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Clipping’s New Horror Record Perfect for October

Written by on October 14, 2019

The Los Angeles experimental hip-hop trio Clipping is made up of rapper Daveed Diggs and producers William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes. Their third album for Sub Pop, There Existed an Addiction to Blood, will be out on Oct. 18.

The record is inspired by the horror genre in film, literature and music. Images of ghosts, werewolves and other ominous entities haunt the record through and through in concert with the band’s usual penchant for distortion and glitch noise. Meanwhile, Diggs delivers poignant rapid fire lyricism addressing anti-Blackness, police brutality and racial tensions, making this record a harrowing and relevant listen.

Jill Hopkins spoke with Clipping to discuss their haunted new music.


It’s a nice thing to find your tribe creatively and musically – what drew you to one another?

Daveed and I met playing tag in third grade. Jonathan and I were roommates in college. Even before we decided what kind of a band this was going to be, we decided we all work together really well and wanted to travel together and do shows. The next step was, well, what kind of music do we make if it’s the three of us.

Why is it important for the three of you to be a collective as opposed to you know, just concentrating on solo work?

We can’t really have ever called this particular group ‘Daveed Diggs solo rap career,’ because a lot of what forms the core concept of what Clipping is is sort of running contradictory to Daveed or any of our actual personalities. Daveed’s not a particularly aggressive or angry person. With the kind of music we were going to make, we had to sort of invent this artifice, because of course, rap is always presumed to be true stories about the life of the rapper. We had to sort of build this scaffolding around it and say, “No, this is novelistic, and it’s not true. These are fictional stories,” because clearly Daveed is not as mean as our songs are.

What drew the three of you to the horror genre? And why was that fitting for the concept of this project?

We’re all genre guys, and horror is one of those genres. Jonathan has done a lot of scoring of horror films. Bill has taught horror classes in universities. When we were kids, Bill’s house was the house that all the kids went to to watch horror films because his parents let him watch whatever he wanted. It was through Bill that I got to see “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” when I was nine.

There’s certainly a connection between horror movies and noise music, a lot of noise records and noise artists overtly wear their horror references on their sleeves. Definitely the song “Club Down” on this record is the first song that we made for it – we made it for another project and decided to save it for a horror record.

clipping 3

How does one manage a story about both a werewolf and police violence in black communities?

He was not allowed to say the word werewolf anywhere to be clear. In this scenario, cops are werewolves. Every song on this record, at least the early concept was that it would be representative of a different kind of horror film. In the case of this song, whoever the protagonist is, it felt like he should be running away from somebody, that he is being chased. And then at some point – werewolves.

In the last track of the record, “Piano Burning,” there’s an actual piano burning – it’s very punk. Is it one of your missions to keep that kind of punk ethos throughout all of your projects?

I believe the end of horror movies often end with fire – a haunted house movie ends up in burning the house down. I just thought a fire at the end of the record was narratively fitting with the theme so far. I think the most fun thing about the piano burning is that Jonathan and one of our collaborators, Christopher Fleeger, lost about six mics total between the two of them from putting them actually inside the piano – it was recorded with 26 microphones, I think six or eight of which were inside the piano itself and burned up with the piano. So, there was a sacrifice to the ritual of piano burning.


Photography Courtesy of the Artist 

Audio produced by Fyodor Sakhnovski

Interview edited for brevity and clarity by Elise McGannon

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