Before there was Death Grips with their ultra noisy brand of hip-hop, there was Dälek. Over the years, the seminal rap group broke untold ground with some of the most challenging rap music in history. They collaborated and toured with the like of De La Soul, Massive Attack, Kraftwerk, Sonic Youth, Mars Volta and Flying Lotus, and never compromised on their abrasive output and bold live appearances. Now, the noise-meets-hip-hop band's producer and founding member Alap Momin, better known as Oktopus, is prepping for the release of Is That Light You Carry?, the new album from his new band Third Culture Kings. His collaborator on the project is Jan Johansen, an equally accomplished musician who's worked with everyone from Iggy & The Stooges to Sufjan Stevens, and together the two have put together this storming mix to get us all fired up for the album.
Naturally, with a background as all-encompassing as theirs, this mix from Third Culture Kings is impossible to pin down. Everything from Jai Paul to The Misfits (twice) to Bob Dylan is incorporated here. Pretty much free of electronics, this mix relies on dirty blues guitars, howling singers and literal foot stomping for its pulsing rhythms. It's not your usual Complex Sessions fare, but it's a rare opportunity to peer into the depths of two true selectors.
Tell us a bit about your selections in this mix.
Before I got into dance music or even hip-hop or punk, as a young kid, I loved country and blues as well as all the Indian music I heard in my parents' house growing up. All of these types of music had an upbeat energy and/or drone that would always possess me and physically and emotionally take me to another universe. The past seven years living in Harlem, I've gotten obsessed with gospel, and gospel blues as well. A lot of these selections are spiritual and you can see how whether it's Christian Gospel or Muslim Sufi music; it all has the same vibe and suits the same purpose. Third Culture Kings is a project that is both song and spiritually driven, but we are definitely interested in being able to present our songs on the dancefloor. I made this mix to sort of show the roots of so much dance music from all corners of the world.
What was the one track you absolutely had to include?
Jimmie Lee Robinson's "Twist It Baby". It literally sounds like it's the most perfect band, in the most perfect room set-up, in the most perfect way, on the most perfect microphone. I literally can't think of a better feeling, sounding, or written song.
Any tracks that narrowly missed the cut?
Miles Davis' "Pinocchio". It's so hard with Miles, because you want to put everything he's got on a mix.
What's the first single or album you ever bought?
Def Leppard's Pyromania.
What's the last physical record you bought?
Traveling Through The Jungle: Negro Fife And Drum Band Music From The Deep South
What do you want to see happen musically over the next 12 months?
Nothing specific. I've been totally into where music has been going for the past decade; I'm down. Everything is getting bassier, more minimal, and druggier! All works for me.
What trend or scene absolutely needs to die right now?
Hmm, not sure. Everything I listen to honestly rules.
Roy Orbison - Dream Baby
The Strikes - If You Cant Rock Me
RL Burnside - Going Down South
Jimmie Lee Robinson - Cry Over Me
The Viscounts - Harlem Nocturn
Bo Diddley - Congo
The Misfits - American Nightmare
The Misfits - She (mellow)
Meera Kale - Meher Baba Jap
John Gary Williams - My Sweet Lord
Chuck Berry - Memphis
RL Burnside - Poor Black Mattie
Jimmie Lee Robinson - Twist It Baby
Reverend Louis Overstreet - Preaching & Jesus Is Able
Sabri Brothers - Aaj Rang Hai
Junior Kimbrough - Work Me Baby
Bob Dylan - Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
L Subramaniam - Invocation to Goddess Laxmi
Flamingos - Only Have Eyes For You
Mahalia Jackson - I'm On My Way
William Onyeabor - Lets Fall In Love
Bohannon - Truck Stop
JJ Cale- People Lie
Miles Davis - Pinocchio
Jai Paul - All Night
Third Culture Kings - Done And Gone
Third Culture Kings' Is That Light You Carry? is out Aug 18 via 100.000 / Internet & Weed Recordings.