Artist Spotlight: DNTE (of FalconCrest)

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Today we catch up with DNTE from FalconCrest, one of our favorite duos in hip hop. After combing with his partner FalconOutlaw for a number of releases, DNTE ventured out on his own for his solo debut Crystal Pianos. He managed to keep a distinct sound while using various producers on the project, and it comes with some stunning videos. Here he talks about High Heat Records, the album and what else he has coming in the future.

RD: You are one half of the group FalconCrest, and have since started High Heat Records. Can you break down the roster?

D: Falconcrest (which is myself and FalconOutlaw), Smokeshop, TheRealSkitso, DrkTheLegend & Wyze Wonda.

RD: FalconCrest has built a strong reputation with one producer projects such as Valhalla Inn with Camo Monk and Red Rose Motel with Giallo Point. What can listeners expect from the next offering?

D: My PNC FalconOutlaw is dropping his solo project at the end of the year with an incredible producer name Wolfgram. DrkTheLegend is a HighHeat producer that’s currently working on his album as well as our producer/emcee TheRealSkitso got something dropping this year. Early 2020 FalconCrest will be dropping a collab project with DirtyDiggs.

RD: Let’s get into the new solo, Crystal Pianos. This contains many producers, how did recording this differ from doing a FC project? Both from a writing and beat selection standpoint.

D: In the middle of the Valhalla Inn project with Camoflauge Monk I began working on Crystal Pianos. I recorded about 50 tracks for this album, just contacting producers and emcees that would fit this project. People send us beats everyday and I would actually write to most of them, so the writing process has never changed.

RD: The video for MK Ultra is special, using unique lighting techniques to create a one of a kind visual. Talk about the planning behind the shoot, and your thoughts on how it came it be.

D: I got hooked on this weed strain called MK Ultra, while I was working on some beats at 4am. I came across this trippy sound and kept vibing to it so I called it MK Ultra. The next day I recorded the track and sent it to my creative director TrayStarks. He came up with this psychedelic concept with trippy lights in a dark room and the visuals just came out perfect.

RD: What is your ultimate goal for High Heat?

D: I just want my team to be successful.

RD: Toronto has seen a big representation in this market, with a number of noteworthy artists repping the city. Do you feel like that is paying off, or is there more ground to gain?

D: There is more work to be done in this city. We need more outlets, we need more support, we need to stick together and stop hating each other.

RD: You seem to have made big in-roads with some upstate New York artists, how important has networking been at this stage in your career?

D: Everyone I hooked up with across the border is family to me. I can’t cross the border yet, still waiting on a few things but whenever my upstate family comes to Toronto to check me, I make sure I take care of them, whatever they need I got them.

RD: Currently there are videos for MK Ultra and Washing Machine, plans for any more?

D: We got a few more videos in the works, can’t really let the cat out of the bag yet, but expect a few more videos dropping from Crystal Pianos.

RD: What does the rest of the year hold for yourself as well as High Heat?

D: Just keep striving for greatness and making sure my team is strong.

RD: Shouts?

D: Wanna give a big s/o to my HighHeat Records team, Jerry Graham, Mo, Chris & Alex from Siempre Tequila and all the artists and producers that helped me made Crystal Pianos.

Check out MK Ultra’s outstanding visuals here

 

Cop Crystal Pianos here https://dntecouture.bandcamp.com/releases

Cop FalconCrest music here https://falconcrest.bandcamp.com

Check out the High Heat family of artists https://highheatrecords.bandcamp.com

 

Artist Spotlight: SCVTTERBRVIN

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We recently had a chance to catch up with SCVTTERBRAIN, owner of Red Lotus Klan which has pressed cassettes for Tha God Fahim, Falconcrest, Sleep Sinatra and many others. He produces as well as raps, the latter recently showcased in his latest release Purgatory Heaven, a standout piece of work that is fully produced by Revenxnt. Please follow the links below the article to check some of his along with the label’s material out.

RD: Your catalog goes back to 2009, what do feel the biggest difference is between your early works and Purgatory Heaven?

