Interview on WKCR 89.9 FM + Drum Break Mix

March 25th, 2015 | By



On March 20th, I had the pleasure of being a guest on WKCR 89.9 FM’s OffBeat Show. For those not familiar, WKCR is Columbia University’s radio station in New York City. It’s best known for being the former home of Stretch & Bobbito’s legendary hip-hop radio show.

Resident host Zach “Storm” Wyche played both volumes of the Trapped in the 90’s series along with some new beats. During the set, I was lucky enough to get interviewed for my first time live on the radio. Some great questions came up like what equipment I use, where I get my records, sampling, and the Searching for Joey Badass video.






In addition, I did a live set of about 50 drum breaks – some well known, others from my secret stash. I will warn you, the mix is a little sloppy. The turntables had rubber slip mats, needles that I couldn’t scratch on, and the last time I DJ’d live was probably 15 years ago. Either way I made it work, so check it out!

Thanks again to Zach, Columbia University, and WKCR (especially for the bottles of water and powdered doughnuts. No, that’s not slang for coke, they literally bought me powdered doughnuts and they were awesome haha). Make sure to follow the Offbeat show on Twitter – @WKCRHipHop.

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Siddeeq Haneef - OVERLOAD

March 24th, 2015 | By

Check out the new video from Jersey native Siddeeq Haneef for his track “Overload“. The kid is super nice with the rhymes and has a lot more in store soon (including some tracks produced by me!)

Hit him up on twitter @siddeeqhaneef

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Interview: Old Timer

March 16th, 2015 | By


45-collection
*Note – this actually a pic from my collection



Anyone who has been digging in the field as long as I have, has definitely had run-ins with the “old timers“. They probably own records you’ve only heard about; they may think your taste in music is awful; and they most likely collect extremely specific sub-sets of genres and labels. We usually laugh and say to ourselves “Man, I’ll never end up like that!” But has anyone really interacted with them?

While searching for info on George Clinton’s pre p-funk singles, I came across a guy on the internet that was collecting records before my mother was born. He was always willing to share his vast knowledge of 60’s soul music so I decided to reach out and ask if he would be willing to answer some questions about records and collecting.

He reluctantly agreed, only on the contingency that he remain completely anonymous as the value of his collection could easily make him a target for theft. He asked that he simply be referred to as an “old time collector” originally from the US.

Despite an age difference of 30+ years, I found that we actually had a lot more in common than I thought. We don’t have the same taste in records, but the way he answered the questions are probably very similar to what I would have said. It got me thinking that everyone with the intrinsic need to collect vinyl has the same underlying, common bond.

So the next time you’re at a record show and see an old timer arguing that an obscure, mono, private press 45 released on some no-name label out of “middle of nowhere USA” is better than anything released in the past 50 years, strike up a convo with him. You may be surprised what you learn. And in a few years, you will probably be that guy!



What was the first record you ever purchased?

My parents asked me what I would want for my 7th birthday in 1953, and I told them, the following records:

  • • “If I Can’t Have You” – The Flamingos
  • • “Crying in The Chapel” – Orioles
  • • “One Mint Julep” – Clovers
  • • “Over The Rainbow” – Checkers
  • • “Sixty Minute Man” – Dominoes
  • • “The Glory Of Love” – Five Keys



One day, with my mother, at The Salvation Army Thrift Store, I saw records for sale. 45s were 5¢, 78s 10¢, and LPs 25¢, instead of the 49-59¢ for new singles and $2.50 for new LPs at the record shops. So, from that day on, I never had to ask my parents to buy me records. I soon started buying scads of records from a regular route of hitting thrift, junk and furniture stores, and record shop bargain bins. I also helped record shop owners and managers after school and on weekends to get my choice of bargain bin records for free.



At what point in your life did you make the transition from buying records for music to “collecting” and why?

I don’t think I ever made that transition. I just kept adding records to my stash. I guess that I have always loved the music, AND I have been a collector from getting my first 78 (first record). There was no point that my feelings about them changed. I would never want to give up a record that I liked. Each one is like an “old friend” to me. I have a photographic memory (as do so many other collectors of various types of things). I can see in my mind’s eye, myself first picking up (finding) each record (exactly where it happened (lo those many years ago). I still can recall and state, without looking, the label name and catalogue number, and often the songwriters, and music publishing company, and usually, the producer and arranger.



