PSYCHOTIC BREAKS – Lyle Horowitz
Words by Bossman75
“Psychotic Breaks is not a reference to any sort of mental health issue or manic episode. I feel compelled to mention that because people are worried about me. I’m okay. Actually, I’m a little better than okay. Psychotic Breaks means something different within the context of this album. Psychotic is a reference to the style of sample chopping I’m doing throughout this album. Breaks is a reference to break-beats, the foundation of every beat I made during these sessions. Together, you have manic and sometimes discordant samples paired with some vintage break-beats. The record features appearances from Uncommon Nasa, Curly Castro, Pizza Boy, Blahzé Misfits, Virginia Slim, Melvin Burch, Andrew Frisby & DJ Mark Gayeski.” – Lyle Horowitz
If you’re reading this it’s already too late, literally. The new solo album from Lyle Horowitz entitled Psychotic Breaks is officially out now. (Lyle actually leaked it twenty-four hours early for free download) I was able to talk to Lyle over the past week to catch up, and here are some excerpts of the conversation regarding his new solo hip-hop/rap album.
Alright man so let’s do this. We last spoke ‘on the record’ before the release of Colonel Custard’s Lonely Dick Pic Band and since then you’ve relocated from NY to LA. Let’s start there, how have you settled in and what’s been the result of the move for you musically?
I’ve lived in New York all my life, so it was definitely a transition moving to a place where I knew only a small handful of people, but I’m pretty much settled in at this point. Apparently I avoided some of the worst winter weather in years. As far as the result the move has had on my music? A good majority of the stuff I was making in New York was really dark. I’ve been pretty open about how depressed I’ve been throughout the past few years. I think that bled into my music a bit. Living out here, I finally have enough space to set up my home studio and the environment is much more conducive to me making music that’s light, weird and fun. That’s kind of the zone I’m in right now.
What have you been listening to during this time of settlement, what can you tell us about any influences other than your new environment?
It’s been an unusually busy first quarter for rap music so I’ve been trying to keep up with a lot of the new stuff. Off top: Drake, Heems, Future, Earl Sweatshirt, Joey Bada$$, Rae Sremmurd. A lot of the samples on my new album come from vintage African & Indian records I’ve found while digging out here, so I’ve been listening to those quite a bit as well.Something interesting that I realized recently is that whatever is going on in the world — socially, politically, etc. ends up coming out in a lot of my projects anyways because many of the emcees I collaborate with bring that to the table and the projects end up acting as a time capsule of sorts. There’s definitely ruminations about race and politics on this new album that are definitely a direct response to what’s going on in the world right now — specifically, the murders of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, etc.
That’s just a shortlist of new music that I’m paying attention to. I always try to keep up with whats going on within the culture and where things are headed sonically. All I listened to on the flight to L.A. was The Pinkprint by Nicki Minaj and she’s one of the most popular and established artists in the genre right now. There’s really no rhyme or reason to what I listen to, it just has to evoke some emotion or inspiration from me.
It’s a relief to actually finish an album, to be able to sit back and take everything in. I’m not signed to a record label, so there’s usually a small window of about a week or two before it’s released where I get to live with the album before handing it over to the listeners. Once that happens, I detach pretty quickly and start working on, or at least brainstorming, what’s going to come next. In this case, as soon as I turn this album in, George & I are going to start working on the next Blahzé Misfits record.
I’m probably most proud of how much ended up on the cutting room floor. During the Psychotic Breaks sessions, I made 25-30 beats but only 10 ended up making the final project. There’s a little more quality control at work here than usual. I can never gauge how people are going to react to my work, but I think people will appreciate the lighter tone.
On my first couple of listens to the album I made notes of different imagery and emotions I felt went with the music, some of which Lyle and I agreed on, those being Steamboat Mickey (Hello Kitty Chia Pet), The Skeleton Dance (Marie Laveau), Seduction (How’s Your Family), and a Speeding Train (Redneck Aspirin). With regards to musical influences I felt could hear Timbaland on I Have A Voice, I Have A Gun and Catch A Panther felt laced with some Outkast. Without a doubt this album is different to Lyle’s previous production work, but his personality and vibe is unmistakably present.
“In some ways I feel like this project is more “me” than a lot of my producer albums, I wanted to make beats I would rap over.”
2015 has already seen some awesome releases some of which Lyle spoke on above. What’s frustrating for me is whether you like it or not you are exposed to certain artists and new releases the likes of Drake, Kendrick, Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler be it via social media or various music outlets. Despite this without Lyle’s influence I’d never have listened to any of those albums. We don’t always see eye to eye but I value his opinion and have grown to understand somewhat his taste in music. With Psychotic Breaks we have what I’d say is as good and authentic a rap album as any by those artists previously mentioned, and I feel like we have a responsibility to let people know about it.
“On one hand I wish I could generate the same feeling of excitement a Drake or a Kanye would when I release music but to some people I can.”
We spoke again last night about his future plans, collaborations and releases (new Blazhé Misfits coming in 2016), and whether he’d ever consider going full Black Eyed Peas (read: club/pop) to gain mainstream success. His answer, “Well wait until you hear The Dickprint 2, the album has bounce to it“. Another thing we discussed was what ‘Dark’ means in relation to his music. Coincidentally I had been listening to an Ice-T podcast earlier that day and he was saying he hasn’t felt able to do a new rap album because he didn’t feel there was a producer out there dark enough to work with. He said only someone along the lines of a Havoc (Mobb Deep) or Alchemist could cope. I think with that we’ve set Lyle a new goal.
The artwork and track listing for Psychotic Breaks is below, and you can get your copy via iTunes HERE and Lyle’s bandcamp page HERE. I suggest checking out his page and reading the liner notes. With electronic releases there isn’t always a place for these and this one is particularly special.
1.Kanye Thinkpiece (Intro) 02:01
2.Marie Laveau (Feat. Melvin Burch, Blahzé Misfits & Virginia Slim) 03:16
3.Conqueror Worm (Feat. Andrew Frisby & Georgie Jessel) 02:08
4.I Have A Voice, I Have A Gun (Feat. Pizza Boy) 01:56
5.Hello Kitty Chia Pet (Interlude) 02:15
6.Catch A Panther By It’s Tail (Feat. Curly Castro) 02:49
7.Redneck Aspirin (Interlude) 02:47
8.How’s Your Family? (Feat. Uncommon Nasa) 02:46
9.Lizard Sips The Tea (Interlude) 00:57
10.Psychotic Breaks (Outro) (Feat. Mark Gayeski) 11:25