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Lofiles is a music and mp3 blog contains a collection of songs I love. MP3s are for sampling purposes only. If you like the music as much as I do, please go out and buy the records! .If you have a complaint about the ownership of a track, please contact me directly and I will be happy to take it down ASAP.
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The Lofiles Chocolate genius interview

Bio: Marc Anthony Thompson, Born in Panama, raised in California, and molded by New York’s music scene. Two solo albums years ago. A long break. The creation of Chocolate Genius Inc., an alter ego that quickly transcended such a title. Collaborations with Meshell Ndegeocello, Van Dyke Parks, Doveman, Cibo Matto, 2/3 of Medeski, Martin & Wood, and Thompson’s only constant, Marc Ribot. And then, a Springsteen’s Seeger Sessions Tour in 2006, followed by an “emotional roller coaster” in Senegal.

And now this: Swansongs, the final chapter in an extended trilogy (see also: 1998’s Black Music, 2001’s Godmusic and Black Yankee Rock released in 2004)

True to its title, Swansongs says goodbye to many people, places and things, including some rather important characters that left us several albums ago.

“Reluctantly, the book of songs is done,” says Thompson, who also dabbles in sound design and theatre/film scores (American Splendor, Twin Falls Idaho, the Obie-winning A Huey P. Newton Story). “I say reluctantly because I’ll soon have to stare at a blank page again, and greet whatever is next. Though I write constantly, I release things sporadically at best, and sometimes as quietly as a cough. As Richard Ford says, ‘When a tree falls in the forest, who cares but the monkeys?’

Q: The shift from Marc Anthony Thompson to Chocolate Genius in terms of musicality, were you simply going on making music the way you like it and just giving it another title, or did you want to create something separate, different from what Marc Anthony would probably do?

A: I forget who said it – Miles Davis, Dev Hynes, George Plimpton, Phillip Roth, Kim Fowley or Nipsey Russell – but the quote is –

“You write the same song your entire life. Over and over again. An artist paints the same picture a million times and if he or she is really lucky – really, really lucky – one day they might get it right.”

Or maybe I said that. I can’t remember.

I have no idea how to do something differently than myself. I moved to the East Village, shaved my head and was surrounded by junkies instead of surfers. That might have impacted the tempos some.

Q: Born in Panama, raised in California, and molded by New York’s music scene. Which place plays the greatest role in the musician that you’ve become? In terms of inspiration that is, not the people that you get to meet and work with.

A: NY is inspiring because it’s really hard to find a place to sleep with no money. Warmer climates tend to breed sloth. In NY if you’re not inspired you die. It’s that simple. My home is under my hat. And the people that I get to meet and work with are more important than geography. Any monkey can be inspired – but – it takes a lot of hands and hearts to make an idea grow.

Q: If you could live and make music anywhere in the world, where would that place be and why?

A: Doesn’t really matter. I make music with my eyes closed so I could be anywhere. We made most of Swansongs in Los Angeles and they have the worst public transportation in the developed world. Because you can’t drink and drive there – you have to choose. Waiting for a bus at 4 in the morning is a drag no matter what you’re wearing. So, I guess if I had to choose an ideal location to produce music it would be somewhere that isn’t so uptight about the coupling of inebriates and operating heavy machinery.

Q: Can you pick up a moment in your life that struck you as the moment of sort of realising that music is what you want to do for a living or were you always simply good at it?

A: Impossible.

Q: Did you grow up in a musical environment? Did you get any musical training or schooling?

A: I stand before you a reluctant autodidact. The turntable was my professor.

Q: Your parents, did they support and encourage you in your musical path? It seems that they are there with you all the time, in the music that you make.

A: My parents completely supported me all my endeavors in every way possible But, they’re not with me all the time – that would be kind of creepy. You know, girls and stuff.

Q: From ‘My Mom’ through ‘Perfidia‘ all the way to ‘Like a Nurse’, they all connect and relate to your mother, can you tell us more about them, writing them, putting into music that gets to be heard and listened to over and over again, how does it feel?

