Artist: The Russian Futurists Video: 'One Night, One Kiss Feat. Ruth Minnikin'…
- Posted on Dec 14th 2010 5:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
"Once you strip away a lot of the wash from the previous albums, it kind of gets distilled down to my influences, when you can hear what they are," Hart tells Spinner. "I grew up around then, and that's one of the best eras of music. From, like, '89 to '93 was the golden era of hip-hop. I was lucky enough to be around for that the first run-through. All that stuff worked its way into [the new album]."
Like his favorite MCs, Hart is a skilled wordsmith with a knack for rhyming. On 'The Weight's on the Wheels,' he positions himself on the right side of the Postal Service-Owl City divide, singing lyrics that are clever but never cloying.
"You want to try to be not boring with it, but at the same time, you don't want to get overly precious or too cutesy with it," Hart says. "I just feel like my musicality is not really my main strength. I don't really play any instruments at all. There's the one thing where I feel like I can choose to do something that's a little unique -- when you get a chance to sit down and write. If it's been said a million times, just say it a little differently."
Instead of a guitar or piano, tools of the trade for many bedroom popsters, Hart primarily writes on a sampler, using the device to build each track from the bottom up. By his own admission, he's no musical expert, but he somehow winds up with songs that split the difference between Bell Biv DeVoe and Belle and Sebastian.
"I find the samples and cut it up and try to work around it and build it in layers and layers and keep adding," Hart says. "Then I write the words around that."
"It comes from working on hip-hop," he adds. "I had a hip-hop band in high school. You make your beat and sing over it. I still approach it the same way. I like the mistakes and not knowing what I'm doing. That keeps it interesting for me. If I knew what I was doing, it would be very dull. I think it's key to keep it exciting for yourself, too. At the end of the day, you're making songs you want to hear."