What are a few of your favorite records from your collection?

Loving many thousands of recordings from 1936 through 1970, it’s nigh onto impossible to choose even 500 of my absolute favourite (perfect) songs. My favourites change every day, with my mood. Here are mine that come first to my mind, off the top of my head, today:

  • • “Grand Spanish Lady” – Royal Ravens (1963)
  • • “It’s Been So Long” – Leaping Flames (1963)
  • • “Young Boy” – Barbara Green (w/Dells) (1964)
  • • “I’m Yours” – Flamingos (1954)
  • • “My Saddest Hour” – Five Keys (1953)
  • • “Lucky To Be Loved By You” – Emanuel Lasky (w/group) (1964)
  • • “Come On” – Distants (1959)
  • • “Cry” – Majestics (1964)
  • • “I’ll Come Running” – Carolyn Crawford (w/Andantes) (1964)
  • • “Liberation” – Afro Blues Quintet +1 (1965)
  • • “A Tear From A Woman’s Eye” – Temptations (1964)
  • • “Crying In The Chapel” – Orioles (1953)
  • • “Oh No, Not My Baby” -Maxine Brown (1964)
  • • “Talking ‘Bout My Girl” -Parliaments (1965)
  • • “Listen Here” – Eddie Harris (1966)
  • • “Need Your Love” – Flamingos (1956)
  • • “What Time Is It?” -Jive Five (1962)
  • • “Can’t Help Loving That Girl Of Mine” – Hideaways (1954)
  • • “The Glory of Love” – Five Keys (1951)
  • • “I Love You So” – Crows (1954)
  • • “A Little Too Long” – Wanderers (1960)
  • • “Found True Love” – Billy Butler & 4 Enchanters (1962)
  • • “Nobody Knows” – Richard Wallace & Stars of Bethlehem (1962)
  • • “I’ll Fly Away” – Staple Singers (1964)
  • • “Chicago Bound” – Jimmy Rogers (1951)
  • • “Walking By Myself” – Jimmy Rogers (1952)
  • • “Teraplane Blues” – Robert Johnson (1936)



What are your favorite genres to collect/listen to?

My favorite types of music (those that I collect) are: Folk Blues, Delta Blues, City Blues, Chicago Blues, Gospel, Ragtime, Boogie Woogie, Be Bop, Avant Garde Jazz, Rhythm and Blues Vocal Group Harmony, and ’60s Soul. But, I also like vocal group harmony Surf Music (e.g. 1962-65 Beach Boys/Jan & Dean/Ripchords etc. style), Irish medieval and 17th-19th century Folk Music, ancient Chinese and Japanese Music, Scottish, Irish and Bulgarian bagpipe music, and some European “Classical Music“.



Before the interview, you had mentioned you stopped listening to the radio in 1966. What happened that made you stop?

Funk Music started in 1966, with James Brown and some others. I liked his earlier music as James Brown and The Famous Flames, but didn’t like this new, beat-driven, much less melodic-driven music. I stopped listening to Soul music on the radio in late 1966, as there was a lot less I liked to listen to. I had to wait 10 songs to hear one I liked. I didn’t like the sound of the false and way too electric sound of the instruments. I like acoustic music best. I could live with the early style of electrification of guitars in the early ’50s Chicago Blues, but by the end of the ’60s and into the ’70s, I didn’t like the sound of the instruments and, more importantly, the recordings. I did listen to Jazz radio stations after that (into the 1980s or so, but only sporadically, and not with the anywhere near the same interest as in my musical heyday.



Do you still do any collecting or do you just enjoy being a knowledge resource for others?

I haven’t really added to my collection in any kind of numbers since early 1972. I get a few CDs from CD companies for whom I do research, provide records to make new masters, provide label scans, and/or edit writing blurbs for the CD packages.



What records DON’T you have that you’ve always wanted?

