Unedited interview with El-P talking about his new album I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, which is rocking my world right now. Link

What’s changed since Fantastic Damage, and does the new record reflect any progress or change?
The new one is just a different time, different era, and different person. There’s a difference in the approach, the production and songwriting. But it’s obviously the same dude. I think it’s more of a snapshot in time that shows the development of someone’s mind and experiences five years later. I hope that growth is illustrated in this record compared to Fan Damage.

Let’s talk about your production, which I love by the way. What equipment did you use to make the majority of the new album, and what do you try to get out of your production? Is it anything specific?
The main workhorse is still my EPS16. That’s what I mainly use. But there’s really a lot to name. I’m a tech-head, you know? I spend most of my money investing and buying this hodgepodge of bullshit equipment [laughs]. But I mean, I have modern synths, Moogs, all kinds of stuff. Having a lot of equipment allows me to use certain pieces here and there, and not rely on one beat machine or keyboard or something.

So is your EPS16 the most important piece of equipment you have?
I’ll always use my EPS, but I think the most important thing in my production isn’t one piece of equipment—it’s my approach. I try to have a lot of stuff so that I don’t overuse one thing and have that attached to my sound. You know how you can tell when you buy someone’s album that you liked before, and their new shit uses the same keyboard over and over and over? It’s like, oh okay; this motherfucker just bought a Triton! I mean, I have a Triton and all, but I don’t want my records to sound like I only used a Triton. I have a lot of shit man. That’s my love right there.

Your production has always been real original. Is your sound purposeful or did it sort of develop?
It’s developed naturally through the years. That’s why when I’m not working on my own album, I’m doing different things like jazz projects and film scores and shit. I take little bits of those experiences and I take those little things and try to apply them into the way I produce. That’s just how I do it. I want to develop. I’m a fiend for development. I want to see what else I can do, what I can add to my shit. I’ve never been the type of person who thinks there’s only one correct way to do something and just stick strictly to that. I know a lot of people who have that mindset. Like they can look back at one particular year and say that’s when they found their sound or style. That’s cool. But for me, I don’t think on those ways. For me, my era of development started early and I want to grow constantly.