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Interview with Lee Frasier of Bagman - Zoot Suite, Portland, OR - 3/18/98



Jester: What made you decide after all these years of Sheep on Drugs to start a side project called Bagman?

Lee: At this moment in time Sheep on Drugs in on a hiatus so it left me plenty of time to work on solo material like I have always wanted.

Jester: Why did you name the project Bagman? Is it yet another thinly veiled drug reference?

Lee: The title refers to the fact that I have been effectively living out of a bag for the past several years. I came over to the US in 1996 to tour for "One For The Money", then I went to Tokyo for a few months. When I finally got back to Great Britain, I didn't have an apartment and I ended up staying with friends a great deal. So when I started working on this album last June, it was by my living conditions. Of course, I also still enjoy bags of drugs.

Jester: Why did you decide to work with Drum'n'Bass?

Lee: Drum'n'Bass is one of the new rhythms in Europe right now. It is a style of music that has spoken to me for the past several years, enough so to influence the style of music I want to write on my own. I think it is a very psychedelic style of music. I am really into pushing towards newer styles of music when I write, so it only seemed logical to follow the calling of Drum'n'Bass.

Jester: Who/what is the other half of Bagman? (Thigahmahjiggee)?

Lee: He is a rapper and dancer I met in Chicago. When I perform live, basically all I am doing is mixing music on the fly which doesn't make for an very visually entertaining event. Thigahmahjiggee is mostly there to distract the crowd.

Jester: Did he perform all of the vocal parts on "Wrap"?

Lee: Yes. I am not really interested in vocals. The sound of my recorded voice is quite natural. Ultimately, because I am concentrating on the music, I don't want to get distracted with more than one sound element.

Jester: What do your live shows look like?

Lee: I will be mixing both live material and backing tapes on a large console. Thigahmahjiggee will be dancing, rapping and generally getting the crowd all riled up. Hopefully, there will be a video up on the wall behind me. The video was made by a friend of mine from some concepts I gave him, and I really think it meshes well with the music. However, if that fails, Thigahmahjiggee is a very stimulating person who will do his best to entertain the crowd.

Jester: Who was responsible for the "Bagman' character on the cover? Were they also responsible for the pink CD case?

Lee: I sketched the original logo myself. Then Duncan drew it properly to my specifications, because he is really good with visual arts. I knew that I had no time to work on the artwork because I was so busy with the music, so for the rest of the logos, I warped them by moving the originals in the photocopier. In the end it kept the costs for the artwork way down.

The pink jewel case was chosen to offset the sort of simple artwork design. I had a choice of pink, blue, green, and yellow, and the pink was the brightest color to contrast the black and white liner notes.

Jester: How did you first get involved with writing and composing music?

Lee: I started playing instruments around the age of 16 to 18. I started making music with tape recorders in my bedroom. The recorders were amazingly cheap, but I used them because I really couldn't play an instrument at the time.

Over time I picked up a guitar and played with a few dead end bands in my youth. I was always angry with the rest of the band members because it was impossible to coordinate the schedules of five people for practices and live gigs.

So, I scrapped the musicians and started collection machines to make music on my own. I met Duncan around this time. We moved in together and I started to learn how to use samplers and sequencers to write my first compositions. The rest is history.

Jester: Have you ever had any type of formal musical training?

Lee: No. I have taught myself everything I know about music. I think that it has helped me because I don't have to follow any rules. If the music sounds good, then that is what is important.

Jester: Do you have a day job outside of your music?

Lee: No. I don't want to work for a living. I couldn't imagine going back to a regular job after this amount of time spent working on music. Music is something that I have become better at than anything else I have done previously, so I might as well continue doing it.

Jester: Are you happy to finally be spending time away from London?

Lee: Yes. I was living in London for about ten years and I am glad to have a break from it, not that Chicago is any place to speak good about. I came over to America to work, so I'll stay here under the music dries up. I hope to finally find a city that I like while I am touring, however my record label is in Chicago, and living away from the label would be difficult.

Jester: What is your favorite track from "Wrap"? Why that track?

Lee: Normally when I finish an album, I can't listen to it for quite some time so it is difficult to choose the tracks that I like more than others. I normally would restrict the judgement of my music to other people. However, if I was forced to choose a track, I would say 'Bosh'. I really enjoy all of the Japanese in it and it always reminds me of my girlfriend. It is kind of a corny reason, but it is the truth.

Jester: What does the future hold for Bagman and Sheep On Drugs?

Lee: I hope to eventually get signed to a major label. I want to tour as much with this album as I can because the set is immensely easy to complete and the gear is very minimal. Hopefully, someone will see us on tour and offer us a great deal of money so I can retire from the royalties after a few years.

Jester: Is there anything you would like to add that I have not covered?

Lee: If you haven't heard the Bagman album yet, go out and buy it! Also, any donations will be gratefully accepted.


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Last Modified: Monday, 24-Sep-2012 16:43:14 MST