Interview with Tim Fite06.18.08   |   Posted in: Art & Design, Music   |   By: Toshi Jones
Tags: Fair ain't Fair, Tim Fite
If I made an attempt at pinpointing where Tim Fite would comfortably fit into Pop music, I’d fail him. That’s probably a good thing. Pop music is his most distant home. The differences between his sound, his messages, and the those of the general public are vast.
With each album Fite changes the scenery and hits us where it hurts. Our appetite for consumption, blind irony, and blatant audacity are often the topics of his rhythmic rants. In 2007 he released the full length record Over the Counter Culture. , as a free digital download. Riddled with samples which he should not technically sell, the anti consumerist message was much more powerful as in the shared medium.
His appreciation for hip hop is still apparent, but Fair Ain’t Fair, hides the hip hop the under house, the southern plantation house that is. Samples of mandolin solos and twangy acoustic guitars recall southern blues and americana and still maintain true to his hip hop roots. Each track seems to draw an a new inspiration, all the while maintaining pace and message.
Big Mistake on Fair ain’t Fair
Interview with Tim Fite:
Neu Black: Please describe for me, the process of putting this latest album together?
Tim: Fair Ain’t Fair was recorded in fits and starts over the course of one year. I started out by recording lots o’ drums in the hopes of making my own magical drum sound and beat bank. It worked. With the help of Justin Riddle’s impeccable timing and Rob Badenoch’s dedication to fine audio recordings, we were able to utilize the various acoustic environments that my old high school had to offer (not to mention their wide array of orchestral drums/percussion). Once the drums were banked, I started stealing music from other bands-some friends, some strangers, some mysteries, and built up song structures out of already recorded material. Then I added on to those with the drums I already recorded, and then I added more and more and more and more.
Guitars, piano, electrics, chairs, tires, fireworks, anything that made the proper noise. Fun Fun Fun. Cry Cry Cry. That is how I made most of the songs. Others were made out of clay and soda powder.
Neu Black: In our coverage “Fair Ain’t Fair,” we described the albums sound as hip hop, folk, americana, and indie rock inspired. Even in that, I don’t think we quite hit the uniqueness of what you’ve created. Could you elaborate on the dramatic shift in sound, and how does this new album compare to “Over the Counter Culture?”
Tim: Over the Counter Culture was a hip hop record first and foremost. It was overt. It’s bark matched it’s bite. Fair Ain’t Fair, doesn’t present itself so evidently. It doesn’t bark and bite in the way that OTCC did, but I think that the end result is the same. Fear of dogs.
Neu Black: Do you see yourself returning to your hip pop roots or do you feel like your work will evolve further from here?
Tim: My grandfather is always asking if broccoli repeats on me. We both like broccoli, but not when it repeats on us.
Neu Black: The alternate video content you’ve create for both “Gone Ain’t Gone” and for your new release have a very specific illustrative styles. How is the style of music on “Fair Ain’t Fair” an inspiration for the pieces you’ve put together.
Tim: I like to make whole things. Full compositions. I think that all of the different ways of getting an idea across are important, and that the visual and the audible are not such distant cousins. Fair Ain’t Fair is a very visual record to me, so it just follows that there should be light reflected in our eyes to support that.
Neu Black: Your web cast of shorts and the visuals from the live show at times provide a little bit of back story to your message. The visuals for “Over the Counter Culture” are much darker, while the visuals for “Fair Ain’t Fair” are more child like and playful. How do feel these compliment the themes each release?
Tim: I try very hard to do as much as I can on purpose!
Neu Black: I’d like to talk a little bit about the method of release for “Over the Counter Culture.” The numbers of downloads of the album are very strong. Most indie musicians cold only hope to reach that kind of audience with a single album. Do you see yourself as a pioneer in the movement to change how we market and distribute music?
Tim: I don’t see myself as a pioneer in that movement. I am more concerned with making than marketing. . . more aware of destruction than distribution.
Neu Black: How do you feel releasing this album for free has impacted the crowds at your shows and sales of your most recent release?
Tim: I think that being able to share is a blessing, and that nothing but good can, has, and will come out of it.
Neu Black: As a follow up, what do you feel is the most viable way for musicians to make a living doing what they are passionate about?
Tim: Get a job as an ice cream tester!