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As the looming architect over the ¡MAYDAY! sound, Plex Luthor has earned his stripes as one of the hottest producers in hip hop. With Klusterfuk and Take Me To Your Leader, ¡MAYDAY! has made a huge stamp upon the sound of Strange Music, not to mention hip hop as a whole.
Now with Thrift Store Halos, ¡MAYDAY! has another classic on their hands. A collection of hard-hitting-yet-dreamy grooves perfect for open-window drives and late night chill sessions, this is the perfect EP to close out the summer.
We talked to Plex Luthor to get his perspective on the making of another gem from the most dangerous band in the world…
To talk about Thrift Store Halos is also to talk a little bit about Take Me To Your Leader, because this was made during that same recording streak. Was it not?
Uh, yeah, more or less. I mean, yeah I’d say so. From about the end of it to a little bit after
Looking back on Take Me To Your Leader, how do you feel about the album as a whole? Does it still stand up to you?
I mean man, I love it. I – I actually just listened to it for the first time since it came out, about a week ago, and I still like it, but obviously I’m biased. I mean, I just – I make the music that I wanna hear, so I’m always gonna have something good to say about my own shit, just cause that’s, you know, that’s kinda the shit I wanna hear that nobody else is making. But, uh, yeah, nah, I mean I definitely rocked it. It banged heavy, it banged heavy when I played it, so, I – I’m satisfied. I mean, the longer that time goes on, the more you can enjoy it, you know, like a couple years down the line I’m sure I’ll be able to enjoy it a little bit more, but yeah it’s cool. I’m – I just, you know, I like getting reactions from other people more than listening to myself, you know?
What can you tell us about Thrift Store Halos EP?
Thrift Store Halos has songs that were heavy pushes for the album that didn’t make it for one reason or another. Uh, and then a few songs we recorded after, and um, I don’t know which is which anymore, but we definitely didn’t just throw some shit together. We did 40, I think 40 somethin’ songs for Take Me To Your Leader, so there’s a lot of stuff floating around still, but there’s a cohesive theme through it, and a cohesive musical vibe that you’ll be able to pick up on quickly, I’m sure. I feel like it’s a little more chill and laid back in certain parts. As a whole it’s more of, like, a – a philosophical piece, I guess, for lack of a better term. But uh, I like it. I’ve been rockin’ it for a second, so hopefully everyone else can get down.
I can see why some of these songs were left out on the first CD because there are considerations from people like Dave Weiner out in California, you know, who brought you guys onto the label and what not. Considerations from you guys, obviously. It seems that a lot of these tracks, like you said, a little more chill, and it might have taken away from some of the bounciness that kinda goes throughout Take Me To Your Leader, but I could be wrong.
No, no, I think you hit the nail on the head. That’s – it’s not – you know, you make a bunch of songs, right? And then you kinda – the first things to go are the ones that just aren’t as good, like, the ones that are just kinda “whatever”, if they even make it to that final – if they even make it to the submission process, right? So out of 40, I’d say immediately, five or six of them everyone were like “eh”, you know, like “this other shit’s good, this is kinda whatever, this really doesn’t belong in this group”. And then, you got like 35, 30 songs to pick from that are all kind of on the same level, they just have different – they’re on the same level, um, I don’t know what to say, skill-wise, I guess, but they’re different in terms of vibe. So, then the trick is combining the songs that create the whole – that make the project as a whole better, you know, and not really worrying about which songs are the greatest, or the singles, you know Strange doesn’t really fuck with that so nobody was like “Ah, this is a single, this has to be on here”. It was just more of like “Alright, what’s the vibe of the project that we wanna put across?” and then once you figure that vibe out you pick two or three songs that anchor that vibe, you know what I mean? So, when we came up with the, I don’t even know what we said, but we were like “Ok, you know, X is gonna be – this is what we want people to feel when they listen to it. Okay, ‘Badlands’, ‘Death March’, ‘Take Me To Your Leader’“. Those songs, I’m just throwing out songs or whatever, right? So, well actually “Badlands” was obviously one, um…”Death March” was another one. Those were like anchor songs, you know what I mean, that, like, had to be there. And then, you kind of build the album around those anchor songs, or build them around the idea of this vibe that you wanna get across, and some songs just don’t make it because they don’t fit it. It’s not cause they’re – it’s not cause nobody likes them, you know what I mean, or they’re throwaways or whatever. Like, “Amnesia” was one of my favorite songs of the whole submission process, but it just – in the end it just didn’t fit, so I folded. I was like “Alright, cool, you know, I see what you guys are sayin’. It doesn’t fit. So, hopefully I’ll be able to put it out later”, and look at what we have here.