SB: Everything is higher quality. I’m creating with the same aesthetic but I’m sharper now. I’ve just been refining my recipe. I’m a student of the game so it’s an endless quest to keep learning and improving.

RD: What came first, producing or rapping?

SB: I was a producer first. I started making beats on my PlayStation in 2000. Around 2007 I quit producing and started writing raps after I drank some mescaline.

RD: Red Lotus Klan is one of the most reputed labels in the underground, can you walk us through the genesis of the company and what it represents?

SB: The Red Lotus represents growing out of the dirt and mud as something beautiful. Started as a west coast rap art experiment group and expanded into a brand doing clothing and helping release music for other artists I respect.

RD: Why cassettes?

SB: I’m from the tape era. I grew up buying cassettes and making little mixes for my Walkman. I was selling beat tapes in 2001.

RD: There has been some talk of a cassette bubble, with a few noted companies ceasing operations on that format. Do you agree? What do you think about the future holds for tapes?

SB: At one point there was a tape label popping up every weekend. I can’t speak for anybody else but I’m always going to be pushing tapes. I think the value on all physical forms of music is going to continue rising for independent artists as long as the quality is there.

RD: Does emotion get in the way during decisions on what gets pressed up? Is it difficult to pass on a title that you love, but may not be great for business?

SB: If I think it’s really dope I’ll press it up. I like working with new artists that may not have had any tapes before. I was the first one to press tapes for Tha God Fahim, Camoflauge Monk, Sadhugold and a few others. It’s more about getting good music in physical form to the audience than making money.

RD: Lets talk about the new EP Purgatory Heaven. You reached out to Jersey’s own Revenxnt to produce it. As a producer yourself, what qualities are you looking for in a collaborator?

SB: Hard drums, dusty samples and good sequencing. I heard Revenxnt’s beats and got inspired instantly. I recorded all the songs in a week and dropped it the next month. Shout out to Ral Duke for the art work too.

RD: If you could lock in with any producer for your next project, who would it be?

SB: Adrian Younge without a doubt. He’s the GOAT.

RD: We recently got to meet some San Diego artists who were touring with Eto for his recent tour. Do you feel there is a scene emerging there? Or has there always been?

SB: Hell yeah. There’s always been some dope shit going on out there. San Diego has a lot of talent and RLK is definitely trying to help get the city heard more. Our last tape release was a project called YAMMS by Dre Trav and Talldrk out of San Diego.

RD: What does the future hold for both yourself as an artist and RLK as a company?

SB: I’m going to continue dropping these albums like acid and I’m also trying to produce for a lot more artists too. The next RLK tape release is going to be from San Diego artist Aki Kharmicel with his new EP LuxuryBandAide that I fully produced. Stay tuned in with the Klan. The best is yet to come.

RD: Shouts?

SB: Shout out RLK, MDR, DTM, Masters of The Universe and Thank you to the Respect Due Podcast for giving a spotlight to upcoming artists and taking the time to talk with me. Peace!

Follow him on Twitter and IG @SCVTTERBRVIN

Red Lotus Klan website https://redlotusklan.com

RLK Bandcamp https://redlotusklan.bandcamp.com

 

Producer Spotlight: Ecto84

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Passion is a base requirement to get anything done on the independent music scene. You often do collabs for free, often have to wait for promised payments, and travel far for very little pay if your a performer. It just comes with the territory. Thankfully for today’s guest, he has passion in spades. Ecto is proud of each placement and look he gets while building his brand in his own way. In this piece he gives us a detailed background about his history, current situation and future plans.

RD: You hail from South Bend, Indiana. What can you say about growing up there and how it shaped you as both a listener and artist?

