Ahmad Julian aka Scheme and Andre Oswald make up the New York duo OLD MONEY. Together they create music which blends influences of global bass, soul, dancehall, spoken word and hip-hop to stretch the limits of new-age music. They’ve performed and DJ’d alongside the likes of The Cool Kids, Maluca + Paul Devro (Mad Decent), Digable Planets and more. We touch base with Ahmad Julian who lets us in on a few things, including finding the planet intolerable and ‘real life black science fiction.’

Old Money, image: Lichiban

Old Money, image: Lichiban

oss: How are things going that side?
A.J: Quite well. Can’t complain at all. I mean, we could, but you’ve got your own problems don’t you?

How’s NYC?
The same as it’s ever been. Beautiful and ugly. ‘Life In Marvelous Times’ by Mos Def pretty much captures my feelings on it at the moment.

How do you find the current state of hip-hop?
I don’t follow hip-hop too closely these days. And by these days I mean past several years. Most of what I listen to has no words or words that ain’t English. From what I glean though, it’s vibrant. It’s evolving. I think what I’d like to see though, beyond new faces and new clothes and new types of beats getting out there, is also some more progressive representation in terms of attitudes/lifestyle/etc. ‘Hot new artists X Y and Z’ are cool and might have the hot streetwear shit but if a dude got the same mind state as his predecessors then that doesn’t bode well for women, gay people, poor people and so on…

Ahmad Julian aka Scheme, image: Olivia Seally

Ahmad Julian aka Scheme, image: Olivia Seally

Do you feel it’s an interesting moment to be in the music industry?
Yeah…. now there’s no model on how to ‘make it.’ Though to be frank, we stopped giving a shit about that in the traditional sense a while ago. Anyway, it’s interesting because there’s more people than ever (or so it feels/seems) making music.

But the machine as we once knew it is pretty much dead.

So, what’s behind the name OLD MONEY
We thought about what we weren’t (wealthy white people in America) and just went with that. We’re thinking about changing our name to CRIME though, it gets more to the point of how old money muhfuckas got their shit anyway.

Moozlim Oils Sage - Behind-The-Scenes, image: MEGA.DOPE.POP

Moozlim Oils Sage - Behind-The-Scenes, image: MEGA.DOPE.POP

You have such a unique blend of influences, tell us a bit about the mix you put together for VANE.
That’s really what it was about – showing some of our influences and the connectedness of the communities where this music is coming from – and also connecting it to the past. If we really went in though, like for real for real, that shit woulda’ been 12 hours long.

Why do you feel it important to ‘stretch the limits of new age music’?
It’s really just about keeping ourselves entertained at this point. Andre and I have been making music together for a while now. So one year, we might wanna rap our asses off. The next, we’re making punk tracks that you might not ever hear. And the next, only recording chants over soca and hopping around on stage.

You’ve mentioned Spoek Mathambo, are there any other SA artists that you guys are listening to/spreading the word about?

DJ Spoko‘s shit is dope. I’ve only heard a couple joints but would love to hear more. Dirty Paraffin. DJ Mujava. Culoe De Song. A few others.

Any comment on Die Antwoord?
Not really.


Tell us a bit about the Visitors mix that debuted on The New Inquiry.
We, along with Lamin Fofana, didn’t feel like doing some trendy shit. We thought it would be more interesting to get to the root of the forms we fuck with today. For those that don’t know, a lot of the approach and production techniques used in dub reggae decades ago is where a lot of the experimentation in modern electronic music comes from. Thematically, we also felt it was fitting given the cosmic vibe of a lot of the records we were drawn to – and our whole shit is like real life black science fiction anyway. Hence ‘Visitors’.

Any plans to visit here in the future?
Book us and we’ll be in there like swimwear.

Do you go back to Jamaica often?
I’ve been back a couple of times in the past few years after a long stretch of not going. No offence to mi bredren, but I’m trying to see some new shit.

