Chairman Mao of Egotripland recently interviewed legendary engineer, Bob Power for Red Bull Music Radio.
I first interviewed Bob Power back in 1994 for ego trip when it was still a magazine. Back then Bob was starting to get pretty well known as the studio wizard who helped facilitate the sound of classic LPs like Low End Theory, Midnight Maruauders and De La Soul Is Dead. His production work with Erykah Badu and D’Angelo hadn’t yet reached public ears, though Bob clearly already knew he was onto something with them (describing the latter as, “really cool – sorta like a modern day Marvin Gaye with the hip-hop sentiment, but with a real old school R&B vibe”). He was a lover of music who went from chitlin circuit gigs in East St. Louis to doing commercial jingles to fortuitously filling in for an engineer at NY’s Calliope Studios one night and recording Stetsasonic’s “Go Stetsa.” He was fascinated by Little Beaver’s opening guitar riffs from Betty Wright’s “Clean Up Woman.” He was as humble and thoughtful as you could probably hope anyone who’d worked on so many essential recordings could be. Some 20 years later he’s remained so. I recently got the chance to interview Bob again for RBMA Radio, getting into a little further detail on some of the things we’d already discussed (how he came to be the “token white guy” on De La’s fictitious radio station WRMS) and addressing a few relevant people/topics that emerged in the years since (e.g. confessing to not getting Jay Dee’s production initially; the challenging but rewarding process of working on Michael Eugene Archer’s Brown Sugar, the concept of a “hip-hop band” vis a vis Stet and The Roots, and more).