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Matson on Music

Music news, concert reviews, analysis and opinion by music writer Andrew Matson.

October 14, 2009 at 10:25 AM

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Catching up with P Smoov, producer and rapper for Mad Rad and Fresh Espresso

Posted by Andrew Matson


"Lazerbeams" by Fresh Espresso

For two of Seattle's most inventive and exciting groups, Fresh Espresso and Mad Rad, P Smoov is the man behind the music. He co-raps and also does all the futuristic, genre-defying backdrops.

Both groups just started being managed by Kerri Harrop, who works for The Crocodile, and also Via Tribunali, which is related to Caffé Vita. Both groups are not playing concerts for a few months. (Well, Mad Rad's playing one this month and one next, but that's a big slow-down). Both groups are making new music; Fresh Espresso's "Glamour" and Mad Rad's "White Gold" have been out for a while now.

I emailed P Smoov (Peter Robinson) and asked about the management, performing hiatus, and new music. He emailed back. I gently touched up his spelling and grammar, but mostly left his text alone.

Image from Rabid Child

What are your music-making projects this and next month?

I am always working on the new Mad Rad and Fresh Espresso albums. But more specifically we are writing 4-5 new Fresh Espresso songs and 2 new Mad Rad songs this month that will be available to the public very soon. I am also working on a tune/video that will feature Grynch, Macklemore, and Gatsby.

I heard the next Mad Rad songs are going to sound a lot different than the old ones.

True? Very true. Very different. A lot of growth has taken place, both musically and personally since we released our last record. This album not only reflects that growth, but also slings us into uncharted territory. It's a very exciting and sexy record so far.

In general, do you see Mad Rad moving further from or more toward what people might identify as hiphop?

We are moving further away from what is traditionally considered Hip Hop. The sound of this record is influenced heavily by lots of different genres (much like "White Gold"), but the hip hop influence is not as obvious as the last record (if it was obvious at all on "White Gold"). On the other hand the record is only about 1/3 could end up sounding like the next "Illmatic" by the time we finish. HAHA

What's happening with Fresh Espresso? Are you and Rik Rude making new songs?

We are continuing to sell and promote glamour, while writing new songs for our next project. I NEED to write songs with Rik. His energy as an artist takes me to places Mad Rad never would. I can't just write one style of song over and over. I love writing songs for Fresh Espresso. Its a musical vessel that lets me create a whole different soundscape than anything else I do. We also still have about 10 songs together that no-one has heard besides close friends. Should we drop the "Glamour" b-sides?? hmmm

Will you continue to use the vocoder on hooks for Fresh Espresso songs like you did on (instant Seattle classic) "Lazerbeams"? It sounds cool on the album, but people also go crazy at concerts when you do it live.

Um... I will use the vocoder if it aids the composition. I am very interested in adding more musicians to the Fresh Espresso set. Not in the usual, "hey! We make hip hop! Lets teach this band to play our songs and end up sounding like the worst jam band ever!" kinda style, but more like backup singers and live instrumentation that would aid the beats I produce and the songs we write.

There's a few Mad Rad shows coming up, but not many, and it looks like Fresh Espresso is going on a performing hiatus. Why? Are you tired?

Honestly, yes. I am tired, but more importantly, we need some time to write songs and be humans together. Both "Glamour" and "White Gold" were written by all of us sitting together in a room, drinking cheap beers, laughing, and creating. With so many shows, it is very hard to find time to do that. I love Terry Radjaw, Buffalo Madonna, Rik Rude, and Darwin like brothers. I kinda wanna hang out with my brothers for a while and create. Ya know?

Your groups have recently acquired management. Who's managing them, and how did those relationships come to be?

Kerri Harrop is our manager. We pretty much met officially for the first time at the Beard/Off. She digs our bands and our energy a lot, but mostly we just vibe really well as people. We trust and love her and are way excited to have her on our side! We have been putting in A LOT of hard work all by ourselves for a while now. It's nice to have someone help us out and also make sure our punk asses don't get into too much trouble. hahaha.

What does it mean to outsource management? Should every group do that?

I don't feel I can talk intelligently on this subject. I am still a rookie in this crazy game.

Are you hoping to get signed to a record company, or is that not important to you?

It's seeming more and more that record deals are the WORST kind of business deal EVER. Those kinda crazy deals would never fly in the Lumber biz, or Computer biz, or any other kind of business besides entertainment. I would much rather work with regular companies that aren't trying to take advantage of inexperienced and/or emotional artists. Some of these record contracts we are seeing are just plain silly. Fresh Espresso is collaborating right now with Caffé Vita on some crazy exciting things. For now though, Out For Stardom is our label and I am perfectly fine with that.

Would you ever do a tour where Fresh Espresso opened for Mad Rad, or Mad Rad opened for Fresh Espresso?

That would be a very fun tour! I would love to do that. Especially if there was a band in between us so I could grab a breather.


Do you get free pizza at Via Trib?

I dunno if I can say I get it for free... but I have never paid for it yet. But goddamn that pizza is good...I might go try not paying for some right now! mmm

Remember the summer of love we just had, and how Seattle hiphop exploded and groups bonded and everything was perfect? Or is that just how I remember it?

I think that is pretty much the general consensus. This is such an amazing period of camaraderie and creativity. I have such a high respect and admiration for my fellow creators in this city. It feels so different that when Mad Rad first came onto the scene. Things seem to have come full circle. I like seeing outsiders reactions to our music scene. It's a very real thing right now, and that makes me very happy.

Can you put a new Mad Rad/Fresh Espresso song on the internet?

This Saturday 2 new Fresh Espresso songs will be available for exclusive download through the Winner's Circle blog (Blah Blog). Several other new songs will be released within the next few months from both groups... keep your ear to the ground my friend.

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