Premiere: RP Boo Returns With Another Footwork Explosion on 'Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints'

RP Boo talks his second full-length album, 'Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints,' as well as how hip-hop has influenced his production.

Image via Planet Mu

Over the last few years, Chicago's fast-paced footwork scene has erupted into a global force. While electronic music imprints like Planet Mu and Hyperdub have done a great job in helping the world outside of Chicago understand the material that guys like DJ Rashad, DJ Spinn, and Traxman have been doing for years, they also helped unleash on of the Chicago footwork scene's true enigmas, RP Boo.

An enigma unto his own, RP Boo spent years being known as a pioneer that rarely released music. His debut album, 2013's Legacy, was a collection of material that he'd produced for the last decade. He was first heard on wax via the infamous "Godzilla" track, which came out as a DJ Slugo track, which Boo told Fact that he gave to Slugo to help build up DJ Godfather's label at the time (many footwork heads also know the song as "11-47-99"). That situation didn't work out too well for Boo, but after DJs like Rashad and Clent sticking up for him and letting people know who the proper producer was, people eventually trying to figure out who RP Boo is.

Sometimes you have to go through situations like that to get where you are now, which finds RP Boo championing the footwork scene and sorting out his second album, Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints, a 14-track opus that's set to drop on Planet Mu on June 30, 2015. He's assembled a batch of tracks that carry on a hip-hop aesthetic–pulling out dusty samples and arrangements that could flow well at a hip-hop tempo, even though his abstract tendencies are in tact.

Planet Mu has blessed us with the exclusive Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints stream, and RP Boo sat down to chat with us about the album's title, DJ Rashad, and how hip-hop has influenced his approach to music.

Talk to us about the title of your second album, Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints.
[With] the title, I wanted it to represent something different, so I thought [about] how fans and others enjoy the sound and style of what I do. Then I was like "it's the sounds," and suddenly it just started to work for me; "what does it take to make a track?" Yes! I use my fingers to press on bank pads of the drum machine, and then I see people just enjoying their time on a dance floor, and it was done. What do I see as a "thanks" for coming and having a great time and the "thank you" we leave behind? Shoe prints: evidence of a groovy time on the floor. Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints!

Legacy was culled from a number of tracks you’ve produced over the years. Was it the same way with Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints? If so, do the time periods from both albums overlap?
It is, just the selection of tracks [that] have different years of production. When I did Legacy, I submitted a list of tracks and what did not get picked always have a chance making it to another project. Some made it to Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints, and it is a host of tracks that has so much life in them.

I’ve gotten the feeling that you’ve been more guarded with your material, not really putting out much of anything in a scene that you helped define. Are you coming out of your shell more in terms of releasing your music to the world?
Yes, I am coming out of a shell and with that, it's more to come with me producing it is what I been needing in my journey. The more I get out to play, the more [music] I make on down time and there's nothing like testing [new material] out with my fans. If they love it, then [the tracks] get put onto albums and EPs.

Even moreso than Legacy, this album feels more dedicated to the dancefloor. Did you consciously shape this project with the dancefloor in mind, and if so, why?
This time, I want the fans to feel the energy that helped build a battlefield of where footwork sounds and the movement came from. I really love seeing people on the dance floor–yes there are some [people] that just jump up and down, but pretty soon that groovy sound is going to become a part of them and an artist will just show up on the floor. I always place myself on the floor [with the people].

One thing that continues to come up in the footwork scene is the hip-hop influence throughout. Ranging from how guys like Traxman and Rashad would approach their production to Mic Terror’s recent EP, there’s an undercurrent of hip-hop throughout the footwork scene. What are your thoughts on the gap between hip-hop and footwork?
I am an individual as well that still hold memories of hip-hop, and we express those origins in our tracks. Hip-hop in its raw form had some dope samples that help tell its stories, the producers were on point, and I adapted that for what I have presented in my work , and the people eat it up... it's all food for the soul. Music!

I want the fans to feel the energy that helped build a battlefield of where footwork sounds and the movement came from.

Speaking of Rashad, can you talk to us not only about his legacy within the footwork scene, but how he’s influenced the producers in TEKLIFE camp going forward?
RASHAD HARDEN.... A  young man with big dreams [that was always[ acknowledging greatness in others; a role model of sound. Rashad has always been on a grind to push the style of footwork; he was just a person that loves the energy that it brings out, and he–as well for myself–know it was the great track makers back in Chicago that we looked up to, and [we] went on to do our own things. Rashad just did not stop, that is what made him stand out; when he and Spinn came with TEKLIFE, they both planted that within the foundation to keep that going, no matter what the situation. 

We’ve scene footwork explode into a globally-accepted sound. Do you think footwork has a chance to gain more mainstream acceptance? Do you want it to?
Yes, it has a chance of mainstream acceptance. I would like it to go [mainstream], especially if [the mainstream] can handle the grooving display of sounds.

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