Flying Lotus Provides A Track-By-Track Breakdown Of 'You're Dead!'
What better way to celebrate the birth of madcap music man Flying Lotus‘ 31st than an exclusive breakdown of his equally eccentric concept piece You’re Dead!? FlyLo took to the Twittersphere to answer some of our more burning inquiries i.e what collaborations got passed on, the depth of Thundercat‘s presence on the record (in short, he’s everywhere) who else was involved in the creation of the album that isn’t featured on a track, which other cut Kendrick Lamar was supposed to grace with his grammar and so much more for your feeble mind to try and wrap itself around.
By the way, if you haven’t heard, You’re Dead! is a must buy and luckily for you it is finally available for you to do so. Head over to iTunes to get your digital copy or hit Bleep to pick up the exclusive box-set with rare and extended instrumentals from the LP. Peep Flying Lotus’ track-by-track of You’re Dead! below and head over to his Twitter account to see him continue the discussion. It doesn’t appear that he’ll be letting up anytime soon.
“Theme” was really what led to following through with the concept. It was originally called “Jodorowsky.” Kamasi (sax player) and I really built this one.
“Tesla” was so much fun ‘cuz it was when Herbie Hancock and I and Thundercat started things up. This moment spawned the rest of it. This song was the spark of the album. Which is why I wanted it close to the front. Most of this album feels like it’s chronological. For the most part everything was recorded separately in my home. I’d work with musicians like samples.
3. “Cold Dead”
“Cold Dead” started from an iPhone voice memo. I sang the ideas and Thundercat helped me bring it to life. All those operatic voices in this are me singing through some toys.
4. “Fkn Dead”
“Fkn Dead” was the hardest to make. Trying to find the balance of live drums and sampled drums. I sang textures again on this. Brandon Coleman killed it. None of this album would be possible without Thundercat. He and I came up with the concept.
5. “Never Catch Me”
Kendrick [Lamar] came through and recorded to this song at the crib. Came alone. With a hoodie over his head. Ready to work. He wrote it on the spot and laid it down. I sang this part to him and he recorded it. He killed it. The second half of this song was called “Ramen Wars.” One of the most fun days ever. All these layer vocal ideas at the middle and end were inspired by Queen.
6. “Dead Man’s Tetris”
“Dead Man’s Tetris.” This might be the oldest beat on the album. Hard for me to write to my own beats. This was the hardest. That’s Earl Sweatshirt saying shit in the background sometimes. Snoop Dogg’s part almost didn’t work so I had to rework the beat at his moment. He was really into the concept. He was like, “You know I made a song like this called ‘Murder Was the Case.’” Ummm. Yea, I heard of it. Joker cameo.
7. “Turkey Dog Coma”
“Turkey Dog Coma” is the most complex arrangement I’ve ever made. Another one made with me and Thundercat. I sat next to him and we sang all these moments part for part. Miguel Atwood-Ferguson wrote some strings. Brendan Small does this Brian May-like riff around this part. There’s so many recordings in this song. There was a point where this was the last song on the album.
“Stirring” I made with a friend named Jeff Lynne. He and I went to high school together and we reconnected and did this song. A friend of ours had passed away recently and it made me want to do something dedicated to him. RIP Nick Terry.
9. “Coronus, The Terminator”
“Coronus” is special to me for so many reasons. First song I made in my new home. First song I really went for the singing. Niki Randa always makes me sound good though. Mac Miller came through when we were workin’ on this beat. He wanted it for himself. Almost considered that. I literally wrote this song off top. About the terminator. It’s playfully serious. The ending part is so cool.
10. “Siren Song”
“Siren Song” was originally intended for Pharrell. I imagine the pocket still. I love the way it worked out though. Angel Deradoorian, Arlene, and Niki worked this one out really fast. I wrote the draft and it just blossomed. I have trouble opening up this session now. It’s corrupted. So. This is it. This part is Thundercat’s favorite parts of the album.
“Turtles” was the one that almost didn’t make it on the album. Such a big Ennio Morricone sample. I thought it would be more trouble to keep it than it was worth. I’m glad I did because I really do like it. People keep telling me “they love turtles” makes me die laughing. I almost had Laura Darlington sing on this but I think there’s charm in the simplicity of it.
12. “Ready Err Not”
“Ready err Not” is my mischief song. There will be a video for it from one of my favorite animators of all time. There’s a version of this song with Chance The Rapper freestyling on it. It was real dope too. I sometimes play it in my live show.
13. “Eyes Above”
“Eyes Above” was made in a funny situation. I made this beat with FKA Twigs and Niki Randa in the studio. Kendrick has a verse on this song that can’t come out I guess. “Eyes Above” without Kendrick still breaks my heart.
14. “Moment of Hesitation”
“Moment of Hesitation” was started with me and Kamasi. He’s a horn player but had him on the keys with Herbie too. Herbie just came through and killed it. It was dope to introduce him to Dilla’s music/sample flips.
15. “Descent Into Madness”
“Descent Into Madness” was Thundercat’s song I hijacked. He started it and I begged him to let me finish this song. I had visions instantly.
16. “The Boys Who Died In Their Sleep”
“The Boys Who Died..” was gonna be on the Captain Murphy album. I tried to my best Dr. Rockso impression. I never had a drug overdose by the way re: that FADER story. Vicodin is the new heroin. Austin…
17. “Obligatory Cadence”
There’s a version of “Obligatory Cadence” with me singing about a dream I had once about a deity who took me into the clouds and showed me a world without darkness. All my fam and friends were there. Watching me being taken into the sky. The deity shed its light on the earth. The light was almost silver. She told me that I’d never ever die.
18. “Your Potential/The Beyond”
“The Beyond” is dedicated to an unborn child. A light. Fantastic Planet inspired this song, musically.
19. “The Protest”
“The Protest” is the most important statement of the record. It’s the spirits gathered. Remembering we never die. Our influence lives on forever. Our love lives on forever.