De La Soul opens up about giving away music at SXSW
De La Soul's Kevin Mercer and Vincent Mason, from left, join Damon Albarn, right during the SXSW Music Festival Friday March 14, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP / Jack Plunkett)
Chris Talbott, The Associated Press
Published Saturday, March 15, 2014 8:28AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, March 15, 2014 1:24PM EDT
AUSTIN, Texas -- Get ready for a lot of new De La Soul music.
The classic hip-hop group says will issue a new mixtape in the next week or so and is working on two full albums the trio hopes to release later this year.
A little more than a month ago, De La Soul gave away its entire catalogue for free on Valentine's Day, and the result showed the trio there's plenty of love still out there 25 years after issuing the landmark release "3 Feet High and Rising."
"It motivated us even more," Dave Jolicoeur said before a surprise South By Southwest appearance with Damon Albarn on Friday night. "We're already in the process of recording two albums, but actually it made us feel like we really, really need to get this done. People are still fans, still really love the music and let's do it for them."
The response to the group offering seven full-album downloads online went beyond modest expectations -- demand was so heavy that it temporarily overwhelmed the servers and the hip-hop group had to ask fans to be patient.
The numbers were "insane, I'm afraid to say it," Jolicouer said. "I'm not really allowed to, but I'll say I was expecting it to be somewhere between 15,000 and 25,000 people. Man, you can multiply that by whatever number you can throw in the air, so it was ridiculous."
He said the move was not a marketing campaign, but a gift to fans, who only had to provide an email address. The group's music is difficult to find for a number of reasons, including tangled sample and ownership issues and now-shuttered labels.
"I thought it was really cool," Jolicoeur said. "We had an opportunity to speak to our attorneys, and, you know, in hindsight it was maybe not the smartest thing to do. But in the midst of it, a lot of people think, 'Great campaign, great promotion, great publicity stunt,' but it really wasn't. ...
"It was just, 'What can we do for Valentine's Day? Yo, we can give away our catalogue. Yeah, why not?"'
Of the new two albums the group is working on, he said one will be sample-based and one will be recorded with a live band, Los Angeles' Rhythm Roots Allstars. The mixtape will include some new songs as well as some reworked material.
"But in a De La fashion, it's just not a mixtape with 11 songs," Jolicoeur said. "There are skits and things. It's cool. That's coming out in about a week, and hopefully God willing more De La music.
"That's all we do. There won't be any movies. There won't be any fashion lines, nothing like that. Just music."