Song You Need: DJ Haram and Moor Mother are a minimalist match made in Philly

The FADER: Your production, Zubeyda, and your delivery, Camae, feel really natural side by side. When did you start working together and how was 700 Bliss ultimately formed?
DJ HARAM: We began working together in Philadelphia [in] 2014 and naturally found our name, 700 Bliss, and our sound through dj/mc sets and improv noise jams.

“Nothing To Declare” is an intense first track. How did you decide to make it the opening statement and title song of this album?
MOOR MOTHER: I think this track is very fun and playful and not intense at all. I was thinking of getting right into it vs. opening the album with a soundscape or something chill. The track was called “Nothing to Declare” before we decided to call the album that. But it really just felt like it captured the vibe of the album.

The beat is so dynamic, but it’s pretty much all percussion and a little sub-bass. Zubeyda, can you talk about creating tension without relying on harmony?
DJ HARAM: Think of this beat like a one-sided argument, an emotional outburst that can’t be held back. There is tension and that’s partially because harmony is not the objective. The moments in between the arpeggiated drums are the most tense to me. I used moments of silence and a low vocal sample to amplify a kind of antagonist sound.

Camae, you stick with a really simple rhyme scheme on your verse. It’s a minimal approach that, to me, sort of mirrors the severity of the beat. Is that what you were going for?
MOOR MOTHER: I was just having fun/vibing in my studio, and I wanted to get that feeling on the track.

Zubeyda, your vocals relieve a bit of the tension on the track. Did you write your verse after hearing Camae’s, and if so, how did you approach it?
DJ HARAM: Yes, all my verses on Nothing to Declare were written after hearing Moor Mother’s lyrics. I think you can tell that in my writing/references/attitude. The hook in the song was something that she had on the end of her verse in the demo and I was like “Noooo this is fire, let’s rearrange and make it the hook.” The vibe was this casual and clever harshness that is as much petty as it is pretty. This was the first verse I ever wrote… so I approached it repetitively. The modulation at the end was a last-minute decision.

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