Recent terror attacks in France shocked the world. A shooting at a Paris concert venue felt especially scary for music fans there.
French music producer Wax Tailor watched this unfold in his home country. He had just wrapped up a U.S. tour two weeks before the Paris attack.
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He says all the turmoil made him want to return to the U.S.
"It was very, very, very dark," Tailor says. "I remember a morning just thinking: I would just like to take a ticket and hit the road in the U.S. Like just making a road trip."
That fantasy became the motivation for his new album “By Any Beats Necessary.” Tailor says he wanted to create the ideal soundtrack for an American road trip as a sort of escape from reality.
So he immersed himself in American music -- starting with the blues. It was a new world for the producer.
"I was not such a huge fan of the blues from the '40s and all that," he says. "But I just dig a little bit more. It was interesting to inject it into my music and try to make it my way."
Tailor incorporated another American genre: hip-hop.
He honed in on the drums he’d heard in popular hip-hop songs by artists like Snoop Dogg. He says a good beat is essential for a great hip-hop song.
"I wanted people to be able to recognize something about the drum. You listen to 'Drop It Like It’s Hot,’ you just know what it is. And I was trying to capture something like that."
A great hip-hop song needs a great rapper too. And Tailor has some of them on his album. One might be the most notable guest star of his career: Ghostface Killah of Wu-Tang Clan.
Tailor says he grew up listening to Wu-Tang Clan. He calls the New York hip-hop collective one of his biggest musical influences. He samples their music heavily on the song “Worldwide.”
Tailor finished “By Any Beats Necessary” -- and says he realized his ideal vision of the American road trip wasn’t the whole story. The U.S. -- just like France -- has social and political problems. He says the album reflects that.
"It’s a mixture between the fantasy of America like I grew up with -- images like the movies and music -- and the reality of what we know nowadays," he says. "It was trying to find a balance between all those elements."
Wax Tailor’s found that the world can be a scary place -- wherever you are. But a good soundtrack can help make sense of it.
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