Skip navigation
A Clash of Jazz, Dub & Glitch by Saxophonist/Producer Mike Casey
Sampling

A Clash of Jazz, Dub & Glitch by Saxophonist/Producer Mike Casey

Saxophone player Mike Casey was part of our feature 'Giant Steps: A New Wave of Jazz (and Beyond)' last year. With multitracks for his 'Law of Attraction: The Remixes' now available on Tracklib, we checked back in to talk about jazz, sampling, and his own background in beatmaking.

By Tracklib
undefined cover art
Add track to favorites
Add or remove track from collection
Share track
Download track (1 credit)
2:42
undefined cover art
Add track to favorites
Add or remove track from collection
Share track
Download track (1 credit)
2:23

Which potential do you see for jazz in this day and age when it comes to sampling? As in: being sampled?

I used to DJ myself and after getting my masters degree from Berklee Valencia in Contemporary Performance/Music Production, I have started getting back into beatmaking and production, which I dabbled with in high school. This has reminded me that the production process is often very slow compared to improvising, whether solo or with a band. Nonetheless I still love the process and Law of Attraction: The Remixes was born out of that: seeing if I could challenge myself to connect polar opposite worlds (from a process standpoint – slow versus fast) with complex sound design to re-imagine my last acoustic “fusion” jazz album Law of Attraction in an electronic context creatively, spanning influences from dubstep to drum-and-bass, lofi to glitch hop, and more.

undefined cover art
Add track to favorites
Add or remove track from collection
Share track
Download track (1 credit)
4:55
undefined cover art
Add track to favorites
Add or remove track from collection
Share track
Download track (1 credit)
3:39
undefined cover art
Add track to favorites
Add or remove track from collection
Share track
Download track (1 credit)
2:47
undefined cover art
Add track to favorites
Add or remove track from collection
Share track
Download track (1 credit)
7:59

So how does sampling fit into that juxtaposition of fast (jazz improvisation) versus slow (a process of making beats)?

The spur of the moment creations can never be duplicated by reversing the process (going fast to slow). So it’s a unique chance for producers to tap into spontaneity and musical risk-taking while also hearing how I flipped tracks from Law of Attraction into Law of Attraction: The Remixes via sampling myself and my band and then building around that.

Perhaps most importantly, sampling allows producers to tap into adventurous musical language created independently of the producer’s end goal, with no bias towards any current production trend or sound that they were even initially aiming for per se…a certain spirit and artistic outlook that they will likely not be able to create themselves, unless they spend a decade and change immersed in jazz music and/or spontaneous group composition.

If they are creative and willing to harness the melodies and sounds created in the moment, some very powerful, unique art can be created in the juxtaposition of the two different creative processes: fast versus slow.

undefined cover art
Add track to favorites
Add or remove track from collection
Share track
Download track (1 credit)
4:22
undefined cover art
Add track to favorites
Add or remove track from collection
Share track
Download track (1 credit)
2:18

With the release of ‘Law of Attraction: The Remixes’ and your own beatmaking since your high school years: can we conclude that you also have a big love for hip-hop?

I am 28. I grew up listening to as much hip hop as I did jazz. Both (along with other styles) were in my ear even before I began playing the saxophone 19 years ago. Mixing the two is natural for me after two decades of both sounds in my ear and they are both part of the same continuum even though they are different in many ways, it doesn’t mean they should stay separate.

Even though it is only more recently that I released music that shows this influence more obviously – the “jazz police” and “jazz academia” do try to guilt you out of it, or penalize you for it – it has always been inside me.

Even if I’m not playing over a hip hop rhythm I am always trying to be poetic with my phrasing and rhyme the beginnings and endings of my phrases together sort of like my favorite emcees (Rakim, 2Pac, Biggie, Snoop Dogg, Termanology, Joell Ortiz, Freddie Gibbs, Jay-Z, Nas, Skyzoo, Guru of Gang Starr, Bun B, Styles P, Jadakiss, KRS-One, J. Cole, Royce da 5’9”, and Eminem, to name a few).

For this reason I think producers may find my music easier to work with or at least interesting, given the hip hop influence and that I am sharing stems on Tracklib, which are easier to work with than just the master recordings.

Mike Casey (photo: Hernan Arnez)
Mike Casey (photo: Hernan Arnez)

You’ve worked with producers such as Apple Juice Kid, Stan Forebee & Ol’ Burger Beats on a set of remixes before. What was it like to hear your own music in a hip-hop context? What did it bring you musically?

I loved putting together that remix project and it won’t be my last. Part of what I did in high school and early undergraduate college years while DJing was work on edits and remixes for my sets as well as for a bunch of online DJ record pools I freelanced for under a different name. It grew to become a natural way, a core influence, of how I came to think about music as a whole…especially arranging and production. It brought me great joy to revisit these roots and also to combine hip hop with my own music in a unique way.

Interestingly enough those remixers did not have stems to work with (but I recently found the stems I should have sent them, and they will come to Tracklib one day) and were going off of live recordings with lots of natural bleed. I also gave them strict instructions to avoid simply chopping/looping a ton, I wanted it to be more highly arranged, and “through composed.”

undefined cover art
Add track to favorites
Add or remove track from collection
Share track
Download track (1 credit)
3:25
undefined cover art
Add track to favorites
Add or remove track from collection
Share track
Download track (1 credit)
2:39

Do you think Tracklib can change the way people sample?

For one, I hope producers – especially those with a platform and an audience - would consider that living musicians, many of whom are independent artists like myself, would actually benefit in a huge way from being sampled via this amazing platform of Tracklib. Not the estate of a legend, or a record label/publisher that owns the copyrights that may have given that artist or writer next to nothing in royalties. This could change a living artist's and songwriter's life in a meaningful way while they are still living.

Read Tracklib's feature Giant Steps: A New Wave of Jazz (and Beyond) to discover more music and original samples.

Sign up now and get 7 free tracks

Start your free trial now to access more than 100,000 songs and multi-tracks of real music.

Subscribe


Comments

We are unfortunately unable to offer support in the comments. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us here!