If you're familiar with quality American dance music, Nadastrom should not be a mystery to you. The DMV-born, L.A.-based duo has been putting in work since 2007, doing everything from inventing the moombahton sound (which was legit Dave Nada pitching an Afrojack remix to reggaeton speed) and putting on the iconic Moombahton Massive parties with DJ Sabo to releasing mesmerzinig material on Mad Decent, Fool's Gold, Dim Mak, Ultra, T&A Records, Dubsided, and a host of other forward-thinking imprints. They also–finally–dropped their debut longplayer on Friends of Friends this past February.
However, it was a soundbite from an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air that sparked their latest mixtape. In making-up a street poet named Raphael De La Ghetto on the "Def Poet's Society" episode of the program, Cousin Will awakened a beast within Nadastrom that manifested itself in a '90s-inspired approach to production that is sure to get your holiday weekend lit, and soundtrack a number of early-evening excursions with the squad.
With The Life And Times of Raphael De La Ghetto dropping on July 1, we not only go the entire project for you to stream early, but we got a chance to speak with Nadastrom about the idea behind the project, their choice in crafting these tracks, along with their favorite episodes of the iconic sitcom.
First off, I'm a fan of Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and remember the episode with "Raphael De La Ghettó" in it. What sparked that being the worked into the title and intro of this mixtape?
We're also huge fans of the tv show. The name "Raphael De La Ghettó" was an alias we kind of had sitting on the burner for a while. We thought it would just be fun to do a project around it. We had a bunch of beats that we thought sounded good together so we sampled up the episode to tie everything together. After finishing our album, we got really excited about using a long player format and just wanted to have fun with it and not be too serious.
You two went in on the '90s era sampling style. How different is your approach to beat-making in 2015 than how producers worked on tracks back then?
Probably the biggest difference was we used a computer as opposed to a sampler… however we tried to program everything using software samplers and midi as opposed to placing audio on a grid. We tried to keep everything a bit loose and not so quantized making sure everything had proper groove and swing.
Was there a certain feel outside of the way you sampled that you two were looking for on this tape?
Dusty and funky, yet hopefully modern and not too nostalgic.
The Life & Times of Raphael De La Ghetto is being billed as a celebration of summer. What would you say is the ideal atmosphere for someone to throw this project on?
Friends of Friends dropped your debut self-titled album earlier this year. With this new project seemingly coming out of nowhere (compared to the vibe of that rollout), what's next for you two in terms of releases? Any singles from the album or remixes heads should look out for?
We have a few album remixes in the works. We also have a music video for the single "House Shoes" we're working on with audio/visual artist Strangeloop and director Elias Merhige. Very excited for everyone to see it!
With the Fourth of July holiday fast approaching, where can heads see you? And will you be dropping any gems from The Life & Times of Raphael De La Ghetto?
We'll be in L.A. on Saturday, July 4th playing #Rhondesia at Skybar/Mondrian. We'll definitely be playing some cuts from Raphael, as well as some new and classic records. We love Rhonda, so we're extra hyped for this day.
Finally, is the Raphael De La Ghetto episode of Fresh Prince of Bel Air your favorite? If not, share your favorite.
It’s definitely a favorite but as far as THE favorite that question is too hard to answer. All of season one is pretty much gold in our eyes. Any episodes with Jazz were always the best and guaranteed LOLs. Other stand outs include when Will joins the school basketball team, Ashley learning to play drums by Jazz (“How do you do I’m Mr. Banks.” “You got that right … man you LOOOOAAAADDDEEDDD!!”), Carlton moving to the hood to prove his blackness and giving Deebo financial tips, and Will sneaking out with Uncle Phil’s mom to go to a Heavy D concert. And that’s just season one! Also a fan of the one where will tried to do stand up comedy.
Damn…it’s possible we may watch too much television.