Any gigs/festivals coming up that you’ve been amped about for a while?
We just played a benefit for Hurricane Sandy victims that was thrown by our friend Va$htie. ‘Amped about for a while’ might not be the right description, since the whole thing came together just a couple of days before, but it went really well and it was really nice of her to have us be a part of it.

Our dream is for all parties to have some sort of social component.

Other than that – we have a record that just came out with the homie Lamin Fofana – so expect us to hit a few spots on the east coast of the US in the coming weeks/months. SXSW and some international things on the horizon for next year.


Your music video for ‘DC1A-+- Gamma Rayz (snippet)‘ presented some interesting views on humanity and philosophy while diving into Egypt’s history. Elaborate a little for us.
Well it all, more or less, stems from the fact that niggas is the OG E.T.s (original extra-terra-astrals). Sun-Ra said that ‘if you find Earth boring / just the same old, same thing / come on sign up with Outer Spaceways Incorporated.

I love that song, but if I could amend it I’d make it say ‘if you find Earth fucking intolerable’, because that’s what it’s been like for people of colour. Particularly poor ones. So it shouldn’t be no surprise that niggas stay looking back. Looking forward. And looking up. Because if we look around, we’ll go crazy. Everyday lunacy being accepted as the norm is enough to drive a good-hearted individual mad. And we’re barely holding it together over here.

Andre Oswald, image: by MEGA.DOPE.POP

Andre Oswald, image: by MEGA.DOPE.POP

Old Money, image: Lichiban

Old Money, image: Lichiban

In creating your diaspora music, what’s one thing you always try to do?
Make something that’ll stand up to our own critiques.

How have you been received by your local audiences?
It varies. Sometimes it’s all love. Like, some people seem genuinely refreshed to see/hear us. Sometimes it’s ‘what the fuck?’

What do you guys do when you are not making music?
Read. Currently Bloodchild & Other Stories by Octavia Butler. Live. Watch some shit on Netflix. Kick it with dope individuals that inspire us. Shouts to ALIEN!

Any views on the whole ‘Mayan’ thing?
If I’m supposed to be scared, I’m not.

Beat-wise, what can we expect in 2013?
Evolution from Old Money. The New Black Mythology.

Old Money, image: Lichiban

Old Money, image: Lichiban

Lastly, any chance of giving us a little rhyme?
Fantastic phantasm
Wanted for a lab experiment by NASA
Extract the data, coat the space capsules
Shield from the UV Rays that’s coming at ‘em.

Breaking atoms, since Adam’s rib, smashin’
Black magic, speed through the space fabric
…leave a demon choked
And fleeing for horizons receding on approach.

Bankhead (WAV file) bouncin’
Douse ‘em with flames like he Dhalsim
I’m like a hunned thousand pounds of 24 carat piled in
Draped in cowskin the color of fresh scallion.

Flames hopskotch in my veins.
Blood made from molten gold chains.
Conductor of a high vibration.
Charles Darwin didn’t die…I ate him.

…Survival of the what
I’m ridin’ on a comet, kamikaze, nigga what
Who could I be? Prolly starbody
Blue navi, annunaki, make you spill ya lil’ mochafrappalatte.

Who could I be? Prolly starbody
Over Hoover’s dead body, put my dick where his eye be.
(Then) teleport to a project lobby
Free minds, now he got the FBI tryin’ to find him.

taken from Chants – ‘Night After Night’ (Old Money Remix)


Some links!!!

Check out OLD MONEY’s SoundCloud, music videos & Blog. The single – Ethiopia b/w Nāga by Old Money & Lamin Fofana – is available now on iTunes and bandcamp. And Keep track of what are up to by following them on Twitter!

Old Money & Lamin Fofana, image: Olivia Seally

Old Money & Lamin Fofana, image: Olivia Seally

images: OLD MONEY, Lichiban, Olivia Seally, MEGA.DOPE.POP