"The idea was to make the ultimate party record from start to finish, almost like you had a little DJ in your living room," says Mark Ronson of his first album Here Comes the Fuzz, which hits record stores August 26th. To nail down that party vibe, the New York DJ tapped an all-star lineup of guests, including Mos Def, Jack White, ?uestlove, Tweet, Sean Paul, Nikka Costa, Ghostface Killa, Nappy Roots and Rivers Cuomo.
Ronson has been playing in rock bands since high school, DJing on New York's club circuit since college, and producing since his early twenties. His stepfather is Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones, and he's engaged to Rashida Jones, daughter of Quincy. That background makes for an eclectic mix of styles on the album. "It touches on a lot of genres," he says. "There's a lot of hip-hop, a little bit of rock, some disco, some funk, some dancehall reggae. I could never make a focused record, because I'd be like, 'This beat is really dope or funky, but lemme add some fuzzed-out, weird guitar shit."
Speaking of, teaming Jack White with Nikka Costa and Freeway might strike some rock fans as strange, but not Ronson. After seeing the White Stripes at Radio City Music Hall, Ronson sent White an untitled song he was working on. "He happened to really like it," Ronson says. "He laid down three takes of guitar the whole way through and sent it back to me. There's a part at the beginning of the song when Jack is screaming in the guitar pick-up 'Here comes the fuzz! Here comes the fuzz!' I guess he was like, 'Fuck it -- that's the name of the song.' It's cool. It sounds really dirty and Beastie Boys-ish."
The majority of the record was recorded over the past year in New York, where the guests could contribute on their way through town. "Sean Paul was really fun to work with," says Ronson, who got an up-close view of the dancehall star's rise to stardom. "When we started, 'Gimme the Light' was kind of getting big in New York, the second time it was on the countdown on BET, and the third time he was signed to Atlantic Records and 'Gimme the Light' was in the Top Ten."
"A lot of the time I get the opportunity to work with these guys and I'm so intimidated," Ronson continues. "Most people on the record I've been a super fan of for like ten years, like Ghostface, Rivers, Q-Tip. It was crazy getting these people on my own tracks. When Ghostface called me I saved the message for two weeks."