Ecto: South Bend is not too much different from any hood you grow up in. I did most the regular hood shit you hear about. I played the corner, been shot at, shot at people, lost enough of my friends to the streets. Without going into detail, it’s bullshit out here if you’re looking for it. It’s been crazy and it’s getting worst. I do my best to stay out the way, but you can’t be afraid to come outside.
I’m married with four kids, I work and do my best to make time for music. So I’m doing what I’m doing to get away from the hood and provide a better way for my family. Musically, the scene has never been my thing. I’ve always been into that Roc-A-Fella/ Dipset type of street music. Around here, most the music either sounds like some down south shit, or some Drill type Chicago shit. So I pretty much tuned out of my local scene. Everyone around here seems to be aiming in the same direction, sonically. I’ve been making the same kind of beats y’all have been hearing from me since I was 15. When I was active on my local music scene, I did my best to work with local talent. After all this time living here, I’ve barely heard most of my beats come back as a finished song or get released. I used to record and work with friends I grew up with. I tried to get people on it, just never got the result I wanted and for that reason, I stopped completely making music. Until I found this underground scene. Catching up to the whole GRISELDA movement and the new wave of talent that’s out here got me inspired to get back to it! The sound is so dope right now! I was mostly intrigued by the independent market and the way physicals are giving artists actually control of their music and audience. I also gotta give credit to my older brothers on having me in tune with the right music. I grew up that whole late mid 90s/early 2000s era. Music was exciting back then. From Death Row, Wu-Tang, No Limit, Def Jam, Loud Records, Swisha House. I can name them all, but for the sake of the write up, everything back then was golden! That’s what influenced me to be who I am.

RD: Is there any local scene to speak of there?

Ecto: Yea, it’s people out here doing they thing. It’s definitely a scene. A few artists from here really got a good following in the city, which is important to any movement. Some cats made it out with music. I salute anybody that do make it out of here. It’s mostly
the typical sound I’m tired of. I’m still connected with certain guys I grew up with and trying to carve the lane for anyone I feel is DOPE enough to get heard. For now, I really don’t do local music. I’m in tune with what crafted me to get here. So I wish everyone in my city the best of luck to their grind, but I’m on my own grind! Self made from the bottom up! I built everything you see on my pages independently. All I’m focused
on is GHXSTRVPPERS. My city not really on it yet, and I’m not forcing my music on no one. I didn’t even promote it locally. I put my music where I knew my target audience was and built a organic following. That fake support is all you get out the city. I’d rather not have someone buy my CD for $5 just to never listen to it. So anybody that’s actually fucking with the music is strictly fucking with it because they like the music, not because they know me.

RD: Ghostbusters is a very common theme throughout your beat tape catalog and new project The Destructor, what is it about that film that inspired you so much?

Ecto: I’ve always been a fan of Ghostbusters! It’s something I grew up on as a kid that I never let go. Anybody that knows me for real will tell you off top, I’m a GHOSTBUSTERS FAN! The originality of the film itself has never been duplicated. Ghostbusters 1 & 2 are stand alone films. They remake movies 10 times over. Even though they finally did a remake, it still will never be better than the original films and cast. I’ve always seen dope art in the scenes of it. So to be able to use it and show people the art I see within it, it’s exciting for me to work on. I simply took something I loved and combined it with something I love doing. All of my personal releases, will always be Ghostbusters themed (for now). I have a lot more in store for the brand. But I will do other projects that aren’t Ghostbusters themed. That’s just for my personal catalog. I’ve been on this Ghostbusters shit with the clothes and all that. My intention isn’t to bite the movie, but it’s a HUGE influence to me in my life as a fan. So what better way to share it? Nobody else gonna do anything like this with it so I had to be the one!

RD: Many know of you through your affiliation with Team Fame Music Group, how did that affiliation happen?

