Next month, Richard D. James, aka Aphex Twin, will issue SYRO, his first album in 13 years.In anticipation of the big release day, the electronic musician has been doing a handful of interviews lately, many of which have been rather revealing. One interview conducted with Pitchfork looks to be particularly juicy, with James recounting the time Kanye West allegedly tried to “fucking rip” off one of his songs and take credit for writing it.
The track in question is “Avril 14th”, off Aphex Twin’s 2001 album drukQs. While many believe Yeezy simply “sampled” the song on his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy track “Blame Game”, James claims there’s far more to the story.
He notes in the Pitchfork interview:
“Is it a sample? I actually don’t know what it ended up being in the end, I’m so slack. I know that he tried to fucking rip me off and claim that he’d written it, and they tried to get away with not paying. I was really helpful, and when they first sent it to me, I was like, ‘Oh, I can re-do that for you, if you like,’ because they’d sampled it really badly and time-stretched it and there was loads of artifacts. I was like, ‘I’ll just replay it for you at that speed if you want.’ And they totally didn’t even say ‘hello’ or ‘thanks,’ they just replied with, ‘It’s not yours, it’s ours, and we’re not even asking you any more.’” [laughs]
Update: As some readers have pointed out, James’ name does appear in the credits for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, so it seems Kanye eventually obliged and compensated him.
For comparison, here’s “Avril 14th”:
And West’s “Blame Game”:
Aphex Twin’s SYRO hits shelves on September 23rd via Warp. Preview two new songs here.