Interview with Pi’erre Bourne

Jordan Jenks ist ein Arbeitstier. Seit seinem Umzug von Columbia, South Carolina nach Atlanta, Georgia im Jahr 2014, kann der 23-jährige Künstler und Produzent, besser bekannt als Pi’erre Bourne, auf eine bewegte Musikkarriere zurückschauen. Für Bargeld ließ er Künstler in seinem mobilen Studio aufnehmen, internierte bei Hustle Gang, produzierte für Epic Records, schmiss den Job wieder hin und produzierte fortan für den Rapper Young Nudy aus Atlanta, von dem er kürzlich erst erfuhr, dass er 21 Savages Cousin ist. Das Highlight seiner bisherigen Karriere ist jedoch das Mitwirken an Playboi Cartis gleichnamigen Debüt-Mixtape, bei dem er 6 von 15 Tracks produzierte, darunter die monumentale hide-it-in-my-sock Hymne „Magnolia“.

Und irgendwie, zwischen all dem und mehr, hat er seine eigenen Soloprojekte aufgenommen und veröffentlicht: Seine „The Life of Pi’erre“-Serie, auf dem er seine melodische Geschicklichkeit demonstriert, mit selbst eingesungen Bars und einem neon avantgardistischen Stil, der dich förmlich in die Sitze presst, während du gerade die Milchstraße herunterrast. Pi’erre hat das Musikbusiness von fast allen Seiten gesehen – etwas sehr seltenes und nützliches, für einen jungen Newcomer in der Branche. Diese Erfahrungen und noch viel mehr, hat er uns im folgendem Interview mitgeteilt.

Where are you from? What was your upbringing like?

Columbia, South Carolina. My mom was in the military, that’s how we ended up down south. I got introduced to hip-hop just being on the block, I was a fuckin’ kid, just seeing people rapping. I tried to do it, but I didn’t know which words to use to rhyme, ‘cause I was so young. My uncle was like, You just need to write it down, you got it!

I always was into music. I think my uncle showed me how to download music when I was in elementary school. He told me, to find a beat, you just put “instrumental,” you put your favorite song, and you could download that shit. Shit was tight.

What were you listening to during those South Carolina summers?

Dipset, G-Unit, Dipset, G-Unit, Dipset, G-Unit. They was on fire! And they weren’t even working together.  Run DMC, LL Cool J, Salt-n-Pepa‘, shit, Stephen A. Smith, Hype Williams. All of these motherfuckers. Just knowing the history motivated me every time I would come up here. I would put myself in those shoes, like, Oh, we down the street, so we must be great too! I might be from down south, but I’m a Queens nigga. It’s weird.

How did you first start making beats?

My uncle Dwight, I was tryna be like him! He rapped, he drew, he did graphic design, he tried to make beats, he was fly, he had all the foams, all the J’s. He had Fruity Loops on his computer. I thought he was playing a video game, cause he’s really into computers and shit, and I didn’t know how he did that shit. I was like, lemme try.

What kind of sounds inform your own sound? Listening to your production, especially on Playboi Carti’s mixtape, I’m reminded a lot of old video game-type sounds.

I used to be a big Wiz Khalifa fan in high school. I started smoking weed when Kush & Orange Juice came out. Sledgren, he used to use video games sounds. I was tryna be like them niggas, smoke weed, make some smokin‘ music. After a while, I stopped sampling them.

When you were at Epic Records, you worked on music that wasn’t necessarily rap. What was that like?

I quit working for Epic Records last November. I was an engineer for them for about a year straight. It was really intense. I loved my job, ‘cause I got to stay in the studio, so I worked on my own music, Nudy would pull up.

I was basically on some ballads and guitar songs shit. I learned how to really do songs, song structure, bridges, certain key words — it’s a science to that shit. What I taught myself wasn’t that different. It was like damn! We were right the whole time. We just didn’t know. Sometimes you have to be around people who are doing shit at the time, or that know how to do it the right way. Once you see how it’s done, it’s not too different. Apply your own, that’s how you create your own sauce and sound.

What kind of equipment do you use?

My MacBook. Ableton, Fruity Loops. My hard drive with all my sounds on it.

How did you link with Carti?

The „Wokeuplikethis*“ beat. I gave a pack to Lil Yachty’s brother k$upreme — me and him got cool in January. I don’t know why I gave him a pack, to be honest, I don’t do that. But bro was cool as fuck. The session was weird cause he came to work with somebody and I was engineering the session, and it was awkward as fuck. I left! Nudy was at the studio down the street, I was like, „I’ma give him some beats.“ k$upreme was like, „You’re Pi’erre bro? Your shit’s cool as fuck!“. I don’t even know the whole story, but Carti hopped on the “Wokeuplikethis*” beat instantly. I guess Uzi got on it a couple of days later. When I found out, it was already on the internet.

I made “Magnolia” and “Wokeuplikethis*” in the car, so I can’t wait to make some beats in the studio and see what happens with those. People might not know the whole story going into the songs, but the beats I gave Carti, besides „Wokeuplikethis*“, I made day-of or the day before the session. I saw the opportunity, he was finishing his tape. All of March, we were cooking it up. Before SXSW, I came up for my grandma’s birthday and I saw everybody going crazy to his shit. Shit’s a blessing. Me and Carti real tight. I’ve only known him since February, but I’m big on vibes. If I don’t fuck with you, the energy, I’m not gonna force it.

You’ve got „The Life Of Pi’erre 4 coming out soon. How are you prioritizing and balancing your solo project now with your production demands?

It’s hard. I pay for my own studio time. Everybody else just gotta show up and just do their thing. I’m trying to get to that point where I don’t have to do so much, that way it’ll be easier for me to just rap. When I do my sessions, I record myself, running in and out the booth, stopping it. I just feel more comfortable that way, but I know that’s a lot more work on myself. All my projects I engineer myself, since I was a kid.

Are you into astrology?

Not really, but I think when I do get into it, it’s gonna explain a lot of the shit that has happened to me for the past two years. I thought about that shit, Famous Dex — he’s a fuckin‘ Virgo. Lil Yachty a fuckin‘ Virgo. I’m a fuckin‘ Virgo, Playboi Carti’s a fuckin‘ Virgo. Those are people I’ve worked with. I mean Nudy’s not a Virgo, but shit, he’s just cool as hell.