?
PH-Its sort of like a tornado.  It sometimes strikes without warning - it can be huge and devastating, or it can be calm and minuscule.  I'll drop a record and just listen, over and over.  Listening for some little line or moment.  When I catch it, I'm off and running.  Sometimes I'll just get lost in a record and just end up listening to it.  I'll pick up the guitar a lot and just mess around.  I'll keep playing a riff over and over again for weeks until I've composed the whole song in my head.  Then I'll attempt to put it on track.  It always comes out totally different but I think the brewing time is really important.  I've made beat skeletons that have sat for months - then I re-visit it and change the whole thing up.  Some tracks come super fast - Like "Put Em' Up" on Analyrical's album First Date.  I made that beat between 9 - 11 AM.  I mean the whole thing - Put guitar and organ to it, dropped the drums.  Did some cool pattern changes and bam - I was really digging on the beat.  I couldn't wait to show the BNC guys!  Then Analyrical came through for his session and I showed him and he said "I NEED that beat!" So he wrote that song on the spot and we recorded it then and there. Inside of 6 hours.  Other times shit grows on me forever.  "It Came To Pass" on Movement 4:6 took me forever to finally piece together and say "This is it, this is the song."  Even when I thought we were done with that song - I made Phaust record me doing another guitar line months after we said its done.

NT-How have people responded to the music you've have been making?
PH-I get a lot of questions about my music.  A few haters here and there.  But the overall response has been positive.  My production leaves some people confused on what exactly to call it.  But I like that - It makes me feel like I'm creating something new. 

NT-Is there any surprises or a record in the works right now?
PH-If I told you... I wouldn't be a surprises now would it?!?!

NT-What's the perfect crowd to you?
PH-Drunk - they always get down no matter what! 

NT-What's your take on the Internet, has it helped or hurt you in terms of reaching an audience or making your money?
PH-The Internet has changed the whole world - more than once.  Without it I'm not sure I would really have an audience.

NT-Where can people go to hear and buy your music?
PH-iTunes and

NT-last question...when you hit the venue, what drink is getting ordered first?
PH-Whiskey Coke - It used to be Rum and Coke but it makes me black out a bit and that's not cool!

NT-Anything else to add for the readers? Any shout outs?
PH-Thanks for reading Readers!!!!



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