Producer Spotlight:Doc Da Mindbenda

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Doc is an Illinois native that’s been holding the boards down for some time now. He has a laundry list of credits that include: Vic Spencer, Hus Kingpin, Rozewood and JuneLyfe among many. He has fully produced many projects as well, including 3 works with Sulaiman and the spectacular new EP with WateRR ‘Chinese Water Torture’. He works in many tempos, giving you a little something different every time out while staying true to his soulful base. We touch on some of these projects, gear, as well as mixing for a group that would spawn some superstars.

 

RD: You were a part of the Save Money project that dropped in 2014, which spawned some future stars in Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa and Thelonious Martin. What can you tell us about that time in Chicago hip hop? Being apart of the foundation of some very influential music.

DMB: Just to be clear, I was never apart of Save Money. I worked with those guys early mostly as an engineer. The one relationship that did come from that was Vic Spencer, this was around 2011. At that time, I was trying to work with as many people as I could to build my clientele. Made several friendships that last to this day. The city was booming from 2011-2014, didn’t realize it at the time but it was a very creative time.

RD: Your most famous production to date is ‘Jungle Gym’, the now-infamous posse cut with Vic, Sean Price and Illa Ghee. Did you feel that was going to be something special when you and Vic laid it down?

DMB: I would consider that to be my favorite record for several reasons. Vic let me know he was going to NY to build with Sean, needless to say Sean P is one of the Gods. Gave Vic a few beats to take with him. I’m chillin in the lab one night, BOOM, get the email…2 records are in it; Distorted Views and Jungle Gym. Played those joints all night. Hit Vic up like ‘Yooo!’ He said Sean liked my beats, that solidified it for me.

RD: Outside of your Chicago brethren, you’ve also done records for New Yorkers Hus Kingpin and Rozewood, as well as Mass’ own JuneLyfe. Talk to us about the comfort level you have to have when working, and how willing you are to shop the work around. The process seems to vary quite a bit depending on who you ask.

DMB: At the time Hus and Roze were managed by Jazz, who is fam with my manager Jonnie Smallz. They basically put us in tune with each other. I was able to link Vic and Hus from there. As far as shopping work, I tend to stay away from that. It works for some, but I prefer to build with artists from the ground up. Prefer to produce whole pieces of work as opposed to a placement here and there. Of course the right placement can bring good things too.

RD: Between countless productions and a technical credit for Spencer For Higher, it’s safe to say you have a strong bond with Vic. Did this stem from the Save Money days?

DMB: Me and him are the same age, when he was catching all types of shit from people who don’t even rap anymore for being ‘old’ and all that. I took offense to it just the same. He reminds me of my homies back in Waukegan when we was coming into this rap shit. We have the same work ethic. Since Walk Away Music I’ve had a hand in most of his works. I take a certain pride in it as well, as all engineers and producers should with an artist they believe in.

RD: Since you got some years in this game, I wanted to get your view on technological advances in gear. How much has your setup changed over the past 5+ years?

DMB: I was very stubborn in my earlier days, hardware only. My old machine was the Roland MC 909, which died on me around 2013. A friend came through the studio one day with a Maschine, was sold on it when I saw the workflow. Things that once took me hours could now be done practically in seconds. I’m on the Maschine MK3 now.

RD: Your latest body of work is Chinese Water Torture with the outstanding WateRR. It’s available in a very unique cassette presentation.

DMB: WateRR is another Chicago artist that is super dope. For me, a rapper’s voice is crucial to the overall sound. His voice grabs your attention immediately. Top that with flow and word play, and it’s a no-brainer for me. The cassette was his idea, he reached out to Trevor Lang for the limited edition tapes.

RD: You have worked with some other newer talent as well, including Dunbar and Exclusive. What can you say about these guys for the uninitiated? What drew you to work with them?

DMB: Exclusive and Johnny Gunnz are my personal homies, been making music with them for years. I feel they need a better platform to get their shine, just doing what I can to make that happen. Gunnz is straight grimey, head knocking shit. Exclusive has a wide range of skills. As for Dunbar, I’m a big battle rap fan. I tune into HipHopIsReal on YouTube for interviews and all that. They played this joint 96 Bulls from Dunbar, after that reached out to them on some random shit. They liked a couple beats I sent. Come to find out, they work with Jazz too. So the universe made that happen again.

RD: The standard ?, your prepping a Doc Da Mindbenda producer album. Who are the first 5 calls to get it started?

