Music Technology Not a Scratch on Hancock

Herbie Hancock is a Jazz legend, a progenitor of hip-hop and one of the driving forces behind the development of electronic music across a whole range of genres. He has always embraced technology as a tool for self-expression, but what is his secret to such prolific creativity over the past few decades?

Hancock is not just a musician – he also has an enduring interest in mathematics, and it is this which he sees as the common thread across musical genres, and the link between music and science. In fact, he studied both music and electrical engineering in college, played a piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the age of 11 and was a member of the Miles Davis Quintet, to name but three of his achievements to date. He has also collected eight Grammy awards.

One of those eight awards was for his 1983 album Future Shock (co-produced by Bill Laswell), which featured the hit track Rockit. This was the anthem of the breakdancing era, and is now seen by many as the dawn of scratching and hip-hop.

So what is the secret to all this musial output and innovation? Well, apparently it’s to not let the technology get in the way – “If you’re doing music, the music has to come first. And the technology is a tool for being able to produce the things that you feel. Not the other way around”.


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