Len – InterviewJul 16, 1999 0
Len has begun to pick up steam. With Mtv and radio giving them plenty of air time, it seems that Len’s “Steal My Sunshine” might end up being the song of the summer. Luckily, even with their hectic schedule, I was able to catch up with Phil who had just stepped off of the stage at their first Edgefest show in Toronto so that we could discuss all things Len.
For those who have never seen Len live, what can they expect?
The Len show is very fast paced and is packed with a lot of bass. We get the crowd moving.
Where do the ideas for the songs come from?
They all come from the mind of the super-producer Mumbo C. He’s the man behind the beats. So we are all beat diggers, Moves, myself, and Mumbo C. We go searching for breaks and from that whatever comes out comes out. If it is live then we keep it, and if it is trash then we trash it.
Where do you draw your influences from?
Anything that is around us. For instance, “Steal My Sunshine” was influenced by a rave and rave culture, and “Cryptic Souls Crew” is about partying and having a good time. That is what Len is about. It’s just about having fun and just rocking. Our ideas and influences are about what we do best, which is drink a lot and have a good time.
Did you ever think “Steal My Sunshine” would blow up like it did?
The track was actually recorded two years ago. It went through the process. We had an idea that it was going to be a hot single, but we didn’t know it was going to do what it is doing now, which is basically taking us all over. It is just blowing up on the radio and it is the summer song. The timing was right. It is all about timing and luck.
What is the deal with “The Hard Disk Approach”?
The old Kraftwerk influenced it. Basically, when you think of the good times you think of like the original basis of electronic music, like Kraftwerk where they just used synthesizers. We just thought it’d be funny if we added a German dude, who was a friend of ours, Felix Witholtz from Helios Design lab. They actually did our album cover. It was funny adding him because he is German and Kraftwerk was German, and we just had fun with it and took it to another level. We were paying homage to the original electronica.
How many people are actually in Len?
There is actually six. The actual record was a bunch of us who put this project down. It has been building over the past two years and it started as the Burger Pimp, Marc, and Sharon, and they are the foundation of it all. And we are all just their friends, and we are all into music and getting together and doing it up. There is actually six now that make up Len, but our crew is a lot larger, like Cryptic Souls, Buck 65, Mr. Dibbs, Four Ways To Rock Records, and 1200 Hobos. So the crew is very large. And the more people we meet, the more people we put down in our crew. There isn’t one name that can kind of amalgamate everybody, but the actual Len crew is Burger Pimp, Sharon, D Rock, Moves, Drunkness Monster, and myself.
Is it like a big family? And do you think the fact that you are having fun allows it to show up in your music?
Yeah. One thing that we all take pleasure in is hanging out and having a good time. It is just like breaking things down on a level where we can just relax amongst people. We are all easy going people first of all and we get along well, and that helps.
A lot of people think Len came out of nowhere. Was the album really two years in the making?
Len was actually a punk/pop group and then Mumbo C, who was the producer of the record, was influenced by DJ Moves on how to make beats and program drums. Being the production genius that he is, he just put that together from whatever felt good.
Where did the old school rap style and sound come from?
We all feel that nowadays hip-hop is lacking a lot of the stuff that made it so good when we got into it.
The party stuff.
Yeah. The parties and the good vibes that make it what it is. We are trying to bring that back. It’s like you don’t have to be talking about your bitch or your gun or how much drugs you sell. We are here to have a good time and party. We are into the ‘party with us’ kind of vibe. Everybody has their own idea of how hip-hop should be, and this is our idea.
Is that why you brought in Biz Markie and Kurtis Blow to be a part of the record?
Yeah. They have the party vibe. Biz Markie was a favorite of ours. We all loved Biz Markie. We just wanted to make people understand where we were coming from.
How did you hook up with them?
Several, several phone calls trying to hook up with Biz Markie. He is a hard dude to get in touch with. He has been touring for the last five years because he just does parties and moves from place to place. He is slippery, but now he knows he has friends in Toronto. Kurtis Blow got down from when Len was going through the process of being signed. They got flown out to LA, where the label is, and they turn on the radio and they hear Kurtis Blow. And it was amazing. The sun was shining. You are driving down the street in a limo with palm trees, the sun shining, and Kurtis Blow on the radio. That was it. It was like, ‘Kurtis Blow is on the record.’ And CC Deville got on the record. Supposedly, and I don’t know how true this is, but the secretary knew him or something and they needed a rock guitarist so they brought in the best from Poison, CC Deville.
How did you hook up with your label, Work?
They just came out of the woodwork. There was a bidding war going on and Work actually came through. Plus, Work being who they are, and the president, vice president are all very, very cool people. They were on the same vibe as we were. So, it was as simple as meeting them and to let them know who we are and what vibe we had and they were like, ‘You guys are great,’ and we were like, ‘You guys are fine too.’ So we put it together. The vibe was right. The chemistry was right.
So how did Work find you?
Our manager and management team put together a good package and was shopping it everywhere. So K-Rock picked us up because they were down with it from the beginning, and that is what solidified it from the beginning.
You guys have a really cool website ( www.lensite.com). Are you guys involved with it?
We get tons of emails. The site was developed by Helios (www.helioszilla.com). They are our friends and we’ve known them for years. They just know our vibe and stuff and they know what we are dealing with. They are amazing. They are good people.
The artwork is great too.
This dude named Drazen who does backgrounds for animation films and stuff like that did the artwork. So he actually did the artwork and Helios picked him up. He did a very good job.
I’ve had some emails from readers wondering what the Drunkness Monster is.
The Drunkness Monster, Canada’s own Drunkness Monster, is the turntablest of our crew. DJ Moves is also the turntablest, but he primarily focuses on production and beats, while Drunkness, his primary function is to lay down the cuts. He has the skills to pay the bills. So he puts it down for us definitely.
What can fans expect from Len in the coming year?
A whole lot of partying and if you come check the show we will rock you.
+ charlie craine