The Roots’ new album with Elvis Costello is finally out, and Questlove is doing interviews for the album with Costello. Billboard reports:
Their musical relationship began with Costello’s visits to “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” where Quest leads house band (and acclaimed hip-hop group) The Roots. When the two realized how good their chemistry on stage is together, they quietly decided to give the idea of recording a few songs together a go—without informing their respective record labels.
“We recorded this in our closet of a dressing room after ‘Fallon’ shows,” Quest recalls. When their early demos turned out well, they cranked things up and went into full album mode. Lyrically, Costello says “Wise Up Ghost” “a collage” of unused material pulled from notebooks dating decades ago and fresh thoughts as well.
“I had verses from songs written 20 to 30 years apart that had the same theme or spoke to one another and that accumulated inside the frame of the new piece of music and told a new story,” says Elvis.
One of the nice things about Wise Up Ghost is how organic it sounds — it doesn’t sound like one of those shotgun weddings, where you put two artists together in the studio and it’s just kind of awkward.
It was the opposite of a shotgun wedding. We never knew we were making a record. I always give the analogy, like when the girl asks the guy after a fourth date: “What are we doing? Are we dating?” After we did fourteen of these songs, we were like, “Are we making a record? Or are we just doing this for fun?” Initially, I thought that maybe I’d just leak a song on the Internet for free. Elvis just happened to play it for Don Was, and it went from there.
We made this album in our dressing room [at Late Night With Jimmy Fallon]. After the show was over, Elvis would come at, like, seven o’clock, and we’d just mess around until 2 a.m. and go home with these cool songs. And after a while, that wound up being sixteen, seventeen songs.