Strange Famous Records is proud to present CANCEL THE GUILLOTINE, the new EP from SFR veterans Seez Mics and Aupheus!
The 5-song collection is available to download at StrangeFamous.com and at the SFR Bandcamp.
7-Inch Records and Cassettes are also available to pre-order here.
CTG Is also available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, and wherever you listen to music.
Both Seez and Aupheus have made their mark in the SFR universe over the years, dropping solo projects like Seez’s “Live Long Enough To Learn” and Aupheus’ “Megalith” (both in 2018), as well as appearing on multiple releases from other members of the SFR crew. The pair commenced their cross-oceanic collaboration when they learned that they’d both cemented their longtime association with Strange Famous as members of the inaugural slate of artists signed to the Strange Famous Digital imprint.
Here is their story, and the story of “Cancel The Guillotine,” in their own words:
I couldn’t tell you what Aupheus looks like.
Aupheus couldn’t tell you what I smell like.
However, after listening to our new album “Cancel The Guillotine,” I think you’ll agree that we sound uncancellable.
Aupheus and I joined SFdigi during the initial roster roll-out in September 2016. We began exchanging emails about how excited we were to be on the same label because we were already fans of each other, and we made plans to collaborate on songs for our respective albums.
I remember the time frame very clearly because less than a month later, I was listening to early mixes of our first song “Macro Mirror” during my honeymoon. I kept telling my new bride about the effortless chemistry I had with this producer from London, and how magical an experience it was to instantly connect with someone I hoped to collaborate with in the future. The irony was not lost on my wife. I’m a very romantic person.
In 2018, Aupheus and I doubled down on our burgeoning alliance when we repeated the magic with our second song “My Pincode To Everything.” Like “Macro Mirror,” the industrially dystopian beat and specifically abstract rhymes blended seamlessly to form a song that was uniquely hip-hop but also uniquely something… else.
Aupheus and I began discussing doing an entire album together in 2019. As life would have it, my free time rapidly declined due to a new baby, which led to a new job, which led to a new worldview, all of which led to a new approach to time management.
I’ve always been a deliberate, meticulous writer. I won’t even listen to a new beat unless I’m sure I’ll have enough time to start writing immediately should the mood strike me. This was a fine process when I was single and responsible solely for my own needs and wants, but not so much once there were diapers to change and diaper-related bills to pay. Whenever Aupheus would email me about getting the album started, I’d have to politely kick the proverbial diaper down the road. (Sorry. It was a time full of diapers.)
As with most of the world, all of this changed in 2020. I was suddenly home a lot more and able to shuffle off to the basement once the wife and kids were occupied by things other than listening to my political rants or hawt sports takes.
So, I emailed Aupheus to say, “Bruh, enough waiting – let’s give the world what it needs right now!” (I think I actually said, “Hey, send me a beat and let’s see where it goes.”) The first beat he sent eventually became “et al.” I wrote and recorded it in one session, which is very unusual for me. I could tell our chemistry had not diminished during our time apart, so we kept working at a rapid pace until BOOM we had the five songs that comprise “Cancel The Guillotine.”
It was an honor to work with Aupheus. He is brilliant, diligent, and professional. I look forward to our next project.
As for the meaning of “Cancel The Guillotine”
I say more than enough on the record itself, so I’ll keep it brief here:
we should all
metaphorically and literally
metaphorical and literal
Since Seez already properly recounted the genesis of our union and detailed his writing process, I’m going to lean into the technical side of the album – as is fitting for the producer, I suppose.
‘Cancel the Guillotine’ is a 5 track collaborative project between me and Seez Mics; Seez on the raps, me on the beats.
The whole project was done remotely through the pandemic, with Seez in the US and me in the UK. Seez recorded all of the vocals at his home studio and sent me the stems. We communicated entirely by email.
I was sending beats over at an early ‘sketch’ stage, rough and basic, from there we’d share ideas back-and-forth to develop them together. I can say for certain that the beats would have sounded different if I’d been working completely solo.
The beat that became the title track “Cancel the Guillotine” was originally slower than the final version, at about 80bpm. Seez suggested speeding it up to 100bpm which at the time I thought was a crazy idea as I’d envisioned it as a slow and brooding joint… but turned out it worked much better at the faster tempo!
There were lots of moments like this while working on the beats for this project; I was the one physically putting them together but in terms of ideas, the production on this record is a collaborative effort.
We initially decided to put together a 4 track project. Seez had the idea of sequencing the tracks in speed order, starting with the slowest track and finishing with the fastest (or vice versa). The first track we recorded was ‘et. al;’ that beat was originally a quick sketch I’d put together on the SP202. It was super slow at 65.5bpm so we decided to use that as the slowest extreme and increase from there.
Aside from the SP202 I also ran various sounds through an Emu EMAX I rack sampler for more old school crunch / beef / magic.
Every track makes use of the turntables in some shape or form; I sampled a load of old records and used Serato to scratch Seez’ vocals. I also used an electric guitar run through a midi pedal and various effects to create sounds. The scratches on the title track I ran through a wah pedal. On the software side, everything is sequenced in Logic with a selection of 3rd party plugins.
The final track “They’re All Lying To You, Some Are Just Honest About It” (“TALTY” for short) was the last track we put together. The beat originally was at a constant tempo and had the same spacey vibe throughout, but Seez had the idea to gradually increase the speed – I hadn’t heard anything like that recently (probably since “Alphabet Aerobics” – RIP Gift of Gab). I wasn’t sure quite how that was going to work, but I implemented the speed change and Seez came back with those intense vocal takes building to a climax. Once I heard that, it made sense to rework the music to crescendo around the vocals. That was quite a challenge to see how far I could push the dynamic intensity on that one, building multiple layers of sound without the mix getting too messy and ensuring that the vocals were still punchy and audible. It took a few days of trial and error before I got that working to my satisfaction. Hopefully the beat does the vocals justice. I think “TALTY” and “Cancel the Guillotine” are my two favourites from the record.
As a final note, I’m appreciative of Seez being open to giving and receiving constructive criticism without awkwardness or fear of causing offence, that’s the way I like it. If you’ve had experience working with people in any creative field then you’ll know that’s not always the case, ha. I think we had a great working dynamic in that respect. I’m hoping we’ll be able to work on more music in the near future.
To everyone who takes the time to check out the record – salute! Thanks for listening.
1. et al. (3:46)
2. Cancel the Guillotine (2:42)
3. Big Bank Bang (2:31)
4. Solipsistic Human (3:59)
5. They’re All Lying To You, Some Are Just Honest About It (3:50)
Total Running Time: 16:49
All vocals by Seez Mics
All music by Aupheus
Mixed & mastered by Aupheus
Artwork by Aupheus