DMB: Chris $pencer, Sulaiman, Exclusive, Johnny Gunnz and Dunbar.

Follow Doc on IG and twitter @docdamindbenda

Chinese Water Torture cassettes can be found on Trevor’s bandcamp

https://iamtrevorlang.bandcamp.com/album/chinese-waterr-torture

Nightworks- The Beat Will Always Save Us Vol. 1

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Nightworks (VA) – The Beat Will Always Save Us Vol. 1
Dome of Doom
December 7, 2018
In the cross-section between hip-hop and electronic lies the beat movement, first harnessed through Los Angeles with a multitude of icons and rising artists. Now that the network is solidified into music history, a new wave of producers has sprung life, with Rah Zen channeling this essence through his community in Boston. Initiated in part by Los Angeles based label Dome of Doom last year with his debut LP Midnight Satori, Rah Zen would create the Nightworks event to further expand on his first album, the ethos of Low End Theory, and an eclectic field of minds that made the movement vibrate with creativity and an openness for exploration. The events are a multi-dimensional experience, including visual projections and art installations. With Midnight Satori full of raw emotion and uncompromising vision, he looked to bring that level of passion and honest perspective to an event that would bolster many people in his region. In many ways, it gives back to the people that shaped his sound and ignites a new sense of growth for those stepping forward in that process. Nightworks has grown considerably over the last 12 months, with a dedicated following and headliners that include Jeremiah Jae, Dibia$e, Elaquent, and more.
Celebrating Nightworks’ one year anniversary, Rah Zen has put together a compilation to showcase the talent that has shaped the monthly event and give the world a window into their path. Titled The Beat Will Always Save Us and scheduled for release on Dome of Doom, December 7th, the album buzzes into the speakers with warmth, vibrancy, and eclectic flavors. Each track flows into the next, expertly curated for a consistent listen from front to back. Primarily instrumental and heavily leaning on the foundations of hip-hop beats, there’s a distinct level of originality that permeates throughout. This isn’t just a rehashing of past producers but is an evolution of the ethos that pushed this movement forward. The record will be exclusively released through Bandcamp, with a limited edition cassette offered beyond the digital version. Boston is now officially on the beat scene map and The Beat Will Always Save Us is the first definitive look at this expansion.
The compilation is a Bandcamp exclusive, with order options here:
Track Listing
  1. Inspektah – One4Sergio
  2. Brainorchestra. – Visualshit
  3. Wowflower – Super Calm Snake
  4. Kadeem – been here before
  5. Mohdalsoul – Livin ft. Sicwest
  6. Jansport J – white
  7. Foisey – SpiritGlitch.
  8. Rah Zen x Brainorchestra x Foisey – Triangle Offense
  9. MAJXR – TU FITTY SVN
  10. EMV – For The Win
  11. DJ Manipulator – PLAYDISATNIGHT
  12. Jonathan Cloud – Life & Death
  13. Billy Loman – Wave Pack x K.O.
  14. Paranom x Rah Zen – Triiiple Focus
  15. Dibia$e – WISDOM
  16. Grubby Pawz – Brain on Drugs
  17. Wowflower – kotocuddle
  18. LDER Fka Hollowz – [e]LDER
  19. Dephrase x Dibia$e – Clear Spirit
  20. Lightfoot – Call You Back
  21. Elaquent – Azure
  22. Won Pound – tall grass
  23. Vinyl Villain – illvibe // whnthelstime
  24. EvillDewer – Transcendental
  25. Ewonee. – Resolution
  26. Jenova 7 – Together
  27. RAYEL – Unconditional
  28. MentPlus – AS THEY SLEEP
  29. Selfserv – Meals On Mars
  30. Selfserv – Delay Parade
  31. Sloe Rise – Stoop Talk
  32. Big Wave feat. Rah Zen – Dopamine
  33. MentPlus – PURP
  34. Won Pound – crossed up
  35. Rah Zen – Amen Rah

Producer Spotlight: Farma Beats

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Today we celebrate a veteran producer who is as active as he has ever been; Britain’s very own Farma G. He is one-half of Task Force, and has become one of the most sought-after producers in the American underground. His work on Rome Streetz’ Street Farmacy impressed many, with some listeners calling it Album of the Year. The praise didn’t slow him up one bit, as he continued to release projects with Chuck N Lock, Mooch and Tylisha Haskins. Here’s what he had to say for himself.

