Home > Uncategorized > Midas Touch: Murphy Interviews The Egyptian Lover

Midas Touch: Murphy Interviews The Egyptian Lover

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Some call Greg Broussard, aka The Egyptian Lover, the West Coast Godfather Of Electro. I call him an innovator.

He is regarded as one of the most influential figures in Hip Hop’s creative tapestry with his singles ‘Egypt Egypt’, ‘Dance’ and ‘My Beat Goes Boom’ comparable in stature to Soul Sonic Force’s seminal classic ‘Planet Rock’ and Man Parrish’s anthem ‘Hip Hop Be-Bop (Don’t Stop)’.

He started making mix tapes of R&B in the late 70s at high school until ‘Rappers Delight’ came along and changed everything. He had the chance to put a rap on one of these tapes and ended up selling a lot more than usual. That was the beginning of everything.

Three decades later and having released an LP every decade with a new one on the way, The Egyptian Lover has proved that Electro, in its purist form, has never dated and probably never will. He was recently here for a tour with Jimmy Edgar, which by all reports will go down as one of the stand-out nights of the year.

He gracefully gave me some time to answer all the questions I had in my little man bag. So here goes.

First up, how does it feel to be still part of the music industry 30 years later? Does that question make you feel tired at all?

I am loving the music biz today just as much as when I started back in the early 80s. It is so cool to see my new fans dance to my beats all over the world. When you do something that you love to do it is not work so you don’t get tired, you just have fun.

As I mentioned, music must be the love of your life to still be here creating sounds today? Can you tell us what music means to you?

Music to me is everything. I love music and love love love to make the party people dance. When I travel all over the world and see people from every race dance to my music, it is intoxicating. I am so blessed to be able to do what I do and have the talent and skill to continue.

Let’s go way back to the late 70s. Tell us about LA at that time. Electro/Rap was obviously creating some ripples in New York. How did you discover it? What were you listening to then? Give us a picture of where you were hanging out?

Music in the late 70s in LA was all R&B (no Rap) until ‘Rapper’s Delight’ came out in 1979 and then everyone loved Rap. I was making mix tapes at the time in High School when I got a request to do my own rap on the tape. I did it and sold so many more tapes. I then always wanted to record a real record. Rapping over every instrumental I could find and selling mix tapes all over LA, Long Beach and the Valley. I started getting a little following and kinda liked it. I used to do pause-button mix tapes with songs like Cameo’s ‘Shake Your Pants’, Michael Henderson’s ‘Wide Receiver’ and pause-button them to make it sound like an edit or a mix. It’s how I learned how to alter music.

What was the moment that you needed to get a pair of Technics? Can you remember what they cost you back then?

I never owned a pair of turntables back then. I only had one Sony belt-drive turntable and a tape deck to make my mix tapes. That is how I learned how to cue a record, scratch and developed a light touch. It was only when I joined Uncle Jam’s Army (LA Hip Hop crew which included a young Ice-T) that I got a chance to touch a Technics Turntable and it was then when I fell in love with them and learned many new tricks like playing a record backwards.

Did you lock yourself away for days practicing? Where were you getting your records from and can you remember the first 12”s you mixed together?

I never practiced. Many people don’t believe that but my friends all know it. I had a true skill to just do it. My only practice was live at Uncle Jam’s Army shows in front of thousands of people. My first record mix was probably Tom Tom Club’s ‘Guinness of Love’ with Grandmaster Flash’s ‘It’s Nasty’ into One Way’s ‘Cutie Pie’.

Tell us about your record collection? Have you stopped buying records? Is your collection insured?

Too many records from the late 70s and early 80s to count. In the 90s I slowed down on buying records and bought CDs and now I’m buying iTunes albums, but I still look for 12″ vinyl every chance I get. I like the old stuff.

Is there one prized record that you would hate to lose?

I would hate to loose my Prince collection, especially ‘Sexy Dancer’ (Long Version). It is rare.

Where did The Egyptian Lover tag come from?

When I was young and everyone from the hood had a nickname I decided to be more than just a gangster so I gave myself a name from two people I admired. A young king (King Tut) and a popular actor who was a lover on film (Rudolph Valentino).

Tell us about Uncle Jamms Army and how you became involved in that?

Uncle Jam’s Army was LA’s number one dance promotion group. They had the best parties in LA and I was also trying to become a dance promoter. But I could not beat Uncle Jam’s Army so I joined them. I knew I was a great DJ but I could not pull the crowd like Uncle Jam, so if you can’t beat em, join em! With the crowd that Uncle Jam’s Army already had, I helped them grow it from 2000 people a dance to 10 000 people at a dance.

What was your impressions of Ice T back then?

Ice T was a cool hustler type of guy. He always wanted to rap on the mic. Uncle Jam was too big for that but when we played at Club Radio he did his thing.

Your early pre-release productions? How did you make music back then? Is there a story behind the purchase of your first piece of music hardware?

My first piece of music hardware was the 808 drum machine. I met Afrika Islam with Ice T at Club Radio and as we talked about music he told me about Afrika Bambaataa and Planet Rock. I asked him what they used to make the beat and he told me a drum machine called the 808. We went to Guitar Center in Hollywood and I bought it on the spot.

How did Freak Beat (his record label) come about?

The name Freak Beat was something I started from a song that had Free Beats on it and I thought it said Freak Beats. That is how I got the idea to make a record label called Freak Beat. The label was with Rodger Clayton from Uncle Jam’s Army and myself. I drew the logo up and Rodger loved it, so we went with it.