The rarest records from each of the many record labels I collect that were never really released commercially (e.g. pulled back, or never pressed up except a few test pressings). There are way too many to mention. But they all cost in the many thousands of British Pounds Sterling. And being a North American, I resent that The British Northern Soul collectors bid up their prices very high, which made Brits come to USA to grab most of them up, making it impossible for us locals to get them, when we’d otherwise likely have gotten many of those 45s for 5-25¢ and LPs for 25, 50 ¢ and $1, eventually. I also resent The American Vocal Group Harmony/Doo Wop collectors for bidding up the prices of that genre, having a similar effect. I had gathered up thousands of 45s and albums, but there were many more I wanted, and never did get. But, I have been able to get everything I want on tape, CD and digital format now. So, at least I can listen to it. But as an historian and researcher, I’d like to have the originals, to fit on the shelves in the label runs, where they belong.



What are some of the weirdest/funniest records you own?

I’m sure I have a few funny songs on record, but I am only interested in the musical sound of the songs. I never cared what the words are. So, I can’t think of many. I have a couple records I kept for their comedic value, and don’t consider part of my collection. I have a few by Dora Hall, the wife of a rich businessman, who funded her singing hobby. Her husband was the owner of a major water cooler cup company, and her labels were Calamo, Reinbeau, and Cozy, out of Chicago. He even funded a TV special with her as the star, with Frank Sinatra Jr. and Rosey Grier as guest stars. She sang in several different genre styles, but was really terrible at it.

I also have a make-your-own record of an amateur father of a Bar Mitzvah boy, singing with a paid semi-professional band behind him. He must have been roaring drunk, and it is very funny. It was recorded in New York, and is titled “Sail, Sail” by Solomon and The Muskets. It is one of the worst attempts at singing and worst records I’ve ever heard. Despite remembering faintly how it sounds, every once in a while I take it out and play it, and almost wet my pants from floor-rolling laughter (no matter how many times I play it).



How does it feel knowing you bought all these records when they came out for a few bucks, and now people easily spend hundreds to thousands on them?

I don’t like it, because it denies the average person from obtaining the little pieces of history. But, it has had a good side, in that it has brought the great work of many ordinary people to the ears of thousands of people many years later, and these artists, at least get some recognition for their efforts, many years later. And, the music will be around for new youth to hear, at least for a while.



When it comes time to leave this earth, what’s going to happen to your records?

With good luck, I will not have to auction off more than the most valuable few rarest records I have, to finance my upkeep if I ever run out of funds. My heirs will get all the rest (or, perhaps ALL of them). They will probably auction off the few hundred most valuable, themselves, and then have a dealer auction off the rest. None of them care about them as I do (not surprisingly). I had hoped to put my collection together with those of some others, and operate an African-American Music Museum in my adopted country (where it would be appreciated much more than in USA). But, to this point, efforts to do so have not turned out promising.

_______________________________________________________________

I would like to thank the “old time collector” again for taking the time to answer some questions and hopefully help bridge the gap between this generation of crate diggers and his. Without people like him continuing to spread the knowledge, a lot of musical history would be lost.

I also wanted to add that for the last interview question, I made joke about being buried with his collection. To my surprise, he provided a great anecdote that his Uncle, was in fact buried with his favorite record! It got me thinking that I may want to go that route one day. But depending on the record, someone may try to dig me up haha.

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Eddie Hendrix - Mr. Sways (prod. by Ill Tal)

March 13th, 2015 | By



Check out the new video by Brooklyn native Eddie Hendrix produced by Ill Tal. The song “Mr. Hayes” is based off of a persona inspired by movie/fictional character Shaft. The video was shot in Charleston, SC where Hendrix currently resides.

Download/Listen to his latest mixtape on DatPiff.com.

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Carl Roe - Ones and Zeroes

March 9th, 2015 | By


Carl Roe - Ones and Zeroes

Check out the new album by Seattle emcee Carl RoeOnes and Zeroes featuring 2 tracks produced by Ill Tal!

I first met Carl Roe when I dropped Trapped in the 90’s and he hit me up for some boom bap beats. Ironically, I ended up sending him nothing remotely close to 90’s beats and he recorded the single/video “Bruja“.

About a year later, I posted a video clip of a new beat on Instagram and he hit me up about 90 seconds later asking if he could buy it lol. A few days after, he sent me the rough mix down of what would become the intro to Ones and Zeroes.

