Adam Deitch is a man who needs no introduction. One of the most respected and admired players in the game today, the Lettuce/Break Science maven keeps a schedule as busy as anyone, not only during NOLA Jazz Fest but 24/7/365. After a recent jaunt to Japan with his Lettuce fam, Deitch returned to a run of Break Science dates surrounding 4/20 festivities in both Denver and Atlanta. From there he will bring both projects and a gang of one-off’s and sit-ins to the Crescent City for a series of gigs, including a Break Science Live Band show at the Howlin’ Wolf first weekend, two Lettuce shows, a jazz quartet show, a DRKWAV engagement, a drum-off competition,MegaWatt-An Afro-Dub SoundclashMichael vs Stevie, and much more. We also checked in with the man about his electro-soul contemporaries, mega-producers who have taken his second home by storm, and why the new generation of NOLA drummers keep him on his toes.

Deitch was kind enough to press pause on his super-schedule and make ten minutes for our very own B.Getz to grill him about all things funky and that new NOLA boom-bap bounce!

Photo- Milo Lee

L4LM: Yo Adam. Thanks for giving me a few minutes. Let’s get right into it man. Y’all are coming out of the gates firing this year. Big hit first Saturday at the Howlin Wolf with the Break Science Live Band. Yuge. Better yet, the hottest new band in NOLA (in my opinion), Russ Liquid Test, setting it off proper. The streets are really buzzin’ about this gig. For folks that don’t know, what’s the mission in bringing the live band element to the Break Science project?

Adam Deitch: Especially in New Orleans, it’s important to have live music, live instruments. All the Lettuce guys are super down with Break Science, and they want to play that music. I feel like we are, you know, a special kind of Voltron when that happens.  New Orleans is a city that is all about music so it’s very important, for us to use our instruments, and to have live music with the Break Science tracks we do.

L4LM: I’ve been paying close attention to what’s been happening with the Break Science Live Band. From last year’s Nile hit, you guys have seemed to really put a lot of energy into developing this setup, and working out of these songs, what are some BrkSci tunes that have taken a new life in the live band setting?

Adam Deitch: Yeah, I mean, even start with one of our chiller songs, “The Spins”  which is a sample I got from the drummer from Jaw Gems (DJ Moore). He gave me this vocal and this really weird organ that I originally thought was an old record from the 60’s, an old psych rock record or something, and it turned out to be him messing around with their singer in the studio, so now we have a track based on that sample. And then when you hear that song, now with the live band, you know, it really vibes.

L4LM: Word. It’s cool, kinda full circle thing. Live take, sample, make song with said sample, play it with live band.  I’ll listen for that jam. I’ve noticed a substantial  response I’ve found in the song “Android Love,” with the live band, a very vibey jam, definitely a Break Science song to the core. How did that one come together with such dope instrumentation?

Deitch: That one came from when I was watching a Daft Punkdocumentary on Netflix, and I saw how big a part Niles Rogers played in some of Daft Punk’s music. They really loved Chic, they really loved the old-school, disco-funk, late 70’s Chic style, you know? They were talking a lot about how in some ways he was their hero, and I was like wow! Because obviously I love Chic too, and I love “Good Times” and a lot of other stuff from Nile, so I decided to do a song based off Chic too, kinda, but with the power and feel of some modern drums, and some bass underneath. But I will say it was definitely inspired by the Daft Punk documentary.

L4LM: Okay, one more question about Break Science and that live band show, and then we will get back into more about Jazz Fest. Are you and Borahm (Lee) going to be playing a lot of the new record at the Wolf? And real talk, can we expect that long awaited album to come out any time soon? The streets need that album, my man!

Adam Deitch: Yeah, so there’s a lot technical aspects that have to be taken care of as far as the specifics of the record, you know, before it gets released. You know, a lot of concepts are still being discussed, also we are deciding which songs will actually make the cut, and which ones don’t, and what to do with those. We are at that point right now, making decisions, getting it ready. The record is pretty much fully done, and, yeah, we are going to be playing a lot of the tracks off the new one at that show, so we can gauge which ones the crowd is really feeling, how they react to the new joints. I’m really excited to see which ones pop!