RD: You’re not new to this, you’re true to this. As a member of the highly respected Task Force, what can you tell American listeners about the mid-late 90’s UK scene?

FB: The UK has always had a great hip hop scene, but around the turn of the millennium there was a shift and the interest was becoming more international. Many of us started to travel all over the globe to perform. We had a golden age over here around 2000-2006 ish, with great artists like Ricochet Klashnekoff/Jehst/SkinnyMan/Rodney P/Broke N English and Fallacy to name a few. The scene died down a little bit, but we had a resurgence in the past few years with guys like Lee Scott/Jam Baxter/Black Josh/Children of Zeus etc. We also have the ‘road’ rap thing going on over here which is hugely successful, seeing artists like Giggs collaborating with Drake and Swizz Beatz. We got the ‘drill’ thing, grime is huge and become a more mainstream phenomenon with artists like Stormzy headlining the famous Glastonbury Festival next year. The foundations are solid.

RD: Outside of your partner Chester P, who were some of your favorite collaborators in the first phase of your career?

FB: To be honest, as rappers we were not feeling anybody from over here like that! We had our own lane and didn’t really want or need to make affiliations or connections with any of the other artists. We knew a lot of them personally and shit was all good, but when it came to Task Force music it was just me and Chesta. We had a track with Jehst, one with Kashmere but that was about it.

RD: In 2017 Tha God Fahim and Mach-Hommy reached out to you for two tracks for their collaborative effort Dollar Menu 3. How did you link with them? Would it be fair to say those placements led to more opportunities with American emcees?

FB: In my opinion Mach-Hommy is one of the modern day greats, I heard his HBO album and from the first track I knew it was special. At that time I discovered Daniel Son and Giallo Point’s Remo Gaggi  and it blew my mind! Then I discovered that Giallo was from over here and started speaking with him about what he was doing musically. After that, it felt like I had been hit with some kind of God energy because I suddenly felt like I had found my path. I found an email address for Mach and sent him like 100 beats, then never heard from him! Months later, he sent me ‘Niggarati Manor’ and left instructions to post it on my Soundcloud page and say it was produced by Farmabeats. At this time I had no formal production name, I was just known as Farma. So I posted the track and the rest is history. FarmaBeats was born. I started approaching emcees that I liked and sent them beats, and because of the Mach affiliation was also getting approached directly for work. I will always have Mach and Giallo to thank for those two career defining moments that changed my direction from being an aging UK rapper to international hip hop producer!

RD: Earlier this year you released The Sentimental Alien, a producer album with a wide array of guests. What went into the creation of the album and the selection of the guests?

FB: The album was conceived over a few long nights looping up old South American samples, I knew I didn’t want to use any drums at all and had already picked the title. I felt nostalgic about the beauty of the music, and picked artists that would be able to compliment the music with their diverse skills. I never really liked UK/US emcee collaboration tracks, personally don’t think it works very well. So I decided to make it a US track alternating after a UK one, then the listener can just flick throught the tracks they didn’t check for.

RD: You continued on a torrid pace throughout the entire year, would you say it was your busiest to date?

FB: Production wise, yes. I have been stacking beats for almost a decade and only ever really shared them with one person, so many of what you are hearing are older and only needed a tweak here and there to bring them up to date. The learning curve for myself was all about the mixing and arranging music at a much faster rate to what I had been used to in the past. The FarmaBeats vaults are a little bit bare at the moment so I am stacking up beats getting ready for the new year.

RD: Let’s talk about Street Farmacy with Rome Streetz, to say it was met with much acclaim would be selling it short. Did it feel special during the recording process? How early did you realize there was a certain chemistry happening?

FB: I have said this publicly since the very first time I stumbled across Rome’s work…ROME STREETZ IS THE ILLEST! My introduction was through YouTube, one of his videos came up as suggesting viewing, clicked on it and went from there. We spoke, I send beats, asked for a track for my Sentimental Alien project which in turn produced ‘Jimmy Jump’. Flipped after hearing that, we spoke again and agreed to try to make an album together. The chemistry was immediate for us both, I make raw, simple tracks for emcees and that’s what I’ve been doing for nearly 20 years. Rome is a pro, he didn’t need any encouragement or instructions. Really appreciated the amount of time and thought he put into the whole project, even the title. Street Pharmacy was not the most original title, but with the twist of using both of our names with the adjusted spelling was some genius shit. Just before it was released, I started having massive bouts of self-doubt and became very nervous as to how it would be received. My joy at the response is immeasurable.

