At the end of January, hip-hop duo The Hollowz released their debut album, "Dreams Of Sex And Flying," an album that continued to build upon the chemistry emcee Colin "Logic" Plant and producer Edwin "Ed Cayce" Ihlenfeld established with their early 2010 EP "The Premonition EP."
The album not only cemented the duo's artistic chemistry, but it grew legs and found itself receiving media praise both locally and nationally on various websites and blogs.
Cayce, formerly known as Eddie Nygma, is a producer and recording engineer that has been involved in recording or providing beats for dozens of local artists over the last decade plus. Friend and once business partner of Chris "Godxilla" Taylor, Cayce is also a teacher of sorts. He has been a beat and sound tutor to several relatively well-known producers in Milwaukee: people like Reason, Trellmatic, Bobby Drake and D'Matikk.
Recently, Cayce has released a brand new project, a solo instrumental follow-up to "Dreams Of Sex And Flying" called "Fears Of Sex And Flying."
The album has a heavy tone throughout and showcases the talent that Cayce is known for in regards to production and engineering, as well as his more unknown talent of being an expert keyboardist. When taking in "Dreams Of Sex And Flying" and "Fears Of Sex And Flying" back to back, questions arose and I spoke with Cayce about both projects.
OnMilwaukee.com: What led you to follow up "Dreams Of Sex And Flying" so quickly with a solo instrumental release?
Ed Cayce: The instrumental album was mainly a collection of works I had created in my spare time, so some have been sitting in the archives for quite some time. I only played them for a few people here and there, but every time I played them for someone, that person would encourage me heavily to release the music for everyone to hear. The timing felt good as a way to keep our names fresh in people's minds.
OMC: The album isn't really a true hip-hop instrumental album, as it's more an electronic instrumental album with some live keys playing. What led you to do the album this way instead of doing it the traditional way of making an album of beats?
EC: Well, as a musician I do get tired of making hip-hop music all the time. In a way I feel it's a very limiting genre in the sense that most hip-hop fans do not appreciate actual orchestration. Anything that is "too musical" is really only liked by a small percent of people. In today's market, if I am making music to get money, I can't really cut loose and be as organic as I would like to be. A lot of the pieces still have a hip-hop-esque back drop, but I wanted to use hip-hop as the vehicle in which the pieces moved rather than just make an extravagant beat CD. A lot of people obviously were expecting a beat CD, which is odd for as many times as I said that is not what this would be. People are comparing it to beat CDs now, which is fine, but I really just wanted to offer people a view into my head and let the music do whatever it was going to do for them.
OMC: The music has a serious tone. What led you to craft such serious-sounding music?
EC: I suppose it goes no further than me being a serious guy. I've got a lot of things going on, just like anyone else in life, but these pieces were more therapeutic to make than anything. It wasn't a situation where I sat down and said "I'm going to make a song about THIS" and then sat down to do it. Instead, all the works were just my therapy for certain situations. I sat down to make them because I had to. For instance, "3rd Shift" was a song I did to cope with missing my wife while she worked at her third-shift job, which has now gone even deeper. "Insomnia" is very self-explanatory. You can't really tell people what it is like to not sleep for a few days, so I decided to try and make the music talk for me. This is how the album was created.
OMC: How have things with The Hollowz been going since the release of "Dreams Of Sex And Flying?"
EC: You know, I will say that I am very pleased with how the album was received. We had a great release party, we were picked up by a lot of blogs and 88.9 Radio Milwaukee is still playing "Parade" in their rotation a few times each week. We have started work on a video for "Slick or Something" and I have broken ground on a few pieces for the next project. We have a good lineup of shows coming up at the end of this month, so there isn't much to complain about, man. I am thankful for all the support.
OMC: There was no party for the release of "Fears Of Sex And Flying," and no big to-do. Why did you release the album in such an understated way?
EC: I couldn't picture in my head getting everyone together in one place to just stand around while this album was playing. I decided to just put it out there and let it find the people who need it, kind of like how it "found" me I guess. I did not advertise at all really and I figured word of mouth would carry it to the people who would cherish it the most. So far, so good. It appears there were a lot more people interested in it than I initially anticipated.
OMC: You used to be known as Eddie Nygma but now go by Ed Cayce. Why did you change your name?
EC: Well I started receiving some emails about the name and rights a few years back. I decided rather than make a big deal out of fighting for the name I just dropped it and switched to something more suitable. I was going through a lot of changes in my life at the time anyways and it felt like a good time to let the name go. It also made me feel free to do the type of things I do now, rather than what Eddie Nygma was known for doing, though he was awesome.
The Ed Cayce name comes from Edgar Cayce, "The Sleeping Prophet" as he was known. This was a man who was able to fall into a trance while sleeping and see the future, diagnose and cure disease, all kinds of things. He was truly America's most prolific psychic. This all rang very deeply to me as I get a lot of my ideas from my dreams as well. Odd enough as it is, all my dreams have scores and music, so as I wake up, I would simply cache the music in my head until I was able to get to my battle station and make the idea real. This is what I refer to as the "Lucid Music Theory."
OMC: Why did you name the project "Fears Of Sex And Flying?"
EC: Some of these songs were actually in consideration for the "Dreams Of Sex And Flying" project, however we felt they were too dark or too off genre for an album already dark and off genre. So, being that it was the "dark side" of DOSAF, I just changed the first word in the title and moved with it.
OMC: What's next for Ed Cayce?
EC: I have recently been doing work for "Epic Rap Battles Of History" on Youtube.com. These guys are hilarious and have combined over 80 million views I think, maybe more. I just did a spot for them and the views are already above one million in under a week. I have been asked to do more work with them, and I will take them up on it. The Hollowz obviously will be doing another project and I am still in works with Bobby Drake for his upcoming album, which is nearing completion.
Past that, I can't be sure. I have had some huge changes in my life in the last few months and I am sort of re-prioritizing my life right now. I certainly will have more time to work right now which is good, but I think I may be even more selective in regards to who I work with at this point. I'd like ALL my works to be heard, so I don't think I will be doing much with people who have a history of never properly releasing projects. It sort of bugs me sometimes that I can browse my old catalog and hear all these fantastic beats that no one will ever hear because the guy never put his record out. Maybe next for me is putting out a "You Never Heard These Beats" album for all those tracks that no one got to hear.
Born in Milwaukee and raised in the Milwaukee suburb of Brown Deer, Concordia University Wisconsin alumnus Poppe has spent the majority of his life in or around the city and county of Milwaukee.
As an advocate of Milwaukee's hip-hop community Poppe began popular local music blog Milwaukee UP in March 2010. Check out the archived entries here.
Though heavy on the hip-hop, Poppe writes about other genres of music and occasionally about food, culture or sports, and is always ready to show his pride in Milwaukee and Wisconsin.