From listening to some of the snippets, you know, actually some of my favorite grooves are on this EP. It’s not that they were better or worse or whatever, um, yeah it just didn’t fit the vibe.
Yeah, I mean, like “Exile”. “Exile” was one that, you know, the – the submission process is crazy, right? It’s like you just killed yourself making an album, you got all this shit, and then you gotta get rid of some things, and “Exile” was one that stayed, like, everyone kept – everyone was like, “Nah, this is the shit, this is the shit”. And then it stayed in the process for a very long time. That stayed in ’til like the last – the final cut, and it just didn’t – it just didn’t make it. But, everyone looked back and was like, man, that song – you know, it could’ve made it for – if the vibe was different, that definitely would’ve been one of the lead songs. So, I don’t know, it’s just a blessing to be – to have so much shit, you know? And we kept reminding ourselves, when songs were getting cut, we were like, “Well, you know, this is a good problem to have, you know? Don’t get too mad”. So, whatever. I’m – I’m really glad that we had this opportunity to put this out, and um, it also lets us put out, it lets us officially release “Strange March” with Lynch and CES Cru, like we really didn’t officially release that. It’s not really on a project, we just kind of YouTube blasted it. So, I’m excited about that. That – that definitely – I know some people are gonna be like “Ah, I already heard that”, but um, there’s definitely a lot of people that we want to hear those that haven’t yet because it was just kind of an internet blast, and same thing with “The Ride”. Those are the only two songs that they had, like, soft releases on them. Like, “The RIde” actually has a video for it, but I love that jam, so I’m glad those two made it. And, um, I don’t know, just hopefully people like it, man. It’s definitely something you can – you can kick back and either go on a road trip to or – and shit, I dont know, clean your house, smoke something to it, do whatever.
Now, even after this EP, there’s still gonna be some songs from those sessions during the creation of Take Me To Your Leader that we still haven’t heard yet. Do you think we’ll ever hear these songs?
Uh, I’m sure, man. I’m sure sometime down the road, like uh, I don’t know, I don’t know man. I can’t call that, but I’m sure Travis will find some place to put it. Like, you know, you never know. You might have a, you know, compilation album that somebody wants to fuck with, throw one on there, but, I mean I don’t know. Who knows? I mean, it’s definitely a situation where, there’s a few that I definitely don’t want to ever come out, but there’s some other ones that are – that are kind of like the same thing, we could probably do a whole other EP with the other leftovers, you know, that – and have a – a similar vibe, maybe – maybe half an EP or whatever, and then make some new shit. But, I don’t know, we’ll see what happens. We’re just continuous in making music, so. I just sent Krizz sixty – sixty beats, I think. Fifty new beats, so fuck the old shit. Let’s keep it movin’.
What are your favorite moments or songs on the EP?
“Amnesia” is my favorite song on there. Um, I – you know, I liked working with, uh, CES and Lynch. Lynch was kind of like a – was definitely a feature that was on our list that we didn’t know if we could get or not, and he was down as fuck, so we were definitely hyped about that. There’s a song on there called “The Hangover” that I never thought would hear the light of day, but I really really like. It’s one of my favorite songs. That’s one of my jams right there so I’m really glad that made it.
I’m proud of the music on this. Its, um, it’s more – I don’t know if it’s more than Take Me To Your Leader, but it’s definitely like – there’s this, uh, I don’t know the word, man. It’s just like this very, not somber but, just like thinking man’s type of vibe. Man – woman, whatever. The thinking person’s vibe that where you can just kinda play it and your mind will wonder a little bit, and if you do pay attention to the lyrics they’re gonna take you to, like uh, it’s just a philosophical place without being like, uh, not – not elitist philosophy, but you know what I mean, just like, uh, it’s just some thinking man’s shit. I guess you have to – you have to kinda hear it to understand what I’m saying, but when you hear it -
I can definitely sense, like a dreamy, reflective kind of vibe comin’ on a lot of these.
There you go. Yes, yes. The thing about EPs is you can go down a road, you know what I mean, and kinda stay there. Whereas an album, I couldn’t do that for a whole, you know an album has to change or else it gets boring cause it’s longer. But, a EP, you know, it’s like five, six, seven songs or whatever, you can kinda have it be themed and it makes it cool, you know? It’s sort of like “Oh, let me put this on if I wanna feel this way”, so I guess that’s – it – it does that more so than – than Take Me To Your Leader. I hope people receive it well.