“The album isn’t about the end,” says Flying Lotus. “It’s really about the beginning, the beginning of a new experience.” His voice moving from sombre to enthusiastic, he explains, “It’s not, ‘Hey, you’re dead...’; it’s, ‘Hey, you’re dead!’”
It is also a fracturing aural procession into the afterlife, a journey that is at once reflective and restless, heart-wrenching and joyous. “It’s a celebration of the next experience, the transition and the confusion,” Flying Lotus says. With the help of some friends, including hip-hop heavyweights Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar, genre-defying bassist Thundercat and jazz legend Herbie Hancock, it captures the spirit of the great jazz and psych-rock fusion collectives of the 1960s and ’70s.
Flying Lotus worked with each to record their instruments and vocals individually. Of his collaboration with Hancock, he says, “It was the coolest. In the middle of a take he’d tell you a story about Miles Davis for 20 minutes. We were trying to figure out how to make a jazz record that feels new. We said, ‘What if Miles came and we showed him all the jazz records made today?’ We wanted to have a jazz record that would fuck him up.”
The You’re Dead! creative utopia also encompasses the darkly charged imagination of guro-manga artist Shintaro Kago. Known for his mind-expandingly intense and often grotesquely sexualised drawings, the Japanese illustrator has created a visual for each track, which cumulatively depict a hallucinatory, nightmarish pilgrimage into the underworld. §
Shintaro Kago’s illustrations appear throughout this issue.
You’re Dead! is out on 6 October on Warp Records.