Has music production always been something you wanted to do?
Most definitely not. When I was younger I used to draw and make comic books. But my dreams were shot down when I got told artists don’t make any money so I had to find something else to do. That’s when I started getting curious about music production. (this is sad…I am sad about this smh)
What were some of your earliest musical memories and at what point did you decide to start making your own music.
My earliest musical memory is probably of my older sister listening to Dolly Parton’s Jolene in our sitting room. But I spent most of my childhood listening to King Sunny Ade, Fela and Shina Peters, amongst others. I decided to make my own music right after high school. A friend brought me a copy of Magix Music Maker on PC (I hear there is a playstation version of it), so I started using that, shortly after which I got this really obscure DAW called Making Waves. I would listen to a lot of southern hip-hop records (Trick daddy, Youngbloodz, Rick Ross etc) and try to recreate them. I loved how slow and heavy the beats were.
Only reason I had to switch DAWs was because Making Waves was only compatible with Windows XP. When Vista came along and I upgraded my OS, I also had to switch DAWs. It was a tragedy. I tried using FL studio but I thought it was horrible (I still think it is LOL). In 2009 I got my hands on a copy of Reason 4 and I have been using that till today along with Ableton Live.
What made you stick with Reason?
I love Reason‘s workflow. It’s perfect for how my mind works. I also get a very clean sound with Reason and that has been an important contributing factor to what many would call my “Sound”. Also the fact that when I tell other producers I use reason they squeeze their faces or flat out tell me I’m just being a show off LMAO.
What influenced your sound?
I would say the music I listen to, the people I hang with, the places and different cultures I’ve been exposed to. It’s very tricky because I believe I have a “touch” but not necessarily a sound per se. I’m still on my way to defining my sound.
Who are some of your favorite producers to listen to and why?
My absolute favorite producers are Lunice, Hudson Mohawke, SBTRKT, Mr Carmack and Sango. They all have the same thing in common; they make the music they wanna make and are not necessarily influenced by whatever trend is out. And because of that I am comfortable being myself and putting 100% of me in my music.
What genre of music do you love to make?
What are genres? Haha. I just make whatever pops in my head to be honest. But right now I’m experimenting with Afrobeats. I love the grooves.
At what point in your journey did you begin to feel like you could do this beyond a hobby?
2015 was the year. After I dropped my EP Carte Blanche, the response was incredible. That’s when I knew. But I didn’t actually make the move. I was still working a 9-5 until late last year when I quit to focus solely on music.
Do you have a typical creative workflow when you work? Drums, Melody or Bass-line, which one is most important to you in a song.
The melody or harmony touches the listener, the Bassline drives the song and the Drums keep you interested. So I guess they are all important to me, but absolutely BANGING drums yo!
What are your favorite plugins to use at the moment and why?
Jupiter and Prophet by Arturia have some gorgeous synths, not as good as the hardware but it gets the job done. However most of my sounds come from reason devices, like the Malstrom which is a powerful graintable synthesizer, and Thor which is a beast 3xOSC and are all built into Reason.
Composing, Mixing, Arranging or Mastering; What part of the production process do you find the most fun and which ones are the most tedious for you?
Composing and mixing are the most fun for me. Surprisingly mixing is still the most tedious. But I really enjoy mixing my songs.
Where or how do you typically find inspiration to create?
I mostly find inspiration by going through Soundbanks, Drum packs, YouTube, SoundCloud, my infinite collection of Fela songs, and just doing boring life things like cleaning my room and doing laundry. Also going through a lot of my unfinished tracks usually gives me new ideas, whether it be for chord progressions or sample chops and even arrangements.
What’s the fastest you’ve made a beat that has become huge and what song was it?
I think just about 2hrs. It’s called Ethereal and is my biggest song till date.
What is one thing you are ashamed to admit you don’t know?
I don’t know how to use the Send and Return FX and I’ve been too lazy to even check what they do LOL. I know what they are supposed to do though…wait I know what a Send FX does but I don’t know what a Return FX does. Fuck all of it TBH. 😂
What’s your most memorable studio session till date
January 2014. I followed a friend to a studio in Bethesda, Maryland. The engineer/producer that was recording him that day is called Imad Royal (you can check out his stuff). After the session, I asked him if I could play him my stuff because I was still unknown back then. Right before I was able to play anything my external HDD on which I had all my files (no backups) fell while I was taking it out my bag and stopped working. I lost all my files that day. So I had to go through emails to find beats I had sent to people. I played him a few and he was completely blown away. He then reposted a song of mine on his SoundCloud and that launched my career as a SoundCloud producer. That day was hectic AF. Bruh I broke my phone screen right after that too LOL. Jeez!
What advice would you give to anyone who is getting started in production?
Be ready to cut back on your social life and sleep, especially sleep! Some of the greatest ideas come at 3am, and you wanna be up for it. Sound design, no matter how minimal, goes a long way in defining your sound as a producer. Most importantly work on getting your sound early on, and don’t follow trends. Just be you.
Check out Rvdical The Kid’s #NoRequests live set!