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Breaking Down the Beat: "Self Equity" by Maddy O'Neal and Bass Physics

Maddy O'NealEXPAND
Maddy O'Neal
Courtesy of the artist

Maddy O'Neal and Bass Physics (Arja Adair) dropped the song "Self Equity" last week, with lyrics by hip-hop artist Knowledge Thyself, born Jereme Unruh.

“Self-equity means to me that feeling when you love someone so much and you would literally do anything for that person,” says Unruh. “It’s about being that for yourself.”

Unruh, 26, wrote the lyrics long before O'Neal and Bass Physics came on board. He wrote it as he was preparing to move from Hawaii “back to the mainland.” At that time, he says he was discovering his own power, or self-equity.

What started as a letter to himself — an affirmation, if you will — turned into something entirely different in Bass Physics and O'Neal's hands. “We didn’t sit down and have a plan,” O’Neal says. “That’s the beautiful part about music: The person writing it intended it to be about a different thing.”

Maddy O'Neal and Bass Physics produced the music. The track opens with Adair's mellow guitar over a female hook. Unruh's opening line, "Walkin' in the rhythm of my own melody," sets the flow for the song.

O’Neal says she and Adair had talked about collaborating, so she sent him some unfinished compositions. He thumbed the tracks before landing on what would become “Self Equity." He then laid down the guitar over the beat. The two communicated before finally getting in the studio roughly one month ago and finishing the mix and master, with Unruh's lyrics.

“Collabs are always really fun,” O’Neal says. “It’s the greatest way to combine creative forces.” But it isn’t always easy in the case of Adair and O’Neal. Both maintain a steady regimen of touring. Adair is midway through a nine-stop jaunt that started in Fort Collins and ends in San Francisco. O’Neal just wrapped a few stops with Lettuce on the East Coast, as well a late 2017 tour with the same outfit.

Still, O'Neal finds working on a track with Bass Physics to be fruitful – particularly when she's feeling stuck.

“You start a track and you just don’t know where to take it," O'Neal says. "Give it to your friends, and that breaks your writer's block.”

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Expect a six-track EP from Maddy O’Neal in the coming months with songs including Manic Focus, Povi and others. See her perform again in Colorado at Sonic Bloom in June. Learn more here.

Unruh will be back on the mainland soon with a forthcoming appearance at Sonic Bloom, as well. He has a release with Gift of Gab dropping today, April 17. Learn more here.

Bass Physics will wrap its current tour on April 22 before a Colorado show at Spread the Word Festival on May 11. Learn more here.

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