Thes One and Double K comprise the Los Angeles hip-hop duo known as People Under the Stairs (PUTS for short). They've garnered a significant amount of acclaim over the past few years on the strength of their LPs Question in the Form of an Answer and OST and their energetic live shows. Their excellent new (and long-awaited) album Stepfather releases on April 18th. I was fortunate enough to be able to talk to the pair this past March 17th via telephone.
First off, how are you today?
Thes: Good, man. It's kinda cold, but good.
Where exactly are you right now?
Cold in L.A.?
Thes: Yeah, it is.
Damn, things changed since I left. Anyway, I suppose I should get down to it. So you have this new album Stepfather coming out. Reading the press release, it talks about taking your sound in a bit of a different direction - kind of letting the sound evolve. Was this the intention all along, or did it just happen?
Thes: I think just a little bit of both, in the sense that it happened 'cause Double K and I have been doing this for a while, and every time we get into the studio... we don't really try to do anything, but since we're getting older and thinking about things different, I think it just came out of us differently and we're less hesitant to try new stuff. We don't have to prove that we can make it more hip-hop - I think we're just comfortable making music and whatever makes us happy.
I can understand that. I've heard some of your songs and I like your use of samples. I mean, you've got a lot of eclectic things on there. When you go crate digging, do you specifically look for certain things or is it more just looking for something to hit you? Is there a process of trial and error, like you buy a whole bunch of vinyl, spin beats and see what works? Or does something just fall out of the sky, like bam?
K: Well, both of us, we've been doing this for a long time, so we usually know what we're looking for when we go in. You know, we just don't pick up a whole bunch of records and take 'em home and check 'em out.
Thes: Some stuff we use for inspiration, some stuff actually gets used and gets manipulated into the actual music, but I think as we've gotten better as producers, we've basically learned how to take less and use the influence more instead of just taking the record.