Known for running one of the premier analog studios left on the planet, the Cheshire UK-based Ape Recording Studio, Mr. Chop a/k/a Coz Littler has had quite a 2009. Having released two previous albums, most notably 2008’s Lightworlds on the Stones Throw subsidiary, Now-Again, Chop used that work to produce extensively for DOOM‘s BORN LIKE THIS album, as well as a recent Pete Rock-inspired instrumental project, For Pete’s Sake.

Speaking with HipHopDX late last week, Mr. Chop explained how he ended up working with the cult-followed KMD frontman’s solo comeback album, which debuted on the Top 200. “Egon had played DOOM my EP Lightworlds, a few various sample replays and beats I had made a while back. I was approached to work on a few joints which ended up becoming ‘CELLZ,’ ‘SUPERVILLIANZ,’ ‘SUPERVILLANZ INTRO’ and ‘BUMPY’S MESSAGE.’ [These were confirmed when] I got a call which went along the lines of, Chop, DOOM wants you to work with him on some tracks. Can you turn it around in three days?’ [I responded], ‘Hmm? What? Fuck. Hell yeah!’ I worked some of his ideas that were well defined with strong direction already. Going into the analog world of my nutty studio, I decided it best to replace with live instrumentation: guitar, bass, Mellotron, Moog, percussion, strings and brass were laid down. I got a string arranger in to help me with ‘CELLZ.’ [Then we] added some Chop production elements and we nailed it.

From across the Atlantic Ocean, Mr. Chop heard praises from the Atlanta-based emcee who would use the beats. “DOOM was buzzin with the results.

It was great project to be involved with, as I’ve always been a huge fan of his music, I think there is a good chance for more collaborations down the line too.”
Looking back at the impact of BORN LIKE THIS, Chop stated, “In retrospect, I think his music will have great longevity, what he does is uncompromising and that will always shine through in any musical climate. Just listen to ‘CELLZ’ and how appropriate are [Charles] Bukowski‘s words for the times we live in today, what a great choice of sample and then bang DOOM kills it. DOOM-plus-Bukowski. What more can you say?

Besides working just with DOOM, Mr. Chop recently, and perhaps strangely to some, connected with another ’90s lyrical luminary – CL Smooth, through his Pete Rock-inspired instrumental project, For Pete’s Sake. “After I handed in For Pete’s Sake [to Now-Again Records, there was some talk from the label about getting CL Smooth involved,” recalled Chop. “He was approached by Jeff at Traffic [Entertainment] and I think EgonNow-Again‘s founder) played him my interpretations. The response from him seemed to be pretty good, well more than good as he wanted to re-do his parts for ‘T.R.O.Y.’ and ‘Straighten’ it Out.’ Once CL was on board, I decided to re-work thealbum versions of ‘T.R.O.Y.’ and ‘Straighten it Out’ that I’d already recorded. Mike Burnham of The Heliocentrics had already helped me with the instrumentation for the album, so I brought Malcolm Catto in for the breaks on the CL Smooth‘s versions, the results are set to be released on seven-inch vinyl alongside the album.

Although Hip Hop fans know that CL Smooth and Pete Rock aren’t on the best of terms, the emcee participating in the tribute to the producer added an air of authenticity for Mr. Chop. “CL‘s support and endorsement means a lot to the project and to me personally of course, the guy’s a legend and it’s an honor that he wanted to get involved. Hopefully, there’s the possibility of us working together on new material in the future.

Throughout the album, released on November 3, Mr. Chop freaks some Funk of his own with a series of intermezzos. Asked about their genesis, the producer and engineer revealed, “The interludes on For Pete’s Sake are ideas I wanted to throw in there to break up Pete‘s instrumentals and help the album flow as a wholeThey weren’t intially intended from the start, but after I finished the Pete Rock tracks, it became apparent that something was missing. I had a few ideas, sketches of my own that I made while editing the tracks had become tiresome. I usually do that while working on a edit, something else mutates and I’ll have to side track for a while and capture a potential new piece. This was the beginning of what became seven intermezzos. ‘Intermezzo 3’ was the first idea that bore fruit, I think they create nice little breathing spaces and perhaps the listener who is familiar with the original works of Pete Rock & CL Smooth, can do a little reminiscing of their own.

For Pete’s Sake by Mr. Chop is available on vinyl, CD and in digital format on Now-Again Records.