It obviously morphed into Egyptian Empire Records. Was there a reason behind that?

I started Egyptian Empire Records to have total control over all my productions and releases.

Was ‘Egypt Egypt’ your first release? I don’t think it has dated at all? Is there a story behind the track?

There is a huge story behind that song. When I was in High School I went to a party and was smoking something I thought was weed to impress a girl but it was something else and me and my friends got so HIGH. We left the party and went to my friend’s house and started eating up everything until nothing was left so I then decided to walk home. When I got to the front door to leave, Satin opened it up and walked down the street with me. He told me many things and also told me that I was going to be a ‘Big Star’ and I was going to make a record called ‘Beast Beat’. I knew who he was but I pretended not to know. When I got home and reached my front gate he disappeared. I was so scared I went right to sleep and forgot all about that night. A year later I started making beats and I was on my way to the studio to do a song called ‘Beast Beats’ and my sister and my mother told me not to play with the Devil. That’s when it all came back to me about that night when he told me about making this song. Not wanting to sell my soul to the Devil, I changed the song at the last minute in the studio and made it ‘Egypt Egypt’. I was not prepared to do this song as I changed the beat up throughout the whole 808 so that none of the beats were left from ‘Beast Beats’. I then pulled out old raps and put together the lyrics.

It was my first solo track when I went into the studio. With all my DJ mixing ideas I made a record with all these DJ thoughts and put them all together to make ‘Egypt Egypt’. It was a DJ’s dream record.

How long did it take you to write the ‘On The Nile’ LP? When was the last time you listened to it and how do you think it holds up?

I made ‘On The Nile’ pretty fast. Some songs took only minutes to make and others as long as an 8-hour day in the studio. I had a great engineer that taught me a lot and he mixed the record very, very well. It cost a lot but it was very worth it. The song ‘Egypt Egypt’ still holds its own in the music world.

You had four LPs in the 80s (inclusive of the comp ‘King Of Ecstacy’). Is there a favourite there?

My favorite would be the first album ‘On The Nile’. The songs on there are true Egyptian Lover. ‘Girls’; ‘And My Beat Goes Boom’; ‘Egypt Egypt’; ‘What Is A DJ If He Can’t Scratch’. It’s just so LA at the time.

Tell us about your head space in the 90s. I guess Gangsta Rap was going on and there was only two Egyptian Lover studio LPs. Can you talk us through this period and what you were doing?

I took a break in the 90s to enjoy my family and spend some money. I had made so much and never really had time to enjoy it, so enjoy it I did.

The 2000s saw Electro coming back into fashion in a big way with labels like International Gigolo releasing purist 80s-style Electro. What were your thoughts on Electro’s comeback?

I think Electro (old school) was always around just not in the mainstream as other music. But I always had fans and still did shows my whole life. In 2004 when I first went to Europe because of the Internet,  promoters could find me and book me again. I have been going to Europe and all over ever since 2004. I still do shows with old promoters and old friends from back in the day. Many of the old promoters are my friends today.

Obviously there was the Electroclash off-shoot? Your thoughts on that?

I think all dance music is good. If it rocks the dancefloor then do it. It may not be my style but we all have our own.

You decided to release a new LP in 2005 called ‘Platinum Pyramids’? How did that come to being and were you still involved in the scene during the last decade?

‘Platinum Pyramids’ was an album I made for my Electro Euro fans. I saw how they still loved that style as much as I did, so I did it. I am working on a new Electro/Old School album now called ‘1984’ inspired by the music and scene in 1984.

Is there a reason why you think you are still around today and probably touring more than ever? You must still love it?

I am doing a lot of shows now because I want to see more of the world. I never stopped doing shows in the US. I’m just doing more out of the US. Because of the internet more promoters can reach me. I think with the help of You Tube, Facebook, Myspace and blogs about me, more and more promoters and clubs and festivals are hearing about me and some may have never seen me before so they book me. I really love going all over the world playing music. It means so much more to me now that I am older.

It’s encouraging that younger artists are giving you the recognition you deserve like Jamie Jones, Freestyle, James Pants ect. What are your thoughts on the scene now?

I think dance music no matter what it is and who is doing it is all good. Just make people dance and do your thing. It is so cool to meet these new artists that like my music and want to do things with me. I don’t do many collaborations so I must like the artist to do it so everyone I worked with has a style I like. I think with the help of computers, many more people can make music unlike back in the day when you had to buy gear. So good luck to all the creative people out there and make some hits!

Tell us more about the new LP – that would mean you have released an LP a decade for the past 4 decades. How impressive is that?

Yes, ‘1984’ will be coming out in 2011. With songs like ‘Do U Wanna Get Down’, ‘Dance 2 My Beat’, ‘Belly Dance’ ‘Vocoder Jam’, ‘U.F.O.’ and many, many more 80s inspired tracks.

You have never lost the love for early-style Electro. Who was your biggest influence in that genre?

I still play early Electro-style Rap Jams – Soul Sonic Force ‘Planet Rock’; Grand Master Flash ‘Scorpio’; Melle Mell ‘Survival’; all Kraftwerk; Jamie Jupiter ‘Computer Power’; Newcleus ‘Push The Button’. It’s my favorite kind of music and that is what I mix during my DJ sets and the style of music I’m producing today for my new album.

Love Live Electro/Old School Rap!

Murphy.

 

Reposted form the spank records blog (http://blog.spankrecords.com.au) by Techno Music News

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