In a new interview with GQ ahead of the release of his new album New Blue Sun, 3 Stacks spoke in depth about his love for playing the flute and revealed he’s secretly lent his wind instrument skills to releases from “known artists.”
André said he was credited for his contributions, but the reason they were able to fly under the radar is because he used different names — much like when he adopted the moniker Earthtone III when producing OutKast records alongside Big Boi and Mr. DJ.
“I’ve actually played some wind things that I’ve put out in the world that I called myself another name under different artists that are out there that, you know, I was just kinda testing it out in a way,” he said. “From known artists, and they’ve been cool about keeping it secret.”
He added: “I wasn’t sure how to present the wind thing because I would just be on the street and playing [it]. I play in nature a lot. I play [while] hiking, walking, in the city, wherever. And what started to happen was people started filming me on their cellphones and posting it and making beats out of it which is cool to me.
“But I was trying to find a way, how can I share my love for discovering this wind instrument with more people where it’s not this kind of Where’s Waldo?, there’s this dude playing kinda thing.”
Watch his comments at the 7:35 mark below:
While André 3000 didn’t divulge any of the artists he’s secretly worked with (for obvious reasons), a bit of digging reveals he played the bass clarinet on James Blake‘s 2019 track “Where’s the Catch?,” which he also has a guest verse on.
He also lent his woodwind skills to jazz collective Carlos Niño & Friends’ recent album (I’m just) Chillin’, on Fire, as well as the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning film Everything Everywhere All at Once.
His earliest woodwind performance came on OutKast’s 2003 double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, with 3 Stacks responsible for the wailing clarinet noises at the end of “She Lives in My Lap.”
New Blue Sun, out Friday (November 17), serves as both André 3000’s debut solo album and first full-length offering as a flute player. It’s described as “a stunning 87-minute mind-bender, minimalist and experimental, tribal and transcendent.”
The project doesn’t feature any rapping or singing, nor does it co-star any of his Hip Hop contemporaries. Instead, it’s a fully instrumental effort created with jazz musicians like Carlos Niño, Surya Botofasina and Nate Mercereau.
“I would love to be out here [rapping] with everybody, but it’s just not happening for me,” 3 Stacks admitted in a recent interview with NPR. “This is the realest thing that’s coming right now.
“Not to say that I would never do it again, but those are not the things that are coming right now. And I have to present what’s given to me at the time.”