311 singer-songwriter Nick Hexum tells us that the teaming on a tune tentatively-titled "Slappy" with members of the Black Eyed Peas and Pharcyde album was refreshing in an unexpected way.
The idea to work with Wil.I.Am from Black Eyed Peas first grew out of the shout-out to Black Eyed Peas that's heard on 311's 1999 song "Come Original," while Tre Hardson, formerly of Pharcyde, and Hexum have talked about collaborating since Hexum saw Tre's new band, Legends of Phoenix, play a club show in Hollywood last year.
"Wil and I had always said 'let's work together,'" Hexum tells allstar. "And Wil is so cool, he said, 'I don't even care about the money. I just wanna be down and make some good music.' Which in hip-hop is very hard to find, because most people want money up front. But both Wil and Tre have a great artistic attitude about what they do, and I just have tons of respect for them both."
As for how the song was created, Hexum says that a number of musicians contributed their own parts, which he then arranged into a cohesive whole. "I sent them over a CD of one of our new tracks that was just instrumental," he says. "Tre came up with some really good verse parts, and Wil came up with some other chorus and pre-chorus parts, and then I came up with a verse. The music side of it is a [311 members] P-Nut/Chad Sexton collaboration, and then I took their parts and arranged it all together."
Hexum says the upcoming sixth 311 studio album, which is being produced by Ron Saint Germain (Tool, Living Colour, Creed) will probably include 12 songs and a bonus Internet track chosen from among the 15 songs they've finished or nearly finished. "We're in a very relaxed mode right now. We're putting on fun little things like DJ scratching and extra drum loops, some keyboard parts."
Mixing of the album is expected to be complete by early March, and the band hopes to have the album released in the summer. In the middle, Hexum plans to have his ripened tonsils removed in March (allstar, Miss Truth, Jan. 31), and 311 bassist P-Nut is getting married in late May. The band expects to play live again around the time of the new album's release.