Russian Futurists Mine 'Golden Era of Hip-Hop' for New Album
For 'The Weight's on the Wheels,' his fourth album as Russian Futurists, Canadian electro-pop do-it-yourselfer Matthew Adam Hart took the unprecedented step of working with an outsider. With the help of Michael Musmanno, a producer whose credits include Arrested Development and Outkast, Hart crafted a gleaming, hook-heavy throwback dance record, proving that today's slew of reunited indie-rock bands don't have the monopoly on '90s nostalgia.
"Once you strip away a lot of the wash from the previous albums, it kind of gets distilled down to my influences, when you can hear what they are," Hart tells Spinner. "I grew up around then, and that's one of the best eras of music. From, like, '89 to '93 was the golden era of hip-hop. I was lucky enough to be around for that the first run-through. All that stuff worked its way into [the new album]."
Like his favorite MCs, Hart is a skilled wordsmith with a knack for rhyming. On 'The Weight's on the Wheels,' he positions himself on the right side of the Postal Service-Owl City divide, singing lyrics that are clever but never cloying.
"You want to try to be not boring with it, but at the same time, you don't want to get overly precious or too cutesy with it," Hart says. "I just feel like my musicality is not really my main strength. I don't really play any instruments at all. There's the one thing where I feel like I can choose to do something that's a little unique -- when you get a chance to sit down and write. If it's been said a million times, just say it a little differently."
Instead of a guitar or piano, tools of the trade for many bedroom popsters, Hart primarily writes on a sampler, using the device