By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Listening to Chung speak about the last two years, it seems he's been galvanized via hellish temperature. He talks of his new music almost as a purging process that allowed him to re-access his funkier half; now, he plays some speaker-rattling beats slotted for an upcoming EP that seemingly would work for Kendrick Lamar's next record. In fact, don't be surprised if that happens, considering that Chung's sound helped Lamar figure out what he wanted his blockbuster 2012 release, good kid, m.A.A.d city, to sound like. Paired in the studio in the fall of 2011 as part of a promo series for the Windows phone, there was instant chemistry between the pair.
"I had 20 beats for him, but after the first one, he said, 'I don't need to hear anything else — this is the one. I feel an idea already,' " Chung recalls.
Lamar came up with a hook, spit his verses without writing them down and finished in about two hours. "Then his manager got a call from Dr. Dre, and he was, like, 'I need you guys in Vegas right now. I already bought your flights.' And they had to bounce."
Afterward, Lamar told Chung he wanted him to be the sound of his debut album.
"I was just, like, 'Fuck, I gotta get to work,' " Chung says. "But I was also working on my album, and I tried making beats for him and it just didn't come out right."
His last 18 months may have been bleak, but Chung speaks with unbridled excitement of his future. The albatross of the sophomore album is over, and he's launching his own imprint under the Innovative Leisure umbrella.
More importantly, he's making beats again at a feverish clip. The stress of succeeding as Nosaj Thing could not consume him.
"I'll never wait that long to release another record. It just builds up and makes it harder on yourself," Chung says. "I've been exploring different sounds, instruments and techniques, and want to apply them for the next EP. I feel like I'm kind of getting out of my shell and getting back to making beats again. I've been doing more up-tempo stuff lately. It's fun again, you know?"