Raspy aka Max Binet is the New Orleans based electronic producer whose style saunters between various heavily experimental arrays of dance and hip hop, firmly rooted in and informed by having spent years prior as a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and performer in countless bands and projects throughout the first couple decades of the 2000’s. Audio engineering degree in hand, Binet’s production technique is sometimes tailored for a club environment, and at other times adapted towards a non-traditional setting, often having one foot planted in each simultaneously.
His recent single ‘Taming The Amygdala‘ was premiered by The Playground. It is inspired by a chapter from the book ‘Rewire Your Brain’ by John B. Arden.
We are pleased to present an interview with Raspy, an artist we will be keeping a keen ear out for in the future:
Tell us about your journey in music, how long have you been producing? What inspired you to start?
My journey in music began before I can actually remember. My pops was a touring and session drummer at the time I was conceived, so music was always around; instruments laying around the house, albums, live shows, etc. I’d go watch my dad play a lot. He was an intense, heavy hitter. It was very inspiring to take in at such an age.
I got my first bass at 10, the same year I started school band as a percussionist, and by the time I was 12, I had played my first show. I did the band thing from 12 until my mid 20’s, and then did it a couple more short times since.
Producing came when I was about 23. I never had my own laptop when younger, nor production software at all, so once I figured it out, it was infectious. What inspires me about producing as opposed to a traditional band setting is that I get to compose it all—beats, bass, rhythm and lead parts, vocals, noise, clips from movies, interviews, shit I record in public with my iPhone, etc. An endless creative outlet with no one to answer to.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies you.
DAW-wise, I use Ableton. At times I’ve been more reliant on hardware, and sometimes I just want to lay in my bed and toy with sounds via my computer keyboard.
Hardware can be imperative for trying to capture a specific time period’s sound quality, or to improvise and piece it together after the fact. What I’ve found though, is that I tend to get lost in the process of knob tweaking, and as a result do a lot more nerding out than actual songwriting.
I’ve always been a songwriter, first and foremost in every single project I’ve ever been a part of. I do my best to not lose sight of it being the number one priority, or I’ll end up making tracks that lack depth.
Give us an idea of the culture around electronic music in your city.
Louisiana is not conducive to underground culture. There will be a small handful of torch bearers for a while and then it kind of dissipates and comes back as something else. I spent many years contributing to local scenes, but there isn’t much effective networking to be done unless you placate to a wider audience.
People here like their comfort zones; predictability. The music I’ve made has always been the antithesis of that. New Orleans has an amazing quality about it that is mystical and eccentric, but coincidentally enough, doesn’t get very far within the music community past a sort of costume party appeal.
What kind of relationship do you have with the internet? How does this inform your artistic expression?
I feel like the internet helped the music industry expand. Expanding can be good or bad, depending on a myriad of factors. I personally miss being able to know who is playing by looking at flyers on telephone poles. I don’t use facebook anymore. I’m sort of like the “back in my day” internet type, cause I feel like the way the youth utilizes the internet now has led people to lack legitimate social skills in real life.
Everything I learned about the industry as a youth is almost all obsolete. It’s this frightening new terrain. Some time in the past 10 years, the whole piñata busted wide open, and a plethora of attention starved human beings dug their Cheeto powder covered fingers in with few good intentions.
The less attention I pay to the internet, the happier I am as a person, generally. Being connected to everyone at all times through social networks has become the new norm which is incredibly limiting for me to navigate, not to mention emotionally exhausting. The positive side is that by contrast, actual life feels more enchanted than it has in a decade or more.
What are the biggest challenges you face in pursuit of your creative projects?
Nothing unique. Work takes up quite a bit of time. My job is a creative outlet as well, so I’m not some miserable hamster sitting in my cubicle wheel all day just jonesing to create. Nonetheless, it’s logistically maddening to pursue a music “career” whilst paying rent, bills, and the like. The biggest challenge, adulting aside, is finding someone who believes in the music I make enough to take it further than I can myself.
Who would be your dream collaborator?
Producer: Arca and Jimmy Edgar. Vocalist: Lafawndah.
Please recommend an album that you have enjoyed recently.
“Ancestor Boy” by Lafawndah.
Outside of music, where do you draw inspiration from?
Esotericism, the occult, self growth. Most of what inspires me is other worldly.
Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
I recently released my first new album in a few years. It’s called “Deep In Prose, Then Decompose”.
I’ve taken the last year off of playing shows after spending many chomping at the bit relentlessly. Performing is vastly important to me, and I’ll definitely get back to it in the near future.
Any final words?
Thank you very much for the interview. I’ll depart upon words that have found their home with me as of recent.
“Cross, lasso, and arrow–former tools of man, debased or exalted now to the status of symbols. Why should I marvel at them, when there is not a single thing on earth that oblivion does not erase or memory change, and when no one knows into what images he himself will be transmuted by the future.”