Ready to dive the depths of Lance Herbstrong? Herbstrong producer and electronic artist Bill Sarver is about to take you on a musical journey spanning the globe, the band’s early formation, the Russian mob, plus the origin of samples in their Thievery Corporation remix and the music that inspires Sarver to be such a bad-ass producer.
Most recently, Sarver and the Herbstrong crew (Kamal Soliman, Peter DiStefano, and Bill Sarver) collaborated with legendary New York M.C and hip hop lyricist Big Daddy Kane, writing and producing the band’s first original tune together to be used as the titular piece in the 2017 stoner comedy of the same name.
It all began when wardrobe producer and fashion designer Midi Soliz sent the band a text asking if they’d be interested in writing a song for the new stoner flick Ripped starring Russell Peters, Alex Meneses, and Faizon Love. After a resounding “yes,” the mashup artists linked with the film’s director Brad Epstein who suggested they collaborate with Kane. Of course the Herbstrong crew did just that and Sarver got to making beats for what would become the band’s first non-mashup original.
The finished product? A fun and funky masterpiece with a retro feel that chops well with BDK’s distinct delivery. The song also works perfectly with the film...a comedic romp about two best friends (Peters and Love) who smoke top secret, CIA weed in 1986 only to wake up thirty years later and dive head first into the legal cannabis industry. The official music video for Herbstrong’s Ripped featuring Big Daddy Kane highlights scenes from the movie and is an official selection for the Austin Music Video Festival.
Curious about the music that inspires Bill to create such catchy stuff, MAGNETIC asked the talented producer to share some insight into his musical influences.
“I grew up in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, which really informed my musical tastes and steered them toward the eclectic realm,” Bill shares. “I started on Pink Floyd (Ummagumma time period) and was always drawn to anything that was very odd and unconventional. Around this time in high school, I first heard ‘Draining Faces’ by Skinny Puppy and was instantly blown away by how out of mainstream and just straight up unique their music was. Soon, I fell headlong into any kind of aggressive electronic music I could find. Living just outside of Houston provided me with some great record stores to do some serious digging. Then, I found one of the first samplers (Ensoniq Mirage) and a TR909 (which I actually used as a midi unit to run the sampler). For my Weedsday Playlist, I’m not gonna beat you over the head with some angry industrial, but hope to share some unique tracks I have found through my various travels.”
Spark up and enjoy!
Check out past weedsdays here.
“Cowboys and Indians” by OHN
I’m straight up self promoting on this one, but it’s how Lance Herbstrong got started. OHN was an older band I was in. The idea was to have different Austin musicians come over to the studio. I would ply them with lots of wine and record them simply playing whatever came into their heads. Then, I would take all of these different performances, sample them, and create an album. So, instead of sampling old vinyl, I was sampling these recordings. Once I had an album put together, the musicians would learn what I did and we would play live (with them improvising even more).
I was in the Virgin Islands playing and I ran into an old college friend of mine named Heather. She mentioned she was engaged and living there. It was so odd, bumping into her like that, but I wound up giving her an OHN CD. Her fiancé turned out to be Kamal. When Heather and Kamal moved back to Austin, he got in touch and told me how much he loved that OHN album. Soon after, we started making our remixes and mashes and the rest is history.
“Arboré Part 1” by AlexKid
I found this album when backpacking in Budapest (in between running from the cops and the Russian mafia). This track, in particular, really gets me in that lazy, laid back mood to chill and enjoy life as it hits me. Actually, I sampled part of another track off this album for our remix of Thievery Corporation’s “Pela Janela.”
"In Dub : The Fried Funk Food" by Freak Power
I first heard this at one of my favorite bars in Santorini, Greece. I can only find a link to the whole EP; so you’re in luck. This is actually a dub remix EP done by Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim). Freak Power was a live jazz/funk/trip hop band and this EP was Norman totally remixing and dubbing out tracks from the original album. I was going to recommend the track “Freak Power Is a Beautiful Thing, Baby” at around 22:16 mark, but really, the whole EP is golden.
“The Feeling Begins” by Peter Gabriel
This is from my favorite soundtrack done by Peter Gabriel called Passion. He made it for the movie The Last Temptation of Christ. I used to put this track on full blast and let it take me on a super immersive journey through lands unknown to me.
“Earthquake” by Graham Central Station
It’s time to wake you up with the mighty mother funk of Larry Graham with the track “Earthquake” by Graham Central Station. Just listen to that bass kick in! This is off the album Now Do U Wanta Dance released in 1977. When I first heard this, my mind was BLOWN. It showed me you can make instruments sound so much different than what they should traditionally sound like. Be sure to turn it up loud when the “Earthquake” hits around 3:30 into the track.