Interview with The Egyptian Lover Who Plays Amoeba LA & Amoeba SF this Weekend in Celebration of Brand New 2-LP "1984"

Posted by Billyjam, November 6, 2015 09:29am | Post a Comment

Among my favorite artists of all time is the legendary LA hip-hop electro artist The Egyptian Lover, who has played at Amoeba Music in the past but this week makes a very special return with two separate in-store shows in honor of his new double LP. Entitled 1984, the album is out November 7th now on his Egyptian Empire Records label. Note that 1984 is also available in both vinyl, download and CD versions. See him at the Hollywood Amoeba today (Friday, November 6th at 7pm) and again tomorrow at Amoeba San Francisco (Saturday, Nov 7th at 4pm) for a Revolutions session following sets by Chungtech and Guillermo.

3 Records Egyptian Lover Will Def Play @ Amoeba:

1) Bambaataa/Soul Sonic Force's "Planet Rock"  + "Planet Rock" backwards

2) "Electric Kingdom" by Twilight 22

3) some Kraftwerk

Following each Amoeba set this weekend, which will include the above records, the DJ/producer/MC born Greg Broussard will meet with fans and sign the new double album plus (no doubt) other older records by artist dating back three decades. That's the time I got into the Egyptian Lover; when that 12" record of his was released on the Freak Beat Records label with "What Is A D.J. If He Can't Scratch?," "Egypt, Egypt," "And My Beat Goes Boom," and "The Ultimate Scratch." I thought it was a perfect record. I still do. Back when that record was out and selling like crazy in the Bay Area as well as in their native LA (where he and the Uncle Jamms Army DJ crew ruled), they came up to the Bay Area and played Richmond Auditorium. The place was packed with fans who knew every nuance of every 808 groove from either owning the records or hearing them played and mixed constantly in DJ mixes on stations like KSOL and KPOO where "Egypt Egypt" and "What Is A DJ If He Can't Scratch?" were staples for a long time. On "What Is A DJ If He Can't Scratch?," Broussard produced, scratched, sang, and rapped.

"Baby doll you know who I am. I rock two turntables with the Uncle Jamm. I'm the Egyptian Lover baby. I'm number one. I'm a mixing, scratching, rapping lovin' son of a gun…make all the pretty girls scream while they dance cos I'm the Egyptian Lover - king of romance."
The Egyptian Lover "What Is A DJ If He Can't Scratch"


With some breaks in his long career that dates back to the late seventies, when he started making music in high school, Broussard began performing and touring all over the globe again a decade ago to audiences who revere his musical legacy and infectious dance beats. I caught such a concert earlier this year when I saw him perform in Dublin, Ireland. It was St. Patrick's Day too - the perfect way for an Irish hip-hop fan to celebrate March 17th. Most impressive was how totally into it and genuinely enthusiastic Broussard appeared to be while performing. Meanwhile his set was all vinyl records (6,000 miles from LA!). He played mostly electro from the era referenced in the new album's title. Then to top off his DJ performance, he would simultaneously play the 808 drum machine that he slung over his neck. His two Amoeba sets this weekend should be equally memorable when he will be sure to mix in tracks off his new 1984 album.

In anticipation of his two Amoeba appearances, I caught up with the Egyptian Lover this week to ask him a bunch of questions, starting with what can fans expect from his 2LP set 1984 and if the new record's title is indeed a reference to such a pivotal year in his career? "The Fans can expect to go back in time to 1984, the year I made my first album On the Nile," replied Brousard, continuing "because this album was recorded in the same studios I used in 1984 and also the same equipment as I used in 1984. Like the Jupiter 8, the SH 101, Tr 808 drum machine and the same mics and gear in the pro studios. I captured the sound from that era and recorded these brand new songs to sound like those recorded in 1984. My Fans will love it as will those who like that old school and electro music."   

On a similarly themed subject, I asked Brousard about that now-classic track of his "What is a DJ if He Can't Scratch?" How exactly did that track's recording go down, how much time did it take, and was everything recorded separately or all live together and mixed afterwards with all the scratches added in later? "I was in the studio mixing down 'Egypt Egypt' [and] I had some time left, about two hours. So I recorded 'And My Beat Goes Boom,' 'What is a DJ If He Can't Scratch,' and 'Ultimate Scratch.' The beats were in my drum machine already so I just laid them down and pulled out my book of raps and laid the vocals. I ran out of time on scratching on the songs and also rapping on the ultimate scratch, but I did get the vocals done on 'And My Beat Goes Boom' and 'What is a DJ If He Can't Scratch.' So after I recorded them and listened to them, I knew I had to add some scratching on them so I booked time at another less expensive studio and laid down some scratching on all three mixed and ready-to-go tracks. I guess you can say overdubs. It came out exactly how I wanted it to and I put them all on the B side of 'Egypt Egypt.' That is why the songs are so short because I had to hurry to make them. Never thought they would be so popular especially after 30 years. I love the DJ culture!"

