[Interview] The Russ Liquid Test

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Recently we got to tune in and delve into the happenings of Russell Scott, better known as Russ Liquid and drop in on his freshest endeavor as The Russ Liquid Test. Featuring his own hand-selected talent out of the musical mecca of New Orleans and beyond, he has transcended his career from solo electronic jams to composed continuity of production, funk and instrumentation with a spice of phenomenal vocals. The Russ Liquid Test is set to play the 2017 edition of Purple Hatter’s Ball.

So this is your first appearance at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, what have you heard so far about this venue we call home and what are your thoughts on Purple Hatter’s Ball?

All I keep hearing is the same thing, that it’s a super magical spot, so I’m really excited to play there. I’ve been hearing about Suwannee for the past few years, and I’ve been dying to go, and to play there is an even more exciting experience.

Tell us about the production of “1984” with Andrew Block and Alvin Ford Jr. as well as working with other esteemed artists such as Ivan Neville and Mr. Lif, among others.

It was really neat to work on that project with all of them because I’ve been making more electronic music, and this was my first time recording a band. Getting to work with such great musicians was such a treat, and working with Ivan is amazing.

I’m sure you learned a lot from him too, he’s been doing it for so long.

Yeah, definitely. Just basically learning how in funk music everybody has their part, and then each part together makes this whole picture; that’s really awesome. But if you just singled out one part, you’d be like, ‘what are they playing?’ And when it’s all together it’s like, ‘that the shit!’

It all meshes perfectly in the end, and that’s the crazy thing about jazz and funk is that everyone could be playing something completely different from the rest but in the end it all just sounds so great together.

I like funk more though just from the standpoint that with jazz there’s a lot more improvisation, which I really love, but there’s a power in people sticking to a part and grooving.

If you’ve been living under a rock, here’s “1984” in its entirety to funk your ears.

Why did you inevitably end up choosing Andrew Block to be your wing-man for this new endeavor as the Russ Liquid Test?

Well, one, because Andrew is an awesome human being and we get along really well and, two, he’s a great musician. Three, we compliment each other really, really well. My skill set complements his skill set. I’m more on the production side, electronic music side, like music theory, harmony kinda thing. Andrew really has a more conceptual way of seeing the bigger picture which when you’re making a track is really helpful, because sometimes I get lost in the details. I end up making cool music but after working with Andrew I’m able to make more cohesive music that’s more acceptable to larger amounts of people.

I mean that’s not necessarily a bad thing, getting lost in the details, because that’s what I think makes your music so great in the end.

Now I can do that and Andrew is there to help me see the bigger picture which is great, so I’m getting the best of both worlds. He wouldn’t admit this, but he’s an incredible engineer. We have a great team.

I feel like with every great musician, they are the ultimate perfectionist, like Michelangelo, your work is never truly complete.

Yeah, and on that kick too, it’s great to have someone to bounce ideas off of and kinda help you finalize things. Because that’s exactly right, I have like a hundred songs on my hard drive that most people would say are finished but not yet.

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This project as the Russ Liquid Test, specifically “1984” definitely differs from your previous solo albums. What sparked your interest to create something so diverse and almost unexpected?

It’s always been my goal to have a band. So, I come from playing in a lot of different bands, and then got into the electronic music out of more a financial need because I wasn’t able to make much money touring around with bands. It always seemed like I’d be in the band right about when everyone would start bickering at each other.

And then you’re finally starting to make it, and then you break up.

Exactly. I’ve had that happen a couple of times and I wanted to do my own music. But my plan was to get my solo project to a place where I could afford to start a band and get good players and be comfortable.

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After this extensive touring as the Russ Liquid Test do you have any plans to produce more solo work or what sonic masterpieces can we expect from you in the future?

I’m definitely putting my focus on the band, but I do have a plan to release some solo stuff in the future.

What can we expect from you in the next few months? Any EPs or anything you’re working on?

I’m just putting the final touches on our next Russ Liquid Test EP that we’re going to release on All Good Records, and I almost have a Russ Liquid solo album finished as well that I’ll drop in the next couple months.

Speaking on yourself, was trumpet the first instrument you picked up and what led you to pursue other instruments eventually evolving into who you are today?

Well, piano was my first instrument, and then I got into trumpet, and then I got into the other instruments. Piano is probably my favorite instrument and then trumpet would be my next. Everything else is just the icing on the cake.

June 2nd through the 4th will be the 10th anniversary of Purple Hatter’s Ball in memorial of Rachel Morningstar Hoffman at The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida.

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