RD: Chuck N Lock are local boys for us, it was dope to see you work with them on a project. What can you tell us about working with them?

FB: They are great, working with those guys was so chilled and relaxed, I like how they work. They had a very good idea of what they wanted to do and how they wanted everything to sound, which I always appreciate in an artist. Having a vision of what you are trying to achieve is a major plus and makes my job much more enjoyable. I like their approach to writing lyrics, it’s not dissimilar to my own writing. I think the EP was a very strong release and hope that we work together again sometime in the future.

RD: You are the most seasoned producer we’ve had the pleasure of building with, you’ve seen a number of technological advances in your time. Can you talk about how your setup has evolved? What’s the one piece of gear you’d bring back to the 90s?

FB: I have always been an MPC head, so whatever I’m using it has to have 16 pads! I learned to sample on an Akai 950 with a Tascam 4 track, learned how to use an Akai MPC 60, and them moved on to the MPC 2000. Currently sit proudly with my Maschine MK3, which after a red wine spill has lost some function. I have been a Native Instruments Maschine user since the MK1. It does everything needed, my production is not layers and layers of sounds and effects, it’s not a sample chopped into 1000 bits. For the majority of the time it is a sample, chopped and looped with some drums underneath it…that’s it! That is core FarmaBeats, so I am happy with the Maschine but would not take it back to the 90’s. Learning to chop on the MPC 60 without seeing the sample was an invaluable lesson. Everything is good where it is.

RD: You had the unique distinction of producing a project with your own son, that has to be a very rewarding experience.

FB: It was something I wanted to do for years but I think he was embarrassed to be on a track with me hahaha. Honestly, Remus is so gifted and talented and he never stops writing and making songs. Farma & Son Est 92 was something I wanted to put out so badly, pretty much had to drag it into existence. We have been making music together since he was 9, and is now 25. He is an amazing person, he is kind, caring and loves his life and I am eternally grateful for being blessed with his presence on this Earth. The making of the EP was a beautiful and heartwarming experience that brought us closer together and made the father-and-son bond that much stronger.

RD: What can fans expect in 2019? Are your plans mapped out well ahead of time, or on a more case-by-base basis?

FB: Myself and WateRR have an EP called ‘Harvest Season’ that’s waiting to go. Uncle John just finished his Lyrical Assassin 4 project, which is insane! I am working on a project with a guy called Nomad Carlos, as well as with Prozay. Spoke to Rome about Street Farmacy 2 and that has the green light. Most exciting thing for me is a project that myself and Hobgoblin are producing together called The 7 Deadly Sins which has a theme. Each sin consists of 3 emcees over 3 different beats for 16 bars, so in all it will have 21 emcees over 21 beats! That is in the early stages, but I feel it will be ready sometime in 2019. Got a heap of other shit cooking, but those are projects that are definitely on the way.

We’d like to thank Farma for taking the time, and wish him well on all future endeavors. He is a class act and a true talent.

His Bandcamp is here https://farmabeats.bandcamp.com

His @ on twitter and IG is farmabeats

Producer Spotlight: Eddie Word

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Today we are highlighting a man who wears a few hats, Eddie Word of Corrigendum Radio. He runs a podcast that features some of the latest underground heaters, as well as reporting hip hop news and giving his own take on things. He also doubles as a producer, having just laced Hus Kingpin’s Wavo EP (the sultry ‘Clouds’) and dropping two instrumental tapes over the past year. Eddie’s a hard worker and a good dude, you need Corrigendum on your Mixcloud list as soon as you finish reading this piece.

RD: Let’s start with Corrigendum, how does the song selection work? Do you take submissions, or select favorites from your personal library?

EW:  I do accept submissions, at least half or more of what’s played on Corrigendum Radio comes from artists sending tracks. The rest are personally picked, or recommended by others.

RD: How hard is it to keep plays up while playing lesser known artists?

EW: It’s a challenge. Everyone wants to partake in popular music to be seen and heard. I’ve never been a clout chaser, I’ve always root for the underdogs. With Corrigendum Radio, I try to give a platform to emcees who wouldn’t get airplay on mainstream radio. I’m more willing to play someone unknown to give them a chance to be heard than someone well known.

RD: Talk to us about the ups and downs of maintaining the station, is it a constant grind if you want to air on a consistent basis?

