Album Interview: Rob Cantrell – “DREAMS NEVER DIE”
NYC based stand-up comic, Rob Cantrell, has released his newest comedy album, DREAMS NEVER DIE! Only knowing Rob for his stand-up, I had no idea what to expect. By the end, I was shopping for Adidas warm-ups and shell toes. The high quality production is impressive but you’ll probably be too busy having fun to notice. This album is a great time!
RC(Rooftop Comedy): This sounded like it was a ton of fun to make. Did you enjoy the process? What was it like?
Loved it, rhyming and tweaking beats is happy cake and dream cream to me, but doing a whole album is hard work. We really didn’t waste any time, just one song after the next. We had a hard deadline to finish, because I booked the album release party with the “New York Funny Song Festival” three months after finishing the first few songs on the album, that only gave us about two months to finish. The pressure was on leading up to mastering of the album, the work gets super tedious and very detailed. Making an album that doesn’t suck is no picnic, it’s more like a huge awesome BBQ, super fun at first, good potato salad, hot dogs, badminton, drunk friends stopping by with cool dogs, but then you have to clean up days afterwards. We pushed hard to make every little thing sound the best to our ears and to be funny.
RC: I was really impressed with the production quality. It sounds like you hired session players/producers and really went all out. How did you manage all that?
My producer Andy Barlow aka Tiger vs. Cobra is a beast musically, and very smart in the studio. He is a full time DJ in NY, grew up playing in bands and he got a scholarship to college for playing the violin. He comes from an indie-rock and electronic music perspective and I am an old Hip-Hop head who does stand-up comedy for a living, the music just gelled together really well. The studio space was small and Andy would track most of the live instruments in there. I played acoustic guitar for the finale song “S’mores Sunset”. We had a band from DC called “LIONIZE” that I have been friends with for years now, record a instrumental with a 4-track in their rehearsal space, we then turned that into a fake LIVE-SHOW sounding track with random crowd noise for the “Coffee and Weed (DC Go-Go Remix)” song. The whole album wasn’t just one dude on a lap-top making beats, we worked every angle we could to have a pro and original sound..
RC: From our site, I know you for stand-up. Is the music/rapping a passion that’s taking center stage? Do you perform your album live?
I am Stand-Up comic at the end of the day and perform it constantly in NY, but always had some type of music project going on through-out all the years I have done stand-up. I had a improv-jazz band in San Francisco, where I first started performing comedy in 1999, with a couple other comics called the “Jazzman Mega Band of Power, Love and Cheap Thrills”. We opened for a few bands and got a couple paid gigs. My music pursuits were always just for pure fun and was always cautious about them because I never wanted to take too much focus from performing Stand-Up. Stand-up is the impetus to everything I do in comedy, it has made me who I am as a man in so many ways. These days, I feel comfortable enough in my stand-up that I can take the music more seriously right now. I am performing Stand-Up in clubs but doing music comedy in select rooms. I am workshopping a solo show at the “CREEK and CAVE” theater in Queens, NY this upcoming month. I will be performing stand-up and doing songs off the album DREAMS NEVER DIE, August 1, 2, 3. I will build up a project combining both art forms from there, that I will take on the road.
RC: How long have you been working on this album and when did you decide that was in fact what you wanted to do?
I decided I wanted wanted to do a whole music album right after I finished my first stand-up record in 2009, where I had four rap songs as a bonus at the end of the album. This album has been building inside of me for several years. It took about 6 months to get it all done.
RC: What is your favorite track and why?
The first song on the album “Heavy Weather” is an exciting track to me for many reasons, it has a pounding electric beat and a tight heavy rock guitar riff, that sounds like early RUN DMC musically, which I dig. It is a rock track that we rap with weatherman terminology in a very cocky manner. I really get a kick out of how badass it sounds and look forward to shooting the video as corny “Weather Men” in lame brown suits rocking rhymes about the weather.
RC: Babies N’ Shit was an interesting track against the others. Has your life changed significantly during the time it’s taken to make the album?
It is a follow up to a song I did on my stand-up album called ‘Married n Shit’, it is just how your friends talk about you when hanging out, like, “What going on with Rob””, “Oh, he’s got baby and shit, he can’t go to ‘Burning Man’ ”. “Babies N Shit”, has a double meaning, because if you have a baby get ready to deal with some real shit, on all levels.
RC: If you wrote a recipe for how to properly enjoy this album for the first time, what would it be?
Alone, naked, mesh lawn chair, in a plum orchard by a lake, headphones, reliable audio device, push play.
RC: What’s up with the recurring pelican reference?
Pelicans, GO IN… with zero hesitation. They dive from hundreds of feet in the air to grab a fish from underwater they can barely see but instinctually know is there, which blows my mind. They are awkward, funky and secretly bad-ass. That what I wanted this album to be like.
RC: How much of this album was drug fueled?
None, unless you think coffee and weed are drugs.
RC: The featured artists on this album, how do you know them?
I met them all at a greek yogurt festival/orgy… they are all friends from the “New York” comedy scene. We choose people because we thought they would fit the vibe of the song and were available with the hard deadline that we had to keep.
RC: Did you exceed your own expectation with your final product?
Yes, I am very proud of the album. I think it is going to win the Superbowl.
So do we! Thanks, Rob!