Q & A with rapper Chuck Inglish
“Prolific” is a term thrown around a lot these days, especially with how easy it is to produce your own music, but Chuck Inglish owns the term. One half of rap duo The Cool Kids, the Mount Clemens born and bred musician has four acclaimed solo EPs under his belt and is set to release his debut solo album, Convertibles, today through TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek’s Federal Prism label, as well as his own label Sounds Like Fun.
For his solo debut, Inglish has taken a path new to him, working with unexpected collaborators, such as Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger, who helmed the project as executive producer. Lead single “Came Thru/Easily” features rappers Mac Miller and Ab Soul, and “Legs” features electrofunk duo Chromeo. Of course, fellow Cool Kid Sir Michael Rocks makes an appearance on the album, and other collaborators on Convertibles include Polyester the Saint, Vic Mensa, Action Bronson and Chance the Rapper. Inglish spoke with MT about recording the new album and how the strange collaborations came about.
Metro Times: You have done solo projects in the past, how do you feel Convertibles is different from your previous work?
Chuck Inglish: It’s more of a stretch. I tried to create a new identity. I wanted the story to start here, meaning I felt this album was the best representation of me right now.
MT: How did you approach the production of Convertibles?
CI: I thought about the sounds first. The tone and color of the production. Then I just let my mind work; it was a subconscious action. I work better that way.
MT: It’s a bit surprising to learn you worked with Mike Einziger as your executive producer, how did that come about?
CI: Through my manager, Jack. He thought it would be a good idea to take the album to him. Mike heard it and we decided to break it down and build it back together to see how far we could take it. I wanted to push myself as a musician and producer to learn more, and step to the challenge of always evolving my sound.
MT: How did working with Einziger affect your writing and performance?
CI: He is a wizard. I learned a lot about recording and tracking instruments. Everything he suggests is usually the best idea.
MT: I know that you’re a very talented multi-instrumentalist, how did those skills impact the production of Convertibles? Do you play any instruments on the album?
CI: Yes. I play a lot of different instruments on Convertibles. That was the sound I wanted to bring with this album. My other albums with The Cool Kids have taken more of a minimalist approach. I wanted to make Convertibles a full production. We wanted to give it a “Thriller of Rap” feel.
MT: How do you choose artists with whom to collaborate?
CI: The collaborations for Convertibles were completely organic. A lot of these people are friends that just happened to be in the studio that day. I did not pre-plan the features.
MT: I understand you have recently done some film scoring, how did you land that gig?
CI: Through CAA(Creative Artists Agency), my agency. It’s a big dream of mine to put music to film.
MT: How did your approach to scoring differ from how you approach solo or The Cool Kids projects?
CI: Well, I am creating sounds for an idea totally separate from my own creation. So, it’s like set design but with music production.
MT: The Cool Kids hiatus is over with as you have released “Computer School,” and have the highly anticipated sophomore LP Shark Week in the works. What prompted you guys to end the hiatus?
CI: We understand timing. Hiatus is a time out. With both of our solo albums coming out this year, we knew how much fun it would be to kick some new shit together.
MT: Do the future plans of The Cool Kids affect your solo plans?
CI: No. Everything works well.
MT: You grew up in Mt. Clemens; do you feel that growing up in metro Detroit had a big impact on you as a musician?
CI: Yes. You grow up around so many different cultures in metro Detroit. I didn’t realize how diverse the musical palette is until I moved away. I heard so many different genres, having so many different types of friends in middle school, and in high school. You grow with it and it sticks with you. It’s a huge influence.
MT: Do you have any specific musical influences from Detroit?
CI: Funk, ghettotech, bass, house.
MT: You have your own label, Sounds Like Fun, do you have any future plans or releases in the works?
CI: Yes. Convertibles being the first, a lot of new artist singles and records in the future. But this album is our first project so the focus has been totally Convertibles as of recent.