L4LM: Yeah, me too man. I’ve been really excited to hear the new joints and you know, the reworks of old joints. I love when y’all take some old shit and give it new life!

Deitch: We have this new song called “Cruise Control” and everyone’s freaking out about it right now, which is always good sign.

L4LM: Oh yeah, I think you played that on Jam Cruise, or maybe a super early version of it. I wasn’t on the boat this year, but I devoured both Break Science soundboards from this year. There’s a tune labeled “Cruise Control” but it feels more like a vamp, or a very early version.

Deitch: Yeah, that was a super early version. It’s come much farther, pretty much all wrapped up now! People are freaking out about it.

L4LM: Somewhat switching gears here: in NOLA, two of your peers in the electro-soul movement have really upped the ante and changed the game, with both Derek (Vincent Smith, aka Pretty Lights) and Russ (Liquid) moving there and basically setting up shop. You have a storied history of making music with both of them at different times and junctures over the years. I‘d like to hear your take otheir ripple effectof these purveyors of electronic art and culture, the electro-soul movement sort of transmutating from its Colorado origins to becoming a real New Orleans thing now.   

Adam Deitch: Yeah, I mean these guys really evolved their electronic production. They are at the top, they are producers, guys that making a living from doing electronic production and do it using live music. Those guys love the live music the most. Russ Liquid, he is a bonafide crushing trumpet player. He’s sat in with Lettuce, and they just toured with us. And we all know what Derek does, continues to do, so it makes sense that those two, those guys, out of all the producers that I know, are living in New Orleans. It’s a really cool thing, what Derek is doing, it’s cool and it’s Derek. Russ is a big part of the scene there already. It makes sense that they are there.

L4LM: I go back to that Pretty Lights Analog Future Band hit y’all did with Preservation Hall, Kraz, Talib, you remember that huge show at Champions Square on your birthday in 2014. Now Derek is back with a band that includes NOLA cats like drummer Alvin Ford and Brandon Butler. It’s come along way from the A Color Map of the Sun sessions, yeah?

Adam Deitch: Yeah, I actually recorded most of my parts on that record in Brooklyn, but I definitely was telling Derek about how great the city of New Orleans was and, you know, he already knew. Hes a record searcher, a crate digger, he’s always just searching, searchingfor the rare 45’s and stuff, and a lot of the underground funk labelsthat have 45s out there, those labels are in NO, and that is like Derek’s goal in lifeSearching for records. That’s just what he does. So yeahI just love a little bit of that modern electro influx, iis not a bad thing, so why not? Its 2017.  

L4LM: Oh yeah! I can’t tell you about how stoked I am about the Gorge. Freaking Tipper. Lettuce. And the new Pretty Lights band. Ridic.

Deitch: Oh god . . . gonna be . . . yeah.

L4LM: When I saw the announcement I almost keeled over. Anyways, back to Deitch in NOLA 2017. First up is your jazz quartet show. What to expect from the Adam Deitch Quartet first Friday?

Adam Deitch:  That group features Wil Blades on organs,  and Benny Bloom and Ryan Zoidis, (The Shady Horns), and you know that outside the box jazz element, because Benny can play everything of course, jazz to funk everywhere and in between. Zoidis, people haven’t been able to hear him really expand upon his harmonic concept, because he is often in the Maceo realm with Lettuce. I mean, he gets busy, but this quartet is a chance for him to stretch out and for me to stretch out. We have a new album coming out. I think I’m dropping it on the day of the show, pretty much. A double. Pretty sure it’s coming out on my birthday . . . I’m trying to.

L4LM: Last year for your 40th birthday was the inaugural AD4 hit, so it’s cool to hear that the album is going to come out this year. Obviously you got two big Lettuce hits at Jazz Fest. The first weekend Tipitina’s hit and the annual Rage Fest at the Joy Theater. I feel like Lettuce is a different level beast in Crescent City, that place brings something different, something absolutely fierce out of you. So what you got cookin’?