Both of the tracks – “Bruja” and “Ones and Zeroes” appear on the album (tracks 1 and 3). Check out the stream below or purchase on Itunes | Amazon. Support real hip-hop!

Twitter: @Carl_Roe
Facebook: CarlRoe
Soundcloud: CarlRoe

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Interview: Matt McGinley of Gym Class Heroes

March 6th, 2015 | By


Matt McGinley of Gym Class Heroes

A few months ago I was randomly talking about drum breaks on twitter and had a quick dialog with a mutual follower. In the midst of talking about the Skullsnaps I realized who I was having the conversation with – Matt McGinley, co-founder and drummer of Gym Class Heroes.

Shocked that a member of such a high profile group was humble enough to talk drum loops with a little known producer from Jersey, I decided to push my luck and ask for a quick interview. To my surprise, he agreed and was happy to do it! Turns out, Matt just released a new project via The Drum Broker so it coincided perfectly.

I don’t know crap about actual drumming (other than playing Rock Band a few years back lol) so I asked a bunch of questions that he probably wasn’t used to hearing. Enjoy!



1. For the most part, all the drums used in hip-hop at one time came from other genres (rock, funk, disco, etc). Do you think there is such thing as a “hip-hop drummer“?

Interesting point. I would say that the feel and spirit of conventional hip-hop drum programming, sampling, etc. is pretty evident in some players – Quest Love, Chris Dave… though I’m not sure if they label themselves as such.


2. When you first started out, what artists/songs inspired you / did you model yourself after?

Initially, it was the music that I had access to around the house. Both of my parents were transplants from the American South, having moved to New York a year before I was born. I seem to remember them having a lot of early southern rock – Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, etc. But they also had a shit ton of Motown – Smokey Robinson, The Supremes, Otis Redding, Temptations, Sam Cooke, etc.

In my first week of high school I met Travis McCoy. We pretty immediately began trading music with each other. Jeru the Damaja, KRS-One, Wu Tang, Rage Against the Machine, Deftones, Das EFX, Souls of Mischief, Devin tha Dude, Black Star, Company Flow (and on and on…). A lot of these albums have been massively influential on my drumming (and my musical perspective in general).


3. When you were laying down tracks with Gym Class Heroes, were you replaying breaks? Replaying what someone laid out on a drum machine? Or were you creating everything from scratch?

The process varies. Initially, we were very into this idea of organic – mainly because we were limited to the few instruments that we had access to. So we were taking the feel and approach of hip-hop music and voicing it through what we had to work with – drums, bass, guitar, a microphone, and a busted ass PA system. This has not been the case in recent years. My drum sounds are a blend of organic + programmed elements and breaks. Sometimes those things are added at mix to enhance the feel of what’s happening in the song – and other times they may originate from a demo or skeleton version of the song. Again, it varies.


4. Do you have a record collection or are you more a digital guy? If you have a record collection, what are some of your gems?

I prefer the clarity and accuracy of vinyl – though that’s not exclusively how I listen to music. My collection is small by most standards, but I always have one or two records that I’m searching for. For awhile I was looking for an original pressing of The Rolling Stones ‘Sticky Fingers’ album – the one that Andy Warhol designed with an actual zipper on the jacket cover. I eventually did find it – for like $18.


5. What are your top 3 favorite “drum breaks” and why?

• Skull Snaps – “It’s a New Day” – Such an immediately recognizable groove and the mix on those drums is beautiful.

• Paul Simon – “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” – Technical, tasteful – all feel.

• Led Zeppelin – “When the Levee Breaks” – Bonham hits the drums so hard, yet he had tremendous feel for the groove. Anytime you can find an isolated drum break of his to sample from, DO IT – just don’t try to clear that motherf*cker. $$$


6. What made you want to put out a drum break comp?

For years I had been recording drum breaks in between other studio sessions. The theory is that once you’ve got a drum kit mic’d up and dialed in you never want to let it go to waste. So I had all of these breaks which I would just pass around within my circle of friends and producers. Musicians, and especially producers, tend to be pretty secretive about their sample libraries. It’s understandable. But I love the collaborative element of music – and was really inspired by what The Drum Broker was doing. Giving well known producers the option to open up their vaults and share their personal stash of drum samples and sounds with other producers, songwriters, etc. It’s kinda like getting access to Mario Batali’s spice rack or something.


