Postmodern is a term created in the 1870’s by different people, notably John Watkins in terms of Art, and J.M. Thompson in critiques of the attitudes towards religion. Postmodern solely speaks to the problems with contemporary culture, in the attitudes towards identity, culture, literature, art and music.
Using hip-hop music as the vocal point—a postmodernist would have negative attitudes towards what’s the norm in music—girls, grills, having girls on their private parts (Lil’ B Reference), pretty boy swag (Souljah Boy Reference) affiliations with Young Money and the gimmicks of a girl’s childhood best friend Barbie. A postmodern individual would create their own lane, and here enters 19-year-old Quinn Gibson, better known as PostModern Escape Artist. As the product of Oakland, California, he was born to an artist father and singer mother, which only explains his creative musical style and attitudes towards music.
Fusing together hip-hop elements with cinematic threads and electronic undertones, he has three projects under his belt: Beats & Collabs Vol. 1, Last Train To Nowhere, and his latest release, To Make Ourselves Into Stars, which all prove his name—escaping from everything that popular today, to create a project of great, timeless and refreshing music. Rawe got the chance to catch up Postmodern Escape Artist and attempted to pick his brain a little. Make sure you download his projects via his Bandcamp as well.
Bella: So, why the name PostModern Escape Artist?
PostModern Escape Artist: Well, the image I had in my head that best suited the music I was creating was this renaissance man/polymath image. I felt Postmodern was pretentious enough to be used to describe that. Postmodern in the sense, basically meaning multiple perspectives and multiple music styles. The Escape artist just sounded catchy I guess—I really forgot how I got that part.
Bella: As for the music you create, it’s pretty interesting. I know with your Last Train to Nowhere, there were so many different elements that went into that from hip-hop, to some classic Old Hollywood. How are you able to mix these together, and also like what made you want to combine those elements?
PostModern Escape Artist: With The Last Train To Nowhere, project specifically, I would always have a loose format for the song I would create, so I would try at times to specifically look for a Bossa Nova jazz sample and I would know that I would need to put a vocal sample on top of it, so on and so forth. However, I would say 80% of the time; it is completely chance on what sample I would use and what I would find. The song “Bossa Nova Shuffle,” for example, I wanted to use a Billie Holiday and opera vocal sample for the vocals; however it was completely by chance that, that particular vocal sample I used fit the best. I initially created a proto-version of Last Train to Nowhere, in high school which had similar elements, but none of the songs were on there. During that time I was heavily influenced by people like Nujabes, Dan The Automator, Wax Tailor and Daedelus, so that is what sparked it I’m assuming.
Bella: Okay, that makes sense. Just a question about a song in particular, I love “Day by Day,” what sample is that?
PostModern Escape Artist: It’s supposed to be a mystery but, the singer is Doris Day and I didn’t do much to the song title to give you another clue. But the movie samples, I really don’t remember but, I know Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart were involved someway.
PostModern Escape Artist: Well, to begin with the influences—Portishead, Flying Lotus, Dan the Automator, Wax Tailor, Machine Drum, Lone, Daedelus and the feeling you get when you find 5 dollars in your pocket.
In terms of who is the Postmodern Escape Artist, I can’t seem to say. The whole point about being postmodern is that there is no objective or necessary/sufficient conditions which one can describe themselves but, then that’s a contradiction. I’m saying, there is no objective truths about myself but, I’m calling myself Postmodern so I guess you can say I’m just confused.
Bella: That’s deep. You’re really smart, which is reflected in your blog “Laughing at Socrates.” Why blog, but no Twitter?
PostModern Escape Artist: Ugh, I need to rewrite so many of those writings, (laughs). I am actually going to be remodeling that blog and starting my own philosophy podcast on a website with the same title, “Laughing at Socrates.” A blog was a lot easier to make for my writings and made them more accessible to people, but I am going to get a twitter soon to see what the buzz is about it. Wait, was that an interview question?
Bella: Yes, that was.
PostModern Escape Artist: Cool. (laughs)
PostModern Escape Artist: Well, the title was inspired by the sound of the project which I would describe as this IDM/Futuristic hip-hop/electronic vibe. This was a supposed to be in contrast from the sound of my 1st project which was mainly sample based. Since I actually played out everything and tried to make everything a lot more layered and musical sounding, it was a completely different process in terms of song creation. I actually probably have another albums worth of material I could release from songs I didn’t actually put on the project since the means of creation was a lot faster once I finally got the hang of it.
Bella: What’s your upcoming project drop date and what will it sound like?
PostModern Escape Artist: The next project is somewhat a continuation of To Make Ourselves Into Stars. In fact, weirdly enough, a lot of the songs, if not all, were already in production even before I made any of the songs for To Make Ourselves into Stars. I am featuring a lot more vocal artists/rappers on the upcoming project. Hopefully, I should be done with it sometime in February or March. I definitely believe this project The Cosmic Beach People & The Melancholy Moon Club has stronger trackers.
Bella: Sounds good. What artists are you listening to right now?
PostModern Escape Artist: Lone, Bullion and a lot of random, independent, electronic, hip-hop, instrumental artist from blogs and BandCamp.
Bella: The last question I had was where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
PostModern Escape Artist: Well, in terms of my music, I would like to be able to travel on occasion and perform regularly. I would also like to be collaborating with vocalist outside the range of hip-hop like folk artists, alternative rock artists, shoe gaze artists. Also , I have picked up photography not to long ago, so I would want to continue to develop my skills and possibly have my stuff in galleries and/or for sale. Lastly, I want to continue my educational pursuits and get my masters in philosophy.