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Take Five with Statik Link

Josh Andres By

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About Statik Link

Hello, all! I'm Statik Link. I'm a jazz, funk, soul and hip-hop musician and producer originally from Toledo, OH and now live in New York City. I'm a teacher, multi-instrumentalist, and music connoisseur.

Here is a little more about me from my bio.... Hailing from the Midwest, Statik Link, crashed onto the scene in 2014 creating his own lane for his unique sound. A live instrumentalist and producer, Statik Link intricately blurs the line of jazz, funk, and soul while remaining true to his own raw, uncut, gritty sound. Statik Link's style has been compared to a mixture of artists such as Robert Glasper, J Dilla, Miles Davis, and Badbadnotgood.

Instrument(s):

I'd say my top three strongest Instruments in order: piano, trumpet, bass.

Education?

Interestingly enough, I come from a family with no musical background. When I was five years old, my dad enrolled me in guitar lessons at a local music shop. I stayed with those lessons until around 7th grade. My first year of junior high, I switched focus, and picked up the trumpet and joined the school band. I ended playing first chair trumpet all through junior high into high school. I was also very active in the school jazz band playing lead trumpet. This is where I fell in love with music. Specifically improvisation. I was fascinated with the ability to speak the language of a musical key and communicate with the other instruments. It was like speaking another language. Upon graduation, I attended the University Of Toledo. I initially entered school as a chemistry major. It is during my first year of college that I began to experiment with digital music production. After taking some audio engineering classes, unrelated to my major, I was hooked. The following year I changed my major to Music Business with a minor in Music Theory. I picked the piano as my instrument of choice during my time in college. Unfortunately, I had to drop out of school my third year due to finances. It was at this point I would start the grind of being a session musician and producer. I taught the bass guitar to myself over the years.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

It was during my first year of college. There was a local hip-hop artist I began producing. He wanted a live element of the sampled records from the '70s. I would take old jazz and soul recordings and attempt to replay them, or sample them and play over top of the sample.

Your sound and approach to music.

I'd like to think of my sound as modern jazz/jazz fusion. I'd say it's heavily hip-hop influenced. To be honest, it's tough even calling my music jazz to some people. However, I think it falls under the category of jazz due to how I go about the writing process. It's HEAVILY improvised. For my new album Shapes Of Music, Vol. 2 I went into the studio with NO written music. Just ideas of high energy, mellow, or whatever. Basically, I'd pick a key signature, sit in front of the piano, drums, or pick up my trumpet and let it flow out based on my mood that day and how I was feeling. I LOVE the live element of the studio. I use Digital VST instruments, but I try to shy away from using them often. I like the idea of acoustic and analog gear because it's in the moment. No saved sounds, no returning to that EXACT same sound. It's captured in the moment and creates a raw energy. There's nothing like recording on a Steinway grand piano. It gives me goosebumps.

The same can be said for my live performance. My live performance is a fusion of modern technology with acoustic instruments. I'm a one man band. Not the typical trio or multi-person band. I came up with the idea while trying to figure out how to get more gigs in NYC where it is very competitive and the pay (for most gigs) is low. My live set up consists of me recreating elements of each track and improvising certain parts over the top.

Your teaching approach

I teach Digital Music Production and the History of Popular Music at Avenues: The World School in Manhattan. I enjoy teaching and education very much. It's awesome seeing students progress and fall in love with music like I did. Our school pushes the forefront of technology in their curriculum. Seeing the kids use their computer with Logic Pro X and Ableton Live to learn rhythm, and music theory, in my opinion, helps them learn quicker. It's interesting to see the kids mold samples and rhythmic elements from genres that would never be put together in a traditional sense. To see their reaction like "I created" this is worth it's weight in gold. The future is bright in music creation.

When I came to Avenues, two years ago, it was important for me to also have music history as part of the curriculum. During my years in education, five to be exact, I've seen the historical element of music education start to fade. I think teaching the future about the past and how it influenced their current favorite genre of music is VERY important. I believe the kids can learn a lot from the past from a musical standpoint and a social standpoint. Our music staff at Avenues prides ourselves on that. Showing how artists like John Coltrane, Quincy Jones, or Miles Davis influenced hip-hop and popular music are an important piece of our curriculum.

Your dream band

Wow! This is a tough one. I'd love to jam with John Coltrane, Art Blakey or more modern artists like Kamasi Washington or Robert Glasper. I'm also a big hip-hop fan. Working with producers like Dr. Dre, Madlib, DOOM, or artists like Kendrick Lamar would be amazing. Big fan of Badbadnotgood as well. Who knows, maybe it'll happen in the future.

Favorite venue

I love the intimacy of the Blue Note in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. It gets packed no matter the performer and you feel like the crowd is part of the band. It's an awesome experience. I've also been to a few shows where artists have brought out popular music acts that would normally be seen in large stadium venues. It can be a surreal experience.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

Another tough one. I'll give you a few. John Coltrane's Giant Steps was a big influence on my education and career. However, I've about worn the grooves off of BadBadNotGood's album III and IV. Both of those are a heavy influence on me and my style of music. I love the modern sound. Madlib's hip-hop recreation of the Blue Note catalog is also one of my faves. Tough choice. Kamasi Washington's Heaven and Earth is played in rotation quite often as well.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
About Statik Link
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