EW: It’s not easy maintaining the show. I’ve had times where there were delays from blackouts, slow internet connectivity, equipment malfunction, etc. There’s always a situation you have to deal with so you have to be prepared at all times. It is a constant grind; the best way to not fall off is to keep going no matter what happens.

RD: What are some of the rewards?

EW: The most rewarding thing that’s happened since the launch of Corrigendum Radio is the love from the artists and producers that have been played on the shows. Also befriending Nick “Fadeaway Barber” Gauder he’s a genuine Hip Hop head, and like a brother to me. That’s why I do it. Hip Hop isn’t just a culture, it’s a community. I can only keep the show going if the community backs what I’m doing. The other reward was connecting with K.Burns his work ethic is unmatched, always creating. Him adding me to Team Fame Music Group for production has been one of the most humbling moments in my career.

RD: There’s a lot of talk about today’s underground scene being a renaissance of sorts, what’s your take on the landscape of underground hip hop?

EW: I grew up during the Golden Era, and today’s scene is very much reminiscent of that time in Hip Hop. It amazes me how a good amount of these emcees and beat makers who were possibly too young to comprehend the music I listened to, have been able to emulate and execute the sound the way they have.  I believe that 2018 is one for the books. I’m a fan of music first, I’m enjoying this moment in Hip Hop like it was 1994 all over again.

RD: What radio DJ’s/personalities influenced you? Who did you rock with growing up?

EW: As far as DJs and radio personalities go, there’s too many to name. Being from the Bay Area, of course listening to Sway & King Tech on The Wake Up show was the ultimate for me. Shout out to Sway for representing Oakland and Hip Hop all of these years. Of course Fab Five Freddy, Ed Lover & Dr. Dre, Funk Flex, Kid Capri, Julio G, Chuy Gomez, Big Von, Kay Slay, Greg Mack, Mr. Magic, World’s Famous Supreme Team, etc.

RD: You just landed a placement on Hus Kingpin’s WAVO EP, how long have you been on the boards?

EW: I appreciate that. I’ve received a lot of great feedback on the track. Shout out to Wavo for taking a chance on that joint. I started around 2000, but back then it was just a hobby I had between school and work. In 2005 I knew this is what I wanted to do, so I practiced for 3 years then got into it seriously during the SoundClick & MySpace era. Remember that?

RD: What pieces of gear did you start on, and how has your setup changed with time and technology?

EW: My setup has evolved tremendously. I started off in ‘94 making loops off a boombox with the dual cassette decks. We used to call that “dubbing”. Then after high school I got my hands on a 4-track recorder & Alesis SR-16. Had a few keyboards, until I got a bootleg version of FL Studio & Cool Edit Pro that everyone had at the time. From there I’ve been all DAW in my production,using ProTools more. I mainly use M-Audio products: M‑Track 2X2 interface for portability, an Axiom Air Mini 32 keyboard, BX5 speakers, Uber Mic, a few external hard drives, and an Audio Technica LP60 turntable for ripping samples from vinyl. I still choose to use samples because it’s probably the best instrument to use without playing the same old chords.

RD: You just dropped an instrumental tape, ‘Fine Arts’, what can listeners expect from it?

EW: Fine Arts is a small EP that I put out to show people I can touch other genres, and still make it Hip Hop. I listen to Classical music a lot. Last year after I release my debut King Tides, I wanted to switch it up a bit. So I made a small batch of beats with classical samples that have a boombap feel to it. I might do a longer version with more of the joints from that session in the future.

RD: What’s your ultimate goal for both Corrigendum and your production career?

EW: My ultimate goal with Corrigendum Radio is to expand it out to other outlets both online and airwave. Get more artists heard, hopefully break some world premiere tracks, and have more people to hear what they consider “the underground” has to say. As far as being a music producer goes, I just want make as many good beats as I can, and get them to those who will go beast mode on them. Eventually I’d like to work with some of the greats, but right now working with people, building something and being a part of it is where it’s at for me right now.

RD: The standard! An Eddie Word album just got green lit, who are the first 5 calls you make?

EW: Wow, that’s a good question… One of my first calls would be to an accountant to make sure all of my finances are straight. Then to my fiancée if she’s not right there at the moment because she’s held me down throughout my process. My parents, my brother, and a conference call to those I want involved in the project.

You can find Eddie on Mixcloud https://www.mixcloud.com/CorrigendumRadio/

Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/eddiewordmusic

@eddiewordmusic on IG and twitter