Deitch: You know, hopefully we get some Cyril Neville in there, you know. Plus, when I am down there seeing all those drummers that are so amazing, you know, Terence Higgins, Alvin Ford from Pretty LightsDevan Trusclair who plays with Russ Liquid, seeing those guys, you know, it makes me play better and really inspires the entire crew. The air down there is thicker so the drum sticks don’t move as fast as they usually do so that creates a very pleasant chunky vibe . . . We’ll get real deep into it and do a nice 10-minute “Ziggowatt.”

L4LM: In all these years, I’ve only seen one proper Lettuce show at Tipitina’s Uptown. Caught a truly epic one at the old French Quarter location, actually, about nine years ago in the Rage era. Last question about you homie, the DrkWav hit, is there new material or just getting together like old times? Because we love when those waves wash over us so dark. Skerik, Medeski, Deitch, that’s a special blend of neck-snappin’ spooky jazz grooves.

Adam Deitch: Oooh yeah, all new material in DRKWAV, all the time! (Laughs) We have never repeated a lick in DRKWAV, if anyone cares or knows about DRKWAV. We’ve never played any of the album, we might have hinted at it once in the ten, maybe fifteen shows ,we’ve done, but those guys are the most fearless improvisers I’ve ever met and they don’t want to play anything preconceived or pre-written, so prepare for the complete unknown. I’ll be trying to keep it, you know, weird with them, but we gotta have that hip-hop element as well: Kool Keith, Dr. Octagon. I love the sound of scary, psychedelic soundtracks over the hip-hop beats, so that’s pretty much what I am trying to bring to DRKWAV.

L4LM:  Yeah, I love when you keep those hard hip-hop beats drums behind that spooky shit. I can hear that Dan the Automator, Kool Keith Octagon vibe for sure. Head noddin’ at the haunted house. Love DRKWAV. So the last question, one that I’m asking all my Jazz Fest interviews; Deitch, you’re a student of the game, so Jazz Fest is like the Mecca, the Superbowl of this shit. If there’s one artist you must catch, who dat?

Deitch:  Well, I haven’t researched much down there for this year. A  lot of it, you know, I go by you B. (laughs). We have very, very similar tastes so your can’t-miss shows are 99% my can’t-miss shows.

L4LM: Ha! Wow, what an honor. Respect. I don’t know what to say to that… Well, 99% of my can’t miss shows are your hits, that’s how it works, my brother. That’s the stannery in action right there! I’m following you around down there; I’m seeing six or seven of your shows. So I will vote for Michael vs Stevie at the Howlin Wolf on second Sunday night. Seen that program with y’all a couple times now, and it’s always an emotional ride with my favorite players. So instead, how about you let the people who is your favorite NOLA drummer cat, somebody we can’t miss down there this year?

Adam Deitch: One cat I really love is Deven Trusclair, like I said before. He plays with Russ Liquid Test right now. He’s just so dope, and he has a really fresh hip-hop style, like the new NOLA style, because he can do the Second Line, the Zigaboo too, but also brings that new hip-hop, that radio and streets NOLA vibe, he’s got all that too. He’s only 21 or 22 so he’s got that brand new sound, you know. That NOLA hip-hop. I also really like Alfred Jordan. He’s another young one, and I like to call him Young Jordan! He is just a limitless drummer. Incredible. I’m definitely going to have to get my fill of these young NOLA drummers that have that new sound, you know with the NOLA bounce and that bump, and all that, I’m talking about the super fast high hats with the half time snare. I’m into all that right now, but I’ll be looking the streets looking for everybody.

L4LM: You had me at half-time snare. I’m a half-time slut these days. That’s my vibe. Big thanks Adam for giving me a few of your precious minutes. I’ll see you for that Break Science Live Band show, and pretty much every night for the rest of the week (laughs).

Adam Deitch: Thanks B, and thanks to Kunj and Live for Live Music.