Who am I? Interview Series

who_am_i_ko

I have to say that I’m very proud of this producer, dj and good friend DJ KO. Proud of his persistence and courage to step out of the red clay of Peachtree city and right into what he sees fit to contribute to popular music. I had a chance to catch up with KO at  one of his Residencies (Club Opera) the other night here in Atlanta and he was rocking like no other! So here we go, jumping off our first producer profile for 2014 with an emerging talent and humble dude.

Who am I:
Well I am Justin Spillner Aka “Dj Ko” 1 half of Phivestarr Productions

How did you start doing what you do?
Actually I grew listening to Dj Jelly mixtapes south of Atlanta. I’m talking actual compact cassette tapes at the start. Every weekend we would drive up to Atlanta’s flea markets and record stores to buy the latest Southern Style Dj mixtapes mixed by Jelly & Dj Montay for Big Oomp Records.  I don’t feel old to often but telling this story makes me understand the classic saying “Back in my day”. Some friends in my neighborhood were the first people I knew to have an internet connection that could handle downloading a song from Napster, a early file sharing/ p2p pc program. At this time you could only get music that your local stores carried so when Napster came along it was one of the koolest feelings to download a fresh new song.  So you know one of the 1st things I did was type Dj Jelly into Napster’s browser and bam! a 50 or so minute mixtape was downloaded.  Because the file was 50 minutes long I thought that it would be cool if I could put it on a burned cd and have track markers or numbers to skip to songs in my car cd player. Headed straight to buy a computer, cd burner and program to place the track markers and burn the cd. Man I felt ahead of the times, I was about 14 or 15 years old and the only one I knew with cd burning capabilities. Ended up buying Sonic Foundry Acid a early music/ dj program which later was sold to Sony. At this time I began downloading songs and using the dj program to put together compilation cd’s in an early Dj Ko arrangement with basic fades and explosions between songs. The transitions I’m sure to be on the optimistic side were a good attempt to be like the mixes I looked up to. Never the less all my friends were jamming the weekly releases of music I would put together in my Low Budget Production’s studio. The next step was to buy some turntables, you had to be rocking Technic 1200′s to be a real dj and at this time there wasn’t Serato or CDJs just records. It was time to reach out to Dj Jelly.  [read more...]

who_am_i_smurf

It’s safe to say that if it wasn’t for this man and his legendary crew, the Jay-Team, Mc Assault and I wouldn’t have a place in Atlanta music history. The early nineties was my inception and DJ Smurf (Mr. Colli Park) was killing the mixtape game during that period. Technical dude with precision on the turn tables…a scratch beast, the second coming of DJ Toomp and DJ Mann. Well I sat down with my old nemesis to reflect and celebrate his influential new role in the music game.

Q: How did you start doing what you do?
I think I was in the 7th or 8th grade at a house party when I heard Throw The D, the dirty version.  The song already had me throwed because I had never heard lyrics like that over a track like that. When it got to the end where Mr. Mixx started scratching all those old comedy record parts I knew then I was gonna become a dj.

I don’t know where I was when I heard Magic Mike Cuts the record, but that record showed me the power of a dj by himself.  No rapper. Just a beat machine and two turntables.  I think I started looking at djing in a bigger light when Magic Mike dropped that lp.

As a producer I have to put two tracks that most influenced my sound. Back That Ass Up and Drop It Like It’s Hot. Mannie Fresh had such an impact with that track at the time which is around the time I did Whistle While You Twurk.  Pharrell did the Snoop record which is what made me go in the studio and do Wait (The Whisper Song).

Q: What is your favorite piece of gear?
Right now I’m starting all over as a producer so I am trying to get familiar with all the software that is out there.  I’m not comfortable enough with anything to say I have a favorite.  The new Ying Yang single “Make It Jump” is the first track I did on Ableton Live while trying to figure out how to work it.  I still have the MPC synced up to everything as a go to tool.

Q: What can we expect next from you?
I am in the process of trying to reintroduce my sound to the world.  Everything that I hear at 97-104 bpm now is recycled. I want to be responsible for bringing something new to the Twerk sound that I think I invented with Ying Yang Twins so be on the lookout for a whole lot of Twerk music coming from me as a producer.

who_am_i_ke

There is a new wave of production talent that has dominating urban and pop radio in this new millennium that you have to give props to. K.E. took time out to enlighten me on his contributions to the new sound that isnt Motown but Youtube and Spotify ready! Peep out the technique.

Q: How did you start doing what you do?
6 years ago my old neighbor, who was an artist, had a keyboard for producers to come and make beats on. I went there for the first time , made a beat and he gave me $300 for it. thats when i decided i wanted to be a producer.

Q: Name 3 tracks that inspired you.
Jay-z – The Watch
H-town – Knockin the Boots
Kanye West – Thru The Wire

Q: What would be your advice to up and coming creatives?
Never stop working cause hard work always pays off

Q: What is your favorite piece of gear?
FL Studio

Q: What can we expect next from you?
New Twista Single, new single featuring Juicy J, Ludacris, and Jeezy called Double cup, new single from Future called Regular Party, and more records with Rick Ross, Kirko Bangs, Rocko, etc…

Follow K.E. on Twitter!

who_am_i_bo

For the eleventh episode of our mini interview series titled “Who Am I?” we we’re able to get one of the hardest working and fresh sounding producers around Atlanta and the southern rap scene at the moment. But we will let him tell you guys who he is:

Q: How did you start doing what you do?
I got started making little blend tapes in the style of what you (Jelly) & Oomp Camp were putting out when I was in high school. from there I got a job at a mom & pop cd store named Super Sounds and worked retail there for a few years. That eventually led me into putting out real tapes with exclusives and I began building relationships with local artists. After putting out tapes for a few years I fell out of love with rap and decided that I wanted to be a part of the change in hip hop. I took a year off & started teaching myself how to make beats. I’d make 3-4 tracks a day no matter how good or bad they sounded. A lot of them were bad at first but after a while I caught the hang of it and at the end of that year I finally started letting artists hear my beats and it just took off from there.

Q: Name 3 tracks that inspired you.
Juvenile – 400 Degreez (Entire Album). I know you said track but this was really the first full album that I got a chance to dig into and vibe with. the live instrumentation mixed with mannie fresh’s hard drums was something completely foreign to my ears. I remember throwing that album on and letting it ride from front to back so many times. I believe thats why I’ve had a tendency to make full projects as opposed to chasing singles like most of the industry.

Young Bleed ft. Master P & C-Loc – How Ya Do That There – Happy Perez’s west coast flavored production on here was really my first taste of what I later found out to be known as G Funk. that sine lead, choppy moog bass line & sample hit fit together perfect. From here I back tracked and found out about the Chronic and more importantly George Clinton & Funkadelic. I owe a lot of my sound to them.

Outkast – ATLiens – I can vividly remember hearing this record on the radio for the first time and thinking “what the hell is this?” Earthtone III created something completely foreign to the ear yet it still felt so familiar. The simplicity of the bass line, haunting organ & the clean rim shot snare were a match made in heaven. They laid the perfect backdrop for the record without overshadowing the lyrics. I think a lot of production now is so over blown because the raps really wouldn’t hold up by themselves on a record as sparse as ATLiens was. Dungeon Family & Organized Noize also had a huge influence on the style of music I make today.

[read more...]