Check out this chat with the Brighton producer on what he's working on, his views on the scene, what equipment he uses and how he got into making beats and his plans for the material he'll eventually release.
Where about are you based and how long have you been making hip-hop beats?
Based down south in sunny Brighton. Been making beats since '98 but only been doing it seriously since 2002.
How did you get involved in producing beats?
Since I was at school I always wanted to start a band but throughout the years could never get anyone together to jam. Then while I was at college I thought "fuck it, I'll do it all myself". So I started playing around with drum loops, a keyboard and a guitar. I recorded each part on the PC and then added vocals from a couple of friends. The process just evolved from there.
What was the first pieces of equipment you got and what are you working with these days?
First piece of musical equipment I ever got was my Ibenez Metal guitar when I was like 14, I still have it now, dope guitar! When I first started making beats I'd just use a real basic wave sound editor on my PC and merge, layer, cut & paste sounds on top of each other. Nowadays I use the PC (not getting into the PC vs. Mac debate here, they're both good, it's all about personal preference), got a mixing desk, effects machines, guitars, proper sequencing software etc. Got it all connected to a large pulley system with light prisms and a flux capacitor. Oh and mirrors… to make a good track you need mirrors reflecting on more mirrors.
Have you provided the sounds for any releases that we can check out?
There's not any major releases out there with my stuff on yet I'm afraid. There is however my album "The Red Deck" which is available from www.4-wordmedia.com That was released last year and contains a bunch of instrumentals for your listening pleasure. There will be other releases soon my children… soon.
Is there a particular style or vibe that you could describe your material as? Or is it pretty much different each time?
Although my beats are based on hiphop they don't always come out like hiphop. My stuffs been described as soundtrack, chillout, experimental… I just try and keep it original really. In fact I don't even wanna categorise it, it's just music to me.
What other genre's of music are you into, and would perhaps like trying to produce for?
I'm an old school metal and rock fan. Not all this Nu Metal Pop bollocks though! I'm talking about bands like Rage Against The Machine, Sound Garden, Megadeth, Slayer, Deftones etc. There's a power and energy I get off that music which I don't always get from hiphop. Don't get me wrong, I love my hiphop but sometimes I need something heavier. I like loads of stuff though, trip hop, electronic, classical, blues, jazz, funk, soul, the list goes on. I'd like to try and produce a bit of everything at some point.
Are you originally from Brighton and how do you rate the scene?
Yeah, I've lived down these parts all my life. The Brighton scene is great! There's some serious talent down here; Black Grass, Digitek, Lost Souls and Non Conformists to name but a few. There's always big shows and events going on around town. Then there's the monthly open mic/deck night called SlipJam:B where everyone just gets together and does their thing. Tis a good place to be!
I've heard people moaning about London heads moving to Brighton and being elitist in their manuvers, tryin to claim that they're exclusively the scene there. Care to comment?
As long as people are making good music that's all that matters. To be honest I don't care one bit where people are from… or where they at!
Who do you think is smashing it on the mic and on the mpc's at the moment?
I'm very much into MF Doom, MF Grimm, Madlib, Lootpack and the whole Stones Throw lot. Then there's Ill Bill, Necro and the whole Uncle Howie/Psycho+Logical-Records crews. Can't forget Blade over here in the UK either, still going strong.
Which artists do you most hold the desire to have a chance of working with in the future?
Although it'll probably never happen I'd love to work with Zack De La Rocha. There's just so much energy in that guy and his voice! He's been a hero of mind since the early RATM days too. Realistically though I wanna try and work with some of local Brighton heads, as I said there's some talented people down here. Wouldn't mind working on some film score/soundtracks too.
How do you rate the internet as a tool in gaining exposure for your name and work?
I dunno how people did the whole music thing without it! It's great cuz you can get your music to anyone anywhere in the world. Before you had to have distribution to get stuff to the stores where people can see and buy your stuff. Now you just need a web site and it's available to everyone. In a growing world of MP3s, iPods (or MP3 players), memory sticks etc the days of the CD could be over. When I buy a CD I just stick it straight into iTunes and then the CD & case just gather dust. I know some people like a physical form for their music and a nice glossy booklet but in the end it's the music you bought it for. A PDF can take the place of the booklet and the MP3s take the place of the CD. At 4-Word Media we're gonna make all our music releases downloadable from our online store rather than a CD you get through the post. You just pay, download and you get a zip file with all the tracks and a PDF booklet which you can print out if you really want something to hold in your grubby little hands! We did this for DJ Direct's "Beats From The Tea Pad Vol. 1" and it'll now be the standard format from us.
One bad side to the internet is the growing amount of kids with damn SoundClick pages! There's guaranteed to be a post on every music forum from someone going "check my SoundClick page". Most of the time you know it's gonna be wack.
Have you got any beat cd's in rotation that people can grab hold of to check out?
As I said earlier, there's my album "The Red Deck" and I'm currently working on my new album at the moment. Hopefully it'll drop during the summer. Can't say a lot about it yet as my ideas change every bloody week but it's sounding nice so far. Again that'll be available at www.4-wordmedia.com .
What website or e-mail address can people hit you up at if they're looking for some sounds to lace vocals over?
Ok, first we have www.thejezter.com which contains all the info about my good self, and then we have my company 4-Word Media. You can peep that at www.4-wordmedia.com I set that up as a means to get all the stuff we're going out there to the world.
On the 4-Word Media site it says you're a film maker. Tell us about that. I bought a camcorder with my student loan but haven't made shit.
I've only made two films so far. The first was a fly on the wall type affair based on one night's beer drinking, beat making and general mayhem. That was a pilot episode e for an idea we had called "4-Word TV". The second was a skateboarding video called "Odds And Sods". I'm working on a couple of other film projects at the moment but it's all about finding the time to do it in.
You got any shout out's, plugs, words of wisdom or threats to put out into the world wide web?
Shout outs go to my 4-Word Media people; A-Dub, Program 2, DJ Direct, Chris Willett and others who know who they are. Thanks to everyone who's visits the websites and supports what we do. Oh and thanks to Oman for untold amounts of beer and much craziness (plus he'd probably smack the shit outta me if I didn't mention him).
Support independent music, artists and labels. End the major record label monopoly. Do something… Downhill Battle.org Cheers Tee & rapnews.co.uk for the interview! Peace!