Ecto: I started my page June of last year. Before then, I was a fan for a year and half or so. I was studying the underground scene and loving the sound! Really was more intrigued when I saw how people were independently pushing vinyls and cassettes. So I
would be at work checkin Calmlysmk2, Paka, Sun Tzu, UnknownFear, and all the underground YouTube channels looking for new music to bump. So I was a fan of K. Burns, Mak P, Lord Juco, Haze, Chuck n Lock, Talaj, Sleep Sinatra, Jay NiCE, Rome Streetz,
Tha God Fahim, a lot of the new talent I’m hearing. So when I started my pages on Instagram and Twitter, I just followed everyone I wanted to work with. Some of
them would follow me back. One day, I saw Mak P started following me. I didn’t know he had a Instagram because when I first heard his music, I couldn’t find anything but 3 songs off Calmlysmk2 page. So when he found me first, that shit blew my mind! So he would like the posts and kept up with the page. One day, he finally hit me up on Twitter and said he was doing a project and liked my sound and wanted to know if I would be
down to work so I sent what I had. From there, Burns hit me up and offered to opportunity to join THE GVNG and the rest is what’s gonna happen next… HISTORY! Our connection is organic and deeper than music.

Everyone in Team Fame Music Group is family now. We keep in touch often as possible since we’re all spread out. The way we’ve all linked up at a time like this was destined the stars aligning as they should. The funny thing is that my oldest brother was always telling me about his wife’s cousin doing music and how we should link up. I never pursued because I was falling back from music at the time. The same dude he was trying link me with then, was already a Team Fame GVNG member when it first got it started. It was just meant to be. We linked without even knowing that. Shots out to K. Burns, Mak P, Fetty, Eddie Word, 318 Cha$e, my cuzo Troy’ce & everyone that GENUINELY ROCKS WITH US!

RD: You recently produced Pieces of Eight for Chuck N Lock, talk about working with those guys and your thoughts on the final product.

Ecto: Aw man, those guys are so fucking dope! As I said, I was a fan of their music before I hit the scene. They hit me up one day and asked if I would be interested in working and without a doubt, we started building. Took a while to get the full production for it. I just sent anything new until they had what they wanted. It was most definitely a vibe they were going for with the sound of the tape. They brought a different vibe out of me for that tape. I love the concept they came up with, and the best part about working
with them is they were patient, professional, and consistent. It was truly an honor to have that project turn out the way it did. It was slated to drop April Fool’s Day, but we all know the tragic event the day before shifted the energy in the game. Losing Nipsey Hussle the day before it was released was heartbreaking on another level. Made it hard to push or even enjoy when we were all in mourning. I’m still happy with the overall results of the tape. Also extremely excited to see those guys getting more shine! Dudes are talented as fuck! I’m looking forward to working with them again and seeing where they will go next, those are my guys for life. I will always keep in contact and check up on them whether its music or not. Anyone I work with will tell you, it’s bigger than music with me.

RD: The Destructor just touched down in March, walk the listeners through the selection process for the guests and your vision for the project.

Ecto: That project meant so much to my introduction to the game. So as you know, I released 4 beat tapes leading up to THE DESTRUCTOR. It was all part of my original plan. From the day I started GHXSTRVPPERS, my mission statement was “No Rappers, Artists Only.”  That was my only goal to put out a project with as many of my favorite emcees as possible. But I did everything in sequence of the movie. “DVNV”, “Zuul”, ‘Terrxr’ Dxgz” & “GOZER” were the stages of the movie plot thickening. The final scene ends with the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man who is “THE DESTRUCTOR” they summoned in the movie as the final boss. So the plan was always set from Day one, I just didn’t know how long it would take to put together. Can’t lie though, shit came together faster than I thought it would. My opening statement was “I don’t need NO RAPPERS ON MY SHIT! That RAP SHIT DEAD ANYWAY! I’m finna make this shit LEGENDARY!” And I did exactly what I said I would do. Not for name chasing, just to work with serious talent that actually put in the work! I was a fan of all those guys listening to their music inspired and motivated me to do this shit! I was a regular fan at work bumping their music not knowing we would actually link through the music one day. Everyone on that tape were people I consider true artists. I get it, a rapper is a rapper however you call it, but I just decode shit differently. I’m just getting started so there’s so much more to this when it’s all said and done. Much love to EVERYONE INVOLVED WITH THE TAPE! Lord Juco, Haze, Killa Kali, Chuck n Lock, Bub Rock, K.Burns, Mak P and Don Carrera! More surprises coming up for the tape. My physicals are gonna fuck da game up! I’m sure the fans are going love what we’re about to do next!

