Indy: Your latest CD, The Third Hand , which was released earlier this year, had a decidedly less hip-hop feel than your earlier outputs. What brought that on?
RJD2: It's just some gradual things, a number of tiny little gradual directions that I was moving in musically that came to a head and came to fruition in a short period of time. There was a number of problems that I had with using samples [in my earlier work]; it got to a point where it was creatively limiting ... and then there's also the legal issues and the moral issues of it. You're literally sifting through records looking for a 1-2-5 chord progression. At that point, it's like, "Well, why am I not doing it myself?"
Indy: Is that new sound indicative of where you're headed?
RJD2: At that point in time, yes. But every day, it's constantly changing. Now I look back on this record and I think about what's wrong with it and what I'd do differently next time. But that's not any different than how I've always been.
Indy: So, then, The Third Hand more of a snapshot of you as a musician at the time when you made it?
RJD2: Exactly. The best analogy that I could draw is Brian Eno. He's a guy that, over the course of his career, had a very meandering and exploratory approach to his music. He was always trying to put himself in a place that is fun and exciting and fresh. And so whether that is playing in Roxy Music or making his solo ambient types of music or producing pop records or just doing strictly synthesizer-based music ... the way his career has played out is something that I can very much relate to.
At Denver's Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom, Dec. 30.