INTERVIEW: HIEROGLYPHIC BEING
Thursday 04 October 2012 at 3:45 pm
Leading up to his European tour, we talked to Chicago producer Jamal Moss, AKA Hieroglyphic Being, about the process of creating music, his own personal catharsis and keeping it real.
Chicago producer Jamal Moss, otherwise known as Hieroglyphic Being, is something of a dance music visionary. His exciting mix of styles ranges from African tribalism to noise jazz and slack-jawed psychedelia. So leading up to his European tour, we decided to call him up and ask him how he channels all that creativity. Turns out the word fun is not part of his vocabulary. Talk about keeping it real.
Interview by Koen van Bommel, Photos shot by Bryan Lear in Chicago, USA
I read somewhere that you used to read a lot of science fiction when you were younger. Do you still read a lot?
Can you name a book that really influenced you?
Not just one book, but the people who wrote them: Ray Bradbury and Philip K Dick. They were born in my area, in Chicago.
Your music is very diverse, is that something that’s inherently connected to you? Do you also have a really diverse taste in women? Books? Food? Movies?
Diversity is inherently important to me as a learning medium, so as not to mentally, spiritually or physically suffocate. Books, food, visual mediums, musical genres and a respectful diverse taste in women.
I read that you spend lots and lots of time making music, and I guess it must be true with all the music you’re putting out.
It’s true. I just follow my calling. I feel that this is what I’m meant to do.
What kind of music is the most fun to make? Do you decide beforehand what you’re going to create? Or does it just flow naturally?
I don’t decide beforehand. I also don’t have fun when I create, because I’m always in a learning stage and challenging myself to be better in my creativity. When you’re learning intensely – no games, no fun, no smiling, no play – you’re just doing work. And what floats out of me isn’t always the best or always good, that’s left for the others to decide.
Do you have a certain musical approach that you use every time? Or is it a new experience each day? It sounds like you’re experimenting a lot with different kinds of moods/sounds.
You’re asking questions that don’t really apply to my train of thought. I don’t see myself making music or creating it. I am not a trained musician or theorist. I experiment with vibrations, harmonies and rhythms, that’s my approach. Never claiming or professing, just manifesting and believing that I can.
I saw you play in Amsterdam earlier this year and I was dancing a lot. Is that your aim when you DJ? Or are there other things that are important to you when you are performing?
I try to do my part to free people from their burdens and transcend through selecting certain sounds, and in the process it helps to heal whatever ails me at the time. I am always stressing and beating myself up on the inside that no matter how bad things can be for me, I can at least make sure others can have a moment of happiness and release. It’s like a cleansing; a purging of the negative.
The show I went to in Amsterdam was part of Club 4 reel, and since this is the For Real issue, I thought it was a funny connection. What’s your definition of real?
Whatever affects your five senses and mental state of mind in your reality.
What’s the realest thing you’ve done today?
Still have a faith in others no matter how many times I have been let down.
Do you ever need a reality check?
Life is the reality check. I don’t need it, but I want it.