Besatree – WildLife Album Review and Interview
Anyone who is an avid follower of Wordkrapht has noticed by now that some of the artists we covered have been covered multiple times. However, none have been covered more than Jon May aka Besatree. From the first interview back in our first year in 2012 to today we have supported the Emcee, producer, and graphic designer with no end in sight. Just last week Besatree released, Wildlife the first full length album since Soiled back in 2013.
The album features ten songs, all dealing with various life issues. Deeply lyrical and incredibly personal; listening to the album is like getting to know the artist on another level. Sometimes groovy, sometimes mellow, and even a little abstract, this isn’t your typical hip hop album. Its hip hop reinvented. We had the chance to speak with May about the music, the fantastic artwork that accompanies it and life in general. Take a peek at the interview below and familiarize yourself with one of our favorites.
Who is Besatree?
A guy who loves making music and has bad taste in moniker choices.
WildLife is your new album. What are three adjectives would you use to describe the album that start with the letter S?
Streaming. Sturdy. Surreptitious.
Is there a life experience (or experiences) that inspired the songs on WildLife?
Absolutely. I don’t think there’s a song on there that wasn’t to be honest haha.
How many times do you listen to a song before you feel that it’s complete and ready to be shared with the world?
That is so difficult to say, I would guess that on average 100 maybe. I mean I’ve definitely had a handful of singles where they just kind of land in the right spot quickly and the vibe is right and they are an “in that moment” or “about that moment” type of track so it’s more important to get it out asap than to nitpick every little thing like I do for albums. Albums though, I mean already doing the normal/ridiculous amounts of listen-throughs to just get the song sounding good etc but then to also get it to meld in, not clash and have similar volume potentially with an entirely different vibe… that’s really it’s own entity and has me re-listening to tracks an obtuse amount of times.
So that explains why some of the singles you have released this year aren’t on the album. At what point during recording tracks did you feel you had a coherent album? Or did your idea for the album come first and then you went about recording the songs?
Yeah, some of the singles needed to be released right then and there I believe. Especially the last two: Lay Low & Halfway (ft Kid Presentable!!!) those both needed to just be put out there once they were done. They were very relevant to the way I was feeling at the time and honestly really pushed me to take my own advice and make some changes at work so I can focus on my music and try to push to the next level.
As for the album, I had a handful (maybe 5 or so songs) that were kinda loose that I loved but it just didn’t feel like it was complete so I aimed to create songs that would add to the diversity of the album but also not feel out of place. Just needed to flesh it out a bit more and at that time (little over a year ago) I didn’t put a timeline on it so I was just working on music, picking and choosing tracks as I went.
Tell us about who is featured on WildLife, and how your collaborative process works:
The album features a healthy group of homies (majority being CLDMKRS Members) Noearth, Fuzzy, Joe Mas, Thesis, Erage, Adversity, Kid Presentable!!! and production on a couple songs by Rokem. Fuzzy (sings on Down The Road) is the only one who isn’t affiliated with CLDMKRS but he is absurdly talented and was a necessity for the album. As for the rest of the fellas, those my dudes… all fucked up talented and always fun to work with. As far as the collaborative process, most the time it’s folks coming over and just working together to get a track to land where it needs to be. For me, it’s really just about having a conversation… what does this sound like? Feel like? From there generally start working on a hook so everyone has a jump off/landing point for their verse. I mean that’s a kinda loose template but really, if someone comes to the table with a great verse, we can build off that. Gotta be fluid with how things come about I think.
If you could choose one person to listen to your music who would you pick?
Probably would have to be my Grandpa. (Passed)
What do you think he would say about it?
I mean, honestly… I think he would not like or enjoy it…. but the opportunity to show it to him and have that conversation would be great I think.
Tell us about the illustration work Nora Maha did for the album and how the concept came to be:
I couldn’t be more excited to have gotten to work with Nora Maha. She is way too talented and the illustration she did for the album is perfect. I gave her an advance version of the album before it was even finished so she even had some early drafts of songs to give an idea of the vibe, themes of the tracks etc. We did a photo shoot and got a couple ideas going but ended up doing another photo shoot a few weeks later to make sure everything was perfect. The pulling out of the tooth is just very relatable to me as I continue to have teeth and jaw issues and I also think it’s a great way to visually represent WildLife… living like wildlife while trying to live that wild life. Another theme I think it carries is being comfortable with falling apart and growing old. You can see in the illustration… no panic, no worry, it’s just observation now. Watching it all happen.
What song is your “Desperado”?
The Traveling Wilburys – Congratulations
I recently learned you are an early bird. You can’t say morning without saying coffee. What is your preferred method of making coffee?
I am absolutely a morning person! As for coffee I just have a run of the mill coffee maker but I will take it in just about any format. My Grandpa was a huge coffee drinker and really introduced me to the coffee life.
The most recent one I can think of would have to be when I knew it was done and I wasn’t going to make any more edits. I feel like once I become confident that it sounds good… you almost hear it differently. Same thing as when it’s released… I could listen to a song the minute before I release it but the second it’s released to the public I feel I hear it differently or in a new light perhaps.
Do you get that sort of stage fright in the days leading up to releasing new music? Or are you just anxious and ready to get it out there to the world?
Absolutely. It’s very up and down tho I think the same way any big changes or upcoming event can be. Exciting then terrifying… then exciting, so on and so forth. I definitely feel like it’s ready and I’m ready but always have that self-doubt and wonder if it could have been done better or if I should have done this or that. I think that’s a large part of this job tho is knowing when you’ve beat it juuuuuust close enough to death that it’s going to survive and flourish.
Last words for the readers the readers of Wordkrapht?
Just thank you for listening, reading and supporting. Hope you all enjoy the new album WildLife!
WORDKRAPHT Rating: 5 stars!
Album Name: WildLife
Date Released: November, 2015
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: Hip Hop
Nora Maha’s Website: http://noramartinhall.com/