Cut Chemist Finds New 'Audience' On Solo Debut

Former Jurassic 5 DJ Cut Chemist steps out for his first solo outing with "The Audience's Listening," due July 11 via Warner Bros.

Former Jurassic 5 DJ Cut Chemist steps out for his first solo outing with "The Audience's Listening," due July 11 via Warner Bros.

The artist has spent years working on the material, with the Astrud Gilberto-sampling single "The Garden" having been in the works for the better part of a decade. That cut can be purchased from Apple's iTunes Music Store along with "Storm" featuring Edan and Mr. Lif.

Cut Chemist had to leave Jurassic 5 in order to get the album finished, but it's something he's glad he did. "It's easy for me to get distracted," he admits to Billboard.com. "Warner Bros. was very patient, because I've been signed for two years and I haven't turned anything in. I realized I couldn't do both. It was just impossible for me. I probably could have finished it while doing both but it wouldn't be the type of record I was going to be proud of."

Woven through with turntable wizardry, innumerable samples and a smattering of live instrumentation, "The Audience's Listening" reflects Cut Chemist's lifelong adoration of vintage hip-hop. "I love that time period because that was when it all started," he says. "I remember not being able to use a mixer and there being no rules. It was psychedelic. We had to rely on our instinct and not on our left brain."

Because Cut Chemist spent so much time working on the album, a number of tracks had to be left behind. "There was a whole other centerpiece but I couldn't put it on," he says of one particulr tune. "As great conceptually as it was, it just wasn't a good song. It was this seven-minute piece about my records getting stolen. It sounds great on paper, but when you're listening to it, you can't zone out and listen to the music."

Cut Chemist also spent almost a year clearing samples, an endlessly frustrating process that has forced him to make some last-minute tweaks to the final tracks. "You have to find the copyright holder, and that takes forever," he says. "Then you ask and give them the song. Sometimes you have to remind them what their song is. Nine times out of 10 they don't even know. We've had people call us out on samples they didn't even own."

The artist will tour in support of the new album this summer. North American dates aren't locked in yet but he will visit Europe and Australia in August. "It's going to be pretty much just me and my turntables," he says. "But I try to make it performance-oriented as possible."