A: I like that that’s what you took away from that song. And, if a song of mine is getting listened to over and over again – as long as I’m not in the room – it makes me feel really good. Recently in Paris, we played these tiny shows for journalists and the critics. In a room the size of my bathroom I had to meet and greet total strangers while the Swansongs looped over and over in the background. I can think of no purer torture.

Q: Writing ‘Sit and Spin’, any idea what you would have done at such moment if you weren’t caught up in a midst of writing it? Or else, what was your initial idea where you started it, and again, putting out something that is so close to you, that is pretty much impossible to actually speak about.

A:You’re right – it is impossible to speak about.

Q: You speak about letting go, there are many sides to it, perhaps Godmusic is the letting go of the curse of religion? The whole Chocolate Genius as letting go of Marc Anthony Thompson? In a sense, your music creates the feeling that something locked up inside has been released, not only on your side, maybe in the way that so much of your life is in it, it also what I get from listening to it, sort of relief, after a while? (I don’t know if I make any sense here…)

A:I’m glad that we offer some sort of relief. A friend of mine said that Eternity lasts a really long time – particularly towards the end. Life can seem like that too. Glad to help.

Q: Do you prefer working in collaboration or alone?

A: All the same.

Q: Working with The Boss; Did it feel like a session player or did it have an added value for you? Where you ever into his music? Lyrics? (boring question?)

A: It felt like being a session player with the added value knob turned up to 12. I didn’t really know his music before I met him. It was nice to discover it from that perspective. By having him teach me his songs – I didn’t have to use my turntable as much.

Q: The previous Chocolate genius albums were released by a major label and the current one is on ‘One little Indian’. Any particular reason for it? Does it have to do with the fact that major label days are over, meaning the record industry weight is shifted to smaller indie labels? What is your personal opinion about the state of music today as opposed to when you started or even earlier?

A: The music industry has always seemed a bit like a rotting carcass to me. It’s just that now everyone notices the smell as they chew on the crumbs it dropped. Some are biting the hand as it feeds them.

Q: Swansongs, a final chapter in the trilogy or ‘to be continued’?

A: Swansongs is the final chapter in an extended trilogy. The characters all faded to black a while ago. Of course, there are always new stories to tell – just not with the folks that haunted the world of Chocolate Genius Inc. As a recording entity – the journey is over. As an umbrella for output – the journey begins anew.

Q: Would you consider doing a Marc Anthony Thompson record next, leaving the Chocolate Genius on the side for a while?

A: I plan on touring the songs of this new release while occasionally dropping some other gems from the catalogue to remind our new ancestors where we’ve been. When that bone is sucked dry – we’ll figure out the next step. 

Q: Why did you add the inc.? Did the idea come to you while going over your accountant reports?

A: Precisely.

Q: If you weren’t a musician, you would have been a…?

A: Ridiculous notion. Who could possibly say what they might have been. It’s hard enough trying to be who you are.

Q: How do you go about writing a song/ Do you start with a chord sequence or musical lick and take it from there or is there a concept or lyrics you follow?

A: I throw dice, break bottles after draining them, watch or smash a television or sit still naked in the woods until something gentle bites me. Refer to the new disc – track #7.

Q: Do you live in peace with technology? Do you enjoy it? Use it? Threatened by it?

A: To quote the great James Newell Osterberg Jr.

“Look out baby because I’m using technology

Aint got time to make no apology”

That pretty much sums up my thoughts on the issue.

Q: Favorite albums on your turntable? Present and past

A: Present – Swansongs

Past – Bloodwyn PigAhead Rings Out

Q: Musicians that inspired you when growing up?

A: Brook Benton & Tricky

Q: How do you feel about the fact that your cover of ‘Julia‘ is your most successful record commercially? Was it done spontaneously? Are you a Beatles fan? Was ‘Julia’ your choice? 

A: You can’t fuck with the Beatles. We did that song on a lunch break while the caterer got stuck in midtown traffic. Beatles no – John Lennon yes. Julia was my choice.

We have asked Marc for music related visuals he could share with us and he we got this:

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