7. What should producers expect from Coffee Breaks?

The goal with Coffee Breaks was to create a collection of drum breaks in the spirit of classic funk and hip-hop records – but offer producers more flexibility and options. Each break has corresponding drum fills – chopped and ready to drop. I also wanted to incorporate one-shot drum samples. We isolated each component of my drum kit (kick, snare, hi-hat, rimshot, etc.) and recorded them at multiple velocities & articulations – making it super easy to augment, enhance, or straight up re-write any of my breaks. I wanted each break to have it’s own feel – it’s own place – so each break was mixed independently. So what you have is 23 loops that sound as if they’ve been pulled off 23 different recordings! To capture that ambience, we used a pair of overhead’s and a room mic to record these drum sounds. Each break was then re-amped into a tile bathroom to add subtle, organic reverb. And finally mixed onto reel-to-reel tape by Timmy Rickard (Bap to the Future, Tape to Dub Plate, Dirty Arse Drum Breaks).




8. How do you feel about the frequent use of the Roland 808 drum kit in popular hip hop?

Is it being used more than usual?


9. Gym Class Heroes has always been one of those genre bending groups that at any given time has been called hip-hop, alternative, or pop. Did you embrace that or did it cause issues?

Although I think our music is rooted in hip-hop – I would say that we’ve always embraced the idea that we’re categorically ambiguous. Initially, record labels were pretty scared of that – I suspect that since they didn’t have an existing blueprint to follow they were apprehensive to take the risk. Ultimately, we found a great team of creative people that were willing to be a part of something different.


10. You will soon be working as Ryn Weaver‘s full time drummer. Will you be sneaking any funky breaks in her tracks?

We’ll see. I love what she’s doing musically – and it’s nearly impossible to approach the drumming from any conventional place. In some songs the drum production is more densely layered than others – so it’s about obsessing over those layers, determining what voices get the priority, and then making it happen.

________________________________________________________________

I want to thank Matt again for taking the time to answer these questions. Anyone who wants to hit him up, check out his twitter @Mattydookis. Also, make sure to check out that Coffee Breaks comp!

Matt McGinley - Coffee Breaks



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Houseguests - What So Never The Dance

February 28th, 2015 | By

I know most of my followers are used to me posting breaks or my new music, but I decided to switch it up and try something new. This time, I’m focusing on a rare piece of wax from inside my crates – Houseguests “What So Never The Dance Pt. 1 and Pt. 2“.

For those that don’t know, the Houseguests were comprised of mostly dudes that just left James Brown‘s backing band including Bootsy Collins, his brother Catfish, Clayton Gunnells, Frank “Kash” Waddy, and a few others. Some of the band would later join George Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic thang, and eventually become Bootsy’s Rubber Band.

This single was released in 1971 on a small indy imprint in Cincinnati, Ohio – Houseguests Records. The band recorded a second single on the same label the following year. By that time, Bootsy had met up with George and was working on Funkadelic’s America Eats It’s Young.

The song is pretty well known as it’s appeared on several compilations, BUT not the version I uploaded. It’s a full 1 minute longer than the comp version and also a mono mix. Admittedly, the comped version does sound better but you get to hear the raw funk (and a little sloppy playing during a break down) that you miss out on in the compilation version.

It should be noted, there was an alternate version of this 45 released credited to “Houseguess“. I think that is the rarer of the two. Either way, enjoy some raw funk!

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GoFundMe for “Amen Brother”

February 23rd, 2015 | By



If you listen to Hip-hop, jungle, several UK dance sub-genres, or even TV commercials, you’ve heard the “Amen Brother” drum break performed by The Winstons. Despite being used in hundreds of songs, the original writer of the track never received any compensation for it’s use. Well, a DJ from the UK decided that wasn’t right, and started a GoFundMe page asking for donations to Richard L Spencer (the song writer of the original track).

What started out as a $1500 goal has now raised over $15,000! Yes, it’s still very small in comparison to all the millions the song probably generated, but it is still a great gesture for someone who can’t afford the legal fees to sue every artist that used it.

If you would like donate to the cause, GO HERE,

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