Over the past few years, Brooklyn based producer Will McNair has built his passions into the identity of The 83rd. Perfecting his skills through a background in music composition and meticulous self-teaching, The 83rd has become an expression of Will’s deep love of producing and belief that music can connect people in ways no other medium can.
“I just wanna feed you creatively through sound. Life should be an exchange of ideas that we grow from as people. Music is my superpower in life’s exchange circle.”
Releasing multiple originals, remixes, and mashups that vary from dubstep to hip-hop to electro and everything in between, The 83rd never forgets to incorporate soul and flavor into every track he drops. We at The Electronic Current are honored to debut The 83rd’s newest EP release, “The Experience.” The six track EP is exactly what the title suggests, and from start to finish the EP is a sonic journey that pays homage to some of the more recognizable voices of the past several decades. Each song possesses a modern, electronic edge that both allows you to groove and be hypnotized by the onslaught of beats. Listen to all six tracks, including The 83rd’s newest single “Bleeding Heart Feat. Jimi Hendrix,” below! Continue scrolling to check out my interview with The 83rd regarding the “Experience” EP and his artistic inspirations.
Julian: From start to finish, how much time and dedication did it take for you to be ready to present all six tracks of the “Experience” EP?
Will: Ah man. oh shit. Well I worked on and off the EP for a little over a year.. Starting with “Sheets on Fire” in September 2010 and ending with “Creep” in December 2011..and I’ve been trying to figure out the right way to give it to the world ever since. The cool part is I didn’t know I was creating a collective body of work while I was doing it. I was experiencing life, and all its extreme high’s and lows, and as a result these emotions created sonic outlets based on the situation I was in ..or trying to recover from. When working on records, the mix is part of the production for me as well..those decisions to make the snare louder, to pan the vocal to the left speaker and so on.. all of that contributes to how I hear the next step in the production process. So every song would take at least a week Id say- most of the time more.. production, mix, and master included. I have to COMPLETELY finish that song before I could move on to something else..its like having to fully throw-up ..get it out of your system before trying to eat again…u know? But once its done..its done. It captured exactly where I was in that moment..and trying to go back and change little parts here and there would be dishonest to the man I was THEN, when i created it…some people feel like their art is never done. I’m the opposite..My art is a sonic record of where I was at the time. I’m unapologetic for it. I give myself space to hear my own expression when working and when I’ve fully exacted my emotion and healed – I close the chapter…only to open it again to heal others.
Julian: The EP goes from headbanging hard drops to softer, more melodic breakdowns. What do you believe is achieved by creating this track-by-track progression to slower sounds?
Will: I believe it accurately portrays the FULL human experience.. Mannn look, when I made “Party Up’ I was angry, REAL angry…but I’m not always in that emotion..sometimes I feel vulnerable or indifferent, and so my expression should be an outlet to capture that in its essence. Life isn’t always happy or sad, life occurs in the greys. Art is reflective of life, and life is a range of emotions. So having a body of work that allows us to be in touch with the full scope of those emotions can be such a conduit for a complete and honest personal release. Hardcore kids get tired. Hip-Hop heads do feel insecure at times. Emo kids can wyle out. This is an axis where a person can allow themselves to rage or at times just ‘be’. Its important as humans to be in touch with the full spectrum of who we are. That’ll be amazing to experience at a show right? Being able to Mosh during Barbie Girl but being able to be reflective during Creep. That vulnerability to our humanity will allow us to connect with each other on whole other level if we allow it.
Julian: How did you go about selecting songs such as Radiohead’s “Creep” and Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” to place on the “Experience” EP?
Will: Life selected the songs. I fully believe that good music super-seeds trends…and the vocals u heard me choose are songs that spoke to my situation regardless of when they were released, who’s hot right now or if the person is screaming or rapping…There are no bounds when it comes to the power music can have in advocating your situation and representing a person’s emotions, we tend to try and bind it by placing it in categories and saying what a genre should/can/or shouldn’t do…Music was never meant to have a predisposition placed on it. Scream, rap, whisper, harmonize- it doesnt matter..Jus get it out of you! ..Know this, the human experience has always been star-kingly similar throughout time, and sometimes it’ll be a song from 20 years ago thats healing you right now. Or it could be a song thats currently at the top of the charts thats speaks to your situation. Just be open, If its good, its good. there’s no time on that.
Julian: How does remixing these recognizable tunes into a six-track EP contribute to your overall artistic vision with The 83rd?
Will: It speaks to what I mentioned to before in not making trends or ‘who’s hot right-now’ as the deciding factor with who Im going to create with. I create based on inspiration. Period. I’m liable in the future to do a song with the Artic Monkeys, followed by doin 2 tracks for Justin Timberlake and then go into the back woods of Mississippi and work with an unknown 3-piece gospel/blues trio. My 3rd eye, the creative vision that leads me, always is speaking to me when it comes to inspiration and where I need to go next…and it never speaks “conform” in my ear. only love. Do what you love.
Julian: If you had to pick a track you’re most proud of creating, which would it be?
Will: Oh how unfair is this. Oh curse the gods! really? ..gimme a sec. I love each song for who that song is and how it spoke to a situation in my life…every song has its defining characteristics, like your children – one trait isn’t better than the other…its jus how they were born, beauty in their whole make-up. That disclamier said: gotdamn. The honesty of “Sheets on Fire”. I was fed up with the industry and dissapointment and it was created after a terrible expeience throwing this concert in Chicago…I’ve never been the same. and as a result my music hasn’t either. It marked a change in me, that record. Nothing was the same. “Drake!” …lol ..ps. I fuckin LOVE the drop in Barbie Girl, the humanity in Creep, and the breakdown on the end of “Party Up!” and just the Sure POWER of Dub Abuse. and the arrangement and drop with the choir in Jimi Hendrix! haha… i know . i cheated.
Julian: Who are your main artistic influences when you go about producing?
Will: When I was younger I drew from alot of other producers and felt like as original as I was- I was still imitating them a bit… But as I grew with time and experience I began to uniquely hear my own sounds..Driven by a vibe or an idea, not so much another producer. I see colours when I might be chlling or walking around the city and I exact that “idea” through sound. There’s no formula to it, but rather an idea or vibe that’s being captured. That said, other producers I do ingest and bang with heavy include Crystal Castles, Eats Everything, Danger Mouse’s production has a versatility and realism that I love, Feed Me and Dirtyloud- them boyz are dirrtyyy, I LOVE what Clay Jones did w/ Colour Revolt’s “Plunder, Beg and Curse”, ohhh i love James Blake and Sohn, Kingdom has a cool to his productions you can’t teach, Rudimental is sooo dope, oh and Arca is that dude.
Julian: And if you could choose just one artist or group to collaborate with, who would it be?
Will: Look man this may shock you. or it may not, i dunno. but brotherrrr I got some futuristic R&B stuff for Justin Timberlake. this shit would set-him-off. offf. His head voice and melodies mix with that 83 motion would. be. murder, Yea I said it.
Julian: Awesome, man! I appreciate you taking the time to let us digest not just your music, but the drive and soul behind it. Never stop creating.
Will: Appreciate it, brotha!!
The 83rd creates. We digest.