RD: Are there any upcoming placements you can speak on?

Ecto: Of course! My most recent placement was on K. Burns’ Burnieville album. My track on there is Dishes.  I have an upcoming placement on Bub Rock’s album that he’s working on. I’m very selective about who I work with. I probably won’t ever have songs coming out with random rappers. I’m only working with who I feel can fuck with my beats. If you whack, I’m good. I’m building a brand of integrity. When I’m done with this my work is gonna stand for what I believed in and NO FREE SHIT! We all here
to work so be fair about the business. I’m very fair and willing to work with a budget but on that note, I might not ever have a huge amount of beats out here at once. That’s fine with me I just hope the fans enjoy the work I do put out because it will be very limited because of my process. I’m in no rush, things will come as they should.

RD: What is your ultimate goal as a producer?

Ecto: My ultimate purpose as a producer is to help elevate this level of Hip-Hop. I’m here to “Ghost Rappers”! That rap shit is dead to me! The game is so over-saturated with the same sounding shit. It’s gotten way too predictable and boring. I’m not the only one who can see through all that fake shit. Not too many real artists left. Anybody can rap, but not everyone can create ART with the music. I wanna put that whack shit away for good! Kind of the same concept as Ghostbusters. They were the clean up crew for
problems no one else could handle. It’s getting out of hand out here! Someone’s gotta do something for the sake of Hip-hop and what it originally stood for. So that’s what I’m on, and when I’m finished, my master plan is to partner up with Ghostbusters and help
build the brand to a new audience. Since they’ve brought the franchise back, I would love to executive produce one of the soundtracks. In the meantime, I’m on my grind until I get where I’m going. I’m also working on exclusive collectible merchandise for the fans. It’s coming in due time. For now, I’m gonna build off this music. Big plans ahead.

RD: Whats next for you, as far as album placements and fully produced projects?

Ecto: I have a few other fully produced projects in the works. Me and Chuck Chan of #Hometeam Empire are working on a project at the moment. That’s almost finished so be on the lookout for Pure Gold!  I’m also working with Lord Juco, Talaj (KvngKvmi), Haze, and of course the whole GVNG! All release dates are to be announced, but until everything is officially in order, I’m gonna keep building what we’re building till it’s ready. One thing I’ve learned as a producer is to never rush the work. My patience got me here, and with the EP’s I have already in the chamber I’m very confident in the foundation of what I’m building from. The concepts alone are ingenious! I’ll let the work speak for itself. Everything should be coming this summer.

RD: Is there a dream piece of gear you’d like to add to your setup?

Ecto: I would LOVE to get a Roland Sp404, and a MPC2000XL. I want it all eventually! I started with the bare minimum. All I had was a MPK25 and fruity loops. Now I’m working with MPC Studio. I wanna experiment with way more equipment and programs. I started all this from the bottom with a beat pad in FL Studios. It don’t take much, just gotta know how to work with what you got. So for now, I’m making magic with the tools I already have. I can’t wait to advance my sound and equipment. I’m looking forward to it!

RD: If you could select any 5 artists to begin work on a full length Ecto project, who are you calling?

Ecto:  Before it’s all said and done, I plan to have full-length projects with: Curren$y, Willie The Kid, Chris Crack, Mach Hommy, & Roc Marciano /or/ WestsideGunn. There’s way more, but those are some guys I know I have to put work in to get with. That’s all the motivation I need to get to them. I’m going to work my way up until I accomplish those goals. I know I’m going to get there too, its just going take the time to put into it. So I’m on this shit I’ve got a lot of work to put in!  I appreciate the time Nick, and to any of the fans, I appreciate the GENUINE LOVE AND SUPPORT! KEEP IT LOCKED! You won’t wanna miss what’s up next! #GHXSTRVPPERS #TFMG #TF2THEDEATH

Follow Ecto on his socials @Ecto84

Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/ecto84ghxstrvppers

Cop that Destructor EP on Bandcamp  https://ghxstrvppers.bandcamp.com/album/thedestructor-ep