I then asked Brousard if it was because he was a DJ first and foremost, that his records were DJ friendly with bonus beats and acapella bits? "Defiantly," he replied. "I was actually a dancer first and that made me a good DJ and being a good DJ made me a good producer. It all kinda went hand and hand. I make music to make people dance." Next question was in relation to his stage name; when and how did his interest in all things Egypt and Egyptian came about, and if by chance had ever performed in Egypt? "I have never been to Egypt but I have fans there. When growing up in South Central Los Angeles I always wanted to be somewhere far far away. I chose Egypt because of King Tut - a boy king who had his own Empire - and that was a dream I wanted to have. Everyone had nicknames in the hood. I just chose one that had to do with loving not fighting. So when I became a rapper/DJ, I just kept my name. I thought it was clever enough that people would remember it." 

Remembering the reception he and Uncle Jamm's Army received in the Bay Area back in the '80s, I wondered if he considered the Bay Area a very important place for him as an artist? "I played there many times and the people loved music, and my music was just different enough at that time to get noticed. I mean break dancers loved it, poppers loved it, freaks loved it, DJ's loved it. The radio loved it, cars with systems loved it, clubs and parties played it, and back then DJs would buy two so they can mix them. It was a great time for me. I remember walking on the Pier [39] and this kid was break dancing to 'Egypt Egypt' and I gave him a brand new tape of my music to dance to while I was there that had about 4 songs that wasn't out yet. 'Girls,' 'My House On the Nile,' 'And My Beat goes Boom (Long Version),' and 'Electric Encounter' - that never came out - along with mixes of 'Egypt Egypt' and 'Dial a Freak' that never came out. He had such a huge crowd I knew it would only be promotion for me so I let him play the tape while he danced. He had tears in his eyes when he found out who I was and then when he started playing the tape he danced his butt off. I then knew these songs were gonna be good. I let him keep the tape. Why not let him keep promoting my sound. He said he was there every day. If he only knew that I wish I had that tape back. 'Electric Encounter' was my jam. I had to put it on my Anthology coming out next year on Stones Throw."

The Egyptian Lover's All Time Top 5 1980's 12" Records

1) "Planet Rock" Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force

2) "Electric Kingdom"  Twilight 22

3) "Clear"  Cybotron

4) "Hashim"  Al Naafiysh

5) "Scorpio"  Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five

From the start of his career, Brousard was not just a good DJ/ producer/MC. He was also an entrepreneur with a business savvy mind. He started in high school custom making tapes and selling beats, and making money from his craft from early on.  I wondered if he were a young new artist starting out today in 2015, in this new digital age in which the whole new music business model as changed, what approach Brousard might take to getting both getting his music out there and generating an income for himself? "If I was just starting out? Well, you have to start off with a good name. Something people will remember. Then you have to be yourself and make music or raps that make you stand out of the crowd. Just as long as you are happy with it that is really all that matters. When people see the excitement and fire in you when you play or perform it they will then know. This person has something that makes you feel good, I want that feeling! Let me buy that!," he said.  Of his own recordings he cited as his personal favorite record "Egypt Egypt" along with the track "Got To Get It" from the new album.

Knowing how central to his career radio station KDAY was, I asked Brousard to comment on the importance of legendary LA rap radio station? "KDAY was very important because they took what we were doing in the city and spread it to all who didn't know what we were doing," he recalled. "Uncle Jamm's Army had it's own followers and KDAY spread the word by playing our commercials, doing live feeds from our parties, doing live mix shows. They even had Egyptian Lover mixes played in regular rotation. It was the first of it's kind in Los Angeles. So when they started playing our music it was very helpful in selling records. Greg Mack actually made ' Egypt Egypt' number one and reported it to the top charts and other radio stations followed. So I thank Greg Mack and KDAY for everything!" As for all the extra trouble he goes to carrying vinyl with him on international tours, in an age where everyone else is on Serato, I asked him why he does it?  "I feel the people who come to see me deserve to see what I did back in the day exactly the way I did it back then. They want to see how I became who I am, they want to see what others saw in 1982 and 1983, they want to re-live that era with me so I bring my vinyl and entertain the best way I can to rock the house. They are heavy and cost more to bring them but why not do your best for the fans who pay to see you. I always look from the fans point of view and then make my business decisions. Because when it comes down to it without the fans there would be no you."

Before letting Broussard go, I asked him if he had anything to add? "This new album is already a collectors item. My fans are losing their electro minds. I made it for them with an unlimited budget and it took nine years to make and it is exactly what I wanted it to be. The sound from the professional studios and the feel of the record like you are back in 80's is what It's all about. So re-live the past with me and step into the future to 1984."


In support of his brand new album 1984  (vinyl out today - 2LP set) The Egyptian Lover plays the Hollywood Amoeba today (Friday November 6th at 7pm) and tomorrow he  plays Amoeba San Francisco (Saturday Nov 7th at 4pm) for a 2pm Revolutions session following sets by Chungtech  & Guillermo.

The Egyptian Lover Live In Santa Ana (1984)c/o Stones Throw

Relevant Tags

La Hip-hop History (1), Egyptian Lover (10), Uncle Jamm's Army (2), 1984 (3)