mcenroe – the ethics EP (1998)

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RR: This was the first P&C release that was pressed on CD. Everything else was cassette. Was this release looked at as a major progression in the label at the time of recording it?

mcenroe: It was… the label was on hiatus for about a year before the ethics EP. Farm Fresh was dissolving, I wasn’t producing Mood Ruff or Shadez any more, and I was finishing school. I came up with the songs for mcenroe at that time and was influenced by all the indie vinyl that was coming out all over the place, like Fondle Em out of NYC, and wanted to get my music to that level. I knew I had to press vinyl to do it, so I pulled the money for vinyl and CDs together and it was the start of a new era for P&C. It showed we were serious and it solidified the crew going forward.

RR: On The ethics EP, the only feature you have is Spoof, from Frek Sho, why not feature any of the Farm Fresh guys on the EP? Or any other cats that were associated with P&C like the Mood Ruff guys? or Different Shadez?

mcenroe:  I was still friends with everyone, but I was no longer producing Mood Ruff or Different Shadez. They were doing their own thing and I would throw them a beat or two here and there but we were no longer family. As for Pip, he was not around at the time I made the ethics EP. I believe he was out of town. I also wanted to reinvent myself to a degree, so I think I probably wanted to avoided doing a track with him, at least subconsciously. When the record dropped, Spitz from Mood Ruff seemed to think the lines on “What Have I Done” were disses at Pip – but they were not! We went on to work together on fermented reptile as soon as he got back in to town and had refocused on what he wanted to do with music.

After the years of rivalry with the Frek Sho crew, it was kind of a big deal to do a track together, and I always got on well with Spoof.

Hunnicutt, my DJ from Farm Fresh, is on the ethics EP and was my DJ live when I performed those songs…

I think I was influenced by Doom when I made the ethics EP, and I like how he did everything and didn’t have many features, at least on the 12 inch singles he was putting out. I think I wanted to keep it minimal.

RR: Is this the first record that you started using a Mac to make the beats? Emissions wasn’t recorded the same way was it?

mcenroe: Yes, this was the first record that was mine that I used a mac to make the beats. I did a few beats for Mood Ruff for their Night Life Types record on the mac, and I think I did a track for Shadez on the mac, but this was the first Peanuts & Corn release that used a Mac. I recorded the beats and mixed them to DAT, then took them to a studio and recorded the vocals – recorded the entire record in one evening, and mixed it a week later. Unfortunately we put this sub bass on the tracks when we mixed and it really muddied up the mix of the original beats, and the record was never actually mastered with any compression or anything – what was released is basically just the mix to DAT.

I am trying to do a remaster of the record, but ideally I would re-do the mixdown – unfortunately I don’t have the stems from the original mac used to make the instrrumental mix, so I am trying to rebuild them from the original sample files. The ethics EP is the record most in need of a remaster – although I can’t stand about half of my vocals, to be honest. I must have also been influenced by Company Flow or something, with how I try to squeeze to many extra syllables into some of the lines. UGH.

And regarding emissions – that record was made 2 years earlier using the old setup – an Akai S01 sampler, an 8 track ADAT (and a 4 track) and a bunch of rented instruments including an upright jazz bass, organ, acoustic guitar, etc. It was made around the time we did the Farm Fresh “Treherne” stuff, as well as the second Mood Ruff tape.

RR: Do you have any stories regarding either the recording of the release, or the promotional period following it?

mcenroe:  The ethics ep was the only P&C release recorded in an actual studio – I traded website design for 2 days of studio time. So I recorded it in one evening at Private Ear Recording in Winnipeg and mixed it a few days later. Although that experience was fine, I decided to do future recordings at home and never went back to a studio.

I pressed 500 copies of the vinyl and 500 CDs. I think I borrowed some money from my parents to fund the CD and got a small grant towards the vinyl. I sent it out to quite a few DJs and place, and managed to get some interest to sell it online through Sandbox and eventually Hip Hop Infinity, which both ended up moving quite a bit of P&C over the years.

I ended up playing it out for a while and recruited a young rapper named John Smith to do my backups, DJ Hunnicutt was my DJ, we played it out quite a bit.

The record really kicked off our golden age as a label, once we had the full crew of fermented reptile, Parklike Setting, and all the solo acts: Pip, John Smith, Gruf, then Yy and Birdapres, we had a few great years there.

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